Are laneways the key to Brisbane’s creative growth?
For the last few years there’s been a lot of talk about the prospect of opening up some of Brisbane’s ‘hidden’ laneways, to give our city’s cultural credentials a bit of a shot in the arm.
This short video, put together but a group of Brisbane uni students, poses that idea to various members of the weekend Valley crowd, and, I’ve got to admit, their answers are actually kind of embarrassing.
A key theme running through most of the responses is this -
Brisbane has no culture, and although there is a lot of potential, Melbourne is so much better, so maybe if we had laneway parties too we could be super cool and hip, just like Melbourne.
Of course! It’s all so obvious now. All we need to do is get some tallies and go listen to dudes with dreads play in a laneway, and all our cultural backwater problems will be solved. Look out, New York City, Brisbane has laneway parties!
No. It’s bullshit. Firstly, don’t trust people who say Brisbane has no culture. They are the ones who fill RG’s and ‘The Barrow’ every weekend and dance to Top40 remixes. If people want culture, go to the Judith Wright Centre, or to the Queensland Ballet, or to The Waiting Room, or to the Brisbane Jazz Club, or to the Queensland Centre for Photography, or to the Gallery or Modern Art, or to the back of Jamie’s Cafe, or to a RollerDerby bout, or just talk to some of the buskers in the Valley, or the homeless, or the cabbies.
As for the actual laneway idea, it’s not laneways that make a city more creative or more ‘cultural’, it’s an acceptance of creativity in all its myriad forms, which fosters a stronger community of artists and creators and allows fringe communities to not only survive, but thrive. This is what Melbourne has. Their famous ‘laneway culture’ is just an extension of a more broad culture of creative acceptance. If Brisbane wants to emulate some of Melbourne’s creative capital, then we need to open up more than just our laneways.