Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dear reader

I didn't think I would be gone so long.

I just popped out for a year, but now I don't know when I'm coming back.

Thank you so much for your encouraging comments and emails coaxing me out of hiding. I promise I will return one day, and take up from where I left off.

For now, I am being nosey in Vietnam, where I am also keeping a blog about my neighbourhood. A cliche about living overseas is that the novel environment heightens your senses, that you notice the exotic in the mundane. This is why we're all aspiring writers and photographers on holiday. But Nosey in Newtown taught me you don't need to buy the plane ticket: there is nowhere more intriguing or exciting than your own street.
So stay forever nosey.

Until next time,
Nosey in Newtown.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Big cats

On Camden Street:

On the Macdonaldtown Station sound barrier:

On the window of Champion Textiles:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Here one day...

It did not take long for the tantalisingly blank canvas of this freshly painted wall on Enmore Road to be adorned:

It was dutifully removed, and dutifully replaced:

That's now also been removed. I await the next installment.

This revolving exhibition has reminded me to document interesting things that appear on walls before they disappear. I was kicking myself a couple of months ago when one half of the Gladstone Street stencil wall was painted over with a massive high-concept anti-Coke stencil, and then that in turn was swiftly replaced with graffiti and I had failed to take any pictures.

Thankfully, someone else with more foresight did it for us, and has pasted pictures of the various incarnations of the wall back onto it for old times' sake:

Mystery public archivist, I salute you!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Like toy soldiers

Look closely at that hitherto bafflingly pointless sculpture in Camperdown Memorial Rest Park, and you'll see that it has been invaded by awesomeness:

Will Coles is behind the attack, opening up a new front in his campaign to glue stuff to other stuff.

But he's facing a green counter-attack:

A different kind of guerrilla gardening.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On King Street, I'm a King

Check out this awesome ode to Newtown from John Kennedy's Love Gone Wrong back from 1985. The come-back starts right here, I reckon...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas or Xmas

'Tis the season to pay another visit to Pleasant Avenue, and once more, the aptly-named street does not disappoint. Even the dogs are festive:

One house has turned their home into a hearth:

Complete with shoes drying by the cellophane fire:

But this year's prize for Turning It Up A Notch goes to the residents who have sacrificed all their natural light to transform their house into a giant silver-wrapped present:

Or this could actually be the world's best disguise for a large-scale hydroponic marijuana operation. And goodness me, on Pleasant Avenue of all places.

I was interested to see what the carbon-neutral house would do this year, but there was not even any environmentally-friendly tinsel on display. Maybe next year they should borrow this sign from the house on Longdown Street:

Other home-made favourites include this understated effort on Alice Street:

And a Halloween-inspired display on Munni Street:

A valiant effort to turn some trellises in a park on George Street into Christmas trees results in them kind of looking like medieval instruments of torture:

And also on George Street, the house next door to this:

Decides to go with this:

Is that the traditional Christmas skull-and-crossbones or the famous Christmas octopus?

On Clara Street, evidence of the start of the traditional Christmas arguing season:

Leaving me feeling a bit like this:

But in the words of Oliver of Pleasant Avenue, Merry Christmas or Xmas to you all. Here's to more noseyness in 2009.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The fattest pub in Newtown

I don't have the patience for local history. The delight of uncovering an intriguing little tidbit doesn't for me outweigh the tedium of wading through illegible council records and files.

So thank you and mad props to reader and amateur local historian Andy Ryan for having the forbearance to uncover a Newtown fact so charming that it almost endears me to a life spent in the stacks with my little white cotton gloves.

Andy reports that until 1901 the Marlborough Hotel was known as Daniel Lambert Hotel, improbably named after the world's fattest man.

Lambert's "sizable" reputation started in 1806 when he reached the weight of 700 lb (318 kg) and commissioned a special carriage to take him to London, where he charged one shilling a head to look at him. He apparently disliked the attention but needed the money to pay for the cost of having clothes and furniture especially made for him.

When he died three years later in a Stamford public house, his body could only be removed by dismantling a wall of the building. At his death, he weighed 739 lb (336 kg), with a waist measurement of 9 feet 4 inches.

According to Wikipedia, an apocryphal anecdote about Lambert is that he would visit the many pubs in Stamford and challenge visitors to a race, with the one proviso he had a small head start. There are many narrow passageways in Stamford that act as short cuts between the major streets. Once he was ahead, he would use these passageways and, because of his size, prevent his opponent from being able to pass, meaning he would always win.

Many years after Lambert's death, publican David Woodhams named what is now the Marly after him, probably to promote an all-you-can-eat buffet (okay, I made that bit up, but no-one knows what Woodhams' motivation was). There was even a mural of poor Fatty Lambert on the pub's exterior wall.

And thanks to another unlikely local connection, you can actually see a genuine pair of Lambert's roomy stockings on display this weekend at the Vanity Fair Christmas Vintage Fashion Market in Leichhardt.

Well, I never.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stop >> Play

I have been pondering the new garden, grass "bean bags" and bandstand on Australia Street for a week or so. It has a professional shine and polish to it, but appeared seemingly overnight, and with no official self-congratulatory Council signs or plaques.

It does have a Guerrilla Gardeners sign, so I was preparing to file it under "mystery" (a completely awesome mystery):

But then I asked myself, since when have Guerrilla Gardeners had the facilities or resources to produce an beautifully manufactured "Play" stop sign?

The answer: Since Guerrilla Gardeners became a Channel Ten TV show.


I would have preferred it to be a community initiative, but whatever motivated its appearance, we've still ended up with an ornamental border of succulents and a shady spot to play some chess this Summer. Maybe it should be known as Gift Horse Green.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pole lotta lovin'

Staying toasty on Missenden Road:

On King Street:

And ribbons and bibbons on Wilford Street:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

For the diary

Make sure to keep an eye on the BikeSydney site for details on November events like the King Street Bike Love Parade and the Bikes Rock party in Sydney Park.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Horsing around

Thanks to Tara for pointing me in the direction of the "Stables" Art & About project which has been going on in Erskineville for the past couple of weeks and which celebrates the apparently rich history of horses in the area.

It could possibly be the most awesome community art project ever. In August, almost eight hundred residents of Erskineville discovered in their letterboxes and on their doorsteps a ball of clay and instructions on how to make a small model horse. The horses were then collected, fired and put on display in the shop windows on Erskineville.

These photos represent a mere smidgen of what is there:

Needless to say, I am extremely jealous that I didn't get to make a horse, and extremely impressed by the execution of the logistics of it all. And it looks like there was only one horse-napping:

Thursday, October 16, 2008