Marie Louise Memories (#)

Marie Louise Salon 135 Enmore Road

Marie Louise Salon 135 Enmore Road

On the weekend I came across a new, innovative and exciting method of remembering and celebrating a local ‘urban icon’ in Enmore.  The key medium involved was actually………….. instagram!

I know- some people aren’t as much of a fan of it as I am, but well… haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate.

IMG_8254

Open one last time

Like many others I have often walked past the Marie Louise Beauty Salon at 135 Enmore Road and have been captivated by its kitschy pink & purple exterior and time capsule-like retro window displays.  When the 1960’s style beauty salon ceased trading some time ago the shop was closed up ‘as is’, furniture, till, cosmetics, magazines, blowdryers, counter, mirrors- all remained inside the shop in situ aged only by a thickening coat of dust.  The premises became as Vanessa Berry of Mirror Sydney describes it a “Memorial Store”– an important local icon and a landmark for the popular retro, vintage and rockabilly subcultures that call Enmore home.

Kitsch Birds

Kitsch Birds

Salon Ephemera

Salon Ephemera

I’m sure for the 1950’s themed Doughbox Diner crew the decision to occupy the space at 137 Enmore Road was made all the easier by the location right next door to Marie Louise Salon!  If you sit outside their diner sipping a thick malt milkshake on a balmy spring night you could easily trick yourself into thinking you have gone back in time to another chapter in Enmore Roads history- a chapter oozing with hair pomade, pastel florals and the giggles of ladies coming out of the salon with a fresh ‘do’.

Interiors of Marie Louise Salon

Interiors of Marie Louise Salon

Imagine the hairdos and gossip sessions exchanged in these chairs over the years

Imagine the hairdos and gossip sessions exchanged in these chairs over the years

So when the ‘For Sale’ signs went up in June and the property was successfully sold many community members were left pondering what the next chapter would hold for the Marie Louise Salon.  Enter Naomi Doyle (known on her blog & instagram as Patches McGee).  Her brother-in-law purchased the property but before it is to be gutted for renovations starting this week Naomi decided to hold an open house clearance sale and display over Sat 9th and Sunday 10th of November.  Pin up doyennes, local historians, bloggers, walk-bys, photographers, old timers, instagrammers and self professed voyeurs all came along to snaffle up a piece of local history and to share pictures and stories via the hashtag that Naomi made: #MarieLouiseMemories.

Naomi Doyle aka Patches McGee the lady behind the hashtag

Naomi Doyle aka Patches McGee the lady behind the hashtag

Generally what happens when a Heritage Item or an Item of local significance is up for demolition/refurbishing Council requires the owner or developer to prepare an Archival Report.  Often a professional Heritage Consultant is engaged to prepare this report.  The archival methodology involves taking extensive photos and writing accompanying written descriptions of the property and its contents which are then collated into the report and filed to Council.  The only issues with this process is that

a) These reports are then filed away or put in the stacks of the local library never to be seen again by the vast majority of the population

b) The community doesn’t get to participate or actively engage with the memorialising process

Whilst the Salon isn’t Heritage listed to my knowledge and therefore wouldn’t have required an archival report, the Enmore community certainly believed the shopfront warranted ‘archiving’ of sorts.  They rose to the challenge of creating a memorial report of their own choosing – highly visual, filters galore and with that preference for focusing on the minutiae of spaces that instagram tends to encourage.

Collective memorialising- via the hashtag #marielouisememories

Collective memorialising- via the hashtag #marielouisememories

As you browse through the images under the nominated hashtag people share their stories and memories of the place, why they felt a personal connection, how they will miss it and what purchases they made at the sale and for what reason.  The images are live and responsive – just as the Marie Louise objects and kitschy keepsakes will live on via a new lease on life in somebody’s home, balcony or dressing table.

Thanks to Naomi for organising what turned out to be a fascinating exercise in local history and new mediums of memorialisation. Below a few other pictures of some inner west pleasures encountered that day.

Till next time Urbanists !

xx Em

Lemon and Sugar

Lemon and Sugar

Crepe Stall on Australia Street- I wish this was a permanent fixture

Crepe Stall on Australia Street- I wish this was a permanent fixture

These guys were set up on Saturday

These guys were set up on Saturday

Lights using coffee machine group handles

Lights using coffee machine group handles

Group Handle lighting at Cafe Newtown

Group Handle lighting at Cafe Newtown

Keeping with the pink theme- watermelon juice at Cafe Newtown

Keeping with the pink theme- watermelon juice

Advertisements

Randwick Eco-Living Fair, 15 September

 

The Fairground

The Fair in full swing

Yesterday I attended the Randwick Eco-Living Fair, a one day event organised by Randwick City Council held at the new Community Centre and surrounding Environmental Park on Munda Street, Randwick.

After a slightly blustery, rainy morning threatened to scare people off the sun appeared and everyone came out in force.  The event was a great way to showcase the council’s new facilities on the large site which include halls, exhibition spaces, playgrounds, large garden area and covered workshop spaces.  These new facilities are located on former Defence Force lands which had been in use since WWI as Randwick Army Barracks.  Parcels began to be redeveloped in the 1990’s with a large area protected as parklands as it functions as a haven for birdlife and some protected species of flora and fauna.    

Randwick Council obviously knows that it is all very well to have whiz-bang new facilities but if no-one actually knows where they are and what they can be used for then there is no point right?  Because I reside at the Clovelly end of Coogee I don’t get down that way often and I was very pleasantly surprised at the renewal and redevelopment that the area has experienced.  New housing in terrace/townhouse style surrounds the centre on Bundock Street and surrounds.

The style and medium density format of the newer development fits well with the existing older housing in the suburb.  There is also some really loving landscape elements (which the picture below doesn’t actually show well) but the inclusion of Australian natives, established trees and shrubs and ground covers made all the difference to my impression of the streetscape.

Modern take on terraced housing in Randwick

Modern take on terraced housing leading down to Randwick Community Centre

Signage to the Centre

Signage to the Centre

Walking In

Walking In

As I chatted to one of the organisers Ben Eadie from October Sun he explained that organising an event like this was like installing a mini semi-permanent city- you need infrastructure, waste, food, power, ATMs, shade, accessibility, first aid and seating as well as entertainment and traffic management.  Hovering above all these needs is of course the need to make the event as sustainable and low impact as possible.  

Clear and accessible waste management is key to reducing the clean-up and bump out at the end of the day.  He also said that the rise of the food trucks helped along by City of Sydney has been a huge factor in reducing the events management headache. These vans operate self sufficiently by producing their own power, water, lighting and gas as well as BYOing their own serving utensils, cups and plates.  They also look fantastic and contribute to the atmosphere of the event- my personal favourite is the ‘Nighthawk Diner’ pictured below housed in a vintage airstream caravan so shiny you can check your teeth for cheeseburger after your meal!

the Nighthawk Diner

the Nighthawk Diner

Although there was plenty to do for adults I felt like a real focus of the event was kids and kids environmental education, particularly introducing them to insects and bug life through a show by INSECTUS the insect man and to lizards and reptiles as well as a brilliant show about water and its importance.  Little giggles and squeals of delight from the audience abounded as a giant book opened to reveal a hand painted backdrop for the show.  And all for free- I can imagine my glee if I was a parent in Sydney finding such a high calibre of educational entertainment for FREE! And outside in a beautiful setting.     

Insektus the Insect man

Insektus the Insect man

There was also a great range of stores selling local produce and home and garden products to up your green factor.  Amongst all this there were roaming representatives from Council’s various environmental initiatives interviewing people from the community to get their feedback on various environmental projects including the controversial environmental levy.

I’m hoping as the success and popularity of events such as these becomes clear more councils will adopt some of the strategies and techniques displayed by Randwick.  Sometimes promoting sustainability is as simple as getting people outside into the sunshine to eat fresh local foods and lie on the grass while the kids zip around having the time of their lives! 

Til next time,
Em x

Stilts Performers

Stilts Performers

Landscape features

Symmetrical  landscape features

Veggie Garden

The Veggie Garden & a workshop in progress

Local pooches

Local pooches

the big top

the big top

Colour

Never has waste management looked so good

Finding a bit of shade

A diamond python finds a bit of shade

Spectators

Spectators soak up the sun

Very serendipitously I read this post from The Belle Jar blog after posting my previous piece.

These tips function as a great counter-piece – I think I’m going to print them out and put them somewhere above my desk.

Tips For Writers.

via The Belle Jar

Enjoy x

Shakey’s

“I thought you’d be a writer by now!”

Ever get the feeling you’ve been handed the title of your memoirs on a platter?  I groaned internally. Story of my life.  
 
I hadn’t seen Bunny in roughly eight years. We were sitting upstairs at Shakey’s, waiting for the pub grub buzzer to herald the arrival of our chicken schnitzel, swimming in sauce. Shakey’s has to be one of the only pubs in Sydney where you can buy dinner and still get change back from a a $20 note.

Everything about the situation was familiar.  The kitschy pastoral paintings and ruby red velveteen couches were reminiscent of our suburban upbringing. The drama room we shared in high school had been decked out in a similar fashion as well as the incense-imbued drapery of her living room in Valley Heights.  It was there we had bonded over angst dancing to the Cure/the Smiths and there where at 15 she turned my head upside down in the bathroom and chopped all my gold locks off with the sewing scissors and dyed the pixie cut darker.

I remember emerging light headed from the shower after rinsing away the dark dye to face the change I felt I was standing at the brink of.  I had felt like the anti-sampson, all the stronger for my lost locks.

“What does that even mean?” I cocked my head at her incredulously.  I contemplated the possibility that I had yet to live up to the expectations of my old friend.    
 
I know of only one or two people who identify solidly with the title ‘writer’, and like ‘poet’ I feel like it belongs more to a bygone era.  It certainly sounded awkward (and awkwardly idealistic) at Shakey’s, in the midst of the 6 o’clock post work swill, on an idle wednesday night in the city.
 
I had toyed semi-seriously with the idea of pursuing professional writing as a career. I had certainly written prolifically in my adolescence, and not too badly either- according to teachers and others whose opinions matter to teenage flightiness not one whit.  I had thought ‘I can always come back to it.’   

I was pleased, secretly.  Her statement was a vote of confidence of sorts, and a much needed wake up shake up call.

Eight years is a long time, particularly in best friend time.  But as it does it had gone by in a flash.  We were 25 now and had found our separate ways to the city. Old enough to have old friends and to be old friends.  

In the aftermath of trials and the lead up to the HSC she had disappeared.  Something about doing Year 12 part time at TAFE up the mountains.  Trouble on the home front.  I’d disappeared down and into myself, my relationship and a multitude of other preoccupations.  God knows I can’t remember any of them now.

I haven’t stopped writing. But I haven’t been a writer.  I certainly haven’t done enough to earn that title.  I’ve been a lot of things and I’ve stopped being a lot of things.  I’m still figuring it all out and still becoming okay with that.
 
Kahlil Gibran said we choose all our joys and sorrows before we experience them.  I wonder if he would also say we choose the characters and identities we play in our own life before we become them?    
 
I haven’t played the writer because she is the one who eludes me.

How can you reconcile creating something and being it at the same time?  It is difficult and lonely.  Rilke says you have to go inside yourself and be prepared to not meet anyone for days.  

Yet in a way, here was a character straight out of a potential collegiate novel of rebellion and coming of age sitting right before me, asking me why she wasn’t written yet.  Brideshead Revisited stuff.  Capital, capital.  My response?

“I’m still writing.”
 

 

*Shakey’s is a Surry Hills pub and a Sydney institution.  It nourishes everyone from hipster to hobo to old, old friends with it’s $10 menu 
 

Covering Ground

'I found a line and I followed it a little'- Sam Holt

I found a line and I followed it a little  
Sam Holt

Spring has well and truly sprung here in Sydney.  Things are starting to thaw out slowly in my head and limbs after a long winter!  It started with a slow trickle- I realised I didn’t have to don a heavy coat in the mornings anymore to walk Chilli and the sun has started to burst in the windows with more gusto.  This trickle will soon louden to a rush that I’m sure will carry me in a current quicker then I would have liked to Summer, Christmas and the conclusion of another year.  Last week was a special one not only because it was the first week of Spring.  I got to catch up with some dear friends and family, see some sights in and out of Sydney and spend quality time with Grace who is going over to China with her grandfather at the end of this week.

sd

Lonsdale Street Traders

dv

Lonsdale Street Art Posters

My mate Sam and I made a pilgrimage down to our Nation’s capital to catch the J.M.W Turner exhibition before it closes up this week on Sunday 15th.  We did it all in one day, which was a bit of an undertaking especially considering I can’t drive a stick so certainly couldn’t help out driving Sam’s trusty hilux ute.  Several Maccas hashbrown stops & photo taking stops and we made it.  It was well worth it- Turner’s paintings are luminous, broiling, heaving things painted in pursuit of the sublime, which in aesthetic theory is understood as some elusive element of greatness in art, music and literature.  Turner’s works have the power to draw you in- squinting to make out the finer details of figures and movements- and then expel you back out again, like the ocean, to reconsider his whole composition, how the multitude of oil paint strokes make the ships in the harbour shimmer, or the Venetian turrets gleam.

xcvxc

The Harbour of Brest

,m

Disaster at Sea

nh

Venice

m,

View from St Peter’s Basilica

Sam is a painter himself.  He works with large oil canvases in an abstract expressionist style and recently has started branching into some more landscape style painting.  He was looking at Turner’s skies and clouds, his brush strokes and use of blissful pastel colour combinations.  I was looking at his people, the way three or four crude marks could suddenly form the face of an adoring mother or squalling infant.  The ease with which the emotion is rendered.  Sam is planning a solo art show for later in the year, I’ll keep you posted on that.  His paintings in this post are from an earlier exhibition at Janet Clayton Gallery in Waterloo. You can follow him on insty (@samholtart) or read a bio on him here.

'Immersed in the unfamiliar'- Sam Holt

Immersed in the unfamiliar Sam Holt

'Release' - Sam Holt

Release Sam Holt

1175014_10151666503728507_330999783_n

From Sam’s sketchbook

The next day Grace and I ventured over to the north side of Sydney to visit our friend Davina who is home from NZ for a short break from skiing.  Davina is a very busy girl training for something really exciting and you can follow her journey here.  We had lunch at the Boathouse, Palm Beach and I was expecting it to be super posh and la-dee-dah.  But it was the most perfect, chillaxed spot to have a mid week lunch.  We want to go back soon and do the walk up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse which you can see from the Boathouse back deck- more info about that here if you are interested.

Lunch at the Boathouse with Davina

Lunch at the Boathouse with Davina

On our drive back Dav took us on the scenic route around all the beautiful Northen Beaches viewpoints- at one point you can see all the way up to the central coast!  After we dropped Dav off I jumped into the sea pool at Dee Why.  Grace said I was crazy but the water was actually warm (ish) and the car heater afterwards was even warmer 😀

Dee Why at Dusk

Dee Why at Dusk

In amongst all of this I also squeezed in (in no particular order):

  1. Late afternoon sun and a strolls in beautiful Centennial Park.
  2. Working at the Apple Spiral Stall for Real Food Projects at Dress Up Attack kids fest in Marrickville.
  3. Delicious dinner at Hartsyard, Enmore Road.
  4. A bit of spring cleaning, clothes chucking & spring cleansing.
  5. Getting really behind in all of my uni work.
  6. Reading
  7. Watching Julia Child make croissants and hollandaise and cracking up laughing doing impressions of her (bless!)
  8. Making said hollandaise and consuming on top of Eggs Benedict for a lazy sunday brunch- scrumptious.

You can see why I called this post covering ground 🙂 This week is shaping up very differently with a multitude of deadlines and tasks and plenty of prep to be done for Gracie before she jets off to China.

Til next time kiddos!

Em x

Po Boys at Hartsyard, Enmore Road- delicious

Po Boys at Hartsyard, Enmore Road- delicious

Organic Blood Orange Cordial from Real Food Projects

Organic Blood Orange Cordial from Real Food Projects

Free Range Eggs

Free Range Eggs

Iced VoVo Pie @ Hartsyard- ridiculous !

Iced VoVo Pie @ Hartsyard- ridiculous !

ds

Nothing says spring like strawberries

Afternoon in Centennial Park

Afternoon in Centennial Park

Centennial Park with Federation Pavilion in  the background

Centennial Park with Federation Pavilion in the background

Pathways in Centennial

Pathways in Centennial

Light in Centennial Park

Light in Centennial Park

Fresh Lemonade at the Dress Up Attack Festival

Fresh Lemonade at the Dress Up Attack Festival

Apple Spirals- whodathunkit

Apple Spirals- whodathunkit

Kids Parade at Dress Up Attack

Kids Parade at Dress Up Attack- too much cuteness

 

If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places.

Fred Kent

Bike Friendly Clovelly + Better Block (the Video!)

 

Still's from Elin's video

Still’s from Elin’s video

 

Stills from Elin's video

Stills from Elin’s video

 

Things are starting to gain pace on the Better Block Clovelly planning front.  The event date is set for the 27th of October with a lot of planning, logistics and meetings to happen before then.  Our next gathering is this Sunday 3pm at the Creativity Unlimited Studios Clovelly Road.  In the meantime I’d like to share a beautiful video of our first meeting made by Elin Bandmann.

Elin runs the cool bike friendly blog PUT THE FUN BETWEEN YOUR LEGS and has become super involved in bike friendly initiatives all throughout Sydney. I love the tongue-in-cheek title of her blog- literally putting the fun back into cycling daily for all her readers.  

Look out for familiar faces in the video below, including mine and Grace’s!

Elin (just because she hasn’t been amazing enough already) has also designed this excellent logo below to promote cycling for fun and transport throughout the Eastern Suburbs and Clovelly.  The idea is that the logo can be made into stickers, displayed on bumpers, poles and in cafe and shop windows to generate awareness around cycling and even incorporate a discount for patrons who used their bike to get to the cafe/shop/event/business.  It is an excellent initiative and as it is being rolled out at the same time as Better Block I’m hoping that Bike Friendly Clovelly will be able to piggyback off some of the exposure and publicity we generate in the lead up to the event.

Elin Bandmann's logo for Bike Friendly Clovelly

Elin Bandmann’s logo for Bike Friendly Clovelly

 

Til next time!

Em   

 

Modern Day Review Blues

Wisdom of the ages

Wisdom of the ages

To review or not to review?  That is the question.  I’m not going to answer definitively just yet.  But I would like to relate a short anecdote about a recent experience I had concerning that very question.

I worked in hospitality on and off for many years and I know full well what it takes to keep the whole moveable feast afloat.  I also know that no matter how good you are as a staff member or how good your food/wine/coffee/lemon infused sparkling water is- it is impossible to keep everyone happy.  These days everyone in Australia is apparently a foodie and with websites like Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor and a gazillion food blogs reviewing cafes and restaurants by the dozen it is all to easy for an eatery to get torched by some hard to please Matt Moran wannabe who believes that raising the cuisine bar infinitely legitimises their own status as a ‘foodie’.  Little thought is given to the real repercussions of that a cutting review published on Urbanspoon or the like may have for the business in question, its owners and the many staff and produce suppliers that it employs.  Added to this is the question of authenticity.  For a while I worked in a well known cafe precinct in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and it was a well known fact that rival eateries would post scathing reviews on each others sites, whilst getting friends and family to publish good ones!

I’m not saying poor quality food and bad service shouldn’t be taken to task by a participatory public, just that the opinions posted to these forums should be taken with a grain of (french organic) salt.

My partner and I had a spectacular experience at a regional restaurant in Armidale earlier this year and afterwards out of curiosity I had a peek at restaurant’s reviews on Tripadvisor.  Although the reviews were for the most part very positive, there were a few that had quite negative things to say.  To me it just didn’t add up.

I was motivated to write about our experience there and was pleasantly surprised a few days later when the owner posted the review to the Facebook page:

My Review

My Review

Needless to say I was so glad I ended up putting my two cents in and sending some positivity out into the universe, particularly directed towards a hard working regional restaurant supporting fresh, local ingredients and NSW producers.

The pictures in this post are from our night at Neram Harvest plus some of the prettiness of Armidale.  Do check out Neram Harvest’s website for details of the delicious delicious things they are doing in New England including their innovative ‘feed me’ menu where the staff decide what you eat and when you eat it.  It is the foodie version of ‘letting go’- an experience that some of the more uptight Sydney connoisseurs could probably benefit from!  So… remember that grain of salt when reading online reviews and do put your own one in if you’ve had a great experience.

Til next time,

Emma x

526113_4153426790410_146878002_n

Breads and dip

dds

Pumpkin Crème brûlée

ass

Textures inside the gallery

sa

The entrance looking in

*not* a foodie

dsad

The community garden

sx

The old Teacher’s College