Snap Shot #70 – Frankie the Invader

Frankie

It’s after nine on a Sunday night. There’s a knock at the door. Must be another resident from our building or they would’ve used the intercom. I open the door and am surprised to see the young woman from unit six. She has a drink in her hand and a dog at her feet. He’s a French Bulldog and his name is Frankie. Nitro the Two Toned Cavoodle is not a fan of Frankie’s, barking at him ever since Frankie had the audacity to invade his block of units. Frankie doesn’t seem not give a toss what Nitro thinks, occasionally snorting in his general direction. But little does Nitro know, his worst nightmare is about to unfold. “Sorry to bother you,” slurs the girl. “I went to take Frankie out for a wee but left my keys in the flat. I’m locked out.” Bloody hell. This is not what I want to deal with on a Sunday night. “Ok. No worries. Come in.” So in she comes, Frankie strutting behind her. Nitro can’t believe it. His first reaction is stunned silence. A few years after invading his building, Frankie has finally made his move and is going to take over his home. The girl attempts to contact her convicted drug dealing boyfriend. No luck. She then calls a locksmith. Meantime, Frankie notices that there’s a bowl of dried dog food in the kitchen. This is what we call Nitro’s ‘rubbish’ – the least appetising bits of his dinner that are left until after his nightly walk – if they are eaten at all. Frankie, unaware of the routine, is happy to eat rubbish anytime of the day or night and soon the bowl is empty. This crosses the line. Nitro makes his displeasure known and finds himself shut out of the lounge room. Frankie then discovers Nitro’s discarded pig’s ear. He decides this is the best thing ever and chews it with gusto. Soon it’s reduced to half its size. He makes grunty snorty noises. We all find this amusing. Except for Nitro, who’s unsure of exactly what is going on but doesn’t like it. I take him into my son’s room and shut the door. I come back out and notice a pile of puke on our nice rug. Bummer. I grab a paper towel and when I return there are two more piles. I wipe up the warm gunk as the drunk girl attempts to negotiate with a locksmith, oblivious to the deposits her dog is creating. My wife joins in, trying to clean up puke piles. But Frankie is on a roll and is regurgitating faster than we can get rid of them. The girl finally becomes aware of what’s happening and attempts to help, getting in the way more than anything. We open the door and shoo Frankie into our hallway. Realising another rug is at risk, I quickly roll it up. Nitro starts yapping, incredulous at what he can hear and smell from the other side of the bedroom door. But Frankie’s not finished, the contents of his stomach determined to escape. His owner suggests putting him out into the common hallway but I stop her, not wanting to have to clean that carpet as well. At last, Frankie has nothing left to throw up. He is taken into the kitchen. My bleary eyed son comes in and begs us to let Nitro out of his room so he can get back to sleep. So I take the distressed Cavoodle into our room, shut the door and climb onto our bed with him. This settles him slightly. But he remains alert and doesn’t completely relax until he finally hears the door shut behind Frankie, the Regurgitating Invader.

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Snap Shot #69 – Adventures With Reg

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My wife and I are at the opening of Reg Mombassa’s latest art exhibition. She’s already been proactive in purchasing a small painting prior to the event. It’s exciting seeing the little red dot next to it as an assortment of oddball art lovers and musos mill about the gallery. I spot Greedy Smith and Martin Plaza from ‘Mental as Anything’. They turn to pose for a photo, standing either side of what from behind looks like a little old lady. Photo taken, they start chatting to the old dear. But I soon realise it’s actually the artist himself, catching up with his former bandmates. They all look so much older. I remember discovering ‘The Mentals’ shortly after arriving in this country as a clueless teenager. ‘The Nips Are Getting Bigger’ was the first of many catchy, cheeky hits that eventually established them as my favourite Aussie band. I became especially fascinated with their skinny rat-like guitarist. Reg defied any of the usual ‘Guitar God’ clichés. He seemed like an especially out-there character, which appealed to my own sense of self proclaimed weirdness. So when the opportunity came to produce three of their music clips in the late 8o’s, I couldn’t have been more excited. Although I found his witty bass playing brother Peter easier to relate to, it was a buzz just being around Reg. Holding an umbrella above his head in between takes, having some of his fried garlic cloves at lunch and watching him attack his guitar like a madman all remain magical memories. Shortly after shooting the clips, I was attempting to start my own media empire via a video magazine project called ‘Video Manic’. The main presenter was another celebrity weirdo, Maynard F# Crabbes and much of the focus was on the emerging dance party culture. But when the opportunity came up to record an interview with 60’s LSD legend Timothy Leary, I knew that this was a job for Reg Mombassa. He was both thrilled and a little nervous to meet one of his idols. He brought along a couple of his fluorescent Mambo T- shirts to give to the old acid head. Leary loved them, declaring them as very ‘cyber-delic’ – his new catch phrase for the mind expanding possibilities of the emerging digital age. After the interview Reg and I went to the Hopetoun Hotel in Surry Hills for a beer. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m having a beer with one of my all time favourite people.” A few months later Reg’s wife invited me to his fortieth. I felt out of my depth, surrounded by some of Sydney’s most talented eccentrics. As the years flew past, I would see him from time to time, at an exhibition or a gig. Gradually my specific significance to his life faded to the point of being a vaguely familiar face no longer attached to a name. But I can live with that. For a brief window in my life, I had a few adventures with one of the most talented weirdos to have ever crossed the ditch.