Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Tale Of Two Ghettos

Have been spending a larger than usual amount of time around Oxford St way since I came back to Sydney (Newtown and Impy closed, slight changes in mates and activities), and this has reminded me of the sometimes subtle but somehow super differences between the two ghettos, and why I sometimes feel a little out of place when I leave mine.

Darlingithurts, East Sydney, Kings Cross, the dodgy end of Paddington, Surry Hills, Redfern- its a different world from Enmore, Erskineville, Chippendale, Marrickville, Newtown, Darlington, Camperdown. The former is more pricey to live in, obviously, and thus has not so many student-types. People seem to survive on a combination of dealing illegal substances, being pro-dommes, DJing, designing, working in fashion, hairdressing, selling make-up or imported shoes or funky furniture to yuppies with a twist. Most purchases are new, clothes and homewares, or stylishly vintage (not second-hand or from the street fairies). Eating disorders and drug habits, past or present, are prevelant and everyone knows how to vomit in good taste. Disposable income spent on chemical indulgences or neccessities, foreign beer and overpriced apartments, designer jeans and expensive takeaway. Everyone has a creative side, an artistic flair, they're just waiting for their serotonin and their domapine to level out so they can get down to doing something with them. Not so many sharehouses, lots of studios. Nobody has worm-farms or compost bins in their paved courtyards, or personal photos on their walls. Its all minimal, carefully arranged. Can never tell if it is all lacking any soul, or this is actually a reflection of the souls that live there? Somehow it feels quite undead.

For the second ghetto, the one in which I live, some of this applies. Folk still take lots of pills, but more weekend jaunts than everyday habit. Schooners are cheaper, it feels like half the population studies, people actually spend their spare time making 'zines and documentaries and growing vegies, organising art shows and engaging more in DIY than capitalist pursuits. I feel more connected here, like there is more of a community structure that I can rely on and engage with, like its an active and alive space.

(It all crosses over and merges of course, and I much like my ventures to the other side of Cleveland St. And these reflections are grand generalisations, not relating to all or everyone I know in either place, and simply an attempt to make sense of some experiences both recent and far past.)



Blogger mayhem said...

Oxford Street North INdian diner beats the shit out of spewtown. and nothin on king street can ever come near the Courtie

4:19 pm  
Blogger Zoo said...

Now I am confused! Have always preferred the food on King St, with one or two exceptions (such as a soft spot for Betty's Soup Kitchen and that Japanese place- Don Don?),and when I think Courtie I think the one just opposite the dog park in Camperdown, drinking jugs of New and eating the kangaroo in the beer garden... the OTHER Courtie on Taylor Square is not a place I have ever frquented through anything but desperation!

4:25 pm  
Blogger Urban (r)Evolutionary said...

Hey.. found ya blog from following links from Curdle stuff 'the Westie' sent. :)

I liked this post.
Mostly because it's the lifestyle difference you identify here that I'm grappling with at the moment. Until recently I was definitely at home doing the minimalist, capitalist thing.. but now I've had an ephiphonie that's making me feel a whole lot more Newtown.
I think I've just gotta work out how to merge, as far as practicable, minue the capitalism, the two, now..

:) A

4:26 pm  

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