I’ve come to love Brisbane, but how do you promote it to the world? What does Brisbane have that is unique, recognisable and impossible to reproduce?
We call ourselves the River City, but in reality, so does Taree (NSW), South Perth (WA), Chattanooga (Tennessee, USA), Jacksonville (Florida, USA), and a large slab of the UK. We’re not a ‘beach’ town, and we’re not really tropical, although we have really nice weather. We don’t have the kind of internationally known symbols that mark some cities: the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Saint Basil’s in Moscow, the Hollywood sign, the Brooklyn Bridge, the statue of Jesus overlooking Rio de Janeiro...
Brisbane has the Story Bridge, which is lovely, but not in the same class, and that we’ve got the Town Hall as our council logo is simply more proof that we’re lacking an identity.
And then this morning, as I listened to the radio accounts of an Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Brisbane’s Musgrave Park being “moved on” by a hundred or so police officers, and media access being restricted, I realised that we have something new yet oddly familiar, something unique, something with images that are recognisable the world over.Cue the blurry images and harp-music.
It all started with an idea, a fragment of something remembered, encouraged by a few scotches and some misty nostalgia. Queensland was drowning. We needed a hero and the Superman suit wouldn’t fit Anna or Clive.
And thus Campbell Newman was anointed Saviour of Queensland.
Next, the idea: Like all the really good ideas, it needed to be simple. Our hero, and his trusty elders and sidekicks, looked to the good times, saw what made them great, and decided to reproduce those conditions right here in 2012. All right, it wasn’t one of the great pieces of innovation in this 21st century, but it made more sense than the nothing we currently had, and we needed a change.
Under our new hero’s leadership, we would return to the heady days of Joh Bjelke-Petersen and his stand-up mates. None of this namby-pamby new-millennium peace-and-tolerance bullshit for us. The LNP, political arm of Clive Palmer’s mining organisation, teamed up with the conservative Christian Lobby and convinced more than enough Queenslanders that the only way forwards was backwards.
Thanks to the new Campbell Newman government, Brisbane is becoming a real-life 1970s Theme Park. All the fun of the Paisley Fair, right here in Queensland: Our disco-dancing Premier has been in the job less than 2 months and already, he’s thrown a party for his Boys In Blue in Musgrave Park. Unfortunately they had to do some cleaning up, but hey, the boys are here to serve us, right? There are some conflicting reports about media access to the party, but Joh never invited outsiders to his private parties, did he?
And earlier this week, SuperCanDo announced his intention to fast-track a few hand-picked items through parliament, without benefit of committee scrutiny. Way to get in the spirit, Sir! He’s really taking that one seriously, having entirely tipped the balance in the composition of parliamentary committees. Well, I’m sure there wasn’t much emphasis on balance back in the 70s, so it’s probably accurate.
And what about this business with the gay folks wanting to get married? Joh would never have stood for that rot; he would have had them all locked up – or sent back to Disneyland where they came from. Our new Premier knows what he has to do: those progressive communists from the ALP who rammed through civil partnership legislation aren’t in charge any more, and Lord Newman is already looking into ways to repeal that unseemly festive shenanigans.
As for the bloomin’ Arts, we can’t afford it. We’re not a bloody charity! These idiots in Canberra – Gough..er…JuLIAR and their mates – have spent us into the poorhouse! You can forget your Literary Awards – if you want literature, you can read the classics. In fact, you can download them onto your Star Trek Ipod thingy for free. Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, Bronte, Yeats, Coleridge…keep you going for years! You don’t need that godawful doofdoof either, or FM or that new-fangled ABC DAB Digital Radio thingo. You’ve got 4KQ on the AM band. It was good enough for Joh in 1968, and it hasn’t changed a bit.
Sadly, with money the way it is, we can’t rebuild Cloudland or Festival Hall, but you’ve got lovely offices and homes where they used to be. Can’t wait to see what we can build on the old Regent Theatre site. Maybe a bridge, or a tunnel.
So that’s it. Brisbane is well on it’s way to being the world’s only authentic 1970s Theme Park. All we need is a massive mirror ball, and we’ll even have our icon. Thankfully, those Skyhooks blokes have already written the jingle.
Does anyone know where I can get a Safari Suit in mauve?