above ground + underground

Aliceblue has been photographing the Magnolias of Newtown. Go and check out her beautiful images here.
And it reminded me that there is a particularly spectacular Magnolia in my old 'hood that I used to walk and drive past every day for years, always meaning to photograph and never getting around to it. So when I walked underneath it last weekend on a beautiful Saturday morning, I finally took some photos.

I taught and marked most of today and so it was with a feeling of having had ones brain sucked out through a straw, spat into the gutter and run
over by a truck, that I entered the subway under Broadway.

There are some fine lightbox installations down there by Merilyn Fairskye
I felt the pink one had some resonance in particular with the magnolia blossoms and as I was leaning up against it trying to block out the reflected advertising signs, a busker tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I'd like him to move out of the way so I could get a long shot. I felt bad about taking up his 'turf' in that premium busking space and declined his thoughtful offer. Then I noticed he'd gradually moved over to the opposite wall, all the while playing his violin beautifully. (To all my fellow closet-hippy readers out there: yeah, it reminds me of that Joni Mitchell song For Free too).

Minutes later Mr.'Spotless-Clean' came along with his dustpan and brush,wanting to see my photos on the playback screen and engaging me in a long passionate discourse on the faces that appear and vanish almost imperceptibly in the boxes. If the violinist hadn't already pointed one such spooky apparition to me I would've thought maybe it was a bit like seeing the Virgin Mary in a cornchip, that perhaps he'd gone a bit soft in the head on account of being so
sun-deprived down there for so long.

But no, they're there. A nice ephemeral touch.

The whole thing can't have lasted longer than 5 minutes, and it was such a rare, joyful, island-like moment of connecting with a couple of gentle folk who noticed things - in this case total strangers - while streams of humanity hooked into mobiles and mp3s surged around us.

And so I went from battered to elevated. The class I'd just been teaching dealt
with designing in four dimesions and the notion of ephemerality, so it seemed especially apt.

On the train home I watched a woman get out a bottle of nail varnish, balance it and paint her nails. On a violently lurching train.
Now, that's confidence.

Time for some thankyous

To everyone who commented on Bainbridge. Thank mintyfresh for coming up with the pattern.
To Melissa (and this one is very overdue) who deserves some kind of prize for having the last surviving copy, possibly in the world, of the pattern for these! ( I know a certain someone who is going to be pretty damn stoked with that). Thanks Melissa!
And to kgirl for her generous offer of a knit/elastic tutorial (lemme tell ya, sorely needed).

Never let it be said the knitblogosphere does not come through with the goods.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful post.
For the threads and connections and weavings of the everyday into some sort of discourse and making everything accesible.
For the magnolias which I love, and have been enjoying walking under as well. I wait for mine to flower, but we have the latest flowering magnolia ever.
For the busker: There used to be a busker at Flinders Street who sang Words by Cat Stevens (pre-Boyzone) and it used to resonate through the tunnels and carry with me till I got home and I loved it for it's intrusion and comfort.
For the subway artwork which are just the most wonderful photographs, particularly as they capture ghosts.
For the joy a colour can bring as it leads through your daily thoughts.

2 August 2007 at 7:20 pm  
Blogger MWM said...

oh -those light boxes. I could look at them forever. And they seem so much more powerful for being underground. I have always loved everything about the subway -the planned and unplanned art, the music, the darkness and the trains.
and your description of the aftermath of teaching -so graphic and yet right on the mark, at least some days.

2 August 2007 at 10:46 pm  
Blogger shula said...

She most certainly is...

4 August 2007 at 2:09 am  
Blogger shula said...

ps. tell Alison that the subway she's talking about is one of the BEST places to sing in this city.

4 August 2007 at 2:10 am  
Blogger Eero said...

I loved this post!
Your description of the exhaustion after work and the moment with strangers lifiting you up----I've known a similar feeling.

No subways where I live...

Not much public art, either!


7 August 2007 at 2:56 am  
Blogger AmberCake said...

Blatant case of the "me-too"s - will there be sharing of the pattern for booties and hats?

I guess I should properly pop over to Melissa's and ask that, hm?

Lovely post, thanks for putting it out there for all of us.

8 August 2007 at 5:09 am  
Blogger kgirlknits said...

I just love art in underground tunnels - Platform at Degraves St (Melb) is one of my favourite places to view works.

Offer still stands for sock elastic tute - just let me know where to send it and it will be whooshed to you down the line!

9 August 2007 at 9:50 am  
Blogger Flea-Bites said...

I love this post, Carson. The consideration of strangers can be amazing, as your busker showed. And I can see the woman with the nail varnish - you paint a beautiful story.

9 August 2007 at 8:19 pm  
Blogger Heather Moore said...

I love your blog, and that's why I've given you a "rockin' girl blogger" award. Check out my blog to see what the heck I'm talking about.

9 August 2007 at 9:35 pm  
Blogger AmberCake said...

Thanks for the info on the hat. Melissa already sent me the booties and I was glad you linked to her anyway, because what a nice blog with a nice writer behind it! I actually have seen that hat pattern before and I like the idea of trying it plain as well. Stay tuned to see if I actually, finally, for the first time ever, "use a pattern(s)" as written and as seen done by someone else first.

15 August 2007 at 2:15 am  
Blogger amisha said...

i keep coming back to this beautiful post, carson... the imagery, your description of the subway encounters, these 2 perfectly matched photos. a wonderful ephemeral moment.

16 August 2007 at 5:09 am  

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