A Night at the Pink Poodle

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The Pink poodle was an art-deco styled motel built on the side of the highway in Surfers Paradise in the late 60’s. Its bright neon sign and prominent location led to it becoming a Gold Coast icon seen on postcards for decades.

By the late 80’s the shine had worn off and the motel had become a den of prostitution and criminal activity. The sign still shone its bright sickly pink hue over the rain-slicked streets on summer evenings for years to come as the building continued to deteriorate beneath it.

My 11th grade teacher once made the class made read and analyse a fictional book called ‘A Night at the Pink Poodle’. It was about the Gold Coast, its tacky superficial materialism and how chasing it all may eventually leave you feeling like a big fat phoney. Near the end of the book the protagonist, a wildly successful High-rise Apartment Salesman, spends a night at the latter incarnation of the hotel after fucking up his life by questioning its validity. He has some kind of spiritual epiphany while he sits in the faded, stained, dated interior of his room listening to only the passing traffic on the highway and in the hallway.

In 2004 they tore the faded motel down. The sign remains. Next to a Hooters.

I regret never going inside and taking a few photos. When it was in its final form. I regret this now. Then it never really crossed my mind.

There were a similar motels in Palm Beach. There were actually dozens of similar motels up and down the Gold Coast Highway. Many have been knocked down. Some are still running. Others fell into gradual disrepair.

I remember walking past one that was near my house when I was 18 or so. A man called out asking for a light from a darkened door frame. I went up a flight of stairs to this strangers door and gave him my lighter. He pulled out a filthy pipe and had a cook right there on the balcony. He offered me some. I said no thanks and went on my way.

I’m finding something in them as the coastline becomes increasingly gentrified. They’ve become fewer and further between. So I’m trying to get a few shots whenever I see the chance. They have something you cant make.

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3 thoughts on “A Night at the Pink Poodle

  1. Great photos and story. It seems the old Surfers Paradise had a real romance to it, even the seedy bits, that has been lost

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