I had a few meetings in the city yesterday and caught a train for the first time in years. Here were some of my thoughts.
I'm on a train to the city winding on tracks that echo with the sights from my young manhood. Past graffiti spattered walls and fences, some with elaborate paintings, others with tags like mythz, serv, zent and fable. Most of these done with spray cans but the oldest daubed in paint like vosko and "Free Zarb" have been there viewed by train travelers since the days of the red rattlers more than 30 years ago. Zarb was gaoled in the 1960's as a draft dodger.
The river of backyards, rubble strewn factories and blackberry choked chainlink fences haven't changed all that much in three decades. All strangely familiar. The graffiti hints of hidden after dark lives, lived outside society's mainstream, the over abundant use of chrome paint perhaps an indication of the ruin to come.
On the train in front of me is a mother with a late teenage daughter; both a little overweight, mum telling daughter that she was wearing the exact same junmper she had seen on someone else a few days ago.
In front of them was a group of four young blokes in fluro t-shirts and with big hair reminiscent of the Bay City Rollers. I wonder if they've ever heard of that group or if the thought of looking like an eighties Scottish gay icon boy band would disturb them at all.
There are few men in suits - ths was the 8:58 from Tecoma and way too late for most office workers, but there is one head shaven guy in a pinstriped suit talking on a mobile phone. I smile as I get a memory of an ex-partner in the police force who returned from a trip to Bali with two tailor made suits he said were the latest in European fashion - one was aubergine in colour the other had horizontal pinstripes; he only wore the once.
Sitting at Camberwell Station for a few minutes, a young girl behind me with an ipod turned up way too loud sat urging the train to "come on" obviously late for an appointment.
Unlike 30 years ago their is a preponderance of mobile phones and people engaged in loud conversations oblivious to the fact that they are revealing snippets of private lives to all and sundry.
To my left is a man with a very bad toupee and in front of him an old guy in a 1970's two stripe tracksuit top wearing a black fedora. There was a lady with lips that were way too dark and in front of her a woman with an obviously deaf companion because everyone in the carriage was able to hear what she was saying.
After Richmond Station I couls see the cranes in Olympic Park above the building site of the new rugby and soccer stadium slowly taking shape. The MCG looms above the railway line completely rebuilt since the mid-1970's with only the light towers, the battle ground of greenies and building workers who tried to prevent there construction, left as they were circa 1980.
Before I knew it I was disembarking in the City. The old Museum Station renamed Melbourne Central in homage to the commercial precinct rather than the cultural since the museum moved to Carlton. I used to know every inch of those city streets when I was a young policeman on foot patrol but it struck me that not a lot has changed over the years. There are still hordes of people including kids who I thought should have been back at school.
The Hare Krishnas still walk around banging drums and cymbals chanting incomprehensible but strangely tuneful songs. It occurred to me that I've never seen an old Hare Krishna proving that they have either discovered the Fountain of Youth or that as you get older, you get wiser and leave.
Between meetings I spent a couple of hours testing out a new camera lens. For those interested it's a Tamron 18-250 zoom and here are some results which I hope show my town in a light different to what you normally see.
For those of a more technical bent I use a Canon 30D and capture the images in RAW before converting them with Rawshooters Essential to JPEGS. I shot at 1000 ISO. The lens performed well with very fast focusing and the range is impressive. The photo of the detail of the lions head was taken at the 250mm extension and the photo immediately below it from exactly the same spot at 18mm.