This story has been up for five hours and nobody …

Comment on Half shot or full drunk? by Russell Guy.

This story has been up for five hours and nobody has posted anything. I’m feeling suitably morose, which is a soulful kind of feeling, so I’m gonna dip my thumbnail in tar.
As you say, Erwin, these days it takes minutes for the press to scoop a story online and I’ve read this story twice over the last few hours. I thought I’d record my initial feeling at reading it, while I’m up for it. I found it nauseating, a polite way of saying that it churned my guts.
I’ve been advised by a good friend to “pick my battles” and I’ve been committed to fighting for alcohol reform in Alice, mostly in these pages, these last six months, but the more I read, the more I see, the more I hear, the less I believe in Australia’s future, much less that of Alice Springs.
I heard today that from Katherine north, some caravan parks are chockers at $60 per night for a powered site, $48 unpowered. Where I work, I charged a Swiss couple with two young boys $24 total for a powered site last night, but I digress from the alcohol-related story about life in Alice.
One of our major poets, Banjo Patterson, wrote in 1889 “And in place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle of the tramways and the buses making hurry down the street … and the hurrying people daunt me, and their pallid faces haunt me as they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste, with their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy, for townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste.”
I sometimes wonder what Banjo would think if he could sit and view Alice Springs these days with those who have the dubious time to carry 30 can VB packs around the streets and I’m not saying it’s entirely their choice either, when the take-away outlets open at 2pm weekdays, 10am Saturdays and noon on what used to be a Christian nation’s Sabbath.
Yesterday, I was talking with an elderly chap who once worked on Kurundi Station, now retired to Adelaide. When I said “I bet you notice some changes,” he looked quite ashen, dropped his head and made excuses to leave. I was far too upbeat, but his grand daughter caught my eye with complete understanding.
Little Sisters’ town camp has been peppered with Jurrah-type incidents for the past thirty years of my experience and from working in it during the 1980s, I knew many of its residents who have been killed by grog-related violence there, or by crossing the road.
Recently, I heard of an intoxicated woman holding up her hand to stop the Ghan in its tracks there. I find that poetic and pathetic and symbolic of the soul of Australia in the 21st century.

Recent Comments by Russell Guy

NT-SA agreement hardly historic
Paul Keating, in his 1992 Redfern Speech, framed by speechwriter Don Watson, author of the somewhat dryly punitive opus, The Bush, also claimed a historic mandate, announcing success for Reconciliation “within the next decade.”
It’s in the nature of politics to claim credit for doing something, mostly spending tax revenue and living in hope that it won’t run out.
In my opinion, the “historic” issue is just a beat up or a sop.
Pass me another piece of Bicenttennial birthday cake, please.


Greens on Pine Gap: Move towards non-aligned foreign policy
The Greens, once declared an “alternative” political party, inherited the structural social and cultural goalposts, but they keep trying to kick goals through them.
Kinselas’s, one of Sydney’s long established pubs, was recently sold through the Sunsuper-backed Australian Pub Fund for $22m.
It was purchased in 2010 for $10m, but it’s been said that it would have gone for $40m had the NSW government’s lock-out laws not been enacted.
Senator Di Natale obviously supports other supply-reduction measures, but dealing with the structural wealth of Super funds and their investment in the alcohol industry is a bit more difficult than continuing to bang the party political donation route to government corruption.
It would be nice if politicians who eschew liberal social policy when it suits them, could tackle financial regulation through institutionalised investment in the alcohol industry.


They must be joking!
@ Charlie Carter. Sense is subjective. Some people laugh when others don’t and vice versa. Cheers.


They must be joking!
From reading these comments over a number of years, there are a lot of disgruntled people who have moved to Alice Springs in recent times, who appear to want the place to conform to their aspirations.
They talk about “remote” and “communities” in the abstract.
They have no idea of Mbantua.
They want what they think life should offer, according to what they read in the glossy inserts or la dolce vita on television.
When the lights go out and it’s time to cook dinner on an open fire, what then, ye dreaming?


What the open letter didn’t say
End-of-day performances by the many local musicians, occurring in the Mall is a great idea for so many obvious reasons.
I did this numerous times in the 1980s with musos and it’s not that difficult with a small PA system.
It creates paid work and gives a sense of cultural belonging that cannot really be created by other art forms.
Music speaks all languages. We had occasional problems with intoxicated persons, but violence was extremely rare.
I urge the council to look at this again, especially where inner-city gentrification is forcing musicians out and replacing “live” entertainment with grog shanties. Goodness, people might start dancing again.


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