So says Slim Dusty and now so says the Bar on the Hill after a decision was finally made to cease trading apart from special gigs and events and now the smell of privatisation is in the air and people are doing what they do best and calling to boycott and stand in the way of progress, potential and change. News flash, you can’t simply boycott the Bar on the Hill and expect that to change everything or as a matter of fact, anything at all. The fact of the matter is, students were inadvertently already boycotting the Bar on the Hill which is exactly why the service has been restricted for what was considered to be ‘normal’ operating hours. The culture of University is and has been changing for many years.
If you really want to get a little deeper into the matter, the notion of what it means to be a young adult is changing. Only a mere decade ago, graduating University meant that you were guaranteed a job. Folks were still riding on the baby boomer premise of ‘if you work hard, put in the time, get the education, you will be rewarded’. Now however, the premise is so much more about ‘if you graduate at the top of your class, work an infinite number of unpaid internships, are the God Child of CEO of the company you’re hoping to work for, you may get put on a waiting list where someone will think about, thinking about interviewing you for their waitlist’. The pressure placed upon students is astronomical, so of course, the culture and nature of university is changing. Students aren’t heading to Uni to ‘find themselves’ anymore, they are heading to Uni because they are pushing themselves into careers to ensure some sort of remote chance at financial stability and future security.
The Bar on the Hill has always and will continue to remain an iconic venue, and privatizing said venue will only make the venue better. Maybe by someone who is invested in running and managing a profitable venue, in order to provide a functioning, thriving space, as opposed to somewhere where the handful of arts students (including myself I may add) go to hang out and sink a beer mid-afternoon because they are the select few choosing to turn their backs on adulthood.
The reason bands don’t play at Bar on the Hill very often honestly has nothing to do with the venue itself, or the way the venue has been previously run. Event success depends on a whole host of factors. It’s up to the booking agent, the promotor, the tour manager, the band themselves, and we as the punter and the patten of behavior that occurs when bands do choose to play at the venue. The Milk Records event, for example, was one of the best events I’ve personally ever been to and it had nothing to do with who or what was responsible for the ongoing continuation and or management of the venue.
At the end of the day, you can’t just examine the issue of turning off the taps at the Bar on the Hill as a surface problem. As a business owner, would you pay someone to stand around doing nothing for eight hours, knowing that you were slowly yet surely losing money? Any 17-year-old business student being primed to take over Daddy’s company would be able to tell you that much. By forcing, what one student spokesperson passionately stated, the Bar to operate at a loss, the Uni would have to regain control of the venue. Why. Do. You. Think. It. Was. Operating. At. A. Loss. In. The. First. Place? Because students weren’t going! The logic makes no sense. It’s just bent up Novocastrian pride for pride’s sake that is forcing that particular statement. Boycott the venue so we can run it into the ground once more, let us rot in piece! More or less.
Instead of running the Bar on the Hill into the ground, why don’t we push for a place where students will feel comfortable to return to, bands will want to keep on the touring map, and take the pressure off what it means to be a student and a young adult all at the same time. Everyone’s a winner.