My nanna used to live on the main street of Toodyay (tiny historical town in WA). She talked about a lot of people we didn’t know and I always told myself she knew everything that was going on in that street. She probably didn’t though. I just liked the cliche, seeing community in the village-style surveillance.
Growing up in Albany, I sometimes used to walk around with mum looking at houses. It was one of our more successful bonding activities. I’d comment too loudly on the houses – ‘Ew! That’s horrible!’ – and mum’d have to tell me to quieten down – ‘Shh.. they might hear you!’
In this era of phone cameras, sometimes I take photos of the front of houses. It feels a bit dodgy though, and I rarely share them with anyone. Is it invasion of privacy? It’s not like any member of the public can’t just walk by and look at it anyway.
Many people seem to dress their house up specifically for the gaze of outsiders. My main concern, really, is that I’ll scare them if they see me taking photos, that they’ll think I’m stalking them or plotting something vile.
Anyway, I took a few of the Christmas decorations in Brunswick East. I figured they’re fair game, as they are definitely in the nature of a big of a public display.
Walking around, it seemed to me that Christmas decorated houses tend to cluster in particular streets. Perhaps the presence of one is like a virus, inspiring others with the spirit of Christmas community and/or mild competition. Obviously I was unscientifically quick to jump to the clustering conclusion; maybe it was just another community-suggestive cliche I wanted to believe in.
Anyway, here is the exhibition so far. Voting opens today.
4 December: Topiary christmas tree
5 December: Blow up santa sitting on blow up snow globe
Erected around 6 December: Christmas commodore decorated with pearls, candy canes, and seashell-shaped alfoil
and on the other side of the same house front yard, a little tree, with that topiary tree looming in the background.
6 December: This is my favourite though. It has a pleasant homeliness.