Saturday, September 14, 2013


It was still daylight when we emerged from dinner and we stood at the corner of Little Bourke and Russell Street. I said, "I'll be happy to think that I'll associate all these places with you, when you're gone..." He didn't really respond, in fact he said comparatively very little on that walk back. I suppose we both knew it would be the last few minutes we would ever see each other, but I remained largely unsentimental. I filled the silence, recounting various hauntings of those narrow streets. We walked past Ding Dong and I told him of the friend who carelessly volunteered her heart to someone she shouldn't have. I told him of her heartbreak and how a mutual friend ruthlessly dismissed her grief. He sarcastically summed up the story I just told, highlighting the similarities to us and I playfully smacked his chest. "That was completely different."

We returned to talking about music in those remaining moments, about Parlophone and Steve Osborne and that other movement we thought we had played a part in. We kept walking until we came upon a street sign, a lane bearing his name. We stopped and looked up: "That's so strange..."

I once hated Melbourne for its hauntings. I would emerge from the house knowing that almost every street and intersection would bring up some unwelcomed association, some memory of a loss or mistake. I've never been able to shake that habit and I'm beginning to think that it's not even possible. I'm always attaching a memory to a locality and it was only recently that I learned that this mental process is called Method of Loci. It's a device which relies upon memorised spatial relationships to recall "memorial content". Even as I sit here now, I'm randomly generating geographical associations, namely the east side of Little Lonsdale and Russell Street, for no other reason than I want to remember what it is to be writing this.

Each morning, I take the train and between Flinders Street Station and Southern Cross I survey many places I associate with him. His hauntings don't bother me so much, in fact, I'm happy to think that he's somehow attached to the physicality of this place. I think about Little Collins Street and his thoughts on quantum physics. Through some ridiculous theory, he suggested that it somehow meant that we could have already lived out every path, every choice and possibility together. I said it was completely absurd and without even thinking, I pointed out the half-demolished building on the diametrically opposite corner with its crumbling Art Deco façade. "I don't understand why it needs to be destroyed." As the green man flashed at us and I instinctively stretched out my hand towards his, a thoughtless gesture to ensure we crossed safely.

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