Patrick Jones is a conundrum: installationist, artist, provocateur, former bookshop owner and – yes, let’s say it – poet. Readers of Cordite would be familiar with Patrick’s contributions to the magazine over a period of years, including his cover image for Issue #11 (Pandora archive link) way back in 2002, the heartbreakingly beautiful Monument for the Unmanned, a piece Patrick himself described as one of a series of ‘deserter memorials as public works’:
More recently, Patrick’s ‘visual poetry’ has also has been featured (the very fun Hector’s Insult) and reviewed (by James Stuart here, plus Patrick’s response). He’s also one to participate in public acts of artistic mischief, including his infamous graffiti wall on the move.
Now Patrick’s outdone even himself by engaging in some ebay activism on the subject of Melbourne’s bubblers (or drinking fountains, for the uninitiated). As Patrick describes it:
As part of his campaign, Jones is offering copies of his bubbler map for sale on ebay for the princely sum of $2.90 (presumably about the same as a bottle of water in 7-11):
I say get on board. This is a subject that’s been particularly close to my own heart for some time. In 2002 I contributed a poem to US online magazine Shampoo and in the contributor notes made the following claim:
I also had grand plans of teaming up with my friend Quinton to create a map that included not just bubblers in the CBD but also cheap food outlets located near these bubblers, making it possible, for example, to have a sensationally delicious and inexpensive sandwich at the Tucker Box sandwich shop near the corner of Elizabeth and Lonsdale Street and then stroll across the road and have a sip of cold water for free.
While unfortunately we never did get around to completing (hey, let alone starting) this project, I do think that our city’s bubblers should be preserved for everyone. So I’m very glad that Patrick has taken on this important mission. Let’s face it, as Patrick points out on the site (and in a letter published in last Saturday’s The Age), “… Coca-Cola Amitil pay the shire [of Hepburn] $2.05 per mega-litre of water, which equates to about $95 per year for endless amounts of water. This is theft.”
In this context, bidding $2.90 on a beautifully hand-drawn A3 poster doesn’t amount to much, does it. You can get involved in the Just Free Water campaign by emailing Patrick on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cross-posted at Cordite Poetry Review.