THERE WERE MANY SHARE HOUSES in the Inner West during the 1980s, eclectic assemblages of people thrown together by chance and necessity. Offering benefits of economy with conviviality, share housing had been a popular way to live since the 1960s.
THE MELLOW, MELONCHOLY SOUND of a sax drifted over the Sussex-Goulburn intersection that afternoon. La Vie en Rose, the song popularized by Edith Piaf, was a fitting sound this fine but cold, late Autumn day in the city and it suited my mood as I looked past the player, down the road to a Korean restaurant that wasn’t there forty years ago.
by Russ Grayson. Originally published 2002.
TO CLIMB or not? That was the debate I held with myself on the walk up from the Waldheim road head.
Russ Grayson recalls an aerial mini-adventure of several decades ago.
TRAINING WAS MINIMAL, just brief instruction beside the strip on how to exit the aircraft with a couple practice exits while still on the ground. Then some serious sounding instruction on deploying the reserve chute – just in case – and a little practice at a parachute landing roll. Then it was “let’s go” as three of us climbed into the seatless space behind the pilot of the Cessna 182.
JUST A BED, a wardrobe, desk and chair and my portable record player. It was a pleasingly simple arrangement there in that attic with its sloping upper walls that followed the shape of the roof. There, I would spend time sitting at the desk just looking out over rooftop and hill, not focusing on anything in particular but letting my eyes wander over the folds of the city. Sitting in something of a free-flowing mental state, I again experience that sense of calmness that I had earlier known when looking into the distance from some high vantage point.
A CHILD’s LIFE IN BRISBANE towards the end of the 1950s was prescribed by the particular urban geography its family inhabited. That was usually limited to the route taken to and from primary school and by the social relationships the parents had. Friends in those days were local because there simply wasn’t the mobility that children today enjoy. Life was lived in a territory defined by the immediate neighbourhood and the route taken to school, with occasion forays into the city.
It’s a morning ritual. Pick up the surfboard not long after sunrise has paled the eastern sky and descend through the rainforest to the small beach below. It’s a good day if the Pacific’s swells are pumping and it’s a good day when the swell is only small. For many who live in this fortunate part of the country, every day is a good day, or should be.