Nov 28, 2009

The Prancing Bitch

I will admit it to you, dear reader; I am homeless. My beloved flat of ten years was sadly in need of renovations and richer, more respectable tenants ... according to the owner. So I have been looking for somewhere new to set up my desk, my bowed bookshelves, my mismatched teacups for 3 months. To this end, while thunderstorms threatened I wandered the streets of Footscray yesterday in search of a block of flats without;
a) two mattresses moulderating on the footpath
b) cracked and crumbling letterboxes with unclaimed, and perhaps never to be claimed letters carefully placed in holes in the brickwork.
c) a tasteful desert garden complete with dead palms and rocks just the right size for youthful hands
d) a certain smell; a meaty sort of decay, mixed with orange peel and motor oil
e) abandoned shopping trolleys.

You will not be surprised to learn I was unsuccessful.

Dejected, and nearly purple with heat stress I repaired to a most promising looking Cafe; The Dancing Dog. It was in an old building, overlooked the railway line and advertised itself as a gallery/cafe: what could be more loverly?
As a vagabond I must pay for the privilege of sitting down. If I don't want to be harassed by insects, drunks or babies, my choices are public transport, eatinghouses, Libraries, theatres. Sitting on the street or in a park leaves a woman liable to unkind comments and unwanted attention; take my word for it as a lifelong public wanderer.
'We only got teabags, so it wont be a pot of tea' the dreadlocked shortie advises me. What choice do I have, having already drunk two glasses of filtered water and found a spot in the coolest darkest room in which to collapse? When it comes, a teabag in a mug, the only thing that distinguishes it from Public Service teabreak is the fact that the mug doesn't have a witty saying on it, like 'you don't have to be a snooty bitch to work here, but it helps'.
The Enemy of the Bourgoisie says when she sees my expression 'don't do me no favours; you don't have to have it if you don't want it'. I say 'how much am I paying for this?'
'$3.00' she says.
I say 'milk?' I don't know what face I am making, but its the one that has made people be rude to me all day.
When she brings it she comments,'perhaps you've had a bad day, or are you just one of those naturally grumpy people?'.
I say 'a bit of both actually, especially when I receive bad service'... but she has turned away, and to show her distain turns up the Reggae on the stereo and sings along.
The tea and the muffin are both unconsumable, and she begins mopping the floors with some noxious and noisesome substance, and my base temperature having gone down by a degree I wander out, $6.50 poorer.

Oct 8, 2009

Sep 28, 2009

Places in Melbourne to be Alone

Melbourne is so crowded, and at this time of year everyone seems to be wearing a brightly coloured scarf and a blooming red face; it is obvious that some sporting events are coming to a conclusion. Therefore it is even more important to find some solitude, some places (within walking distance of public transport) to be with oneself, and not screaming boofheads.

The North Melbourne Railbridge
This bridge between the Metropolitan platforms and the railyards is often deserted, but the best time to visit is dawn on a cloudy Tuesday; a vista of Industrial Melbourne opens up before one. Both the Bolte and the Westgate bridges, freight yards, the bustle of interstate rail, and a weak sun lightly touching the stunted weeds.

The End of Platform 2A at Southern Cross Station
Especially on a rainy Sunday. This Vicrail platform pokes out from under the wave-like roof at SthnCrss and into trainspottingland; I missed 2 trains yesterday watching shunting engines and departing intercountry trains. I found it very restful.

Point Gellibrand Coastal Heritage Park in a Howling South Westerly Gale
I went to Williamstown to look at the sea and walk about in the wind to give my melancholy a more romantic and picturesque aspect and was nearly blown back to Newport. Point Gellibrand has a long and sordid history and I was the only one there to enjoy it.

After that I went into the 'nice' bit of Willietown and managed to find an unpretentious cafe to have tea and cake. I was warm and tired and needed only a pot of English Breakfast and a muffin to make me happy; this is why we subject ourselves to physical stresses. My anxious heart was soothed by struggling against the freezing wind and by watching the boiling sea.

Aug 6, 2009

Outside my Window


Obviously I spend a lot of my time in Cafes. When not reading (or complaining) I am watching people. Alright! I am ogling the serving personnelle. Those who annoy me particularly might find themselves in my sketchbook; or maybe if they merely intrigue me I might draw them. But perhaps I draw comely waitresses to assert that I too matter, even tho I am not comely, or rich, or even very nice to those who serve me bad cups of tea.

Apr 19, 2009

A Tram

Last night I drew this tram; a combination of a Melbourne Z class and a Brisbane tram from the 50's. Some evenings when I see my tram (the 55) going through the Royal Park it is possible to forget the sordid insides and boring passengers and imagine it is a fairy carriage twinkling through the trees.
I think I will make this picture (not quite as romantic as I intended) a cover illo for a guide to an imaginary city.

Apr 18, 2009


Now that it is Autumn, finally, I am remembering that my city used to be blanketed by fog at this time of year. In my childhood the whole street would gather up the fallen leaves from the European trees and set fire to them. In my mind there is a picture of small columns of smoke from smoldering fires all along the gutter; so perhaps the 'fog' was actually smog.
I still miss it.

Apr 9, 2009

Linden Postcard Show

Yesterday I was cheered by a delivery of about 100 postcards from Linden of my image of a wasp girl (very like the one below). The trams are small and smelly and rattle past like abandoned factories on wheels, full of selfish, miserable, ugly zombi, the busses are bursting with noisy children who have never been told how to behave in a confined space; every day I dry my hair with diesel fumes, and there is no truce in the war between me and my neighbours... but at least I have some nice postcards to give to my friends.

Apr 5, 2009


Tea is a marvellous drink, but occasionally one needs something stronger. I did these drawings for a Fringe Festival exhibition last year called 'Ugly, Drunk & Stupid' which also had many of Melbourne's Comix creators.