Category Archives: Around Marrickville

Couplets refusing to be enraged

Young man, who tore down Lord Street on your bike
and called my love a deaf old ugly dyke
because her body occupied a space
you wanted to traverse at lycra pace
(though you’d admit it was a narrow path
designed for walkers), you whose noisy wrath
resounded once you’d left her in your wake
until the lights at King Street made you brake,
you know, I’ve nothing much to say to you
except perhaps, Yah sucks bum piss, dog poo
and pubic hair. Our guava tree meanwhile
drops fruit as if it’s going out of style.
The tree won’t read this rhyme, nor I suppose
will you. Your droppings are a lot more on the nose.*


* Though I love the smell of guavas, other people say that to them it’s like a cross between vomit and excrement.

Based on a true story

To the driver who didn’t stop
OK, you slowed enough to see that
she was staggering but not dead
before you drove off. You’ll agree that
women crossing when the red
is flashing shouldn’t be run over
but then today I guess you drove a
little careless. Neither light
nor traffic bade you not turn right,
and if she’d taken one step further
or been a child for goodness sake
of course you would have hit the brake.
It’s not as if you’ve done a murder.
The bruises where you hit will mend.
Sleep well at night. Go safe, my friend.

MOST mattress

The Marrickville Mattress Poet put in an appearance as part of the Marrickville Open Studio Trail on the weekend. This homage to Magritte was part of the Fairy Alley exhibition.

Mattress

Art theft in Enmore

A little over a month ago, I noticed a suspicious looking object on the pedestrian island just out the front of our house. It looked like a discarded shoe, but not quite. On closer inspection it revealed itself to be a Will Coles sculpture.

IMG_1187In case you can’t quite read it, the text on the sole of this cement shoe is ‘forgotten’, making it an elegant addition to the scattering of cement objects in our suburbs reminding us of our fragility, and the fragility of our environment.

But ‘forgotten’ wasn’t meant to last. To tell the truth I’d forgotten all about it until a car collected the barriers on the island on the weekend. Only then did I notice that all that remained of the sculpture was a stark shoeprint:

shoeprintThe shoe was gone before the barrier was knocked down.The barrier will be replaced in a week or so. The sculpture is now a prized – and prised – possession of a private art collector.

Who to vote for?

We have NSW state elections coming up in a little over a month. I live in the newly created electoral seat of Newtown. If I were to decide my vote purely on the basis of advertising campaigns, there’s no competition.

This is from the Greens candidate, Jenny Leong:

And from the Labor candidate, Penny Sharpe:

Notice that the Greens candidate talks about policy in a range of areas, she talks about the nature of the electorate, and when she talks about herself it’s to tell us about her relevant experience. The Labor ad, on the other hand, is all about personality. Penny Sharpe supports same-sex marriage, and presumably can be counted on to be a staunch ALP member: the ALP as a friendship group rather than a machine. She is liked by her parliamentary colleagues and other friends who use empty words of praise, as friends do. As for the crack about her knowing bus timetables: um, would that have survived into a video about a male candidate?

The Liberal Party is fielding a candidate, Rachael Wheldall, but I couldn’t find a video.

Marrickville’s phantom mattress poet(s), Part 2

It’s 20 months since I posted about Marrickville’s mattress poetry. This morning wandering through the back lanes on my way home from the library, I saw not one but two more examples, these ones initialled by the poet, and I read them as a sequence:

Mattress sprung

Mattress roses

The sequence was made doubly poignant by the meaty smell that filled the lane as I took this photo – a man was hefting carcases from a refrigerated truck with ‘Lamb from the Wiradjuri Country’ emblazoned on its side.

Chokoes

When we were in New Caledonia recently, a generous hostess who was an excellent cook sang the praises of a fruit that we eventually figured out was the humble choko. I’m sorry I’ve forgotten the French, and my translating app is no help. We were delighted to tell her we knew a lot about chokoes, that once they had festooned many outside lavatories in suburban Sydney and elsewhere, but now suburban choko vines were largely a thing of the past.

Imagine my pleasure when I was walking the dog in an unfamiliar lane and saw this:

choko vine

Hundreds of them, ripe for the picking. I sent a photo to my New Caledonian friend. The next day in the supermarket a couple of hundred yards from the vine, I saw this:chokos2

It makes you wonder how much else is there for the taking all around us that someone has convinced us to pay good money for.

Will Coles

Will Coles’s works are probably seen and enjoyed by more people on a daily basis than those of any other sculptor. It’s not that crowds line up to see them, although he has been exhibited in galleries, but you might happen to look down while waiting for traffic lights or standing at a bus stop, and there will be a donut baring its teeth at you, or a squashed softdrink can inscribed with the word ‘Eternity’ in Arthur Stace script, or a mobile phone labelled ‘Hate’.

If you’re not familiar with his work, have a look at Mr Will on Flickr, and/or visit his web site. What I’ve been noticing is the way his work has been defaced – in Marrickville, Enmore, Newtown and as far afield as Surry Hills. In the video interview from Virtual Press Office below, he talks about this as part of the game, but sometimes it creates interesting new effects. The main damage to his work seems to come from would-be collectors and other street artists (or would-be artists). Could this be saying something more general about art in this society?

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Street Plaque near the Brett Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills. An image of the intact work is here.

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An undefaced Sweet Tooth in the back streets of Marrickville.

IMG_0846 - Version 2

Man-Made at a bus stop in Enmore Road. A would-be collector was defeated by the glue and left us with a relic. There’s a photo of an unmutilated piece here.

Finite1

Finite, outside the Newtown police station. From this angle it looks pretty much untouched, except of course for the tags on its top.

Finite2

But here it is from the other side. Not just the graffitists, but another street artist with a distinctive lettering style have used the sculpture as their canvas. Not so bad really: it just changes the image from white-goods consumerism to tacky laundromat.

Work

Someone tried to acquire this Work, also near the Newtown police station, but the glue defeated them.

laissez faire in situ

Here’s a patch of wall just off Enmore Road that’s been liberally covered with posters and graffiti. Hidden beneath the layers is a Will Coles sculpture.

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Voilà! The piece is entitled Laissez Faire, but its comment on larcenous capitalism is a bit lost when it has been chipped at and buried in red paint.

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The spectacular mural on the corner of Phillip and Gladstone Streets, Enmore. The owner of the wall welcomes street artists, asking them only to avoid the entrance to his place of business. These artists have impressively given due deference to the Will Coles work that was there before them.
IMG_0848

A detail from the mural showing Laissez Faire, and also the damaged smaller Coles work, Tag, to its left.

Here’s the video from Virtual Press Office:

Sonnet for the doomed figs on the south-west corner of Enmore Park

November’s nearly here and with it my personal challenge of writing 14 sonnets in the month. Thanks to the rise in global temperature, Sydney’s jacarandas are flowering early: in a spirit of solidarity with them and other tress, here’s an early sonnet, inspired by a sign in Enmore Park:

construction

Improvement works are scheduled to commence
in our park soon, and if spring rains allow
will be complete by New Year’s Day. Immense
dark witness figs, gnarled amputees, are now
assessed as low performers or high risks
against criteria on Council’s disks.
They’re ugly, idle, falling bits could kill
a child or dog, and that’s a lawyer’s thrill.

This great construction project will proceed.
Remove, chop, mulch, rope off and rectify
by chainsaw, shredder, backhoe and the sigh
of paperwork. It’s progress. Figs don’t bleed.
Dear residents, though patience may be strained,
the park’s geometry must be maintained.

Evanescent park art

A while back I wrote a couple of posts about shoes abandoned or carefully posed in the streets near my place. Well, we’re moving on to other accessories.  Or rather, one accessory, which seems to be moving around Enmore Park when no one is watching. I’ve seen this glove a number of times, in a number of places, but only snapped it twice.

Here it is, pretending to be a leaf:

glove

And here, skewered:

glove2