From the Ruins

Victor, from Zimbabwe, shows a dress salvaged from the rubble of an old building at the corner of Lower Main and Cole Street, alongside the Bijou.

He’d been collecting bits of wood to rebuild his shack, burnt down in a recent fire. I doubt the developer (who flexes a swathe of properties down this end of Obs) thought that his empire’s relentless expansion would open a tiny aperture for a man with no home to rebuild his dignity. But then, developers around here don’t think much about people, unless they’re thinking about themselves, and how much money they’re making.

Yes, the building was kinda ill – perhaps it deserved to be demolished. And the developer will argue that he’s ‘improving the area.’ A look into the tiny courtyard at the building’s rear shows a sight not seen from the facade (which is to be retained, apparently), but a dreary, dusty, timber rotten semi-squalor. A kind of putrescence.

What will replace the building is at issue for Mr Blobz, and others who care about our neighborhood. A three story structure. Well, structure is putting it kindly. A three story shit-fest of same-same.

More buildings along Lower Main are heading the same way – Mr Blobz counted no less than three ‘development application notices’ on a walkabout, including the mega-wank that will occur at the current premises of Elite Taxis.

Read this, from the Business Day: an eloquent cry about what is happening around here.

Here’s a snap from yet another building site, this one opposite the Arnold Street kid’s park. Which will soon be chilled by shade. Cranes draw lines across our lives as they fold and pack away the remaining sky, into neat little units.

What once used to be a great feature of Obs – that it was so central – is proving to be its downfall. Cars clog our narrow arteries, and there’s a massive coronary episode every afternoon at four o’clock, as the neighborhood seizes, constricted, bumper to bumper and cheek by jowl, anger and boredom visible behind the windshields. We’re trapped.

This is the view from here.

So, what can we do? Nothing. Except say: Fuck the developers. Fuck Rawson Yellow and the smug and self-satisfied local moguls who collude with them. While preening and glowing, you’re nothing more than apparatchiks in the sad demise of a diverse community. With each advance you make, you flatten out difference, rub away the colour that defines us, and turn us, quite literally, to grey. The colour of death.

Shame on you.

Who’s got your number? Mr Blobz, that’s who!

Mr Blobz is not averse to a bit of recycling. After all, we live in a scrap economy.

The tell-tale signs are the little holes, and the silhouettes of the numbers. That curving cat’s tail in no.31 (above) – I can just see the painter trying to replace their street number with a paintbrush saying oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck I’ve gone too high, let me just make the sharp pointy end and it’ll still look like a three…

Other numbers, only one of the digits is missing. Oh, for the poor number left behind! These numbers belong together, they are ONE number. It’s beautiful. Can you imagine the torment if your partner was sent away on ship to China to be melted down and put into a computer that will TAKE OVER THE WORLD! (Or at least, Africa.)

Imagine coming out of your house and saying oh fuck, the arseholes nicked the bloody numbers… Or actually, they just managed to get away with one. For what – a buck? Less?

You’ve seen the local pavements when they’ve had their cast-iron rainwater conduits pulled out. And the missing water mains covers. And the broekie-lace wrought iron balconies, reduced to a few stubs of plaster.

We say – HEY!!! Fuck those scrap dealers – they should just refuse to take it! But the truth is, none of us are any better than the scrap dealers – we’re all fences for stolen goods. We eat in corrupt ways, we consume, we pollute, we line the pockets of all sorts of heartless bastards, we bribe city employees given half a chance.

We’re stealing from ourselves.



Dogs in Obs – PART 1 – the signs

Some old and new dog warning signs in Obs.

There’s also a dogpark here. The dogs cavort, the shadows of their owners. They scent and sniff. There’s leashes and plastic bags to pick up the shit, there’s keys for the park, there’s manners and decorum. There’s barking and bad parenting, all sorts of unresolved provocation.

There’s also dog shit around, here in the park (bad neighbour!), and allo over the pavements. Canine crap-paste, smeared about, or plopped somewhere (pls look out for Dogs in Obs – PART 3 – dogshits of obs).

They’re in better or worse states of repair. Fresh, dry or disintegrating, after rain.

There’s signs of dogs.

Hello Sailor… you like?


Oh she know’s she doin’ baaaad. There is remorse and regret seeping down that lovely face. She’s addicted to the noxious weed Tabaccy, and she’s sippin’ herself through life and strife and sunshine. And her poor innocent babe… In a sac of tarswill and rotgut.

An Observatory mom informed Mr Blobz recently amidst a guff of smoke that her doc told her it was fine if she only smoked ten a day during pregancy. And that the baby was already 13cm!

Mmm. Let us not judge, sistren and brethren. Let us not demonise and chasten. For the woman in the pic above is taking the piss with some mates, ya.

Footnote: Hello Sailor

Fuck-off great food + Ryan’s easy demeanour and wide shoulders + open early to late, 7 days a week + people you like + food prices + insane tots and shots ( tequila bolognese, and something with pickle juice, eg.)

The crowds are there. Many of whom have tats but you don’t need them to get in. And the media are coming, sure as God is a lesbian. You heard it from Mr Blobz hisself.

Separate Development


Remember the old days? When Obz Cafe served decent food (and better comedy) and hadn’t expanded into what used to be Dominion Hardware (which had anything you needed – with twice the courtesy – and at half the price of Hawkes and Findlay)? When Munro’s spanned both sides of the street, before Diva’s moved in and suffered a deserved demise – such was the quality of their pizza? When there was a butchery where the new Spar ‘Tops’ bottle store is about to open – before one of the owner-brothers allegedly squandered the takings? (The pavement grill across the road is all that remains of this enterprise…)

And on the subject of bottle stores… Well, remember when there were two entrances at almost every bottle store in the country? One white, one black? Ostensibly, black people had to bring their empties back ‘through the back/black door’ – where all the booze is locked down and out of reach – while whitey’s had the privilege of strolling around the alcoholic cornucopia. Darkies needed the cash from those empties dammit!

Now things have changed… or not. The Observatory Bottle Store – extremely well-stocked as Mr Blobz can attest – has not removed this relic of the past, the separate entrance. Why not? Well, lacking the courage to ask the venerable proprietor himself the reason for this, we can assume that the large local indigent population that we have in our ‘hood are deemed second-class citizens, undesirables that should remain unseen, unheard, unsmelt.

Mr Blobz would love your thoughts…

Are our streets safe?


Why do gangs of sexually ruthless female predators prowl the streets of Observatory? Over the past few months, several members of the public – all of whom wish to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal – have approached the Observatory Improvement District’s security council about a serious menace that seems to threaten our peace-loving community. One witness has even enlisted the support of social services after his trauma, which occured on an innocent stroll to the laundromat. “I was just walking past the Queen of Tarts – where they often congregate, I’ve noticed – and there was this whoop inside and this horned woman in a pink bodice started snarling at me through the window. They then stampeded for the door and I ran down Lower Main Rd and was lucky enough to get away. I lost my laundry in the process and when I got back later in the day obscene messages had been written on my undies and they had been flung onto the electricity wires. I now change my route daily, especially on weekends.”

Queen of Tarts proprietess Tina Bester is adamant that the women – such as those pictured above, taken by Mr Blobz in a moment of folly before a high-speed getaway on his scooter – mean no harm. When grilled about the strange sequence of ‘score marks ‘ etched into the wall of her shop – each resembling a male member with a large pink tick over it – Bester changed tone and said she had no further comment, before threatening our reporter with stale chocolate cupcakes.

Do not to approach these women under any circumstances.

Throne of the Street King


This be the pine throne of the street king

The seat of local gangster learning -

This be the legless resting place to contemplate

The streets daily offering.

These be the scrawls of the courtiers

The murals of magnificence and power

These be the markings of belonging

The local language of righting and wronging

These be the steps of approach and supplication

The concrete path to royal gain and lineage

This is the sky-full palace of light

Mind your manners and value your life.

Begone is you have no business here.


Once giants walked here


The plight of the urban elephant, the soul-rememberer. This giant was felled by development adjacent to the old Bromwell Hotel in Salt River, now home to a ’boutique mall’ and a deli with an atrocious baguette, puffy and pale.

The pachyderm – unnamed – caught the pity of Mr. Blobz almost a year ago, as she lay, felled beyond the weedy grass that had overtaken this site, a squalid compaction of old plastic and oil fronting a rotten corrugation of assorted materials.  Now, scaffolding ensnares the fading corpse. When Mr Blobz paid a belated visit the puffy Congolesienne security man wanted to call the avarocious owner – No Photo! – even of a dead elephant.

Mr Blobz senses they know what they’re building on. An elephant graveyard.

The Boating Life

P1040519Adrift, floating down the road in a Vanden Plas stationwagon….Mr Blobz is enchanted by the idea of a life on water, mesmerised by the ripples in the stream, those delicate shapes we create in our own wake, the patterns of our own waking… Streams of life and consciousness, held together in a wooden canoe. Floating, suspended.

My dear neighbour owns the boat and the car and the beautiful building behind (another story – this is where the Lower Main Road Xmas Party takes place every year.) In a secret workshop behind the wall, a smaller wooden canoe is being constructed by loving hands, for a son. Strips of rare wood bent to shape, brass screws holding wooden kisses together. Placing life in the stream. And, like the parent that he is, watching life grow up and inevitably away, around a bend in the river.

Beelzebub’s Bucket


This… bucket has been perched on the pavement, untouched, unviolated, for about twenty one days. Innocent as fuck, corrupt plastic, resolute, politician-like, smeared with viscous violence and a stain of ghastly probability.

I pass it often enough to ponder a possible Satanic connection? Could it be a portal to the netherworld? In the UK, for example, these are well documented – see,  but here in SA, there is a paucity of data on such supernatural avenues. Please, dear readers, don’t lift the lid without wearing a silver cross and holding a clove of Kate’s Moss…