It took only a single minute for Frank Postman to deliver his astonishing proclamation. And it’s worth dwelling, for at least as long, over the importance of the scene of the proclamation to the reception his words were given. That Frank Postman had chosen the Tulloch Club to spout such rubbish was nothing short of astounding, given its long tradition of gentlemanly etiquette and steadfast adherence to the appreciation of sport and sportsmanship. Frankie had been invited to speak on account of his glorious successes as a rower and had been in the public eye for long enough to know that on an occasion such as that, in a setting such as that, he should have stuck exclusively to tales of his youthful athletic derring-do rather than take the opportunity to make politically motivated comments, regardless of whether or not those comments were also blatantly bigoted. From Punter’s point of view, the fact that he almost certainly did know better yet couldn’t summon the self-control to follow the script just made it all the more sweet. Continue reading
‘Drink?’ Driver asked, shaking Punter’s hand.
‘Hang on,’ Punter replied. ‘I can’t concentrate on anything else until I’ve kissed your wife.’ He made a show of shoving Driver aside, wrapping Minnie in his arms and kissing her full on the lips.
‘You alright, mate?’ Driver asked, although he was relieved to see him in such good spirits.
‘Second most beautiful woman in the world. What else am I gunna do?’ Continue reading
This is the 11th instalment of Fare Game, a new novel. Earlier instalments are available by clicking links in the Archives or Categories boxes to the right of the page.
Last time, with The Innocent and the No-Good Boyfriend in the back seat of his taxi, Driver’s route took him past the scene of his father Luca’s death. Belatedly, Driver realises the No-Good Boyfriend looks familiar because his brother was the driver of the car that hit and killed Luca
Here’s what was established according to the police and to the undisputed acceptance of all parties, regarding the night Luca Ancelotti was run down and killed by person or persons unknown. Continue reading
Fourteen years is more than enough time to turn procrastination into a profession. And from the outside maybe that’s what it looks like I’ve been doing, at least when it comes to writing fiction. My first novel, Burning Sunday, came out in 99. Just over a month ago I embarked on the challenging and some would say foolhardy, or even block-headed, exercise of serially blogging Fare Game – which will be my new novel, if things go well. And the 14 years in between? Well…
Back at the turn of the millennium I was too slow-witted and/or naïve to realise that I had any kind of literary career to throw away. Reviewers considered BS to be somewhat better than its more commonly used short-hand meaning suggested, and the book managed to sneak onto the short-list for The Age book of the year. Continue reading
The Innocent and her No-Good Boyfriend hailed Driver’s cab just east of the corner of Lygon and Elgin streets early the next afternoon. Driver eventually came to see it as a meeting driven by fate, but he was in that kind of mood at the time.
The Innocent reminded Driver more than a little of Minnie, as she was when they first met. As she was when Driver became instantly infatuated her. She possessed the same freshness and beauty and feistiness but, significantly, without the practical, street-wise wisdom that would provide her with the protective outer shell that someone with that much freshness and beauty and feistiness ought to have for their own safety. The absence of that vital ingredient was no doubt why, in Driver’s overly hasty estimation, she found herself in the company of the No-Good Boyfriend. Continue reading
Last time four of Driver’s top 5 taxi movies were revealed. This time, the unlikely fifth entry achieves it’s status because it resonates with Driver’s current predicament. Punter would tease him for indulging in pop-psychology, but it doesn’t matter what Punter thinks …
Which brings us to Collateral. Not the kind of film Driver would normally give so much credit to, it snuck into the top five for its first ever appearance at the very last minute. Released in 2004, it starred Jamie Foxx as Max, the taxi driver, Jada Pinkett Smith as US Justice Department prosecutor Annie Farrell and the cold and arrogant Tom Cruise as Vincent, an extremely effective hired killer, meaning little Tommy didn’t need to act much in this role. Continue reading
This is for The Ride, an unreliable chronicle of my experiences in blogging. The next instalment of Fare Game will be ready tomorrow.
In the beginning, Google thought I was a typo.
I’m at the end of the first month of the block-headed project of blogging my hope-to-be novel Fare Game. There are so many things I’ve learnt, so many unexpected valuable experiences and lessons, so much I am yet to learn or even realise I am yet to learn, that to chronicle them would be tedious.
But here’s one observation I want to share … when I type ‘mickmccoy.com’ into Google’s search field it asks me, ‘Did you mean nickmccoy.com?’ If I entered ‘mick mccoy’ Google wouldn’t even be polite enough to ask the question, it would automatically tell me it was Showing results for Nick McCoy and then in micro font underneath tell me to ‘Click here for Mick McCoy’ Continue reading
Last time we learnt of Minnie’s frustrations with Driver’s lack of commitment and we’re left wondering whether or not Driver was the father of the baby in her belly and whether or not she wanted to stay with Driver. So, faced with such turmoil, Driver talks movies
Driver told me in no uncertain terms that I had to include his top five taxi movies, whatever they were at the time. Because, more than the colour of his eyes, or the tone and tempo of his voice, or even the degree that he received at university, these movies and their importance to him, spoke of him. That on the day he nominated these movies, this is how Driver saw himself. They aren’t meant to be in order of preference. That would be too hard for Driver to commit to for more than a day or two at the best of times, let alone across the ten days chronicled here. Even inclusion in the top five is fairly fluid but, as it stood when he told me, these were his top five taxi movies, listed by order of date of first release:
- Alfie, 1966
- Taxi Driver, 1976
- Taxi, 1978
- Night on Earth, 1991
- Collateral, 2004 Continue reading
This is the seventh instalment of Fare Game, a new novel. If you haven’t already please ‘Follow mcphoenix via email’ to the right to receive notifications of each new instalment. Earlier instalments are available by clicking links in the Archives or Categories boxes to the right of the page.
Last time: When Driver met Minnie – drunk and asleep at the wheel of her car, blocking the road outside Naughton’s pub – but he still knew, straight away, he had met the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with
Mind you, it’s not like it was all smooth sailing from there. Minnie did call him back the next morning, they did go out for breakfast and they did start seeing each other. But they were at very different stages of their lives. Their friends did different things, their families did different things and they did different things.
Driver finished his degree not long after they met while Minnie reached the end of only the first of a four-year course. Driver had a place of his own and had started his articles in industrial and employment law at the Footscray office of a big city law firm. It was exactly what he thought he should be doing. Exactly what he saw himself doing. But Minnie was still living at home and a long way short of committing to any detailed ambitions of what life after university could possibly look like. She just didn’t feel the need to care too much about that kind of grown-up stuff back then.
Driver wanted her to stay with him in his Abbotsford flat but, for Minnie, that meant too often having to put up with his work friends, who seemed to know nothing else but to talk shop. And a more socially righteous, arrogant, opinionated bunch of wankers Minnie had never met. She would rather go out drinking and dancing with her friends. In fact, if it came down to it, she would rather poke herself in the eye with a sharp stick. Continue reading
This is the sixth instalment of Fare Game, a new novel. If you haven’t already please ‘Follow mcphoenix via email’ to the right to receive notifications of each new instalment. Earlier instalments are available by clicking links in the Archives or Categories boxes to the right of the page.
Last time: Minnie was disdainful of Driver’s latest ‘follow that car!’ adventure until she found out Punter’s wife Steph was in the car with another man, when she said …
‘My God! And who is this guy?’
‘As of yesterday I like to call him Frank Postman.’
‘You didn’t!’ Minnie said after a long silence, eventually guessing Driver had indulged in one of his film-driven analyses. ‘But I’m not going to ask. I’m afraid to ask. And I don’t want you to tell me, either.’
But at least she was smiling. Driver was pleased about that.
‘He’s the opposition spokesman for transport. And racing. Identical portfolio to Punter. Been in the news lately having a crack at Punter for not lending enough support to the inquiry on your average disreputable cabbies and the shit service we all provide.’
‘So let me get this straight,’ Minnie said, ignoring Driver’s moan about the latest injustice being perpetrated against taxi drivers, ‘Stephanie is having an affair with Punter’s direct opposite number. And Punter knows about it.’
‘Does Stephanie know Punter knows?’
‘Not sure,’ Driver replied uncertainly. ‘Punter doesn’t think so.’
‘Don’t get involved,’ Minnie warned. ‘Please Driver, just don’t get involved. We’ve got enough to worry about right here.’
‘How could I not get involved? How could we not get involved? They’re coming for dinner on the weekend so I don’t think we’ll have a choice.’ Continue reading
This one’s for The Ride. More Fare Game online tomorrow …
So here’s the thing… it’s kinda late, it has been a long day, I’m due to have posted something for The Ride and I’ve just been too plain busy doing the metaphorical riding – working on the transition of my days from full-time corporate functionary to thinking, feeling, creating writer – to get this blog piece done.
Well, yeah, I get the irony in that. And there’s even more ‘cos in between wrestling with the delicate balance of family and self and dollar-earning functionary and creative writer and glue-sniffing popcorn vendor – the recording of which is the exact point of The Ride posts – it’s a ride-like slice of writing that has tipped me over the precipice and left me here with so much to say that I can’t get any of it down.
Some of you will be aware of Kill Your Darlings, who describe themselves this way on Twitter: Kill Your Darlings is an independent, quarterly publication. We publish fresh, clever writing that combines intellect with intrigue.
On Friday, those very darlings agreed for me to contribute a piece to their blog about my bumpy ride. This very ride right here. As a result I have spent a good part of today doing my best to be clever, by combining intellect with intrigue, and shoe-horning the whole damn lot into a piece they will be sufficiently satisfied meets those lofty criteria and is consequently published. Bloody enjoyable it was, too.
By spending time killing darlings I am actually on The Ride. Two darling birds killed with one stone. Or one story. The keyboard is mightier than the stone, after all. You’ve probably heard that. Writing 1,000 words for them is very much a part of the ambition of this blog: do my topmost-notch job of writing Fare Game and use this blog and other relevant online avenues to raise awareness of that topmost-notch job.
Bums on seats, folks, that’s what I’m after. If some of those in the KYD audience want to mosey over and check-out some mcphoenixy Fare Game freshness, all the better. And while I’m strong on the re-animation theme here, preferably clad in a lovely rich purple, rather than the slaughter of those I’m fond of, I’m sure we’ll learn to respect those differences.
But that’s it for now. I’m all clevered out. Clearly. Intrigue is off the agenda and I just spilt my intellect on the floor with the green tea bag. The cat – Harry – about whom it will be alleged soon in Fare Game is contentedly homosexual – has sniffed at my intellect as it seeps from the green tea bag and dribbles across my kitchen floor, turned up his nose at it all and sauntered off with his tail held high yet whiskers untwitched.
This is the fifth instalment of Fare Game, a new novel. If you haven’t already please ‘Follow mcphoenix via email’ to the right to receive notifications of each new instalment. Earlier instalments are available by clicking links in the Archives or Categories boxes to the right of the page.
Wednesday morning. Driver loved Wednesday mornings. No alarms to wake him. Not due to start chasing fares until 10am – a rule of his own making – no bike ride to motivate a pre-dawn tip-toe down the hall and out the back door. No schedule of any sort to prise him, willingly or otherwise, from his sleep. It was his mid-week oasis. All the more keenly anticipated for its routine. His morning to spend aimless time with Minnie. They’d wake up only when enough light crept around the sides of their blind, or when enough street noise pressed through their walls. And those first moments of waking were to be savoured. The rest of the city had been through its rousing some hours earlier, its people showered and dressed and fed, its streets cluttered with cars and buses and trams. Students had swarmed though school gates, workers had fired up their computers and sent off their first emails, or seen their first clients, or made their first sales, laid their first bricks, prescribed their first medicines. But Driver and Minnie would still be lying in their shared warmth, their hearts beating tranquilly and their minds not yet troubled by pace of the day. Continue reading
This is the fourth instalment of Fare Game, the purpose of this blog. If you haven’t already, please ‘Follow mcphoenix via email’ to the right to receive notifications of each new instalment.
The first three instalments are available by clicking links in the Archives or Categories boxes to the right of the page.. This fourth instalment is the full second chapter. Enjoy!
Driver is his real name. Driver Ancelotti. The Ancelotti bit he had no problems with, but exactly why he came to be called Driver was something that genuinely puzzled him for his childhood and much of his youth. Why had his parents settled on a name so dull, so lacking in flair? So un-Italian. If they were set on a driving theme, which it seems they were, they could have chosen Enzo. What better inspiration than Enzo Ferrari, the race car driver and founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team? Or they could have named him after Giuseppe Farina who was the first ever Formula One World Champion. What name could more fully capture the essence of Italian driving than one of these two names? Or, going back a little, there was Tazio Nuvolari or Alberto Ascari. Brilliant Italian drivers. Brave, decorated, handsome, famous, virile Italian men.
Of all of them, Driver quite fancied Tazio. It sounded the most complimentary to Ancelotti. Tazio Ancelotti. Now there was a name that could add a strut to a man’s step. And when the mood took him, Driver would sometimes temporarily adopt one or the other. For example, if circumstances forced him to order coffee at an untried cafe to which he was sure he wouldn’t return due to reasons of geography, an unforgivable lack of ambience, or any one of numerous other breaches of the rules of coffee that Driver held so dear, he would often tell the young thing behind the counter that his name was Tazio. Or Enzo. Sometimes even Juan, after Juan Manuel Fangio, the Argentinian (of Italian stock) driving legend. Just to see whether they would react. To see whether they were at all curious about what kind of man would own such a strong and beautiful name. To see whether he could gently shake them from their stupor, borne of the soulless repetition of their job.
This post is for The Ride: a record of my thoughts, fears, ambitions and experiences of blogging an unpublished novel.
For posts of the actual story – Fare Game – see the next post down, or click on the ‘Recent Posts’, ‘Archives’, or ‘Categories’ links to the right of the page and down a bit.
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Antisocial Media. That’s what I was calling Facebook for a few days this week. There was teeth-grinding, jaw clenching and eyebrow harvesting. Particularly eyebrow harvesting. It’s what I do when I’m confronted with a problem I can’t fix. Or at least, it’s what I’m told I do, by my wife and two daughters. And If I look in the bathroom mirror, it is pretty clear my right eyebrow just stops about two-thirds the way along its proper course. Where the final third of eyebrow should be, there’s a kind of facial hair desert.
My girls didn’t lie to me about that. My girls wouldn’t lie to me, particularly if it relates to a further deterioration of my physical appearance that makes being seen in public with me even more painful for them. Their objective when out in public with me is that I seem invisible to people of their age. But a gross facial deformity such as the lack of the outside third of a right eyebrow renders you visible in the most embarrassing way. It’s something I’ve just got to deal with. Continue reading
This is the third instalment of Fare Game, the purpose of this blog. If you haven’t already, please
‘Follow mcphoenix via email’ to the right to receive notifications of each new instalment.
Earlier instalments are available by clicking links in the Archives or Categories boxes to the right of the page. Here’s a synopsis of what happened last time:
Yep, that’s Stephanie alright – off to ride Punter’s political adversary – Driver pulls up short to prevent carnage – lifelessness outside the cemetery – the cost of Driver’s advice – a plan of revenge is hatched
And so to Fare Game, the third instalment …
Until that instant Driver had no idea what he was going to say. But he couldn’t bare the sight of Punter so full of self-pity.
‘Well you’re acting like you might as well be dead, so why don’t you just jump the fence?’ Driver said. ‘Why don’t you just jump the fence now and get it over with? Pick a stone, lift the lid and cosy up to some corpse or other.’
Punter looked at him, slack-faced. ‘You say it makes you feel sick. Big fucken deal. Go take an Aspirin, or something.’
‘I know it’s not about me, you idiot.’ Driver said. ‘Look, I’ll make it nice and simple for you. Nice and clear. You remember The Postman Always Rings Twice?’ he asked. ‘The ’82 version with Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson. You remember that?’
Driver knew he was drawing an exceedingly long bow. He knew the analogy would leave them both no better than stumbling towards some kind of clarity. But it was the only thing he could think of. It was the only way he could see forward. And it was forward. At least, it seemed that way to Driver.
‘Oh, no. You’ve got to be kidding me!’ Punter replied. ‘Please Driver, please, this is serious. Most of the time I can forgive your film-driven pop psychology. Even accept it at some level. But not now. Please.’ Continue reading
This is the second instalment of Fare Game, the purpose of this blog. If you haven’t already, please click ‘Follow mcphoenix via email’ to the right to receive notifications of each new instalment.
The first instalment is available by clicking links in the Archives or Categories boxes to the right of the page. Or, there’s a two-line synopsis below.
Driver’s calling – An agitated Punter – Follow that car! – The politics of envy – Who’s in the Beemer? – The eyes have it – He’s headed to my place! – The woman in the passenger seat … is that Stephanie?
And so to the new stuff: Fare Game, the second instalment …
But despite all the evidence on the table, Driver was acutely aware of the potentially messy consequences of drawing the wrong conclusion. Of in any way acting on a misunderstanding. Few men would be less than deeply offended if another assumed, correctly or not, that his wife was fooling around on him.
So Driver decided to continue feigning ignorance, just in case the conclusions he’d leapt to were wrong. ‘Do you want to tell me what this is all about?’
But it was as if Punter didn’t hear Driver at all. He was so lost in his own thoughts, in his own anxieties and black imaginings, that Driver’s voice apparently didn’t even register. So when his question went unanswered, Driver didn’t press it further.
‘Ha,’ Punter said, a sudden but artificial lifting of the gloom evident in his voice. ‘It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?’ He leaned even further forward and craned his neck to look directly up at the sky through the top of the wind screen. ‘I should buy ten grand worth of Italian pushbike and join you and those wanker mates of yours in their lycra, clogging up Beach Road and hogging all the tables at Café Racer.’
‘Should you?’ Driver asked him.
‘Well I can’t afford a car like his, so how else am I gunna compete? I gotta get back into shape.’
This is the third post for The Ride: a record of my thoughts, fears, ambitions and experiences of blogging an unpublished novel. For the first post of the actual story, see the next post down
There, it’s done. Am I calm? No. Excited? Yes. But you can be ‘excited’ if an angry rhino is bearing down on you and there’s nowhere to hide. All I’m doing here is blogging a book, so what’s with the anxiety?
While I’m not risking death or dismemberment by taking this relatively unusual step of committing a new novel to a blog format and relentless schedule, I am exposing myself to the potential for a very public kind of failure. I hope the blog is very public. I also hope it’s not a failure.
This is the first instalment of Fare Game, the purpose of this blog. If you click ‘Follow mcphoenix via email’ to the right you will receive notifications of each new instalment.
As he crossed Swanston Street the tyres of Driver’s taxi beat out a ragged rhythm against the tram lines. He loved that sound. Always had. While it served a bitter-sweet reminder of his father, more generally the industrially sprung percussion of rubber against steel rails also evoked more positive emotions. A feeling of progress, of movement and delivery, which was perhaps the main attraction of his job. And a feeling of a very particular kind of intimacy, the audience for the beat he conducted being witnessed by no one except the occupants of his cab. A feeling of connectedness to place, that sound not being replicated in quite the same way in any other town or city in the country, or in more than a handful of cities beyond. A sense that this vocation in this city was not merely a symptom of his indecision, as Minnie liked to think, or his failure to commit to what he had trained to do. Not a diversion – albeit of six years’ duration and counting – from his proper path, but rather the path. The true and proper path, regardless of what anyone else said. That sound was the self-affirming tattoo for his chosen professional life. At least, that’s what he liked to tell himself. And while all that was about to begin unravelling, for the better part of those last six years, Driver had convinced himself that was the only thing that mattered.
Coasting up the rise along Collins Street he spotted his waiting customer on the opposite footpath outside the Westin, impatience furrowing his brow and rendering him fidgety and agitated, unable to stand still. Six-three, or six-four of him shuffling from foot to foot as if the pavement was made of hot coals and embers, or as if he was busting for a piss. It brought a knowing smile momentarily to Driver’s face, one that he guessed he’d better extinguish before his passenger joined him.