Saturday, October 9, 2010

Reading, exploring, discovering

I haven't told you how much I've been enjoying the book When We Think About Melbourne: the imagination of a city by Jenny Sinclair, have I? Well, I am rather enjoying it as it happens.

The author's affection for her city is palpable, and it's great when people love the same things you do.

This part resonated with me:

"Loving novelty for novelty's sake is considered a vice, a source of weakness for those who chase it. Isn't there, though, something excusable, even worthwhile, about a turn of mind that lives to learn and be surprised; of synapses clicking together to form inner landscapes like so much Lego; of a mind that can watch a new road - even a humble suburban road or a country-town side street - unfurl with the same avidity as a teenager watches a movie?

"We walk on the same footpaths to the same tram stops, turn off at the same intersections, day after day...we go up and down the same escalators, state out of the same grubby train windows at the same factories turning their backsides to the raile lines. Even so, when something new appears in the landscape, we can find it hard to say what it has replaced or if it's really new at all...

"Going to new places expands the mental map as well. Kew boulevard winds aroung a hill and when I ride there I'm always looking outwards to the city. Off the Boulevard, there are suburban streets which fade into the unknown. After fifteen years of cycling on that road I turned up a service road...the functional brick buildings either side of the road were all closed up. Behind and around them was an almost wild open field, a grassy space I hadn't even known existed."
I know that feeling! When you take a different path and discover something great you never knew was there. This is the spirit in which I do a lot of my wandering - the anticipation of finding new things is almost as fun as the discovery itself.

(On a side note, last night when I was reading the book, I had a major moment of deja vu. I know I've read these sentences (the ones I've italicised) before somewhere: "A teacher [at a Howard Arkley exhibition] standing before a fluorescent image of a triple-fronted brick veneer home told a group of schoolchildren as if he was reading the news - 'Many suburban housewives feel they're trapped and can't get out' - I had to stifle the urge to interject. Many people feel they're trapped and can't get out - not just housewives." Where? WHERE did I read this?!)

Big day out

I'm planning a day out and about in the sunshine tomorrow (it's going to be 25 degrees! Yay for spring!). I'm going wandering over Collingwood/Fitzroy way with my camera because I need fresh fodder for my photo blog, but also just to explore and maybe discover new things.

Then I'm going to check out the numerous free exhibits at the National Gallery of Victoria, which include some photographic works, and at night I'm going to see the closing night performance of k@osmos, which is part of the Melbourne Festival (and no doubt eat poffertjes). 

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