Our conversation to start with is on the topic of paying the rent on the room.
Hugh: Yeah, that’s … yeah, I knew that.
Me: (holding in a toke) And then … after that I pay the next one, and by then you should have some shit sold or something.
Hugh: (holding in a toke) Yeah, maybe …
Me: Go drum up some sales …
I start strumming acoustic guitar.
Hugh: We’ll see what happens.
Hugh: We’ll see what happens, don’t worry about it.
Me: No, I mean, I’m not … it’s just like … like my horoscope said today: “A temporary setback will turn into a greater opportunity.” (Rustle of newspaper page.) I took that to mean my short story.
We both chuckle. We’re clearly very stoned, both talking sotto voce.
Hugh: Those horoscopes. Harsh-scopes. (He chuckles some more.) Getting your short story back, pretty harsh.
Apparently I’d sent ‘Bird Dancer’ somewhere and it had come back forthwith.
Me: No, it didn’t bother me. I didn’t really expect to get it – to get anything from them. I just thought it would be nice. Sort of … the way it goes. I’d like to hear back from my pals at New Quarterly.
Hugh: They probably lost your story. That’s why they haven’t written back, they’re too embarassed.
Me: What about those fuck-ups at Poetry Montreal? They never, ever wrote back. (Hugh chuckles.) Not even after I sent them a letter from here. Saying, “What the fuck have you done with my poems?” (Hugh chuckles gleefully.)
Hugh: Hilarium, eh? It probably no longer exists.
Me: That’s what I think. You know, it’s one of those really – but they were doing, like, one a month, eh? Like, they were pretty hot while they were around. They didn’t stink, either, compared to most of those things. Like Xero. (I laugh.) Harsh-O.
Hugh: Yeah, really.
Me: We should get an ad for our show in the next one of those Republicovers.
Hugh: Yeah, you’re right. The end of submissions is like November twenty-fifth, or something like that. For the next issue. It’ll be good to get something in.
We’re talking about advertising our CKDU FM radio show in a NSCAD student publication. This never happened.
Me: You looked at any of the little things I’ve been writing lately? They’re just on little scraps of paper here.
Hugh: Little poems and stuff?
Hugh: I read a couple of poems. They were pretty good.
Me: Any that struck you as worth … collaborating with?
Me: There’s two over here, I think.
Hugh: (hunting around amidst the crazy morass of stuff on our counter) Yeah I saw those two …
Me: There’s another weird little one that has to be revised a bit. (Laughing) This one’s weird ‘cause it’s ah – it’s not actually written by me. All I did was uh – you know … it’s all album covers, right? Album titles? And I noticed a few, how they … transpositioned with each other or whatever?
Hugh: Mm-hmm. (I hand him some sort of confection.) Oh, thanks.
Me: Rum and butter flavoured. I ate a whole bag of them.
Hugh: Oh, wow. (He’s working on the confection, his mouth full.) Mmmm. Hard not to.
Me: Well, you know. Sitting in the booth is the only really harsh thing to deal with, not smoking.
Me: You’ve gotta be – I’ve gotta do something (chuckle).
Hugh is schmecking on the confection and rummaging around his pottery pieces.
Hugh: Yeah, I like how boxy these things are.
Me: (groaning) Oh, the Rog would be so upset.
I’m not sure what Rodger, the Youth Hostel ‘houseparent’, would’ve been upset about – maybe Hugh was firing his clay creations in the hostel’s oven.
Me: ‘Kay, you want me to read you this one? It’s called ‘Record Sale Poem’.
Me: ‘The dream of the blue turtles’. No, no. Sorry. Start again.
I’m having a little difficulty because I want to recite the lines in an order quite different from the way I have them written down.
Me: ‘The Record Sale Poem.’ (I laugh.) By Vince Tinguely. (Hugh laughs.)
Once upon a time
The dream of the blue turtles
Here’s to future days
Dancing in the street
Brothers in arms
Live after death
Me: (laughing) It’s all just titles.
Hugh: Yeah. That’s good.
Me: Quite amusing (I clear my throat). Well, I’m stoned.
Hugh: I’m still fooling around with these weird blobs (chuckling). Just clay, man. Clay and glazes.
Me: (laughing) You’re having a good time are you?
Hugh: We’re talking – The Universe, right? With this stuff.
Me: (in vigourous agreement) Oh yeah, oh yeah!
Hugh: The Uni – or, it’s like being God.
We fall silent. For a while, I’m just trying to tune the guitar.
TAPE TRANSCRIPT ENDS