I know that whenever I walk in, drive through, catch a train to Sydney I see other people are seemingly happy with the city, what it offers, how it breathes. That is a state I have never quite achieved and probably never will. As I lived in the Blue Mountains since the age of 9, going down the hill always created a churning of emotions, especially when I went to university. I was always the outsider looking in and never quite knowing what I was supposed to be.
It is for this reason that I have long rebelled against what Sydney wanted from me. More specifically, what people in Sydney wanted me to accept. Whether that was to accept What Sydney Is, Mate – the primacy of property envy, the desire for the harbour, the love of beaches, an easy relationship with gambling, learning to revere advertising and other forms of vapid display, happily engaging with the swapping of lame male insults, drinking of mass produced beer bring the only way to go, that this was (almost) exclusively a rugby league town.
As I also (probably stupidly) engaged with the politics of Sydney, I also started to rebel against other forms of the contemporary Sydney of my continuing experience – that in order to be happy in politics I needed to accept one of three ways of being – I either needed to accept and embrace macho right wing union swagger; or the acceptance of the deeply held belief that accumulation of wealth and property was a more worthy goal than working towards compassion; or finally the primacy of the wealthy inner city baby boomer indulgences like NIMBYism and a desire for permanent revolution, while their acolytes clung onto those same dreams in tiny rental spaces.
So it has come to be that I am just right now passing through that rebellion, exiting that desire to thrash against the consensus of Sydney. It’s much too tiring and pointless. In addition, there’s many good and intriguing parts of the Sydney experience that I have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy. That’s what these blog posts will be about.