Regime Magazine on the East Coast & West

Damon Lockwood of Regime Books in Melbourne, November 2012.

Writer and Regime Magazine Editor Damon Lockwood finds himself in Cocker Alley, Melbourne (November 2012).

In November 2012 fellow editor Nathan Hondros and I set off to the great cultural Meccas of Sydney and Melbourne to pedal our literary wares – namely, Regime 01.

Our first port of call was the leafy suburb of Surry Hills. We found ourselves some cardboard, wrote down some information and set up our impressive display. We chose an auspicious day to sell our book on the street because Sydney Public Records would later show us it was the quietest day in Sydney since January 1788.

Sayings exist for a reason, ladies and gentlemen, and the classic ‘ignorance is bliss’ still holds true. I had ignorant visions of people running madly down the street to buy our publication, hordes of people lining up hoping not to miss out on this golden opportunity to snap up an edition of our treasured text, wondering if we’d be all out of copies by the time they got to the front of the line… but, ladies and gentleman, the very first time I approached a person on the street and said ‘Street Literature, only $15’… I knew we were screwed.

We tried classic catch-cries like ‘All the way from Cultural Perth’, ‘Please, we have a family to feed’ and ‘That really hurts, please stop hitting me’, but in every way we were hated by the passing general public… Interestingly, though, not one person asked us to move along.

Next we tried the back entrance of a gay nightclub on Oxford Street in Sydney. We got some middling interest out of a couple of local rats, picked up some nice heroin off the street, had a quick dance, but again no one asked us to move along.

Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park was next, where we got out sold by an old Italian man singing ‘New York, New York’ and ‘Celebrate Good Times, Come on’. It was a beautiful spot to sell for half an hour, and yet still nobody asked us to move along.

'All the way from exotic Perth...' Writer and Regime Editor Nathan Hondros waits for beer money.

‘All the way from exotic Perth…’ Writer and Regime Editor Nathan Hondros waits for Surry Hills to provide beer money.

Never to be deterred, we returned back to our original spot in Surry Hills, set up our impressive display again, crossed out the figure $15 on our cardboard placard, placed a lonely copy of Regime 01 on the street and wrote the word FREE above it with an arrow pointing down to it. We retired to the balcony of a nearby pub to watch proceedings.

Ladies and gentlemen, we could not give the fucking thing away! People would repel from it like it was radioactive poison. ‘We just care about literature!’ we wanted to scream from the pub’s balcony!

And just when all seemed lost, though Nathan and I were three gin and tonics in by this stage so we were feeling mildly better, an old man dressed in a dirty black suit, raggedy black fedora hat, and best of all, walking down the street with a bottle of red wine in a brown paper bag in his hand, stopped, looked at our magazine, took a few steps, then stopped again.

You can imagine by this time Nathan and I were already on the edge of our seats. The old wino picked up the copy, flipped through it, gave it a quick review… then slowly walked away with our intrepid little magazine, silently reading the first couple of pages to himself. Nathan and I danced around like little schoolgirls with a new crush. We were ridiculously excited, and the rest of the patrons in the pub thought we were a little disturbed. The old homeless man had decided to love our literature, or alternatively had found a new paper product to wipe his arse with.

Regime Magazine: free to a good home or homeless shelter.

Regime Magazine: free to a good home or homeless shelter.

Melbourne was next, and after not being asked to be moved on by anyone in Federation Square, we set up outside the Victorian Performing Arts Centre. We were a little concerned that previously people might have thought we were a fanatical Christian group, so we decided to put up a sign that read ‘We’re not Christians’… on the day that three Christian Primary Schools decided to visit the Victorian Performing Arts Centre, and walk past our pissy display. If we weren’t going to hell before we certainly are now. We did manage to sell a copy of the book to a woman whose son was a lawyer but always wanted to be a writer. We told her to implore her son it would be a stupid change of career if he ever thought of trying it. No one asked us to move along.

Federation Square, Melbourne: No one fucking asked us to move on.

Federation Square, Melbourne: No one fucking asked us to move on.

Skip forward a month and imagine in your mind if you will a magical wonderland of arts and creative expression called the Perth Cultural Centre. We were organised, this time, ladies and gentlemen. We had a trestle table, a nice display, and change for all the copies of Regime 01 we were going to sell.

Now I don’t know if you noticed some imposing devices looming around in the Perth Cultural Centre. They are incredibly high powered surveillance camera’s that are so strong they can actually predict your evil thoughts before you have them, like trying to sell a literature magazine to the unsuspecting West Australian general public. How effective they are in preventing you getting beaten up on Friday and Saturday nights is of course another question entirely.

Regime Editors Chris Palazzolo and Nathan Hondros in the 9 minutes between setting up and being told to move on.

Regime Editors Chris Palazzolo and Nathan Hondros in the NINE minutes before being shut down by Dicks with Epaulets.

Ladies and gentlemen we lasted NINE minutes before we were promptly told to pack up our well-intentioned attempt in imparting culture to the city of Perth and to please move along… actually I don’t think there was a please in there at all. Nine minutes, ladies and gentlemen – read into that what you will.

But of course it’s not how you get knocked down it’s how you pick yourselves up that matters, so undeterred we moved to the sunny streets of Subiaco on the same day where we received more genuinely interested attention than we could ever have hoped for and sold more copies there than anywhere else in Australia. We’ve never loved Subiaco more.

So, ladies and gentlemen, if you see us on the street, sad and crying, alone and desperate, trying to sell copies of Regime 02, please, God please, come up and say ‘How you doing boys?’, maybe purchase a copy for someone you like, spend a minute with us, because we will be more than happy to serve you.

by Damon Lockwood

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