Looking at the posting dates, I see that it has been nearly 6 months since the last. I descended into a pit of work-related anxiety, and now — well, it’s not that I have overcome the anxiety; more that I am getting sick of it, and need to do something else.
I’ve been out of my depth at work since I started, but in volunteering to write a particular document, I bit the bullet of learning enough about the things we do to be able to explain it to other who were starting from the same position as me. And a serious case of lead poisoning I developed.
At about the time of my last post — the last post before this resurrection, that is — my workplace shifted from the city to West End. The move itself should not have been a problem. I love West End, and I enjoy being able to walk through it at lunch time, heading for a cheap feed: a couple of tandoori chicken wings and a vege samosa at the Indian Kitchen; a piece of grilled mullet with salt and pepper from George’s; a potato and chicken filo triangle with a couple of felafel from KingAhiram’s; a small selection of sushi; a quarter of roasted chicken and a banana from Coles. And on the way the characters of West End, doomed like the End itself, to gradual extinction by the encroaching Off-Central Business District.
I work above the “new” Melbourne Hotel (The Best End of West End). It’s another depressing clone of an up-market pub/club/eatery, but, being on the site of the “old” Melbourne, at risk of attracting some of the “old” clientele. So for months I have run the gauntlet the black-clad goons on the footpath outside the pub. Not that the old clientele would have stayed. The price of a drink of the house goon was prohibitive; so prohibitive that it was a threat to the new clientele, so the management lowered the price after a week or two, explaining that they were obliged to offer a lower quality tipple, because of complaints about the price. Sniff.
The security has thinned out somewhat. On the way home tonight, as I passed the entrance to The Oasis (home of the pokies) a bloke in a yellow work jacket was coming out, and the usual guard was absent. Can pretensions be so fragile?
Albert Speer seems to be the fashionista of choice for the eatery clone studios — black-shirts are everywhere. I suppose it lends something of the distinction of the SS to these modest establishments. A touch of silver wouldn’t go astray, but most seem to make do with basic black, or, as for the Melbourne serving staff, a flash of white.
For now, Browning Street is the boundary of the intrusion, with Boundary still the centre of the End. Über tried to drive up-market, holding out for a long time with a strict dress code and the muscle to back it up, but eventually eased off and let the people back in. Over the road the Pavilion, operating under the Boundary Hotel’s licence, had already tried for glitz, but is now looking a bit tatty. They have some good music though, but better is generally playing, early on Friday night, in the public bar of the Boundary itself. There’s more music up the road, but Satchmo’s has been taken over, and the open and inviting front, through which the players tucked in the back left corner could be seen and heard from the footpath, is now a “music cafe”, and all closed in.
There’s much to be said about West End, but not now. In honour of Murri Corner and the West End goanna, here’s a little story to end. A colleague of Jen’s lived near the PA, and would walk past the Buranda shopping centre on the way home. He would regularly be accosted by one or other of the local urban blackfellas on the cadge. They always copped an abrupt refusal on the way past. One evening, one says, “Gotadollar. Go to Melbourne.” He paused. “You can’t get to Melbourne for a dollar!” “Melbourne Hotel.” I don’t know whether he got his dollar.