Sydney Park & the old brickwork site

And so, after last night's ego head-up-the-bum tirade of a blog, I've cooled down somewhat. I've pricked that headspace balloon, so I'm no longer a prick. As it is, I'm a bit over the whole muso thing anyway. I'd rather go back to playing the tennis clubs and bowling clubs in sydney's tucked-away leafy north-shore, and pick up the bass and acoustic and play along with others. I can't be arsed writing songs anymore, although that may change and move at any moment. I have my songs and work rotating on my myspace page. That's good enough for me. For now. Take it and leave it is where I'm at today. On the live front not too many people wish to see and hear a Paul Weller coverer. And I'd rather just breathe, take in the sunlight, talk to children and pat the dog, and not be hanging around the pubs watching and listening to blokes with acoustics who do have some good songs and perform them well, but who aren't in any way half the musician or artist that I am, intrinsically. Accolades?? They can have 'em.

So there you have it, changeable like the wind, ain't I?

After work this afternoon I drove over to Sydney Park in St Peters to join my nephew and his mum celebrate joint birthdays that happen to be 9 days apart. It was a good chance to catch up with my nephew and my brother too. My roguish brother shaved his beard, while I'm growing mine! The park is situated on the old brickwork site where my father worked for over a decade, working hard to make the other man rich - literally. My dad was on a casual rate and when made redundant in 1983 was not offered a payout. He didn't seem to care, my dad, he had this vivid streak of recklessness about him, a real 'fuck it' attitude. I seem to have this cavalier roughness too, albeit in smaller, more subtle shades.

All that remains of the original brickwork site are the chimney stacks over the one brickwork dome that's left standing on the Princes Highway side of the park. I wish I had my camera on me as these towers appeared quite striking in the afternoon sun. The park is made up of 44 hectares, and trees are continually planted throughout the park. Near the chimney stacks is a cul-de-sac style carpark, and as you walk in there's a cafe and an adventure park for kids. It's all very well laid-out and planned. Nothing of the original vestiges of the toxic dump that this place was 20 plus years ago remain. That is, unless you look hard enough, you can feel that this is a young park. There are many saplings of trees surrounded by sticks and protective plastic. And as you walk up toward the crest of the park and see the views of Sydney on all sides, you can smell the unpleasant industrial breeze that doesn't seem to avoid the general vicinity of Alexandria and St Peters, and this was a Saturday too.

Despite the breeze that definitely ain't alpine fresh, Sydney Park is a positive progression in what is a very grimy area, a geographical location that's definitely on the polish and has been for over the past decade or so. The area where we were today near the cafe and the children's adventure park was filled with young families. Kids and dogs bounded about. The older kids were playing ball games, the dogs were chasing each other and playing fetch. I wondered where these people lived. Perhaps they'd all bought into the apartments that keep springing up around the Euston Road side of the park in Alexandria, they may all have mortgages, good jobs. People seemed mildly happy to be out on a beautiful, cool sunny day like today. The kids were full of life, as were the dogs.

I felt no wave of remorse or nostalgia as I looked out over the Princes Highway and stood gazing back toward the old chimney stack. On all levels practical and quantum, my dad's era with the suburb is past, gone, never to return. It is like a different country around there now. St Peters and the brickyard, as I remember it scantly from the late '70's, was once the absolute fucking pits, a total fucking dreghole. And now, there's more of an air of progression, of cleaning up, of transforming and making fresh that which was once most unpleasant.

Of course, it is also "smart money" doing its work. St Peters is the next suburb down from Enmore which itself is one suburb down from Newtown, a suburb that has been vicously gentrified, and artrified, over the course of the past 20-25 years.

It moved me today to witness the passing of ages and its positively slow-motion effect on an area; seeing happy people out to play on a beautiful day in a nice park on what was once a dumpsite, the kids, the dogs, the parents. In Alexandria and St Peters, it's getting better all the time.

I just wish my dad was around to see it all...


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