Author Archive: Michael Wayne

Kingsgrove Pharmacy/For Lease – Kingsgrove, NSW

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I’m sick and tired of the flood of emails I get week after week from people desperate to convince me that Kingsgrove Pharmacy wasn’t always Kingsgrove Pharmacy. Today, we set the record straight.

I can’t really think of a more (over the counter) pharmaceutical suburb than Kingsgrove. You’ve got the surgery, the theatre-turned-huge Blue Cross Medical Centre, the Kingsgrove Medical Centre that relocated to Beverly Hills but didn’t change the name, the Kingsgrove Health Professional Centre…the list goes on.

What’s with that? I mean yeah, Kingsgrove makes us all sick at times, but this is ridiculous.

And on top of all that, up until recently you had Kingsgrove Pharmacy. When they left, they took their awning signage with them, giving the rest of us a glimpse into a less digital past.

Remember back when you had to get photos developed? How you couldn’t really take photos of anything risqué because your friendly local pharmacist might spot it and call the authorities? Uh, because I…er, certainly don’t.

Unless you’re a hipster, you’re not shooting on film anymore, and the pharmacies of the world that tried to branch out and give even more back to the community that took so much lost that revenue stream and were sent packing, just like Kingsgrove Pharmacy was.

Does every little bit count? Did I inadvertently and indirectly contribute to the fall of Kingsgrove Pharmacy simply by taking this article’s pictures on my phone?

Could an argument then be made that I’m running businesses out on purpose just for blog material?

I think that’s just about all we’ve got time for today, but here’s one last pill to swallow: did the Kingsgrove Pharmacist take their awning signage away to use again?

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Kingsgrove Pharmacy in more visible times. Image courtesy realestate.com.au

As you can see in this shot from our old buddies realestate.com.au, Kingsgrove Pharmacy let people know what it was from all conceivable angles. Rumour has it the roof’s sign can be seen from orbit.

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After the last prescription had been filled, they tore it all down…except for the sign above the footpath. They didn’t even do that thing where they put it back in upside down and reversed.

I think they left it up so we’d remember them. They exposed the old sign to remind us how long we’d had them in our lives, and to appeal to that sense of retro we’re unable to shake. “Take a photo of this,” they’re saying. And we do.

We live in a world where, thanks to the ubiquity of digital photography, memories are fleeting. The way I see it, Kingsgrove Pharmacy has made a statement about that in their own subtle way.

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Beverly Hills Skin Care/ITP/For Lease – Beverly Hills, NSW

It’s tax time! C’mon everybody, gather up your receipts and make an appointment to see your local tax agent. People still do that, don’t they? Uh, anyway, come with me as I do just that, with dollar signs in my eyes and-

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Oh. Guess I’ll be doing my own tax, then…

It’s no exaggeration to say that ITP Beverly Hills was here since Federation, so its departure is a severe blow to the intricate bio-habitat that surrounded it. D2D Cafe and the Rhinedorf relied on these guys to tick all the boxes each July. Did you stop and think of them when you packed up and left, ITP?

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A few traces of the former tax haven office remain, this canary yellow window being one. I wonder how ITP came to decide on bright yellow as their trademark colour? There’s only so much grey one can take, I suppose.

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No messing around! These dudes left NOTHING behind – almost as if they’re accustomed to paying attention to nitty-gritty details by nature. It’s small comfort to know that wherever they are now, they’re nice and cool.

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They also took their awning sign, and in the process exposed a clue as to who the former occupants were. “AS 43 SUNTRONIC GLOBAL SYSTEM 37” may sound like total gibberish, but in the skincare world, it’s godlike.

The way I understand it, AS 43 is a form of electrocosmetology therapy that tightens skin. Apparently, it was discovered “by accident”. Try telling that to the victims of AS 01-42 Suntronic Global Systems, you monsters…

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So who were the purveyors of this skincare breakthrough miracle cure? Look up and we can see the lush typeface of Beverly Hills Skin Care, a company that according to the government still has an active ABN.

As an aside, and don’t take this as a sign I’ve run out of things to say about an ancient skincare clinic, but have you ever had a look at that ABN search site? It’s fascinating to see which old business names are still making a go of it.

Check it out! “Beverly Hills Video” is still active, while Beverly Hills Cinema appears to have replaced “Beverly Hills Twin”. I’m just disappointed nobody’s ever set up “Beverly Hills Corp”.

Weird time’s a charm

Katoomba’s Paragon Cafe is one of those irritating places that can never wind up on Past Lives because even though there’s so much to say about it, it’s still doing what it’s always done…with the exception of the oysters, anyway.

I guess Past Lives will just have to end up on the Paragon instead.

Weird Sydney Final

That’s right, it’s back.

On August 12th, you can join the incomparable super-team of Peter Doyle, Chris Mikul, Vanessa Berry and myself for an afternoon of the weirdest Sydney has to offer.

How can we possibly fit everything that’s weird about this messed-up town into one afternoon, you ask? You’ll just have to come along and find out!

Get your tickets here! Wear your best sideburns and you might even end up with your picture on the wall!

And if all that’s not momentous enough for you, this year happens to be the Paragon’s 101st anniversary. Yes, they chose to hold this event on that non-anniversary.

Don’t you find that a little…weird?

Computer Service Centre/Pharmatex – Epping, NSW

Come gather round, children, and I’ll tell you a tale of a time when people played “computer games”.

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Epping is a bit of a mess these days: no two floors of a shop can seem to agree on what they’re going to be. This one in particular features voices from the future (education – the Children Are Our Future), the present (the natural health joint), and the past. We’ll get to all of them, but let’s begin yesterday.

In 1983, the market for console video games in the United States crashed and crashed hard. In a panic, the computer gaming industry (there’s a difference) sought to distance itself from its ailing cousin. IBM, Amstrad, Commodore were just a few of the names attempting to usurp Atari as household standards.

In Europe and Australia, it largely worked. By the early 90s, naff adults would refer to kids’ Sega Master Systems and Game Boys as “computer games”. Ugh.

When you’re a kid, it’s a travesty. You and your passions, tarred and feathered by misunderstanding. Or was it a lack of wanting to understand?

It took years for the computer games terminology to wear off. You’ll still hear it today if you listen (or care) hard enough. Sure, there have been some great games for computers during the past two decades, but as our old buddy Lana Del Rey likes to say, something something video games.

Which brings us to today’s focus. This place serviced computers, and wisely separates computers and games. It’s hard to tell where to place this in the gamut of understanding, but I’m going to go ahead and chuck it in the “totally gets it” pile. For one, the sign appears to be neon – cool. And two, the shop doesn’t look that old.

The computers and games and computer games have long since left the building, however. It’s symptomatic of a larger sickness – when was the last time you saw a games department at Myer? At K-Mart? It’s clear this was just another casualty of the digital takeover.

Today, it’s home to Pharmatex. Or it isn’t. Their website has the right address, but the shop itself appears to contain no less than two other pharmaceutical/health food outlets.

If you’re that curious, call them toll free on 1800 GLOVES (seriously).

As for the HSC English specialists, I wonder what percentage of these tutors exist purely to stop the students from playing computer games instead of studying?

Golden World Restaurant/Xinjiang Noodle House – Ashfield, NSW

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If you’re planning on visiting Ashfield, wolfing down a Chinese meal and washing it down with an icy cold Coca-Cola, I’ve got some bad news for you: it won’t be a golden experience.

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As you may remember, there was a time when things, particularly restaurants and take-away shops, went better with Coke.

John Pemberton’s miracle tonic was being poured wherever you’d see signs like this, usually with the tiny-lettered name of the venue pushed aside to make more room for that contoured logo – as if it needed any more exposure.

The thinking was that unless you advertised drinks were available, you’d alienate thirsty customers, or worse still, make them think you sold Pepsi.

I’m not sure how well Coke goes with the kind of unpretentious Chinese food Golden World would have sold. I do like the chutzpah of Golden World to name itself that, and then set up in the very un-golden world of Ashfield.

I also can’t help but feel for the person or persons living in that upstairs room back in the Golden years, with that bright red and white sign glowing outside their window all night. I hope you finally found peace, whoever you are.

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Golden World’s deal with the sugar devil expired long ago, but odds are the brownest of the brown liquids is still sold at today’s Xinjiang Noodle House. They probably sell Coca-Cola, too.

And as for those panning for gold in Ashfield, get yourself up the street. Golden times await…