April 15, 2020
I’ve just started re-reading Zigzag Street by Nick Earls for probably the fifth or sixth time. It’s one of those books I come back to every now and again because it’s a fun and easy read. This time, for the first time, there’s been this oddly comforting sense of nostalgia about it—I know the places being written about, and I can relate to the time the book is set (although I hasten to add that I was quite a bit younger than the protagonist was at the time)—but not that wistful-yearning-for-an-idealized-past-that-may-not-have-actually-existed type of feeling.
Anyway, even if you didn’t grow up in Brisbane in the 80s, it’s still a really funny, relatable read; I think the thing I respond to the most is just how much the conversations in the book could have been between my friends and me.
“This time of glorious failure and perilous achievement is probably your finest hour, but it’s not as though it’s come out of the blue. I don’t know what kind of glamorous past you would like to have had, but you didn’t have it. Your life, like mine, is a series of conventional successes that don’t count for much, plus good times and crap. And we both know some of my best stuff is crap, and that’s why we like me so much.”