Email To My 17-Year-Old Self – A Podcast

Guys, what if you found yourself having a conversation by email with yourself at the ripe old age of seventeen? What advice would you offer the much younger you? Would you warn of life’s turning points, caution against future problems to come? Would you tell teenage you, stories of how love goes horribly wrong? Maybe not, perhaps you’ll let 17 year-old-you alone without interference from older more experienced you?

This is the dilemma I found myself struggling with as I sat down to write and record my brand new podcast, Email To My 17-Year-Old Self. I hope you enjoy my dilemma.  Life was much easier when you were 17-years-old? Wasn’t it?

Email To My 17-Year-Old Self on YouTube

Email To My 17 -Year-Old Self on Podbean

About the author – Noel Anderson has worked in film and theatre and is currently adapting his play Sammy and Dave into a film, about two bisexual-married men who rendezvous for a one night stand. Based on a true story.

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Breaking the Code – A Writer’s Life

‘I let my imagination carry me’ – Noel Anderson

I can’t remember when I started writing exactly. I recall sitting on the floor at home watching TV and bashing away on an old typewriter that I loved. Writing always felt like an adventure. A trek into my subconscious mind. Once inside, the mission should I decide to take it, is often dreaming up things unobtainable in real life. As a boy, these dreams consisted of movie terrors from outer space.  Black and white monsters from the 1950’s were on high rotation most afternoons. On a secret mission, breaking the code to life itself, I imagined I worked tirelessly with a group of American scientists at an isolated outpost. In my imagination, I discover, ‘monsters that time forgot,’ frozen in a clump under the Arctic ice. Naturally I save the day, destroy the creatures and the world is safer place, thanks to my fertile imagination. In my backyard-fantasies, I let my imagination carry me. I play with wooden pegs, turning them into astronauts, painting on space helmets. Surrounded by washing drying on a Hills Hoist, I stir up a storm in a tea cup… and I write. This habit of putting down words day and night, is going to be a lifetime problem, I decide.

But, puberty changes things, and the years fly by. Friends once thought precious have gone, family passed over. Values held dear to my heart as a younger man, feel wasted, like second hand clothes, so I wash them away. Writing feeds me when I am lost in the dark.

“Hey you. Your a writer aren’t you?” I look at the timetable, pretending not to hear. “Hey, you. I know your work. I read your story online about the death your father.”

“Do I know you?” I ask, waiting for the tram.

“Brave. I wish I could be like that. Put stuff out there, my feelings, to the universe. Just say fuck it! Seriously I want that. I do…You know, if I had time to be a writer, like you…I’d be better than you. I’d be something else, I know.” He leaves. I don’t remember his face.

I breathe freely and miss my tram. I wait. In those minutes, nothing mattered. Time stopped. Gradually my mind turns white, like a blank sheet of paper. Then, holding my imagination tightly, I write… if only I was a real person, like him. But, I’m not. Oh, well…fuck it!

About the author – Noel Anderson has worked in film and theatre and is featured in Breaking the Code a two day symposium for writers/authors, 6-7th Oct 2018. Noel is currently adapting his play Sammy & Dave into a film, about two bisexual-married men who rendezvous for a one night stand. Based on a true story.

Sammy and Dave – Promo Trailer

Erotic Fiction 😎 by Noel Anderson

‘Lovers, forgive my intrusion at such an hour but I’m terribly over excited’

Is that a gun in your pocket?

My story starts here. Recently I ran a writer’s workshop with the Melbourne Writer’s Social Group looking at the success of erotic literature over decades. I didn’t know it at first, but as the workshop approached I realised I had my fair share of erotic knowledge to share. I was reminded on the day of the need to be fearless in a creative sense, and push boundaries, to challenge yourself.  However, I was surprised by the lack of support from women (only two women attended) as according to all statistics, women consume erotica at about the same rate as men. As I glanced around the room of mostly men, I wondered if a woman was presenting ‘erotic literature’ instead of a male, would men have stayed away? I guess I’ll never know. What was clear though, was the wealth of experience and imagination that could be poured into erotic stories. The stories read out loud by the men on the day were varied and original. They mostly teased more than sexually aroused, but behind each story was a personal honesty, a lot of humour and a little sadness. You could hear their heart beating under the fantasies as they read. I believe it’s a good thing for writers to purge their sexual dreams and heartache.

‘Darling, have you no modesty, do up a button…thank you, I was over heating at the sight of your exposed…elbow’

One writer on social media a few days before the workshop argued that ‘he didn’t need to know anything about the art of writing erotic fiction’. Fair enough, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But, I argued, no matter what you write at some point you are probably going to have to write a love/sex scene in some form, surely you want that ‘love scene’ to arouse interest?

WHAT IS EROTIC LITERATURE? Erotic literature comprises fictional and factual stories of human sexual relationships, generally with the intention to arouse the reader sexually. A common element is satire and social criticism, and sexual fantasy.

It seems that over the years every author has had a go at writing erotic fiction, probably for the money. Some famous authors include Anne Summer ‘The Joy of Sex’, Ann Rice ‘ The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty’, DH Lawrence ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, Mark Twain ‘1601’ and Vladimir Nabokov ‘Lolita.’ Even Dracula by Bram Stoker was considered saucy in its day. I urge you to open it up at any page and read, you’ll be titillated for sure. A surprising addition to the long list of erotic writers is Felix Salten.

In 1906, an erotic memoir was privately published. Purportedly written by a Viennese prostitute at the end of her life, Josefine Mutzenbacher, oder Die Geschichte einer Wienerischen Dirne, it became a popular success; its now a very rare book, a first edition copy recently selling for over $6,000. The introduction to the original is signed by “the editor.” The “editor” was, in fact, the anonymous author. That author has been firmly identified as Felix Salten (pseud. of Siegmund Saltzmann), whose claim to fame is as the author of Bambi, Eine. You can bet Walt Disney had no idea of Salten’s erotic past when he turned Bambi into a family friendly motion picture.

So, what’s the difference between erotica and pornography? The best answer I found was in the Guardian. I quote – The difference between erotica and pornography is erotic is using a feather, and pornography is using the whole damn chicken.

So, why have so many good writers dabbled in writing erotica? The answer I think is as simple as this, there is real money to be made in writing erotic fiction…so lets look at the recent/most-famous erotic book, 50 Shades of Grey by British author E L James.

FACTS ABOUT 50 SHADES OF GREY –  Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2011 erotic romance novel.  It is the first installment in a trilogy that traces the deepening relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young business magnate, Christian Grey. It is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving S & M. It  was originally self published as an eBook and ‘print on demand’ rights by Vintage Books in March 2012. Fifty Shades of Grey has topped best-seller lists around the world, selling over 125 million copies worldwide by June 2015. It has been translated into 52 languages, and set a record in the United Kingdom as the fastest-selling paperback of all time. Critical reception of the book, however, has tended towards the negative, with the quality of its prose generally seen as poor.

Erotic Fiction by Noel Anderson

What do you think about censorship?

CENSORSHIP – Of course you can’t talk about writing erotic fiction without talking about censorship. In March 2012, branches of the public library in Brevard County, Florida removed copies of Fifty Shades of Grey from their shelves, with an official stating that it did not meet the selection criteria for the library and that reviews for the book had been poor. A representative for the library stated that it was due to the book’s sexual content.

One thing clear in the workshop of mostly men, was everyone had their own idea of censorship. Believe it or not, their were arguments put forward by some of the men for censorship, of certain things. One subject matter that definitely was a no go zone for writers was child erotica in any form. Even the classic book Lolita came under fire by some members of the group, so it appears that ‘erotica must come with good morals’ to be enjoyed by masses.

More facts about 50 Shades of Grey –  1. It’s classified as Mummy porn 2. The author is married with two kids to a screenwriter 3. E.L James described the books as her midlife crisis (who hasn’t had one) 4. It is the fastest selling book of all time beating the J.K. Rowling Harry Potter series 5. The books are popular with teenage girls 6. The Independent reported a 15 % increase in whips. A 60 % increase in blindfolds and a 200% increase in jiggle balls (don’t know what they are? Then, shop online😊)

About the author – Noel Anderson is featured in Breaking the Code in Oct 2018, and is currently adapting his play Sammy & Dave into a film, about two bisexual-married men who rendezvous for a one night stand. Based on a true story. View the promo trailer on FB.

Sammy and Dave on Facebook

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Who Killed My Dad? Part 2 – By Noel Andersons

01daf162393b9cb025f4e19f8c082fd697a50364b9Revisiting a murder, in this case, my father’s murder is not an easy thing to do. There must be something deep inside of me that wants to set the record straight. Usually when a loved one dies their secrets are buried in the ground with them, never to resurface. We want to remember the dead fondly in coloured portraits or grainy black and white photographs of yesterday. Imagine years later, standing in your sister’s kitchen and being handed something as simple as a faded letter, about the death of your father, dark memories come floating back. How do you deal with pain hidden-away since a child about a winter’s nightmare, in a hotel car park, a long time ago? It’s a mystery, like a classic crime novel only with the final chapter ripped from the book. This is my father’s story and also mine. Because believe it or not I was there, just a kid drinking raspberry lemonade.

‘Every mystery in life has its origin in the heart’

Who Killed My Dad?

Mum died on the 11th of June 2016 in Queensland after months of ill health, leaving behind a letter, written on fine-faded paper. A letter I probably typed for her, detailing the brutal death of my father in Sydney back in the late 1960’s. No one in our family knew of the letter’s existence until my sister accidentally discovered it cleaning out my mum’s things, tucked away with her marriage certificate. Did mum want us to find it?

‘Do you know what’s written inside this? You’ll never believe it! Guess?’

THE LETTER – My mother’s letter was typed I believe on an old Olivetti typewriter, the typewriter was mine. According to my mother, on ‘6th June 1968’ my father was escorted out of the Narwee hotel in suburban Sydney by the doorman and the publican (misspelt in mum’s letter as publicman) for swearing. Several minutes later at around 9.05pm’ my father is left bleeding outside in the car park, and screaming I can’t hear, I can’t hear.’ So, with massive injuries to his brain, he’s rushed to Canterbury Hospital by a friend drinking at the hotel. Dad is in a coma for a week, the hospital staff perform two unsuccessful operations to remove blood clots from his brain. He never recovers and dies on the 14/06/1968 .

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‘Happier Times’

In mum’s letter there’s no explanation why my dad was behaving badly and escorted out. She mentions that she arrived at 5pm, and that I was waiting in the car outside. That would leave me in the car for four hours before the ‘accident’ this seems an odd thing for my mum to do, and out of character. The lack of background information is strange, particularly as mum was very verbose naturally. Mum goes to considerable length in her letter to explain what dad’s wearing when the accident/bashing occurred, ‘He was wearing black trousers, blue nylon shirt, brown jumper, dark sports coat and brown shoes.’ But,  the reason for dad being removed from the bar in the first place is completely left out of her typed statement. Something unspoken, maybe? Mum also names the names of the men ‘she’ believes involved in my father’s death. She states exactly what she was drinking on the night ‘four brandy ice and ginger ales’ Her knowledge of the men’s names suggests she was friendly with at least one of them, maybe writing down their names not to forget at the time. Or did she track them down after the so call ‘accident?’. But, perhaps the most chilling thing in my mum’s letter from the grave are several lines attributed to the hotel doorman, who asks my mother Is that husband your outside?’Then he adds ‘Get up now and get him to hospital as we just smashed his head in’

‘Care shouldn’t start in an emergency room’

Reading mum’s letter over again, there are many things that don’t add up. Mum says, there wasn’t any time to call the police as he (my father) was in a bad way. Yet she drove me and my friend home, putting us to bed, before going to the hospital, arriving there at ‘9.45pm’ forty minutes after dad was beaten. Would things have turned out differently if dad was taken straight to the hospital? And, what happened to the other men in the hotel at the time? Where did they go? Why did no one call the police if dad was in such a bad way? Mum also refers to my father’s bashing several times in her letter as an ‘accident’ yet ultimately she is stating it was no accident, that he had his head bashed in deliberately and after it had happened, she was told by the hotel doorman that he (my father) needs help so you better get him to a (Canterbury) Hospital’ More telling for me is my memory of mum in tears holding me, saying in the car after she learned dad had passed away, ‘They killed him. The bastards’.

‘What a marvellous day for an exorcism’

CHILDHOOD DREAMS – They say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I believe this to be true. You see there’s a twist in the story I’m telling about my dad’s final moments and it’s that I was there, just a kid in the car, drinking lemonade with raspberry cordial, watching safely at a distance. Waiting with a friend for mum and dad to drive us home. ‘Stay here, I was told, and wait for mum. I won’t be long.’  On that night, as I sat chatting, I remember thinking ‘what’s that shouting about’, and started looking around to see where the male voices were coming from. I saw the brawl but had no idea dad was involved. I remember punches flying, and seeing three men (bouncers) in a circle, on their hand’s, large rings or maybe knuckle busters.  Then suddenly, everything fell deathly quiet. The fight ended. I only found out dad had been involved in the fight when mum came running back to the car, her face white as a ghost, screaming ‘Oh, God. Your father been bashed. Move over Noel. Jesus, there’s blood everywhere. We’ve got to get him to hospital’  On that cold winter night, I remember dad being carried to the car, blood dripping freely onto his shirt.  ‘I can’t hear. I can’t hear’. I remember seeing his face cut, bruised and bleeding through the car window, the car door opening and him falling in. I shuffled across the back seat of the car, scared…dad slumped forward, his eyes lifeless, and we drove off.

“So why didn’t mum contact the police, Noel?” my sister asked as I closed mum’s letter. ‘I don’t know..I think the police were contacted by the hospital at the time of dad ‘s death, or maybe earlier,’ I told her. In mum’s typed statement of the so called ‘accident’ she mentions that it wasn’t until the next morning she learned that my friend and I witnessed the whole thing, unaware dad was involved. I described the three men involved as ‘white shirts, dark trousers (bouncers), one gray hair with glasses, one dark haired and the third man, blond’ My father died eights days after being admitted to Canterbury Hospital, beaten unconscious by the bouncers on the property of well-known chain of hotels. To this day no one was charged with manslaughter.

‘Don’t compromise yourself – you’re all you have’ 

The months that followed dad’s death were long and painful. How do you ever forget something that terrible? I remember nights of waking way before breakfast and crying, alone. I don’t recall ever asking for comfort, or receiving it. But, I don’t remember much about anything after dad got into the car, bleeding. I do recall mum telling me as she tied my school shoelaces, I was going to be asked to testify as a witness in court, and to just tell the truth. ‘Son just stand up there and tell the truth, what you saw. You’ve always spoken clearly. Describe the three men clearly’. As a kid, death became a reoccurring theme in my dreams, and often as an adult it has weaved its way into my writing and my work.  At NIDA in 1996, I wrote an end of year war piece about the death of a Japanese soldier called ‘Germ Warfare.’ Reading it today, it’s clearly the story about my dad’s death. For a long time I feared death, but in later years I have found peace resting beside it. I occasionally run through the cemetery near my home on hot days, and often think of dad when I stop to rest. Standing amongst the tombstones, I am fearless.

‘We heard you did okay out of it? Your mum and you’

I had my day in court. Standing on the stand, a child in an adult world, reliving that winter of my worst dreams, dressed carefully by mum, so I looked presentable. Perfect, spotless in fact. I articulated everything ‘clearly’ on the witness stand, telling what I had seen, describing the men responsible, even then as a little kid I could hold an audience. The case would be adjourned, and a new date would be set we were told by the judge, and we left the court. But, that new date never came. I remember mum talking about how we’d be financially okay once dad’s case was settled, but it never was settled. Everything was just forgotten as if my dad never ever existed. Eventually, over time, my mum stopped mentioning dad’s murder, she got on with her life and I grew up.

Writer/Director Noel Anderson

‘I am fearless’

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass,
of glory in the flower,
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind

I recall watching ‘Splendor in the Grass’ with Natalie Wood at home and mum saying as she brought in two mugs of coffee and milk, ‘it’s been 5 years since your father died, son. Gone fast’. I believe she missed him, even given his bad temperament and their constant fighting. People would often stop her on the street and say “Doreen, we heard you did okay after Andy’s death. You and your boy were taken good care of,” Mum smiled, and corrected them, “We got nothing. Heard nothing. I reckon someone paid them off. The men, probably. They were all involved. They hushed it up,” and we’d get on with our day, shopping.  No one gave a damn. The case remains untried, and unsettled in my mind. A mystery, except for my mother’s letter about a winter’s night a long time ago. ‘Nobody will love you like mum and dad,’ she’d say to me as a little kid, while watching a love story on TV. I have found this statement to be ‘the truth’.

‘Monsters are real, Ghost are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes they win’

Standing in the kitchen at 9.05pm last winter in Melbourne, I thought I saw something floating outside the window, but it was nothing. I finished pouring a cuppa, walked into the lounge room and felt a soft warm hug, then another, the presence of both my mother and my father standing beside me, together at long last. I smiled, sipped my coffee and started typing this story, ‘Who Killed My Dad.’ After a few minutes I looked up at mum’s wedding picture sitting on the mantle, and I thought to myself, ‘Noel? Do you believe in ghosts? I answered I do. In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost, I am a believer.

ENDING UNRESOLVED

0142e6a9051f07056a782e01bfaa7b400dad61b338ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Noel has directed over 50 theatrical productions and worked in film and TV. He completed NIDA’s Playwright Studio in 1996 and studied directing in London and New York. Noel’s written work includes the play Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame and the musical Audrey Hepburn and I Consider Our Assets. Noel believes in the power of music, pop art and Campbell’s Soup (thanks to Mr Warhol). Learn more: Noel Anderson Website

Who Killed My Dad? Part 1 – By Noel Anderson

When someone dies that’s close to you a piece of you dies with them. Death of a loved one can often throw up unanswered questions, things about that person and their life you never thought about when they were alive, or perhaps never even knew. What you are about to read is a true story. I know because I was there. This is my dad’s story, and also mine. It’s a chance for me to remember a winter in Sydney a long time gone.

‘Life is so unpredictable. Be grateful for every moment’

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‘This is a true story’

In mid 2016 I flew to Queensland to help my sister sort out funeral arrangements for my ailing mother. We’d spent most of the day with mum at the nursing home where she’d been moved after it became obvious she was becoming too much for my sister to handle. When I arrived, she was brighter than I had expected, frail but putting on a good show for us.  Mum always understood the importance of drama in day to day life, she’d lost none of her fight and could  still raise a little hell if need be.  I sat on her bed holding her hand, while mum bitched about one of the nursing staff, a girl she disliked.  ‘The bloody bitch’ mum called her repeatedly.  ‘I said to her, oh your nothing but a bloody bitch. I’m going to report you.’ I remember thinking mum knew her time was almost up, even though she behaved as if it was business as usual. She didn’t miss a trick, her blue eyes darting about, keeping a watchful eye over every move my sister and I made. Eventually, I snuck out and chatted with her doctor in privacy of the busy corridor. He confirmed the need for us to have mum’s funeral arrangements in place before I returned to Melbourne.  “There will be no next year for mum” he warned me. “Her body is shutting down. But, she’s got her sense of humour back, good and strong.” The doctor was right, mum had got her sense of humour back…and that ‘bloody bitch of a nurse’ was now part of mum’s morning routine.

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‘Do you know what’s written inside?’

Later that day, I’d just settled in at my sister’s place in Brisbane when out of the blue she handed me a cup of coffee and a selection of photos of mum singing when she was younger, then she added, “I thought you might want this, mum’s marriage certificate and this (she passed me a letter) do you know what’s written inside? You won’t believe it? Guess?” I had no idea what my sister was talking about, or why the mystery? “It’s mum’s statement, maybe for the police.  She wrote a letter about Andy (my dad but my sister’s stepfather), you know when he was murdered. What happened that night. Can you believe mum kept it?” Well, no I couldn’t.  It was a long time ago when dad died, I was ten years old in fact. My father’s death and ‘why it happened’ had been a mystery in our family for years, often discussed at family get togethers, but never with any clear answers. A piece of the puzzle was always missing. Indeed, mum if she knew more, wasn’t ever going to let on, not now, not ever!

‘Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced’

015c34257b662f8deb15521b4be7215a1b676a663eTHE FACTS OF LIFE  – To say my father was good man would be a lie. In my mind, I remember him in a series of flashbacks, moments of violent domestic mayhem and flashes of toothy smiles and kindness, followed by a gentle pat on the head. To say when he died of massive brain injuries to the head in Sydney, I wasn’t relieved, would be untrue. I was relieved, and so was mum probably. But, also to say that I didn’t feel the loss of my father’s love, would be a lie.  I clearly recall my mother sitting beside me in the car outside Canterbury Hospital and announcing dad’s death. “Your father passed away. He’s dead, son” she said, plain and simple. “They killed him. The bastards.” We sat huddled together in the car a long time, mum crying. Years later when I thought about dad, and his temperament, I thought he was just probably very unhappy with his lot in life.

In the years since dad’s murder that moment of ‘hugging mum’ in the car has played out in my mind on repeat. From that time on, my childhood was never going to be the same as any other kid in Australia, I thought. That one single moment of  death, relief and loss reshaped mum’s life and our future relationship. It brought us close together in my teenage years and introduced a communication shortcut between us, we were unflinching in our honesty when we chatted alone, but it distanced me from her a little when I grew up. It also changed my perception of how I would ‘live my life’ to this day. It made me strong, stronger than I might have been, if dad had lived a long prosperous life. If I had things to do then I would do them. Life was not a box of Fantales, the only thing you can be certain of for sure in life I decided at ten years old is death, our final destination. Later I would understand the beauty in the tragedy of my father’s death, and its affect on my creativity, but that beauty took a long time to find me.

‘Remember, time is frozen. No matter what, we can never get away from where we’ve been’

Who Killed My Father

‘Maybe I typed it?’

I opened my mum’s letter and sipped my coffee, I sat with my sister reading mum’s statement about that night, the night my father was beaten to death outside a Sydney hotel in a brawl.  There were many things that we both wondered about in mum’s statement. Why was he was beaten by the bouncers? What had he done? Why was I up so late? “Why weren’t you in bed Noel? 9pm? That’s very late for mum to have you up? Particularly in those days. Didn’t you have to go to school?” my sister said, looking puzzled.  “Maybe I was on holidays” I replied. Mum’s statement was typed, using a typewriter. This was before computers of course. “She couldn’t have typed this. Someone must have typed it for her,” my sister insisted. “Maybe I typed it,” I added. “I had this old green Olivetti typewriter. Do you remember? I was always writing. I think that’s my paper?’ (I clearly remember having a large pad of very fine writing paper at home). “Maybe she got me to do it for her?” “No Noel, you were just a little boy. She wouldn’t get you to do it,” my sister argued. I thought for a second, then added “Suzanne, I was always typing.”

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” 

Mum’s statement contained detailed information, told from her perspective, of the night my father was  beaten to a pulp on the property of a suburban hotel in Narwee, Sydney. In mum’s statement, she names the men, the bouncers employed by the hotel, that were there at the time of his death. She describes finding my father in the car park ‘laying in a pool of blood.’ She adds, a hotel punter drinking there at the time, asked the doorman ‘who has done this to this man?’ The hotel doorman responds with ‘we did, and if you don’t get away you’ll get the same.’ Mum also says later in her letter ‘that the punter (who she names) wanted to call the police but there wasn’t time as my husband was in a bad way.’ But, perhaps the biggest surprise was the affect finding mum’s statement had on me. The memories it brought back, memories of an unsolved mystery, set in the world of my childhood. In 1968 Australia had a population of just twelve million people. That year, Harold Holt the prime minister disappeared while swimming at Portsea, NGV opened its doors for the first time, and the pop group The Seekers  were named Australians of the Year. In my childhood there were no computers, or mobile phones with cameras, in 1968 people could get away with murder.

Like all murder mysteries my dad’s death has a surprise twist. Believe it or not, in a car near by on that cold winter’s night in Sydney years ago, innocently drinking a flavoured lemonade with a mate, watching a brawl taking place in the hotel carpark…was me. Unbeknownst to me, I sat watching my father being beaten unconscious at the local pub. He was in the middle of a circle of men, punches flying.  I didn’t see his face. A week later he was stone cold dead in Canterbury Hospital and I was without a dad. From that moment on, nothing would ever be the same for mum, dad or me. That night my childhood ended.

“Noel get into the back seat of the car. Go on. Your father been bashed. We have to get him to hospital. Move love. Oh, Jesus, there’s blood everywhere” mum said, many winters ago. 

PART 2 CONTINUES

Who Killed My Dad? Part 2 

Who Killed My Father? The True Stories Collection

0142e6a9051f07056a782e01bfaa7b400dad61b338ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Noel has directed over 50 theatrical productions and worked in film and TV. He completed NIDA’s Playwright Studio in 1996 and studied directing in London and New York. Noel’s written work includes the play Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame and the musical Audrey Hepburn and I Consider Our Assets. Noel believes in the power of music, pop art and Campbell’s Soup (thanks to Mr Warhol).  Learn more: Noel Anderson’s Website

Crab Claws by Noel Anderson 

The shop was pretty ordinary, situated on Exhibition Street opposite the Comedy Theatre. If you blinked you’d miss it.  They sold crab claws, the best in Melbourne so the sign in the window outside stated. Mrs Cray stood facing the red and gold oriental door and wondered if she should try them, rain pelting her, clothes already soaked to the skin.  It was an hour before her lift to Barbara’s house, her complaining sister-in-law. Well, thought Mrs Cray, ‘I suppose John’s death five days ago has finally given you something to really bloody complain about.’ Cruel thoughts about Barbara given the circumstances…but true none the less, Mrs Cray believed.

Mrs Cray glanced at the shop door, she was hungry after her flight from W.A and the short black she’d downed at Perth’s airport was wearing off and her naturally grumpy disposition was starting to shine through, maybe a serve of crab claws would set her right for the long drive to Frankston and her brother John’s funeral.

Mrs Cray looked at the sky, she hated Melbourne’s grey wintry days, more than she hated living in Perth, more than she hated her ex husband.  If only she could escape from life in Perth and her mobile phone bills, maybe…just maybe she’d be happy.  Melbourne’s bleak winter’s day however was not the answer to her problems so Mrs Cray pushed on the door, shook off her endless thoughts of Barbara, and entered the shop.

Sue Lin (a control freak and a green tea addict) had taken up managing the restaurant eighteen months earlier, she’d been watching Mrs Cray from inside, she’d hoped the petite lady with the Prada bag would enter The Golden Empress as business had been slow this winter. Sue Lin examined her reflection in the silver cooking urn, she liked her fine features and pointy chin, carefully she tucked her blouse ends tightly in her skirt and walked to the front door catching Mrs Cray by surprise.

“Oh dear…you startled me.”

“Are you waiting for someone else?” Sue Lin smiled, her expression barely shifting.

“A table…for one. I’m no romantic on days this cold and wet I’m afraid.”

Sue Lin wondered….what odd comment? Confused and wanting only to please, she decided to ignore the comment totally. But, she could not ignore Mrs Cray’s superb Prada bag.

“Madam what a lovely bag,” she smiled brightly. “Now we have nine out of ten tables available, so please take your pick.  Perhaps down back, away from the chill might be best? I think the back table you’ll find most comfortable.”

“Sounds perfect. Oh, l’d like a plate of crab claws. I hear they’re good,” Mrs Cray handed Sue Lin her wet umbrella. “Are they good?”

“My father says they are better than good, they are yummly

Yummly? I like that” Mrs Cray confessed.

“Okie dokie claws it is.” In the blink of an eye, Sue Lin moved within an inch of  Mrs Cray’s right ear and whispered, “I promise you won’t be disappointed. Now follow me madam. We have several varieties…smoky butter, curry sauce, sweet and sour…and stuffed!  My father’s personal favourite!”

Mrs Cray looked at Sue Lin’s frozen smile and wondered… the shop was deserted except for a handsome backpacker seated in the far corner. She hadn’t seen a man that good looking since she skinny dipped on the Gold Coast in her uni days…living in Perth does have its drawbacks …I wish I could fit into that red bikini now, she thought. Now what was she here for?… yes that’s right, the crab claws.

Sue Lin walked Mrs Cray down the centre aisle, wiping a table or two along the way with a dry serviette, seating Mrs Cray table length away from the backpacker.

“You’ll find it most likeable here. Drinks?”

“Yes,” Mrs Cray nodded, slowly unbuttoning her cardigan. “A Bloody Mary. Just kidding. The house Sav Blanc is fine. Served with my claws, not separate, drink and food together understand? Are the claws fresh?”

“Naturally madam” Sue Lin smiled taking the drinks menu.

“Good. Oh, one list thing. I’ll have my claws stuffed with a little curry sauce on the side. Hot and spicy.”

“As you wish madam,” Sue Lin understood exactly what Ms Cray meant, nodded politely and left the restaurant floor.

Mrs Cray pulled her cashmere cardigan off her shoulders and draped it gently over her red plastic chair. It was a chilly restaurant despite the bar heaters being on full. She took a deep breath, sat Down, sighed and thought about John’s funeral. The backpacker looked up from his plate of claws and winked, she smiled back blushing red.

“Lady?” he whispered in a soft American accent “For what it’s worth I ordered the claws too. They’re good. My friend turned me on to this place, there’s not much to look at here, but the claws are good. In fact they’re yummly.”  The backpacker winked again, chuckled to himself and licked his fingers.

Mrs Cray begged to differ, she felt there was a lot to look at, and that the young man on table ten was indeed…very yummly. The backpacker raised his beer glass and toasted, smiling a smile that  could power up the hundred poker machines in the nearby Lion Gate pub. Caught off guard by the gesture and his set of dazzling pearly white teeth, Mrs Cray quickly pulled her iphone from her Prada bag and dialled, turning her back ever so slightly on the handsome man eating sweet and sour claws on table ten.

“Hello Ben? It’s me, I’ve arrived.  I’m in town, opposite the Comedy, just grabbing a quick bite. I’m having claws actually, these ones are supposed to be he best in town.  Jeez Melbourne can really turn it on…the rain I mean…so bloody cold here, not like the Perth. Yes, it’s terrible, a terrible way to go. I’d sooner choke than die like that…like poor John. I cried all last night, honestly. No…I’ve no idea how Barbara is coping, they said they had to cut John out of the car, can you believe it. What do they call those bloody things? You know the cutters?”

“The jaws of death” the backpacker interrupted sucking loudly on a claw, crab claw juice running down his chin.

“Oh…Apparently they’re called the claws of death, Ben.”

“Jaws. Not claws!” the backpacker corrected waving a juicy finger in Mrs Cray direction.

“Oh, yes… Of course. Silly me. Not claws Ben…I meant jaws! Thank you young man” she giggled… like a school girl on her first date.

“You’re most welcome madam” he smiled back tucking into his plate of yummly claws like a dog to a bone.  At that moment, Sue Lin turned the corner holding a large plate of succulent stuffed crab claws, a bowl of curry sauce and a chilled glass of  white wine. Placing the claws delicately on the table, Sue Lin looked Mrs Cray directly in the eye, giggled and skipped out of the room, hanging the closed sign on the door along the way.

How oddly odd thought Mrs Cray, that was too curious. What is wrong with everyone here?

What Mrs Cray didn’t notice was that the backpacker had polished off the entire plate of sweet and sour claws and was starting to feel quite uncomfortably sexual. A peculiar pink flush coloured his cheeks and blood was pumping through his veins like a wild river.

Unaware of the strange air creeping in, Mrs Cray tucked her napkin into the top of her blouse and picked up her first crab claw. It was soft to touch,  familiar and very fresh. She lifted the lid off the curry bowl and dipped the spongy claw into the bubbling curry sauce.  How curious she thought again, it’s boiling but there appears to be no heat.  What followed was more than unexpected, it was curiously curious in fact, Mrs Cray lifted up the curry sauce bowl high above her head and tipped the entire contents over the plate of claws. Mrs Cray had no idea why she just did that, and I suppose in the scheme of things it doesn’t matter.

What’s important is what Mrs Cray didn’t see…She didn’t see the backpacker’s strange reaction to the dumping of the sauce. Slowly he stood up from the table and started to loosen his shirt, heart pumping, eyes dazed. “No matter what happens tonight,’  the backpacker thought to himself, ‘I have to have all those curry claws, and possibly Mrs Cray too.’

“Excuse madam. I don’t mean to be rude but could I share that plate of juicy claws with you. I’m finding the smell of curry and claws too much to resist. I have been travelling for days and the allure of your claws and curry plate is frankly my dear overwhelming.  Please madam I beg you, take your shoes off, relax…share your claws and curry sauce with me, at once. I demand it!”

Mrs Cray could see in the traveller’s eyes he was desperate for her spicy curry…and stuffed claws. Mrs Cray thought long and hard before she answered the extremely good look man who by now was nestling into her right bosom, a stone’s throw from her meal of stuffed claws and curry sauce. Mrs Cray pondered the facts for a brief moment. .. Barbara was after all still an hour away, almost…and Melbourne could be a very lonely place on wet days…and things hadn’t been so good for her recently romantically so…catching a whiff of those claws and that sweet yummly sauce on the backpacker’s breath, Mrs Cray gave the only answer she could, under such curiously curious circumstances.  Mrs Cray simply smiled, winked and said…”YES.”

Mrs Cray didn’t make John’s Funeral that day, something Barbara has never gotten over, why should she?  Mrs Cray didn’t care for Barbara’s opinion of her, her brother John if he was still alive would understand and forgive her, she honestly  believed he would. She never caught up with her best mate Ben either. What Mrs Cray did do was find a hotel room close to The Golden Empress and spent an entire week…eating stuffed Crab Claws with curry sauce and entertaining tired young travellers. 

Around the world, to this very day, male travellers whisper about The Golden Empress, opposite Comedy Theatre in Melbourne. It sells the best stuffed Crab Claws in the world, you know. The perfect place to go when you’re are a stranger in town.

NEXT… A Six Part Web Series – Directed by Noel Anderson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Noel Anderson has directed over 50 theatrical productions, performed as a Ghostbuster in shopping centres, written well into the night when in pain, worked with a helluva lot of people and had the odd breakdown. He believes in the power of pop music and Campbell’s Soup. Noel’s written work includes Hello Little Man (Melbourne Writer’s Social Anthology 2016), Kylie Kastle Throws A Party (performed in schools across the country), Germ Warfare, The Carer, Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes Of Fame and the new Australian musical Audrey Hepburn And I Consider Our Assets  (  fb.me/audreythemusical  ) which premiered at the Melba Spiegeltent on 29th October 2015. Noel is currently working on his first feature film Sammy and Dave and a music video for Audrey and I called ‘Travellers In Time.’ You can follow Noel on Twitter: @Randyandy42 or https://www.facebook.com/noel.anderson42

Noel is a member of the Melbourne Writer’s Social

 

 

CONFIDE IN ME – A Pop Podcast

‘LOVE MEANS NEVER SAYING SORRY’

‘Six years ago, I put earbuds in and turned iTunes up full blast. I hit repeat. Then, I did it again. It had been a week since my breakup, the pain cut deep. A 10 year relationship over. I had a lot to empty, a lot to get out of my head. I wrote overnight, stopping for Promite on toast then back to work. I was on autopilot. Just who is flying this ship? Stay in the moment, with the melody inside you. Out of heartache grew a rose with thorns. Beautifully sharp, about love and music, what else? Not tied up with a pretty pink bow, but bloody. Keep hold, keep on writing, I remember thinking. It hurt like friggin’ hell. I called this hell, ‘Confide in Me’ and now I want to share it with you as a podcast’ – Noel Anderson  3/03/2018

‘Music is the great healer of broken hearts. I know, cause I’ve been there, I’ve been broken’

Warning: Adult Themes

CONFIDE IN ME – A POP PODCAST LINK

Confide in Me’ had its world premiere on 14th September 2017 as part of ‘Love Kills 2017’ at Caz Reitop’s Dirty Secrets in Collingwood, Melbourne Fringe 2017. ‘Love Kills 2017’ was produced and directed by Noel Anderson

‘Confide in Me – A Podcast’ is directed, written and performed by Noel Anderson.