Thursday, April 26, 2007

ANZAC 'tailbackers' liven up the Cross

The hardcore spinners returned yesterday maintaining the tradition of Two-up in the Cross on ANZAC Day.

Cries such as 'We need a tailbacker for $80 or any part thereof' rang out before those coins marked with an 'X' on the heads side hit the fine gravel betting rings supplied by Council.

The games started in the early hours of 25 April as soon as the rain eased after midnight. They ran smoothly with bets as high as $300 plus changing hands.

The games were played under the awning near the station entrance until the trains started running at 3.30am and the early risers headed for the Dawn Service at Martin Place began trickling through.

The police then asked the players to move to the big ring on the corner of Roslyn Street where they could be seen carrying on again later in the evening.

Oxford Street was different again, with lots of in-uniform sailors (male & female) out in the bars.

There, impromptu art and messages had been posted. One cardboard sign taped to a smartpole said 'Aboriginals were soldiers too. Black and proud'.

A printed poster on the old Gowings building was titled 'Lest we forget' in a decorative script. Below was a portrait of a young soldier with the extended barrel of a handgun going right through his head. Below that, in the same script, was written 'And yet we do it again'.

Pictures: 'Five bucks on heads' and 'The spinner from Cobar'.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

War on Kings Cross continues

Kings Cross Police are maintaining pressure on the adult video shops in Kings Cross -- but nowhere else -- so the shops cannot stock any non-violent erotica.

The manager of one store has confirmed this, smiling ruefully among expansive shelves sparsely stocked with dildoes, frilly knickers and the like, which are apparently permitted by the uniformed guardians of our morals.

'What can you do about it?' he said.

Presumably all the customers are simply buying their porn in Oxford St , the city or their home suburb, not to mention the booming mail order businesses from Canberra.

We now live in a surreal world where the only place in NSW you can't buy porn is Sydney's red light district. And despite constant Police complaints that they don't have enough resources, they seem to have enough to maintain this farce and to sit around, presumably, watching thousands of X-rated videos in their search for child pornography.

Apart from the obvious stupidity and insincerity of this situation, it's a clever tactic when you couple it with City of Sydney's anti-cluster rule.

This rule forbids the opening of any sex-related business within 100 metres of another such business. You see the plan -- send one of these businesses broke and Kings Cross will be one step further towards the 'mother-and-child-friendly retail precinct' that Clover Moore and the sycophantic Kings Cross Partnership explicitly fantasise about.

The rule dates back to South Sydney Council before the state abolished it but with one crucial difference.

South Sydney, recognising that it's probably better to keep red light businesses in the red light district, exempted the Cross from the rule. After the initial forced amalgamation Lucy Turnbull, unelected within her new domain, applied the rule to the Cross just before the $20 million streetscape works turned the Cross into a customer-free war zone for 16 months.

Clover Moore, who received at least half her Mayoral campaign budget from Lucy Turnbull's Living City corporation, has maintained the rule.

However the plethora of empty shopfronts in the Cross suggests that if one of these businesses closes, we will be stuck not with happy mums and kids shopping but rather with another dead doorway full of rubbish and street people, bless them, or yet another bar much to the horror of some locals who campaign against them.

Meanwhile 200 injections a day continue to happen at the MSIC and Kings Cross remains the national destination for marginalised wanderers, backpackers and groups of drunken premarital bucks and hens.

A cheering street crowd was well entertained by Monday night's siege at the Astoria Hotel in Darlinghurst Road (see picture). It turned out the gun was only a cigarette lighter, but hey, that's The Cross. Why would anyone single out this environment for a mother-and-child retail precinct?

It's the place people go to party, a healthy pressure-relief valve despite the street fallout. Most locals live here because they LIKE it that way and those that don't like it should not move here, as several recent court cases approving more pubs and clubs have recognised.

Mother-and-child retail precinct? Please get real. Take the screws off and let The Cross be The Cross.

Yet the War on Kings Cross continues. Clover Moore, using Council money, has lost at least two court cases mounted against strip club spruikers and continues to lose other court cases as she tries to wind back the opening hours of pubs and clubs.

By contrast, she is letting the Barons Building be demolished on the grounds that Council might lose any court appeal.

Her actions in Kings Cross belie her funky gay-friendly image and show her to be as much witch-burning inquisitor as inner city libertarian.

They also contradict her empty 'City of Villages' slogan as she tries to kill the most distinct village in Sydney. 'City of middle class uniformity' would be a more accurate slogan. Do you think it would get votes?