You’re in a ship and it’s slowly sinking. And you listen carefully to the burbling of the water, the creaking of the boards to figure out which part of the vessel will be the last to go under. But instead a strange tumult of sounds, none of which seem to add up to a clear escape.
Right now the restaurants are dying, or so the papers tell me. Places with French names or IndoSpanish chefs, of the sort that place one grain of rice on your plate and squeeze a drop of sauce flown in from Tuscany; these are becoming extinct. Can’t say I’ve eaten at such places too often, but for some reason the dread is there… first they came for the musicians… then they came for the chefs…
Like bees and frogs, two animals that won’t be here for your grandchildren, upmarket restaurants aren’t as cuddly as koalas but their demise is indicative of the general mood. As much as the newspapers, which are also dying.
Many shops are shuttered on the main drag near where I live. Dress shops mainly, but also cinemas, restaurants, newsagents – the music stores closed long ago. Probably some of them have migrated to the suburban malls. Not all of them. I keep being told that the change is evolutionary, that we are becoming more efficient. Efficiency will come when Apple, Amazon and their kind are the last ones standing. There’s only one life raft.
The organisers at the VIVID presentation kept talking about The Creative Industry. Something that you could do here better than China they kept insisting. Not being able to actually make anything. The Lord Mayor has set aside money for start ups around Sydney; in my own Surry Hills I’m surrounded by Lord Mayoral Seedlings, in the cheap real estate once sweat shops for the dead fashion industry.
You know that bit in Dead Calm where Sam Neill is working the bilge pump in the ghost ship, but the water just keeps on rising? Yeah, the Creative Industry.
Homoeopathic remedy that one – there’s a process that concentrates wealth with a few individuals, so what we’ll do is pay people to join in. Then maybe it will trickle down.
It’s better here than anywhere else. Boats keep arriving full of desperate people mixed with the few that sent their cash ahead of time. Our Prime Minster elect has vowed that he personally will don budgie smugglers, swim out and drag them all back to Indonesia. Boats are coming faster knowing that he’s crazy enough to do just that.
(There’s easier ways to climb on board if you’re cashed up enough, just study ‘The Creative Industry’ at Kunst Kamp for long enough and you get your visa. That’s my contribution to the whole dampness.)
The part I’m curious about is when everything has closed down to the extent that people can’t order anything from Amazon no matter how much the price is squeezed down. That is, what happens when you have a super efficient trawler and all the fish are gone. You’re fucked, just as much as all the smaller businesses that you wore down. What I’m interested in is at what point the conglomerates realise that is the final outcome and if and when they will start ‘fish farms’. That is, some kind of ‘trickle down’ or private dole system (depending on your religious convictions) so that there’s some customers still left. If I was running one of these cyber trawlers, I’d be starting NOW.
The creaking noise is coming from up ahead, just to the right.