Gavin Roach has travelled to lots of places during the tour of his one man show ‘Confessions of a Grindr Addict’. He’s gone to Melbourne, Newcastle and even Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but he still has a soft spot for Parramatta and…
I live between two worlds. Parramatta, familiar and full of childhood rich memories and Newtown borderline new with shades of independence. Both I feel at home in, both ground me and inspire, and since moving to the Inner-West five years ago, I have spent many hours traveling between the two.
The journey between can, for some, seem cumbersome and long. A journey not as straight forward as it would seem and one that has a tendency to abruptly stop for extended lengths of time between stations. But for me the trip has an almost romance to it.
After boarding the train at Newtown station, I usually like to head straight upstairs and grab a window seat. Sometimes on the right, other times on the left. The height gives me the perfect vantage point to watch the ever-changing landscape.
The station gives way to compacted terrace house, clinging together, saturated with old world charm. The scene is often dotted with plush new apartment buildings that is testament to the rapid gentrification of the inner-west. I count the houses I’d want, the changes I would make and the dwellings that I would discard, head shaking at the décor choices.
As the train speeds to Ashfield the houses slowly let go of each other, yard sizes increase, bikes with training wheels dot the front gates and cultures clash in harmony.
As we pull out from Ashfield the scene changes again, we glide rapidly through forgotten suburbs, areas of outer Sydney that have been neglected from limited station use, streets littered with cracking buildings and peeled paint. Faded reminders of a once prosperous time.
One can never get too settled on the journey though, as when the train arrives at Strathfield its time to alight and try with all your might to defy the speed of sound and make it to the connecting train in time. If the train is missed however, which is often the case, the station does provide a temporary inhabitant a true reflection of Sydney’s true diversity. Here all walks of life meet, pass each other, journey together. This is Sydney in its purest form.
Once settled on the train to further west, you can’t help but feel the push of the express service. The train gathers speed as houses briskly change to industrial land and back again. Suburban landscapes wash the windows; pillars of industrial glory rise and fall. Construction and change hurl into view as your eyes try to keep up with the train.
Familiar shades of suburbia fall upon me as we roll through Granville. A silence whispers through the carriage, a knowing of what once happened here. And there in the distance, just around the bend is home, is a childhood memory, Parramatta.
We all alight and go on our way, myself I continue on to a bus, ready for a new vantage point, a new burst of scenery, all the while holding the memories made from the space in between.
To read more of Gavin’s writing check out his Huffington Post blog.