Born dead

My Sunday morning walk took me under the Chinchen Street bridge and past Islington Public School, a regular leg-stretch that satisfies Jambo’s need to charge around and annoy the birdlife. He stopped halfway through the bridge; as I have to stoop to get under without banging my head I almost didn’t see what it was he’d paused to inspect. Then I saw it: a pigeon’s egg.

Is there anything more perfect in its form and execution than an egg?

Sometimes my backyard chooks get caught short and pop one out under the lamandera, or even on the bare dirt. I can only assume that that’s what happened here to one of the flock that broods on the stanchions under the bridge. Jambo tried to carry it home in his mouth but he’s no retriever. I need not tell you how this story ended.

That afternoon I had a lovely walk with POAS. We’d been communicating back and forth for some time but it took until Sunday for the planets to align and for us to actually get together. I always enjoy creek walking with new people; it opens my eyes afresh to the place. No matter how observant you intend being your senses inevitably deaden to the little things, and a new person’s shock and revulsion at the stench of pollution leaking from the gasworks is a good kick up the bum.

We did a Grand Tour of some of POAS’s works in the area, many of them dating back a decade or more. It was fascinating to have all my questions answered and POAS was very generous with his explanations, satisfying all the typical dumb queries that your average middle-aged gentleman of a certain demographic is likely to ask, such as “Why?”

We had a look at some of the Next Gen’s work too, in the old admin building.

Street art and graffiti has become a recognised (almost sanctioned) rite of passage for young men and it’s remarkable to think that POAS started in a pre-Banksian world in which it was a reviled criminal activity.  We talked about “olden days” graffiti, which to me (and, as it turns out, POAS’s mum) was always either sporting or political in nature. Probably the first graffito that I remember is this one:

It followed Barrow AFC’s Friday night victory over Fulham in the (old) Division 3 and for one night Barrow was top of the division. This was 1967 (I think, or thereabouts); within five years we were kicked out of the league. Should you ever find yourself in Barrow I believe that the words are still just and so visible on the Holker Street end.

The other kind of graffiti, the political kind, stretched from the local (anti-Trident submarine stuff in Barrow, or pro-miners’ strike, or anti-Thatcher) to the huge Ulster murals. Though I’m not sure if they count as graffiti at all. Do they? The first one I remember seeing in Australia, when I first arrived, was up near Balmain Leagues Club. It read something like “John Pat dead five cops go free” or similar. I didn’t understand it for quite a while, and even now 16-year-old John Pat’s death is but one forgotten footnote in the long history of deaths in custody.

Walking back up towards New Lambton we came across this little doodle, a spray-painting dinosaur. Cute, and made us both smile.

Then back home. POAS and I traded – a book for a print – and now I’ve added this beautiful artwork, titled “Born dead”, to the rogue’s gallery in my office, along with the other traded and gifted Styx Creek-related ephemera that’s filled my life since the book hit the bookshops.

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5 Responses to Born dead

  1. Vicki says:

    I have taken an interest in POAS’s work too as one of his artworks is on my back fence.

  2. Vicki says:

    POAS, if you are reading this, I’d really like the artwork on my fence finished off, I live in Adamstown, you know where, the fence is in a laneway, and it looks good but could look awesome! Drop in for a cuppa this time.

  3. P. says:

    Hello Vicki. Not sure i do know where you are. Unfortunately you are not the only person in Adamstown who’s fence has fallen victim to shameless self promotion.

    I have read your bike riding blog and you dont strike me as someone who would set me up with a cup of arsenic tea but due to the nature of said artwork and its unfortunate placement on your fence i remain skeptical as to whether or not there may be a hidden agenda in relation to your wanting to meet me..

    Please excuse my paranoia.

    • Vicki says:

      Hi POAS, my offer of a cuppa was meant as a goodwill offering, to extend the hand of friendship & gratitude upon asking for you to complete the artwork. It is up to you whether you accept of course. Either way, it would be lovely for you to do some more work on it but also fine if you choose not to, I admire your work all over the town. I live off Brunker Rd, behind a white solicitor’s office. I have met Mark, the author of this blog, and while it was a brief meeting, he may be able to attest to my good character on that occasion at least.

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