Monday, October 17, 2005

The NGV International

you walk about 10 minutes and the city takes on a different feel. If you squint, you can just make out the seedy drug dealers on the corner of Swanston and Russel st. vying for another easy punt. You're standing out the front of the water windows at the gallery and staring as parents pull roughly at the arms of their children who run up to press their sweaty hands against the water-fall window. You remember how you also, used to run up and thrust your whole face at the glass, stick your tongue out and taste the recycled water as it rushed over your lips and down the front of your t-shirt. But that was the 80s and they didn't have smartly dressed security guards standing out the front then.

Impatiently you shift from one leg to the other, waiting for your friend. Late, again. You take a seat on a nearby wall and are immediately lost within the soundscape of buzzing car motors and dinging tram bells that are characteristic of Melb. Behind you is the dis-connected fountain, a flow interrupted for more years than you can think back - you used to throw coins with wishes attached into it. You like to think they're still there, somewhere under the mould, those coins, still good for a wish or two, but you know that this man-made concrete pond has been cleared out many times since.

A nervous looking man with carrot coloured hair and a neatly tucked-in shirt approaches. You know he is going to ask you for money. But he offers you a poem for your trouble as well. Your recent viewing of Before Sunrise, with it's poetic street buskers makes you nostalgic, romantic and vulnerable to his charms. You hand over your coins and he hands you his poem.

It's pretty bad.

Kids keep running up to the water window and screaming in delight if they make it there before their parents.

The silver coins sparkle underneath the water.

You look at your watch again.
Here she comes.