Perth of the Past

The other day I took Kimchi, on a walk. We always go to the same place, a small park behind my house. Theres usually a few other dogs and their owners there, however we ended up going a bit later than when we'd normally go and so it was empty. The world seemed gloomier in that moment, like it had been through the VSCO app, made to seem eerie. All I could think about was how familiar the colours around me, the emptiness, the way in which the trees swayed so gently as I sat on the swing, seemed and how it was all too reminiscent of the movie Palo Alto.

2-3 years ago I was very into movies. I went through a phase where I'd watch a movie or two a day and they were always quite obscure films. I can't really  describe what I mean without giving a few more examples, so I think 'The Dressmaker', 'Little Children' and 'Like Minds', are a few if you wanted to google them, would sort of circumference my taste. All these movies are set in small isolated towns, where nothing much ever happens. I guess 'indie' is one way to put it, but they always evoked a sense of nostalgia (?) in me. Quiet places that aren't that well known, where nothing much happens and where although you came across the same few people every other day due to proximity, you couldn't really call them friends.
Perhaps watching these movies made me feel as if I could relate to the characters and their ordinary lives as we had somewhat of a similar setting.

Rhinoceros Beetle by Susan Hawthorne, one of best short stories I've come across ever, also illustrates a similar aura in which it's set, one comparable to Palo Alto's, and therefore Perth's, in my mind.

Much of my late teens was spent trying to compare the amount of fun I had, or the amount of crazy stuff I did, to those I saw on screen or to those around me in the way they portrayed themselves on social media. The idea of romanticising your own life, in a way, kept me going. Although, yes it was toxic at times to feel a sense of FOMO based on the lives inaccurately portrayed through staged characters or personas, I convinced myself that I couldn't let my life be a bore. Perhaps this 'coming of age' and 'indie small town' movie genre was the closest I could come to, to see a portrayal of my on screen because it didn't seem unachievable.

Palo Alto was the closest on screen representation to Perth that I had come across, not because of the plot line or the personalities of the characters but because of extraneous factors and bleak similarities in the age of the protagonist and the portrayal of high school through the eyes of someone who didn't see it for what it actually was. The movie dramatised the teenage life with tones of warm overlayed and music that you'd only come across if you specifically searched for nostalgic instrumentals and shuffled through the playlist a few dozen times. It wasn't the movie that reminded me of my past, it was how I perceived myself as a side character in the film as it seemed so easy to do so when the setting was familiar and I had a tendency to find answers in mediums of art that were made with no intentions of doing so.

So when I was sat on those swings on that empty, gloomy day. I made a short list of places and things that made Perth seems Palo Alto-y to me, Pertho Alto perhaps (?)....

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