News Satire People Food Other

The Sounds of Silence

By Haydn Keenan on November 2, 2021 in News

The sleepy streets of Bondi Beach. Photo: Haydn Keenan

I woke with a start, all senses in overdrive. In the predawn light, paranoia had me tense and listening hard. What was that noise? I crept over to the window and waited. Nothing. In the distance a kookaburra called, followed by what sounded like a magpie. Then I realised; there was no salsa serenade, no drunken renditions of Danny Boy, no glass breaking, no bins being overturned, no pilgrims returning from the pub’s required hour-long closure. It was quiet, naturally quiet. I could hear nature!
The borders are closed and the ensuing silence around Bondi has been so marked there’s people walking round with idiot grins on their faces saying, “Isn’t it great, it’s like the old days.” The silence shows how much of our community is being rented out to tourists, Airbnbs and unlicensed backpacker hostels. It’s amazing how much these absentee landlords, carpetbaggers and bloodsuckers are profiting from our community. The silence speaks loudly. No wonder local kids can’t stay, the Maori community has been driven out and we’re aliens in our own homes. With an unrenovated two-bedroom 1930s flat down the road from me going for $2,100 a week before the borders shut, who do you think can afford that? I’ll tell you – twelve tourists in bunks, partying 24/7. The old lady upstairs is too scared to come out of her flat, and requests to be quiet are met with threats. What’s happening here is the same as what the locals in Venice, Florence, Paris and London are experiencing. It’s the hollowing out of communities by landlords profiteering from short-term, overpriced rentals. These jackals never live here; they’re in Double Bay, Surfers Paradise or holidaying in Barcelona, and it’s killing communities all round the world.
The bad news is that if you think it was bad before the borders shut, it’s going to get much worse once they reopen. Those backpackers aren’t going to go to India, Thailand or Bali – get the virus there and you’re in real trouble. No, they’re all coming here, and if you come to Australia, you have to come to Bondi and party. We’re in for a tsunami of them.
Well, Surly’s not going to take it anymore. This hiatus in tourism is the perfect time to prepare. Council have been hopeless; expert at telling you why they can’t do anything. We’ve got to do something ourselves. We’ve got act. So, I’m going to construct the local’s guerilla guide to fighting back, a one sheet information kit for the fridge that will arm each person with practical facts, the law and procedures to resist being the cannon fodder for profiteering mud sharks. Sick of listening to crowds whoa-ing to Abba at 5am, the drunk in the gutter yelling into Whatsapp, parties on three sides and you with the windows shut on a hot night? Surly’s resistance guide is the battle plan for you!
Bondi’s always been ‘live and let live’, we all agree. Want to live in a mausoleum? Go to Gordon. But it’s gotten out of control, and it’s the speculators and profiteers causing it. The time has come to fight back and let the birds be what wakes us up again.
If you would like to toss in a couple of hours and possess some research or legal skills, please give me a yell or email