The Boulevard Of Bad Ideas


We all remember James Dean on a rainy New York street in an iconic photo entitled ” Boulevard Of Broken Dreams ” don’t we? It was as bleak and sad and phoney as the man himself. Whoever printed out the poster must have made a fracking fortune on it by now…

The reason I mention it is that here in Perth we have our version of this, except it is known as the ” Boulevard Of Bad Ideas “, and we get to go down it a couple of times every year. Indeed, afficionados with a list of council collections can walk the boulevard all year.

Mostly it is not a walk – it is a drive. A drive in a beat-up Bongo van with a 4 x 4 trailer on the back. Because bad ideas can never be ignored. People long to share and repeat them.

What bad ideas? Exercise machines. Fondue sets. Plastic bookshelves. Beige computer boxes from the 1990’s. Dead ironing boards*. Dismantled bicycles. Wickerwork chairs. Beanbags. Remains of plastic food storage sets. All the detritus of consumerism that has not actually be needed, used, or treasured.

The semi-annual council throw-out attracts a street of these relics and that in turn attracts a travelling horde of relic collectors who remove it before the council truck comes round. I have yet to understand what the scavengers do with unwanted exercise machines and broken breadboxes. I don’t begrudge them the removal – I just cannot imagine what they do with the dreck once they get it home. Is there a suburb of modern-day clochards who furnish themselves with the pipe-rail bookshelves and the single galoshes?


I try to divest myself of whatever I am ashamed of having bought on a once-a-year basis. As I am not buying all that much of this stuff anymore, the stream of trash has dwindled to a trickle. Our house is probably regarded as barren ground. I must either start to throw out more or steal it from the neighbours and park it in front of our place after dark. The scavengers are starting to sneer at me. I have a poor reputation to uphold.

  • I have ironing boards from the 1970’s. They function well. How do you kill an ironing board, save in a fit of rage?



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