Here's the day you hoped would never come
Don't feed me violins
just run with me through rows of speeding cars.
The papercuts, the cheating lovers
The coffee's never strong enough,
I know you think it's more than just bad luck
I was 7 years old in 1964, but I can still remember being taken to the Metro Theatre in Kings Cross to see a premiere performance of Mary Poppins. Even then, I knew that Kings Cross was a notorious Red Light district, but I would not have really known what that meant. It seemed a strange place for the screening of a children’s film... and I still have trouble marrying the location of the cinema and magic of the film in my memory.
I can’t actually recall how we got there, or even what time of day. Perhaps it was a matinee, and perhaps I caught a bus there with my mother. The bus would have stopped at the top of William Street, but this would have years been before the famous Coca Cola sign was installed marking the gateway to the Cross. We would have walked along Darlinghurst Road past the “nightclubs”, and we would have stopped at the El Alamein Fountain on the way. Still one of the prettiest fountains in the world and still my favourite, the design based on a Dandelion seed head.
In 1964 I would have worn a dress made by my mother, a party dress, probably blue, little white socks and shoes and I am sure I would have carried a tiny white handbag. My mother would have held my hand, and I am sure I would have worn little white gloves, the ones edged with lace. My hair was always long and always braided in two plaits with ribbons that matched the colour of my dress.
Or maybe my Dad drove us there at night in the Chrysler Royal, and parked in a nearby street. In the days before seatbelts, I would lay across the backseat on the red vinyl and watch the neon signs stream past. I used to beg him to drive through the city at night sometimes just to see the lights. In those days I could name them all... a precursor to a future career in advertising.
Apart from the movie, the only thing I can categorically remember is the building itself. The beautiful Art Deco features and soft pastel colours that it was painted back then. My love affair with architecture started early.
The building was designed in 1937 and building completed by 1939. No expense was spared. Armchair seating throughout, and plentiful use of frosted glass and chrome and mirrors. The interior of the auditorium was ribbed with plaster arches lit by recessed neon lighting. It boasted a deep stage, full dressing room facilities, an orchestra pit and a projection box.
The theatre was sold in 1979 to become the site of a speciality supermarket. The theatre was stripped of its fittings and the supermarket installed in 1981 only to fail miserably.
The site stood empty and forlorn until it was purchased in 1982 to become a soundstage and recording facility. It remains to this day, basically unaltered and sensitively maintained by its owners. You can still peer through the doors and see the elegant lobby looking pretty much as it did years ago.
The dust storms that swept across Eastern Australia yesterday were the worst in living 70 years.
The plume of dust stretched 400 miles along the coast and was dumping 75,000 tons of dust per hour into the Tasman Sea.
The air in Sydney normally contained 10 micrograms of particles per cubic metre of air - but those levels soared to 15,400 yesterday!!!