Celluloid Sydenham

Tuesday 1 July 2008

This morning on the train I tried to look at people as just people instead of potential subjects for my next train study :) And anyway, they were doing not much of anything really, it being a rather dull Tuesday, albeit a beautifully sunny one. Despite the sunny weather there was a dreariness about the day - tightarse Tuesday, the dude selling the Big Issue whispered to me (after I'd bought a copy, of course ;) Not much buying or selling or much of anything happenin' on the old Tuesday. I think there are lots of colds and flu's swathing their way through the streets of Melbourne at the moment, if the sneezing level at my workplace is anything to go by.

On the train, everyone being dull, I looked out the window. Actually saw a tumbleweed blowing down the tracks, like some kinda throwback to a wild west street a century and a hemisphere away. But of course, everyone has tumbleweeds, right? Just because they've been captured so much on film in that setting doesn't mean you don't have Thai tumbleweeds, Romanian tumbleweeds.

Went across the small bridge and then past the empty dirt field that caught my attention last Thursday. Today, like then, the wind was swirling around, having its own little dirt and wind party. There was something somehow whimsical about it, the way the dust whirled in circles, dancing for the entertainment of nobody. I gazed at it again this morning, in my fancy imagining invisible men in invisible cars doing invisible doughnuts.

Came home this evening and watched The Book of Revelation which is neither religious nor spiritual but instead, an Australian film about a man struggling to regain himself after a traumatic episode involving an abduction and torture and sexual abuse by three women. Sounds strange. But the role reversal really threw effectively into stark relief the disorientation, dissasociation and shame of abuse. I really loved this movie.

The movie would have affected me all on its own (indeed, Margaret and David, my favourite movie reviewers, both gave it 4 stars and I am always interested in seeing movies that both of them agree on). This would have reeled me in anyway, reminding me of my own struggles in a way, and of others I know, the silence and inablity to express what is going on when you are held prisoner within your own soul.

But blow me down with a tumbleweed if that little field with its dirt swirls isn't sitting there in that movie, with trains going past and that funny little bridge up in the corner. And dammit if it isn't going to feel just that much more poignant when I see it tomorrow morning.


  1. you know, honestly, i don't think i've ever seen a tumbleweed around here. nothing desert-like about these parts. in fact we've got "10,000 lakes" in the state, or so the story goes. not quite the right conditions for tumbleweed i don't think.

    just wanted to say that i LOVE your writing. especially the part on the train. beautiful sharing of the inner monologue to draw me in. seriously fun to read.

  2. I can't speak for Oz, but where I am from, a tumbleweed is a dried up sage brush bush.

    Hmm.. the whirlwind - synchronicity. Makes life interesting...

  3. Minnesota, I see, Jon. When I think Minnesota I think, Keanu Reeves, that blonde chick model/actor, and a hotel swimming pool. 10,000 lakes - wow. That will be a good place to be when the water problems really hit. Got a spare room?

    Katherine - sage. Mmm. What lovely smelling tumbleweeds you have in your neck of the woods :)


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