My 'Dam Life

Sean Condon

Read August 2003

How do slackers live?  In this moody, introspective book, sometimes horrifying but almost always compelling, Sean Condon tells us of his transportation from Melbourne (Australia) to Amsterdam and three years of life there.  Condon writes with a admirable brutality about himself, presenting himself as a leach whose idea of a productive day is one spent before a PlayStation; but he does this not to evoke laughter or pity, but rather with a philosophical detachment that makes this an altogether smarter read.

Condon's wife is invited to work for a magazine in Amsterdam, and he tags along.  It's immediately obvious that this is the kind of magazine that would pull down its shutters within an issue or three, and that's just what happens.  Yet somehow they survive, with and without jobs and with dubious legality; somehow his wife - the real adult in the household - endures him; and while not much happens, Condon keeps your interest with honest accounts of untethered lives (and periodic deft writing).  There is a touching account of an interview with Roger Moore in which Condon acts the perfect ass, yet with one neat phrase, Moore bails him out, embarasses him and gives a little painful insight into a life spent being regarded as second best.  In the book's most poignant moment, Condon asks his wife whether she wouldn't be better off as a circus wife instead of married to a "loser" like him.

`You're not a loser, baby', she said, then kissed me on the forehead.  `You're an idiot.'