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Byron Shire
February 4, 2023

Here & Now #84 Child in Time

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Here & Now 84 picS Sorrensen

Lismore. Saturday, 10.15pm

Oh Lismore, is this all we have to offer our young people?

Three girls, barely 18, and dressed like gansters’ molls, sit with their drinks in front of them and swipe away at their phones.

The din of a heavy metal band playing Deep Purple in another room makes conversation impossible, even here. Small knots of young adults huddle together in noisy silence, their faces lit by their phones, waiting for whatever it is that is supposed to happen when you’re an adult.

Is this all there is?

This booze barn is an alcohol dealership aimed squarely at the youth of Lismore.

The girls sit, expressionless, botoxed by boredom, checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and today’s selfies.

With all that has happened in this area – the spiritual evolution, the alternative lifestyle, the artistic aethestic, the revolution for God’s sake! – it has come to this?

Of course, older people like me would never come here.

Except I did. I don’t know why… a mental lapse, I guess.

I’d had an excellent meal at an Indian restaurant down the road, and then because of the early hour and my fond recollections of a distant time when Lismore CBD on a Saturday night was a pretty cool place to be, I decided to search out an after-dinner drink in downtown Lismore. Mistake.

Back in the day, I occasionally frequented Lismore pubs. That was a while ago – before pokies were beamed into pubs like money-gobbling aliens, and before DJs became stars because they could turn on the stereo. (Woohoo.)

Back then, in another world, before citizens were considered threats to society, and towns were for people, every pub had a band and the streets were alive with young people.

Now, the streets belong to drunks and cops.

When I arrived at the hotel door, some bloke in a synthetic two-tone collared t-shirt (black and purple) with ‘security’ embroided on the pocket, demanded ID from me.

‘Why?’ I asked.

“Because it’s the rule,” he said.

It’s pretty bloody obvious I’m over 18. My hair is whiter than Australian politics. (I’m old enough to remember when phones stayed at home on a leash.) Yesterday, a check-out woman at Woolies called me ‘dear’.

But, hey, I gave him my driver’s licence.

He didn’t even check the birth date. He pushed the licence into a wireless EFTPOS looking thing – and stared at its screen, obviously checking out my credit rating, my criminal record, my recent travel destinations, my DVD rental history, and the results of my urine test.

With a nod, he allowed me into his hallowed establishment.

It’s a sad place. Dark, except for televisions and advertising. In the flashing shadows, the young adults drink till closing time. An older bloke, a former young person, sways through this Saturday night binge, beer in hand, stopping occasionally to teeter in front of the big screen and to check out the girls at the table.

Why do we abandon our younger citizens?

Dark Night is a long way from home.

This is the age of child abuse.

Like fat pigs, we elders wallow in the remnants of a wealth stolen from the future. We toxify the next generation’s water, warm their planet, fill their ocean with plastic, their brains with junk, and our bellies with the last tuna.

We laden the young with debt because they need an education. We violate them with religion. We rip them from their mothers if they’re black. We send them to prison camps if they’re foreign. We line them up, take their details, fill them with booze, and tell them to behave themselves.

Look, I love Lismore.

But Lismore CBD on a Saturday night? No place for young people.



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  1. Ah, but if there is a possibility of money being made out of our young people –
    businessmen have no scruples. I hope they go broke – that is their worst fear.

  2. Hmmm, is there anything worse than some old hippie full of himself telling young people how miserable everything is now compared to back in the day? Try and write something positive for once hey!

    Your getting old and the life force is running out. The young people you saw in the pub were on the edge of their seats with anticipation at what life will throw at them next, but you couldn’t see it.

    I like your writing though.


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