So, another September 21 passes by. It has always been important to me, as the following entries from my various diaries show, and not only because of its vital use as a stopgap, or wedge or period of rest, between other dates in September the exact numerical delineations of which I am uncertain. It is also the birthdays of my friend Gavin Butler and my brother-in-law Robert Barrese.
To say I have kept a diary since 1994 is a piece of nonsense, but I have had appointments diaries since then and I have, literally, kept them (except, as you will see, 2006 which is AWOL). Here is what I did, or at least intended to do, on the past 15 September 21s.
1994 merely says ‘Masters – SS’ and the word ‘Masters’ is circled. I don’t think the Schutzstaffel were my masters then, that's a joke, a stupid one, but that is kind of what it looks like I'm saying in the diary. I don’t know what it means. I wasn’t planning to do masters at the University of Sydney, or anywhere, and that was the year before I graduated anyway. Ah! Looking back I see that the previous week is labelled ‘Porter/ Masters’ and a small line is coming out of ‘Masters’ to another phrase, ‘Rose Fancier’. I think this might have something (well, alright, everything) to do with the writer Olga Masters, and I was studying literature then, and 'SS' probably stands for 'short story', since Hal Porter and Olga Masters were both noted for writing in this form. I wonder if anyone teaches Hal Porter these days, something tells me his reputation has undergone a bit of a battering, for reasons largely but not entirely unrelated to his work. The 21 September 1995 entry is marked merely ‘Market’ and this (or something else) happened ’11:45 – 10ish’. I was going to work reshelving books at the Badham library 5-8 but I crossed that out, and instead did a shift 9-12 am the next day (I am assuming this was a rescheduled because the 22 September arrangement is double underlined as if to say, 'no, not 21 September 5-8, but 22 September 9-12). In 1996, by which time I had moved back to Melbourne, 21 September was - oh goodness, do you remember? - a Saturday, and my diary for that day features an ’11:00 show’ at Flinders Street (!?). 1997 there is a ‘grand final’* and ‘Canberra’ (where I was to be for three more days after that time). 1998 indicates nothing; I suppose I sat in suspended animation (or anticipation: the next day I received $237 from Rolling Stone); also in the other 1998 diary, which was one we used for phone messages, there is the circled word ‘rubbish’. 1999 – a big line from 12 to 6 pm with no explanation. 2000, a date to meet an historian of note at the Deakin University Burwood campus’ Café Plateau, and in the evening (or at least, under ‘notes’) The Dave Graney Show. 2001 is blank and indeed it is not for three days (Monday 24) that something happens: ‘Chapters 7+8’. Could mean anything. 2002- nothing (the day after, some essays due). 2003 – back from Heathcote but nothing special on that particular day, which was a Sunday. 2004 nothing. 2005 ‘recap tests’ for second year subject and that night it appears I had dinner (there might have been more to that story: a ‘W’ is crossed out). I can’t find my 2006 diary, so there’s a worry, for posterity at least. 2007 – I was in Adelaide for a conference; this entry also has prominently but for no apparent reason the address of a well-known 20th century architect who did not live in Adelaide. In 2008 there is nothing more than a reminder to be minding Kenzie. That reminder about minding reminds me to reproduce here and now Toby Dutton's impressive recent portrait of Kenzie right here and now:
And all of this brings us up to yesterday, the most recent 21 September we have had. I rode my new Huffy to work for the first time in a long time. It's not new, it's second hand, and I've had it for months, but it is mine, and it's tops. I felt very smart and important. It rained at night and it was a Monday. There you go.
* A week later, I realised this was the VFL grand final. In those days I was an ardent supporter of the Preston Knights. They didn't make the finals.