Thursday, March 25, 2010

Save the Cliffe

Everybody knows that Perth, Western Australia is the home of ugly architecture. And the wealthier the place gets, the uglier the buildings. So please, sign the petition and save the Cliffe.

The what? The Cliffe. It's a timber bungalow perched high on a bend in the Swan River. Number 25 Bindaring Place, to be exact. It was also home to the young David and Robert McComb. The nesting place of young Triffids.

Cultural heritage rates pretty low in a place so devoted to making money and right now developers are hovering. Triffid-like, you might say.

But a campaign to preserve the house is firmly afoot. The local council is taking this seriously, but the pressure needs to stay on. And a petition will actually help. The plan is not to turn the place into a shrine to all things McComb, but preservation of the house will help towards some permanent memorial.

The last time my wife and I were in Perth we drove along the river front to see the McComb house. My various gods. What a sea of hideous architectural pomp. But there sits the Cliffe, over a hundred years old. A little care and concern, and your name on a petition, and who knows, in a hundred years more, it may still be there.

David McComb wrote the book for Western Australian rock music. And many of his best songs are rooted in this particular patch of ground. 

Maybe this plays to my Village Green Preservation Society leanings, but even saving one building is worthwhile protest against vile greed.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Four seasons in one day

After I was woken up by the neighbours at 5am by a 30 minute sonata of slamming doors, I picked the newspaper up from the lawn. Tinges of orange sky. By 9am, not a clous in the sky.By midday, I was glas I took a hat. At 3pm, I I was woken by a sound something like a herd of cattle thumping across the roof. The very timbers were a-shivering. Great chunks of hail smashing on the skylight. And then some.

Welcome to Melbourne. Neil Finn knew of what he wrote when he sung Four Seasons in One Day.

No casualties thank Jehovah. Some great pics at The Age.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Missing in action

On Monday night my wife came back after four days in Adelaide. She was ashen faced. Tense. Crest-fallen. Searching for words.

Four days in Adelaide can do that to a person.

What was wrong?

"I left your laptop in a taxi."


In a taxi!!!!!!!!??????????

Yes, a taxi. In Melbourne. Small, white Macbook in dowdy but functional carry-bag. After tearing around the Adelaide Festival for days, my wife had fallen asleep on the way into Melbourne. When she was woken and bundled out of the taxi, the laptop and its bag stayed behind. About 90 minutes later, and no doubt several passengers later, the penny dropped.

Twenty four hours of gnawing anxiety followed.

This morning, she had a call from the St Kilda Road police station. The computer had been handed in. Before my wife headed off last Friday morning I had put a business card inside the bag. Just on the off-chance that she and the computer became separated. Just in case.

The taxi driver was a Sikh man. She caught a cab home with another Sikh driver and poured out her story. He promised to put the word around. There are not that many Sikh drivers in Melbourne, he said.

My wife rang him this afternoon and offered him a cash reward. He flatly refused. She is still counting her blessings and thinking of ways to repay the good karma that has come her way. Taxi drivers get a bad press. But this is evidence that there is certainly another side.

Me, I just am happy to be reunited. To be honest, I was glad it was only a lost computer. And glad that my wife is back from Adelaide, too.

(My daughter is also happy. "I am glad you have the computer back. It effects me, too.")