21 July, VIRUS 2020
I walk Wyn to the station. She is masked up, heading to the Blue Mountains. Catch a train to town, try the last carriage, only a few people. I am reluctant to wear a mask, my sinuses are so blocked I find it hard to breathe.
In this city of disease, danger, muggers, super-spreaders, party animals, stray cats what am I looking for? What do I find this morning?
Looking for home?
Looking for animals?
Looking for adventure?
Looking for flowers?
Looking for the old and the new?
Looking for art?
Looking for change?
Pitt St Mall is quiet and that is new. There are still the homeless, now in an even more vulnerable situation. The only busker is using a silent pied rat called Gonzo. I ask if she bites. I don’t trust her yet, have only just got this one. Oh, you like rats. Oh yes. Why? Well they have a personality. Gonzo is breathing rapidly and hunkered on the furthest corner of the small table. Is she alright? I ask, not knowing much about rats. Oh yes, just resting. Monty Python comes to mind.
I ask the Asian assistant at the gateway to Innisfree if I can take a photograph. She’s very friendly. I explain the name, a small nondescript island in Sligo, that I saw in pouring rain once. Yeats made famous in a sentimental poem. It’s on my bucket list, she says. Meaning Ireland I presume.
The winter light is scalpel sharp yet inside the mall, a shortcut, light ricochets wildly, the opposite to dusk or dawn. So many shops closed down, some for good. I head to the studio in St Peters, and my old neighbourhood.
The train back stops for a while at every station, to maintain time, so few passengers. A cleaner comes through wiping down surfaces, though that means of transmission remains doubtful.
‘This city stands as a crucial node in the production of what is an increasingly unequal world.’ Doreen Massey is talking about London, but the same applies to Sydney.
I wander through the emptied city, landmarks changing so rapidly. The Sando once a great pub with an historic horseshoe bar is now a golf course!