MY DAILY THOUGHT

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April 20, 2014 – Easter

Growing up in Australia, the thing I remember most about Easter, was that when we were in school, it was a five day holiday weekend with most of the schools and universities closing on Good Friday, Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday making it a perfect time to get away for a long weekend.  In fact for most us, it was a time we would get away either to the beach or go water skiing at the end of the summer before winter would start to set in.

Good Friday in Australia was as solemn a day as Christmas Day with pretty much everything being closed.

It was somewhat surprising when I arrived in the United States to find that many businesses, including my own, were open on Good Friday as if it was just another day.  Although most government offices and banks are closed, certainly all of the retail stores are open and many businesses continue on as usual.

Nonetheless, in the Christian community, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are two very important days, the first being the day on which Christ was allegedly crucified on the cross with the last supper taking place the day before and Sunday being the day when Christ was resurrected.

Today’s pictures, which are a collection of images from both the old City of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, highlight some of the important locations relevant to Easter.

The tile referencing “Via Dolorosa” is as street that forms part of the Old City which was allegedly the path that Jesus took while carrying the cross on the way to his crucifixion. 

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is featured above, is allegedly built on the site where the crucifixion took place. This Church has become an important pilgrimage for many Christian since the 4th Century and today is controlled by at least four different religious groups from around the world who desire to maintain some domain over its presence in the Old City.

There are several pictures taken from the Church in Bethlehem which is allegedly on the site where Jesus was born.

Whether or not you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim or any other religion, in visiting these locations, it is hard not to be moved by the beauty and peace that is contained within the walls of these various churches.

To me, it is not important whether I believe that Christ was the Son of God.  What is important is the willingness to recognize that everyone has the right to their own belief systems and if those beliefs have as an underlying philosophy the notion of peace and good will towards others, it is certainly a concept that if more people were to adopt, the world would certainly be a better place.

(Photos taken in Jerusalem and Bethlehem – July 2006 and October 2011)

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April 19, 2014 – Paris

What is it about Paris that makes it one of the great cities in the world?

Is it the small cafes where you can sit and drink café or perhaps a glass of Bordeaux?  Is it the grandeur of the Eiffel Tower that rises over 1000 feet above the ground erected in 1889 and was the tallest man made structure in the world surpassing the Washington Monument until the Chrysler Building was constructed in 1957.  Of course just because the French didn’t want to be outdone by the Americans, they added an antenna on top of the Eiffel Tower so that it now stands 17 feet higher than the Chrysler building.

Is it the attraction of riding a Bateaux along the Seine at night watching lovers strolling along the river or making out in dark corners under bridges?

Is it the smell of fresh crepes smothered with Nutella, that you can find on street corners in Paris open 24 hours a day?

Is it the majesty of walking along the Champs Elysees, one of the most beautiful boulevards in the world, in part lined with trees where as you approach Place Charles de Gaulle you can see the magnificence of the Arc De Triomphe which opened to the public in 1806 and is still open daily to tourists until 10:30 PM?

For the lovers of art, is it the overwhelming number of Museums including the Louvre, which is home to such works as the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, or perhaps the Musee d’Orsay containing works from Van Gogh, Delacroix and Manet?

Perhaps it is the smell of fresh baguettes first thing in the morning where if you get to the patisserie early enough, the bread is still warm and will melt a piece of cheese if you break it open and place it inside?

I guess for me, it is a little bit of all of the above. It is, like New York and Rome, one of the great walking cities in the world. If you want to experience Paris, you can experience it from sitting in a little café in San Michel or on top of Montmartre.  At night you can still go and watch the Can Can being performed at the Moulin Rouge.  As a tourist, you cannot see and understand Paris in a day. You cannot see or fully understand Paris in a week. You can get a little bit of the flavor of the city in such a short time but I suspect to really know and understand Paris, like any great city, you need to live there for a period of time or go back as a tourist again and again and again.

For me, it is a reminder of why I love to travel.  Even if I go back to some of the same places time and time again, I will always find something new - perhaps another alleyway or perhaps a sculpture or a fountain I hadn’t noticed before.

 If you have not been lucky enough to visit this great city, it needs to go on your “bucket list”. Try and get there soon. Paris is waiting for you.

 If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

Ernest Hemingway

(Photos taken in Paris – August 2006)

 

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April 18, 2014 – Man cleaning shoes
I can honestly say that I have never had my shoes “shined” by a man, woman or child while I was wearing them.  It is fair to say that when staying in hotels, especially when they offer a free overnight shoe shine, I have taken advantage of this, given that I do not do a particularly great job at cleaning my own shoes, but, to the best of my recollection, I have never had a “split and a polish”.
I certainly appreciate that people do this for a living but I still struggle with the concept of sitting a chair, reading the newspaper or smoking a cigar while someone is either down on their knees or, in the case of the above photo, sitting on a plastic bucket giving someone a shine!
People who’s occupation it is to polish shoes, has in the past been referred to as a “shoeshine boy” a name given due to the fact that the job was historically performed by young males.  Although such a task is frowned upon in many western civilizations, shoe shining nonetheless continues to provide a source of revenue to children and families around the world particularly in societies where there is a higher than usual, level of poverty.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons I have resisted in participating in, what for some people, is a daily ritual.    At many of the locations where you find people willing to shine your shoes, including airports, train stations, bus depots and on the sidewalk, the shoe shiner is working only for tips, something else that I find troubling.  If you took a pair of shoes into a repair store, they may charge you ten dollars to get your shoes cleaned.  Why should a person on the street be expected to get paid any less?
It is true to say that I do love getting a shave in a barber shop with a straight edge but there I am paying a price for the experience of the man in the chair and he is certainly not kneeling at my feet in a manner that somehow seems demeaning or degrading.
I appreciate that for many of the people who fulfill this function, they are more than happy for the many customers that show up on a daily basis as it puts money in their pockets to allow them to put food on the table at night and certainly the costs of  performing the trade are fairly minimal.
Still, it is something I continue to struggle with.

“After some thorough soul-searching and thoughtful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that if you get a shoeshine in public in 2011, you’re probably an a**hole.
I thought about this as I walked past a gentleman on 9th Avenue in Manhattan getting a shoe shine. The look of the man screamed Willy Loman, and he obviously was one of those pretenders to the crown in middle management that do things like get his shoes shined in public to give himself the false impression that he’s on the fast track. The pseudo-classism was abundant: he was on a raise, and as he got his shoes shined looked off into the distance, avoiding all eye contact and communication with the man inside.
It then occurred to me that of the handful of men I have come across in my life who have had their shoes shined in modern times – both as novelty and habit – they’ve universally been what I would consider an a**hole. Friendly acquaintances, mind you, and great for a laugh, but total a**holes none the less.”
Posted by Kevin Marshall on March 8, 2011 on “Kevin Marshall’s America”
(Photo taken in New Orleans, December 2010)

 

April 18, 2014 – Man cleaning shoes

I can honestly say that I have never had my shoes “shined” by a man, woman or child while I was wearing them.  It is fair to say that when staying in hotels, especially when they offer a free overnight shoe shine, I have taken advantage of this, given that I do not do a particularly great job at cleaning my own shoes, but, to the best of my recollection, I have never had a “split and a polish”.

I certainly appreciate that people do this for a living but I still struggle with the concept of sitting a chair, reading the newspaper or smoking a cigar while someone is either down on their knees or, in the case of the above photo, sitting on a plastic bucket giving someone a shine!

People who’s occupation it is to polish shoes, has in the past been referred to as a “shoeshine boy” a name given due to the fact that the job was historically performed by young males.  Although such a task is frowned upon in many western civilizations, shoe shining nonetheless continues to provide a source of revenue to children and families around the world particularly in societies where there is a higher than usual, level of poverty.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons I have resisted in participating in, what for some people, is a daily ritual.    At many of the locations where you find people willing to shine your shoes, including airports, train stations, bus depots and on the sidewalk, the shoe shiner is working only for tips, something else that I find troubling.  If you took a pair of shoes into a repair store, they may charge you ten dollars to get your shoes cleaned.  Why should a person on the street be expected to get paid any less?

It is true to say that I do love getting a shave in a barber shop with a straight edge but there I am paying a price for the experience of the man in the chair and he is certainly not kneeling at my feet in a manner that somehow seems demeaning or degrading.

I appreciate that for many of the people who fulfill this function, they are more than happy for the many customers that show up on a daily basis as it puts money in their pockets to allow them to put food on the table at night and certainly the costs of  performing the trade are fairly minimal.

Still, it is something I continue to struggle with.

“After some thorough soul-searching and thoughtful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that if you get a shoeshine in public in 2011, you’re probably an a**hole.

I thought about this as I walked past a gentleman on 9th Avenue in Manhattan getting a shoe shine. The look of the man screamed Willy Loman, and he obviously was one of those pretenders to the crown in middle management that do things like get his shoes shined in public to give himself the false impression that he’s on the fast track. The pseudo-classism was abundant: he was on a raise, and as he got his shoes shined looked off into the distance, avoiding all eye contact and communication with the man inside.

It then occurred to me that of the handful of men I have come across in my life who have had their shoes shined in modern times – both as novelty and habit – they’ve universally been what I would consider an a**hole. Friendly acquaintances, mind you, and great for a laugh, but total a**holes none the less.”

Posted by Kevin Marshall on March 8, 2011 on “Kevin Marshall’s America”

(Photo taken in New Orleans, December 2010)

 

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April 17, 2014 – San Francisco

My very first trip to San Francisco took place in July of 1972 when I was 13 years old. My family was in the process of relocating from Melbourne Australia to New Jersey for a few years after my father had decided to change jobs.

It was an exciting time for my sister and I to be moving to a new country, starting at a new school and hopefully making new friends.

San Francisco was one of the first main cities that we visited in America.  Although we had trams in Melbourne, we certainly did not have cable cars and to find myself riding on one (actually I stood on the steps because I felt like that is what the cool kids would do) as we headed up what seemed to be the steepest street I had ever seen, was an experience.

Of course, no visit to San Francisco is complete without a stop at the world famous Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory in Ghirardelli square.  The factory first opened its doors in in the 1850s and today Ghirardelli is one of the few companies in America that controls the entire chocolate manufacturing process, from cocoa bean to the finished product.  For a young teenager, to go into the factory and sit down and eat one their huge ice-cream Sundays and drink a thick strawberry milkshake was more than enough to make any kid happy.  (In case you are wondering, the photo above is of me and my sister who is probably going to kill me for posting this picture of the two of us).

The first picture is of me sitting on the Sausalito side of the Golden Gate Bridge. The photo taken of me was shot by my father.  Even then, at the age of 13, my camera was wrapped around my neck and ready for action!

Although we had a fairly large Chinatown in Melbourne, nothing could compare to the one in San Francisco which was enormous.  To walk around the Chinese markets and see some of the animals, vegetables and spices that were for sale was eye opening.  I am not sure I have ever seen so many ducks and chickens (dead of course) hanging in restaurant windows before.  On the outskirts of Chinatown was an area that was filled with adult bookstores, topless nightclubs and other interesting institutions.  I am not sure that I fully appreciated at the age of 13 exactly what these places were but would eventually figure it out.

We then took the ferry from Fisherman’s Wharf out to Alcatraz, a prison used for military criminals starting in 1868 and then used as a Federal Prison from 1933-1963.  Given its location on an island surrounded by treacherous rocks and cold seas, despite 14 attempts to escape, no one prevailed and most died.

Many people often think of San Francisco as not that different from Melbourne where I grew up.  Perhaps it because they are both located on a bay.   Or perhaps because Melbourne has trams and San Francisco has cable cars and we both have fairly large Chinatowns.  But over the years that I have been visiting there, it is perhaps the existence of a real downtown city where people live and work that is the center of day and nightlife and with great residential neighborhoods surrounding the city is what the two locations have in common.

Other than the fact that the weather is just a little too cold in the Bay Area, it is definitely a city that I would enjoy living in.

“It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.”

― Jack KerouacOn the Road

 (Photos taken in San Francisco in 1972, and 2006)

 

 

 

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April 16, 2014 – Coachella

For thousands of parents this last weekend, they experienced three days of trauma as their teenage children gathered with their friends and headed to Indio, California for the three day music festival known as Coachella.

Some of these kids stayed in the camping ground.  Some stayed in a motel room with accommodation for two but which for three or four days would accommodate as many as eight!   Some were lucky enough to have friends, family or relatives who owned a place out in the desert and could stay there and some just drove in every day to avoid the overpriced cost of accommodation.

Coachella first appeared on the scene in 1999 and has taken place every year since.  Owing to its popularity, starting a number of years ago, the festival now runs on two successive weekends mostly with the same acts appearing.

Over the years the festival has attracted such musical legends as Paul McCartney, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dr. Dre and Snoop, Nine Inch Nails and Madonna.

While it is true that the kids may sometimes drink a little too much beer, occasionally smoke a little too much weed as well as taking other things to enhance their senses, in general, it’s a pretty mellow weekend with adults and kids managing to blend together and have a pretty good time.

Yes.  To be clear.  Adults such as myself, do attend these festivals and can “rock on” with the best of them!  As the man in the photo’s tee-shirt says – “Never 2 Old 2 Love Music.”

When the temperature gets a little  too hot, you can cool down by dancing in an area where water jets are flowing.  Or if you want to relax for a while, you can sit quietly on the grounds of the polo fields and just chill!

Mostly, people are just there to have fun including the kids who are piled on top of each other in the photo above.  It is worth noting that they are drinking a can of Pepsi and a bottle of juice!    Of course, you are not allowed to drink alcohol outside of the designated areas but even still, things tend to stay pretty calm.

In the evenings when the sun goes down, most of the main acts appear.  During my last visit to Coachella a couple of years ago, we were lucky enough to be able to see Snoop and a hologram of Tupac!

So for those of you parents who still have one more weekend to go and are a little bit worried, don’t be.  Your kids will be home soon enough in one piece and having had such a great experience, already talking about what other festivals they can go to next year!

(Photos taken at Coachella – April 2012)

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April 15, 2014 – Passover

All over the world last night, Jewish people celebrated “Passover”.  It is a night when we remember that when the angel of death came down upon Egypt to kill the first born male in all of the Egyptian households as the final plague in an attempt to force Pharaoh to let the Jews leave Egypt and be free instead of continuing their existence as slaves, the angel “passed over” the Jewish homes so that no one was killed.  The Jews had been instructed to place blood on the front of their houses so that the angel would know to leave them alone. 

For me, Passover is one of the truly wonderful Jewish events and has great memories for me as a child growing up.  In the same way that American families get together for Thanksgiving, Jewish families in America and around the world get together for Passover.  The story of the Jews being slaves in Egypt is told in varying degrees of length depending on who is leading the services.  It an evening filled with the mandatory drinking of multiple cups of red wine and eating Matzo ball soup, and massive quantities of food including wonderful deserts, all of which have to be made without grains that may cause leavening to take place to remind us that the Jews when they were leaving Egypt did not have time to bake bread.   If the Matzo balls are too heavy, there will be murmuring at the table so the pressure is on whoever is making them to ensure that they are light and fluffy! 

There is a section of the service where there is a story is told of four sons, including one who is described as “the bad son” and even one who is described as “the simple son.”  Whoever gets to the lead the service has the power to assign the reading of the passage of each of the four sons to very specific people which was certainly entertaining in seeing who would be assigned the specific roles when we were kids. 

After the meal, the young children in the house get to search for a piece of Matzo that was hidden earlier in the evening and whoever finds it gets a prize which is often an amount of money.  As kids growing up we would destroy whoever’s house it was as the race began to find the piece of Matzo and claim the prize! 

At our house, my mother, when she hosted the Seder, the name given to the evening, always invited people who were without families and had no place else to go which made the evening special for everyone. 

Last night, my family in Australia got together with the same group of people they have been celebrating Passover with for years and I am pleased to say that in Los Angeles we got together with a group of Australians who have been getting together for Jewish holidays for several years now, continuing the tradition. In fact our host last night was someone who I often celebrated the second night of Passover at their house more than 40 years ago.  A large part of the evening is spent eating a very traditional meal that starts with gefilte fish with horseradish, followed by matzo ball soup and then chicken and brisket. The meal then finishes with wonderful deserts that cannot be made with any flour which in our case included a Hungarian chocolate and hazelnut cake with cherries and an orange cake together with coconut macaroons.  In the center of the festive table is a round dish that lists all of the items that cause us to reflect on the story of the affliction including a shank bone, an egg, bitter herbs and of course Matzo. 

I am sure for some, the evening might be seen as a little strange, including a part of the service where you dip your finger in red wine and spill a drop on a plate as a reminder of the 10 plagues that God inflicted on the Egyptians before they were eventually allowed to leave, but certainly the opportunity to get together and have a meal with people you know and care about is not such a bad way to spend an evening!

(Photos taken in Santa Monica – April 15, 2014)

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April 14, 2014 – Family

Over the last 12 months, I have become somewhat obsessed on trying to track down additional information on my family’s history.  Perhaps because of my visit to Poland last year where I participated in the March of the Living where we spent a week visiting some of the concentration camps where millions of people were murdered, my desire to understand the origins of my family all of a sudden became important to me. 

It is amazing through websites such as Ancestory.com how easy it is to track down information about where your relatives came from. Within a short few weeks I was able to track down details of burial sites, shipping records where my grandparents and great grandparents found their way from Europe to Australia, and even managed to identify some cousins in the United States that I did not even know existed but where we shared a common Great-Great Grandfather and Mother. 

My grandfather on my mother’s side had died in 1938 at the age of 40 when my mother was only three years old.  He died of pneumonia at a time when penicillin had not yet been discovered. It would only be a relatively short period of time later that this drug would have saved his life as well as the lives of hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of people who had died previously from a variety of illnesses.

My grandmother had remarried and by the time I was born in 1959, I had no idea about my mother’s real father as he had never been a part of my life. 

Most of my family from Australia, including my own father, who also died very young, were mostly buried at a cemetery in Springvale, about 30 minutes from where I grew up, which I have sadly visited way too many times but I had never been out to Fawkner Cemetery where my grand father and my great grandparents on my mother’s side were buried together with a large number of my cousins who had arrived from Europe earlier in the 1900s. 

And so on my last day in Melbourne, I got up early on Sunday morning, and after meeting a good friend for coffee, drove out to Fawkner Cemetery to try and locate the tombstones of my relatives.  Through a variety of websites I had some idea of the description of the plots, and had even seen photos of several of them. I was amazed to find that when I arrived at the cemetery you could go into the administration office, ask for the location of a family member, and within a few minutes, you were given a map showing the general location of the gravesite. 

The first burial at the cemetery had taken place over 100 years ago and with various family members buried in the early 1900s, they were clearly some of the first people to have been buried there.  I drove out to the section of the cemetery where my family was located and after about 5 minute of walking through row after row of gravesites, I finally found the location of my grandfather and his parents.  Despite having never met my grandfather or his parents, as I stared at the gravesite and the tombstones, I had feelings of both sadness as well as happiness having finally made a connection with someone who without, I would have never been born. 

I sat quietly for a few moments looking at the stone and then quietly said “Kaddish”, the Jewish prayer for the deceased and felt content. 

Knowing who your family is and where they come from is important.  We sometimes take for granted the life that we all live and when you delve back in to history and learn some of the struggles and challenges our predecessor’s had, it puts things in a little bit better prospective. 

I was glad that I got to spend these few hours before I left.

A happy family is but an earlier heaven.

George Bernard Shaw 

(Photos taken at Fawkner Cemetery, Melbourne – April 2014)

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April 13, 2014 – Australian Graffiti

For those of you who have read my blog for the last 4 or 5 months, you know that I have an interest in photographing graffiti.  Over the last 5 or 6 years, I have photographed over 1000 images from different locations around the world.  I have found that although in each country you can find certain unique qualities in graffiti, there are some styles or forms of graffiti that are fairly common throughout the world.

Today’s pictures are taken from two different locations.  The first two pictures are from Bondi Beach in Sydney, one of the world’s most famous beaches.  The beach is more than a kilometer wide and along a large stretch of wall that follows the beach from the north to the south, you can find a large collection of diverse artwork. 

I learned on my most recent visit to Sydney, that the city of Bondi has made it clear that once a piece of painted graffiti has been up for at least a month, a new artist is free to come along and repaint the relevant section. There are some exceptions to this rule but in general this seems to now be the policy that is being followed. 

The nice thing is that from the time I was last in Sydney, which was December last year, I could already see that some of the old artwork had been replaced.  The second picture of the three dogs is by an artist who is constantly painting new pictures of one of my favorite animals.

The last group of photos I took yesterday in Richmond, not far from the train station where I had stopped only 24 hours earlier on my way to the Melbourne Cricket Ground where I went to watch my team play football.  For those of you who are interested, my team is Carlton as badly as I have ever seen them place and losing to a team that had, up until yesterday, had the worst record in the Australian Football League. 

The interesting thing about this artwork is that each photo is part of a mural depicting Australiana and its culture from the 1800 and 1900s.  In doing a little research on Google, I was able to determine that these images are part of what is known as the “Stephenson St. Mural” which was created in 1984 after being sponsored by the Cremorne Gardens Resident Action Group.  The mural is intended to highlight various interesting and important events in the area’s history including the first hot air balloon flight in Australia which took place in 1858.

Too often we think of graffiti as being the work of vandals who are defacing the streets of our city but certainly in this location, the group of artists who have created this mural have beautified an area that would otherwise have been an empty and bland wall of cement. 

(Photos taken in Sydney and Melbourne – April 2014)

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April 12, 2014 – Afternoon in Sydney

On the day I arrived in Sydney I had a few hours to kill and thought I would take a walk around the city and take a few photos. 

Taxis in the city have become incredibly expensive so I decided to use the subway  which was not only considerably less expensive but allowed me to get to my intended destination a lot quicker.  The first two pictures in today’s post, taken with my iPhone, show the escalator that transfers thousands of people each day from the street level down to where the trains depart.  The red glow on the sides of the escalators create an almost deco kind of feeling. 

I headed down towards Darling Harbor and walked along the newly developed area that follows the water which has become filled with expensive restaurants and bars, together with an IMAX theatre and a Madam Tussauds Wax Museum, all of which cater to the tourist market. Not surprisingly, as evident from today’s third photograph, McDonalds appears to be alive and well in the heart of Sydney.

As I have written previously, Australia, and particularly Melbourne, has some of the best coffee in the world. Over the last few years, Sydney has greatly improved the quality of their cafes and it has now become much easier to find a decent latte or cappuccino.  In the fourth photo, a man sits at Bellissimo Café drinking coffee while playing with his iPad. The sign indicates that they are serving “multi award-winning “gourmet” coffee!  I never did get to sample the quality of their beverages. 

In the final picture, we see empty tables in the restaurant that I had thought I may want to dine at for dinner.  Someone had gone to great lengths to ensure that the tables were perfectly set.  The knives and forks are spaced evenly as are the folded napkins that are placed in front of each chair.  The glasses shine and sparkle as if they have just been taken out of the dishwasher and still have that perfect reflection.  They have been placed uniformly in front of the knives and as you look down at the row of tables, each one looks somewhat identical to the other.  When the customers in the restaurant first sit down at their appointed table, within a matter of seconds the near perfect symmetry of the settings will be gone but for now, the empty café has a look of elegance that adds to the appeal of someone looking for a place to dine. 

Having flown for nearly 15 hours earlier in the day from Los Angeles, I never did make it to that restaurant for dinner. Instead I enjoyed a wonderful Italian meal at a local restaurant near Bondi Junction and then within about five minutes of returning back to the hotel, I put my head down on the pillow and crashed for the night, reflecting on what had been an incredibly relaxing  and enjoyable day. 

(Photos taken in Sydney – April 2014)

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April 11, 2014 – The Digital Fashion Parade

Several days ago while visiting Sydney, Australia, I witnessed a new form of entertainment.   After jumping out of a taxi at the top of Martin Place in the middle of the city, I headed down towards the hotel and noticed a video monitor showing footage of a fashion parade that had apparently taken place several hours earlier that day. 

It was nearly 5 o’clock in the afternoon and this area, which is normally packed with people during the lunch hour, especially when the weather is nice, had only a scattering of people sitting on the sidewalk and taking a momentary rest.    Perhaps it was because of the unstable weather (it had been raining on and off during the day) or perhaps it was still an hour away from the end of the work day when people would start pouring out of the office buildings heading to their cars, or towards the train or bus station for the commute home. 

I couldn’t help but notice a lone character, lying down, completely engaged in watching the video monitor as one beautiful woman, after another, walked up and down the catwalk modeling a new line of fashion.  Every once in awhile, someone would stare at the man fixated on the images in front of him, but for most of the 20 minute show, it was if he was the only person in the audience with all of the models performing for him.

When the show ended, the man eventually picked himself up off the sidewalk, and with a big smile on his face and taking his limited personal possessions with him, he moved to another section of the sidewalk where he again settled down but this time to take a nap.   I have no doubt that during the 20 minutes of the broadcasting of the fashion parade, this man who appeared to be one of growing number of homeless people in Sydney, thought that he was “King of the World”! 

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

Oscar Wilde 

(Photos taken in Sydney – April 2014)

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