another heritage listed building, first the residence of John Batman in 1836, which then became a school house in 1839, the Princes Bridge Hotel in 1861, and then was bought by Thomas Jackson and Henry Young in 1875, where through reput it earned it’s name. Inside, Jules Joseph Lefebrve’s, Chole, purchased by Young in 1909, still hangs. Out the front and down past the McDonalds, wild eyed sorts can be found to conglomerate, and you see what happens to youths who are chewed up and spat out.
Tom sat down next to me, filthy fingernails, dirt smeared on his forehead, smiling a dentist’s nightmare. Like a wild beast I decide not to make eye contact. Tom was curious, he noticed my accent, wanted to know why I was drawing. I told him I was interested in the place and he began to make a game of easy riddles for me to answer about the area. One of his facts was that the Altona clock never worked because that line didn’t exist anymore. Seeing that I wouldn’t be able to shake him I drew his portrait while held captive. He was honoured and he posed his hand, insisting I drew it in. Tom was cross eyed and young, perhaps in his early twenties. When I finished, I showed him, and he said he looked “crazy” and so he thought it was a good resemblance. As much as he gave me a chuckle I was concerned about his growing state of enamour and the way the wind was blowing. I made excuses and crossed the street.
Before I could even get out my pencil case, James from school wandered passed. He was in his first year at university and we had never had much opportunity to speak. It was quarter to three and we sat on the steps of the cathedral till we were enveloped in shadows. He invited me to go along to the Ian Potter Museum to see Ian Strange and Mixed Tape, and so finding a friend I abandoned my post.
Meet Me Under the Clocks
It’s ten nineteen on a Tuesday morning and I am sitting in front of Flinders Street Station. A middle aged woman, with a streak of pink in her short blonde hair, tells a group of tourists about the Melbournian colloquialism “meet me under the clocks” or “meet me on the steps”. The iconic building’s architectural mix was designed by J. W. Fawcett and H. P. C. Ashworth, rail employees, who won the 500 pound design competition in 1889. The main stairs that faces onto the corner of Swanston and Flinders St is lined with a row of clocks for each train line. Each clock is set stopped at the line’s next departure time. Overheard the largest clock silently ticks through its revolutions.
The passengers, like spawning salmon, diverge around me and down the steps into the streets. Claimed as the busiest station in the southern hemisphere, the intersection’s lights are pressure valves; releasing the bursting pedestrian traffic. In anticipation of the day, my memory echoes a half complaint my mother once made of my grandmother. “You can never go anywhere with her! A trip to town takes hours because she knows everyone in the street!” As a socially awkward child I often mused what it would be like to be so well known. It wasn’t fame that had interested me, it was the sense of place in a community. Now eleven years here, in a city with a population of 4.25 million, with a train station that sees over 150,000 people pass through it each day, I shone with the expectation of a familiar face.
Trams rattle past. Shoes tap lightly up and down. Two school girls laugh and chat. A blind woman waits, face turned to the sun. A young Indian gentleman paces in circles, handing out flyers. A girl, two handrails away, on the same step, looks up from her book to check her phone. The sun pushes through the hazy clouds over top of a spire of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Brown, grey, Melbournian black coats dance endlessly with flashes of red and blue sweaters. And I wonder about the disused ballroom that is secreted in the building behind me.
“Counting My Blessings”
So I have completed my bachelor’s in fine art…
Leading up to the graduate exhibition I was overwhelmed by what this final piece would represent. How would I summarize these last three years of my life? How could a single object reflect everything that I had learned?
The more I thought about my research into what it means to be human, the more I thought about the actual experience of art school. I thought about all the people who taught me, how they taught me, and what they taught me, and how much joy was given to me by these people. Yes, there were frustrations and sorrows also, but hadn’t these things taught me to grow as well?
The desk exists like the institution. It is a foundation, it is a space, it is similar to all other desks. Except. Except like other desks it becomes marred through use. This desk differs from that desk because of what impacts it. These markings is what makes this desk unique. And so we, in realizing ourselves, must be grateful for the impressions that have made us unique. We are only the sum of those interactions.
Gratitude is a fine thing. It reminds us how lucky we are. It reminds us and others of their importance in our lives. It is a measure of humility and a source of social strength.
I am grateful. I am grateful for you who have taught me, nurtured me, angered me, and amused me. I hold a piece of each of you inside my being, you make me more myself than I could ever do alone.
beneath his everyday skin made of tissue and blood,
is the thrumming hive of downtown Tokyo,
revolving disco lights,
Where I sat was, once upon a time, the Municipal Fish Market, from 1860 to 1891. Starting in 1901 they laboured till 1910 and spent an estimated 514,000 pounds; blowing budgets to complete the station. And from some preliminary searches on the web, it looks like another transformation maybe on way. HASSELL, Herzog and de Meuron, along with Purcell heritage consultants from the UK have won another competition for its re-design. Things change. I wonder if the earth was conscious would it find our developments much like I find these salmon travellers that wash around me?
Hours pass of making recordings. I am waiting for life to happen to me. I am still like the site. I note the comings and goings to see what will eventuate.
Dozens of friends greet and embrace while I watch on, when finally I feel eyes! A young ponytailed girl is glancing over my shoulder at my scribbled attempts to catch the life that waits on the steps. I smile encouragingly, invitingly, provokingly to her; breaking my rules of detachment. “Looks like it’s coming along good!” She smiles. I ask her a dozen questions. Maddy’s in grade nine on an outing to the War Memorial with her history class, and it’s lunch break. She’s called away, her break is over, I am again anonymous in the crowd.
I reposition myself to see the façade of the building and I smell Tom coming before he even approaches. He begins his chat with a lady next to me, and I catch the tail end of his monologue asking her whether she’s got a boyfriend or a girlfriend, a wife or a husband. I am filled with a sense of dread.
Part of my fascination and repulsion with this intersection is its commonness. On the west side of the street, which has Young and Jacksons and the station, there is certainly a mix. And while I feel pretty safe around Flinders entrance, with a police kiosk less than twenty meters away, I am unsure about loitering just across the road. The Young and Jackson is