Sunday, August 3, 2008

Crime, I'll give you crime - Josh Fraser as a ruckman, that's a crime

So at the party yesterday crime came up, after the girl with the netball skirt had finally stopped talking about her boyfriends commitment to the Olympic movement. It seems everyone has a crime story at the moment, and for some reason it all seems to involve someone walking through Salamanca and then getting a punch in the face. Obviously after certain incidents on a bus and girls in suitcases, everyone feels completely on edge, but if you read the Mercury right now Hobart is in disarray and everyone is unsafe to walk the streets bar they'll get a punch in the shnoz and have their bike stolen. This was discussed at great length by the party goers yesterday, while I sat in the corner of wherever we were, staring longingly at the see-saw in the middle distance and lamenting that fact that if I ran over and had a go on it, I'm now too old to be considered charming for doing it and obviously would be considered a paedophile. However, I am, despite officially now adding having my head cut off on a bus to my 100 greatest fears, here to tell everyone that Hobart is perfectly and completely safe. Sure, there are dickheads here, but trust me, the biggest crime down here is the performance of the Devils in the I right I right...

Being a victim of crime is obviously pretty horrendous - I've had 150 bucks stolen off me, and just recently a mobile phone. The money was stolen from me in the first few weeks I lived in my share house, and I was absolutely furious, to the point of over dramatic tears. I guess the frustrating thing was, that I had no idea who took the money, and I probably never will. Although we learned who it was later in the year when one of the housemates (can I say that? Is that too Big Brother?) started stealing pairs of jeans that were 28 times too small for her and Alanis Morrisette Cds (we never said thieves had taste). I've never been mugged though, and it seems if you believe anxious party goers who think rock music is a bad thing and damn punk kids are just out to cause trouble, the streets of Hobart are no place to walk at night. Which is clearly rubbish as, say, compared to late night Melbourne, we're a paradise on earth. Saying Hobart is a crime riddled gangster fest is like saying Josh Fraser is a ruckman - you could possibly get away with saying it if you twisted the facts and exagerrated them, but it's still a massive stretch. In fact, the story in the paper that a car was rammed all the way down Davey Street just seems to be absolutely implausible. Do you know, I've lived here for 11 years, and I've been awkwardly approached (apart from girls chatting me up...I'm sure that happened, oh, once?) by just one stranger, and far from trying to steal my wallet, he in fact gave me one of the greatest pieces of wisdom I've ever had from a park bench stranger - and if I was sober at the time, I'd remember what it was. And the last group of strangers I saw took me under their wing and took me drinking with them to some pub in North Hobart. They might have been about to drug me and take my wallet, but it's Hobart, it's highly unlikely. Come one, come all I say. Leave your guns at home. No need for them.

No, we're a friendly city down here, and while I'm sure there is at least some crime, I've never ever seen any, not a punch thrown (apart from bouncers at Syrup), not a kick, not a stabbing, nothing. Well, that's not strictly true, obviously the bouncer at Syrup punched me - but hey, that's like saying the sun comes up in the morning with those cheeky chaps. Other than that, there was a lovely Xmas moment, where a guy was trying to get into The Quarry (and believe me, that place will get it's own post) past a bouncer with short man syndrome. In fairness, I don't think anyone deserves to have their ears flicked. The drunk guy decided the best way to get into The Quarry was to engage the bouncer in a little friendly ear flicking, some air shadow boxing, and singing Kelly Clarkson songs to him really loudly. There was thick tension in the air, and it wasn't just that the thought that perhaps the Santa Claus in the Centrepoint Arcade might have been enjoying having kids sitting on his knee a bit too much. Eventually, Tom and Jerry style, the bouncer snapped and began chasing the man all over Salamanca, up and down, while the drunk guy yelled "YEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAWWWWWWW" in ecstatic fashion. Of course, were this a real Tom and Jerry situation, eventually the bouncer would ran headlong into a frying pan, but this was real life, and of course, the bouncer caught him and beat the living bejesus out of him. It's fair enough I suppose - who sings Kelly Clarkson songs in this day and age? At least get up to last year and sing a Rihanna song...

I think though, in fairness, we've all been on edge since THAT day at Port Arthur. Although, if you want to know more about my disbelief in the Catholic Church, the priest in charge of our school the day after Port Arthur thanked God at our mass for, quote, "giving us a punishment we deserve" - he just didn't have a press agent to claim he was misquoted, Sam Newman style. That was when I lived in Burnie, and I can remember far more crime in Burnie than I can in Hobart - the amount of money White Man Can't Reggae charged to book them for parties for one thing. I've written before about the park in Penguin where you could buy anything you wanted after 10pm, where as in Burnie, after 10pm you could lose anything you wanted from a loose assortment of muggers and young punk kids. However, thinking back on it, it was still alright, you just couldn't hang around the caterpillar late at night, or about West Park, that kind of area, but you could safely get a kebab or talk to the homeless at Roelf Vos, that kind of thing was fine. However, when I did live in Burnie, the real crime was the amount of pointless BBQs I had to go to (hey, like yesterday, that brings the post full circle). At one of these BBQs, a long, long time ago, crime had come up, a different generation of punk kids were being blamed for things (I suppose Silverchair were to blame back then, not The Ting Tings) and a man put down his steak, looked down the barrel of his imaginary camera, and said quite seriously "The trouble with the kids today...they don't get to go ferreting". At which point, point made, he went back to his steak, content that the world had been put to rights, leaving everyone quite utterly stunned.

I wonder what that guy would make of Parramore, or Josh Fraser, or the kid who tried to set someones hair on fire in the mall...probably take them man.

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