Axis of Sleazle

Kings_Cross_6.JPG (53814 bytes)Sydney’s new Lord Mayor, the glamorous Lucy Turnbull, has just announced the 1,458th go at cleaning-up “The Cross,” since 1962. Lucy’s ideal of Kings Cross seems to shape as the kind of place where a go-getting squattocratic Darling Point girl can shut her eyes and imagine herself in an uberhip antipodean version of The Marais in Paris – or the Paris end of Collins St anyway. I’m picking that the vision is all fabulous little ethnicy lunch places, colourful, interesting people like A List homo hairdressers and more distresssed sandstone than a bull can shit. The last thing she’ll be wanting to see when she opens her eyes is an army of hanging-out-for-it hookers spruiking for the next cap of smack outside a neon-lit lap dancing lounge, while some off his face street person defecates in the gutter and howls at the moon, concurrently.

But that’s precisely why people go there. It’s the raw, urban edge danger thing that’s always pulled the punters. The proximity of the CBD on one side and Australia’s busiest Naval base on the other has created a rascally redlight zone at the heart of our most densely populated urban landscape.

Darlinghurst Road, the main drag (the Cross – for those who don’t know – is the point where Darlo Rd crosses Victoria St, at the top of William St) is a tawdry strip where young drug dealers dressed in “Look at me! I’m a drug-dealer!” Hip Hop attire jostle through the Saturday night Rugby-club-on-the-piss crowds while doing their agitated, edgy business on mobile. But these days it’s but one arm of an Axis of Sleazle that runs along the Darlinghurst ridge to Oxford St and then follows that Boulevard of Broken Dreams down to the gambling dens and Adult Lounges of Haymarket/Chinatown.

On one notable occasion I walked the Axis from the El Alamein fountain in Macleay St (opposite which I once lived) down to the Eros lounge in Pitt St – backroom 10 bucks entry – and encountered no fewer than 53 people who were clearly not compliant with lithium dosing schedules and who were keen that I should spare them some change to ensure their continuing medication confusion. It’s that kind of urban environment and it’s been that way for many years. What Lucy doesn’t confide is what she plans to do with those people now that the ratio of yups to weirdo’s has tipped the urban balance thing dangerously towards gas lamps, cobblestones and horse-drawn carriage tours of the Historic Bohemian District kind of horror? Do they all get shipped out to Leura or something? I mean, they’re way too unreliable to work tourist McJobs in period Les Girls costume.

People – if you didn’t have to consider them, urban landscaping would be a bloody breeze….

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Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

I just inserted a thumbnail image of Kings Cross by night from http://www.sydneymate.com . The site had a comment function not unlike a blog. The most evocative comment, I thought, was this one:
I lived above the Kings Cross Train Station in Mrch/02 for 2 months. Eye opening; a truly devoted tiny puppy to its drunken 80 year old homeless owner, or as sad as a crackbaby that won`t grow or cry. I saw a man chase another in broad daylight with a monkey wrench screaming murder, a man sever his thumb on a display case in a pizza parlour, a McDonalds beating that ended up bloody. 6 men my age were shot on the street by a gang at 6 am below my window. You`d hear guns go off. I`ve been locked behind a steel door in a room I was in and called for help until someone called a locksmith. I couldn`t wash my hands in the public toilet in the park as there were too many syringes piled there. I met 2 really great friends there, at nite the aboriginals will play the guitar and belt Pink Floyd`s “Wish you Were Here” & Don McLean`s “When the Music Died”. There were lifelong street friends. I used to walk to 7-11 in cowprint pjs because it`s relatively safe there, just don`t get careless. For it to be dangerous you`d have to make really stupid choices or talk loosely. Stay on the main street at nite – there are cops around. If you`re all for seeing more things than you have in the past 20 yrs, go.

Jason Soon
2022 years ago

I have to agree with Geoff. I live on the North Shore, ultra clean and ultra safe, love it. But if Lucy T had her way, the whole of Sydney would look like the North Shore. Is that what anyone wants? Do we want whole streets of metrosexual yuppie wankers and overpriced food with pretentious names served by waiters who are up themselves? Is that what we want? I detect a certain streak of puritan feminism in this little crusade by the second half of the Turnbull chardonnay socialist crusade. By all means, get rid of the street crime (and by that I mean muggings etc) but the sex industry is like any other industry. It may not fit Mrs Turnbull’s posh little view of the world but too bad.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Hey you guys, that’s my place you’re all talking about. Sure, wierdness abounds, and its one of the things we all love and hate about the joint … but my local park also has a team of folks who take tender loving care of everyone of its little blades of grass, one of my restaurants has a waiter who not only gives top service and friendly chat to all comers, but doesn’t get paid, cos he’s retired and just likes being there, and for years I couldn’t get out of my drycleaners without at least two gin and tonics under my belt … and there are a million other good – as well as bad and ugly – stories in this part of the naked city … and maybe I’ll get around to posting a few. In the meantime, should anyone perchance be interested in a widely shared local view of the Turnbull thrust, I stuck up my perspective over at Gianna’s place last night.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

I think it’s the ongoing tension between the bizarre and the mundane, the kind and the callous, that makes the Cross what it is. Without the adrenalin rush of forbidden pleasure, or a sense of anticipatory “whatever next?” – it’s a crappy sterile, urban theme park. In short, the people make it what it is – the hookers, the trannies, the blokes on the make, the blokes on the take.

Turnbull seeks to smooth the jagged edges by decree. She claims that she wants to take it back “15 years” – to a supposedly kinder, gentler time. What bullshit. Back in the early 80’s, the whole joint was run by crims. It isn’t now.

You can’t go back…..

mark
2022 years ago

Good post, Geoff.

bailz
bailz
2022 years ago

If you put border=”0″ inside the “img” tag that blue border will disappear.

trackback
2022 years ago

Despite Lucy, we’re expectorating, copulating and defecating as usual

In a memorable June post, Geoff Honnor heckled the way Sydney’s new Lord Mayor, the glamorous Lucy Turnbull, has set about cleaning up my local neighbourhood, Kings Cross. Geoff’s old post is here, and as he was also joined by…