Friday, November 29, 2013
From the platform at Wolli Creek station the ibises on the wet green lawn beyond the scrub look like Mary Antoinette's sheep; along the cafe strip on Abercrombie Street I see a student look up at a pigeon that has just landed on the sign he's passing under; in the garden I step on something that is already disintegrating: probably a putrefying once-pink Illawarra Flame flower. Otherwise a snail.
In his house in Ryde -- with its view of the trees obscuring the river where, some years ago, a woman and her lover had been found naked and dead on the slippery rocks beside its trickling brown (whose freak poisonous gases, it has since been surmised, had killed them) -- he told me about the way that, as a young man of twenty in the south-east of London in the nineteen-sixties, he'd had to wear suits on the weekend just to get the girls. It was only afterwards, when I was relating this story to someone else, that it was pointed out to me I had actually been talking to a Mod -- or at least to what a Mod becomes in the long decades afterwards. I'd described the way that, as he'd told the whole group of us about how a teacher had once hung him from his collar on a coat hook, he'd raised himself on his toes by the wall of his large open-plan living room: mimicking a hanging of his schoolboy self -- which I'd now dressed in a pale blue sixties suit with wide lapels -- hanging himself on his long white wall among various original artworks whose glass was reflecting the greyish afternoon sky above the trees beyond the deck outside and so what could also be assumed to be the occasional noxious gases of the river.