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NEWCASTLE 2018: Should we all just make like Cher and Turn Back Time?

It’s that time of year friends where we sit back, and relax and reflect on the year that’s been. 2018 has been a strange and wild year for Newcastle and I don’t even know where to begin.

We began the year, as always, as passionate Novocastrians. All of us proud of our town and already proud of the things to come. But… kicking off the year in the wake of the construction catastrophe which was the supercars wasn’t the best start. It was all fine until this slowly yet surely bled into the light rail kerfuffle. A light rail that decided that either the old rail corridor was just far too basic or that the tram itself was far too extra or maybe someone at the council was feeling a little destructive and wanted to rip up Hunter Street for funsies. Either way, it’s been a kerfuffle.

2018 has really been a year of closures and complaints. So many local businesses were forced to shut their doors due to construction, road blockages, and just very little activity in the city center. It’s actually really sad to think about the ever-growing list (to which Tower Cinemas sits firmly at the very top).

The Brewery were banned from playing live music after a certain (very very early) time, and people began to realize exactly what was happening to our inner city. Somewhere, probably at a time where only the tourists were awake (us locals tend to sleep through the ship noises now) the idea that the inner city is not actually the inner city at all began to creep in. And one day, we just woke up and realized that the gritty side of life that Novocastrians have loved and lived for so long, is slowly yet surely being completely gentrified.

Sure, the bare bones of us remain, just like those of the David Jones Building, but what about the heart and soul? I just feel like in so many ways, the rug was just completely pulled out from under our feet and now we’re living in a cheap knock off version of Melbourne but without all the rain.

The Bar on the Hill stopped serving beer during the day for a while there and reserved the pull of their taps for special occasions and events. Thankfully though, the beer is once again flowing and the arts students are once again occupied.

Local music is where (pretty much) all the big ups happened this year. Special shout out to the likes of Grace Turner (listen to her new song immediately) Ben Leece, Paper Thin, Raave Tapes, Fritz, (Actually all of Love and Rent team especially Ben Cooper) and Rachel Maria Cox , who all made amazing music this year and are all flipping killing it in the game. Good job everyone always forever. It’s nice and reassuring to know that our local music scene (despite being thrown every adversity known to man – remember the rumour that the Cambridge was closing?) is still alive and kicking.

We still backed our teams (through thick and very very very thin) and sunk many a beer at our favourite local establishment. The Great Northern re-opened, the sun shone the majority of the time, there were no earthquakes å la 1989. We supported each other, respected each other (the majority of the time) and now deserve to ring in the year with some pizazz and celebratory dance moves.

So, what does this year mean to you? What have you noticed about town? Most importantly, what would you have done differently, if you could make like Cher and Turn Back Time?

Written by Laura Kebby

I write words about talented people doing talented things, and translate chatter by putting pen to paper.