Saturday, October 08, 2005

40 minutes in Melbourne

I am out of the house on time and heading off to work. The first few blocks cover over priced ‘workers cottages’in various states of gentrification and end with the hideous sprawl of the housing commission towers. As I stride down the street I immerse myself in the pod – today a mix of The Decemberists, Theivery Corporation, a little Oasis, a touch of Frou Frou, an unexpected blast of Dusty Springfield, the delightful Rachael Yamagata and a Tony Amos/Bjork duet. The randomness of my collection often causes me to break out in laughter, especially the times tunes from ‘The Sound of Music” come up. But fortunately the playlist avoided those gems today.

I am now past the worst of the 70’s architecture and as the hill rises by the Museum, a blast of citrus blocks out the stench of passing cars. A magnificent lemon scented gum has survived the land grab for public buildings at the edge of the park and in the damp weather it smells like the bush far away. Juxtaposed to the ‘new’ museum sits the faded beauty of the exhibition building. I wonder which one will be marvelled over in another century and which considered a folly.

On the flat an older Maori man passes in a motorised wheel chair. His face is covered in an elaborate moko. In a rush of homesickness I want to stop him and ask about his tattoo. Instead my brain is sidetracked to a time I briefly worked for a government department and one of the couriers (interesting profession, considering his other job was dealing drugs), an Islander, had the most amazing traditional tat from hips to knees done not entirely with his consent as a teenager on a rugby trip home. For days they had knocked him out with local narcotics and alcohol and tapped at his skin until a third of his body was covered with the markings of his tribe.

Passing the park, a green parrot and flies over head, oblivious of the buzz of the city. At Victoria Street I run to catch the lights. Six lanes and a double tram track to cross in a ridiculously short light change. Now parliament and the Princess Theatre are in sight. Negotiate the dumb drivers not indicating their change in direction, taxis and trams running the red lights. By Bourke Street my legs are tingling a little as I speed down the hill. I can feel my hamstrings tweak from yesterdays pilates class and enjoy the novelty of “good” pain.

In Little Collins St the boutiques have not yet opened and the fashionista still absent. Those dressed for work clutch white containers of coffee and wear a distracted expression. Near the Victoria Hotel it’s easy to pick the tourists. Their clothes never quite meet the weather, nor blend in with the local attire. All seem a tad under slept, most no doubt feeling a little ripped off that the grand deco hotel they booked into was just a façade for pokey rooms, painted beige, overlooking the air shaft.

In Swanston Street the trams clang by amongst the cyclists and pedestrians. The journey is almost over and as I get into the lift to take me to my office a guy in overalls rushes in and tells me about how crazy the day is already, “Friday!” he says. The second floor is flooded, some other calamity on the fourth. But I am above all that. Now at work, I open the windows to exchange stale air, for sooty city oxygen, take off my walking shoes and start the day.


Blogger Chai said...

Hi there, Sorry to bug you but which Tori Amos/Bjork duet is this? Am assuming u meant Tori and not Tony or is there really a Tony?

5:48 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Live cover of Police - "wrapped around your finger". It's sounds like pure Tori to me, not at all Bjork-ed.

1:16 pm  
Blogger Chai said...

Thanks for the info! It's bootleg, right? Cos it's pretty hard to find.

7:35 am  
Blogger Chai said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:35 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Me know nothing about illegal recordings or peer to peer file sharing!

hmm must be time for a LIME and soda?

8:00 am  
Blogger Chai said...

Me neither.

7:09 pm  

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