There’s a new groove in the neighbourhood and it feels so … disconcerting.
If you have been living under a revitalisation rock, you may have missed the news that Newcastle is pretty groovy.
But not in a “yeah baby” way.
Its vibe is more “whoahhhhhh baby”.
If you are spectacularly uncoordinated like me, groovy is not fab.
Especially when the groove is underfoot. Or under-wheel, as shown by signs that have appeared around Honeysuckle warning cyclists to steer clear of the light rail groove.
There’s nothing like the sight of a hapless stick figure being shot like an Exocet missile from its eco-friendly ride to remind us we aren’t in Kansas anymore.
These are the mean streets.
To be honest, I don’t need a groove or a bicycle when I go a-trippin’. The only things I need for the mis-timed magic to happen are shoes with a modest heel, a slightly uneven surface and a momentary lapse of concentration. These three elements came together one afternoon recently as I tried to dodge a bollard and hooked my foot on the gutter.
I came a gutsa just outside the Super KFC.
I was the chicken that couldn’t quite cross the road.
Funnily enough, the only person who bothered to ask if I was OK was a bloke on a bicycle. I said I was fine but warned him, in an over-dramatic fashion, to mind the groove, while gesturing darkly at the catapulting cyclist sign.
Actually, Mind the Groove could be Newcastle’s new slogan. It’s catchy, like London’s Mind the Gap.
As demonstrated by recent mishaps involving a bus and the odd hatchback, the groove doesn’t discriminate. Everyone, and everything, is vulnerable.
This year’s Newcastle 500 proved also that it is possible for a city to be too groovy. Apparently groovy can turn to gruesome in a split second when you are travelling at more than 200 kmh.
Supercars like to play it smooth.
Now they’re gone, we are back to groovy.
I guess it’s not the worst vibe, and no doubt the streets will become safer when we get into the groove by staying out of the groove.
After all, I think we are stuck with it.
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