A few months ago, Sydney was visited by Tyler Brûlé, the editor of Monocle Magazine. He made local news after asserting that Sydney was “on the verge of becoming the world’s dumbest nation”. He was talking about Sydney’s excessive regulation and capped off this declaration with a memorable anecdote. Apparently he had gotten in trouble for drinking a glass of wine on the sidewalk in front of his Monocle pop-up shop.
Immediately the city was buzzing with commentary accusing Brûlé of elitism, and a “let them eat cake” sort of attitude.
But with a little reflection, there are a lot of things that we can’t do in Sydney that people in other places can do. And a lot of decisions that are being made behind closed doors that slip right past us.
For instance, are you a bit bummed you can’t enjoy your Flodge pizza and Flodge chips in the lovely Flodge beer garden anymore? I am. That new law came into effect on July 6th, just three days after a another law came into effect. As of July 3rd, pokie players could store up to $5000 in an account or a smartcard (up from $200).
Now look, it could just be a coincidence. But it could also be possible that the state government was hoping that venues would push smokers away from outdoor areas and into the pokie room (where they were then able to spend more money, money the state government gets a cut of). Not all venues went this way. The Flodge is too small to have done this, and they couldn’t just not have a smoking area. So now we can drink our wine in the sun, Tyler, but can’t eat our delicious, gourmet Forest Lodge Hotel pizza.
This week I spoke to a few members of the queer community about how late night Sydney used to be. Not a lot of it was greener grass- they partied hard, but they also remember violence, AIDS and a time when homosexuality was illegal.
Nonetheless, there was a sense that something had been lost, we are more free, but also a little less in a lot of ways, and we dont really seem to notice– or if we do, we don’t do much about it.