With Colitis, I think I’ve made this clear, you have to make peace with toilets. No matter where they are or what state they are in. Or what lives in there, and therefore, in who’s territory you’re pulling your pants down and firing things out of your bum in.
My mind was swimming with these possibilities when I arrived in Australia. Like me, you probably grew up with the notion that Australian bogs are a fucking hive of Redback spiders, just looking for a threatening, encroaching arse to pump loads of venom into. Then there’s Black Widows, they sound like fun. I could forge a career based on describing murderous Australian spiders so, for the sake of brevity, let’s assume that I had a pretty comprehensive litany of concerns around them.
I read that snakes sometimes like to assume toilets as their territory; as in, they lie in the bowl, coiled, ready to go mental on any over-enthusiastic, dilated anus it finds hovering over what it believes is it’s legal property. Australian snakes are murderous, vicious bastards, but if I woke up in my house to see the roof had been removed, and there was a giant, levitating, hairy arse in its place, ready to shit directly into my bed, I’d bite the fucker too.
I made peace with cockroaches, you have to, as they are utterly omni-present and invincible. If they carried flick-knives then they would be the dominant species. We lived in Kings Cross in Sydney, the red light district, and shared a block of flats with liars and drunks and addicts. I got locked out in my bare feet once, walked round the back of the building to get in, and froze, realising I was walking along a carpet of glinting discarded
needles. I carefully re-traced a path to the front, and banged the door until the landlady let me in. I walked past the rubbish disposal, a dump in the hollow centre in the building. The place was crawling with cockroaches, a biblical scene. If you lived on those lower floors….. I guess you must just reach a point where you welcome them as your overlords and it’s their flat now. I didn’t realise cockroaches could fly until I tried to trap one, it suddenly grew massive wings out of its abdomen and flew into my chin. I enjoyed living there, it was never boring.
We went about 50 miles inland into the bush, a place called Nimbin, branded as the ‘Bush Amsterdam’. We slept in ‘Rainbow Retreat’- a friendly hippy commune place where the little sheds you slept in were all different, some shaped like mushrooms for example. This place was very rich in wildlife. It was in the bush, we were told. The toilets were a cylinder of rusty corrugated steel that encircled a long drop. I’m pretty robust when it comes to toilets, but fuck me, I was nervous about this one. I imagined a festering pit of millipedes and wolf spiders with 2 inch legs, cockroaches and huge, indistinct flies. It was a hot, dark, grim, damp place that I definitely had visions of being murdered in. Old, huge webs draped the wooden canopy. I saw shapes in the shadows and heard the darkness rustle. Every shit was a terrifying journey into my own imagination; as I approached I imagined a Hieronymous Bosch filled with hellish mutant creatures, cackling and dismembering and fucking each other.
We travelled the entire east coast, ended up in a boozy hostel in Melbourne and then fucked off to New Zealand. Australia was great, huge arcs of perfect sand and water, brimming with huge swathes of beautiful aquatic life in indescribable quantities. Pristine and heavenly. There’s still loads of stuff that will kill you, indiscriminately. No-one is supposed to get out alive. I felt like we were on the last chopper out of Saigon, except it was a lovely Qantas flight with a G&T.