Friday, July 10, 2009

Does anything happen in Pymble?

I think I've created a meme.

Adam Spencer on ABC 702 Radio just now read a letter in the SMH from Adrian Bartels about Council's crackdown on the outdoor seating at the Sugarmill Hotel -- pulling it back from midnight to 9pm and, I have been told, making them take all the furniture in (somewhere) every night.

Mr Bartels (pictured) refers in his letter to one of our community meetings in which a resident, shocked and dismayed that Kings Cross is a noisy late-night destination, said "This wouldn't happen in Pymble". The letter points out that this is because nothing ever happens in Pymble.

Adam Spencer asked Pymble listeners to phone in and challenge this claim. One guy had been to a guinea-pig breeders' expo at Pymble Town Hall. Another remembered a disaffected client of a local brothel chasing one of the sex workers down the street firing his gun at her – 45 years ago. Another described it as "The corridor of boredom".

I'm going to take some credit for this thought -- I've been banging on in print for years with the idea that if some KX residents don't like it here, they are perfectly free to move to Pymble. I chose Pymble because it IS deathly boring but also because the name perfectly conjures an image of maiden aunts discussing croquet over high tea -- the opposite of Kings Cross.

The argument has caught on and I've heard others using the analogy, sometimes substituting 'North Shore'. Today's amplification will strengthen the meme greatly.

One caller, Chris from Potts Point, pointed out correctly that the Sugarmill outdoor area was a bonus because it displaced the antisocial behaviour that Springfield Avenue residents have been complaining about for years.

I think Council's decision is a disaster and the residents will live to regret their stupidity. Several are even unhappy at Council's ruling because they want the seating removed altogether. That would indeed return the area to the "rich porridge of piss, vomit and rubbish" that used to occupy the area (Adrian Bartels' words again).

Gentrification is not driven by reason but by a blind middleclass conviction that they are 'normal' and everyone else must be 'normalised'.

These were the exact words used last night at another community meeting where a council officer, eagerly fawning to his boss Clover Moore, announced the Harris Farm outlet that will be on the ground floor of the new Era building, also on Springfield Avenue.

"It's better than another nightclub," he said playing to the NIMBY crowd. "At least you will be able to buy food -- it's a step towards normalising the area."

What a pratt. The very definition of Kings Cross is that it's NOT normal. It's the last refuge of we who are not normal. "Normalising" = averaging = gentrification. But the middleclass mind does not see its drive to gentrification for what it really is -- a blind desire to cast the world in its own image. Clover repeated the oxymoron that her crackdowns on nightlife were aimed at quietening the area while maintaining its vibrancy.

Clover, if 9pm is the new Kings Cross bedtime, the vibrancy is gone.

I left the meeting deeply depressed.

Picture: Adrian Bartels, President of the Potts Point and Kings Cross Partnership, in the upstairs bar at the Sugarmill Hotel.

PS Of course the temperance union replied to Mr Bartels' letter with the usual bleating. Sacha Blumen, President of the 2011 Residents' Association, said:

I know no one opposed to licensed premises and late-night trading in Kings Cross. What people oppose is the impact on residential amenity, and the violence and other problems associated with the availability of alcohol.

What nonsense. He and his allies oppose every single alcohol-related Development Application in the Cross. And if you are against the impacts of late night entertainment and also oppose it, you ARE against late-night trading in Kings Cross. None of which addresses Mr Bartels' point: if you want somewhere quiet to live, there's always Pymble or any other suburb in around 4,900 square km of Sydney. So why choose to live in and squelch the only area of Sydney that has any life?

Nor does Sue Hanley's following letter, while clever, address the point. She asks which venues are associated with organised crime. Sue, have you missed the world headlines about the Ibrahim brothers shootings, and their supposed associations with and bikie gangs? Any dunce would know that's what Mr Bartels was talking about -- and because he says a place is not associated with organised crime does not necessarily mean he knows of others which are.


Rollo said...

Of course nothing happens in Pymble.

Adam Spencer only this morning was speaking to the Minister for Rhodes (that's what it sounded like). And if Rhodes has its own minister, then it must be more exciting that Pymble with its Guinea Pig exhibitions.

The Editor said...

Adam also got a call from a guy who lives in West Denistone (near Eastwood). He said it was even quieter than Pymble "and that's the way we like it".

An intelligent man -- living in an area that suits his temperament.

Leon said...

Michael, perhaps someone might point out to the council officers who are so happy about Harris Farm that Kings Cross was a better place when there was a big discount store you could walk into and actually see some useful things at 50 Darlinghurst Rd.

The Editor said...

Actually the $2 shop upstairs from Coles now fills that gap somewhat.

I'm keen about Harris Farm myself -- it was the only reason I ever went to Edgecliff, that one time.

It's this drive to 'normalise' or 'civilise' Kings Cross that annoys me, as if these people, who have no comprehension of what Kings Cross is, know best.

BTW I found out that The Sugarmill presented a petition of 757 to Clover in support of the outdoor seating. 60% of the addresses were local. It has been ignored in favour of a net 15 submissions against --and some of those came from anti-pub fundamentalists who live nowhere near the Sugarmill.