Mark Latham says he wants to move to Newcastle. I'm not sure which suburb is in his sights, but I'll have a stab: Bar Beach? Merewether? The Junction?
He's probably not looking at an apartment overlooking the working harbour as it's a bit busy, even at night. Terrible, those sounds of a harbour. Working hard. Supporting the nation and the neglected NSW capital. But we are told Sydney desperately needs another stretch of overpriced motorway. Maybe it needs the cash to replace another perfectly fine stadium? Another hospital? Casino?
It sounds as though Latham has practically moved in, so I'll call him Latho.
Maybe Latho will move to an apartment overlooking Newcastle Beach? Maybe he has been surprised to learn that "Newcastle has great beaches"?
What he probably hasn't heard is that Novocastrians are so fed up with hearing this that we are close to igniting our frighteningly large personal stockpiles of Jim Beam in a dramatic re-enactment of the Star riot.
A lot of new residents to Newcastle will probably not know about the long-simmering resentment that exists in our fine city and region about the, let's say, quaintly surprised observances usually uttered by those fresh off the F3 (sometimes referred to as the M1 Pacific Motorway).
It's fair to say that newbies who are surprised by our smashing coastline will never know how boring they are being. This is because their Newcastle mates are probably too polite to point out to them that they seem to be embarrassingly ignorant about any place north of Hornsby or south of the Southern Highlands.
We are close to igniting our frighteningly large personal stockpiles of Jim Beam in a dramatic re-enactment of the Star riot.
I thought my blanket assessment of Sydneysiders was unfair, until I worked in Sin City's CBD years ago. I rented a "studio" in Waverley, in the east. The only reason I agreed to rent the tiny hell hole was that it was a walk to Bronte Beach. Bronte Park reminded me of King Edward Park and the beach had an ocean baths. It was nice enough but, inevitably, I had to move back to Newcastle because I was driven nuts by years of stupid questions about that mysterious city to the north.
It was baffling, because my Sydney workmates weren't idiots. They were smart, except when it came to geography. They'd often ask where I grew up and I'd say "The Hunter, in Lake Macquarie actually. But for the past decade or so I have lived in Newcastle". But, for some reason, the only thing they heard was "Port Macquarie".
I got sick of saying "Not Port Macquarie, Lake Macquarie, you know the whopping great coastal lake about two hours drive north?" The next day I was asked again about Port Macquarie.
It was like talking to a New Yorker about Brooklyn. Brooklyn, NY, not Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury River ... ah, forget it.
I blew my biscuit one day when a workmate asked me "what's the weather and ocean temperature like in Newcastle compared with Sydney?". My answer (excuse the overuse of exclamation marks, but I was yelling a bit) was: "It's the same! The goddamn same! Sometimes there's a few degrees difference, but it's usually the bloody same! For the love of Des Hart!".
So, at the risk of Latho thinking I'm being condescending (which could lead to him threatening me with an unnecessarily aggressive handshake) here is a simple guide for potential Newy newbies. It's called Things we have in Newcastle that shouldn't surprise you.
1. Great coffee (made by people of Greek, Italian, Turkish, French, Vietnamese, German, etc. descent).
2. Fab food (we have many fine wining/dining experiences. The wine might even come from another region, or country).
3. Cafe/dining strips. Darby and Beaumont streets have been humming along way before the term "Eat Street" was brought to the table.
4. A sophisticated world outlook. Novocastrians/Hunter people love travel, both domestic (beyond Sydney) and international.
5. A full arts scene. Our gallery can barely contain the city's outstanding art collection.
Look, we don't mind new residents moving in, just be cool.
Simply accept that you are in a much better place.
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IN THE NEWS:
- $7.25 million sale at 38 John Parade, Merewether sets new record for Newcastle
- Car slams into unit complex at Glendale, residents escape injury
- Mark Latham questions in Upper House why Black Lives Matter, gender equality and Adam Goodes film was shown at Maitland High School
- Car plunges off cliff face at Bar Beach in Newcastle