Friday, January 23, 2009

gargoyles lamps & corridors

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, 22 January 2009, in what was a warm and balmy midnight, ZaraMeow & myself took off to the Main Quadrangle at Sydney University for a post-gig walk on the quadrangle grass. We got hit by sudden sprinklers going off in all directions; they cooled us down, it was a hot night.

This is an stunning building and sadly, there are relatively few like these in Australia. This quadrangle was built and fashioned from sandstone in the mid-19th century, Sydney University being one of Australia's oldest Universities (is it the oldest??)

The corridors were lit by eerie lamps and each lamppost sat underneath a sandstone gargoyle. The environment surrounding the quadrangle was so rich and inspiring that we wished we could work at the uni, or at least be a part of it somehow. The buzz of the place, despite that the people of the uni were safely put to bed at the time we were frolicking within its safe, warm berth, was palpable.

I love the walk into Sydney Uni from Broadway. You come into Victoria Park at the corner of King Street (that leads to Newtown), across from the legendary Lansdowne Hotel, stroll through the pretty pathways and you're suddenly hit with this almighty quadrangle that appears to be more at home at Cambridge or Oxford, but I'm certainly no less glad that we have it here in Sydney.

I always catch a buzz when I walk through Sydney Uni. It is such a creative, inspiring and uplifting atmosphere there!

I never attended Sydney Uni. I did both my degrees at the more homely Uni of NSW in suburban Kensington, and funnily enough I work across the road from UNSW at the dharma school. I would say that most of my adult life has centred around the campus with UNSW being my primary home, pretty much and save for about 3 years, since I left school after 1987.

I felt almost a bit pensive and sad being at this magic place during the graveyard shift. I felt and remembered, quite acutely in those starry hours where all movements are stilled yet the essential energies remain poised and expectant, all of the experiences and buzzes that sustained and motivated me in the late 80's, and all the memories of Sydney Uni whenever I visited there, which was often. I felt like I was 19 again and that life has come full-circle. In some ways I'm living a 19-year old person's life, casual and bohemian and wide-eyed. I have no children. Many of my friends my of age group, and people that I know generally, are fathers and mothers by the time they're 38 (but not all). I have mixed feelings about being a father, even the word 'father' leaves me cold. I still feel too boyish, in many ways, and it's not about to happen, anyway.

Besides, my dad spent no time with me whatsover (or if he did, it was very very very very very very very little time) and he never talked to me, or discussed anything with me. If he did talk he'd be brusque. Life would have been a lot fucking easier for me if he had embraced me - like dads are supposed to do with their kids - but he was lost in his world that was sustained by pubs and proudly working himself to a pulp to make the (other) man rich. And besides, life wasn't meant to be easy, right?

Mum was anxious and only communicated through silent yet actively pensive energies.

I'm not ungrateful, but I do question the value or role of fatherhood, and my identity with that. Who knows, I'd probably be a brilliant dad, but that remains to be seen if ever in this lifetime.'s quite likely I would be a brilliant father. And I'm grateful. I'm a complex bag of potatoes and I have my parents and their opposing personalities and mega un-mined talents and capabilities to thank for that. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't ...Be Here Now. And they were - are - great people inherently, and I recognise that.

For the moment I am 19 again and it's 1988/89 and I ride the wave and spirit of this great place and great time.


The Knitting Songbird said...

What a lovely, candid and moving post Ross - and lovely pics to boot!

Even though I'm a mother of 3, as I've already said, I don't feel 37 - got my head too far up in the clouds! I mean, which 37 year old dreams of starting a God damn singing career, I ask ya???

Funnily enough, these dreams wouldn't have come into my head had it not been for kiddy no. 3. It's all his fault! :) I didn't even know he was in my tum when I started singing again. That's why he's Lucien, 'cause in many ways he lit up my life and made me realise, man, life is too short and precious to be wasted in working in a tedious and unhealthy office environment. Hope to never go back there, whatever happens!

And for the record, I think you'd make a great dad quite because of the fact that you're boyish and wide eyed. All the supposedly macho guys, like our dads, were not the best of dads 'cause they forgot that once, perhaps not that long ago, they were youngsters just like us with dreams and hopes and hearts full of love. Wish they hadn't forgotten. Their, and our, lives would have been much more fun.

As the Little Prince said "All grown-ups were once children - although few of them remember it." Let's hope we remember ;)

ross b said...

Thanks Mary, that's a good closing line, and you have some interesting insights there. I'm determined to remember!!

Sunburnt but happy, Ross in a midsummer night's dream.


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