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By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on August 15, 2017 in People

Broome Winter Magic.

Having just returned from a trip to Hobart’s Dark Mofo festival, I lobbed up to Bondi for brunch with a friend at Speedo’s and was immediately confronted by a large erection in the middle of the beach. Such a sight is not uncommon in the summer months when amorous backpackers take to the bay and set out to make the beast with two backs, but in winter the sand is far too cold for such frivolous activities.

Of course, the erection I speak of on this occasion is not phallic in nature, but the ferris wheel on Bondi’s beachfront does feel a bit like the sort of showboating you’d expect from a fellow in a bright red Ferrari, clearly overcompensating for a lack of horse power in the downstairs department. But does Bondi really need to be peacocking when the beach itself is the equivalent of a porn star’s engorged package? Does an amusement park ride really make one of the world’s most amazing beaches better? I think not.

The whole ‘Bondi as an amusement park’ thing is not a new phenomenon. It all started with an ice rink, a novel idea to get folk down to Bondi, was followed by a procession of camels a la Cable Beach in Broome, and now we’re borrowing ideas from the Brits with this recent installation of the ‘Bondi Eye’, a massive ferris wheel festooned in fluorescent lights that has been plonked down beside the pavilion.

It’s down there as part of Bondi Winter Magic, which I believe is the work of the Bondi Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Waverley Council. Basically it’s Bondi’s attempt to beckon tourists when it’s colder than a witch’s tit and the last place they’d want to spend their money is at a wind blown beach.

In terms of social currency, it’s probably not a bad attempt. People are going to want to post photos on Facebook of their ferris wheel ride and Instagram the hell out of their ice skating session adjacent to the sand. But surely Bondi can put on something better than a beachside fun fair, because at the end of the day that is what it boils down to.

Did I mention I went to Dark Mofo? Of course I did. Everyone who goes to Dark Mofo lets you know about it. In that sense, it’s like the weird love child of veganism and Crossfit. The reason I mention Dark Mofo, though, is because it’s bloody amazing. And Tasmanians made it. Imagine what we civilised Sydneysiders could do if we put our minds to it. Hopefully something more than a f**king ferris wheel, that’s for sure.

What I’m trying to say here is that if we really want to attract people to Bondi in winter, let’s put on something that’s actually good. I flew all the way to Tasmania to swim naked, watch things burn, take in some obscure art, and eat at a delicious banquet. I’m sure plenty of tourists staying in the city would hop on the 333 if Bondi pulled its finger out and offered something similar.



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