Saturday, 3 September 2011

On the streets today

In the city today was a cacophonous clash of cultures.  Glorious.  Annoying.  Incomprehensible.

In one corner, a miked up busker with a bird on his head, lip synching to 1970's pop as he opened his steel case to reveal his juggling implements.  On the big screen at Federation Square, just a few steps away, black and white footage of vintage fashion parades showing obese old men ogling the models in their oversized bikinis.  Competing on the steps of Flinders Street station, a self-styled "preacher" who wasn't really preaching, but reading in a monotone from the Bible - he needs to book in to my presentation skills workshop - and a gaggle of wannabe punks/emos/goths strutting and airing their plumage, daring passers-by to catch their eye.

Meanwhile, the first glimpses of spring racing fashion are seen, confirming a few things. It is possible for a hat to be too young for the wearer.  It is possible to overdo the spray tan (why does no one know this?).  Plonking a hat on your head that does not work with the outfit, will not make the outfit work.

Capturing it all are the photographers.  Classes or clubs of them? or just a coincidental gathering?  Everyone seems to have an expensive camera pointed at something.  I want to photograph them, but feel I will be noticed if I point my iphone at them.  I decide that "pixellation" is the perfect collective noun for a group of photographers in the digital age.

Amongst it all were a lot of homeless people on the streets today. Then I wonder how I know they are homeless.  I don't, but they don't look like they have somewhere they belong with people who love them and would miss them if they weren't there.   I'm sure they are always there, every moment focussed on survival and life in a different way from me.  I see them looking hopefully into a bin, asking strangers for cigarettes, talking to unseen aggressors and wonder what has brought them to this and how they are allowed to exist in a city that has so many freedoms.


  1. I love "pixellation" for a group of photographers.

    I guess the homeless are allowed to exist because it is a city of many freedoms. Better to exist without a home, whatever the reason, than not. Maybe. As to why homeless people exist - there are many many reasons. The inadequacy of mental health policy at many levels is a major one. One of my greatest fears is ending up as a bag lady. Julia's new policy on cracking down on disability pensions, will, I suspect, see more people existing while homeless.

  2. Interesting points Sheryl. On rereading my post, I feel the need to clarify - I wasn't suggesting homeless people should be extinguished, but rather questioning a society that does not address the issue. It's hard to express!

    Can I copyright a collective noun?