Sydney has divided itself into four big, terracotta-roofed slabs we call North, South, East and West. So far as I can tell, all these suburban areas of Sydney are terrible. Everyone knows the north side is filled wall-to-wall with moneyed arses caring more about which ‘display’ books they range on their coffee table than about any real human issues. The east is something similar to north. I spent a large portion of my younger years rolling around the north-western rim of the Sydney basin - swimming in rivers, staring right up at the mountains no more than five kilometres from my front door and occasionally looking down at they city from the top of one, fervently wishing I could teleport myself there.
South I knew almost nothing about until last weekend, when I was lucky enough to spend three whole days in a beach house with friends. They all grew up south of Sydney in a place known as The Shire. And I have to tell you it sounds almost entirely fucked. There are the usual suburban consolations of wide spaces, easy access to bushland and riding around on your bmx with friends but that sums up the good points.
The Shire, like every other cardinal point spinning out from the city, is fucked. A large proportion of the residents sound narrow-minded, racist and aggressively ‘normal’. So aggressively normal that it is almost impossible to live happily as anything other than a nuclear family with a neutral-toned lounge room without being subjected to a truckload of shit. If the same can be said for all points from North swinging round to West then we have a problem here.
How is it possible that out of the whole huge sprawled guts of Sydney the only place I can live without fear of clashing with locals simply by making art and having ideas is the Inner West? I propose we make a new area, a new suburban area east of Sydney. By east I mean properly east, out past the headlands of the harbour on the bean-green ocean.
We have all kinds of technology now - like ships, bulldozers and helicopters. We could solidify some human waste, build a large floating land mass, map out wide house blocks and gently winding streets, plant trees, vegetables, herbs and flowers. We could build houses that are proper habitats for humans, encourage the birds and bats to fly and visit. We could have picnic lunches at each other's houses and talk rationally and interestingly about our differences and how we each widen the scope of the others’ understanding of the world. Or I suppose I could just get jets and blow some of the existing suburbs up. Raze them to the ground, grow a moustache, throw all racist, bigoted and narrow-minded people out into the desert to die in the sun.
I’d be happy with one or both of the above plans. Either way I’m going to need helicopters. Big ones.