hand in hand in newtown

I should probably do a whole chapter on the evolution of this interesting place; my longterm companion & I lived here in the 70’s. One morning I was literally woken up by an earnest woman whose first question was : do we own or rent. She was on a crusade to beautify our narrow street by planting red bottle brush indigenous bushes. Of course, now when it rains the footpaths are impassible.

Then in the 90’s Newtown lost its Greek majority population, it became the premier hippy suburb that Paddo & Darlo had been in the 70’s. To see young gays & lesbians, goths & cowgirls, punks & magicians was a wonder. Now, it’s a slick, media-savvy suburb, the process started with the city newspaper declaring its main street the foodie strip of Sydney. Adjoining Enmore has always been the suburb of choice for alternative folk to buy a residence. It wears the air of knowing itself & disdaining self-advertisement. Next door is Marrickville, first Greek & then Vietnamese; a friend of mine: computer whiz & son of Serbian chefs, his take on Marrick is that it is the last place in this city to buy backyard grown veggies that are not industrially insecticided.

But Newtown is still where I do some supermarket shopping. I often go to the busstop & get a bus to New or Marrick, whichever comes first. So, yesterday, I was hanging on King Street, waiting for the bus home. Next to me using her mobile phone was a young woman, wearing a shock of blue on the side of her head. I don’t usually try to eavesdrop, but as I was wearing my own earphones & I could still hear, I figured my fellow pedestrian was comfortable letting it all hang. She was complaining about the conductor of her orchestra who disliked the presence of women, insisting that they distracted the blokes. Just then a particularly evocative piece of house alternated with classical, & I had, in the words of TS Eliot, “such a vision of the street as the street hardly knows”. Sometimes, music SO COMPLETELY expressed a moment that you feel you are living inside the music. I felt so grateful for this musical practitioner beside me, and empathised with her complaints.

A couple of young lesbians walked by, hand in hand. Then, two young women walked by, the one on the right had her eyes bandaged, the one on the left was guiding her along, I hoped I was not witnessing a horrible accident. They seemed calm, a uni college initiation, most likely.Three all women incidents that seemed to characterise the place, early afternoon, mild summer conditions, sparkling blue sky, ready for the new easter light.


About anton veenstra

tapestry weaver, fibre artist, gay/qr activist, multiculturalist
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