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Byron Shire
May 27, 2024

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: It’s a Sign

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The Byron Comedy Festival has had hundreds of dollars worth of legally erected signage taken. Twice! It’s happening to other events too. If you see someone taking signage down get a photo and send it to me and I’ll publish.

Someone is taking down signs.

You know who you are.

Right now, I bet you are sitting at home with a bunch of corflutes from the Byron Comedy Festival, and a bunch of other local events, feeling powerful in your sad fight against fun.

This is taking FOMO too far. I see your cunning plan.

You don’t miss out if everyone else does too.

It’s a sickness.

An obsession with ruining the enjoyment of other people.

Sign stealer, fun destroyer, you have to stop!

Update: Various public events are continually having their public signage taken down. Not sporting or community events. So it’s clearly personal. The target is little festivals or local shows. It happens on a fairly continual basis. The most recent victim of the sign Grinch is The Byron Comedy Festival.

Just so you know, this is not my festival. It’s the creation of Mel Coppin and Zara Noruzi. They aren’t corporate tycoons. They’re two local Byron women who put on a really awesome small-scale event every year. This year it’s at the Hotel Great Northern.

I’ve been helping them since they started because what they are doing is brilliant. They work really hard to bring a five-star program to town. They need people to know about their comedy event, because if people don’t go, then things don’t happen. It’s how you kill creativity. We are moving to fun extinction. Not all of us are the right market for an under 16’s netball sign-up. We need options.

In a world going digital it’s almost charming that public signage works. It’s old school. It relies on actual humans moving through space seeing a 3D printed object and clocking that something is happening. In small communities, public signage works. So is AI doing this? Some sort of digital public space phobic bot?

Fuck! Is it Mark Zuckerberg? Greedily pushing everything into his Meta empire so we can be data-harvested like people wheat? I thought he was Mr Freedom, and against takedowns.

So who is it? Is it someone from Tidy Towns? You have a choice, a couple of public signs now and then or NOTHING on. Tidiness or creativity? We do endeavour to collect signs post-event.

So is it a compliance officer at Council? Because after Zuckerberg, when it comes to blaming people for our problems, Council are high on the list. But it’s not Council either. The Byron Comedy Festival have permission from Council to exhibit their signs. And they’ve triple checked. Even Council understands the importance of supporting our local event industry. This is really a local mystery. A challenge for true crime buffs.

Just in case you don’t realise, the event industry is in crisis. Locally we have seen Splendour cancel. It’s a tough market. We are in a cost-of-living crisis. With less and less people reading print media, or print being behind paywalls, Meta changing algorithms so you have to drop a squillion to get in front of anyone who isn’t an ‘angry men’s rights’ troll. In a small community, posters and public signage is old-school but it works.

So we need your help to stop the fun bandit. The Byron Comedy Festival has had hundreds of dollars worth of legally erected signage taken. Twice! It’s happening to other events too. If you see someone taking signage down get a photo and send it to me and I’ll publish.

We need to meet the Grinch trying to steal our fun.

In the meantime, check out the Byron Comedy Festival program on byroncomedyfest.com for the event happening at The Hotel Great Northern 30, 31 May and 1 June.

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  1. What a sad person it must be who is stealing, yes ‘stealing’ rather than taking, the sinage promoting community focused events.

  2. Sign Grinch? Fun Police? Wowser?

    Or someone with a sexual kink for corflutes, p’raps?

    Spray the signs with mace and watch the thief react when he/she/it/they rub(s) his/her/its/their eyes or picks a nostril!

  3. The sign thief has also struck at our beautiful tea tree lake on tallow beach where council recently erected a sign to let visitors know it’s a traditional women’s place. The sign requested women only, and respectful behaviour, no dogs, fires… I’ve recently been saddened by seeing it turning into a party place, which just felt wrong. so was relieved to see the sign put up. And now it’s gone.

  4. Remember some years back the National party felt themselves entitled to remove other party’s election material on midnight raids. They were photographed prosecuted and fined $500 each. Another time they were seen removing the material but “No photo evidence”, witnesses, actually knew the well known serial offender, it was reported to Tweed Heads police but they refused to act against the known thief.
    It got to the point where no other political party, could put up election material in Richmond, Tweed electorate.
    You are going to set up “Farm cameras” and catch them in the act. But it will probably just be a wrist or lettuce leaf slap, like the National party received. These criminals need to be reminded there are cameras everywhere these days!


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