Friday, June 16, 2006

broady trip

I have never been caught by ticket inspectors on public transport, touch wood, which I can’t at this point because I am betwixt platforms three and four of Melbourne Central station, which reminds me, what would Shakespeare or… Henry Bolte, let’s say Henry Bolte, say if he turned up in Melbourne today? He’d say Melbourne Central? Southern Cross? He’d probably say ‘what the fuck’? So might Shakespeare, they’d both be flummoxed, trying to figure out where Princes Bridge ‘station’ had gone to. Anyway, I have never been caught by ticket inspectors on public transport, though I have sometimes been without a ticket, for various reasons, not all of them justifiable in a court of law, some of them perhaps, well maybe not in a court of law, but in a court of decency and fair play anyway. But ticket inspectors rile me because they use the worst weapon, they are so unfailingly polite and courteous. What does this cost them in health and happiness I wonder.

Anyway they struck me today, and they struck me yesterday. I usually think that if they strike me (even though – isn’t this funny – I don’t believe at all in probability. In fact I think it is quite as probable as anything else that Shakespeare might appear before me, askin’ whither the line to Craigieburn had been electrified yet in thyse modernely futurish tymes) they won’t strike me again for a while, which doesn’t mean I’m necessarily reckless after a strike, although I do of course throw my ticket away for the rest of the day. Prix.

The train to Broady is always crowded, it seems, as far as Essendon and then not at all crowded thereafter. This seems to me to be a damn good reason to make some of the morning trains expresses, and since there will have to be a timetable change when the line to Craigieburn is electrified in 2044, maybe this is something the powers that will be might wanta consider (sorry about this slacker talk, I’m just feeling lackadaisical).

Everyone always assumes the Broady line is a bit like the Bronx (whatever that, strictly speaking, is – some kind of Hollywood invention, fear of east coast USA?) or Mad Max or something but in fact it is always sweet and mild in my experience except a couple of days ago when a youth jokingly insinuated he wanted to steal my laptop, or at least I think that was what he was saying, I couldn’t quite make it out but his friends immediately assured me he was a good boy and wouldn’t do such a thing. It was all a bit stupid. It made me realise what my few years of on-the-hop/job teacher ‘training’ had got me. A number of possible responses ran through my head, all of which seemed too much like engagement. So I smiled and simpered and did not get into a discussion. So easy and nice to do. They were actually quite friendly types, they were going to Olsen Place to play pool I think (or at least they said they were. This might have been a bit of local humour). So I wasn’t scared of them at all so I don’t know why I mentioned it. Probably because the human equivalent of Lyle from Achewood just walked past me, all sweaty and dressed in black.

There are some grouse stations along the Broady line. Kensington station is a gabulous (I meant fabulous but gabulous says it better) piece of gothickery. Newmarket is very up in the air and close, should you ever be in the vicinity and feel like reading a bad book and drinking some chai or whatever, to the Verb Café and ‘my’ accountant who I really should visit sometime. Ascot Vale station reminds me of nothing and I don’t want to even think about it (it’s coming up next and I’ll have to think about other things so I don’t have to think about boring old Ascot Vale station… ho hum… hey there’s a picture in the MX being read by the person in front of me of some deer licking a cat, I bet there’s a wild backstory like, the deer brought the cat up from a kitten, or they’re all good friends, or the cat has deer food on it. There’s an interesting headline, ‘Cup the goal for robotic Ronaldos’, just in case I thought for a second I really did understand the modern world.)

Following Ascot Vale is the redoubtable Moonee Ponds. MP is tops, and I did indeed spend a very pleasing time a few days ago at Fletcher Jones there in Puckle Street. MP is a vintage 19th century station (at least on the eastern side; on the western side it looks like an upmarket Launceston bus shelter). Then there’s good old Essendon. Essendon is one of those many Melbourne suburbs with a charming German name which escaped being renamed in WWI despite some moves towards this (already too entrenched as innately as Melbourne as Brighton or Sandringham). The station looks Edwardian as per Camberwell and has some of the same structural features as Auburn and Glenferrie too but it couldn’t have the same rationale as these were built when the Ringwood line was raised and lowered to avoid level crossings, and Essendon has a level crossing right next to it. Huh. Glenbervie station is a new, 70sish station without too much going for it from my point of view, although it is in what seems to be quite a *nice* area, with a largely esoterically tenanted shopping strip on the western side coming off at an angle. Strathmore station is itself as undistinguished but whereas Glenbervie is brick, Strathmore is wooden. If you think you see a logical progression here – or, I suppose, recession – you’re quite right. Because Pascoe Vale, which follows Strathmore, is made completely of straw. It is flimsy, shabby and has to be rebuilt every couple of days, particularly if the Seymour train blows up a gale going past making up for lost time. Pascoe Vale itself has an intriguing 1920s row of shops with a vaguely art nouveau frontage of a style that appeals, though the shops themselves don’t look very interesting I mean speaking as someone who buys stuff out of shops. New paragraph? Yeah, ok. <>After Pascoe Vale comes Oak Park. Once again, a good little shopping strip coming off Oak Park station perpendicularly to the east, and you can get a bearable salad roll there between the hours of 12 and 12.15 (pm). Pebble mix everywhere. 70s or something. Glenroy is another station of this era, more in the baby turdy brown brick and not much to write home about (unless someone at home likes reading your blog, in which case…) there are some girls in the other half of the carriage giggling hysterically over something one of them seems to have recorded on their mobile phone (‘where did you get it?’ says one and some young guys asks them what it is) Glenroy is a great place to shop though, and it has the Polish delicatessen and the pacific island grocery which I have to admit I’ve never been to, and a not bad Vietnamese restaurant called the Huyen Linh, which I recommend, particularly if you like overly sweet bean drinks etc. (You can even make that great joke, ‘waiter, what’s this?’ ‘it’s bean drink sir’, ‘I don’t care what it’s been…’, they love that joke there). Jacana station, which Brad has shown me a photo of in the 70s when it was the site of a terrible train accident, is pretty darn ugly. I first alighted the Jacana station platform in probably around 1982/3 when I went to visit a nice girl called Margaret who lived in Glenroy but Jacana was the closest station. That was before they built the western ring road so she and her parents backed onto a huge strip of open land.

Broadmeadows station deserves a post of its own someday. The day before it’s pulled down, perhaps.


Anonymous said...

da Bronx is in NYC

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should borrow a couple of Stones DVDs off The Powers That Be as discussed.