Thursday, February 28, 2008

Go-Go reference

Most of you weren't there in the '60s (and the rest don't remember it) so here's some reference for 4th April -- retro a go-go at el rocco in Kings Cross. The shot of Peggy Moffit (right) comes from a great page of girl's mod fashion. Below are YouTube amusements.

Carnaby street smorgasbord (great pics, bad sound)

Op art fashion spectacular  (Great visuals. Who did this song? Who is 'Patti'?)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Heritage letters at ten paces

Our own local heritage expert and activist, Andrew Woodhouse, is no slouch at getting published in the Herald either, with several 'First Words' and a Heckler to his recent credit.

His latest sally, about the Historic Houses Trust, drew a spirited reply from Jill Wran, Chairman of the trust.

It is thought-provoking reading.

The sober facts about booze

While the temperance union (now including Kevin Rudd) wallows in moral panic about binge drinking, the Australian Bureau of Statistics tells a more sober story:

There's lies, damned lies, and then there's statistics. Beware tabloid hysteria. Meanwhile the Government, at the stroke of a pen, can appear to be 'doing something' without spending a dollar.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Our grog debate hits the SMH

My letter on the subject was given the 'First Word' pole position in the Herald Letters on Saturday.

One Lynette Robinson got a reply published today citing the usual 'ugly boring streets full of people being harassed' view but of course none of my arguments are actually addressed. My pic shows a typical Cross crowd. No-one is being 'harassed'.

I have sent off a reply but I doubt they'll keep flogging that horse. I'll copy it below:

"Lynette Robinson's defense of the 'more venues = more violence' argument (Letters, February 25) fails to address any of the points I raised previously (February 23). Melbourne statistics about youth seeking treatment for alcohol problems have little to do with Kings Cross and might have many causes other than the large number of venues in Melbourne. If the youth involved are under 18, I would suggest they are not getting much of their grog from licensed premises in any case.

"The argument suffers from the very common post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy which assumes causality simply because two sets of figures have similar trends. This is not necessarily so, and my suggestion that the police focus on illicit drugs and sniffer dog deployment is actually worsening the problem shows there may be causes other than the raw number of venues.

"The argument also assumes that the demand for alcohol is infinitely elastic. I personally am not drinking any more than I did even though there are more venues, and I suspect that 'over-saturation' of venues in any precinct will make itself evident when some of them start failing for lack of patrons.

"I agree there is an ugly element in the crowds that visit our city on weekends and I can remember it always being so. But they are only a noisy minority and I think our younger generation, on the whole, are pretty impressive. Meanwhile young people will make mistakes and most learn from them, just like my generation did. Nannying them into silence is an error. And if I find a bit of vomit on the street on a Sunday morning I don't get into a tizz – I just walk around it."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Alternative headline dept

The Council press release was joyously headed 'Residents win court battle against Darlinghurst night club'.

A different spinner could have written 'The last nail in the coffin of Oxford Street'. This episode is another example of Council's doublespeak. On the one hand they want to revitalise Oxford Street as an entertainment precinct. On the other hand they appear to have closed down the T2 night- and day-club at Taylor Square because residents don't like the fallout.

A recent letters thread in the Sydney Star Observer neatly summarised the issue. One guy living in the art deco apartment block directly opposite T2 and Kinselas had written in complaining about the Saturday morning noise, complete with a photo of a police car attending an incident or complaint. 'See what I have to put up with' was the indignant message. The next week another guy replied, saying simply, 'You wanted to move close to the action, you deal with it'.

All councillors however pander exclusively to the NIMBYs on this one and killing the action is their solution. Tough luck for the late-shift workers who used to have a club to go to and tough luck for Oxford Street. The gentrifiers continue to turn Sydney into a dead boring city. But, you know, quiet evenings sitting separately in little boxes consuming mass media and going to bed after The Bill is the only right and proper cultural norm. Pip pip, tally ho!

The extent of Council's ignorance of inner city culture was highlighted by a recent pathetic attempt at 'revitalising' Taylor Square. The first draft of the oppressive busking policy banned buskers from selling their cds everywhere except the Square which is not known for its busking anyway. That idiocy was killed off but it's still illegal for an artist to sell paintings, and even silent performers must stop by midnight. Not to mention having to pay to get a license in the first place.

Their next assault on counter-cultures will be the new street poster policy. More on that later.

Pic: A late-night partygoer recovers on a Saturday morning in Taylor Square. Tut tut. I mean, you just can't HAVE this sort of thing, can you?