Lynch of the Grinch

by Ant Stone on January 4, 2009

in Australia

Pen down! That’s it. Time out. No more. This is a travel blog. One must travel. Then. One must blog. My temple of travel was built by glorious bricks of occurrence, each slightly offset from the last. It was then decorated with woven wonder and filled with fusty fervour. It inspired me (and everyone who saw it) and wherever I took it, that temple tore the sky. Right now, in these non-travelling travel days the temple has been abandoned. Curious thorny greens have shred the silk and cracked the cornerstones and I’m left feeling nothing less than frustrated. I keep telling myself “I’m the other side of the world”, and though it’s true – it’s just not good enough.

This post was intended to capture my humorous search for Melbourne’s elusive Christmas spirit. The fact that it’s not is rather symbolic, a little bit like the never-say-die tome, Shantaram. But then again, rather a lot not – after all I wasn’t brutally tortured in a prison and the manuscript for my Christmas tale wasn’t twice destroyed by bullies and brutes. Ok. Sod it, you might as well enjoy the short story of that once-intended sketch; It was the Saturday before Christmas and I awoke to the realisation that Melbourne’s festive efforts were nothing short of dismal. Even to this self-proclaimed Grinch. So I went in search of Yuletide. I scoured the train network map for the most Christmassy sounding stations and threw myself at the mercy of a childish adventure. I visited Merri, Bell, Eltham, Ivanhoe, Jolimont and Crib Point in a journey that took me via forgotten islands, dusty koalas, backstreet cockatoos and increasingly alarming locals. Although I fell short of visiting Deer Park, Boxhill and Ferntree Gully that weekend it was the most free I’d felt since lowering myself into Melbourne’s urban cage. To give it some scale this journey covered hundreds of klicks. (Well, at least 300.) And I got sunburned. And bitten. And got lost, gloriously gooily, lost! Oh, and stranded. I hitchhiked, and I even – can I even bring myself to say it – I, I, I… queue-jumped.

The reason the post wasn’t posted was because post-adventure Christmas day came to town. That particular sunny day was spent in the fun-loving home of The Lawson’s. I listened to Nan tell tales. I watched Aunt’s open Uncle’s presents. I heard children talk of pink skateboards while the sparks of sleighs lit up their eyes. I choked on bad jokes and cheers’d to good years. It was the quintessential family Christmas, complete with tinsel and turkey (and wasabi salmon). How could I pull at loose threads and unravel Christmas so uncouthly? So what if Melbournian’s weren’t wearing Santa hats to work and decorating their front lawns with lanterns. So what that it just felt like an excuse for a day off. So what The Flying Snowman wasn’t on television. Therefore, how could I write about the adventure without declaring the origin of its noodle route around Melbourne’s outer suburbs. Nan would never forgive me. The children might lose their sleigh. The salmon would go all rubbery. No. The story will stay within, only to be recited to the drunk and the dead. This is the point where I falsely claim the lack of posts on The Trail over the holiday season was a result of a torn writer, fighting the inner battle between truth and desire. Publish it you moron. No, don’t do it. Sacrifice is the greatest power of peace. Publish it, you know you want to – destroy the Aussie spirit. No! Yes! No…

Christmas soon gave way to the final hurdle of joy; New Years. Fate decided I would find myself in a massive events stadium; dressed in white; smothered in paint; and guzzling sweet fizzy grog while spinning around the dance floor and propping up a humorous smattering of pill-infested friends (paracetamol pills, Mum, they had a headache – quite bad ones by the look of it). The gig was a dance music event called Sensation. The next afternoon was a different sensation altogether. I rose from bed, and descended to the sofa in a 30 second twist and stagger – all the while excruciating memories scratched away at my skull – “Erriiiick Morilllllloooo… wahoooo!”, “Jean-Claude Van Damme … wa-whoooo?”, “You’re the greatest guy ever!”, “I caaaan’t dance!”


The conclusion to my time-in-progress came yesterday. A long sought after tick was ticked, in the form of Melbourne’s famed steam railway, Puffing Billy. Puffing Boring Billy. Puffing Bored Me Silly. For 40km this shiny steam train yanked me through a pretty-as-a-postcard valley. On one side I had a group of excitable Indian adults. And I might as well round it off with the most irritating-just-to-look-at kid konductor and half a dozen carriages of “I’ll-kill-you-if-you-get-a-better-seat-than-my-little-princess” parents and their lovely darling offspring. Inexcusably I fell asleep three quarters of the way in. “Happy New Year, Melbourne! This is Erick Morillo and my right hand man, Aaaaant!” Wow. This was my moment. “Yo-yo-yo and a happy new year and yo-yo-yo and I got me a beer. Yo-yo-yo and it’s still oh-eight and yo-yo-yo this is my Eric, my em-ate. Yo-yo-yo grab yourself a glass coz yo-yo-yo next years gonna be class!” Zzz, zzz. Sniffle. Snuffle. Wake up, Ant. Ant, wake up! You’re on Puffing Billy – choo choo.

So all that’s left for me to say, is I hope two thousand and nine is everything that two thousand and eight ran out of time to be. I’ll be exploring new angles for Trail of Ants and its amiable author in the first quarter of this year (i.e. while I’ve still got a regular internet connection). Don’t get excited and start knocking over your desk lamps and snapping your pencil leads – I’ll be as subtle as ever. Yo-yo-yo… My friend it’s yo-yo-yo… The End.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Nomadic Matt January 6, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Happy 2009! Great post!!! Looking forward to seeing where your site goes.


Jeff January 9, 2009 at 12:16 am

I see you still can’t rap! Good effort though, take out all the yo-yo-yo’s and you may yet still make it….! Nice to talk the other day, you should encourage more people to get skype so you can catch up with them all….


Kristine January 10, 2009 at 3:50 am

Hilarious. Happy new year.


Matt Stone January 12, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Happy New Year bro! Just been listening to your DJ’ing….mmm, very nice 🙂


Grant January 16, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Hey man, great site! Would you like to contribute a story to mine? Check me out and let me know.

Peace brother,


Ant January 22, 2009 at 1:35 am

@ Grant: Drop me an email with more details Grant, I don’t quite get it fella.


[F]oxymoron January 28, 2009 at 11:13 am

Man, if only we could freeze time, thaw our stories, and then serve ’em with a bit of booze.

Good shit (i realize this is an oxymoron)

Now I’m off to resuscitate my Xmas eve/Xmas day story


Ant January 29, 2009 at 9:56 pm

@[F]ox: If I had such a lame title to give out, I would award you ‘Comment of the Day’!


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