7 December 2009

Burning down the Waldorf

| johnboy
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To the great Canberra list of regrettable facebook groups let us welcome If the Waldorf does to Transit Bar what it did to Toast, I’ll burn it down.

RiotACT advises against joining the group, or burning down the least loved corporate component of the Canberra night life.

The description reads thusly:

This is a group for people who are tired of the Waldorf Apartments in Canberra constantly narc-ing on our great alternative clubs, and who worry that their increasing pressure and noise complaints towards Transit Bar might send it the same way that Toast went in November 2007.

We all know that the Waldorf Apartments were constantly filing noise complaints regarding the now legendary Toast club, as it backed directly onto many of their apartment balconies. I think the deal there was that they stated that Toast were not allowed to stay open after 8:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays due to the noise!!! Of course there were lots of other external factors that contributed to Toast closing its doors, but the pressure from the Waldorf hotel would have certainly played a big part in robbing Canberra alternative types of a place to go.

Now it appears that they have shifted their whinging onto Transit Bar, which now has in place sound restrictions for Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Will these sound restrictions stick for the busier nights like Fridays and Saturdays?

And will the Waldorf kill another great Canberra venue?

As the Waldorf is big and ugly enough to look after itself we won’t be initiating the sort of campaign we have to defend innocent homeowners in the past. But be careful what you say.

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KidKenosha: common sense commentary. I’ll join the FB group forthwith.

Further, we should have a right to make noise in the city. I travel extensively for work, and stay in hotels in CBDs in Australia’s capital cities regularly. Noise if par for the course. If I want quiet, I stay further out, or close the window.

I struggle to believe that people staying from interstate would complain about a pretty moderate amount of noise. I’m more inclined to think the owners/managers of the Waldorf are muppets, and saddened to think that another Canberra venue with a bit of soul could go the same way of so many of its forebears.

Live music comes and goes and the backanalias go on strong.

it’s always a case of contending forces.

But evolution is a bitch when you’re the one being naturally selected.

Grrrr said :

but Transit bar was the Church bar – complete with music – before it was named Transit Bar.

And before that, it was Aree Bar, also with live music.

Before the Church Bar it was called Aree Bar – at the time, the bar was owned by the Griffith Brothers who also owned an ran The Waldorf on London, Tutu Tango, Prickly Pear in Manuka and had the contract at Raiders Gunghalin for both Raiders club catering and contract catering for Tu Tu chain and Chilis Chain in Sydney.

That being said, there is barely any live scene in Canberra – even CMC Bachanalias (A great initiative I may add) are being shut down by inconsiderates.

maybe we need to do a flyover and dump crates of hearing protection for Canberrans who despise any noise over 35db (Talking volume.)

Hank said :

I thought an agreement would have been made before Transit bar opened in regards to noise restrictions, especially considering the Toast debacle.

.. but Transit bar was the Church bar – complete with music – before it was named Transit Bar. Anyone know which came first, the Waldorf’s residences or the establishment formerly known as Church Bar?

The closure of Toast was a Crying Shame. Lithium @ Toast was Canberra’s best attempt at a good night out. Nowhere else would the DJ agree to play Pop Will Eat Itself.

It’s a little close to the rest of the town, but perhaps the STILL-vacant former home of Impact Records / JB-Hifi opposite King O’Malley’s could become a place for good music?

I thought an agreement would have been made before Transit bar opened in regards to noise restrictions, especially considering the Toast debacle.

I’m a believer in the rights of prior occupancy. When someone moves into your area, they accept it for what it is, and they have no particular rights to change things.

We see this in so many cases – sea changers moving to the coast, and wanting to remove trees so that their views are not impeded. People moving close to farmland and then getting upset about farming life (smells, cows crossing the road and the like).

Same thing when apartments are erected in the middle of the city – it will be noisy and there will be 24/7 activity. Try New York, where there is no shut down.

These Waldorf residents should just piss off to a quiet suburban street if they don’t like the noise (but just make sure that they then respect the lack of noise in my suburb if they do).

The last thing we need for the music culture in Canberra is a revist to the Gypsy Bar debacle.

A city with noise (music, voices, screams and tears) is a city with life.

They (waldorf) even complained to the shop owners on the ActewAGL side for the noise of them setting up the chairs. Any way back to the transit, Maybe its just a way to get all the bars around them closed so people will drink and eat at the waldorf.

*****FLASH IDEA***** This is what we will do, BIG NIGHT AT THE WALDORF – NOISE, DRINKS, MUSIC… who will complain then?

Holy shit! A Facebook group advocating something dubious! Sounds like it’s time for MORAL PANIC!

But seriously… I’m a member of this group, and will remain so. (And no, frankly, I won’t be careful what I say.) I’m not really going to burn down the Waldorf, horrendous eyesore that it is. However, regardless of whether you frequented Toast or frequent Transit (and I did, and do), or not, the following must be kept in mind:

1) Transit is (and Toast was, until it came along) essentially the only place to go for alternative musical nightlife in the city. (By “alternative” I mean anything that doesn’t fit into the nice commercial mould of Academy et al.) As such, they cater to an entirely different crowd than that attracted to Mooseheads or the Northbourne strip. Apart from the Phoenix, I’m not aware of any Civic establishments that have provided as much support for the local music scene as Transit and Toast. If Transit were to be closed, or even suffer reduced operating hours, it would be a critical blow for this scene.

2) As has been mentioned above, spreading out the subculture moderates the incidence of violent assault. Moreover, Transit is (IMHO) the friendliest bar in Civic. I can’t think of a single time I’ve been at Transit and seen a fight — I’m sure it happens occasionally, but anecdotally at least, it’s much less frequent. (The worst thing I’ve seen in that part of the city was a drunk kid trying to backflip off a balcony outside Toast, with predictable consequences. Within twenty seconds, about ten people were on their phones to the ambos, and a trained nurse was looking after him.)

3) The Waldorf, as far as I’m aware, has made essentially no efforts to soundproof its rooms, or warn guests that they are staying in the middle of a capital city, and may therefore experience some noise after 9pm. (Gosh, can you imagine?) I’m willing to be contradicted on this, but everything I’ve heard for years tells me otherwise.

Frankly, as someone who’s been involved in the Civic nightlife scene for years (both as a patron and as a bartender), I resent the fact that the Waldorf was able to almost single-handedly shut down Toast, a locally-owned business that contributed immensely to the local scene. If Transit goes the same way, then I will be very, very unhappy.

(Or, if you prefer it couched in simple terms: would you like Canberra’s nightlife to grow into something befitting the capital, or would you like a shitty old hotel in the middle of the city to get away with telling the young people (including any backpackers to our fine city) to get off the goddamn porch?)

So tempting to try and play “spot the cop(s)” among the almost 500 members the group has so far though! LOL

Agreed Kincuri.
Try telling me there won’t be a similar problem with the Tralee housing development.

kincuri, one word for you – airport.
That is all…

Deadmandrinking9:43 pm 07 Dec 09

I think people should have a sense of humor about the title. Most of the debate is in regards to the Waldorf’s noise complaints. The comments regarding arson are obviously tongue-in-cheek.

I agree with Kincuri too, except for Toast being horrid (I really liked that place). Canberra is no longer a small town, but a small CITY which means NOISE. There are many other parts of the city that are not near Canberra’s small nightlife.

Drunken violence is a problem in the city. I think ensuring venues are spread out, instead of trying to cater to every subculture on one strip, will contribute to reducing incidents of violence. Having the entire city’s drinking population in one small area is never going to make it a safe place.

Toast was horrid…

I would be disappointed if Transit was forced to close. I think it should be well understood that if you choose to live in central civic (like the Waldorf), you have no right to complain about noise at night.

It would be like moving in across the road from Canberra Stadium and then complaining about the noise Raiders and Brumbies crowds make…

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