I feel lucky when I throw a roll into my busted Yashica. I keep it in the car so when I’m bopping about Crush City I know I can get a shot when the eyes start twitching for some keen angle-catching. Sharp-like, see? So I know what I’m getting.
Frame up. Frame down. I roll the the city streets real slow. I’m in no hurry. Looking for some busted, faded motel sign I ain’t spotted yet before. One of them throwbacks to the glory days. Before the money got too big and everything got so clean. Real Dry. All the class just up and left. Where? I aint tellin. So, Eventually the cars piling up behind me’ll start bleeping their little bleepin’ hearts out. I ash my cigarette in my rear view mirror, flip em the V and slow down some more.
Then I laugh a hearty ‘fuck you lame fuckers’ kinda laugh that makes em loose their fucking minds. Veins swelling on their foreheads looking like they got centipedes crawling around up under their coupons. Fists gripping the steering wheel like they’re tryin’ ta bend it in half. Its sport. Good sport. And all sports fair-game in Crushtown.
Thats how you got to be, A real dick. Bigtime. Thats how it is if you ever want to get nothing done noplace in this kinda special kinda nowhere, kid…
I can’t believe they gave me the money.
Most of them wouldn’t, Not the big 4. Not way. When I was about to give up on buying the unit, when I was just about to pack in the job, move back into my car and head out North again, there was a nock at the door.
A tall pale man in a dark suit with raven black hair and eyes like coal. He smiled a cold sharp smile and introduced himself a B.E. Lubbuz, and said he wished to loan me the amount I needed for the unit and more on top of that. He had eight shadows stretching out from under his feet in different directions. I though that was a very cool trick to pull on an overcast day. I invited him in and made him some tea.
He talked for a bit about numbers and repayments and jargon but I lost interest quickly. I was hungover became distracted by a cloud shaped like a dinosaur floating pas the kitchen window. I noticed bright green flames would flicker in B.E’s eyes whenever he mentioned repaying the debt. Anyway, before long I decided to sign up and get this creepy guy out of my house. I was tired. Tired of everything. He had a fit of laughter when I signed next to the X and then disappeared in a puff of smoke. He left a cheque behind.
I went and got the keys the next day.
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.