It’s 10:15 pm and I’m standing in the backstage lavatory at the State Theatre in Sydney trying to urinate. Technically I’m supposed to be working but so far I’ve done nothing except sit in the Green Room kitchen for two hours playing Angry Birds while people on stage play Rock Kwiz. I went to the bathroom because I figured it was time to do something with my life.
I say ‘trying to urinate’, because I have been temporarily interrupted by an event of such magnitude that it must surely rank up there in the annals of Great Moments of our Time [1. The words ‘rank’ and ‘annals’ will be key in the next few paragraphs.]:
Jon English has just done the smelliest shit in the history of Rock and Roll.
I know it’s him because the tortured growls and whimpers coming from the second stall perfectly match his recent rendition of Lennon’s ‘So This is Christmas’ as part of the on stage festivities. There’s no mistaking Jon’s idiosyncratic voice: he sounds like his larynx went to prison for kiddy fiddling and got repeatedly shower raped by cigarettes while bourbon watched the door.
I reel and stumble in the fug (possibly blacking out briefly too if the state of my shoes is any indication). This shit IS Rock and Roll. It’s Hendrix on guitar. It’s Morrison on acid. Yoko would have married it.
It’s a shit that would have thrown Keith Moon out the window and if it were an album, it would be every hit rock song ever. Ever.
I’m crygiggling while I try to piss without breathing in the heady shitmist of what must be forty years of hard living and complimentary RSL chicken parmas.
Jon emerges from the cubicle, the bags under his eyes several kilos lighter and I stare at him with a mixture of hero worship and disgust.
‘What the fuck Jon?!?’ my mind screams ‘What the fuck?!? When did you last take a dump? 1972?!’
But I am mute in his presence, both starstruck and fearful of inhaling.
I wash my hands, Lady Macbeth-like, then stumble up the winding stairs to the loading dock. Outside, Saturday night on George Street is in full swing. A slapper wearing a mini-skirt riding up so high and tight that I think she’s just painted her back fat is lying outstretched on a nearby road case. Her fleshy cockpumpers flap and grasp in the air as she squeals ‘Whee! Wheee! I can fly! I can fly!!!’ It’s the closest she’s ever going to get to airborne, as the tiny fairy wings tattooed on her shoulder blades certainly don’t have the requisite power to weight ratio. A guy in a cowboy hat and a popped collar is jumping around behind her shouting ‘Pure Country! Pure Country!’, correct in all but one of his syllables. Eventually the roadies roll the girl off the case and into a waiting gutter where she starts to vomit on Country Boy’s boots.
He calls her a fucking moll, fumbles his cock from his zipper and starts taking a piss.
‘Ooh that’s feral.’ A voice like sliding gravel pours into my ear. It’s Jon. He’s emerged into the loading dock for a smoke and is surveying the scene before us. I’m not sure whether he’s referring to up here or the 2nd level Gents bathroom. Either way, he’s not wrong.
Eventually I head back down to the kitchen to scratch my balls and wait for Jon and the rest cast to piss off so I can clean up after them. Jon goes back to the Green Room to sit amongst myriad posters that bear his image in various states of Rock Godness, and a few where he’s dressed as the Pirate King.
I quietly ponder our disparate positions on the ladder of success. There are no posters of me in here, only a timesheet with my name on it, badly misspelt. It is said that success is relative, which in my case means it’s a very distant one that doesn’t invite me to the reunions.
© Michael Wannenmacher 2011