Canberra Confidential: Summertime Blues

IT’S a cruel, cruel summer with news the Civic pool’s top diving board is closed and won’t be coming back.

A source at the pool told CC they permanently closed it at the end of last summer because of “too many spinal injuries”. For those wanting to make a splash this summer, you’ll be pleased to know the other diving boards are still good to go.

Snapper Silas Brown, camera cocked, turned up to take a picture of the banned diving board and was politely told to bunk off. “I wouldn’t have let me in, either,” he mused philosophically.

Nevertheless he did spot the 1965 photo of the pool, untroubled by shade nor nearby buildings, pictured.

No one was using the top diving board that day, either.

Hot times at the Press Club

CEO Greg Jones and the “CityNews” crew win the title of Hottest Party in Town.

As the fabulous girl-group The Stilettos were taking their curtain call at the paper’s end-of-year knees up for clients, columnists and contributors at the swanky, refurbished National Press Club, insistent fire alarms overwhelmed the adulation.

“To the street,” came the killjoy command, but not before fleeing partygoers were given the life-or-death choice at the exit door of sculling any drinks because, strangely in mid-emergency, the glassware had to be surrendered to the friendly and efficient staff, who presumably were poised to bravely douse any flames with discarded wine.

Mercifully, the firies arrived in a heated rush, to the conspicuous delight of a gaggle of swooning tweeters, sniffed around, declared the emergency over and killed the party stone dead!

Pub with no cheer

THE popular, loveable, legendary, seven-day-a-week Civic pub King O’Malley’s is performing an unnatural act and closing its beer taps for a fortnight over the festive season.

Publican Peter Barclay describes the decision to thumb a nose at the New Year and close the pub – for the first time in 10 years – as a loin-girding break for its 30 staff before the Centenary year onslaught, when O’Malley’s plans to be a social focal point with the promise of extended kitchen hours (til midnight) to allow performers, patrons and the public ready access to food and drink.

The pub reopens on January 7.

Guffaws at the gallery

A SENIOR NGA marketer has been having a chuckle at “CityNews” arts editor Helen Musa’s wonderful cover story on the gallery’s Lautrec blockbuster that quotes the curator as saying the artist is often exhibited for the popular showpieces only, “but not in a penetrating manner… many people know nothing of his early work”.

Given that tertiary syphilis – clearly a result of his penetrating manner – contributed to poor Henri’s demise in 1901, the double entendre seems to be drawing some knowing smiles.
Tunnel vision for Civic?

SO, what’s in the report on Civic redevelopment that Arts Minister Joy Burch is sitting on? Cultural Facilities Corporation chairman John Hindmarsh says his board has seen it and, paraphrasing, were bug-eyed with excitement.

When CC trickily congratulated CFC CEO Harriet Elvin on her new theatre, it was met with a witheringly thin smile and a patient response: “Oh, that’s not going to happen for a long, long time”.

Well, she didn’t deny it and while there’s no kiss-and-telling there, CC heard at a cocktail party (as you do) the vision thing is that Northbourne Avenue is to be realigned into a tunnel under Vernon Circle and the area between the iconic Sydney and Melbourne Buildings will house new theatres – three of them. If we’re right, you read it here first; if not, we’re going to shoot the whisperer.

Unintended consequences

WHEN local law firms Bradley Allen Lawyers (BAL) recently merged with Williams Love & Nicol (WLN) they created Bradley Allen Love Lawyers. CC bumped into a competing legal eagle around town who brightly pointed out the new entity’s unwitting acronym. “Add an S,” he chortled, disappearing down the stairwell.

Awards bust

THE email titled: “Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Awards Ceremony” caught CC’s jaded eye. They’re rewarding drug users? This will get regular “CityNews” letter writer Collis Parrett fizzing, we mused. But it was not to be. The press-release was about MLA Chris Bourke back-slapping individuals for outstanding contributions to improve the lot of people affected by alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Well, well, Hotel Hotel

“WE prefer punk to posh” is the promise of Canberra’s newest hotel, opening in Nishi building, NewActon, in March. Curiously called Hotel Hotel – “a place for People People”, it’s what its website describes as a “three-year collaboration of designers, artists, artisans and fantasists.”

Owned and operated by the Nishi developers, the Molonglo Group, its 99 rooms – “some cosy, some roomy, some meandering” – will feature “textures and patinas that remind us of the bush, big trees, well-worn T-shirts and weathered old men”. Weathered old men?

Anyway, they say they love hotels, “not for the swank but for reminding us of our transience and our need for romance. Hotels, like great cafes and bars, connect us to people and the places they occupy. They help us find meaning in simple interactions with one another.”


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