May 25, 2018

Rundle: like smoke vanishing in the late autumn air

Guy Rundle salvages what he can from the now-gone Checkerboard Tobacco and Book Exchange in Windsor, Melbourne.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


When I arrived, they had already started pulling apart Checkerboard Tobacco and Book Exchange of Windsor. Two guys in orange hi-vis were moving above the now-empty pale blue shelves, CD racks and vinyl. They pinged back and forth through the swinging saloon half-doors that had once separated the adults' section from the rest.

Boxes of DVDs, CDs and records were on the floor, along with ankle-high slush of junk and refuse: old phone card ads, sleeves of rollie papers, old Christmas décor, empty sleeves of Friends DVDs, dust jackets of Ian Botham books, and that was just the top layer. The hi-vis men were, improbably, French, chattering away, as they took to the place with swing hammers, and piled up a pyre of panels in the centre of the store. "Bof enfin," whack, "ah m’en fou ta guele," whack.

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10 thoughts on “Rundle: like smoke vanishing in the late autumn air

  1. rhwombat

    Not a bad elegy to the carcinogenic 70s, GR.

  2. paddy

    You’re often at your finest doing melancholy Guy.
    Lovely and understated today. Ta.

  3. graybul

    The capacity, experience of older generations to ‘see’ what is of value. And the rawness, lack of comprehension by younger generations whilst uploading latest ‘App’ released for Apple I Phone.

  4. AR

    A wonderfully evocative wallow, Sir.
    I trust that you are aware that nostalgia is the first sign of senility.

    1. Matt Hardin

      All I know AR, is that nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

      1. AR

        Fortunately, else we’d all be tempted to retreat there.

  5. Andrea

    Who was smoking who. Beautiful. I like this piece much better than yesterday’s, that was a little out of my galaxy. I’m at home here.

  6. barbro

    Great piece of writing, Mr Rundle. Thanks for the memories.

  7. Gregory Killen

    You sure do have eyes that see and ears that hear, Guy Rundle! I can well understand your fascination with the agile and innovative present ceaselessly and rapidly fading into the quaint and curious past as all this stuff is conveyed to and buried in our modern cities’ massive middens! I recently ended a 23 year career driving garbage trucks for contract rubbish removal and found much of what I was conveying to the landfill of endless interest and likely value (to my wife’s ongoing frustration, as I’d come home most days with a car boot full of trashed treasures)! Our society’s enormously wasteful throwaway habits must end sooner or later and I think we’ll be mining our landfills for valuable items a long time before archaeologists of the future come along to try to work out what the hell was going on in post-WWII civilisation!

  8. John of Alphington

    Channeling Morris Lurie and Barry Dickens. Melbourne requiem.

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