Posted on December 8, 2015
This is a Man Ray photograph called “Tears”.
It takes me back to being 20 years old, and regularly walking into a shop called The Printed Image, in Chapel St, Prahran. I would buy a postcard sized image from a box on the counter, there were lots of Man Ray ones from the 1930s, plenty of naked ladies projecting grainy black shadows.
This was part of my ritual to shore up courage before wandering across the road to Revolver, which was not a nightclub then, just a music shop, also called called Revolver, where my sometimes lover lived upstairs. He didn’t have a phone. It was before mobiles became ubiquitous in the world, but he didn’t even have a landline, only a pager, and the number of the recording studio that he worked at in Richmond (which I rang too often).
I was a bit of a stalker, but he always seemed happy to see me, if he was there, upstairs in that big, cold room with the peeling walls and the gothic iron bedhead, the sound of drums and guitars crashing up through the celing from the music store below. He wore vintage coats, velvet or cord, and he would heap them upon me in the night, on top of the blankets but I was never cold with him. I was poppy red matte lipstick, black baby doll dresses, Doc Marten 8 ups with brown satin ribbon laces, and so thin that every rib and bone was delineated. I was smitten; he was a mirror who reflected me back shining, bright and beautiful. It was the year after I saw my Dad and brother drown, my mum had moved from the city and so I was out of home for the first time, in an unfamilar part of town. My boyfriend had moved to Lismore and told me after the fact that we had broken up. I dropped out of uni, and life happened around me while I remained fixed in place.
And then came the magic of that winter. It continued sporadically afterwards, but that time stands apart from other periods in my life, like a scene preserved within a glass snow dome, which I used to give a gentle shake every now and then, one year in every few, and see us there, young again.
I still have those postcards.