Hello Cruel World
Saturday, November 27, 2004
 
Plus ├ža change, plus c'est la meme chose
There's an old saying: "The more things change, the more they stay the same." The French have it too (see heading).

With the current kerfuffle about problems with the New South Wales rail system, when, searching for some important legal papers, I stumbled across these comments in a collection of old songs, I thought some people might also find them illustrative of Santanya's saying that "those who forget history are condemned to repeat it." Note the dates below.

If I can wrench some time and mental energy away from burgeoning "urgent & important" demands I may be able to write about how better public transport is an important part of answers to a large number, perhaps a majority of the problems discussed in "the meeja".

www.crixa.com/muse/tot/index.htm
AUSTRALIAN RAILWAY STORY
A Continuing Project: Concerning the Culture Associated with Australian Railways.

Objective
Further the collection and documentation of songs, poems and stories that reflect on the contribution railways have made (and continue to make) to the social history of Australia

unionsong.com/muse/tot/voices/voices16.htm
Railway Voices a CD of Australian railway workers stories with songs and poems

Brian Dunnett electrical fitter, Loco Workshops, Chullora
Undoubtably the 1970 period which led up to the election of the Wran government was the first real occasion that the public actually got itself involved in the debate about public transport. The argument between road and rail lead to the closing down, in the 1960s, of our tramway system, and that appeared to be the way in which rail as a whole was heading. The thing that intervened in that process, and as encouraged people to look again at rail as a system and a more efficient means, both of moving people and certainly bulk goods, was the energy crisis, the environmental questions that arose in the 1970s. People were in fact forced to look at the enormous increase in the usage of diesel and the cost, not only the cost factors involved but, but the energy crisis dominated a lot of the debate. It was stirred on here, I think, by the Green Ban movement in Sydney and elsewhere that it created a basis of interest about well ... what do you do with your cities?
...
Now what ... what had occurred was the NSW government, Askin, brought to Australia a British expert, so called expert, Phillip Shirley, who had been connected with the British run-down of rail and that government was quite openly speaking about 10,000 jobs. The repercussions of that within the union movement was enormous, very sharp divisions, and it was the railway unions that discovered that they had some unity of interest with the public, that formed the "Save Public Transport Committees". Granville had that effect of bringing home what railway workers had been saying, that if you neglect a system, if you don't spend money on maintenance, if you don't do the right thing, well then you're in for trouble.

TRAIN TRIP TO GUILDFORD
A song by John Dengate (1975)
John Dengate - guitar and vocals.


Waiting, waiting for the twenty past four to arrive;
Mate, the twenty past four doesn't run any more,
The next train's the quarter past five.

Time means money, they say,
And I must get to Guildford today
Did he say platform nine for the Liverpool line?
Do I have to change trains on the way?
Indicator, please won't you indicate soon
With your little round light that this platform is right;
I've been waiting at Central since noon.

This old fellow here next to me
Caught the bus up from Circular Quay;
He scratches his arse with his pensioner's pass
But he's on the wrong line for Narwee.

Waiting, waiting, for the twenty past four to arrive;
Mate, the twenty past four doesn't run any more,
The next train's the quarter past five.
Come on you timetable mob, I'm desperately short of a bob,
I'm in my good gear and I'm right off the beer
And at Guildford they say there's a job.

Indicator, please won't you indicate soon
With your little round light that this platform is right;
I've been waiting at Central since noon.

The service is worse than a fraud And the fare's more than I can afford
But I'll never complain - here comes the train
to Guildford And now I'm aboard.
But it's Wentworthville, Pendle Hill;
We're rattling towards Emu Plains.
I should have got out when I heard someone shout
At Granville, "You have to change trains."

Waiting, waiting for the twenty past eight to go back,
But the twenty past eight is half an hour late
And I think I'll lie down on the track.

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 / . Lives in Australia/New South Wales/Sydney, speaks English. Eye color is hazel. I am what my mother calls unique. My interests are photography, reading, natural history/land use, town planning, sustainability.

This is my blogchalk:
Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.