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Street Directory Obsession – The Past – Psychobabble

August 3, 2011

If it has been a little quiet here, it is because I have been writing a lot on my other blog, Biblioburbia. I’ve been visiting public libraries around Sydney and writing about what I find there, the suburb, people, books, coincidences, digressions, anything that seems interesting. My most recent excursion was to Merrylands, and I spent a good while looking at the street directories in the Merrylands library and musing upon them.

Then today, while trying to tidy the hundreds of zines I have in my bookcase in no order whatsoever, I found one of my old Psychobabble zines. This was the first zine I made, which I started in 1996 when I was a teenager, and made 20 issues of at a rapid pace before calling it quits in 1998. Despite being over so quickly, this zine made quite an impact, in fact people still tell me how much they loved it. While it is slightly to my chagrin, in a kind of “I only like the early stuff” way, when I look back on them, in all their messy silliness, I appreciate the way the writing (and therefore me, I guess) grabs at the world at the things in it. I am also surprised how little my interests have changed.

These pages, about street directories, were in one of the later Psychobabbles, and are here reproduced in their scratchy glory. This would have been written in 1998, but all these streets still exist, so it is, in a way, still current, although people possibly don’t think of Nirvana in the same way.

Now, remember to take a deep breath and stay calm as you slowly return to the present. I don’t think I even thought 2011 would ever come around when I wrote this.

Now tell me, what is your favourite street name?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2011 8:48 pm

    Ever noticed Beach and Cave streets in Dulwich Hill. Might be a Seaview there too. Bit of a walk in swimmers and towel for a dip in the ocean!

    • Vanessa Berry permalink*
      August 3, 2011 9:29 pm

      Yes Beach Rd in Dulwich Hill has always bemused me. A kind of “under the pavement, the beach” kind of thing, perhaps?

  2. August 6, 2011 10:13 am

    I like Tinning St and Garnet St in Brunswick.

    re Beach Rd DH : probably the old shoreline of Marrickville Beach? (‘surely’!)

  3. Vanessa Berry permalink*
    August 6, 2011 10:47 am

    There’s a Garnet St here, too, it runs parallel to my street.
    One that I like in Hurlstone Park is Dunstaffenage st – what a big snuffling monster of a word.

  4. August 6, 2011 1:16 pm

    In Longreach, QLD, all the streets are named after birds. I’d love to live where Owl meets Gallah. In Byron Bay streets are named after poets.

    • Vanessa Berry permalink*
      August 7, 2011 8:26 am

      Ah the bird street town! Someone has mentioned this to me before…in reference to a Peacock St.
      By the way! I loved Type Horses, being a long time typewriter fan and your work was beautiful.

  5. September 14, 2011 7:17 pm

    I’ve always liked Wetherill Street in Leichhardt. Every time I go past it, I say something along the lines of ‘I don’t know whether I’ll go down that street’, much to the disgust of all around me.

    • Vanessa Berry permalink*
      September 16, 2011 1:06 pm

      Hi Leigh! I’m glad you explained why you liked Wetherill St, as I would have been puzzling over it otherwise! Imagine if you lived on that street, you could really get a lot of mileage out of that joke.

  6. October 17, 2011 10:44 pm

    I was always fascinated by the Hereward Highway in Blacktown. It’s just a regular suburban street, not very long, but for some reason it’s a highway.
    I think I first spotted it in the street directory I got for my 6th or 7th birthday after dad had enough of me reading his one all the time.
    I’m still at it, recently was very happy to find a 70’s Adelaide Street Directory in an op shop in Murray Bridge (though my friends weren’t so keen on my idea of driving home to Adelaide on roads that only existed in the 70’s). The old ladies at the counter were quite surprised that someone would want to buy it!

  7. Aeron permalink
    April 25, 2012 6:49 pm

    I love street directories. My oldest is a Gregory’s 21st ed.


  1. Merrylands and Greystanes (Street Directory) | Biblioburbia: The Library Files

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