Thursday, March 10, 2016

1801st post

This evening I was meeting with students (a regular club associated with academic publication) and question came round the table about what part of the world we all felt the most 'affinity' with. The place we grew up? Or somewhere else? I would always say I grew up in Hawthorn, although before that my family lived in St Kilda and Kew (do I need to say that none of these places, even Hawthorn though more Hawthorn than the other two, had the cachet in the 60s-70s-80s that they have today). I have no strong interest in Hawthorn and certainly no 'affinity' with it, in fact I am faintly repelled by it.

The place I really have an 'affinity' for, and really miss now I don't live there, is Broadmeadows. I like its houses, its parks, and even its roads. Its railway station is pretty disgusting, but I feel relatively comfortable there. Its shopping centre is a place I know well. Its library is great and most of the people - like obviously not all but more than, for instance, Hawthorn - I feel fondly about. Not 'salt of the earth', and not even people I necessarily want to talk to much, in the abstract. But they are not annoying or cloying or, well, I'll just say it: they're not up themselves.

I know this seems ridiculously sentimental but that's as maybe. It's simply true. I prefer if not Broadmeadows per se, at least the middle to outer, lower-waged, postwar suburbs, with the weird major gaps where (maybe) a factory or a railway used to be, where sometime in the next decade someone might actually find a new use for the land, and where there are low-key populations of wild animals indigenous and introduced, and bodies of strange water, and odd earthworks, and frogs. 

I also miss living in the Lorraine house, which is a fine piece of work now in its 44th year, and a great place to raise dogs and cats (and termites, but that's another story for another day). 

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