Hello Sailor… you like?

preggers

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

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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…

We all need a shack

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John Samuel Streeter!  What a guy!  One wonders what the hell he was pumping out of his shack? Diatribes about missing cufflinks and collars? A bit of Handel and Vivaldi?

What were the chief concenrns of the Victorian age, besides their obsession with sanitation? The broadcasts – note – were the first regular ones.  He was then, a blogger in his day, but more so, not just casually downloading the software, but building it, with cathodes and diodes, transmitting from his shack.

This man, ultimately responsible for the Nigel ‘Nosepicker’ Pearce, had a SHACK. Don’t we all need a shack? Mr Blobz knows this shack well – ok, not intimately, having never overnighted or had high tea there – but it’s often piqued the edges of his moustache, given its lovely finishing and skilful trim.

This then, the shack where it all started.Where John Samuel Streeter sipped on his Ceylon tea from a Royal Doulton mug, or had a glass of beer from the Ohhlsons Brewery perhaps, and went live all over Cape Town.

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Unbelievably Good

Sometimes street art is to be found in the most unexpected places…

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This place on Cnr. Milton/Lower Main (with sorry septic tenants, except for The Model-T Liquors) hosts this unrulily (you read it here Blobzters) fine ass:emblem:age> of suburban angstation: a chromatose dream.

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fluxstration and smashed rent-a-rent, Oh Beautiful Observatory, all that she’s cracked up to be!

Reaching for Heaven

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I love this spire at St Michaels church around the corner, its wooden-tiled exposure to the elements, the wet and heat and rot, eventual disintegration. I love the spiky nervousness of its heaven-quest, the splintery tiles, beginning to flake and peel away, threatened by gravity, the risk of falling towards an earthly hell.

The patina of despair like an invisible force around the urgent upward thrust. A wooden rocket of faith, ready to take off now for a hundred years, trapped in its moorings.

Scrap

South Africa is a scrap economy. Raw materials are close to our hearts and fingers. Anything that can be scraped, yanked, ripped, unfastened, thrashed or dragged away is fair game.

In Observatory, the workings of the scrap economy are very apparent. After my neighbours so very kindly cobbled the pavement, a scrap-lover prised out the antique steel pipe embedded there to divert run-off water. The cobbles held fast by the pipe are loose and in disarray.     P1010904

Daily, the stones drift away, kicked by the ferrets from nearby Teletech into the street, or simply… who knows. The pavement is crumbling, and the goodwill of the people who invested in it has a hairline crack, perhaps.

Nearby is an elegant series of Victorian-era duplex homes. One morning, a month or two ago, the occupants arrived to discover that the entire pressed-steel facade had been ripped away in the night. Which is what had happened to their neighbours a few weeks before. So I guess they expected it.

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The local scrap dealers gaily accept the plunder of the gifted trolley-driving recyclists. The steel apparently goes to China. Much of it came from Scotland – Glasgow and Firth are names I often see pressed into a manhole cover or streetlamp. Everything is temporary. Maybe it will end up back in Africa, at the root of some Chinese development?

Cement

Every time there is a shop vacated in Obz, something renovated, a new premises built… we hope (against reason) for something subtle, communal, maybe even lovely. Something that captures even a small whiff of the spirit of this diverse and historic neighborhood, and reflects it back with a smile, or a wink.

Every time, we’re disappointed. Take the Old Lion Match Factory in Lower Main Road. Here’s a golden chance to reinvigorate the heart of Observatory with a world-class mixed purpose development – some shops, maybe a bar or restaurant, another small supermarket would be nice… There’s even space for flats and a few offices, loads of parking. At least four old historic buildings, kind of industrial red-brick. This, at least, is what they propose. It makes sense, because this is what we need to turn our suburb around.

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But then they go and let the entire block to a single tenant. A call centre. And now we have their scores of ferret-like employees, skiving and skulking on stoeps and driveways, scratching at their phones.

I’m getting tired of missed potential. I’m getting tired of sloppy cement, left to harden in the streets.Look at this place, above the old Spar in Station Road. The owners, Telamon Properties, don’t give a damn.

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To them, it’s finished. The facade,  a pathetic, unconsidered amalgamation of the former collonade and the new addition, is like a cement shit: a great big gash of lumpy hard greyness. It’s just been left like that by the builders. So what. Move on.

We’ve just lost our pharmacy. Three new retail spaces that have been formed in its absence. What will fill them? The recent additions next door in Station Road – a sterile Mr Video, a little poop-shack of an internet cafe, the plastic death of a Chinese shop and a cheap airtime privy don’t inspire much.

Then there’s the infamous development on top of the new Spar. Where a wall fell from above and flattened a car a few months ago. Develpment was suspended, but the cement spires remain, like some brutal urban Atlantis. Note the untenanted space below… months old now. Lovely.

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Cement is the blood of progress, the ooze of development. It’s a caustic, unforgiving sludge, but we love it, we cherish it. It is the substance that we hurl at the future, that slips down the glass face of our dreams, and fastens around our feet.