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Imagination is dead

Don’t you hate it when you see something go by, perhaps through the window of a tram, and think “that would make a great picture with a caption to put on my website thing” – but too late. The thing has long since rattled away while I, er, you fumble with your phone. It’s out of memory again and needs to be reset. Oh for those future days when we all have digital cameras embedded in our foreheads and privacy and memory and imagination are but faded memories, slowly yellowing in the corner like an abandoned Polaroid from 1984.

So it is with a heavy heart that I ask you now to forget that shared golden dystopian destiny and dwell with me a moment in the mere present and -:imagine:-. (Or at least until I can be bothered walking back down the road to take a photo or learn to draw.) Imagine a small cafe, facing the street with cars and trams bustling by. In the window, bright red signage: “Milkshakes! Milkshakes! Milkshakes!” Next to it, also stuck to the out-facing window, an A4 piece of paper with the words printed in plain black ink: “Help wanted. Enquire within.” Now, if you are not too exhausted, imagine all this captured in a well-framed and focused photograph, badly photo-edited (I don’t own Photoshop) with the following emblazoned across the foot of the picture: “Milkshakes fail to bring boys to yard.”

That almost happened.

But that’s not all. Just hours earlier I was looking out at the cityscape and something caught my eye. An enthusiastic graffiti artist had scaled a building in the CBD and written (no doubt suspended upside down, dramatically, clutching the roof in one hand, white spray can in the other) “HOAX”. Now I must ask you to again imagine this (as my camera focused on the smudges on the glass in front of me, rather than my target) – along with the caption: “Unreal Graffiti”.

Yesterday my camera phone failed me. Today I attempt to repair the damage that was never done by hinting at some imaginings that will never yellow.

They just disappear.

Especially after we all have cameras in our foreheads.

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