Camera Repair

Brief reflection demonstrates that the vast majority of human labour, from laundry and trash removal to janitorial work and food preparation, is of this type: upkeep…

WE LIVE IN A society that elevates innovation and the creation of new commodities far beyond their maintenance or any thought of their service life. This is true of big objects like mobile phones, which have a specific obsolescence built into their design, and cannot be replaced once their glued-in batteries cease to retain a charge, as it is for big objects like the blocks of apartments made by our construction industry, for which a successful project is one that sells enough dwellings in a boom to cover the borrowed money to pay the builders, and lasts intact just long enough to pass the home warranty period.

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Parcel

‘YOUR PARCEL HAS BEEN delivered and is waiting’ reads the text message. The parcel locker system is one of the best recent innovations of the public sector; instead of having internet-ordered things delivered (if you’re lucky) to your house, or more usually, delivered to a post office open 9am–5pm, you get a six-digit number to your phone to open a secure box in the wall. It’s like a PO box but without the costs or size restrictions.

This package is from Japan, has camera parts in it, and is—I hope—going to be the difference between my having a working camera and an expensive shiny paperweight. The model of camera has been out of production since 1972, and the company has long since shut, so it’s a wonderful discovery to find that there are still people in Japan making and selling things like shutter ribbon, and replacement coverings. Hooray for enthusiasts.

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Rations

ON SATURDAY 22nd I was part of the NSW Bush Search and Rescue (BSAR) Navshield, from this year an event organised by the NSW State Emergency Service (SES). It’s like a rogaine, or orienteering, only more so. One of the policies of the NSW SES is that its volunteers are fed on training and operational activity. We were offered, and I, out of curiosity, accepted, a Ration Pack, promised as equivalent to those issued to the Australian Defence Force.

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Designing a jail

IN THE NEW INQUIRY, Monica Mohapatra writes about the uneasy appeal of design thinking to make better prisons. The piece is excellent. Read it.

Design approaches to jail have recently become appealing to ruling classes because they garner a profit from aesthetic changes that are easily branded as prison reform. Underlying this facade of reform is the fact that architectural improvements serve to make jails more palatable for a future where jails will neighbor more communities...

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The years have made me bitter

THE YEARS HAVE MADE me bitter, the gargle dims my brain
'cause Dublin keeps on changing, and nothing seems the same
The Pillar and the Met have gone, the Royal long since pulled down
As the great unyielding concrete makes a city of my town.

On the 23rd of March, last Saturday, NSW went to a State election and narrowly re-elected its government. The Coalition, unpopular for its performance but with a well-respected leader, faced a Labor Party with an unremarkable campaign and an unknown leader whose comments about Asian demographic change were reported in the last week, to catastrophic effect.

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