the floating cafe

Apparently this is a rather famous cafe in Sydney. Or at least, its parent cafe in Woolloomooloo is famous, being a known celebrity-slash-tourist attraction, and also being listed on the National Trust register. It's called Harry's Cafe de Wheels, and its culinary specialty is something called a 'Pie Floater', involving a meat pie, tomato sauce and mushy green pea soup.

But I couldn't care less about the fecal-sounding menu, or how many times Elton John ordered from it in the seventies. To be honest, I never even laid eyes on the 'original' Harry's, nor do I have any great desire to. What I do care about is the lovely little shoebox eatery pictured above, which sits unassumingly at the foot of the grand Capitol Theatre in the (outer?) CBD. As soon as I set eyes on this architetural anomaly I just knew I needed to get a picture. Its irresistable typography and romantically sweeping asymmetrical roof cry out to be celebrated and commemorated on film.

Beyond my admiration of its mid-twentieth-century Americana aesthetic (no doubt related to my unabashed love of carny chic) is my joyous surprise at discovering a permanent fixture in the city that is, paradoxically, inherently temporary. I mean, the thing's on wheels! It recalls the Mr Whippy ice cream van that haunts the Arts Centre stretch of Melbourne's St Kilda Road. Unlike the ominous icy-treats van, however, Harry's never goes away.

I don't recall a black and white medium format picture of mine that has ever looked so dreamy. I like to think my camera responded to the otherworldly vision in front of its lens. As one observer remarked upon seeing this image, it looks like it's floating. And I tend to agree - floating in time, floating in space, floating in a city that sometimes seems to be drowning in its own bigness.

I don't know what your Pie Floaters are like Harry, but I really dig your style.

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