On The Buses

Railway Square, Sydney

Railway Square, Sydney

One of ABBA’s last recorded songs is a track called “The Day Before You Came”. It’s a sad, haunting piece, though with an optimistic side to it, as Agnetha recounts how boring and predictable her life was “the day before you came”.

But the music is so incredibly sad, particularly for the final sixty seconds of the song, where it’s just Frida sighing/moaning/singing over a simple backbeat.

Accompanying the song is a video clip which looks so incredibly Swedish. The setting is winter, the sun is rising later in the morning, and as Agnetha goes to or from work, it’s cold, wet and dark.

Obviously we don’t have the same weather here in Sydney, but that’s what it’s starting to get like at the moment. And it’s evident in the general mood of the place, as you see people catching buses and trains around the city.

As previously noted, I’m not a great fan of winter, and neither, it seems, are most Sydney-siders. The Easter Weekend is always tinged in sadness, as it effectively marks the end of summer, and the beginning of winter. And with Anzac Day coming up (and no public holiday long weekend in NSW) which is almost always wet, there’s a miserableness about the place.

Catching the bus tonight you could see it in the faces of people at Railway Square.

Meanwhile there was a big argument involving a bunch of 15 or 16 year olds, which no one wanted to even acknowledge was occuring, even though we were all watching it with some disbelief.

At the heart of it was an argument between a teenage boy and a teenage girl. They looked about the same age and were similarly built. The girl was there with just one other female friend, while the boy was surrounded by half a dozen mates. On the surface it didn’t look good, as they swore at each other.

Within a minute or so, the argument turned to violence as the girl pushed the boy to the ground and then began kicking him in the stomach. None of their friends got involved. On two separate occasions the girl kicked the boy, leaving him in tears as she and her friend disappeared into the night. It was a pretty amazing scene.

And while all this was happening, the people at Railway Square looked out the corner of their eyes pretending not to watch, as they waited for their buses. I include myself in that.

  1. It’s a sad commentary on modern life that you have to be pretty brave nowadays to intervene in acts of violence by others and risk them turning their violence on you. Even the police when they are present are not immune to serious injury or worse when they try to break up violent arguments.

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