Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I'm a big fan of hard rubbish. I love a good nosey at a pile of discarded gear out on the nature strip, remnants of days gone by.

"One man's trash is another man's treasure." they say, sexistly. Well I agree to a degree. I can't honestly say I have treasured an item from hard rubbish, but certainly there have been many objects that I've procured, nay rescued, from a nature strip that have been very useful: a perfectly fine fisherman's stool, a large outdoor umbrella, various pieces of wicker furniture, a professional-style portable massage table, a houseful of high quality wooden blinds, a split system air conditioner… all these items have been well-used, and that was after I picked them up from the side of the road.

I don't know if there is a written law in relation to hard rubbish (the only unwritten law I know is "First come, first served."), but I'm pretty sure it doesn't include "All crap left on the side of the street instantly becomes the property of the local council.", which is what the Shire of Yarra Ranges tried to assert a couple of months back, when it charged a guy for taking a vacuum cleaner from a pile of hard rubbish.

In the end, the council was told to essentially "stop being a cock" and they backed down.

Hard rubbish is very seasonal, and like fashion, goes through trends. 2009 the look was TVs, big, small, plastic and wooden, but definitely three distinct dimensions. With the influx of flatscreens, all the fatscreens were getting the heave-ho.

In 2010, the look was soft, bulky and rectangular. Mattresses were high on the turfing agenda, looking like predatorial giant ice-cream sandwiches.

In 2011, I've noticed the "in thing" to be out are BBQs. On some blocks, you'd swear they'd only just finished hosting a sausage sizzle on every corner.

That's not to say there aren't hangers on after each season. Like any wannabe hipster sitch, there's always those people who are only just climbing on the bandwagon two season too late, when any real hipster knows that they haven't been throwing out bandwagons since 2004.

So while you'll see plenty of BBQs hanging out on the nature strip, like 15 year olds waiting for a lift to a cool party they'll never get invited to, you'll also see quite a few fatscreens, giant ice-cream sandwiches and some of the saddest furniture ever to escape your grandmother's good room.

The fun part for you is that you can make it a game. Fortunately, if you can't be bothered, I've done all the hard work for you.

Simply print out the attached Hard Rubbish Bingo PDF, and you and your friends/fellow combatants can enjoy the thrill of racing past piles of castaways and bleating that you saw rolled up carpet like it's the cure for cancer.

It's fun for you, and three of your bored carmates (or walkmates, if you're that 15 year old who decided that you can't be bothered waiting for that lift, because he's never coming!!! and you're just gonna walk to that party, or at least hang out in front of the party house and drink Wipe Out, sitting on a broken wicker chair, while a mattress sizes you up).

Hunt on, and may the most eagle-eyed cheapskate win!

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