Mechanically Separated Chicken.

Saturday, August 31, 2002


We've stopped to refuel, so I thought I'd drop you a quick card. Sorry about the picture - it's all they had. There's no-one with tan lines like that out here, let me tell you. Ha ha.

Now, I've been thinking. You know how, when you were a kid, you used to fantasize about there being two of you? And how you wished so often that you were a pair of identical twins? It wasn't so much about having a twin, and therefore being able to fool other people. No, no. With you it wasn't about illusion, you wanted to actually be two people. In two places at once. To do two things simultaneously. To never be alone. To read your own mind. You wanted twice as much of everything.

Remember how you could levitate? Oh, of course you couldn't actually fly, but you could definitely float a few centimetres above the ground. It was really just a matter of effort, and most of the time you couldn't be bothered concentrating hard enough. It was the same with objects - opening drawers, moving salt-shakers, bending cutlery with your mind - there was no question that you could do it. The fact that you hadn't yet was proof only of the enormity of your unexercised potential.

Then at some point you asked your parents for a magic kit, and they bought you a second-hand one. I don't know quite what you were expecting, but it sure wasn't that battered cardboard box (the same familiar shape and size as Snakes and Ladders) with the photograph of two prestigitating, white, gloved hands on the lid. There were no gloves or top hat inside though - no secret compartments, no live animals, no saw for bisecting women. You soon realised that it contained, in fact, no magic at all but rather just a clumsy set of aluminium hoops, coloured nylon handkerchiefs and playing cards, all rigged for maximum disappointment. Nothing worked. The hoops broke the second time you used them.

You would have been happier had the box opened to reveal a plain white card that read, "Squeeze."

Or, "Hover."

Or, "It's happening right now."

(Incidentally, wasn't this was the year before the chemistry set? Another failure, and for similar reasons, ie. a lack of explosions.)

But anyway, back to the twin thing. It's like that right now and I thought you'd understand. It's impossible. I want it all squeezed together. No spaces, no gaps; just maximum density. Everything existing at once. I mean, sure, I want to be here - leaning against the car, writing this and getting red dust smeared all over my t-shirt. I like standing here in the sun, wearing the blue floppy kid's hat I found at yesterday campsite; playing with the dog's ears and waiting for H to come back from the toilets with a bottle of water. I do. I really, really do.

But still. There are other places. Places I'm not. An infinite number, actually. Not even counting distant planets with inhospitable atmospheres. Not even counting other truckstops at other towns in other countries. I think you know what I mean.

Oh good. H. just came back with chips and two brand new tapes for the car stereo: Queen and Toto. Plus, barley sugar for later. Who doesn't love barley sugar?

Look at this: already there are too many words for one postcard.

I'll call when we get back. (Abracadabra.)


I had no idea it was possible for a human being to consume this much apple juice.

Monday, August 26, 2002

Four Recent Observations.

1a. Any creative idea which refuses to be coaxed into full flower or materialises during an unfortunate period of intellectual laziness is, ipso facto, a band name.

1b. If the idea contains an element of aggression and/or juxtaposition, it's a punk band.

2a. Any visual representation of giant squid will give rise to at least one 'calamari' joke.

2b. It's always the same joke.

Sunday, August 18, 2002

Note to self regarding future career choices.

Start a punk band called 'The Anus Dentata.'

(Additional note to self: you are an imbecile.)

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Letters from our readers.

Well, the response has been phenomenal. Here in the offices of Mechanically Separated Chicken, we are currently attempting to claw our way to the surface for fresh air, trapped as we are beneath fourty-four heavy bags of mail sent to us by people just like you. The teletext has been running hot, the phones are in disarray, and our resident psychic has even been driven to the morphine drip by our readers' constant telepathic demands for more information regarding Senor Hernandez. It is mayhem, but we are, as always, here to get drunk on the job and serve you as best we can.

As you no doubt know, news about this influential figure has been scant at best. Despite the many man-hours we've spent spent sifting through foreign correspondence reports, amateur video footage and fortune cookie inserts from the Tasty Taste Noodle House, we are still no closer to uncovering conclusive evidence regarding his whereabouts. Please be assured that this pains us more than it does you.

However, we are in possession of a few facts, and you have asked us about them. So, without further ado, let us proceed to Reader Letter Number One:

Hi Swanky,

Senor is being as elusive as ever. What of his childhood? Did his schooling prepare him for this shockingly fast rise to celebrity? What of the littlest senor? No mention from our favourably millened friend!!!! (sounds painful). So. Senor BITE ME.

Rinzee Soapagator

Firstly, Miss Soapagator, thank you for taking the time to write in. You have asked good, incisive questions - you honour us with your keen curiosity, and we shall do our best not to piss on it like an untrained house cat.

So, what of Senor Hernandez's childhood? Of this, little is known other than his fondness for boxkites and liqueur chocolates. His upbringing was by all reports joyful, carefree and completely lacking in adult supervision. Until the age of eight, he is said to have lived a tree-top existence in the jungles of Tasmania, descending from his leafy home only to collect fallen coconuts and visit the post office. By ten, he was in the foreign legion; by eleven he was appointed honorary Ham Inspector at the Ballarat Primary tuck shop. For a time, he was even head street urchin on Flinders Lane, leader of an unruly knockabout gang of part-time chimney sweeps with stars in their eyes and pockets brimming with other people's credit cards. Only his charming cowlick and insatiable appetite for club sandwiches served as early indication of the greatness which lay before him.

He had no schooling to speak of, but instead consumed great quantities of brain tonic as a child - and in fact, so effective was it that he accidentally memorised the scripts to every episode of Jem and the Holograms just by watching too much early morning television. In his late teens he had no choice but to undergo surgery to remove a third of his brain (grown now unfeasibly large) since the alternative - a skull too grotesquely enormous to be accomodated by his signature white fedora hat - was unthinkable.

I think it is safe to say that he was unprepared for his meteoric rise to fame (the details of which are, of course, so well known that I will not labour to reproduce them here) a fact to which his devoted but exhausted hairdresser at the time, Holly Manque, will attest. In the first few heady months of his celebrity, he was unnecessarily apprehensive about the public's affections and underwent a change of hairstyle roughly every three hours. "It's hard to convey the intensity of those early days," revealed Manque in his famous Playboy interview, "I've certainly never felt such professional fulfillment, not even during my tenure with Corey Feldman. Sometimes Senor Hernandez would call my mobile phone five times a night to come re-ruffle his quiff - and this is while he was alone in bed, with no media or cameras or anything. Eventually I just got a cot set up in his ensuite and slept on that to save time on travelling. He was very demanding. Of course he was. But all great men are."

Lastly, Miss Soapagator, I wish I could tell you more about the "littlest Senor," as you call him, but the code of journalistic ethics forbids me to descend to such levels - which is another way of saying that we are currently being restrained by a court order which, if violated, could tear our legal arses asunder. Indeed, last time we ran an article about the little one, we got slapped with a law suit the size of Bert Newton's forehead and it took us six months to get the photocopiers out of hock.

Senor Bite Me, indeed.

Saturday, August 03, 2002

Fancy Pants.

Okay. I'm gonna make this real simple for you. You've got two choices.

You can dress your dog in a kimono.

Or, you can create a photographic history of the world, featuring your pet cat in a dazzling array of outfits, cultural backgrounds and vocations.

What's it gonna be, punk?