Thursday, May 24, 2007

More Hard Hitting Photo Journalism

I went to Wunderkammer. I walked up Lonsdale Street towards the Docklands, past a picturesquely vacant Melbourne lane:

It was wedged into a cozy corner of the street, between a bunch of office buildings:

And just opposite a building that seemed to be decorated with abandoned shopping trolleys.

So I went in.

I had barely taken five steps into the building before I found myself face to face with the head of a stag, staring at me balefully with its glassy eyes. Straight off, I backed away, placing my head on the table for support. There was a snapping sound, and I turned to see a hinged human skull attempting to swallow my fingers.

Backing off rapidly, I found myself suddenly encircled by the gigantic skeleton of a python, and I almost skewered my eye on one of the rib-bones. I emitted a polite but definite shriek, and tumbled head-first down the stairs.

Here I found myself in a curious laboratory, surrounded by curious gadgets, fit for a mad professor. Where was the mad professor? I shuddered to think! I collapsed in an exhausted heap at the bottom of a bookshelf, evincing a sudden fall of parliamentary records of Outer Westphalia, or somewhere like that. It's hard to read when books are collapsing in a pile on your head.

I noticed as I brushed the specks of dust and the crumbled flecks of Neo-Platonic texts from my hair that there was an open door leading to a warehouse or similar out back. From the darkness, I could hear a curious, regular mechanical sound, and a faint aroma drifted out, tickling my nosebuds, redolent of - could it be? - human breast milk.

Eventually I managed to claw my way back up the staircase and found myself surrounded by long-dead trilobites, ammonites, fish, not to mention lepidoptera and beetles, all demanding vengeance!

I briefly contemplated buying a dead cockroach as a memoir of my visit, and I think we're all grateful that that contemplation was only brief, hey?

For no reason at all, here's a picture of a place in Fitzroy, on the way to Carlton. It's either an insane asylum, or an ice-cream parlour, or both.

And here's one of my favourite places in Melbourne, the Office of the Consulate General of Spain.

It's a tiny place wedged in between a post office and some sort of fashion/beauty shop on Elgin Street. I think when the Government decided to put the consulate there, their reasoning went something like this:

"Say! This looks like a good place not to have a Consulate General!"

"Good idea! We'll put the Spanish there. Who else is on the list?"

"Well, we need to have a Yugoslavian embassy."

"Hey, let's put them in a tunnel underneath Flinders Street Station! That will work!"



Karen said...

the scents of human breast milk, chocolate, swampwater and sex.

Together at last!

an insane asylum, or an ice-cream parlour, or both.

Together at last!

I imagine that's the real point of that sort of place- the suggestive combinations- and all accidental- or, at least, it should seem so. Look what it did to your thought processes after you'd left- and all perfectly legally and without medical risk!

One of my friends found a miniature museum in Paris and bought me a little book from it. I was so delighted that they would still have such a thing.

A simply capital review, as always. I do like the Spanish consulate. I imagine that it would seem like you were stepping into another world. The top floor of Fisher library has that effect when you get out of the lift. sometimes go there and try it again when I'm feeling blue.

TimT said...

For me, the true spirit of Fisher Library is to be found somewhere on the penultimate floor. I spent many hours larking around there beetween the Aussie lit and the English lit and the chess books.

Good thing the lunatics will be able to satisfy their desires for icecream, anyway.

Karen said...

Yes, well that's the floor I misspent my youth on too, for the most part. I did not realise that the chess books are there too. I've never been able to play chess- I think it's because you really have to play aggressively and I can't get past the defensive urge. I have friends who are really quite into it.

I was a little worried when I saw the ice cream/lunatic combination, since we had that conversation about ice cream before. I hoped you weren't thinking "Madwoman!" privately.

Karen said...

Perhaps the library is where I've seen you before? Perhaps you got in my way or stood in the aisle I wanted more than once?

nailpolishblues said...

If it's dead cockroaches that you're after, then I'm your girl. Live ones too. Also, weird mutilated ones whose parents had a bit of a bait addiction.

P.S. I've never seen you before - does that help anyone? Even if I had I probably wouldn't remember. I'm the only person I know who can walk past their own mother becuase of a failure to recognise.

P.P.S. I'm not intruding am I?

TimT said...

Karen, these days most players go for the draw. And then there's Armenian player Tigran Petrosian, who once played a game where he spent the first 10 moves shifting his pieces around and then moving them back to their original position and then, on nothing more than a whim, utterly crushing the opposition. Best to not get me started on chess.

Nails, what a necromantic offer. Please send 1 (one) bucketload of genetically mutated cockroaches around to my house. I think I can get a deal going with the Wunderkammer management, and if not, I can always use them for purposes of vengeance.

Karen said...

I'm very used to the chess talk. Do you go to those special gatherings where people play each other? Not formal competitions, but there are special nights- don't know what to call them.
I like the idea of chess, but I don't think I've got the mind for it. It's often people who are either good at maths or music or both, isn't it? It was very big at the UTS bar for a while (I used to go there instead of the Syd uni one).

The cockroaches are certainly still out, curse them!

TimT said...

Chess-meet attendance has dropped off of late. I must start going again. Inevitably I tend to get roundly trounced by little old men from obscure European countries, and no, it's not funny. But at least we're both better sports than Stalin.

No cockroaches in Melbourne!

TimT said...

And yes - many players tend to be lawyers (albeit somewhat mad) and musicians.

Karen said...

The chess players I know tend to be engineers. If you've been to these chess meet things up here you may know some of them- or have played them. My last boyfriend (like "My Last Duchess!"), the one who made me watch The Core, loves chess. Do you play it online too?

Melbourne doesn't have cockroaches now because it's colder, clearly.

nailpolishblues said...

I can also get you a good deal on cane toads. Not, for the record, from Sydney - genuine Queensland ones...

I'm not sure I can manage a bucket - dead or alive - I think they hibernate over winter. Can it wait til spring?

TimT said...

Nails - How about an ongoing deal: stuffed cane toads for the winter, a variety of cockroaches for spring?

Karen - No, never got into it. Although I did play chess at Sydney Uni, though not the UniTech.

nailpolishblues said...

Yeah, I'll contact my shipping dept and see what we can organise.

TimT said...

Excellent. I'll have my people talk to your people (etc, etc)

nailpolishblues said...

No! They're MY people! Mine!

TimT said...

Oh, what, appropriating my people now?

nailpolishblues said...

Nah, you can keep your people...

Caz said...

In Ohio a 135kg death row inmate has been executed, after the medics took an hour to find veins in his arms.

He got the death penalty for killing his cellmate, because he "got tired" of him giving up during chess games.

Chess can be dangerous.

TimT said...

Chess is a curious game, full of long periods during which the characters stare fiercely at the board or sometimes at one another, but interrupted by occasional tantrums or even bouts of violence. There are plenty of stories like this. Once, a friend threw a queen at my head - then again, I suppose that's better than a queen throwing a friend at my head.

nailpolishblues said...

I remember the last time someone tried to teach me chess, well, I remember thinking how well my uncle can hold his booze and how amazing it was that all the pieces could stay on the board when everything else was moving about so much. I'm guesssing that's not the usual manner of playing?

TimT said...

If, as sounds the case, your uncle combines chess with drinking, perhaps he was trying to teach you one of these versions. Naturally there are many ways to take a piece from the board, including my favourite ,transfer, where the pieces disappear from one board to go onto another.

nailpolishblues said...

I think he combines drinking with everything.

I've always been half interested in learning to play properly - so that I too can drink a lot and still beat people. Maybe I'll just stick to the games I know and understand.

TimT said...

In general, I'd imagine, it would be easier to beat people if you teach them to drink and stay off it yourself, though the other option might be interesting too.

In Persia, apparently, the practice was to reconsider while sober decisions they made while drunk - and reconsider while drunk decisions they made while sober. So it went, round and round... not a bad life, really.

nailpolishblues said...

In recent years I've developed a habit of almost immediately forgetting the reasons for most of my decisions - drunk or sober. Certainly makes for an interesting life.

Teasing the drunk whilst sober is only limited fun. And it's nowhere near as fun as messing with the minds of those who are stoned.

Email: timhtrain - at -

eXTReMe Tracker

Blog Archive