Well, it's a public holiday in Brisbane, as they wanted world leaders to see Brisbane city as some sort of ghost town, I presume. I haven't been into the city centre all week, but with all the barricades set up everywhere I am seeing on TV, it has the distinct look of overkill.* Still, having a dozen world leaders killed due to a ramming Commodore would be a bad look, I suppose. Someone on local ABC radio yesterday rang up with a bit of alleged insider gossip, saying that his very reliable medical practitioner's daughter had told him that 2,000 body bags had been procured to be on standby. Given that it would just about take a jumbo jet crashing into the convention centre to cause that much need for them, I somehow have my doubts about the figure cited by this "friend of a friend" source.
Speaking of the convention centre - that's were it's happening, and as I'm sure I've said before, I am inordinately fond of that gigantic venue. It is, I was told by my own friend of a friend who works there, a very successful centre for attracting international conventions, but it also does mid sized concerts very well, in addition to the massive Lifeline second hand book sales twice a year. If nothing else, I trust everyone visiting Brisbane says they like that building. I did, however, just hear on breakfast TV that some foreign journalists go food poisoning last night - I hope the Convention Centre doesn't wear the blame.
As for publicity for Brisbane, The Guardian is the wrong paper to be running a sardonic column on "what you need to know" about the place, given the number of wanky comments we all knew it would attract about what an uncultured and bor-ing city it is. It did attract one comment which I can endorse, though, and I am pleased to see that it has now been pushed to the top:
Personally, I recommend Hoo Ha Bar over the Scratch, and the biggest craft beer outlet that I know of - Archive at West End always has a good, if slightly expensive, range. (It actually is in handy walking distance to the convention centre. I hope it does well with the foreign correspondents.)
As for Brisbane culture generally - I am reliably informed (by listening to ageing but well connected and cool dudes like Richard Fidler on ABC, now a Brisbane resident) that the city has a lively music and arts culture, even if I don't personally partake of it. I was even pleased to see a new mid sized live music venue open last weekend in an old hangar building in the Valley, although I am not sure I am ever likely to get there. Maybe when I hit my late mid-life crisis, or something.
In any event, even without seeking out performances while here, any visitor to the city must surely be impressed with the arts precinct at South Bank. They are great and very active galleries, with lots of parking and a good outlook over the city. I am not completely convinced, to put it mildly, about some of the aesthetic decisions the city centre has taken over the past decade (the new, plastic looking City Council building is an eyesore, if you ask me, although not as spectacularly as bad as Federation Square in Melbourne), but other parts of the city are developing very well. Teneriffe is perhaps already the coolest area for rich urbanites, and it is only going to get better.
So, anyway, I like the city and excitement of all these foreign aircraft coming here so much that I'm heading down the coast, to watch it on TV from there, as well as fish, swim and use a Sevylor inflatable canoe that I purchased in about 1986 by my reckoning. Who knew that they would last so long? It only has the smallest of holes that need patching. That boat deserves a post all of its own.
* [I thought Brisbane was not the sort of city to be home to many
anarchists - any who were alive during the Joh reign left for Southern
cities decades ago. Would many travel back here to protest? We'll