I never expected to see a rainbow zebra when I rounded the corner into Castlereagh Street. Yet, there it was, splendid and radiant, standing before two more conventional black and white zebras. For a brief moment I was minded of the term “acid flashback”, but in truth, I recall no rainbow zebras during prior encounters with LSD, so figured these were new kids in town. What surprised me most of all, however, was that they should be painted on the wall of Stratton’s Hotel; a rather old school pub – not without rustic charm – married to a youth hostel. Indeed, as the local pub of JET English College, before we moved to George Street, it had obtained some small regard and was affectionately known as “Strap-ons”.
Still, it was, in effect, the jug-swilling haunt of city office workers – not the rummest of crowds, nor entirely uncongenial, given sufficient rope – and not a place I pictured festooned with imagery that was, at least somewhat, psychedelic. So, the good news is that Strap-ons has tripped out and Sydney is now home to a small population of zebras, who are, I think, seriously cool (featured below). What is perhaps even cooler is the portrait of the woman on the wall opposite, across the little laneway. The style of the artist, particularly with regard to the features, suggests to me that it is the same painter who did the walls in the back garden of Sappho Books in Glebe.
Anyways, here is another collection of photographs from the last ten days or so. I didn’t set out with any particular purpose in mind, though most of these shots were taken whilst actively seeking shots. I’m just never quite sure where I’m going to look next and tend to wander about. In accordance with this habit of drifting, I’m including a couple of snippets from poems I was sorting through a short while ago. They are meandering and prone to non-sequiturs, but there you have it.
So, reading through Olympos again – named after a city in southern Turkey, not Greece – I had very visceral memory of the scuff and feel of ancient floors and realised how desperately I miss walking around archaeological sites. As a means by which to study architecture, ponder the eternal verities, take good photographs, have a picnic, get a tan, feel awed and privileged, there are few better activities. The poem commences with a rather forced evocation of Roman interiors and the city itself. The Italicised section of the poem below is actually the translation (not mine) of a funereal inscription from the archaeological site at Olympos. The site is quite impressively overgrown with forest and spreads through the trees, a short walk from a wide, glorious beach. I recommend a visit! As to the poems, they’re just here to be thought provoking : )
Pompeian rooms, dusty, buckled
reliquaries, shuffle and scuff
with emptiness. The Augusta’s
triclinium, frescoed with tired
In Trajan’s market sparse is the jink
and shout of a once gnashing trade.
While, against the sky, the Colosseum,
rings with the horns of traffic.
The ship sailed into the harbour last
and anchored to leave no more.
No longer was there any hope
from the daylight or the wind.
After the light carried by the dawn
had left, Captain Eudemos
there buried the ship; with a life
as short as a day like a broken wave.
Dresden wears its patches like a man
showing a piece of skull
he was lucky to live through losing.