Tuesday, August 31, 2004

More Fogg on The Cross

Roger Foley AKA Ellis D. Fogg (see story and link below) has revealed more snippets re the history of illumination in the Cross (Heatwave is a movie based on the Juanita Neilson murder):

'I also have footage from Phil Noyces movie HEATWAVE showing additional
lighting effects animated and static to enhance Darlinghurst Road for the
shoot ( on New Years eve) It was very brave of Phil to have a scene in his
movie actually shot on New Years Eve with actors mingling and running
through crowds of real revellers, Quite fun times.

'We also projected bubbling liquid coming out of a painted bottle on the
front of Kingsgate before the Coke sign went up. I have pics of that

Foley is presently occupied full tilt on the Songlines Festival.

Metamorphosis of The Cross

It's not if, but when.

A butcher or bakers shop is not a reality for The Strip. Rents are far too
high and are unlikely to allow for this type of staple provider in the
foreseeable future. But good quality retailers and retail service magnets,
such as council offices, a library, Telco shops, insurance company offices,
banks and a RTA shopfront are the types of traders necessary to revitalise
our high street. The commercial marketplace will ultimately produce the best
businesses for the role of providing the best mix for locals and visitors.
In the meantime, the Kings Cross Partnership is preparing a retail mix
masterplan to influence and guide property owners and agents, council, state
government and prospective tenants.

There is only one legal brothel on the main street outside a strip club and
it appears to be struggling to survive (it rarely appears to be open).

And I doubt if most of the strip clubs on The Strip will survive, especially
if the KX Police & City work hard to cut the benefits these establishments
derive from the heroin trade. Basically, the economics of the sex industry
don't work on The Strip anymore. Competition in other areas, internet porn
and the outdated nature of the establishments has been eroding it for the
past decade. It can only keep hanging on hand-in-hand with the heroin trade.
It's heroin that makes the girls work, and work cheap. The industry is built
on human misery and exploitation. This is not something we wish to support
or promote in our neighbourhood or our main street.

We might see some more contemporary and legitimate 'Dancers' type
establishments emerge in the future. And better quality sex shops. I believe
the sex industry will live on in a much reduced and legitimised form at
least for the next decade or so. After that, who knows!

Remember, the bulk of the sex industry was in East Sydney and Woolloomooloo
30-40 years ago. It hasn't always been focused in Kings Cross. Things
change. Commerce (which it is) goes in cycles. Nothing is forever. What
makes Kings Cross exciting and intriguing are its amazing dynamic
qualities. It continually evolves and reinvents its self. We can't row
against the tide of time (look what happened to Gatsby!).

I love the Cross, it's a great place to live!

Stephen Carnell, Kings Cross Partnership,
Resident, Elizabeth Bay

PACT Police meeting this Wednesday

Meet your new local Police Commander Supt. Stephen Cullen at the KX PACT meeting Wednesday 31st, 6.30pm at the Crest Hotel.

The Kings Cross Partnership will be asking a set of straight-to-the-point questions, to wit:

Q1) What strategies are in place to eradicate drug dealing from Darlinghurst
Road Kings Cross once the town centre upgrade is completed in mid-November 2004?

NOTE: An effective and immediate strategy involving all relevant government
agencies is essential given that the clean-up of drug dealing and loitering
was one of the key strategies behind this extensive and expensive piece of
public works. The businesses and residents of this district have gone
through hell for over 6 months bearing up to this upgrade of the high
street. Once completed the benefits of the works must be much much more than
shiny footpaths and curbs and a few smart poles! A sense of personal safety,
ownership and pride must be restored.

Q2) What strategies are in place to combat the extensive and serial use of
public phones to arrange drug deals?

Q3) What strategies are in place to combat people who camp on the high

Q4) How do police plan to work effectively and harmoniously with the two
dozen or so agencies in the area that deal with drug & alcohol abusers and
the mentally ill?

Q5) Will KX Police support a proposal to close Darlinghurst Road
Kings Cross for a weekend to trial the positive social
impacts of using it as an active pedestrian plaza? We need to
reclaim this area for the people who live and work here.

Fogg clears on neon push

Sydney lighting legend Roger Foley AKA Ellis D. Fogg has weighed into the neon story. Seems he submitted a neon design for the site of the poo on sticks but was beaten by Ken Unsworth who put up one of his wonderful floating rock concepts which was subsequenty compromised into what you see now. He mentions that the Dunlop sign, extant before the freeway divided Darlinghurst, was censored in the 50s -- a giant arrow pulsating through a huge tyre just above a strip club and a brothel.

Coincidentally there are renewed and independent calls for a giant neon sculpture on the site. Mr Fogg was famous in the 60s for his oil-slide light shows at rock concerts. There are just enough brain cells (I think) to remember his lighting of Tully, the Sydney Symphony and Jeannie Lewis at the Love 2000 show way back when.

Comments from the Neon Forum

Use one of the many empty shops or banks in Darlinghurst Road to set up a
museum of neon and a gallery for neon artists -- attract tourists -- get
mentioned in the guide books -- keep the neon and add more.
ANON, Kings Cross resident

Is there an artist-in-residence program for City of Sydney? What council
staff are there at the moment who are art literate and who can write
policy? -- ANON

Artists presence in community should not be gratis. The economy of others
grows. Artists still starve. Council should trial an Arts + Industry
program for neon public art as has been done in Christchurch New Zealand.
-- LOMA BRIDGE, Artist and resident Kings Cross lomab@ihug.com.au

Neon introduces an astral spirit to the streetscape. We need some
illumination to alleviate our burden of negotiating the filthy new
footpaths and gutters in the Cross. Neon will divert ous from the trashy
ground. -- JOANNE BURNS, Kings Cross Resident and Writer

I am on the same side as all the neonites. I hope that we will all fit into
the gallery. -- CHRISTOPHER DEAN, Artist and Art Historian

Let there be an artist + designer component in the street look. Be bloody,
bold and resolute. -- PETER FAY, Artist and Curator

I adore the Coca Cola sign and am taking some nightime photos to blow them
up for framing. -- DEREK HAND, resident Macleay Street

A good panel, some stimulating inputs.
-- MARDI KENNEDY, Indigo Books

I endorse the ideas behind the preservation of what is left of the neon on
Kings Cross and also the creation of new neon if it is seen as possible in
the realm of public art works in the area.
-- THERESE KENYON, Director, Manly Art Gallery & Museum & Kings Cross resident

Artists bring to public spaces a consideration which has the potential to
enhance community and place-sense belonging. Employ artists-as-designers as
inner municipal government consultants, to assist in all areas of policy
development. -- RUARK LEWIS, ruarklewis@iinet.net.au

What a great way to take the charm out of the cross!
-- MALCOLM RAMAGE, Brougham Street, Kings Cross

Keep the neon on the buildings. Make neon a compulsory part of all building
signage. Run competitions and give prizes. Promote the neon in adverts in
cinemas. -- TONI WARBURTON, Artist

Monday, August 30, 2004

New trees and paving for Springfield Ave

Lord Mayor Clover Moore this afternoon held a street meeting with around 30 locals plus several councillors and staff to discuss the future of the avenue. Concern about the removal of the mature plane trees in the street was met with a detailed report and diagrams showing that the trees were suffering advanced decay and their removal was a matter of public safety. They will be replaced with advanced trees of a similar nature.

Complaints about the 'upgrade/downgrade' from paving to asphalt [see story below] are being addressed. Ms Moore had asked staff to extend the grey/green granite paving now seen on the main street. However a terracotta option existed and several residents including a young schoolgirl asked for a warmer colour to match the deco period brick buildings prevalent in the area. General Manager Robert Domm claimed the community had voted for the granite but yours truly reminded the meeting that the community had in fact voted against it in a scrutineered ballot run last year by local heritage advocate Andrew Woodhouse.

Staff said there were no plans to take out the brick landscaping at the end of the avenue.

Public art for Springfield Plaza was suggested. While the current plans for the Plaza, soon to go on display, do not include any art the placement of trees had been altered to allow for this in future. Ms Moore said this was only a beginning and the matter of artworks could be addressed in future.

Advertising your lost cat

A few campaigners from across Sydney -- including yours truly -- have been lobbying Council to allow community pole posters such as garage sale, lost cat and flatmate wanted to be left in place for a time instead of being ripped down daily at great expense. As a result, amendments to the policy will soon be up for public comment. While tag-style graffiti will remain a city target, issues to comment on according to Clover Moore, [ and, in brackets, our responses ], are --

* How the management of graffiti and posters could be made more
responsive to local need; [ make it more complaint-based than automatic ]

* Whether a seven day cycle should be used to permit a regular
cleaning day each week; [ Removal on Mon. or Tues. would allow us to advertise stuff for a week ]

* Whether posters over a certain size could be removed more often,
as they are most likely to be illegal commercial, rather than
community, posters; [ no objection to this ]

* Whether torn, damaged, defaced or loose posters should also be
subject to faster removal; [ of course ]

* How the city should define offensive graffiti and posters for quick
removal; [ offensive = what's illegal, like racial abuse, slander, pornography, homophobia ] and

* Options for community notice boards or other avenues for displaying
community posters. [ These are desperately needed in each town centre -- publicly accessible, sheltered from the rain and with a tray to catch falling pins etc. Poster bollards placed out of the pedestrian flow but in highly visible spots would be well used, too. ]

Prepare a comment doc. NOW and we'll post who to send it to when it becomes available.

Clover heads for the border

Clover Moore's City Council is forming a joint task force with Woollahra Council to address border issues, in particular --

* Planning around Rushcutters Bay, particularly in the light of the
current major 10 storey development proposal for 217 apartments in the
block between Neild and McLachlan Avenues.

* Impacts of the Cross City Tunnel, including traffic impacts and the
planned RTA upgrade of William Street.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Clover coming to Springfield

Clover Moore is to visit Springfield Avenue on Monday at 5pm to assess the local view about changes to their precinct. Ripping up the terracotta paving in favour of asphalt is one gripe. Plans to turn the Plaza into another grey granite slab will also likely be on the agenda. See Springfield and Neon forum stories below.

Top-grade comment

Someone has a very conceptual mind. See comment after the Springfield downgrade story below.

So the election is finally on

October 9 will be the next federal election. We will cover stories about local/federal issues and what local Kings Cross political groups are up to. Information welcome.

Neon forum says light up the Cross

Arts vision emerging for Kings Cross

The art of neon, and its history in Kings Cross, were displayed and expounded at a forum held yesterday afternoon in a small white art gallery in Roslyn Street.

About 40 people gathered to hear artists and advocates speak in a room lit by neon signs and sculptures, watching projected displays which included a history of neon -- using archival material supplied by Claude Neon -- and studies of public neon art from around the world.

The event is part of a wider local backlash from the Cross about Council's strict new signage regime which would effectively ban the use of neon in external signage. While Clover Moore has already responded by saving some of the more prominent signs (mostly belonging to strip clubs), businesses are alarmed at the tiny passive signage they will be limited to, and many residents dislike the uniform dullness that will result.

Two business associations are petitioning Council for a revision of the rules -- the Kings Cross Partnership and the newly formed Cross Business which represents shopfronts and smaller businesses.

Jo Holder, convenor of the forum, said in her talk that the first neon sign in Australia had been in Kings Cross. Her slide show featured the making of the famous Coke Sign at the top of William Street.

Artist/architect Peter McGregor, who designed the popular light installation in Llankelly Place, showed some of his successful projects including the neon street decorations erected in Chinatown for the Olympics. This, he said, came quickly to fruition because of pressure from the Olympics, unlike most public art projects which reach stage two or three and get buried by bureaucrats. (See link in headline)

A perfect example was the 'Tunnel of Love' work he had conceived for Springfield Plaza with South Sydney Council. It was to be a series of stepped square archways designed as a portal between residential streets and the strip. Using programmable LED light displays facing the strip, the predominantly pink light was to be suffused through steamlike clouds emerging from beneath the pavement.

McGregor said the project foundered after the first forced council amalgamation and the imposition of Frank Sartor's Gateway design which called for a road to be put through the Plaza. This retrograde idea was shouted down by local opposition but the art project remained on the shelf.

New plans for the Plaza are simply yet another unremarkable grey slab designed by Frank Sartor's pet team who also brought us the Cook+Phillip Park slab, fortunately rescued from universal disdain after its enthusiastic adoption by skateboarders. Many locals have called for public art in the Plaza but there have been no encouraging noises from council.

Yours truly spoke, putting an argument that turning out the lights would kill the Cross, and that the way to reinvigorate the place was to build on and improve what the Cross already is -- an entertainment, tourist and red-light Mecca.

I noted that three banks are leaving the strip for the more salubrious Macleay Street and it is clear that these and the new Woolworths were drawing the retail centre north. With 50 empty shops already in the Cross, killing its attraction to the thousands of visitors it receives each week would be madness, a rejection of the 'goodwill' that has built up over many decades. Like all cities, Sydney needed a red light/backpacker focus, so to turn out the lights in the Cross would only make Sydney duller, more uniform and less attractive to visitors.

The forum was chaired by Councillor Phillip Black who also heads Council's cultural committee. Mr Black, who is a heritage expert, took part enthusiastically in the forum and indeed was spotted two hours earlier in the Strip earnestly noting details of buildings, awnings and signage in the street.

Council has produced a heritage assessment of illuminated signage in the Cross which says that although few of the existing neon signs are early, 'the present signs continue the 'tradition' of illuminated advertising that has characterised the locality since... World War II.'

Other speakers included Anne Stephen from the Powerhouse Museum which is behind the preservation of the Golf House animated neon near Central and the giant AWA sign from the AWA tower. Both would end up on display in a warehouse at Castle Hill, a revelation not welcomed by the forum. Better to keep them in place, it was thought, or shown nearby.

The forum was hosted by The Cross Art and Books, in lower Roslyn Street opposite St Luke's Hospital. Neons, paintings and photographs will be on display there until the now weighty date of September 11.

by Michael Gormly

Linking creativity, diversity and economic dynamism

Quotes from Richard Florida
Author of The Rise of the Creative Class

'The great urbanist Jane Jacobs has a word for this kind of person. What distinguishes thriving cities from those that stagnate and decline is a group of people she calls the 'squelchers.' Squelchers, she explains, are those political, business, and civic leaders that divert human creative energy by posing roadblocks and saying 'no' to new ideas. What worries me is that, even when they are wrong on the facts, my critics continue to provide ample ammunition for squelchers.'

'My book is no paean for more government spending. It unequivocally states that large, top-down government development projects, like stadium-building efforts and massive downtown revitalization plans, are a major part of the problem. Like Jane Jacobs, I argue that real economic development is people-oriented, organic, and community-based. In the preface to the paperback edition of The Rise of the Creative Class, I write, "While certain initiatives may help to encourage [creativity's] emergence and others will certainly squelch it, the development of environments cannot be planned from above.'

'Much has been made of the fact that such 1990s growth centers are losing population. But the simple fact that people are leaving misses a much bigger point.
Using IRS data to compare who's moving out to who's moving in, the statistician Robert Cushing has found that these regions are losing low-income people but gaining high-income people. He found, for example, that families moving from Austin, a high-tech boomtown, to slower-growth Kansas City in the 1990s earned an average of $25,912 a year. Those going in the other direction, from Kansas City to Austin, earned over $65,000. It makes sense that these regions would gain higher-skill, higher-income people as their economies develop, their occupational structures shift toward high-value-added employment, and their housing prices rise. As this cycle occurs, higher-skill, higher-wage people move in and lower-skill, lower-wage people move out. While it may not be fair or even good, these regions continue to gain competitive advantage as a result.'

See full text at: (or just click the headline -- but y'all come back now!)



Thursday, August 26, 2004

Literature, neons and 'a sense of place'

The significance of Kings Cross in Australian art and literature is practically unequalled. How many books get written about Point Piper, Pymble or your average Westfield shopping mall? Very few.

Yet authors are drawn -- like, yes, flies -- to the sleaze, the grit, and the colour of the old Cross. And so are their middle-class readers tucked into their Pymble beds vicariously living the excitement!

The Cross is a clearing house for the wanderers, vagrants, eccentrics and freaks spawned by suburbia and a magnet for others who simply love its colour and excitement. Australia's most wealthy and most poverty-stricken rub shoulders in a melting-pot of humanity. It's the home of Australia's demimonde and suburbia's outcasts. Its problems are the problems of suburbia writ large; its joys are the joys of true diversity. and the big-hearted tolerance that allows all these different folks to co-exist -- and inspire the novelists.

So to 'clean it up' by destroying the physical hallmarks of its past is an exercise in denial, one section of society inflicting ignorance of itself upon its own outcasts. Imposed gentrification is the only way to describe the bland streetscape designed by people with no inside knowledge or understanding of the Cross. This, by definition, is an insult to the diverse denizens of the Cross, a one-class cleansing leading to uniform suburban boredom.

Neons are an intrinsic part of the old Cross, their flickering blatancy and colour a perfect physical expression of Australia's late night world. Particular signs might not strictly be heritage items but that's a bright red herring. The neon galaxy of the Kings Cross nightscape defines a sense of place unique in Australia. It contributes to a 'goodwill' that draws thousands of people each week.
That's real heritage. We should be adding to it, not destroying it!

[This text heads an incomplete 3-page bibliography of books about the Cross, too long to publish here. ]

And if I could work out how to post a stunning photo, I would! Soon.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

An ode to Animal

by Guy Stanford, Chairman of the Motorcycle council NSW and Chips.

He is known far and wide as "Animal". He has given happiness, joy and hope to thousands of disabled children, elderly and the disadvantaged with his team known as The Kings Cross Bikers Social And Welfare Club.

And he has now been officially recognised for his hard work and huge heart. Animal has been awarded an O.A.M in the Queens Honours List. It has and still is a pleasure to be part of the club ispired by Animal, Steptoe and Ferral. Who's dream was simply to find a way to help others. Look past the gruff exterior and through the leather and you will see what a real role model should aspire to be.
By members of the Kings Cross Bikers Social And Welfare Club

"By their good works ye shall know them"

Anyone who doesn't know Animal would be surprised to meet him, he really doesn't look the part, but with dedication, enthusiasm and a heart as big as the oceans he has brought comfort and practical help to many in need. A motorcycle rider, a remarkably kind and cheerful man, a Vietnam Vet.

Never one to tolerate obstruction or prejudice, he has shifted the thinking of many who would just not care and hope the troubled people would just go away. By speaking up for what is right and good and leading by example, giving and giving again with generosity, he has earned this award many times over. Many disadvantaged children wouldn't have known the good feelings of Christmas without the efforts of Animal and Kings Cross Bikers.

Disadvantaged elderly and disabled people are not glamorous, but are real people with real needs and Animal and his club help them out. His club, Kings Cross Bikers are as deserving of praise as Animal himself and can stand up, proud of the work they have done over many, many years. While Animal is fairly easy to spot, remember there are many others in the club who regularly slog their hearts out and have made the achievements possible through just "getting on with the job". Other clubs who have lent their support to the efforts of Animal and KXB for fundraising efforts can be proud of their works too. Thanks to Kobbers, Bikers Australia, Brotherhood CMC and others.

The MCC of NSW congratulates our fellow riders.
Guy Stanford
Motorcycle Council of NSW

When we do right, no-one remembers.
When we do wrong, no-one forgets

Blackbirds attack city shoppers

You heard it here first. Unless you read today's Tele. The currawongs are swooping people in the city, going for tasty bits of scalp and hair for their nests.

'The City of Sydney is working in consultation with the Wildlife Protection staff of National Parks and Wildlife to determine how best to manage the presence of a nesting pair of currawongs in Bond Street.

Parks and Wildlife staff attended the site today to provide advice to the Council.

Action taken by the Council includes placement of large signs on and around the tree where the birds are nesting to advise pedestrians of the need to exercise caution in the area.

The Council has placed bollards around the tree and at either end of the block – also displaying large signs - to encourage pedestrians to proceed with caution and to ensure they take notice of the signage.'

- CoS press release

New graffiti policy to be exhibited

After a lot of community pressure to revise its policy on graffiti and pole posters, City of Sydney decided on Monday night to put a new proposal on public exhibition for 28 days.

People from Newtown were really annoyed, after the forced council amalgamation, when the City's green crusaders swooped and removed not only graffiti but most of the street art and everyones pole posters. Suddenly people who had lost their cat couldn't advertise the fact. Many said the character and colour of their community had been destroyed, and that the only public information allowed was commercial or official.

We in the Cross have been experiencing that for ages! All members of the public who addressed Council's Cultural Committee last week supported a less strict regime.

One proposal is that non-commercial pole posters be allowed to stay up for 7 days before removal -- the garage sale or room-for-rent type of thing.

There is also interest in differentiating the funky stencil art appearing around the inner city from tag-style graffiti, but this is a bit radical for Clover Moore who is ever-mindful of the very loud screams about graffiti from some sections of the community.

When the documentation from Council arrives we'll post the details and where you can lodge a comment.

Neon Museum sees the light

One of our contributors in the comments on the neon story posted this link. (Click on the headline above)


Springfield downgrade is an upgrade

Friends in Springfield Avenue are incensed that Council intends to replace their perfectly fine terracotta paving with bitumen -- in the style you can now see in Kellet Street.

Council staff say they can't afford the whole grey ganite treatment so Springfield gets the poor man's version. Why not save the money and just leave it, ask locals? The thinking seems to be that it's gotta be grey. Uniformity is the definition of attractiveness (they call it 'consistency') according to Council's planners who are secret members of an ultra-strict sect -- the New Church of Modernism. These nutters believe in a God with a cubist head and grey skin and are on a mission to transform the world into His image. They believe the Devil resides in Diversity.

Many locals think the beautiful avenue with its Art Deco European ambience has had it anyway -- Australand are proposing twin six-storey cubist apartment blocks on the Village site, with a gaping carpark entrance fronting the tiny cul-de-sac to swallow the extra hundred or so cars trips per day that will be generated. Could this be why council originally proposed turning Springfield Plaza into a road?

One local is objecting to the development on the grounds that the single-glazed windows just a spit from Darlinghurst Road will create a noise problem and we will then see a new bunch of whingers saddled with half-million-dollar mortgages using the noise laws to kill the Cross -- like the wankers in the Toaster who complained about the trains sounding their horns as they entered the tunnel.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Keep the Cross bizarre

A Woolloomooloo woman who would rather not be named has seen some interesting sights in the streets lately.

In the recent rain she spotted a very large woman in Brougham Street walking up the road completely naked.

A few nights later in Brougham Lane the classic guy in a raincoat flashed her, apparently only half-prepared for the exhibition.

'I've seen better' was her deflating comment as she left the crestfallen guy standing there.

Then on Sunday night in McElhone Street two guys on scooters attempted to hold her up -- with a metal comb as a weapon. She told them to F***k off and warned them that she now had them clocked and they had better behave in future. The two ten-year-olds skulked off, humiliated.

They had previously been chucked out of Nick's Supermarket in Cathedral Street for riding their scooters in the shop.

The woman did not call the police.

'What's the use?' she said.

Neon Forum to Light up the Cross

Saturday 28 August at 4PM
The Cross Art Projects
33 Roslyn Street, KX
(opposite St Luke's Hospital entrance)

Only a handful of neons remain of the Cross's famous 'Glittering Mile' -- Stripperama, Playbirds International, Love Machine, Porkies, Showgirls and the Coke sign. The Art Deco Society has listed the Kings Cross area as an Area of National Significance.

Recently, Clover Moore's new council has moved to protect Sydney’s neon precinct and Kings Cross's visual razzamatazz.

But are we being out-run by Frank Sartor's pre-programmed machine?

Other great neon centres actively conserve their neon heritage. Ten years ago even Rotorua saved its neons ('RotoVegas') and commissioned new neon art. Now Melbourne has a historic neon register. Sydney is moving to join them.

This is the moment to introduce new ideas to the Cross. Many locals believe that we need more neon, not just saving the few survivors. Creative thinking is needed, not formula. In this era of gentrification, the Cross is now being branded with the CBD's grim grey granite, 'smartpoles' and faux-cheery official banners.

ON-NEON is an exhibition and round-table of invited artists, architects, designers and interested locals will explore the possibilities of re-energising our most famous music and nightclub quarter.

Artists have long celebrated neon as the colours of the street, from poet Kenneth Slessor's 'Darlinghurst Nights' in 1933 to Baz Luhrmann's film 'Strictly Ballroom' in 1992. Ideas already raised include commissioning artists to create art-neons to compliment the heritage neons.

See http://www.neonmona.org/ for some inspiration! -- or just click on the headline above.


CHAIRED BY: Cr Phillip Black (chair Cultural Committee) and Jo Holder
Speakers include: Peter McGregor, MW Architecture (Llankelly Place lights for SSCC; Chinatown Lighting for CoS), Eugenia Raskopolis (artist City Sculpture walk), Twist Creative, Claude Neon Group, Michael Gormly (local business), Sally Couacaud (curator Sydney Sculpture Walk), Kate Davidson (curator, City Exhibition Space), Ann Stephen (social history Powerhouse Museum).

After brief presentations, you can have your say!!

Editor's note: the live neon artworks are something to behold!

Saturday, August 21, 2004

East Sydney to secede from the universe

East Sydney could become even more inaccessible if road closures from the East Sydney Residents' Association (ESNA), said to be favoured by Clover Moore, go ahead.
This is the push that brought us last year's quashed vigilante bus which was going to go around at 2am with residents pointing out 'troublesome prostitutes' so the police could target them.
The new closures are about traffic management but neighbouring associations DRAG and 2011 say it's about choking off so-called kerb-crawlers so street sex workers will go elsewhere -- maybe to your suburb?
There has been no traffic study done since 1982 -- pre Eastern Distributor and Cross City Tunnel.
The street closures would affect surrounding districts as they would funnel all through traffic into Crown and Yurong Streets.
Liverpool Street would be closed at Whitlam Square and at Bourke St, forcing even more traffic on to Oxford & William Sts and cutting off the back route to Paddington.
Other intersections put up for closure are Palmer and Stanley, Bourke and William (!), Burton and Bourke and (it looks like) College and Francis.
DRAG and 2011 are calling for a traffic study first, pointing out that the closures would have a huge impact for surrounding areas especially while the Bourke St Woolloomooloo ramp onto the Eastern Distributor is closed for CCT construction.
Residents of the 'Loo say getting out of the suburb by car is nearly impossible now. If you don't believe this, try driving somewhere south using Crown Street. Take a packed lunch.

Friday, August 20, 2004

A response from Toad Hall

Welcome back and more strength to you. On the neon signs: I lived here in 1968 when the spruikers had humour and the prostitutes seemed older and not drug addicted. As soon as they recognised me to be a local and not a customer, they treated me as a neighbour and if they spoke at all it would be likely to be about football. The neon signs were a part of those times
and ought not be found guilty by association with the current personnel of the 'strip clubs'.
Best wishes
the Toad

The editor says: Two of the spruikers I talk to have been there for 15 and 25 years. Does that give them heritage status?E

Cabbie's conspiracy theory on KX roadworks

Michael, a Sydney cabbie, claims the apparent slowdown in the roadworks on Darlinghurst Road is about putting extra squeeze on the 'undesirable' businesses that certain sententious authorities want killed. Seems the 'sleaze' just won't go away, though.

I spoke to a street sex worker on the strip the other night who thought that if the 'upgrade' succeeds in bringing an upmarket crowd into Kings Cross then the drug dealers will make more money and the brothels will simply be able charge more.F

Small guy crushed by grey granite

The political fallout from Frank Sartor & Lucy Turnbull is indeed putrid. Aldo, who owns Mama's Italian Restaurant at the top of William Street Kings Cross, has suddenly found his small outdoor eating pavilion fenced off by the dreaded construction fences. The backpackers getting their $5 breakfasts will now have to use the three or four tables inside.

The authorities have told Aldo that his pavilion will be eliminated and replaced by a garden. The fact that he has a DA fot it and has just re-signed a three-year licence is immaterial. Nor was he or anybody else consulted about it, he says. One of the benefits of the new landscaping will be the removal of seats in case 'druggies' sit on them. It is nice to know that soon there will be no public seating left in Sydney and the drug problem will be solved. Tough luck for the older people who actually need them.

Baulderstone Hornibrook and the RTA are 'upgrading' the area as part of the Cross City Tunnel deal. This means all the rather nice brick landscaping is being replaced by the grey granite doctrine brought in by Frank and enforced by Lucy. The mature plane trees there have to go -- many say it's to improve the view of the Coke Sign which generates income for the now-being-redeveloped Kingsgate shopping centre building, that monument to impersonal concrete.

Interesting how the 'revitalisation' of Kings Cross to date involves destroying businesses. Shades of ex-commander Dave Darcy's comments that he was helping the revitalisation of Roslyn Street by closing down the pot cafes. Looks pretty dead to me.

Aldo and his restaurant date back to when his area was the original 'little Italy' of Sydney, renmants of which can still be found in Bar Coluzzi and the Stanley/Crown St precinct.

Monday, August 16, 2004

See if this tickles the search engines

Smartpoles are an oxymoron. Does that mean morons oxy smartpoles? Kings Cross Sydney, Kings Cross news Sydney, Kings Cross news Sydney, Kings Cross Sydney news, Neon lights, neon art, neon sculpture, Kings Cross Sydney Australia, Darlinghurst, Darlinghurst, Darlinghurst, Darlinghurst Road, Elizabeth Bay, Neon, Upgrade, revamp, granite granite grey grey granite Kings Cross Times Kings Cross times blah blah blah. Kellet Street, Victoria Street, Roslyn Street. Tne cross, the Strip, anti-cluster regulations taking off across the nation. Sex industry, red light district, the Coke sign. Sex industry, red light district, the Coke sign. Sex industry, red light district, the Coke sign.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

New Police Commander?

A local business owner claims the commander of Kings Cross Police, Supt. Dave Darcy, is being moved on and replaced by a part-time commander who will divide his time between KX and Manly. KXT has emailed Supt Darcy for clarification.
Supt. Darcy has confirmed he will spend 18 months at HQ and then go back into the field.

Kings Cross neons

Letter to the editor, Wenty Courier

Thanks to Mark Gibson for putting my name into print (Wentworth Courier 11/8/04 p39).
However he would do better to play the ball, not the man. And getting a few facts straight would help, like spelling my name correctly.
Mark, I am not Jo Holder's 'comrade' as you state. If you are implying I am some sort of communist, you must be very short of real arguments. I am not, and indeed run a business for a living as does Ms Holder.
But I do believe in grass roots democracy and, far from ‘telling Kings Cross residents what is important to them’,
I find my ideas have great resonance locally, having put them very prominently in the public arena.
Clover Moore's welcome decision to save the more significant neons in Kings Cross was not made without wide
community support -- perhaps, Mark, you should have attended the recent community forum in the Cross and
seen for yourself.
Your assertions about heritage make the same mistakes as the City's outdated signage policy which assumes
heritage stopped with quaint Victoriana. Heritage also has to do with a sense of place, and neons have defined the
identity of the Cross since the 1930s (see, for a start, Kenneth Slessor's poems from the time). You talk about
'diversity' but seem to think it entails making the Cross a clone of the city. A love of diversity, not cloning, is
what drives my position on the Cross.
As for my not living here -- I can walk from home to the station in one minute and, like most other locals, moved
here because I like this gritty, colourful and never boring town. Long may Kings Cross offend snobs and

Michael Gormly

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

welcome to my site

This is the first edition of Kings Cross Times online