New School Posing as Old School
Dear Pearl –
Being so in touch with local ‘goings on’, I’m sure you would have heard about Bronte Surf Life Saving Club’s plans to take over a big chunk of the park and privatise it for their own use, as well as the ensuing local uproar.
At the centre of this battle is a piece of public space called ‘Dave Brown’s Place’, also known as ‘The Cubes’, which is shared by the local Bronte Boardriders Club and the broader community.
This reeks of gentrification by an elitist group of blow-ins, aimed at ridding the beach of these ‘riff raff’ surfers. I’d be very interested to hear Pearl’s opinion on this whole saga, being the social justice warrior that you are.
RESPECT FOR DAVE BROWN
Dear Val –
‘Gentrification’- my favourite word. I’d like to think that I created the word ‘gentrification’, but since that glory goes to a sociologist named Ruth, I should instead be publicly credited for bringing back its use, along with the words ‘vile’, ‘malingerer’ and ‘outrageous’.
Gentrification can lead to attempts at reinventing past glories and trends because, really, how much excitement can one eke from something as ugly as a Porsche Macan and as pretentious as a Louis Vuitton handbag? It’s a case of ‘new school posing as old school’ (apparently I should be dressing in ‘90s vintage, using a retro camera and recreating old school body building poses) and I’m thinking the Bronte Surf Life Saving Club rebuild may be on-point to reviving the ‘Clubbies vs Surfers Wars’ of the 1960s.
I’m seeing escalating tensions in a turf war – clubbies despising local board riders for putting ‘fun’ before duty. I’m envisaging surfboards being banned during Sunday nippers and the return of the five-shilling surfboard licence, all topped off by the encroachment onto the surfers’ sacred ‘Dave Brown’s Place’ by hardcore bricks and mortar (I’m actually surprised it hasn’t already been turned into a pram bay for all the yuppie mums).
One thing I would love to see though, is for Waverley Council to resurrect the Aub Laidlaw tradition of the prudish lifeguard, with Harries escorting men with beer guts off the beach for the crime of wearing scungies.
Unfortunately, the rebuild is an example of why we cannot have nice things in Australia. There’s always some vested interest waiting in the wings (usually the forestry, building or mining industries) to stuff it up. That’s why we don’t have a thriving Great Barrier Reef or Murray-Darling River system, it’s why the former Sydney Football Stadium is lying in ruins and why heritage suburbs are being replaced by enclaves of shoddily constructed vile apartment blocks. It’s also why 140,000 hectares of old growth forest between Taree and Grafton are being turned into woodchips.
The $2 million ‘donated’ by the federal government (I thought Jesus was a surfer, ScoMo?) to rebuild Bronte SLSC could cover a decent rebuild on the same footprint and an awful lot of surf lifesaving equipment. But, oops, there’s no male-dominated building industry benefiting from surf lifesaving equipment is there? No trickledown effect. My bad.