Canberra Confidential: Neon sign language

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LAST week’s story of the continuing sad state of the heritage-listed, old  Starlight Drive-in sign, currently sitting unloved and awaiting repair in a Fyshwick depot, reminded one reader of a Las Vegas attraction called the Neon Museum. 

“They house all the old neon signs that are no longer in use there, it’s really cool,” she says. “Maybe ‘CityNews’ needs to start one up in Canberra!” And another reader sensibly suggests the sign should be refurbished and placed at the front of the National Film and Sound Archive. Now we’re talking!

Meanwhile, the infield of Randwick Racecourse in Sydney will be transformed into a 450-car, drive-in cinema for three months from May. The season of 40 sessions every weekend to the end of July will screen classics, latest releases and themed content on the 20m x 16m screen.

Tickets will be available from April at

Dom heads back
to the boards

THIS week in the departure lounge… the czar of the Tuggeranong Arts Centre, director Domenic Mico, pictured, is stepping down after four years (this term; he was there for 20 years before heading up the Multicultural Festival for 13, then back to Tuggers).

Nothing untoward, he says, just an urge to do something more creative than politics and paperwork. And creative he will be, with the board cleverly offering this icon of community arts a year-long, part-time contract to direct shows at the centre after his reign ends in July. He’s open to offers…

Power outage

AFTER a decade as CEO, Prue Power, pictured, is discharging herself from the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association to do “other things”.

Prue Power
Prue Power
The doyen of healthcare and an influential lobbyist, she is going to leave a big hole in the organisation that she has, to channel Lulu (in “To Sir with Love”), taken from crayons to perfume.

She reckons she’s still got time to be a famous artist, but her board work with the University of Canberra’s governing council and HESTA, the superannuation fund, will doubtless take easel time.

Gonged a year ago for “service to community health as an advocate for equity and access to healthcare services, to the development of professional standards, and to nursing”, CC wonders how long it will be before Ms Power AM is back on a ward, so to speak.

Grey to black

AND to finish this week’s roll call, media manager Robyn Zwar has “parted ways” with Grey advertising agency after nine years. Despite her becoming something of a media personality and making an “enormous contribution”, Grey Canberra GM Tony Mansfield says the Fyshwick-based agency is off in a new direction, replacing her with a media and digital strategist.

Direct action

LOYAL Canberra Times Direct customer goes to renew her subscription online. For pedantic reasons too complicated to unpack here, the payment is rejected. She gets a call to tell her. No matter, the customer pays by credit card on the spot. Next, another call from Fyshwick gently telling her to cough up. I’ve paid. Well, it’s not on your account. A second check and there’s a call to say they have now “located” the payment (it was lost?) but then comes the customer service coup de grace, the paper would be taking “no further action” – that’s right, against a client trying to pay them.

Grounded seafarer

AT sea at the airport… Canberra’s most distinguished sailor, Erik Adriaanise, of the Independent Property Group, tells a heroic story of marital dedication by passing on the late-night crew celebration on winning their class after the last Sydney to Hobart to head straight to the airport to make sure he was on the early morning flight to Canberra to join his wife at the coast for a New Year’s Eve knees-up.
Trouble was, Hobart airport was closed and, with five hours to kill, he slipped on three layers of warm, sailing gear and kipped on the pavement, disturbed only by a garbage truck and a curious police patrol. He caught the plane, drove to the coast, went to the party and made it, just, to the stroke of midnight.


WHICH Canberra PR identity is fast earning the reputation of “The Devil Wears Prada?” We don’t know either, but our mysterious informant says that after being nominated for a local business award, “The Devil” demanded that the awards’ caller prove her identity as well as telling her to get to the point!

CC’s certain the irrepressible Laurie McDonald, of Canberra Furnished Apartments, blushed when we overheard her confiding to someone at a cocktail party that she has big plans for something new this year.

YOU can get anything you want, excepting Alice… veteran American singer Arlo Guthrie managed to complete his affable performance at a full house at the Woden Southern Cross Club sans his signature tune “Alice’s Restaurant”. What wasn’t apparent from the advertising (which rattled on about “AR”) was that the show was dedicated to the centenary of his late father, the legendary Woody Guthrie.

WITH prose as purple as their packaging, Cadbury introduces its new-look, chocolate Easter bunny as “a symbol of love and generosity and will help Cadbury deliver magic to families.” Magic? We’d like to see them prove that to the ACCC.

SPOTTED: Angry public servant screaming at Civic shop owner to open her store 10 minutes earlier so he can buy some “stress balls”. Obviously they work for someone.

CC was delighted to receive a renewal to the Palace Cinema club that promised continual annual membership “of just 0 (or 0 for two years)”. Brilliant value, the blank cheque’s in the mail.

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