Sunday, January 14, 2007


Yesterday I had to go into the centre of the city to pick up my new suit from the tailors, where it was being altered to accommodate my slightly short arms, very short legs and vestigial… well, you get the picture.

The tailors occupy the second floor of a building on the Hay Street Mall. At street level this building looks exactly like every other – a blend of large plate glass display windows and garish signage, occupied by a skanky boutique and a Java Juice. However, if you step back from the building and look past the hordings and bright colours, you can see that it was once a rather graceful Edwardian structure.

Upon entering the building you come across a beautiful but maltreated moderne staircase, all curved jarrah balustrades and heavily varnished plywood panelling. It’s a lovely piece of commercial design, but it’s not original. It punches its way up through the floors, cutting off access to the balconies, blocking windows and slicing straight through any number of ornate plaster mouldings. It was once carpeted, but all that remains now are a few tufts clinging to the odd recalcitrant nail.

If you wanted you could take the lift, which looks like it was installed at around the same time as the staircase, and is subject to a similar maintenance philosophy. It too is wonderful, all glossy wood and brass, but I played it safe and took the stairs.

In so doing, I discovered the fantasy future site of Chez Blanders.

Where I would live if I were cool

On the 1st floor landing there’s a glass door leading to the first floor proper. And if I may go all architectural fanboy on you… look at it! Look at the natural light! Look at the detailing! The spaces, people! Look at the spaces! I couldn’t fit it in the photo, but there’s another metre or two above before you hit the top of the vaulted ceiling, and this room alone has almost as much floorspace as my entire house.

Now an apartment like this would be completely unremarkable in New York or London, but this is Perth! We don’t do apartments that are older than Kelly Osbourne… or much larger. I can’t believe that this place hasn’t been snapped up and remodelled as some annoying globe-trotting fashion designer’s Perth pied-a-terre. I know that this annoying local blogger wants it as his bachelor pad.

True, living in the city would have its drawbacks, like drunks fighting in the mall, junkies shooting up in the alley and delivery trucks unloading under my bedroom window at 4am. But this half-derelict building seems to be hidden from the urban malefactors’ sight. Certainly there are evocative things, like signs for businesses that have been defunct for fifty years, still screwed to the walls. If I’d had a screwdriver and the requisite gall I’d have pinched them myself.


Blogger an9ie said...

Nice! I had no idea it was there myself.

All the annoying globe-trotting fashion designers are up in King Street, I believe.

But isn't it a little too close to the McDonalds with the dodgy McCafe? What if you come home one night after carousing till late, and find yourself cornered by derroes wielding broken bottles? Although I suppose if you were rich enough to buy and remodel it, you could also afford a doorman/valet.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

If that happened, I would invite them all over to the dodgy McCafe for tea and cookies. Then when their backs were turned I would run away, very fast.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Bitter aftertaste said...

I always wonder what's in the hidden spaces above and around the shops in the city. Now I have part of an answer.

And a reminder of why Perth is such a soulless pit of despair.

(Oh. Excuse me. I forgot the sunshine and the beaches and the alcohol marinated nightlife. Silly me. What more could anyone want?)

5:31 AM  
Anonymous housewife of east vic park said...

now you've done it. Bree Maddox and Malcolm Day and maybe Rebecca Twigley and some other little Perthonalities will find it and cover it with feature walls and plush carpet and throw parties so that the Sunday Times can come and take photos and tell the rest of Perth what the rich and beautiful are doing and wearing and make us feel really crap about ourselves and our little lives and stop using punctuation altogether

1:36 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

Oddly enough, HOEVP, the fact that the Sunday Times shows absolutely no interest in me or my parties makes me feel rather good.

Also "Perthonalities" = ha!

2:35 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home