Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Laneway drama a storm in a coffee cup

Jane and James in Llankelly Place in the old days
before it came back to life.
A local dispute reported in the SMH over café chairs in Llankelly Place Kings Cross has escalated into a bit of a drama via emails and letters to the editor.
After the original story appeared I got an email from someone I didn't know - David at exemail - copied to restaurateur Neil Perry, demanding that Mr Perry apologise for siding with the Room 10 coffee bar in Llankelly Place. I replied, asking who 'David' was, where he got my email address, and also siding with the coffee bar. Mr Perry replied this morning, not apologising but explaining he was not a 'celebrity chef' -
I'm an Australian who employes 520 staff, pay millions in taxes and raises lots of dollars for charity. I own 7 businesses in 3 States of Australia, I believe in young people making a difference.
Thanks, Neil
It seems Jo Holder of the Cross Arts Gallery, said to have complained about the seats, has some supporters besides 'David' at exemail (who did not reply to my email).

Next came a letter in the SMH from Carole Ferrier, a local Labor branch colleague of Ms Holder's and close ally in the War Against Pubs. She complained about café people keeping people awake at night, making it sound as if she lived above the café. But I'm pretty sure the café doesn't open at night, and as far as I know Ms Ferrier lives in Altair, facing east - about  half a k from the café. But maybe she's moved downmarket?

Anyway, two letters replied brilliantly. Couldn't have said it better myself:
Don't go back to the bad old days 
Carole Ferrier (Letters, March 14) needs reminding that Llankelly Place where Room 10 is situated, was formerly a rat and needle-infested laneway. It was frequented by prostitutes, drunk revellers and addicts needing a place to shoot up. There has been a concerted effort by council and local business people to bring life and a sense of community to an area of Kings Cross that sorely needed rejuvenation.
There are now at least a dozen restaurants, cafes and shops in this alley that provide employment, services and a sense of security to locals. Would she prefer the bad old days?
Adrian Young Elizabeth Bay 
I grew up in Kings Cross many years ago, but even then it was a noisy, rambunctious and ''colourful'' precinct, and has been, famously, since its hobohemia days of the 1920s and 1930s. Moving into it and complaining about noise is a little like diving into the ocean and whingeing about being wet.
John Newton Glebe
Then two more great letters turned up on March 16:

Cross still the king
Of course Kings Cross is noisy (Letters, March 15). It is peppered with people struggling to survive in society, and sometimes violent, but you won't find a livelier place to live anywhere in Australia.
Norm Neill Darlinghurst 
Old memories of Kings Cross are many but mine are dominated by an event in the early 1950s. I was having an illegal, after-hours drink in a dive called Le Primatif. I was with a former Wallaby when there was a raid by the vice squad detective Bumper Farrell and the local police. Bumper sighted David, the ex-Wallaby, and said, ''Get out, Dave, and take your dopey mate with you". Nice to be recognised.
Graeme Berman Manly

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