Last Days of the Cross by Joseph Ridgwell – a video preview of Joe’s new best selling book about his life and times in Kings Cross in Sydney in Australia.

How Gina Got Her Groove Back by Joseph Ridgwell
reprinted from Savage Manners with permission

Gina was in a life rut, dead-end relationship, meaningless job, and virtually nothing to look forward to in life. Her one beacon of hope was that she aspired to be a writer. Her main areas of literary interest were mostly genre-orientated. Thrillers, ghost tales, horror stories, the more grisly and macabre the better, but every time she sat in front of a computer to get the word down nothing happened, zero, nish, de nada. Writers block.

Gina couldn’t understand why she was unable to write and pretty soon the issue began to dominate her every waking thought. For as long as she could remember she had wanted to be a writer and considered it to be her destiny and fate, even her god-given right. However, despite feelings of pre-ordained destiny, the words refused to come.

Then, one day as she surfed the web she hit upon the answer. An article by the famous underground writer Joseph Ridgwell caught her eye, and whilst reading it Gina experienced an almost Joycean like epiphany. The article was, entitled, Live First, Write Later, and espoused the strongly held view that writers need life experience before they can write. In fact Ridgwell’s exact words were, ‘In my opinion to produce anything of literary worth aspiring writers need to have lived a little, taken jobs, travelled, had a series of love affairs, shot a man in Reno. How can you write about life if you haven’t even lived it?’

To Gina the powerful words were like a revelation. The one thing missing in her life was real life experiences. After a somewhat dull, but comfortable upbringing in the leafy suburbs, her life had followed a clearly defined route; public school, university, and cushy public sector job. In fact when she thought about it, her whole life had panned out without her having any real say in the matter, and now it was time to spread her wings and fly.

Once the main thrust of Ridgwell’s article had been digested Gina knew what needed to be done. Despite a long-term relationship with a boy she’d met at Uni, she was yet to conduct a mad passionate affair, and hadn’t even had a one-night stand.

She picked up the phone and called Richard and gave him the bad news. It was over between them, the relationship was going nowhere and it was time to make a clean break. Richard was devastated, heartbroken, but strangely the more he whinged, the less Gina cared, and when he started crying all she felt was contempt.

With Richard out of the picture Gina embarked on her new life with gusto. She brought a smart set of trendy clothes and frequented some well-known pick-up joints. She flirted outrageously, drank heavily, took whatever drugs she could get her hands on, and went home with a different man each night. Continue reading

coming soon from Blackheath Books

The Battle of Barncleuth Square by Joseph Ridgwell

(originally published in Savage Manners, reprinted with permission)

Kings Cross Sydney, last days of the twentieth century. I was standing outside the Pink Pussycat, swigging a longneck of VB from a brown paper bag, and observing the scene.  Then Queensland Suzie walked past, ‘Yo Suze what’s up?’

To say Suzie was an ugly woman would be a little cruel, but it has to be said she was the ugliest women I’d ever seen. The first time I met her I was struggling to pick up this aristocratic English girl from the pavement. The Marchioness of Jute, which is who she was, had consumed a little too much 2-4-1 vino and collapsed on the main drag puking claret everywhere. She wasn’t a big girl, but drunk she was a dead weight, and I just couldn’t get her up.

Queensland Suzie was sitting outside Playbirds International, watching my feebleness with some amusement,‘You’re as weak as shit, mate,’ she said after my fourth failed attempt. I remember looking up and seeing this very dark and very ugly aboriginal woman,‘Couldn’t give us a hand could ya?’‘Fuck that shit, a?’‘Nice one.’

And that was that, she didn’t give me a hand, and I was forced to leave the Marchioness lying in the gutter. Anyway, for what its worth, that was how I first met Queensland Suzie, ‘G’day Pom, ave ya seens what the famous bums ave done?’

The Famous Bums were exactly that, the two most famous bums in Kings Cross. The mystery was that nobody knew their names,‘Na, what?’ Queensland Suzie gave me a cheeky wink, ‘Lend us five bucks, and I’ll tells ya.’

This was typical of the Suzie, always on the scrounge, but I kinda liked her for it, ‘Fuck Suze, your aving a giraffe.’ Suzie looked confused, ‘A?’I handed over a five, ‘Forget it, just give me the low down.’‘Beauty pom, well, they’ve only gone and built their best room yet a? ‘Whereabouts?’‘Barnclueth Square, it’s a sight for sore eyes.’

What marked the Famous Bums out from other street drunks, hoboes, and vagrants, was their remarkable talent for exterior design. Each night these resourceful fellas walked the streets appropriating junk furniture, bedding materials, and any other household items they could get their hands on. Then they would design an open-air front room in one of their favoured locations and get down to the serious matter of hardcore drinking.

‘Think I’ll check it out Suze.’ ‘Ganna be a big party there tonights.’ Continue reading