Teenage boys on the bus this morning:

— The first half is it’s like gold. It would be a good CD to listen to on like, um, a tape or something, you know with two sides, so you could just –

— Listen to the first half and then –

— And then, coz the second side, you know, CBF.

I was puzzled by the last phrase, but impressed that he could think of any form of media with two sides. Then, a few blocks later, discussing a show:

— Tickets are like a hundred bucks so I’m not going. I mean at that price I CBF.

That’s when I worked it out. This is an impressive development in laconic contempt: he not only couldn’t be fucked, but he couldn’t be fucked actually saying ‘couldn’t be fucked’.

So that it’s not all apathy and me whinging about it, here’s an optimistic story from earlier in the week about Kensington Street, next door to the old Kent Street brewery in Chippendale: the developer wants to make the derelict terraces and warehouses available for free to artists while they are demolishing the offices on the other side of the street.

Kensington St

I lived in Kensington Street from 1994 to 2001, in the terrace above, which hasn’t been re-let since I moved out. It had very high levels of lead in the paint and dust, which is why we moved. The whole street belonged to Carlton United Breweries at the time, and although they were good landlords, they really CBF doing anything with the properties beyond routine maintenance. So once a building got major problems, like lead, or the single-story terrace up the street which had begun shearing in half whenever a truck went past, it was locked up and abandoned.

Kensington St

Although this policy of neglect was what had allowed me to move there in the first place, I thought it was a shame that the street was falling apart. I guess the extremely low rents were a sort of arts patronage: my wife’s film business depended on it and there were a few other artists living there. I am very happy that someone actually could be fucked to do something creative and interesting with it.

The terraces are heritage listed; the developer is planning to turn the street into a bar-and-restaurant precinct. I have a reflexive response which tells me that this will be ghastly but I know that it comes from the same place that makes people say they couldn’t be fucked. So I’m ignoring it.


4 responses to “CBF

  1. I remember when I lived in Sydney (Redfern St. 1995-1999) often walking past Kensington Steet and thinking ‘Old Sydney’: like Poor Man’s Orange and Robert Dickerson paintings. Sad to think it will become “a bar-and-restaurant precinct” but then (as you say) CBF was always a problem in Sydney.

  2. davidgnichols

    Re: the tape, my problem with most CDs is I CBF listening to most of them anyway. Presumably these boys CBF taking/turning off the CD half way through, or they CBF thinking about when to turn it off.

    Re: the street. Surely the point is that the developer can BF making a big fat return on his/her/its investment and the street will, in turn, BF.

  3. Jim: yeah it did have that feel to it. Also, it was around 98-99 that the old Dairy Co-op office block at the end of the street re-opened as apartments: the average income of the street then went up, which allowed a thriving drug ecology to establish itself. This gave the place a touch of 80s nostalgia as well.

    David: the street was already pretty much F as a place to live when I left, and has gone downhill since. I don’t think that anything the developers can do to it will be much worse than what the brewery did by allowing it to fall apart.

    The really depressing thing, I realised on the weekend, is that I thought this was an optimistic story even though the role it proposes for artists is basically interstitial. Apparently that’s the best we can do for artists in today’s inner city Sydney – let em occupy a space for a few months, like a remaindered bookstore in an unoccupied shopfront on Pitt St.

  4. Pingback: More Kensington St « Nannygoat Hill

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