Wednesday, April 16, 2008

early train

I finally managed to catch a pre-7am train. These are the trains that get to town before – guess! – 7 am at which time if you have validated a pre-7am ticket then you don’t have to pay. My problem is not so much getting up at 5 in the morning – although I am a bit dysfunctional and it just occurred to me then that I might not have turned the heater off, though I think I probably did, but anyway I’m going to have to call Mia and wake her up to check which something tells me she won’t thank me for (later: I did, but I had, she as predicted didn't) – but getting to the train by 6:22, which is the last possible train I can get that gets me into the city before 7 (the one after is just after). Well actually I got there with tons of time to spare, considering the train was late (though not as late as the platform indicators said - they were still saying it had 4 minutes to arrive when it was virtually there, then they suddenly flash to ‘NOW’ which makes you feel like you’ve just jaunted), indeed, enough to go around from platform 1 to the main ticket place on platform 2 and tell ‘the man’ that the ticket validator wasn’t working, to which he made a noise that sounded to me like ‘yes I know we’re having someone come out and look at it as soon as possible thank you for bringing it to my attention’.

It’s a pretty packed train, really, at least, probably about 2/3 of the seats are filled and we’re not at Strathmore yet. It’s not quite light as yet and a nice time of day. One of the things I was wondering about on this trip was whether I could bring my recently refurbished (by Mia) bicycle on this train and ride it to work from N Melbourne. The issue then of course would be I wouldn’t be able to take my bike back on the train between 5 and 7 so I’d be stuck at work or some strip club biding my time until I was able to return.

Now we are at Essendon this will be the proof of the pudding how packed the train gets here. If it gets substantially filled with people I will either have to think about getting an even earlier train… it is pretty filled up but it’s not like it is an hour later when all those paying people block up the entrance ways and there is literally no way (aside I suppose from standing in the doorway from the outset) that people like me can comfortably get off the train at N Melbourne. I think so far (now we arriving Ascot Vale) this would be OK bikewise. Unless a billion people get on here or at Newmarket or Kensington, all those yuppie scum stations, it should be fine.

Last night I watched The End of Suburbia the documentary from about four years ago re: the demise of suburban life in the US because of the demise of oil/petrol. When I say I watched it, I’m a liar, well, literally I did but I fast-forwarded through a bit of it in a ‘yeah yeah’ way. We at our house are not dependant on our cars, we just use them all the time, except for things like Mia’s band, but that’s just one more example of where it wouldn’t take much of a rearrangement of the world – a little bit of pressure that would probably come from somewhere else – to make this unnecessary, i.e. I am told in Japan they have all the required equipment at the venue and you borrow it for the night, which sounds like just a brilliant idea and when you think about it they probably pay that off in a matter of weeks because the whole band would then drink a lot and the extra profit would come to thousands very quickly. Perhaps in Australia more than Japan the whole band might drink a lot and then smash the equipment but I doubt it actually, anyway all you’d have to do is make them sign some liability and then when they woke up the next morning and realised they’d trashed the equipment and were liable for thousands and thousands of dollars they’d either skip town or top themselves, either way it’d be good overall for society and the music scene. The venue owners could by law have first pick of their DVDs and Smiths albums as compensation for their lack of compensation.

So The End of Suburbia was I thought a bit too much red-faced middle-aged (or older) white men, not that I am against them per se because after all I am one, arguing vociferously. Who needs it? A lot of time spent convincing us the people (or the American people actually) of something that is bleeding obvious, and then 10 mins at the end featuring the alternatives, which is what I was really interested in, Peter Calthorpe etc. I think this might be another example of an American film which can be sold to provincially-minded alternatypes who don’t realise how provincially minded they actually are, and are happy to pop Australia into the same category as Dallas Texas a place they haven’t been and won’t go to, ever (and have probably never gone to the Australian places they are comparing it to). Neither have I but I know it’s a whole different ballgame. I’m not saying that I don’t therefore think that people should quit driving their cars all over the place all the time like idiots, befouling the environment and sequestering themselves off from reality, but I am saying that we can’t always take on American warnings as though we’re ‘just behind’ America. The rest of this post was so stupid and badly written I had to come back a day later and cut it off. Sorry it makes even less sense now. Actually that's arguable. Anyway, here's a picture of a balloon I saw on the way to work soon after writing the above.


Dorian said...

I thought you're allowed to take your bike on the train during peak hour.

David said...

Allowed is one thing, but being physically able to get it on and off is another.

end of suburbia said...

thanks for watching our doc, The END of SUBURBIA. please check out our newly released doc, ESCAPE From SUBURBIA, which explores the growing peak oil movement. it addresses many of your concerns around the "old white guy" focus of END of SUBURBIA. you can learn more about it, and watch our youtube clips, on

we will be launching our new interactive media site later this year, and are inviting like-minded folks with something to say, to join us online and share their media with the growing global community of citizen media activists.

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David said...

Yesterday I was thinking of deleting the whole spiel on EOS because I didn't really watch it, did I. Hardly fair.