And it’s goodnight from him

24/04/2016

Last post for a while, as I’m off to Lightning Ridge. There’ll be a new blog, and I’ll put a redirect in when it starts. Till then, goodbye from me.

And goodbye from him.

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But, if you’re desperate, you can find my new blog here.


f8 and be there

08/04/2016

That’s the quote attributed to Arthur WeeGee Fellig and, though most snappers these days wouldn’t know an f-stop from a developing tray, the last two words still apply. It was certainly the case this afternoon when Lachlan was making the cycle ride home along bumpy Clyde Street and got the pleasant surprise of a little bit of SteamFest.

steam train clyde street

For the real steam heads there’s a snippet of video too, here.

Of course, if Lachlan’s dream of a more picturesque cycleway was ever realised he’d miss out on things like this, which just goes to show. Huh?


Why cap everyone?

03/04/2016

I’ve written recently about the tiny war happening down the drain between the various paint artists. There are literally miles and miles of concrete on which to paint and yet everyone tends to congregate in the same places, particularly under bridges. The result is the phenomenon known in this subterranean world as “capping”: painting over someone else’s spray or roll-up.

The gigantic POAS and CUBE roll-ups are now almost completely invisible, though some scholar of the art has acknowledged this loss.

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I came across a group at work on the weekend. They were, of course, not keen on having their photos taken. (I took this afterwards, after we’d talked.)

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I also took a few close-ups, and we had a wee chat about things in general.

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When I came past this evening I noticed the finished work, and the plea by SEKEM.

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I can’t help but agree: why cap? It always seems to be the worst painters who do the capping. Is it simply the territorial nature of an art from borne of tagging and transgression? Or juvenile high jinks? It’s beyond me.


A coincidence

01/04/2016

Okay, so it’s April Fool’s Day, but I did not deliberately set out post about Jemena’s clean up of the gasworks site on this day. It is a coincidence!

Jemena held a community information session at the Hamilton North Bowling Club on Tuesday. There was food, so how could I not go?

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The guys from GHD were there, and people from another organisation with a name made up of letters, something like AJC&P. Why do organisations do that? They’re impossible to remember. Or maybe (dons paranoia hat) that’s the point! I’ll call them Acme Productions for easiness.

Anyway, everyone I spoke to was helpful and informative. Michael and Melissa from GHD and Beatrice from Acme Productions were able to answer all of my rambling questions. (“Hmm. I think you’ve actually asked me three questions there. I’ll try to pick them apart for you.”)

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As well as tote bags and spring rolls and meat pies (note to caterers: give up making sandwiches. I know you’ve got to provide a “healthy alternative” but no one’s eating them) there were displays with process flow charts and details on remediation options.

As I’ve said before, I believe that everyone in that room is genuinely doing their best to achieve the best outcome. The cynic in me can’t be quelled though. I know what happens when the men in suits get together. It’s simply a function of bureaucracies, from CSIRO to universities to the RTA.

But there will be an outcome. At some point in the not-too-distant future the gasworks will be much, much less dirty and polluted than it is now. And it’ll be on-sold for some other purpose: storage units, transport hub, Chinese funfair. Should I be happy with this? I know I never will be as I have other ambitions for that whole area, ambitions that will remain unrealised because no one would make a zac from it.

As an aside, the only people I don’t get to meet at Jemena’s open sessions are the people from Jemena. They tend to huddle by themselves while the folk from GHD and Acme Productions do the leg work and the talky stuff. Come on, guys: mingle!

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The major outcome from the evening was the fancy-schmantzy cap I got in my tote bag. I can now retire my much-loved but distressingly knackered Oxford University cap to the bin.

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I’m not a spokesman for a community or in any way representative of anything other than my own nosiness. And so, as ever, I wait. And watch.

Happy April, everyone.


The olden days

31/03/2016

A couple of nice pictures that came my way recently.

The first was forwarded via Lost Newcastle; it’s a 1940s plan of what could happen with a dammed Styx, somehow creating a “canal living” experience around the TAFE.

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The second was through the amazing University of Newcastle Cultural Collections. It’s a picture of the “new” rail bridge across the Styx from, I think, 1909.

Styx Creek rail bridge

This bridge was itself replaced (according to the plaque on the southern side) in 2003; this would be when the central concrete support pillar was put in place, which must have been very reassuring for rail passengers.

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I’m not very good at that “historic overlay” thing, but you get the idea.

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Healthy food for all

13/03/2016

Yum!

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It must be good: it’s an Australian Government Initiative!

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Ugly rainbows

10/03/2016

They come and go in the gasworks: trucks, utes, men in hi-viz. Things are happening, and though we all got a letter from Jemena in the post I found it to be uninformative and only allowing them to tick the “engaging with community” box on the KPIs.

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You know what would work better than a website or newsletters? A blackboard at the gate upon which the contractors write who they are and what they’re doing that day. Easy.

Meanwhile, over the fuel depot, not much at all is going on. Which is a worry because, with this lovely warm weather, any material that increases in viscosity and mobility is taking the opportunity to move around the water table. At the edge of the beck there’s a permanent residue of emulsified oily byproducts that seeps out from beneath a crack in the creek bed.

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When the sun is at the right angle you can see a rainbow scudding across the surface of the water as the fuel (or whatever it is) leaches downstream.

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Rainbows are supposed to be pretty. This one is so very, very ugly.


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