So the words have finally come out about the potential development plans of the Cambridge Hotel, and people are, rightfully pissed. As am I. Local musos up in arms about the fact that our town’s most prominent live music venue could potentially be on the chopping block. The Cambridge Hotel posted a statement yesterday in the hope of easing the minds of punters both young and old alike, and I for one am thankful for the six years the current owners have on the lease. Because it’s all well and good that the intentions are to keep the pub and perhaps the venue functioning, if and when the apartments are to be built but hey, let’s cut the bullshit.
It would be ridiculously naive of all of us, which is why I think the anxiety level is so high particularly from the local artist community, to overlook the elephant in the room in that what type of venue will exist once the redevelopment occurs. Surely we’re kidding ourselves if we think the Cambridge Hotel, as it lives and breathes today, will serve the same function. Because unless the complex is going to be a collection of subsidised housing for students and the creative community, we’ve got a massive issue.
Sure, the bare bones of the ‘pub’ itself may remain, and if by pub you mean a boutique bar to feed and water the underworked, over retired, adult contemporary crowd, then hell you’re spot on.
What hope, do live music fans have? The youth of today, as we are so affectionately named, can barely afford our rent in the current economic climate let alone the deposit needed to secure the boutique appartments that are sure to occupy the space. The shoes off at the front door, ducted heating and holiday house in the vineyards kind of household. They have money, and unfortunately, they have the power here.
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Because all it will take, is one, teeny tiny noise complaint. One old man yelling at a cloud coming down from his penthouse on high to destroy all of the live music culture that exists inside the Cambridge Hotel and Newcastle by extension. Quotes of ‘I paid damn good money to live in the peace and quiet of the CBD and peace and quiet I will have’. We’ve already seen this happen in Sydney, the residents of the notorious “Toaster” appartments complaining about the dreadful noise pollution coming from one of Australia’s oldest and most recognisable landmarks. ‘How dare they enjoy themselves in a venue that was established well before my time,’ the residents cry out in pain. What hope do Novocastrians have?
Here’s a newsflash for you… Our ‘good old days’, which are happening now, have never once involved a massive riot, (cough 1979 cough), but hey, what fun you had, the real days of rock n roll huh? Can you at least give us some solid mediocre days of indie-punk and let us live too?
Sure, there are measures that could be put in place to sound proof the building, and tighter regulations put in place to seperate the punters from the privileged. But will ‘no talking, no laughing and definitely no having fun’ signs be placed along the street as punters make their way to and from the venue? See the same residents who are the first to reminisce and boast about about ‘the good old days’ are also the first to pick up the phone and make a noise complaint, regardless of the time and circumstance.
- You plugged a guitar into an amp after 9:00pm? – Noise complaint
- Dropped a glass by accident – Noise complaint
- Soundcheck at 6? – Noise complaint
- Put your hand break on outside their apartment? – Noise complaint
- Coughed twice in a row? – Noise complaint
You get the picture.
Basically what I’m trying to say is, don’t be fooled by the middle aged elephant in the room. We all know where this is heading, and what it will do to the live music industry in Newcastle. What we need to know now is, what are we going to do about it?