Keep it Beautiful, Eh?
October 21 2019
I curl an incredulous lip every time I see those fatuous words ‘Keep it beautiful’ when referring to this place -- and in particular this dirty, overcrowded, overpriced town. Thick pools of vomit on the pavements, phone booths with smashed glass, cyclists shooting past you on pavements with their how-dare-you-get-in-my-way expressions, the rise of graffiti and meaningless sticky adverts attached to road signs and traffic lights and elsewhere, parking spots becoming as rare as hen’s teeth, more and more angry car horns blaring, fists waving out of windows, pedestrians weaving across the road against obvious red lights, ignoring traffic whizzing past them as they stare into their ever-present cellphones in case they miss yet another ‘Hi,’ New York-like traffic queues jamming the town centre even at midday, the spectre of cars without any lights on heading your way in the night, supermarket staff who don’t speak to you or even acknowledge your presence except to point to the EFTPOS machine, yet more hotels and apartments creating yet more competition for the parking crumbs that remain, tourists pulling suitcases while walking on Fernhill Road, oblivious to the fact that cars might share the road, Queenstown Gardens so choc-full of bikes and skateboards streaking up and down, it’s impossible to find a quiet spot to sit and read. The way this town is going – “like a pressure cooker,” one person described it recently, you need to be Spiderman to get from A to B in one piece. As for the road back to Queenstown from Frankton, even Spiderman’s patience would be stretched to the limit.