Where did it all go so wrong, you had it all; the looks, the vibe, the sex, the drugs, even the spattering of live rock and roll. But no, you had to eat the forbidden fruit, follow the serpent down the rabbit hole, and then take the red pill. It’s not like you didn’t have help, we have all been sitting around, eating our expensive gluten-free toast, and almond milk lattes. As the old hallmarks of industry closed, they have been swept anew with polished concrete cafés, and gelato dispensaries abound. We washed clean the grime of character, and replaced it with ever expanding places to queue for whatever had bought its way into broadsheet that week. The individual has become lost in a sea of beige, predictable, palatable experiences, social engineering has left the aspiring young elite, buoyed by their parents’ guarantored apartment loans, awash in the soul of what was Melbourne, liquidation of the now ‘undesirables’ that actually made the place relevant, as they trickle further up Sydney Road, the Active Wear Index ( AWI ) rising in their wake.
Victoria Street, once the birthplace of hypodermic needle hopscotch, now has ladies walking with prams at 9pm on a Friday night, the train station has customer service representatives in Hi-Vis and not the drug squad, there is artificial turf to have lunch on, umbrellas that so far have not been stolen after 72 hours, unlocked. Where there was once just a road, there now stands an elevated tram stop, reflective writing on the road, everywhere there is the illusion of safety, marked areas to get doored in while riding. There is now more chance of getting done by an undercover ticketing officer, than a detective, ‘Junkie Corner’ now has CCTV, and pleasant revolving advertising. The excitement of potentially getting assaulted while using the ATM is gone, replaced by a blandness and desire to go and get Botox in my furrowed brow.
About the only thing saving us is that we can still get a straight scotch after 11pm, but as the AWI rises, and the youth in trouble on skate boards continue their insurgency of the side walks, one can only feel the need to legislate to safety. For how can we protect our newly formed concrete box kingdom, amassed in our serfdom created in the property ownership divide. This safety, now found in the erosion of our individuality, and once fought for self-determination, resides in the cleansing of you, the city, populated by our credit cards, cars, and numbness of distractions, the soul of the city now finds a heart of darkness.