Violet Velo, my best friend in Sydney
Getting out of bed this Monday morning felt like stepping into a vast canyon of time. For hours I wandered, listening to the echo of my footsteps and watching the tumbleweed roll past. All of a sudden it was Monday night and I was pulled out of my shadowy canyon by a tribal belly dance class.
I’ve been working weekends and my weekdays stretch out ahead of me full of possibility but utterly devoid of purpose. I spend hours searching for jobs, catching up with people at home, and trying to stay focused on the journey and not let aimlessness spiral into depression.
Almost a month has passed since I arrived in Sydney, and while some days I don’t feel like doing anything, I can say with certainty that there is still tons to explore even in my little inner west neighbourhood. The best way to get out of the canyon is to race straight up the rock-face on my darling little purple bicycle, whom I finally decided to name Violet Velo (elle est une bicyclette francaise, bien sur). Purple has never been my favourite, but with Violet Velo and the jacarandas in full bloom, I’m gaining a whole new appreciation for the colour that used to be associated with Barney and fat kids’ sweatsuits.
Violet and I explored Newtown’s alleyways this week and discovered street art ranging from the pop cultural to the political. I don’t know any of Sydney’s street artists yet but I am starting to recognize people’s styles and with a little old fashioned googling, I think I can attribute this little one to Ears:
Cruising next to the train tracks along Bedford, I stopped at the corner of Chelmsford and couldn’t help smiling at the sheep of a different colour on the rainbow facade of the Twenty10 building, a community organization that provides support and a safe space for LGBTQ youth and their families.
Continuing on, there’s a monochrome coffee coloured mural by Syke with some verses from Howl, reminding me that even if I do sometimes find myself in a canyon, madness gets much deeper:
I did a bit of digging on the door pictured below and turned up this article about Lisa Marie Smith, the fugitive daughter of a wealthy British insurance exec who was accused of drug smuggling in Bangkok in the 90’s. According to these signs she is now living in Newtown under a different name.
There are also these little plaques commemorating people and events in Sydney’s queer history. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more of them around the city.
On we rode, Violet and I, looking at stencils and and posters and Where the Wild Things Are murals, down laneways full of beautiful garbage, and through back alleys that even on garbage day still smell more like jasmine than trash. It’s all good in the hood with my new best friend. She’s a bit quiet, but I think we have lots of adventures ahead of us.