Legend has it that at the financial end of Collins Street where all the smart people go to beg there is a tall glass tower where stockbrokers used to hurl themselves off the roof pretending they’re Essington Lewis and shouting ‘I am work’ as they race to the concrete below.
But they are all a bunch of fakes as they only do this when they are sad or disappointed in the current state of the economic situation whatever that might be. They are like an Elizabeth Farrelly article or something I’ve written that starts off seeming interesting but inevitably ends up going nowhere.
If the Legend of the Hurtling Stockbrokers is true then Melbourne City Council should really do something about it. Maybe mark the spot with an ‘X’ and create a new tourist landmark like the restaurant tram with the singing waiter or the Richmond drug injecting center where you can see living history as it walks past your highly-priced townhouse or semi-detached with its teeth falling out, lost dreams and solar panels pamphlet with the government discount.
Hopefully, they will also put up one of those olde burgundy vintage signs explaining what an ‘Essington Lewis’ is, just like out the front of Captain Cook’s cottage in the Botanic Gardens where they recently put one up explaining what a James Cook is: ‘invader and genocidal maniac – entry fee $3.50. You may pat the koala.’
I say pop will eat itself. Well at least BHP will chew off its own leg if it doesn’t stop soon. Apparently, coal is bad for us and will wipe out the whole species, like cigarettes or booing at the footy or listening to Waleed Aly tell me I’m a racist which just makes me depressed and want to boo at the footy. Is contrariness a form of racism?
The BHP CEO says it has to stop right now. He says he is packing his desk and spare underwear into a cardboard box and looking for another job cause no one with any basic human decency would hold those views and remain in this job. It’s a matter of integrity… Oh, hang on – no he’s not.
Strange things happen in Collins Street. Up and down she walks. Every day I see her like a human metronome, the sad-looking young woman with the baby prop in an old 1980s pram. She is there week after week accosting people with the same old story: ‘can you spare some money for lunch, my child and I have travelled in from the country and have no money’. I wouldn’t care so much except the child is actually real and you wonder where she goes at night.
At least they got rid of those Chinese beggar scammers cause they were really doing my conscience in. A crack team of police sorted it out, developing flow charts and an organizing principle they could all agree on before they discovered them as they kneeled in plain sight at city intersections asking for money while reciting Confucian platitudes about how the rich will inherit the earth or at least a new university research centre.
I think the pressed and clean navy blue Mao suits gave it away. No beggar ever looks that good unless they are 17 and at their own CD launch. They looked even neater than the stockbrokers falling and hitting the ground around them though of course without the critical velocity, the Bali timeshare or the platinum credit cards falling out of their pockets.
What’s next? Well, there’s this baby formula cartel in Chadstone. Can’t we get the AFP out to do some surveillance? Maybe put on some faux Gucci leisurewear and pretend they’re discussing the price of real estate in Rowville. I once lived in Mount Waverley and yes, they are all communists.
Mao once said political power grows out of the barrel of a gun but he really meant out of a tin of baby formula with a large reusable plastic scoop.
Capitalism has failed and it is time to eat our baby food.
Michael Scammell is a freelance writer.
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