bilateral kellerberrin

May 24, 2005

Kellerberrin Tuesday 24 May 2005

Filed under: keller dailies — Lucas @ 11:02 am

Pipeline day again! And sadly, for me, the last one. I rolled out of bed and trundled down to the Telecentre to see if my classified ad had been accepted. I was worried they’d think it was too trivial for inclusion. But never fear: the Pipeline’s non-editorial policy held firm, and the ad was published as written. (See Sunday 22 May for the ad itself)…

No calls yet though, about those elusive silver buttons.

A slightly younger crowd, spearheaded by the affable Gill, was on the ‘line yesterday. I spent a few hours with Gill learning the ropes on the photocopier, so I’d be able to use it to print up copies of the blog for the exhibition. The Pipeline photocopier is a bit different from your average machine. It’s kinda halfway towards a printing press. When you press the button on this one it humms and thinks for a minute while it produces a “master” – after which you can take your original away and zap off as many prints as you want. Once the master has been created, it shoots out copies at an alarming rate. I estimated about two per second. It’s a machine designed for volume. You wouldn’t want to use this thing to photocopy your passport.

Over the noise of the copier, Gill talked about the dilemma of country schooling. You might want the kids to be able to go to highschool here, but there are fewer academic choices for them. So you send them away to boarding school, thereby reducing even further the number of local pupils. The fewer pupils, the fewer subjects they can choose from, and so on. As it is, Keller kids have to go to Merredin if they want to study past year ten. There is a problem of “critical mass” which results in a cycle of decline. It was a shame, I thought, that a town this small was “unsustainable” in this way. In a place the size of Keller, you feel like you can have some impact as an individual. Gill agreed. Even Northam was large and “anonymous” in comparison. But perhaps that’s the point – to achieve critical mass, you need to have a population volume large enough so that the individual human components are interchangeable.

The production line was fun this week. There were plenty of bodies to do the compiling, and the job went really quickly. This was in no small part due to Betty (Dixon?) who can compile pages faster than anyone I’ve ever seen. Even Frank, who took the role of anchorman/stapler seemed to be in rapid fire mode. One lady said “we really should go for a beer after this each week.” But we didn’t. We each took our carton of Pipelines and went off for deliveries. As usual, I took a fifty copies to Joe at the Tea Rooms.

At the post office, I asked Geoff if he had read the blog yet. He said yes. But he didn’t really agree with the way I had characterised him as “taciturn.” It was more that he was “shy,” he thought. Geoff was cool with it though: he understood that it was just my initial observation. In fact, he’s right. The more we meet, the more talkative Geoff has become. Perhaps, also, the word “taciturn” has an undertone of sternness which really isn’t there. It could be that Geoff was actually just being discreet (ie professional), in the early days of our acquaintance.

Then I headed off in the direction of the hardware store. I had to get some blue paint for the sign I’m making for the front of the cinema. On the way I saw Mick, who was upholstering the roof of a vintage chevy outside his Betta Canvas business. It’s a 1920s car, all made of wood, skeletal. But when you look closer, most of the bits which hold the car together are not old at all. New wood, new tyres, 1970s Kingswood engine, etc. What you have here is a couple of Chevy components (steering wheel, dashboard) set within a completely rebuilt structure. To what extent can we really consider this car to “be” a vintage chevy?

I’m not a big believer in spooky coincidental superstition, but yesterday’s Dilbert comic was right on the money:

Dogbert: There’s a medical procedure that will make you more attractive to the opposite sex. The doctors would remove every part of your body, and replace them with the parts of an attractive guy.
Dilbert: It sounds painful.
Dogbert: Not if you do it all at once.

* * * * *

I said my farewells to Mick, who still had a lot of work to go on the Chevy. I had no doubt slowed him down with all my questions and chatter. As I crossed the railway tracks an eighties Falcon sped past and honked at me. I’m pretty sure it was Michael the Italian, with the girl who sometimes works in the butcher shop in the passenger seat. I liked that friendly honk. It made me feel like I belonged.

James pulled up at the hardware store just as I arrived. He bustled in and out. He was about the busiest I’ve ever seen him, and completely filthy from some sort of farm work.

Hardware-store-Paul mixed me up some spectrum blue for the cinema sign. Both Paul and John are very nervous about paint mixing. I can understand why. It’s such a mysterious alchemical process, following the formula and “hoping for the best.”

John said he was sorry, he didn’t think he’d be able to make it to the gallery talk tonight. I told him not to worry, I appreciated that he had made an effort to read the blog and make a comment. He said it was funny, but the entry where I first mention him is from the same day that I met Phil and Rosemary, who happen to be his parents-in-law. Another spooky coincidence, or just the ordinary kind of thing that happens in a town of a thousand people? You be the judge…

(For a slightly more intellectual consideration of randomness versus serendipity etc, check out this blog entry by my friend Chris.

* * * * *

Back at the gallery I built a prototype bench. It’s not the most elegant piece of woodwork, but it has a sort of IKEA badness to it which I don’t mind. And it seems stable enough (as long as I screw the legs into the floorboards!) Pauline dropped by, and I had a moan to her about how much I have to get done in the next few days and how bad the tool kit is here at IASKA. She said she would look into my requests: an air-powered nail gun, a shifting spanner, some ear muffs.

The building work was physical and quite satisfying. For once, it was me working away when Dawn walked past and stopped for a chat. We talked about children. She had her kids quite young, and now that they are grown up, she has a close relationship with them both. We agreed that the having kids late thing tends to make for overly precious parenting. She told stories about her littlies falling asleep under the table at the pub, or watching her play netball from the back of the station wagon. And now they are grown up, and Dawn has a whole life of her own ahead of her once more.

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