Somewhere in the darkness of time, between the cooling of the earth and the invention of Germans, a group of rough hewn individuals, some drunk on fermented fruits and grains, stood in the corner of a cave and told strangely hyperbolic and extravagant tales of hunting, drinking and dealing with Centrelink. These stories became known as Performance Poems, and the people who told them were referred to as The Long Term Unemployed.
One group in particular, who were known as The Bardflys, cave-hopped far and wide in search of a free meal. Their tales of woe and heroism, self-deprecation and debauchery, were renowned across the Earth and earned them many a $5 steak and punch in the bollocks.
The bloodline of The Bardflys is carried on today, as is evidenced in the body of work sometimes referred as The Di Fonzo Code; a group of poems, plays and anecdotes of half forgotten ambition that, many scholars swear, bear in them, somewhere beneath the scatological cheap laughs and self deprecating bad grammar, secrets of epic failure unknown to The Illuminati, The Masons, The Mansons or even The Australian Labour Party.
Many of the early Bardflys played difficult rooms in the Western Suburbs of The Middle East, which was not always the utopia of peace and harmony that it is today. These pioneering poets were cruelly tortured, and even in the case of a nice young Jewish boy by the name of Jesus who discovered some people just couldn’t take a joke, were nailed to giant paddlepop sticks for their blackly comic satirical sermons. None of which deterred them from their craft, as they were obviously idiots.
During Europe’s Dark Ages the Bardflys couch-hopped Asia, leaving behind as their legacy Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and two-minute noodles, before re-emerging in Venice where they catalysed an artistic and social movement known today as The Renaissance, which reached its glorious apogee with the invention of the steam-driven vibrator.
Throughout time, on this planet and others, members of the Bardfly bloodline, such as Shakespeare, Da Vinci, Lorenzo De Medici, Lao Tzu, Marlowe, Baudelaire, Poe, Dylan (Thomas and Bob), Ginsberg, Kerouac, Bruce, Ivan Milat, Bukowski and others have carried on the tradition of bumming $5 steaks through performing their half baked poems, plays and other assorted pieces of savagely obvious self-pity for the delectation of a discerning, and often quite mad, public.
The British invasion of Terra Australis brought with it parasites, rats, and convicts who carried the Bardflys bloodline. This has been evidenced by Lawson, who gave his life for our sins in the Bardfly methode traditionale of passing out in a drunken stupor on a Hyde Park bench, as well as Patterson, Humphreys, Hope and others. Though of course not Les Murray who is, as everyone knows, of the bloodline of Shape Shifting Reptiles who must drink the blood of Aryan babies to keep mammalian form, but I digest…
In the latter years of the 20th Century an ancient Bardfly known as Homer in the Greek Islands where his piece The Iliad earned him so many bevies that he is traditionally thought to be blind, did emerge in the Great Southern Land and, under the pseudonym Phil Frea began, along with a fellow from a clan of violent Scottish cannibal dwarves named Dumbly, began a gig at the ancient and revered Hopetoun Hotel (for the price of a pig and a comely wench), which then moved to The Sando, where they were joined by Chicago Bardfly Phil Norton and Australia’s premiere African-American-Italian poet Miles Merrill, before moving to a serendipitous little Glebe abode known as The Friend In Hand where it was once more co-hosted by one of the pure line of Di Fonzos, as tradition demands.
After escaping to Sydney from a Siberian gulag where he was imprisoned for defecating upon the mummified corpse of Lenin whilst singing The Internationale backwards, former Transylvanian rat-butcher and KGB double-agent ‘Vlad The Pale’ brought us the misspelt splendour of Bardflys.com, which many have sited as the catalyst of the dot.com collapse.
After six years in the seventh ring of Glebe the Bardflys took a break to de-tox and investigate ever more cunning methods of self-unemployment, before re-emerging in the salubriously moth-eaten surrounds of Doris’s Hotel Hollywood, (which is not actually in Hollywood, but Surry Hills) where it will reign for a thousand years… or just go belly up like the last gig did... whatever.
(to be continued…)