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Gentrification

08/10/2012

I’ve added colour to brighten your Monday morning! It’s great that Mt Albert is picking up, and there are now a number of cafes around to choose from. Also there’s Lim’s, which is a little bit like going to a market in Beijing, without the crowd density. I go there to buy random cheap vegetables (fennel bulbs! Japanese eggplants!) and I am overwhelmed by the choice of tofu, not knowing which out of the ten types of quivering white rectangles to choose. Of course I don’t want Mt Albert to be truly gentrified – then I’d be forced to despise it. It’s better when it’s teetering, able to incorporate shops opened up by art school grads, artisan bakeries and cultural diversity.

Although I love Cosset, I’m too scared to take my kids there in case I break all of their delicate china and furniture. Last week I decided that Sidewalk was my new favourite cafe, but today I got into an argument there, so my brief dalliance is over. I ordered ‘chips and salsa’ for Gus, expecting hot chips, and corn chips came out. I suggested to the chef that the word ‘corn’ or ‘nacho’ might be useful, but she looked at me like I was a complete idiot for expecting hot chips to come with salsa. Maybe I am – but hell, they serve chocolate porridge. Anyway, she was happy to trade the nachos for a doughnut and Gus was in food heaven, asking me if I could see love hearts coming out of his eyes. So I really should get over myself and go back for another flat white.

Last time I was there, I drew some pictures, and it was quite fun. I love sketching, but I don’t much like the curiosity that comes with doing it in public. People just can’t help looking over your shoulder, and then I worry about my motives, wondering if I’m drawing out of some kind of exhibitionist impulse. Everybody’s always impressed when you can draw, but I think that it’s not such a rare gift – it’s just that our education system privileges reading, writing and arithmetic, and everyone’s forgotten that once they drew princesses, daisies and giant trucks. Drawing is a learned skill – you learn how to gauge the angles and proportions of things, you learn what to put in and what to leave out. You guy should all get out and draw, and then I wouldn’t feel like such a dork when I did the same.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Paul permalink
    08/10/2012 2:14 pm

    “Free range pig souls.” Brilliant.

  2. Janine permalink
    08/10/2012 3:12 pm

    The original Trinity of Silver grey haired hippy couple owners we nicknamed The Hippy Capitalists – the prices were stiff, but I loved that they put real chocolate shavings on their cappuccinos. The whole place was a little bit odd – they had all those fruity quotes on leaflets to take away with your coffee (no thanks), and slightly dirty recycled toys in the kids area. Then it changed hands, the prices stabilized, but the real chocolate disappeared. Ah well. As for Muzz Buzz – what a weird looking place that was!. Like you, I couldn’t bring myself to try it. I had Muff Buzz in my head every time I drove passed too – made me laugh – could have possibly been a more successful business. Love your comics, keep em coming.

  3. Lost in A**2 permalink
    08/10/2012 4:06 pm

    We have a drive-through coffee shop that was built as gas station. Out of native stone. (The architect has left several houses in the city, too.) When we came to town the station was empty, and had been for a long time: the oval sign with a torch said “Standard.” After a while, it was turned into a drive-through banking center. Now it sells coffee.

  4. Charlotte permalink
    08/10/2012 5:43 pm

    You must have missed the ‘Free Coffee’ sign they were flashing for a while before the ‘all drinks half price!’ Even then I was not brave enough to drive through. And you are right about Pyrenees’ coffee being weak (and cold!) – the morning queues baffle me. Great comic, I must look over your shoulder sometime when you are drawing.

  5. Meg permalink
    08/10/2012 7:12 pm

    Oh I never made it to muzz buzz either. Go back to sidewalk.

  6. 09/10/2012 3:43 am

    Love the sketches! Would like to see more of your onsite drawings.

    When I go out to eat at restaurants, diners or coffee shops by myself I always bring my sketchbook. I have no qualms over anyone watching, I do it because I want to and like to.

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