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The apartments are stuck in the 1980s, the music’s cribbing the 1970s, the fashion is a throwback to the 1960s but it doesn’t really matter because the crux of it is that I hate myself right now. It’s the Bondi state of mind, which is really very complicated and culturally significant if you ask the Right People. I’ve never been one of the Right People, but in summer, it’s pretty easy to get away with it. Nobody’s wearing excess amounts of clothing, so there goes fashion, everyone attends the same festivals, which sorts out music and there’s that same wealth of options that plague this fucking city, but a general consensus that unless it involves a body of water or air-conditioning, it’s not worth doing. In the sunshine, with our natural tans, with our gleaming bodies, wet hair and dripping short shorts (that shit hasn’t gone below the knee since I was fourteen) we are all the Right People. You can ask me the same thing you’ll ask a male model; the ATM is around the corner, the pub is down the road and yes, the parking officers come around frequently. Screen time is minimal. Many people temporarily forget what the Internet is. Five in the afternoon is a time to go out, not a time to go home. I think I probably hate myself in summer, too. It’s just that with a dominant narrative defining my everyday existence, I don’t have the time to dwell on it.

Loving every moment of your life for six sunny months is not enough to last you over the winter. Those huge chunks of the day that used to be filled with sitting on the sand now have to be replaced with something, and the Right People seem to know just what that is. The Right People seem to have been born to wear denim jackets, black jeans, boat shoes and beanies. Now everybody’s replaced having a few beers with going for a glass of wine, and I don’t know anything about wine. Everyone’s a smoker again. People start venturing out to other suburbs, the ones where there’s no sun even on sunny days because the factories and the shops and the apartment buildings leave you in perpetual shade. I can’t relax. I busy myself with shit that doesn’t matter, with articles that nobody reads, with books that everyone has forgotten, with music that isn’t even cool as an ironic throwback. The Right People are talking about pop-up vintage stores. They’re discussing the finer points of a 1998 Pinot Gris. They’re comparing jewellery from a designer who charges four hundred dollars for one chunky piece of silver. I can’t remember the last time I spent four hundred dollars on anything. I feel disconnected, in my own stomping ground, in my hood, in my town. I know the streets like the back of my hand, but I don’t seem to live here anymore. An entire discourse has evolved about what it is to be a Bondi person when you’re not actually on Bondi, and somehow I keep missing the introductory classes.

But I’m trapped in Bondi for life, something I incidentally realise when I venture out into another suburb. I don’t want coffee somewhere where I don’t know the barista. Where there isn’t a chance I’ll run into someone I know, even though I hate all of them. In reality, Bondi develops slower than the rest of this city. And when you consider that that’s too fast for me, you can see easily how I get post-Bondi anxiety. It’s like the ex-girlfriend you keep going back to for guilty break-up sex. But the orgasm, if it comes, is short-lived. And the foreplay just isn’t worth it.

I think I’m going to stay inside until December.

words: Jonno Seidler
photo: Maynard


September 16, 2010 at 5:32 PM Dr Ray Seidler said...

Fantastic moody piece on my favourite suburb Evocative and sensitive without being maudlin

Ray O'Sullivan

September 16, 2010 at 6:37 PM Jonno Seidler said...

I am cool because my Dad leaves comments on my work.

September 23, 2010 at 3:41 PM Anonymous said...

The suburb we love to hate...

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