Recording not Thinking in Melbourne

By | 30 June 2008

The man wearing a pink plastic nose held on by his glasses is carrying an Adelaide Writers' Festival bag. Once off the tram he lights a cigarette, cupping the nose against the wind. 'During the night, there was a TV in this wall,' my friend says, tapping with her fingers, eight storeys above Little Bourke St. There are two utes with torn lounges tied on with rope. The drivers don't want the lounges sprawling on the curb and soliciting sitters. A woman pirouettes by, pink hair for her and pink for her poodle, 'It's great to have a window to peep out of when you're exercising,' she says, and she leans into a solid yellow wall. I eat chicken noodle soup in the Mekong Caf?© and watch a samurai movie on the silent TV, Shintaro is wearing a silver nose and eye piece. Subtitles, in Chinese, too polite to mention it.

A little boy in a robot suit walks down Swanston speaking secrets to a Banksia-man microphone. A perfect Enid, a character in a story, on a tram at Flinders Station, crazed hands from a lifetime of work, left leg wrapped in bandages, doesn't have a valid ticket. Octopus tentacles soaked in olive oil, potatoes with fried chorizo, churrozo dipped in warm chocolate, we want what the woman next to us is eating. Down Collins St arm in arm. Tables crowded at Babushka's, a line of people watches us eat eggs, a performance piece, we leisurely order sour cherry strudel and a second coffee. Alice cups, stainless Balinese lotus, Madonnas with strawberries on their chest split into bamboo curtains. Gertrude St cafes that never open, a laneway full of young men in vintage checked-wool suits, a window of workbenches and animal night lights, an orange cat curls asleep in a shopfront window, maximising the weak heat of an afternoon sun-shop assistant or merchandise? A broken wok in Caledonian Lane, the cracked shell of a metal egg. A woman sits in a room above the marriage registry, three fingers on her left hand. The middle two fused-an emu's strong back foot. Meringue brides emerge from the Windsor Hotel, dresses lifted for their carriage and groom.


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