Everyone has their own opinion on the state of our town at the moment, we wouldn’t be able to call ourselves Novocastrians if we didn’t, it’s part of the deal and forms the core of who we are as a community. Everyone also knows that we are going through a rapid period of change at the moment and as exciting as the end result will (hopefully) be, what price do we have to pay for these so-called improvements? The answer to that question may just be summed up with “the end of an era” starting first and foremost with the voluntary administration of an institution – Darby’s Pies. I think the news, which broke late last week, is probably the most jarring in amongst the store closing carnage of late and the one that hits closest to home.
I think it was easier for the bulk of locals and residents to perhaps turn a blind eye when it was tiny independent stores closing their doors, citing the light rail construction along Hunter Street as the reason for closing their doors for the final time. One gentleman summed up this particular opinion nicely when he commented: “all of these small businesses were just looking for someone to blame, an excuse to finally bite the bullet and realize they failed in the world of business”… Sure, buddy.
But the possible closure of the Newcastle institution that is Darby’s, something we all assumed would stick around for as long as we all seem to, is an entirely different kettle of fish. Something I think is perhaps, the shock we all needed to force us to question what is actually happening here. Maybe we all might start to open our eyes to the true impact and cost of “improving” the city. And yes, I can already hear the argument of “but Darby street (especially that end of Darby street) is nowhere near the construction, and there are Darby’s Pies all over the place this has nothing to do with the changing pace or the construction or anything get off your high horse” etc, etc, etc. I’m not saying and or blaming the voluntary administration of Darby’s Pies on any particular event or circumstance. I am just asking the question. What is happening to the heart of our city?
Look, I know and I do have faith that when all the work is finished when all the ‘stop/slow’ signs finally disappear, I am sure we will be free to go again. Go as in go about our day, our business and living our best Novocastrian lives without even a second thought about factoring an extra 23 minutes to get from one end of King Street to the other (and that’s on a good day). But what I am talking about here, is what kind of Newcastle will we be driving to? I also think Novocastrians as a whole are starting to just give up, or at least a little part of us are anyway. We’re giving up that fighting spirit that has faithfully backed a losing horse for all of these years. We’re forgetting about the fig trees, and the railway and every other losing battle we’ve fought and lost over the years. I guess you could say maybe we’re going into voluntary administration ourselves. Just tapping out, (and probably moving to Tighes Hill).