The Stars of Spencer Avenue

Spencer Avenue has always got something going on. Maybe it’s the vacant eyed guy in the burgundy fedora, preaching damnation as he strides north. Or the six-foot-five man who wears pristine jumpsuits, belted at the waist and tucked into knee high sports socks, might model a fine new cream or taupe number. Or the sweet little man in the denim suit who belts out random lines of Phil Collins’ songs all the way up to MacDonalds and back each morning might have learned a new AOR tune. Or maybe it’s a shoal of smiling 4-foot-11-inch Tibetan ladies, ambling up the avenue in their traditional long skirts and striped aprons. Or obstreperous Roma kids, hurtling at oncoming traffic on recently acquired bikes. Or an entire Chinese family, with a month’s worth of shopping, crammed onto a lone laden e-bike.

Today one of our more unusual neighbours, one of the ones who wears shoes, has set up a wee flea/art market in the scrap of yellow grass under the phone wires where the pigeons droop/poop dejectedly in the sun. To make sure he doesn’t miss out on exercise while selling his wares, this energetic entrepreneur has set up a full-size treadmill on the grass. Now he is striding nowhere purposefully while bedraggled Spencer folks trudge by and A-ha blasts on a 1980s Sony tape deck.

For sale today are some heartfelt pencil drawings of what appear to be movie stars after they have undergone some catastrophically unsuccessful plastic surgery. James Dean looks like one of the Jonas Brothers. Britney Spears looks like Prince Harry. Tyrone Power looks like Rosanne Barr. I find them strangely tempting. I mean, he really has come up with a unique angle, what with the striding machine, the artistic deformities and the potential of free pigeon guano with every purchase.

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