Thursday, June 14, 2007

Here comes the rain

‘As I take up my pen at leisure and in complete retirement – furthermore, in good health, though tired, so tired that I shall only be able to proceed by short stages and with frequent pauses for rest – as I take up my pen, then, to commity my confessions to this patient paper in my own near and attractive handwriting, I am assailed by a brief misgiving about the educational background I bring to an intellectual enterprise of this king.’

That is the first sentence of The Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man by Thomas Mann. It is very hard to read this book while sitting in Bondi Junction bus exchange at approximately 6pm on a Monday evening. That’s because there is not only the natural ambience of commuters and buses and trains and speaker announcements but music, too. 'We Built This City' wafts from tiny, tinny speakers, just quiet enough to sometimes not notice but just loud enough to hear well enough to hum along with. ‘lyrics’. It doesn’t really fit well with German literature, but I don’t suppose that’s the most common thing to be doing at this time of evening at a place like this. So what’s the best sort of stuff to hear on the way home from the office? Maybe there’s a large enough assumption that enough people have iPods to block this sort of stuff and it’s entirely up to the CityRail staff. Play the hits!

Yesterday I made probably the best discovery of my life in some extremely flash toilets near my worki. usually I go to the regular public loos (DISGUSTING) but these new ones, oh boy: not only is the urinal wall actually a water feature (water streams all the way down from the ceiling!) but the taps are motion sensitive under this big concrete slab with lights that come on when you put yr hands under there. Also, the cubicals are completely closed off from one another and generally there's just good interior design all around. But best of all is the addition of music that make's these toilets so swell and luxurious. I know that music in public toilets is nothing new but in these ones it's mainly chilled out jazz or classic soul numbers and it's somewhat tacky but the mood it conjours really makes other lavatory soundtracks pale in comparison. It's not just the musical choices but the volume; it's nice and loud and this is good because let's face it who wants to hear the guy in the cubicle next door straining and squeezing out a fat one? The first time I went into these toilets though there was a relatively odd choice in song cranked up loud, it was the song that goes 'I come from a land down under', you know the one? I forget who sings it but it made me giggle. Still, the possibilities are enourmous with this sort of set up, or just the train station. I want to own these businesses and make executive decisions of Early Songs albums and other records by Chapterhouse or Jana Hunter or maybe Hush Arbors, who knows, but surely it's worth exploring.

2 comments:

Harriet said...

That might even be my favorite book.

eliza said...

Richard!
The music! Men at Work is the band, and while you and Max were in your own water feature man land over in lady world I was chuckling to myself at both the volume and the choice of song. I can't believe it took until your final week in Sydney to discover those loos?
x