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Wednesday July 10, 2002
Off to Springvale today. Ostensibly my reason for my prior residence in Australia was to study Cambodian at Monash University. Today I'm meeting up with my former Cambodian teacher from Monash. Turns out she is doing well, helping her husband who is the Labor MP for Clayton. (The suburb now with the highest concentration of Cambodians.)
We go out to Maryhoa restaurant for Dim Sum, which is a treat. I've got a heap of pictures and books and stuff to show her. They're curious about my take on things back in Cambodia, as well as my day job. Her husband is kind enough to track down Ung Bunhean's address, though my Sydney stint will I think be truncated.
After that we stop by the Cambodian Association where I used to teach English. There's a whole new meeting hall they've added to it, complete with little ornate bits that characterize some Khmer buildings. And there's more renovations on the way. The place has definitely grown. They're also planning a combined Lunar New Year festival with the Laotian, Thai, Vietnamese and Sri Lankan communities here. Also turns out that the former Welfare Coordinator of the Association, Youhorn Chea, had been elected Mayor of Springvale! Far out.
They offer me a ride to the train station, but I decline - I want to walk back through the streets I've drawn, and see how they've changed.
The answer: not that much, and not really for the worse either. There's some sense of closure that I can't quite explain.
I catch the train into town, lost in thought. It's funny, I don't draw that much, and when I do it's hastily done. But my comics are as much an influence on me, as they are reflective of my influences.
All that tea makes for a bursting bladder. Maybe it would be fun to stop off at Malvern? Nope, all the toilets are closed! The surveillance cameras are on though. That's kinda lame.
So it's straight into Flinders Street, then up past the old skatepark to meet Mandy, Kizza and Bernard Caleo. Bernard edits the bigass romance comic Tango, which is supported by a grant from Melbourne City. Yay public arts funding.
Fun to finally meet the man in the Big Cardigan, who I've corresponded with for a few years. He's full of enthusiasm for comics and is planning the new issue of Tango, which will be on the 5 senses. He asks me to do a strip on 'smell'. (Is that wise, given I live in Cambodia?)
We discuss the idea (that Kirrily has mooted) of some sort of comic association. I've heard some talk about this from various people on the trip. I hope it develops further.
Bernard heads out to his job as a film projectionist, and I'm off to Westspace again.
Tim's hanging with some pals. Then I get a big kebab and head back.
Time for the Pumice gig. Tammy's going to another show in town, so we all jump into her car and she takes us over. Jeez it's cold. I'm using Kieran's jacket now.
Barbara Kerr et al.
I'm also sleeping in his room, wearing his clothes, using his computer...with cartoonists our identities are interchangeable anyway.
Naturally the cartoon crowd is running mobb deep at the Builder's Arms.
Sorry, just had to attempt using 'mobb deep' in a sentence. I won't do it again.
Lachlan's new book will be a small run, two color, on a mimeograph. This sounds like good fun.
Gazza and Mazza.
Drawings below by them.
A bit of hangin' out and yakking and drawing. 'Fuck Tourette's Cunt' is not too bad. I angle over to get some good shots of Stefan. Someone is throwing his cap labeled 'Pumice' around. I grab it.
I have to apologize for not publishing the interview I did with him, before I left for the States. But he doesn't seem to mind. He very kindly gives me a copy of his new CD.
Gallery of pissed cartoonists, part two: I tape the performance on my little tape recorder. After the show there's some discussion of mushrooms, which is my cue to exit. Got stuff to do tomorrow. I fall into Tammy's car.
Next: Thursday, July 11, 2002