A recent report on the death of ex-whiz-kid skateboarder Ben Pappas, whose weighed-down body was found in the water off Melbourne’s Docklands, outlined his fall from teenage skate phenomenon to down-and-out drug tragic. Apparently he had become addicted to cocaine by 17, and at 21 was convicted of drug smuggling; he wasn’t jailed, but had his passport suspended for 3 years, effectively ending his skating career in the States, where he had been raking in $15,000 per month at his peak.
That sentence was inappropriate, surely? Continue reading Ben Cousins – Too Good to Stay on Ice
On returning to my hometown of Perth in 1985 after two years overseas, I decided to flee to Sydney. For me there is an amnesic quality about Perth (although perhaps it’s the same with any place you’ve grown up in) such that time spent away – even years – seems to assume an unreal, dream-like state very soon after returning; I was determined not to forfeit to the encroaching mists the fertile experiences of my time away. Nothing much seemed to have changed back in Perth, but I was not the same person who had left. I had developed a dread of family, and sensed (or maybe just anticipated) an agenda to absorb me back into the fold, where I would soon return to ‘normal’ as part of an homogenous blobby structure that rejected change as some potentially lethal threat to its existence and like white blood cells attacking bacteria, sought automatically to eradicate it. I felt that I would concede some hard-won independence of spirit if I hung around longer than a few days, so before the week was out off to a new life in Sydney I went.
It surprised me just how different Sydney was from Perth. Continue reading Perth 2007 – More Brass Than Class
Tessa is the teenage daughter of a professional couple known vaguely to me through the social network of a friend. A poolside announcement during a gathering last weekend that Tessa had decided to follow her father into law was greeted with congratulatory cooings and nods of approval by those present – at least, that is what I am told by an impeccably reliable source (happily, I was otherwise committed on that day and was not among the recipients of the glad tidings). Continue reading The lawyer mindset epidemic