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Posts Tagged ‘signs’

Keep on with the force
Don’t stop
Don’t stop ’til you get enough
– Michael Jackson, 1979

Being a Melburnian by birth and long residence, I’m well aware of how Melburnians crap on about their Cup, which they reckon is the Race That Stops A Nation.

“The Nation” bit may be an exaggeration, but now I know it’s the Race that at least Stops The Nation’s Capital.

The Berra literally does stop for the Melbourne Cup. It’s a public holiday. I’m writing this at home on a Tuesday in daylight hours, released from the tyrannical yoke of paid employ (and avoiding the never-ending torrent of housework).

I was having trouble comprehending why we have the day off, as the Cup is run in another state, and anyway it’s not even a standard holiday across Victoria. Well, it’s not strictly a holiday for the Cup. And interestingly, it turns out most local Berrans hate having the holiday.

Apparently the 1st Tuesday in November was gazetted as a day off only last year, and it’s nominally titled Family and Community Day – nothing to do with any silly horse race, thankyou. It was intended to replace the unions’ annual March Picnic Day which the Federal Government of the day forcibly removed. To quote a presser from the Territory ALP Government last year, “this day will enable workers to take a break from their hectic working lives and spend some quality time with their families and friends. This will go a small way to protecting that work-life balance which the Howard Government seems so intent on attacking.”

With a public holiday on the Tuesday, what seems like two-thirds of the Berra population has taken the Monday off to create a looong weekend and, in the local parlance, gorndownthecoast. And the city has ground to a halt. Yesterday I went to run a few errands at lunch and was disappointed on all fronts. The tailor where I’d left some pants to get taken up? Closed. The food co-op? Closed. The Chamber of Commerce just gives all its staff the Monday off and shuts its doors. And as for the public service, most ELs are rumoured to take the Monday off too, leaving junior staffers in a decision-paralysis, unable to hold meetings, refer up and otherwise get anything done. A one-day holiday leads to another day buggered up.

While it’s nice for some who can afford a break to spend quality time with family and friends, there’s a lot of us who still have to work. Most of the folk at my salt mine are engaged in a 24/7 industry and are over there now scratching together material for the [denuded] audience. And for those poor deskjockeys, they’ve now been robbed of the fun of Cup Day at work. With merely a skeleton staff there’s no office sweeps; no silly hats dragged out from under the desk where they were left last November; no glass of champagne while someone wheels in a trolley with the TV on it; no collegial cheering as we watch the horses run their magic mile. Everyone at work hates the holiday – it’s spoiled the race for them. And even those who get the day off say they miss Cup Day at work.

Anecdotally a number of businesses have seen sharp downturns on what used to be a very busy day for them – the caterers and roast chicken shops that serviced office parties and picnics, and also the local clubs where people used to pop over for half an hour for a bet and a drink before returning to work, to name just a few. With all this ill-feeling, it’s no wonder the newly reinstated Chief Minister says he’s rethinking the holiday for next year.

Maybe the spirit of the Family and Community Day holiday – to stop and take a bit of time for that ol’ work/life balance – is better captured by the guerrilla graffiti ghosts flitting around the Berra at the moment. They’ve been getting at the local Stop signs, adapting them to make them a little more, well, contemplative. Here’s a selection from around several inner-city suburbs (click on the thumbnail for a larger image):

I like these little signs, though they are distracting. Whenever I pass a stop sign facing away from me, I peer in the rear vision mirror trying to see if it has a new message for me, opening other motorists to the threat of being rear-ended by an absent-minded Volvo driver.

I wonder how long these graffitists will keep at it. I wish I knew who they were, because I can think of some some suggestions for them. Such as,
Stop whinging
Stop bolting down your food
Stop buying Top 40 RnB crap
Stop abusing apostrophe’s [sic]
Stop frowning
Stop criticising
Stop talking and listen

What would you like to see stopped?

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