Today, I joined throngs of people in a packed courtroom to hear Justice Stephen Hall deliver his verdict on the Claremont Serial Killer trial.
I was there because, like many Perth women, I had a score to settle.
Watch: The Claremont Serial Killer trial. Post continues below.
In 1995, I drove my shitbox car with the broken antenna and overheating radiator straight out of Rockingham and into a share house in Swanbourne, 45 minutes away.
It was a swanky beachside suburb in the Golden Triangle, right on the border of even swankier Claremont, where the lawyers and surgeons and finance guys drank scotch and ate smoked salmon blinis. My childhood stomping ground was dubbed Heroin Town at the time. It was a new world.
There were four of us bunking down in that hovel, which was on the demolition list. Until then, us schmucks would call it home. The 1930s cottage was crumbling and ant-riddled, with no real locks and come-rob-me louvres.
My little asbestos den set me back $50 a week, including electricity. Jammed in that boiling sleepout with an ever-whirring fan, I was happy as a pig in poo. I was almost 19, with lofty dreams of being a magazine writer, and the freedom was heady.
With no frontal lobes between us, we relished in that grotty, carefree pocket between childhood and adulting. Jars of Dolmio dumped on spirals and covered in cheese. Cream dumped on spirals and covered in cheese. Cereal. More cereal. KFC. Maccas 30 cent cones. Booze - so much booze. Pot brownies that ended in laughter or tears. We got porkier and spottier.
There was no weekend in our world. We moshed to Custard and Regurgitator at the Swanny Hotel. We danced at Club Bay View and lined up for Sunday sessions at the Conti in Claremont.
We set out on foot, cobbling along in our platform espadrilles, because we were poor and scoring a taxi in Perth was largely an exercise in futility. We didn’t have mobile phones. They were only for rich people, and the size of large bricks. Besides, walking home alone on a balmy night felt as natural as breathing. This was Perth.