ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
THE LAST THING STEPHEN VICKER slid into the top of his suitcase was Paul Kelly’s Greatest Hits.
A couple months earlier, he’d sorted out his Youth Mobility Visa and a one-way ticket to London, thinking he was about to embark on the adventure of his young life.
When he arrived in London, he quickly found a job in a small marketing agency on the edge of Zone 1. It was even easier to find a place to rest his head – a place he found through a mate’s cousin who’d made the move a year prior.
The 27-year-old traded his Manly apartment for a ground floor broom closet in Shepherd’s Bush, a pill he said he was prepared to swallow.
It was all a breeze, far less difficult than he’d thought. But as he rides bleary-eyed on the tube to work each morning, he tells himself he made the right decision.
Because if he didn’t, he’d be on the next flight home.
“On my bad days, I just put on that Paul Kelly CD and lie face down on my bed,” he said.
“But I have good days, like meeting up with my travelling friends at Camden Markets or something. Taking my friend Harry on a walking tour of Notting Hill and Portobello Road last week was fun.”
On the whole, most of the time Stephen has spent in London has been great, albeit a few rather unpleasant times when the thoughts of home crept into his head.
Recalling an incident from Australia Day this year, he was handed the aux cord late in the evening, just when the drugs began wearing out. Rather than put something smooth and contemporary and smooth to round the edges out, he put on some Kev Carmody.
“Droving Woman brings the house down at home,” he said. “Not in London.”
“People were saying: ‘What is this shit?’ and ‘Somebody change it!’ I almost cried.”
His mum calls every Sunday night like clockwork. They speak for half an hour about things he used to find trivial and mundane, but now it’s the only thing he honestly looks forward to each week.
“The last time I spoke to Mum, I promised that I’d try to find time to come home for Christmas this year,” he said.
“I’ve already booked the ticket, but it’s a return.”
And when he returns he will pine for his time in London and the proximity of mainland Europe
I wonder if its my old broom cupboard in Shepherds Bush…those were the days.
Ugh… Paul Kelly. I’m not surprised he doesn’t like London. And who the f is Kev Carmody? This guy sounds like he hasn’t even made any friends and only has good days when his travelling friends visit. Maybe if he tried to get to know what the locals like to do and listen to he might enjoy himself.
I know plenty of my fellow Australians who are having the most amazing time living in London.
Go home Stephen, living abroad doesn’t sound like it suits you.
ye u tell him randy
Yep. London is full of what they call ‘twats’ which is apparently a taboo word. Pined for home and sunshine every day. I always found the Irish, welsh and lesser extent scots nicer. The odd Englishman were nice but I think they resent using the whole.
Ps proximity to Europe not all its cracked up to be.
End of a long, long, dreary winter. I get it, Stephen. It’s not an adventure if its all fun and games, adventures have endless lonely slog in them too. Huge lengths of slog where you can’t see the purpose and you’re not sure it you’re going in the right direction. That’s all part of the adventure too, at home and abroad.
I haven’t been, but surely it would be fine if you weren’t a Paul Kelly drongo who listens to guitar music, has a part time commitment to the ‘fanatics’, has a poster of Leighton Hewitt on their bedroom wall back in ‘OZ’ and has no more future than driving a Holden V8 shitbox down the road to work everyday. I know English people are soggy and boring losers but they do have some cool things over there. And how much Paul Kelly and Holden cars can you take?
Tells himself he’s happy, of course he would be happy. Not like me.
I flew over to England last October and took Nina, the schnoodle, as hand luggage, with me. We have a separation anxiety problem! When I arrived the Pommy version of our Boarder Security did a Pistol and Boo on us, just because of a shortage in some documentation. They put me in quarantine for six weeks and sent Nina back on the next Qantas flight.
She gets back and ends up in a Detention Centre as an illegal refugee. She is a bit hard to understand. They thought she was a terrorist.
Ipec, the pigeon, had to fly over and sort it all out. When I got out of UK quarantine I was immediately deported. Goin’ nowhere from now on. Stick the travel.