Melbourne a has a new lord mayor – and it’s the much-reviled ex-leader of the conservative (sorry if this is confusing to American readers…) state Liberal Party.
In an article in The Age, Doyle has stated his antipathy towards Melbourne’s street buskers, declaring “They actually do need to be properly licensed and regulated so that we are not just assaulted by a whole lot of different sounds every 10 metres along the footpath.”
For those not familiar with our city, you’ll find yourself assaulted by a cacophony of raucous noises wherever you go on CBD streets – but not from the usually-talented and often-appreciated buskers; rather from the myriad of pseudo-trendy clothing stores that pump their bad pop music up as loud as the human ear can stand it.
But no, in true conservative style, Doyle has singled out one of the great things about Melbourne’s street life – our buskers. Some people may try to tell you that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or that cracking a smile at the less talented buskers is just a part of the fun of a city where people aren’t afraid to be out on the streets. But no, not Doyle.
Even more insidiously, Doyle has threatened to open up Swanston Street to car traffic. The street is already used by a minimum number of cars – taxis, buses, and police vehicles – but the basic idea behind Swanston Street is that it’s a relatively safer street for pedestrians and cyclists. It used to be called the Swanston Street walk. And as somebody who lives on one side of the city, and has to go through the city centre (parallel to Swanston Street) to get wherever he needs to drive, i can tell you from personal experience – there is absolutely no need to open it up to more car traffic. But Doyle wants to get his name out there. If you ask me, he’s only trying to make it clear to those of us who love Melbourne for it’s street life that he’s firmly on one side of the line (probably somewhere around the affluent suburbs… *ahem*), and we’re on the other.
This goal is only underlined by his reference to Melbourne as a “bogan magnet” – a bogan, for non-Australians, is a scruffy person with little fashion sense and a lower-class accent. According to legend they can be found around the far eastern suburbs, always close to a train line, a court, and a welfare office. Doyle doesn’t want any of that sort in his city.
So hey, New Yorkers, how did you get rid of Guiliani? We may be needing some expert scum-removing polish very soon, or at least a pest exterminator that specialises in country-club wannabes.