I have been flicking through my 1997 work diary. It was mostly for work but I drew in it and wrote personal notes as well. Brooded about my 7 or 8 relationships with women that were all not going quite how I wanted. I am amazed looking back at it how many lunches and dinners with friends there were, three or four every week. I fished pretty regularly. I was hard at work on the big pencil drawings that turned into my last real exhibition in 1998. I played soccer, and coached an under 13 team. I actually retired from outdoor soccer at the end of that season.
I also quit my job of five years at an ad agency. There are lots of rough drafts of memos to my boss. He was a mega-rich Sydney ad man who retired to Tasmania, then took over the terrific place where I worked and used it as a plaything.
My brother in law died in December 1996, and that overshadowed 1997, probably more than I realised. I drove up to the coast to spend time with Jacki and the kids as often as I could through the year.
Jan 4 Bought Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. On the way home ran into Robbie. Walked down to Taste of Tas, had beers and seafood, perved [...] Then pool and beers at Freemasons. Up to Manuel and Nadia's for tea. We made a movie - cutting out heads, hinging mouths, trolling eyes, moved them around with wire - filmed on a video strapped to stroller sitting on top of coffee table.
Jan 12 [Writing in Scots dialect due to reading Trainspotting] Up breet and early to work on the car. Went and played tennis with Sonny, Phil and Bugs. Served like a champion but court coverage pretty piss poor. Painted some more the evenin', Robyn the alky came and watched for a while - bled all over me. Hope she's no got HIU or Hep or anything. Fetched her a bandage.
Jan 22 [From memo to boss] ...Tranny arrives. It was not shot in such a way that it will slot into existing layout. We do our best with it, it is presented. Client hates it.
Jan 29 New theory, or new metaphor: girl problems are like a flock of sick sheep. You need to do an autopsy on one [relationship, not girl] to understand the problem. Which one to autopsy, that's the choice.
Jan 32 Caught 3 cod before work at Shag Bay. Used steak as bait, handlines off rocks. Late for work of course. Barby tonight. [...] Barby v. nice. Cod mushy. Made mussel kebabs.
Feb 14 [Manuel's birthday party, weekend in the country]. Caught biggest fish of my life off Southport Jetty.
Feb 15 Played tennis dressed as Capt. Bligh, with Manuel, Mark and Robbie (dressed as witch doctor).
Feb 22 Sam [niece then 6] woke me up every 20 minutes, with drawings. Dad was bitten by ants at Henrietta, five times, pretty crook.
Mar 2 Up about 6am to get at the fish. Nick caught 3 small whiting and threw them back. Both hungover as hell [...] Walked around Dodges Ferry for about an hour. Favourite house: 3 Three Street.
Mar 8 Totally fish free trip with Nick to Cradoc, Lymington, Woodbridge, Kettering. Took Brin [nephew then 5] to Robbies, watched footy and ate marinara with Rob and Manuel.
Aug 6 Melbourne job offer from Mark Grey.
Aug 20 Reasons for quitting [...] Current volume of work is probably not profitable but enough to cripple the studio working at full capacity. Expectation that we will work unpaid overtime for ordinary heavy workload is unfair. Lied to and patronised on issue of computers.
Aug 21 I quit.
Sep 8 1st day at G3 [where I work to this day, for the same boss, after a few name changes and ownership revolutions]
Sep 20 3-0 loss to Phoenix in my last game [...] Disappointed in the result, but also in the effort of some of the guys and in their mental toughness, lack of it. They gave me 3 cheers for my retirement.
Dec 19 Drove up to Devonport with Damo and Leigh for skydiving debut. Lovely warm evening, watched Devonport do blockies in their Commodores.