Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A summery ghost sign story from Flemington, Melbourne

Shortly before Christmas, I spied the tantalising edge of a ghost sign on Flemington Road, Flemington, barely viewable high on a wall. As I dodged the traffic trying to take a photo, the owner of the building next door (a mechanic's business) turned up. His name was Matt. Here he is, with the wall to the right:

I started to talk to him. Matt, it turns out, is a lovely bloke with a strong interest in old motoring ephemera. He'd painted the old-looking signs outside his business in the 1970s, which apparently now act as settings for wedding photos and the like:

Still, the wall sign was real - an ad for Morris cars and,underneath, another for the Standard Motor Company. I told him about the Lewis and Skinner documents (see: www.lewisandskinner.com) and all the attendant old Mobil service station documents. Matt then showed me inside his garage, and some of the things he'd collected:

We made an arrangement for us to catch up after Christmas. I would then drop in to him a couple of the spare Mobil posters I'd collected from the Lewis and Skinner pile of documents, in exchange for a donation to the Aspergers technology club project I run (www.thelab.org.au).

That catch-up happened a couple of days ago. After dropping in the posters, Matt got out a long ladder and held it so I could make the precarious climb up his building and get a better view of the ghost sign:

So up I went, nervously, camera phone in hand. The sign is a great one - note the radiator with Morris written on the badge:

It was a serendipitous life and people-affirming encounter. Great when dead things can lead to something nice like this in the present:)

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