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.

 

 

Once giants walked here

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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.

Game?

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Aaah, to be at play. To forget. To be honest – for play, reckons Mr Blobz, is a place where we are really ourselves, as we have forgotten to be.

Play is such a blissful state of being – a mindset, a heartset. A tennis set! A cherished state we enter with the forgotten passport of childhood, that we inhabit when we’re free of the muck of daily life, the mood-sediment and undertow of our emotional tides… Yet how often we don’t even think to play, or refuse the idea, feeling like we simply can’t: or worse, that play is stupid, childish, retrogressive.

How good to see these dominoes plastered on the wall in some arbitrary Observatory back street.

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They have such texture. While Mr Blobz enjoys the odd spot of online tennis, he prefers the thwock of a tennis ball on the backside in a game of stingers, or the joy of throwing a stone into a bucket. The simpler, the better.
So come and play, where we can leave things behind, where a ball or a card or a bow and arrow sing you back to yourself. Now it’s your turn.

No Poo-Poo

DSC00205This delightful instruction for dogs, which many of them will not be able to understand because the emanating turd looks a little like a tail and dogs are notoriously colourblind, was spotted by Mr Blobz on Lower Wrensch Rd., just metres away from his very first abode in this august ‘hood, way back when Mr Blobz was a mere spotty student.

No. 56 Lower Wrensch was formerly inhabited by the regal combination of Kate, Robyn, Stove and Dogs (no relation to the four-footed kind.) Mr Blobz moved in back in the summer of 1990, a mere twenty years ago, buying the carpet Stove left behind, which was soon home to one of the most renowned flea colonies in the southern hemisphere. Dogs also left for better things at this stage, leaving Mr Blobz with Kate and Robyn for company. Even with the addition of Nicky, this proved an unsteady foursome.

One of Mr Blobz’s repressed memories from this time, when his sanity was as erratic as the pinball scores in Mr Fuckit’s corner cafe, was of a sardine lasagne prepared by a housemate who shall remain nameless.

Another memory was of the Dogshit Marathon, a unique event humbly invented by Mr Blobz himself, where, barefoot, the peron who ran around the block in a combination of the fastest time (s), subtracting the mass of dogshit (g) scraped away from his or her naked heels in grams (with g=s in value), was the winner.

Sadly, the event was never held, and, judging by the mother grundy who has forbidden canines to deposit the remnants of their torried diets on this particualr pavement, never shall be.

Entrails

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Entrails. Aren’t they beautiful? Upturned and eviscerated, this rubbish bin spills a story onto the operating table of Polo Road, spattered by a street-surgeon that is a rattled bergie. What do we read, inside the blood, beside the filth? Crinkled stories in a Frito packet, a smile torn Black Label and the endless Savannah, coffeefalls, gushing gallons of Ricoffy, and Mr. and Mrs. Marlboro graining the patient with tiny studs of sticky tar… The surgeons hands recoil from the rubbished allegories that have crumpled here, tossed away, woven in a forgotten heap, decorated with a Jive and Diet Cream Soda…

The Blue Rose

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A lovely lounge suite was kindly donated to Alfred Rd recently – the “Blue Rose.”  Here are some locals, unwinding after a long day.  Note the beautiful plant life in the foreground, so thoughtfully bedecked with some items from modern life: bread wrappers, chip packets, maybe even a nappy if you’re lucky. Relax and sink back into the scenery.

It all came apart at the seamz quite quickly though…

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Mr Blobz wondered whether the fabric had not been culled by some amputees, desperate for novel bandages. Mr Blobz himself was of a mind to burn the ample woodwork, but it seemed like he might put his handsome shoulder out trying to extract the timber. There are quicker pavement forests to cull anyway.

Mr Blobz noted with trepidation some legsome neighbour paying two very soused and confident opportunists to haul the Blue Rose away… This is where she ended up, after thousands of farts had rendered her fabric to shreds, hundreds of grubby chicken-fat fingers had her way with her. She’s feeling blue, doesn’t know what to do…

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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.