Gothic or Modern

On the morning of the bushfires, when it was already white hot in the morning and 41C at 11.30am, I set out to pick up a pair of mid century modern chairs I won on ebay. Unusually, I was in the car by myself so I was able to listen to my CDs. As much as I enjoy the BareNakedLadies kids’ album (Snacktime), I do like to like to sing loudly to more grown up stuff. For the life of me I can’t remember what I listened to on the way but I do remember listening to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ live album on the way home.

It was an eerie drive. It was always going to be an intense day and the fire weather warnings were loud and insistent. I was skirting the north eastern fringe which is heavily wooded or lies next to scrub and the light through the scrub was white, bleaching everything. I’d been anxious for the last two days realising that the chances of the state escaping the weekend without a bushfire somewhere were remote. The threat felt closer than I ever remember and it put me in mind of the Ash Wednesday fires. We lived near the edge of the action then and it was a possibility now.

It struck me that we live in such a gothic landscape. And I was listening to the most gothic music written by an Australian artist. It was raw, death and sex. Cave’s lyrics are elegant and spare against a guttural sound wall (Papa won’t leave you, Henry) or a clear melodic line (The Ship Song). Death is ever present and it’s against that background that life is lived. It’s the danse macabre for a modern world.

It seemed rather ludicrous to be picking up something so transient as a pair of chairs.





  1. February 19, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Delurking to say that whilst the subject is so sad your writing of it is stunning..

    • froginthepond said,

      February 19, 2009 at 10:22 pm

      Thank you. It’s feels a little better to write about it.

  2. kate said,

    February 19, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    And the chairs! Those chairs could make you feel better. Now that you’ve got mid-century chairs, and we’ve got an early 60s loungesuite, will Kathy have to get some of that mid-century action too? A Family Style?

  3. froginthepond said,

    February 20, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Well, of course. Unless we decide to go for sequential furnishing. We’ve got a 1940s chair, so Kathy can go for the 1970s. I’m generous like that.

  4. Mini Manc said,

    February 20, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Well my house was built in 1928 so I think I’ll stick with art deco thanks vey much.

    Though we do have a beautiful pink lounge set that is late 90s.

  5. froginthepond said,

    February 21, 2009 at 8:04 am

    You spurn the decade in which you were born?

    Quite sensible really.

  6. innercitygarden said,

    February 23, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I’m sure we could find you something lovely in brown and orange Kathy. Brown and orange vinyl.

    Actually, my parents had a great olive green vinyl couch when I was little (obviously second or third hand, so probably 60s). Which was particularly uncomfortable in summer, when ones legs stuck to it, but which I now think of fondly as “wipe clean”.

  7. froginthepond said,

    February 23, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    And Dad brought to our new household this cream, 60s vinyl couch that folded out to be a hugely uncomfortable double bed. Both the back and the seat were so overpadded that bodies just rolled into the centre.

    It went with the white plastic tub chairs with mission brown corduroy cushions.

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