the signwriter

nuclear family, spraypaint on concrete, raff nipaluna, 2014
nuclear family, spray paint on concrete, raff nipaluna, 2014

the signwriter, a novella


early naughties st kilda, melbourne, d.j. chalky is set to break. a & r executive for the pacific rim circuit, lee candell, is coming to see her live on her home turf, evil empire, a faded glory roaring twenties mansion, peeling white paint pillars, a gaze of windows yawning through palm trees to a sullen gold dusk ocean
candell has heard a bootleg of chalky live, mixed by maverick sound engineer and visual artist, blue. the empire, the punters and chalky’s people are blown away by the combination. chalky sees it differently. blue is changing her sound, adding things. worse, he is obsessed with her. on meeting her for the first time, he told her and her partner, ‘you should leave him and be with me’
while she never sees him look at her, she feels him thinking about her, doing things for her. she asks empire’s manager, benny, to let blue go. benny resists, but she elaborates, saying she doesn’t feel safe, she’s scared of blue. benny reluctantly agrees, but chalky’s agent insists she get blue to mix her when candell comes to town, or he will ruin her
chalky has worked too hard for this. she visits blue’s studio and asks him to mix one last gig with her, offering him all the takings, and his job back at empire. he turns her down, then as she’s leaving, says he’ll do it on one condition: that she help him with his next visual arts project, a series of clandestine street art pieces to be executed the night of her gig, between sets

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