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.

 

 

The Forests of Zeenat

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Many have wandered here… not all have returned. Some are swallowed, mysteriously, while they inadvertently amble, leaving only school bags or shoes… Beware the Forests of Zeenat!

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These young whippersnappers got away to safety. But staring into the vortex… Taunting the force? Not a safe thing to do…

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Shortly after I took this picture, this man disappeared.