The West Is Best
“Put Earlwood down as the suburb to watch in 2011” (SMH Dec 7, 2010).
Every Eastern Suburbs hipster and bohemian trendsetter knows that the ‘burbs is big in 2011. It’s ‘happening’ and it’s definitely ‘out there’, especially if one goes ‘true’ west. It’s the ‘uniqueness of individuality of our suburbs’; it’s Parramatta’s Church Street ‘foodie strip’, which is made more palatable for the Bronte sensibilities by being described as ‘where east (as in suburbs not Asia) meets west’; it’s traveling all the way to Fairfield to eat semifreddo at an RSL with hideous carpet (you don’t find that type of carpet at the Ivy Bar). It’s Auburn, which is just like walking down the streets of Istanbul. And for Bondi-ites who really want to live on the ‘fringe’, let’s not forget ‘quaint’ Harris Park. But forget Cabramatta, sweeties, it’s gone the way of the once fashionable juice bar and is so terribly passé that it hardly gets a mention in the lifestyle media. Alas, the suburb had its day with the yuppies back in the 90s with its ‘exotic’ eateries, fabric shops and Triads.
Having lived in Wentworthville during my first ill-fated marriage, I find all these platitudes to the ‘burbs extremely patronising. We all know that ‘life’ does not exist beyond Anzac Parade; who cares that the people in the southern and western suburbs are the ones truly affected by interest rate rises, transport woes and job losses when the media can turn to a heartbreaking story about the ‘struggling’ Bronte glamour couple with two blonde princesses eking out an existence to pay off their $3m mortgage. Is it any wonder that I find it all so offensive?
The Auburn mosque may be just like the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul but imagine if a mosque was erected in Clovelly Village? Without the enticement of semifreddo or some other trendy food item there is no way anyone cool from the Eastern Suburbs is going to set foot in Parramatta or Fairfield unless they are ‘unfortunate’ enough to have a relative living there. And I’m sure it’s incredibly fashionable to attend the Diwali Festival in Harris Park, all the while knowing you can return to your ‘safe haven’ in Clovelly – Diwali might be the festival of light but you’ll be praying for light if you find yourself in Harris Park after dark!
It really should come as no surprise to Pearl to find that the Western Suburbs has become the latest fad – nothing is safe from the claws of the Eastern Suburbs yuppie.
Last year we saw drug dealing become a ‘must-do’ occupation, when an Eastern Suburbs restaurateur’s taste buds became so mucked up he couldn’t tell the difference between cocaine and alcohol. And speaking of cocaine, it’s gone from being the drug of choice for merchant bankers to the Yummy Mummies’ ‘little helper’. Anti-depressants aren’t trendy enough for the new breed of 20-something YMs who need the thrill of ‘danger’ to get through the ennui of latte-filled days of designer dresses and botox.
So is it any wonder that the Eastern Suburbs hipsters are no longer satisfied with the confines of their rarefied Paddington splendour, that they’re bored with trawling Oxford Street and weekly visits to CloBaby Road and are now looking further a field for ‘experiences’ that are like no other found on this side of Anzac Parade? It’s the anticipation of getting stuck in the M5 tunnel, smelling the fear as one walks through Blacktown; it’s the chance to look down one’s nose at the poor unfortunates who live along the GW Highway (as opposed to OSH Road). If you can’t bear the thought of going to Somalia you can always go to Bankstown!