Daniel Brown, Byron Bay
Back in my early youth growing up in Mt Eliza Victoria in the ‘90s I’d secretly look up to and admire the older kids around the 18–21-year old mark because I thought of them as cool and exciting, but also respectable and smart. Plus, I remember them sticking up for me when I was being bullied several times.
I was inspired by their art, their demeanour, behaviour and their overall message. I saw very little evidence to counter my esteem. Unlike here in Byron: putting myself back in the shoes of my youthful self I see role models in the coolest possible presentation, but representing terrible values of lewd drunkenness and worse. Then, in my job, I get to tend to them, and the youth who I see first hand replicating their behaviour. They can’t escape seeing and being impacted by it, day after day, night after night, in this town that’s painted up as having some extra special integrity.
Well I gotta say, from where I’m standing, this town frowns upon itself and its substance-abuse culture, and it’s certainly failing to make anything of itself. Worse yet, it is clearly impacting on the children of the area. After all, you are your environment.