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Boredom Capital of the Country! Yeah Right!

By John Hargreaves - 8 September 2014 33

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How many times have you heard that Canberra is boring, there is no night life and it is the boredom capital of the country? This really irks me a lot.

I can remember belting (metaphorically speaking) the Canberra bashers from the federal parliament for their mistaken and populist views expressed viciously whenever they needed to make themselves look good in their interstate electorates.

Indeed, I didn’t make any friends when I described the federal parliament as being a very large campsite on the Hill, visited by people occasionally who came here, b*tched about the place, gave it a bad name and nicked off home as quick as they could.

I tried to apportion the blame for this crime onto the perpetrators, with less than the success I wanted.
One of the dumbest accusations was about the lack of night life.

I played in our band at the Old Canberra Inn last Friday night. The conversation with some of the revellers was very interesting indeed, as were the conversations I have had with proprietors of a number of venues around town.

Did you know that there are hundreds of musicians and bands in Canberra and that getting work for them all is really hard? The competition is fierce. The opportunities for Canberrans to listen to live music, in its many forms, are huge.

If you want classical music, if you want light dinner music, if you want good old fashioned rock and roll (our forte), if you want avant guarde music, if you want contemporary stuff, if you want country, western or folk music, it is to be found somewhere in Canberra on almost any night you like.

The notion that we are boring is rot!

We have the most numerous and I would argue, high quality restaurants, entertainment options, such as theatre, movies, live music, a vibrant pub, club and nightclub scene, outdoor opportunities on our doorstep, and some of the most breathtaking views and natural features the country has to offer.

On top of that we have our people; generous with their time and friendship, humour and colour. We are a truly ethnically diverse and embracing community. And we live in a place which is a predominantly safe place to live.

I don’t know any other place to match Canberra and challenge anyone to walk with me for a week so that I can show them the error of their ways.

What’s Your opinion?


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33 Responses to
Boredom Capital of the Country! Yeah Right!
Ben_Dover 1:40 pm 10 Sep 14

chewy14 said :

Trust the pom to be a whinger.

Just giving a sense of perspective. trust an Aussie to attack the person not the post.

chewy14 said :

For a small city of 350k we bat well above our weight when it comes to entertainment. I think a large part of that has to do with the diversity of people, our higher education levels and clearly the higher levels of income allowing businesses to succeed.

Big deal. As a “capital” city we are W-a-a-a-A-A-A-Y–Y-Y behind.

This is Canberra’s problem. If we could only man up and admit we’re not a “capital” but an administrative centre, and that Sydney is the real capital, then all these negative views on Canberra would lose their power.

Canberra is a very nice small city, with a population which does not lend itself to being exciting or vibrant. (How many accountants and middle managers more per head of population here than any comparable city?)

Canberra is a lovely warm welcoming city, with places of interest, and is near to some very attractive places, (the snow, sea, and Sydders.) It has a small city vibe, a small city nightlife and a small city ambiance. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But it’s boring.

To put it in perspective, if it hadn’t have been for the stupid Titty-Carp farrago, would the centenary of the capital of Australia have been mentioned outside of Aus? I think not.

dungfungus 1:00 pm 10 Sep 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

I think a lot of criticism comes from people who’ve never been here and equate that too have fun you need a beach and hot weather. I have stated to many that living in Sydneys west or in parts of Melbourne the convenience of a local beach is no more convenient than a trip down to the Bay for a Canberran.

I recently went and watched 3 sessions of the short + sweet short play festival at the theatre. I remember going to see Empire last year in the Spiegeltent, which was a great nights entertainment. We have plenty of cinemas, I’ve ice skated in Garema place for many years, plenty of walking and cycling options. Most Canberrans would have a nature reserve within 5 minutes of where they live.

I go kayaking on the lake, without fear of being hit by a motorised boat. We get a reasonable amount of sporting events here as well. I’ve got tickets for Afghanistan vs Bangladesh cricket game for a whole $20 each! I’d rather go see that for the culutral experience in the crowd than watch a bunch of drunk bogans at an Australian game (which I might go to also!).

Finally as a avid traveller I’m always telling people to visit here because its unique. I’ve yet to find another city that is like Canberra anywhere in the world. The people I meet who’ve visited here all rattle off tales of the things they did here and many ask why do Australians hate Canberra so much, because they couldn’t understand it. If Canberra was in Europe people would love to visit it.

What are you going to do when climate change melts the ice in Garema Place?

Water Ski

NCA won’t allow that.

dungfungus 12:59 pm 10 Sep 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

dungfungus said :

I am in total agreement with John.
One problem with Canberra is that there are too many things to do, kind of like too many shops and not enough shoppers.
While I am tempted to say a lot of people are afraid to leave their homes in case climate change arrives suddenly and the sky falls in, those same people will not leave their homes to seek entertainment because of the flat screen in the corner of the living room.
It would appear that Hollywood and FoxTel are turning us into cultural zombies.
It is sad to attend under-patronised world class live music performances knowing the artist will probably never do a gig in Canberra again.
Most young people would prefer to walk around with wires implanted in their ears it seems.
I attended some excellent movies at the Israel Film Festival and the most in the audience at any time were 10 people. It is not much different when other film festivals are here (unless they are free and refreshments supplied).
I don’t think I would be able to walk with you for one block John – we would have a punch up for sure.

Normie Rowe sang “It Ain’t Necessarily So…”

The magistrate accepted his plea apparently.
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1300&dat=19660216&id=Q4tVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=mpYDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4900,2541462

John Hargreaves Ex M 12:05 pm 10 Sep 14

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

I think a lot of criticism comes from people who’ve never been here and equate that too have fun you need a beach and hot weather. I have stated to many that living in Sydneys west or in parts of Melbourne the convenience of a local beach is no more convenient than a trip down to the Bay for a Canberran.

I recently went and watched 3 sessions of the short + sweet short play festival at the theatre. I remember going to see Empire last year in the Spiegeltent, which was a great nights entertainment. We have plenty of cinemas, I’ve ice skated in Garema place for many years, plenty of walking and cycling options. Most Canberrans would have a nature reserve within 5 minutes of where they live.

I go kayaking on the lake, without fear of being hit by a motorised boat. We get a reasonable amount of sporting events here as well. I’ve got tickets for Afghanistan vs Bangladesh cricket game for a whole $20 each! I’d rather go see that for the culutral experience in the crowd than watch a bunch of drunk bogans at an Australian game (which I might go to also!).

Finally as a avid traveller I’m always telling people to visit here because its unique. I’ve yet to find another city that is like Canberra anywhere in the world. The people I meet who’ve visited here all rattle off tales of the things they did here and many ask why do Australians hate Canberra so much, because they couldn’t understand it. If Canberra was in Europe people would love to visit it.

What are you going to do when climate change melts the ice in Garema Place?

Water Ski

John Hargreaves Ex M 12:03 pm 10 Sep 14

dungfungus said :

I am in total agreement with John.
One problem with Canberra is that there are too many things to do, kind of like too many shops and not enough shoppers.
While I am tempted to say a lot of people are afraid to leave their homes in case climate change arrives suddenly and the sky falls in, those same people will not leave their homes to seek entertainment because of the flat screen in the corner of the living room.
It would appear that Hollywood and FoxTel are turning us into cultural zombies.
It is sad to attend under-patronised world class live music performances knowing the artist will probably never do a gig in Canberra again.
Most young people would prefer to walk around with wires implanted in their ears it seems.
I attended some excellent movies at the Israel Film Festival and the most in the audience at any time were 10 people. It is not much different when other film festivals are here (unless they are free and refreshments supplied).
I don’t think I would be able to walk with you for one block John – we would have a punch up for sure.

Normie Rowe sang “It Ain’t Necessarily So…”

Masquara 10:07 pm 09 Sep 14

chewy14 said :

For a small city of 350k we bat well above our weight when it comes to entertainment. I think a large part of that has to do with the diversity of people, our higher education levels and clearly the higher levels of income allowing businesses to succeed.

And the most music practitioners per capita in the world …

chewy14 8:55 pm 09 Sep 14

Ben_Dover said :

Beam me up Scotty, dear god!

In answer to the accusation that “Canberra is boring,” our riposte is; “Well we have some good local bands, restaurants in Manuka (how many “hatted ones there again?) an Israeli film festival, King-o-frigging-Malley’s, (one of the worse excuses for a “pub” in Australia,) kayaking on the lake, the Bangladeshi cricket team coming, (“will they win the world cup this year” he wondered,) and many, many more fourth rate events.

Unbelievable.

I’m surprised no one has mention that Nirvana played here, and so did Iron Maiden. Once. In the dark ages.

If people needed an example of why Canberra is seen as boring, the responses above highlight it perfectly.

I bet this post doesn’t get past the mods.

Trust the pom to be a whinger.

For a small city of 350k we bat well above our weight when it comes to entertainment. I think a large part of that has to do with the diversity of people, our higher education levels and clearly the higher levels of income allowing businesses to succeed.

dungfungus 8:43 pm 09 Sep 14

farnarkler said :

watto23 there is a Canberra in Europe. It’s called Geneva and is about the same as here. The problem Canberra has as the capital city is it’s not a major city. Most countries capital cities are the biggest and when a country has a smaller capital ie the US, Brazil, Switzerland, Canada, etc the capital usually gets left out. It really would’ve been better for this city if Sydney or Melbourne had been made capital.

California has Sacramento. Same vibe.

farnarkler 6:35 pm 09 Sep 14

watto23 there is a Canberra in Europe. It’s called Geneva and is about the same as here. The problem Canberra has as the capital city is it’s not a major city. Most countries capital cities are the biggest and when a country has a smaller capital ie the US, Brazil, Switzerland, Canada, etc the capital usually gets left out. It really would’ve been better for this city if Sydney or Melbourne had been made capital.

Ben_Dover 4:52 pm 09 Sep 14

Beam me up Scotty, dear god!

In answer to the accusation that “Canberra is boring,” our riposte is; “Well we have some good local bands, restaurants in Manuka (how many “hatted ones there again?) an Israeli film festival, King-o-frigging-Malley’s, (one of the worse excuses for a “pub” in Australia,) kayaking on the lake, the Bangladeshi cricket team coming, (“will they win the world cup this year” he wondered,) and many, many more fourth rate events.

Unbelievable.

I’m surprised no one has mention that Nirvana played here, and so did Iron Maiden. Once. In the dark ages.

If people needed an example of why Canberra is seen as boring, the responses above highlight it perfectly.

I bet this post doesn’t get past the mods.

dungfungus 4:28 pm 09 Sep 14

watto23 said :

I think a lot of criticism comes from people who’ve never been here and equate that too have fun you need a beach and hot weather. I have stated to many that living in Sydneys west or in parts of Melbourne the convenience of a local beach is no more convenient than a trip down to the Bay for a Canberran.

I recently went and watched 3 sessions of the short + sweet short play festival at the theatre. I remember going to see Empire last year in the Spiegeltent, which was a great nights entertainment. We have plenty of cinemas, I’ve ice skated in Garema place for many years, plenty of walking and cycling options. Most Canberrans would have a nature reserve within 5 minutes of where they live.

I go kayaking on the lake, without fear of being hit by a motorised boat. We get a reasonable amount of sporting events here as well. I’ve got tickets for Afghanistan vs Bangladesh cricket game for a whole $20 each! I’d rather go see that for the culutral experience in the crowd than watch a bunch of drunk bogans at an Australian game (which I might go to also!).

Finally as a avid traveller I’m always telling people to visit here because its unique. I’ve yet to find another city that is like Canberra anywhere in the world. The people I meet who’ve visited here all rattle off tales of the things they did here and many ask why do Australians hate Canberra so much, because they couldn’t understand it. If Canberra was in Europe people would love to visit it.

What are you going to do when climate change melts the ice in Garema Place?

watto23 3:00 pm 09 Sep 14

I think a lot of criticism comes from people who’ve never been here and equate that too have fun you need a beach and hot weather. I have stated to many that living in Sydneys west or in parts of Melbourne the convenience of a local beach is no more convenient than a trip down to the Bay for a Canberran.

I recently went and watched 3 sessions of the short + sweet short play festival at the theatre. I remember going to see Empire last year in the Spiegeltent, which was a great nights entertainment. We have plenty of cinemas, I’ve ice skated in Garema place for many years, plenty of walking and cycling options. Most Canberrans would have a nature reserve within 5 minutes of where they live.

I go kayaking on the lake, without fear of being hit by a motorised boat. We get a reasonable amount of sporting events here as well. I’ve got tickets for Afghanistan vs Bangladesh cricket game for a whole $20 each! I’d rather go see that for the culutral experience in the crowd than watch a bunch of drunk bogans at an Australian game (which I might go to also!).

Finally as a avid traveller I’m always telling people to visit here because its unique. I’ve yet to find another city that is like Canberra anywhere in the world. The people I meet who’ve visited here all rattle off tales of the things they did here and many ask why do Australians hate Canberra so much, because they couldn’t understand it. If Canberra was in Europe people would love to visit it.

Masquara 9:18 pm 08 Sep 14

I don’t think anyone has said Canberra is boring for quite a long time. And they’re free to say so – doesn’t worry actual any Canberrans, never has. John, are you from Canberra?

ausbradr 6:06 pm 08 Sep 14

You’re not wrong there. It’s pretty common to hear that we’re a boring place to be, but we know it’s BS.

I’ve moved in with my partner here last year after living in the always-happening Newtown, and of course had hesitations, and friends questioning me as to why I would do something so absurd! All because Canberra was a “boring” place!!!

It’s what you make of it really. You just have to get out be adventurous and explore the place. Culture, entertainment, nightlife, it’s all there. You just need to know how to find it. From dining out in Manuka, wandering the old bus depot markets, riding the numerous bike paths around the place, urban exploration (thanks to an awesome client who took some photos of his urbex), clubbing at Chrome, right down to enjoying a pint by the fire at King O’Malleys after work, to name a few things. Haters are going to hate, and if it keeps them out of Canberra I’m quite ok with that, their loss.

So whilst we’re not as hip and happening like inner-west Sydney, me and my partner do manage to avoid this so-called boredom that outsiders warn of. We bring our own piece of Newtown to the place.

dungfungus 2:49 pm 08 Sep 14

I am in total agreement with John.
One problem with Canberra is that there are too many things to do, kind of like too many shops and not enough shoppers.
While I am tempted to say a lot of people are afraid to leave their homes in case climate change arrives suddenly and the sky falls in, those same people will not leave their homes to seek entertainment because of the flat screen in the corner of the living room.
It would appear that Hollywood and FoxTel are turning us into cultural zombies.
It is sad to attend under-patronised world class live music performances knowing the artist will probably never do a gig in Canberra again.
Most young people would prefer to walk around with wires implanted in their ears it seems.
I attended some excellent movies at the Israel Film Festival and the most in the audience at any time were 10 people. It is not much different when other film festivals are here (unless they are free and refreshments supplied).
I don’t think I would be able to walk with you for one block John – we would have a punch up for sure.

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