Tags: fed square

19 Dec 2006, Comments Off on Little old ladies Underground Collective

Little old ladies Underground Collective

Author: Helen

Lexical note: I’m not in favour of the word lady or ladies as part of modern-day usage, at all. It has connotations and resonances I don’t like much. That’s a blog for another day. But the ladies in this story are members of a different generation. It is just not possible to describe their world without using this obsolete term, which, like Mrs, is avoided by patriarchy-blamers like me but is a badge of honour for them.

If you still haven’t bought any Christmas cards because you can’t face the teeming CBD or, worse still, the megamalls like Highpoint and Chaddy, it might be worth trying the St Pauls VCOSSCard and Gift shop: A retail experience unlike any other.

Skulk around the Flinders Lane side of St Paul’s, which is just across from Fed Square, avoiding the self-conscious punkettes sitting on the side steps (The real punks at the Seaview Ballroom in the eighties woulda had them for breakfast, wouldn’t they Brownie?) and you’ll see an entrance to a little shady courtyard. Then you’ll go through a couple of big Gothic doors, one of which is guarded by one fierce Little Old Lady who will ask you your quest. You will say you’ve come for the Card Shop and she will wave you on in the right direction, down through the catacombs. At this point bumping into Albus Dumbledore would be no surprise.

Once you have made it down the stone steps and through a narrow corridor you find a small dungeon full of faithful customers. You’ll see the cards, which are the Business, thumb tacked to the walls, one example of each with a code and number.

Not so fast! There’s a System! if you don’t understand it, another Little Old Lady will whoosh to your elbow within seconds to explain it. To your right as you come in, there’s a box full of mini clipboards with forms on them (each one with its pen firmly attached, naturally.) The forms are like little invoices. You put down the codes for the cards you want, quantity, price per card and add it all up. No calculator, please. Then when you’re finished you go to the counter and give your little clipboard to the ladies behind the counter.

The cards come from many different charities, so you juggle what designs you fancy with causes you support – this year I’ve got the Brain Association, natch, and I always like Amnesty with their multilingual and secular salutation. Pee cee multiculti? Bite me. There’s Riding for the Disabled, MS, Red Cross, different hospitals, Alzheimers association… They are mostly between 60 cents to a dollar. There are presents like barbeque aprons and tea towels tacked to the wall, too.

It’s cool and quiet and nothing hurts your ears and eyes with Red-Nosed Reindeers and other such aural slush. There is gentle banter that reminds you of pineapple slices at the Junee CWA.

Once the counter ladies have your clipboard they disappear into a vast set of shelves filled with shoeboxes. None of this newfangled computerised stock control here! Using their Special little-old-lady Powers they locate your stuff and give it to you to pay for at the big old cash register. Most of them are seventy if they’re a day, some older. They do this for the love of it.

I don’t see any Little Old Men working there– Perhaps they’re at home watching the cricket and moaning because Mavis isn’t bringing them afternoon tea.

Now if I could only find time to write, address, stamp and post all these cards.

5 Jul 2005, Comments (0)

Why I’m not blogging much

Author: Helen

So, it’s the school holidays and I’m just back from town where I took eight-year-old boys to the free cartoons at ACMI, which was OK if a little young for them, and they pranced around for ages in front of the Fed square Big Screen which had a CCTV cam thing going, and I only lost them once in Flinders street Station, and the deafening volume of them and the nice Somali (?) chick in the platform kiosk gave them a free raspberry chewy thing each, like a Redskin but not, and when we finally got to the car they were covered in glistening red sticky substance so I borrowed a Baby Wipe off a teenage mum, now I remember why we always carried those things. Now they’re playing nicely at home… at 1,000 decibels. Tomorrow it’s the zoo, although it feels like a zoo here at the moment, and why the hell is it that there are only two PG rated movies suited to little boys on at the moment? and no, I’m not counting that Disney “Winnie-the-Pooh” thing, I’m talking about movies not abominations… Madagascar was OK I suppose, the main characters were completely underwhelming – why is it someone always has to have that excessively happy, cheesy, Bill Cosby on helium voice?… but the minor characters were brilliant, especially the penguins…Daughter has just deep fried Prawn crackers and everything in the kitchen is under about half a centimetre of oil, it is on the floor, everywhere. I’m not sure where I misplaced my mind but it took me three days to find son’s shoes and I even caved in and let him wear socks with sandals, so his life is ruined forever sartorially speaking and he will have to be a nerdy anorak guy who collects train serial numbers. Washing up awaits.

While I’m so occupied you might like to read some of the good stuff others seem to find the time to put up (grrr.) Starting with this great post on Larvatus Prodeo about the fears that parents of disabled children have for their future when they’re gone, something I’ve blogged myself in the past.
and that reminds me I must get the time to update my blogroll too. It’s been a while since LP was a “new” blog. Gianna blogs a variation on the “feminism has failed” meme… Elizabeth Meryment thinks it has, not because working women want to have it all or Gen X weren’t warned about the biological clock or all the rubbish the antifeminists come up with. No, it appears Meryment (who I hadn’t read before) is a feminist who believes feminism needs to regroup after its wilderness years, because many young women are a bit too meek and accepting of sexual harassment– as exemplified by Big Brother. I don’t buy that 100% either, but I have always seen feminism as an ongoing project and have never been in any misapprehension about the actions of our bogan brotherhood. I do take the Werribee and Sydenham trains, y’know. And Patrick and Theresa Neilsen Hayden and Jeanne D’Arc deal with the “Guantanamo isn’t a Gulag, and you people are immoral for saying so!” moral relativists much better than I can. And in the category of sad but necessary, read this account of Melly Feline’s dad attacked by a yobbo in a supermarket carpark (for being black), and tell your cousin Janelle about it next time she starts up at a BBQ with “there’s no racism in Australia and anyway all the immigrants get everything given to them…” (via Brownie). (What in hell’s an exonome, Brownie?)

I’m off to the zoo now, it’s tomorrow already.