two important things to help

a few of things suck right now:

1. the massive earthquake in haiti.

that fuckin’ sucks. the place is in a total mess, millions of people are dead, dying, wounded, grieving, homeless, desperate, scared and isolated.

i’ve done two important things to help: given extra money to medecins sans frontieres to help with medical supplies and staff (they’re my particular favourite charity, but i’m sure you’ve all got yours that you give money to regularly);

shown gratitude for my amazing life. it seems not quite right to whinge about stuff when there are others who are having a gnarly time of it right now.

2. the tote is closing down.

The Tote, Collingwood, Victoria.

ok, read that bit again, above, where i say that it’s hard to whinge, etc.

i realise that the tote hasn’t collapsed in on itself and collingwood isn’t the epicentre of an earthquake. but, on a local scale, this sucks and i just have to write about it.

for those who don’t know melbourne, the tote hotel is a pub and music venue that has been in the back streets of working-class melbourne for the last 30 years or so. it has been a consistent supporter of underground music that whole time – hosting a ridiculous amount of local and international acts, not to mention people, that has helped make melbourne the kind of place that it is.

my favourite Tote Quote is from an old friend, Ray Ahn:

“I always liked the Tote because it has always been full of good looking well dressed people with immaculate taste. I felt honoured to be among such rock n roll illuminaries. As a Sydneysider I always felt under dressed and daggy there but I always learnt something from there whether it be a sideburn here, a pointy boot there.

And the pinball machine instead of poker machines (Sydney pubs are full of one armed bandits and as an oriental, I can never resist them) is a classy touch.

Well done Tote and thank you”

the state government, in their enlightened crack-down on drunk fuckheads, has decided that, because there have been brawls between bouncers and bogans in the CBD, that a pub with a license until 2am in collingwood (about 10kms away) is deemed ‘high risk’ and needs a heftier licence. one more like the ridiculously unsafe, but state-supported casino has. which costs a ridiculous amount of money and which has forced the owners to close.

i don’t know a lot about running a pub, but i know a fair bit about alcoholism and violence. believe me, the tote is not the cause of violence in the city. this weekend is the last weekend and there is pretty much a round-the-clock vigil-type atmosphere happening.

i’ll be doing two important things to help: writing to my local MP (not to mention posting a blog) and voicing my displeasure; and then going to the pub and paying my respects/showing my solidarity. for a place that has supported my musical taste, created a safe place for me (a single, white female) to go out late at night and shown commitment to music culture in melbourne.

3. police search powers have increased.

due to said crack-down on drunk fuckheads, police powers to search without a warrant have been extended to include ‘blitzes’ on geographical areas that have a history of violence, including ‘train stations and city blocks’.

these blitzes are only allowed to be 12 hours’ long and must be ‘advertised’ 7 days in advance, but they still provide cops with a blanket search.

this means that there is no specific suspicion of illegal activity – they’re looking for weapons and drugs across the board, just in case. it’s like a pre-emptive strike for civility. and i can tell you, they’re not going to be racially profiling anyone. nope, not our victorian police.

and when did this new law get passed? 16th december. that’s right kids, when all the politicians are home having christmas with their kids, or overseas getting the fuck out for a while.

i’m going to do two important things: write about it (tick). as an artist in public, i’m concerned about my right to actually be in public. you know, without an assumption of guilt; then i’m going leave this country for a while. not yet, but soon. it’s all getting a bit weary, so i’m going to go to an ex-nazi state to get away from this proto-nazi state.

i also wanted to write about the lempriere being swallowed sculpture by the sea, but that can wait.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

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