Send My Conscience Home in a Taxi

Externalised Memory

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Pilgrimage to Wallan.
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Very regular readers (there may be some of you) will remember that a couple of years ago a friend of mine - Daniel McKay - was killed in a car crash. Near his home town of Wallan, which is north-west of Melbourne on the way to Ballarat. This is the entry I wrote about it at the time, and another entry about some of his stencils.

It was, in fact, just over two years ago now. June 23rd of 2006. I remember my (then) girlfriend telling me on the the phone that she'd got a "bad" email. I asked what she meant by a "bad" email? Turned out Daniels dad had sent out an email from his email address saying "Daniel was in an accident last night and you won't be hearing from him again..."

Three of us made our way up to his funeral, which looked like it was attended by most of the town.

Then last year, around this time, I went on a pilgrimage up to Wallan. It seemed like the thing to do. I was pleased to see that several other people had been past as well, and left tokens by his grave. He's buried in one corner of the rather picturesque Wallan cometary. Which was also, I noticed, rather too full of young people.

I remember last year telling someone about my trip up there, and saying how Daniel was "Still there".

So, last weekend, it being just over two years, I drove north again, visited him again. It's sad to think that I will never see him again.

I'm not sure why Daniel's death in particular affected me. He's by no means the only friend I've lost. Actually, that's not entirely true, I'm lucky enough to have not really lost anyone like that - there was Hendric Bos, someone I knew in highshool, not well, who died in a hang glider accident the year after school finished. And my cousin Steven, who jumped of a building in the 80's. Actually, I could go on, but it's too miserable to do so. Suffice to say, that I've never been in this situation before. It's also that Daniel was such an interesting guy and... So young. He was only 21 when he died.

Anyway, I feel like he's berating me sometimes, from where he lies, to, I don't know, go stencil some walls or something.

Here's some of his stencils which were on a pole in Elizabeth street:
Why? Why? Why?

And some pictures I took the other day:
Daniels Grave

I made some stickers from one of his original images:

And left them on his grave. Hopefully some of his family will see them and realise that someone remembers him.

Last year I had some stickers with me as well, I was delighted to see some of them had survived:

The frog appears to be some kind of solar powered light. The other tokens are some of his art and a football from his favourite club (the bombers?)

A month or so afterward his funeral, there was a tree planting by the Friends of Wallan Creek, in his name. A swamp gum, which is a very impressive tree. I went to visit it as well, it's twice as tall as me now. I left some stickers there too.

I wasn't alone in missing him. Recently in Centre Place in the city I saw a post which said "RIP WHY?" which someone had been putting up, initially back in 2006, but there still seems to be some around. I have some of his "Why?" posters here, weathered, which I picked off a pole before they were covered up or washed away, should get them framed or something. And some graffitied a wall in the UK in his memory back in early 2007.

Not sure if I will do this again next year, will see how I feel...
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