No children past the blue carpet unless having a haircut

I saw this sign as I passed a beauty parlour in George Street this morning. I was wheeling my bike after going for a swim at the new aquatic centre. There was the blue carpet, in all its glory, and there were the sacred inner workings of the beauty parlour where children were not allowed.

This was after I’d stopped at Slado’s second hand bookstore and had a bit of a frenzied browse. I say frenzied browse because second hand shops always give me a bit of a rush, I’m a gold digger or an opal fossicker, hoping, hoping. The books were very expensive. A bit rude. There was a large part of a whole shelf devoted to Arthur Upfield’s Bony books. Some were going for $50, $60, $145. Maybe I’ll go back and buy a couple, if they’re that valuable.

I bought nothing at Slado’s but the addictive rush needed a further outlet, and I stopped at the Salvation Army op shop. Lots of stuff for the Lost Arts of the 1970s exhibition – an orange and brown flower-pattern tray, a vinyl Kamahl record – but I can’t have everything. I need to be strategic. The atmosphere was festive. Down and out people were drinking coffee in the little cafe area at the front, having a great laugh. I bought This Is Australia, published 1975, another coffee-table book trying to come to grips with who we are. I remembered the book when it was new at the Carnarvon Senior High School library. Here I am buying it for $3 32 years later. There’s a great photo of a young David Williamson in it.

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