Gay Sydney and ‘its elephant’…

6 Feb

Two outstanding news articles appeared on two separate local rags this week. In ‘Central’ (Issue Wednesday 4 February), the magazine did a cover story on gay clubs and pubs that were unfairly targeted and blacklisted for assault crimes. While this issue has been extensively debated in the gay press, it is the first time that a local city publication have given it front page coverage.

Blacklisted establishments are subjected to a 2- 5 am lockout, banned from selling alcohol in glass containers as well as shots after midnight and a 10 minute bar closure each hour after midnight. The gay establishments are still confounded on how they got into the list since the police refused to release their statistics for verification. The owners complained that not only have these measures unduly affected their business but are also worried about possible street violence.

As Shadd Danesi, owner of ARQ, one of the clubs whom was targeted said, “We have turned away 500- 600 people in one night as a result of the laws, people who ended up on the street… I have noticed there’s an increase in drinking on the street from cans and bottles… It’s making things dangerous”.

‘Central’ even did a shorter accompanying story on how locals are appreciative of ARQ for cleaning up street violence after it was opened. According to the report, ARQ spent $1.2 million in the last nine years maintaining outside security. Mr Danesi said, “We maintain one guard on each street. We have stopped bashings, prostitution, malicious damage and drug taking in the street by our presence”.

In the City News (Issue 148/ February 5) editorial, entitled, ‘The elephant in inner Sydney’, an analytical piece on how top- down city planning which imposes a sense of orderliness and segregation has contributed to ruining the creativity and buzz of the city:

‘Once you get past the holy trinity of the Bridge, harbour and Opera House, Sydney streets are not interesting. Shopkeepers are rigidly controlled in the number, size and positioning of their signage; where they can put things; and businesses are actively discouraged from using colour in their signage (yes, colour!)… Skysigns on tall buildings are restricted. Our streets are planned with the same tree… banners endlessly repeating, the same poles and the same paving in every so-called ‘village’…’

All these results in a situation whereby an increasingly middle- class and the rich occupies the turf, causing it to become ‘monoculture’, while ‘countercultural’ elements are driven out.

To end off, the writer commented on what is already happening (and ugly):

‘… At night, the great unwashed pour into the vacuum, the suburban drunks with their ugly, ignorant macho confidence.

But the truth is: there is little to do in Sydney except get drunk. And the damage is not only cultural, but as Richard Florida [ author of ‘The Creative Class’] says, economic.’


One Response to “Gay Sydney and ‘its elephant’…”

  1. Roger February 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

    exactly right and if you come to perth its just more of the same. Australia is dying .can’t wait to leave

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