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The Cringe

August 1, 2006

Over the weekend, I caught up with some old friends who I used to work with. We went to the Art Gallery of NSW which was OK. Being mostly into Surrealist and Visionary art, there wasn’t much that caught my eye in the gallery personally. However, whenever I go to a gallery or exhibition, even if I don’t like it, I marvel at the talent of the artists and try to take on a whole post-modern mindset as I stroll past each painting or sculpture and interpret them entirely in my own way.

So, the day was going swimmingly. We wandered out of the gallery around lunchtime to an awesome day outside in the domain. However, when it came time for lunch, the day turned sour. My companions suggested we go to the Pitt Street Mall for lunch and not wanting to be a spoil sport, I reluctantly agreed and chose not to convey my hatred for malls and shopping centres in general to the group. I should have spoken up. Anyway, we made our way down to Pitt Street Mall and of course, it was revolting. What follows is a poem I scribbled down on the train on the way home – it’s certainly not some of my best writing, but I just had to get it out… I hate malls!

Transfixed on the spectacle; flashing lights; air thick with noise.
Oblivious face of the consumer; buy freedom – on special today with poise!
Eat the slimy creams and oily meats; just throw those plastic plates away.
We are the masters of this place; the mall – our domain over which we hold sway!

Blank stares and shallow laughter, a teenager points and squeals out “cool”!
Mother/daughter couples reek of perfume adding their credit to the cesspool.
Pre-packaged art; purchase one and get one free!
Oh! That looks so good on you. Say it with me now – “me!” “me!” “me!” “me!”…

The floor is always clean – the man with the buffer sees to that.
With your money, you’re free here – black, white, thin or fat.
New clothes, new shoes, new phones and jewellery.
Where does it come from? Nevermind – that’s just tomfoolery!

Here! Now! New! You! Them! Me!
Walk with me through this bastion of freedom while you can friend.
Before too long, it will be gone through necessity – the lights, the credit, the shoes – all at end.
And when that time comes, you’ll be clutching your dear old possessions from your dear old mall.
Selfish as ever, wanting more as ever and oblivious as ever, wondering what brought about your own fall.

Eat while the crap is abundant. I hope you choke on your oily meat.

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