Welsh / Spinning the pink dollar round the rainbow roundabout

Keeping the pressure on … a billboard at Canberra Airport. Photo by Mike Welsh

THE “Yes” result in the SSM postal survey, repeatedly described by PM Malcolm Turnbull as a “hugely historic moment”, has transformed a common roundabout in a former used-car precinct of Canberra into a major intersection of social change.

Mike Welsh

Mike Welsh.

The rainbow roundabout at Lonsdale and Elouera Streets, Braddon – the hipster HQ of Australia’s gayest city – is a marketer’s dream. Poets and minstrels won’t flock to Braddon as they did to the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco in the ’60s, but the pink dollar will certainly flow into the tills of local traders.

IT would seem a healthy cynicism still exists when it comes to pledges by politicians. Despite the emphatic “Yes” vote in the SSM postal survey, the widely praised “Yes” campaign conducted by Canberra Airport has been significantly ramped up. Just in case they’ve already forgotten, an electronic billboard at the entrance to the airport has a strong reminder: “WE SAID YES TO EQUALITY. Politicians get it done”.

STILL at the airport, a local woman has been left wondering about its security when 20 minutes after leaving the terminal she realised she’d left her backpack behind. Returning, she was able to review CCTV footage that revealed an unknown male approach her luggage, unzip and inspect its contents – including a pair of $600 headphones – and then walk out of the building with the backpack. Problem is the footage ends once the opportunistic thief walked through the airport’s doors providing no further clues as to his identity.

MLA Caroline Le Couteur wants to cleanse the capital of “loud” billboards. The Greens member for Murrumbidgee is keen for a Canberra denuded of the “visual” pollution that apparently comes with advertising hoardings.

The message from a recent ACT Legislative Assembly inquiry into billboards was loud and clear, she says: “We want fewer not more. This is the message of all but six of the 166 submissions to the inquiry and the nearly 800 people who signed a petition opposing billboards.”

AND “screaming” from a billboard soon may be the message that Ned & Josh – a couple of lads from the West – are taking over the Hit 104.7 breakfast slot suddenly vacated by Ryan Jon and Tanya Hennessy recently. The new duo armed with “sharp wits and down-to-earth personalities” debuts on December 4 becoming the fourth on-air team since 2015 to coax sleepy Canberrans from their slumber.

STILL with “visual pollution” and that greater blot on the landscape: graffiti.

Colourful murals mostly enhance the city but then there’s the amateurish scrawl growing like a filthy moss on fences and buildings from one end of the city to the other. Though a small victory was reported recently when a notorious but non-creative northside tagger caught on CCTV was presented with “an offer he couldn’t refuse” by a business owner. The tag was removed by the tagger.

A QUEANBEYAN man and his shed are the envy of men with sheds all round the nation. Chris Tregea, 62, is included in “The Block’s” Scotty Cam’s book “Scotty’s Top Aussie Sheds”. Chris’s shed was built in the early ’90s at the back of his new home to provide a space for him to restore ’20s and ’30s stationary engines. The retired electronics technician says: “You can do things that you wouldn’t normally do in the house”… such as “spray painting petrol tanks”.

OUT Yass way after the dust had settled from the rodeo and the cowboys had disappeared into the night locals were left grappling with the correct pronunciation of the word “rodeo”. Such was the angst in the village that the “Yass Tribune” ran an online poll on the accepted/correct way to pronounce the popular Wild West event. At last check, “roh-dee-o was far more acceptable at almost 73 per cent whipping roh-day-o” on 27 per cent.

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