Sunday, 27 June 2010

State of Change Part Eight: Cuba Street Improv

Ah, Cuba Street! This, of course, was written years ago when Cuba Street was still (just) clinging to its boho vibe. Midnight Espresso was run by lunatics, the Working Men's Club operated out of that disgusting old hotel (the name of which I've forgotten), Mr Smiles had yet to be bull-dozed for the benefit of the motorway, the dusty empty World Trade Centre was still home to dodgy go-nowhere importers and East European trade missions. Silvios and Slowboat, Konditerei Aida (that used to advertise before the movies) and The Hole in the Wall Club. It may be hard to believe now, but the Matterhorn was once a poky little coffee shop selling sausage rolls and watery tea.

Time was, there was a line-up of second hand bookshops, and dole day could be happily spent sifting through the shelves looking for ancient artefacts at a bargain price. They've all been replaced by coffee shops now, feeding kiwi coffee snobbery (one of my old home's least appealing features, although food snobbery in general was well under weigh before I left). The Ferret bookshop still endures, as of my last visit, and I urge you to poke your nose in to its dusty, quirky wilfully anti-commercial corners to see if you can still catch a whiff of the way things were.

I guess if there's one thing I got wrong it was which way the Street would go. Obviously, I was writing about the present then, not the future, and I did understand how it was all being compromised and commodified, but little did I suspect the extent of the puke-inducing yuppie-fication that has occurred.

All of which doesn't have much to do with part eight of State of Change. Here we find Dylan at last backed into a corner and seeking a way out. What options are the left for him? Can he find a way out? Is a dignified exit still a possibility? Read on!

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