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A fish-eye style photo of the author as a teenager, sitting at a table and biting into a slice of pizza Screenshot of Google StreetView from the top of a hill at dusk Promotional photo of a cheesy pizza. One slice is being lifted up with a paddle Promotional photo of a pizza covered in nutella spread and icing sugar. Screenshot of Google StreetView of a building on a street corner, partially obscured by a large tree Photo of a can of Canadian Club Dry Fish-eye style photo of a yellow car driving past. The nozzle of a water gun can be seen spraying from the rear passenger window Screenshot of a tweet made by the author in 2013. It reads: self-validation via pizza Graphic render of the number 10 made out of multicoloured paper folded concertina style Photo of the author standing behind a microphone adorned with flowers. Screenshot of a tweet made by @dril. It reads: IF THE ZOO BANS ME FOR HOLLERING AT THE ANIMALS I WILL FACE GOD AND WALK BACKWARDS INTO HELL Screenshot of a tweet made by @HMittelmark. It reads: With all the talk about migrating to mastodon, I'm starting picture myself as a tribal elder who realizes he has already made his last migration as he watches everyone pack up their furs and babies and earthenware pots and start traveling south ahead of the advancing glacier. Screenshot of an article thumbnail from November 2022 titled: Here's how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks GIF of a body of water. The scaffolding of a bridge briefly interrupts the shot. Photo of the author as a teenager, smiling on a sofa along with several other people Very old black and white graphic of a spiral nebulae
when i was in high school i lived near a pizza shop
it was a local chain
maybe a half-dozen stores across the region
and the closest was by the train station
it was a twelve minute walk
less on the right afternoon
when dusk would caramelise the valley
and you could skate downhill on the breeze
and the pizza was not the best
though they did an amazing garlic pizza
creamy and pungent
i later learnt from a friend who worked there
the dough for this pizza was dipped in garlic butter
before rolled out
and slathered with cheese
and more garlic
but every monday they had an all-you-can-eat-offer
for ten bucks you are given a plate
and all night pizzas are carried between tables, served by the slice
i went every other week for about three years
including for one of my birthdays
the staff brought out a 'dessert pizza'
covered in nutella and icing sugar
adorned with sparklers
it was delicious
mostly with friends
one hosted a youth radio show the same night
in a studio two blocks away that looked like someone's house from the outside
and for a time i co-hosted with him
all-you-can-eat forming a steady pre-show ritual for us both
but also sometimes alone
i would come to know the staff, who were mostly my age
i would make conversation with them between serves
and eventually went to parties with them on the weekend
always dropping by the shop on our way
scabbing a free pizza from whoever was on shift that night
in exchange for a UDL or can of Canadian Club
passed through the takeaway window
or i would people-watch
the all-you-can-eat special, cheap as it was, brought all folks
large families (kids under six ate free)
older tradies and train-workers (leathery, quiet, stacked from the bottle shop two doors up)
groups of raucous teenagers (see: me)
or simply be
this was the central pleasure of the all-you-can-eat
not just the place or the people
but what happened between the two
a meeting place
a decompression chamber
a hot and greasy sanctuary
i have been thinking about this feeling lately
with what is happening on/to/around Twitter
a website i have used every other week for about ten years
actually, as at the time of writing this i have been using it for ten years and one week
i know this because on the ten year anniversary
Twitter prompted me to tweet about it with a pre-prepared graphic
and it felt like a bad omen
and which i use for lots of reasons
making friends
like the first writer i knew around my age
who moved to Sydney at the same time i did
and who showed me what a young writer could do:
backyard readings
zine fairs
and everything that would come after
sharing my work
and in turn getting work:
many of the opportunities i've had started as a Twitter DM
when i found someone on my frequency
or they found me
and while i think my work is visible now without Twitter
i wonder about those stepping into their art
like me, five years ago
how will they be found? how will they find, now?
people watching
like at the pizza shop
it's hard to avoid being sucked into the spectacle
when someone kicks up a fuss
not always but often over very little
but I think Twitter might not be around much longer
or at least not in the same way
it is falling apart socially
my timeline is filled with people packing up their Twitter homestead
opposed to elon musk's ownership
sharing their handles for other social media sites
retweeting their favourite shitposts
saying goodbye
and infrastructurally
since i started writing this there have been mass employee lay-offs
followed by mass employee resignations
followed by increasing bugs and outages
there may be no one left to fix what has broken
i'm unsure how i feel about this
i have tried to go elsewhere
i set up a cohost account
and a mastodon account
right now both feel like blurry knock-offs
with the rough ux you usually get on smaller, noncommercial platforms
though i am trying to be forgiving
but it's not the same
and how could it be?
twitter is not a piece of software
or an online community i felt kin with
it's something messier
a meeting place
and like the pizza shop
its presence in my life is finite
after school finished my friends moved to the city
and eventually i followed them
and while the shop is still there
i can't go back there any more
i can't dwell on the past
though i am still learning this
i recently got a roll of film developed
shot while i was in high school
photos of local haunts
parties i'd forgotten
friends i haven't seen in years
these pangs are intoxicating to me
a phantom place untethered from the present
i am thinking about what's next
it's like moving cities
the places i reside on the internet shape my life
and i am weighing up the shape i want for it
a place where i am queer and safe
a place where i can find and share weird internet art