We are squeezed for time - gotta get to the Coburg drive in - there is a big black thunderstorm about to hit - Friday night an its hot an humid in Collingwood - I haven't been to a Drive In for more than 30 years - Sue Athens turns up an beeps us from her car in Easey street - i open the front door of my house an walk out into a shower of golden light - its late afternoon with sun bouncing of the wall of our house - but big black clouds are rolling in like childhood monsters behind me - big fat ones filled with rain - Sim is there talking to Sue Athens - All 2 metres of him, in his Vic Parks Rangers uniform - He comes up to give me a hug so I punch him in the stomach (Sim is my son) - Old habits never die! He he....
'Ya comin Sim, to the Drive In for the Dead End of Film show? Libby has helped organise a screening of experimental film works at the Drive In. There flyer sez...'Have a night of from the piss an come an see some experimental films at the Coburg Drive in!
'Aw dad i just cant, I have to work early tomorrow morning...'
'Ok Ok, tousands wouldnt forgive ya but I will.'
Sue Mac turns up ' Hello darling' she sez to sim an gives him a big mum hug.
We climb into Sue Athens beat up old car - Perfect for the Drive In! - We start driving...
'Its gonna piss down any minute!'
'I hope Libby is not to upset by the weather'
'Yeah it looks bad. Its gonna be a real pisser!'
A big bolt of lightning cracks right in front of us. We all jump in our seats.
'Fark me, that was close'
The another bolt explodes on the car behind us. I swivel my head round an take a look. Its a traffic cop car! It looks bad...
'I smell bacon'
'Yer there been fried'
'God works in mysterious ways?"
The cops look dead. We dont stop...gotta get to the Drive In. We shoot ahead an weave thru the traffic like piano accordian players. Like Johnny Lo Piccilo racing up an down his squeeze box.
To keep our minds off the fried cops I start some small talk...'Last time I went to the Coburg Drive In was 31 years ago. There was an experimental film show on there then that Sue here organised.
'Did you Sue' asks Sue Athens
'Yes it was called 'Symphony for the Motor Car' Sue explains. ' We had a riot at the event even! We had poets an writers reading their text pieces live to experimental films being shown on the screen and also being played live on Triple R radio. Some local lads didn't like it. They attacked the broadcast van and tried to tip it over while the novelist Gerrard Murnaine was inside reading his piece.'
'What at the Coburg Drive in?' Sue Athens asks
Yer it was a great night ' I reply, 'A Police helicopter even showed up!'
'I showed my short scratch animation film there, 'I Hate Cops'. Its a winner of a title. I got the film into every film screening i ever entered it into.' (Australians love cops)
We pick up Tim - Sue Athens son - outside of Pentridge - the old bluestone jail in Preston.
'Its such a loverly place here!' I tell Tim 'An very scenic too - with that loverly blue stone wall right out front of your loungroom window.'
Tim just says 'Hello' an gets in.
We drive on - its pissing down with rain now - we peer thru the front window - the ghostly twin screens of the Coburg Drive In appears in front of us - thru the slashing blades of the windscreen wipers
'How much is it?' I ask
'35 dollars per car'
We pay up an roll on in.
'Fug a duck. It aint changed a bit in 31 years, since me an Sue were last here. Same disgusting snack bar selling the same cancerous death food. An the same bulimia purpose built tin toilets for all the Drive In patrons!
'Yer I'm gonna get some Dimmys and Coke!'
'Yer me too!'
We park next to Judy, Sue Athens cousin an mother of Libby who helped organised the event. Judy shelters under her open back van door. We climb out an greet her. 'Its a great night' I say 'To watch some films'
'Yer terrific. Its pissing on your head'
'Looks like a good turnout despite the rain!'
I pull up a chair. Sue M goes of an buys me some chips. I'm a vegetarian (thank Christ!) - They all buy hotdogs....
'How do you say hotdog in Danish?'
The films start. Its hard to see them at first. Its hard to concentrate with ... Wonder woman an her bra on the other screen. Rain falls like monkey piss from the sky. (I was in Borneo last week) But the films ...they are a great eclectic authentic bunch of wild youthful cinematic squeals of exhuberance. Where did Lucy find these films I think? The film sound tracks comes out of tiny tinny box radio's that squeak an squark - with the rain pissing down - the films get weirder an weirder - hot dogs chips coke caramel pop corn pies dim sims gets shared - car horns blast with enthusiasm at the end of each film - the night is warm wet an happy.
I go for a piss. Yep its true the toilets havent changed a bit. Nothing has changed. Except 31 years have drifted by since I was last here. A yellow river of piss streams out of me - it must have been the extra large coke i drank...gee I hope I dont get cancer?
The rain stops an stream of bats swarm across the sky and head for the drive in - the bats fly directly towards the screen. Soon there are thousands of the little critters. They attack the screen an start eating it. Its hard to see the film on the screen... but I recognise an old friends face. Its Jim Addison - he's been dead for 20 years. Up on the screen he is! Jim walks down a dark street. He seems to be looking for his friends. He walks past a door that is open a little bit. A dart flys thru it an sticks into Jim's arm. Jim yelps. His friends come out the door. 'Sorry mate didnt mean to stick the dart in ya arm. Were playing darts' They all laugh. The screen goes black with all the bats. I cant see a thing...its all dark. I hear the sound of the Drive In screen crashing to the ground. Car horns blast away for a good ten minutes....Its all over. Everything is all over!