Daily Archives: 13 November 2021

500 people: Week 39

See this post for a brief description of my 500 People challenge.

This has been the second week of the Sydney Film Festival, at one session of which I found myself seated next to the chap from encounter Nº 14 in my last post in this series (link here). We took up our conversation where we’d left off. But there were more new encounters, most of them fleeting.

1. Sunday morning 7 November, we came across a ‘cupboard house’ in the park near our place. Someone has created this prototype shelter for a homeless person from a discarded cupboard, put it up in our park and asked for feedback on Insta at old.butstillgood. We were admiring it when another person arrived, ready for a chat. Once we’d negotiated the awkward ideological difference – he said, ‘There aren’t any homeless really,’ a comment which we ignored – we admired the handiwork, opened the cupboard door together, and commented on basic bedding inside. We swapped news about the shameful amount of old furniture going to waste, and also about what each of us had noticed about homeless people who live in the park and their complex relationships to authority.

Photo by Penny Ryan

2. Tuesday. During the Sydney Film Festival, the Emerging Artist and I are making sure we get some exercise by walking to most of our films – abut a 90 minute walk when the movie is on in the city. On this morning, a little before 9 am, we met a woman carrying a small child – school age, but no older than seven – pietà-like, except that the child was struggling and the woman was doing her best to run. As she approached us she was saying to the child, ‘If you knock me over we’ll be late.’ She then noticed us, and we must have both looked we’ve-been-there friendly. She rolled her eyes in mock despair, or maybe real but good-natured despair, and hurried on her way.

3. Friday morning, I met the young man who had constructed the cupboard house we saw on Monday. He was taking it apart in the yard of a block of flats near the park. It turned out that the Council had emailed instructing him to remove it, he had wheeled it to this small concrete yard, where it had attracted the indignant attention of the landlord who demanded its immediate removal. As it happened, someone was sleeping in it at the time and rain was pouring down, so he – the creator – insisted on waiting until this morning to remove it. He said that someone had slept in it every night it was in the park, and that a small group of uni students had used it as a drinking and smoking room, burning a hole in the tarp while the homeless man was outside. I made generally sympathetic noises: he has no illusions that his little project is a solution to homelessness, but it has provided shelter to one man for several nights, and may have some kind of future.

4. Again on Friday morning, back in the sauna, where before the last lockdown there was a limit of three people at a time, now the limit is two. When I arrived there was one other man there. I said, ‘You have to be lucky with your timing these days.’ Neither of us was keen for a proper conversation, but we agreed that it was odd that the limit had been decreased, speculated on the reasons and agreed that the regulation was likely to be ignored anyhow. A little later, a third man joined us. All three of us sat in total silence for about 90 seconds, and hen the left. ‘Typical,’ my new friend said. ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘no stamina.’ ‘And no regard for the rules,’ he said. And we went back into our separate sweatinesses.

5. Saturday, again on our way to the Film Festival, we stopped for breakfast at Zenius, a little cafe in Chippendale. It’s a rare treat for us to have breakfast out, especially in Covid times, and we both breakfasts were excellent – an avo and mash and a granola with fruit pieces.Our host/waiter was a bit taken aback by the enthusiastic praise we heaped on him and his cook. He asked if we lived nearby, and we responded that sadly no, we were just passing through, walking to town from Marrickville.

Running total is 247.

November verse 5.5: Découpé

The découpé, or more prosaically the cut-up and remix, is pretty much self-explanatory. According to Wikipedia, it’s ‘an aleatory literary technique in which a written text is cut up and rearranged to create a new text’. It was invented by Dadaist Tristan Zara who drew words out of a hat. William S. Boroughs Junior made it his own by cutting and folding pages of text (a fact that explains the incomprehensibility of the only Burroughs novel I’ve read). Boroughs evidently saw T S Eliot’s The Wasteland as a precursor to the technique.

I baulk at aleatory (that is, determined by the throw of a dice), so here is a découpé from a story on today’s front page. I printed out the article, cut up the first column, drew words and phrases out of a bowl, then did a little fiddling. I didn’t add any words and if any dropped out it was by accident.

Découpé: I want to be a featist

From Sydney Morning Herald 13 November 2021:
'PM pushes business to lead charge on climate' 

Before adopting the de-industrialists'
record of world history, I have confidence we can solve
other crises with the Herald and the investors
and the entrepreneurs and foreign leaders 
who say, 'Mr Morrison will be very ruined.'

In the interview based on the 
way next year's same scientists said to pitch
and the risk election responded 
to change: 'Mr Morrison, the world will beat
climate activists I'm warned.'
'We'll all be sharpening against his regulation.'
He believes this and it has solved this. 

Climate takers re-said that smart upbeat voters 
supported much more by the track, by poll 
and attitudes of featists.