It’s nighttime in Melbourne and I am walking home along the lit streets of the city center. The sounds of the passing trams and pedestrians mix in the air like ingredients on this soupy hot summer night. As I near Bourke Street I hear the sounds of rhythmic clattering, a drummer perhaps, but it sounds a little more hectic than that. As my path clears I see a man crouched over what appears to be scrap metal, household items, and objects that have been diverted from the trash. He’s playing them like drums and the energetic beats ring out across the busy intersection.
A crowd had gathered to watch and listen, some were taking pictures, others stood at a distance from the pavement precisionist, watching almost suspiciously as he played everything in front of him. It was clearly hard work as sweat dripped from his face on what was an exceptionally humid night in the city.
A young boy with his parents stopped and began to dance to the delight of Paul and the gathered crowd. After a little while, Paul offered the boy some drum sticks and the opportunity to join in, which he did without hesitation. They played together for some time then Paul gave the boy a pair of drumsticks and told him to carry on playing at home. The crowd liked that and clapped in support.
I would have liked to have had a chat with Paul, if for no other reason than to ask him about the name ‘Lousy with Mines,’ but he didn’t take a break at all. Instead, after posing for a quick picture with the young boy, he was back to the beats.