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Canberra Selling ourselves short.

By Nukezone - 22 September 2008 78

Has anyone walked through the new shopping center at Civic since it has opened? Im going to assume that most of you have been there at least once already. Let me start by saying that The Dendy Cinema is good. Well the Cinema itself is good as in the decour and the seats and picture and sound quality. That is about it folks.

I must say unfortunately the usual clones that seem to populate the shopping malls and major centers of Canberra have already moved in and set up camp in the new mall.What am I refering to by clones you ask? I mean the guys in the pink shirts with the stylised hair,  and the “vote for pedro” shirts too. Im talking about the same bunch of pop culture zombies you find at Mooseheads and Academy two nights a week People I am talking about the girls wearing the same telly tubby color co-ordinated t-shirts and pants that loiter around the horrible cheap tasteless clothes stores selling overpriced horrid fashion. I mean the kids that sponge money off their parents, and are allergic to books and the truth.

The new Shopping area is one massive long stretch of the worst kind of third rate commercialism. Its capitalism for the Australian Idol/Big Brother Pink shirt guy/Vote for pedro shirt wearing cretins.

I mean we had a chance to do something different, but now big business has moved in and taken over another section of Canberras economy. I would feel comforted to know that I’m not the only person slightly concerned with whats happening to Canberra.

What’s Your opinion?

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78 Responses to
Canberra Selling ourselves short.
Crikey 8:41 am 23 Sep 08

Why do people like (Nukezone) worry so much about what other people wear or what they look like. Get a f***ing life.

Loquaciousness 8:31 am 23 Sep 08

justbands said :

Don’t like it = don’t shop there. Easy!

For once, I’m going to agree with this sentiment. Further to what I was saying above, vote with your feet. Give your dollars to the retailers you want to support – not those who demand your support.


Loquaciousness 8:27 am 23 Sep 08

Granny said :

People are actually telling the government that they prefer ‘marketplace’ models like Gungahlin to the great American ‘supermall’, but what would we know?

There has to be a hell of a lot of voices before the comsumerist model will crumble.

As for your earlier post, Granny, I’ve long thought the same. I tend to buy gifts for the children, and then make chocolates or other foodie things for the adults. Just something small, generally, to say “I love you”. I rarely spend more than $100 and a day or two creating whatever it is, although I find most of the fun is dreaming up the idea in the first place.

What has annoyed me as my daughter has gotten older is the ‘birthday party’ concept. Children turning 3, 4 or 5 and having gigantic extravaganzas for the entire preschool class – complete with jumping castles, professional entertainers, gala dinners, professionally made cakes and – of course – a pile of presents taller than the children themselves. I gave my daughter a picnic party in the park with a homemade cake and three friends. Luckily, she thought it was great, and announced she wants to do the same thing next year. I’m worried when peer pressure is going to kick in though 😐

As for the malls, while I can understand the frustration of the OP, I don’t think it ever was “a chance to do something different” – it was never going to become anything other than a retail haven. Canberra has been playing catch-up to Sydney and Melbourne forever, those cities both have glossy shopping malls with top-name brands and bright lights and multi-screen cinemas in their CBDs. Now Canberra does too.

Like it or not, the society we are in now is a consumer society. That can only be changed one way – slowly. If those who care (and we are in a minority – many people talk the talk but don’t walk the walk in matters like this) are sensible and reject overt consumerism and teach our children to do the same eventually, change will come. It’s glacial, and we may never see the results of it ourselves, but there’s only one way to make it happen.


justbands 8:20 am 23 Sep 08

Meh….build a bridge, get over it. Yes, your average shopping centre is full of endless rows of chain store clones….so? Don’t like it = don’t shop there. Easy! We didn’t “miss out on a great opportunity to do something different”, an investment firm built a shopping mall. Why? To fill it up with endless rows of chain clone stores.

Granny 12:47 am 23 Sep 08

People are actually telling the government that they prefer ‘marketplace’ models like Gungahlin to the great American ‘supermall’, but what would we know?

Overheard 12:27 am 23 Sep 08

circusmind: yeah, it’s the temple o’ crap that infuriates me, not those that inhabit it. Which is why I love mooching around Garema Place in the good weather, seeing young kids hanging around having fun and yeah, being a bit loud and out there, but good on them. I could watch the skater dudes for ages; they’re not hurting anyone. I love watching them try all sorts of tricks and jumps and stuff under the entrance to SAP House too, right in front of the sign that forbids skateboarders.

I was walking through Garema Place on Friday night en route to a night of brain cell re-arrangement at the Uni Pub and there was a fire-twirler in Garema Place. Reminded me of a night a couple of years ago when I was out with a bunch of mates (30-somethings to 50-somethings) and we passed the fire-twirlers, and one of my mates (50-ish) said to me, ‘You know, I’ve always wanted to do fire-twirling’. About a split second later, this girl who must have been mid to late teens at most came running after us and said to my mate, ‘Excuse me; did you say you wanted to try fire-twirling?’ And with that, he was led back into the chess pit and got a tutorial and some hands-on experience at the art, and somewhere I have the photos from my camera for posterity.

Bob love young people and their energy. For mine, they can hang around the city centre as much as they damn well please. Preferably out in the fresh-ish air, and not in the flouro wastelands.

nukezone: 2XX is on the third floor of the Griffin Centre in the city and while it’s a great community resource, I’m much happier plying my community radio trade out in the more scenic and open surrounds of the Manuka Arts precinct.

Nukezone 12:09 am 23 Sep 08

In reply to Granny, that was a wonderful post, I completely agree with your take on materialism. New good things are nice, but we need less “this super-bright, muzak-filled temple of plastic, carbon-guzzling (or emitting) crap-emporium’. (Loved that quote by the way) And Overheard Yeh Fitness first is a great Gym, it has very amazing equipment, It is one of the more positive elements there, and I liked the imagery of the almost roman ambience Garema place has during the spring/summer season.

I guess one of the other main issues with these new malls is that they give us these places as if to say “you complained about how boring Canberra was well we listened people! And we gave you what we told you you think you needed! More of the same places to buy the same crap you dont need!”

Its the same stuff we had at Woden and Belconnen mall, “Now at civic for your convienience!”.

They spent millions of dollars just made people lazier, and to shut down a few more small businesses and kill off 8 dollar movies at Greater Union.(Yeh the screens were not amazing but hey 8 dollar movies and they werent sold out on a Weekend session for a premiere film).

I mean its 10 minutes from Civic to Belconnen by bus, or car, around the same to woden traffic permitting, I know Australians are lazy, god bless us, but it was a bit much especially considering we already had the Canberra Center.

Am I alone in thinking that a Promenade, melbourne style area would have been nice? Or an open area simmilar to Garema Place with oppurtunities for a varied range of both retail and entertainment could have been built.

I know the Public Radio station is inside the new building, and the government did spend a bit of money on it and thats great for the people, but just look across at the ATO building across the road. I mean think of all the tax payers dollars they spent on that monstrosity, (so exactly why is the building that big and what are they doing there tax related that they were not doing before?) and you cant tell me that building does not look like something out of an Orwellian novel.

circusmind 12:07 am 23 Sep 08

Nukezone said :

The concerning thing is I sound like some antiquated old fool, or “miserable old tosser” and Im in my 20’s. Thats where Im at. I find it humerous that it has become a trait of the “older generations” to question and resist modern fashion and commercial trends.

You’re right, of course. Our society consumes an unholy amount of crap. I have had the dubious pleasure of working many a retail Christmas and it is truly sickening how much useless rubbish we buy in this country. And yes, the clone Westfield-style shopping centre is depressingly uniform, and I can’t think of a worse thing to do than spend a day in the fluorescent hell of an indoor shopping centre.

But your OP was just such a rocking-chair-on-front-porch whinge. I mean really. The older members of society have always thought that kids “these days” have stupid clothes and haircuts, don’t do any work, and are dumb as a box of rocks.

You might find that a hell of a lot of the “zombies” in the Moose or Acads of a weekend night are uni students well on their way to being productive members of society. Likewise with kids buying cookie-cutter clothes and music you don’t approve of in the Canberra Centre.

Rise above the boring stereotypes before you become one yourself–the crotchety old whiner.

Overheard 11:52 pm 22 Sep 08

Four days a week I more or less go through the stretch from Target to the Fitness First (?) gym in the early morning and then back again in the early to late evening. If the weather’s fair, I’ll skirt around the back of the skate park thing on Kooyong Street. Lunchtimes I’ll venture into the area at the front of Supabarn as time normally only permits me to pick up a quick salad or stuff from Supabarn.

Part of me is screaming out: ‘Get out of this super-bright, muzak-filled temple of plastic, carbon-guzzling (or emitting) crap-emporium’.

But the psycho-social-observer in me just finds it fascinating to ‘mensenkijken’ — I love languages that have a word for concepts that we need two for in English: ‘people-watching’ (Dutch). It’s just such an education observing behaviour in shopping malls.

(Moreover, I look at some of those niche stores that seem mostly empty and wonder how the hell they afford what must be astronomical rents. I figure some have got to be tax dodges.)

But when the sun shines and it’s more than five degrees outside, give me the fresh-ish air and the endless carnival that is Garema Place. A toasted foccacia (sp?) and a strong, long black at Bardelis and watch the world pass.

Nukezone 11:50 pm 22 Sep 08

Of course the local government and investors could be (Do I dare say it? Yes I do!)PIONEERS and be inovative but then I don’t think they would have the bollocks for that kind of thinking and action. Im sure that you will find many places in the world that have economically viable and shopper friendly town centers and new business that defy the norm of the American Modeled shopping mall. In the advent of Brand Deppo we can already see where canberra is heading. And sooner or later we too will have the Monster Marts with the 10 kilos of milk powder for 10.99 and the 50 liters of washing diturgent for 12.45. I mean seriously America 2 here we come. Watch as uncle sam and his fist full of dollars kicks down our proverbial small business door and rolls the little guy one more time. I know all too well that there is a working model, but the good thing about being a human is that we have the potential for abstract thought, reasoning and logic and we can be inventive and solution orientated at the same time. I know all that chanel 9 news and the media fear machine has us shaking in our boots afraid and too scared to ask big brother government for another choice or option, but thats really the only way that we can avoid being totally dominated in the years to come.


The term innovation may refer to both radical and incremental changes in thinking, in things, in processes or in services (Mckeown, 2008). Invention that gets out in to the world is innovation. In many fields, something new must be substantially different to be innovative, not an insignificant change, e.g., in the arts, economics, business and government policy. In economics the change must increase value, customer value, or producer value. The goal of innovation is positive change, to make someone or something better. Innovation leading to increased productivity is the fundamental source of increasing wealth in an economy.

Innovation is an important topic in the study of economics, business, technology, sociology, and engineering. Colloquially, the word “innovation” is often used as synonymous with the output of the process. Since innovation is also considered a major driver of the economy, the factors that lead to innovation are also considered to be critical to policy makers.

Those who are directly responsible for application of the innovation are often called pioneers in their field, whether they are individuals or organisations.

Granny 11:44 pm 22 Sep 08

Nukezone, I am very concerned about the consumerism in our culture.

I like nice things as much as the next person, but I don’t believe they make people happy. I actually think they can make people miserable. So often people in your generation have been given things when they have been crying out for a bit of time and attention, and things are hollow.

I have never felt so free as when I was stuck on the streets of Los Angeles for a few months with next to no money and a suitcase of clothes. Yes, I was grateful that I usually had enough food to eat but I learned something important from that time. I learned even more when I visited Russia and saw some of the poverty affecting people in other nations.

It was my birthday yesterday and my family kept asking me what I wanted. I thought, “What do I want?” and I really didn’t want anything. I was driving everybody crazy, but in the end the gifts I loved most were the three little trinkets my daughter picked out from the garage stall at the school fete.

What I asked for was a copy of my daughter’s old home-made CD recorded live at a Sydney pub, for my old family videos to be converted to DVD so I could watch them again, and for a copy of an out of print book that my father had recommended I read.

As kids we used to be excited about birthday parties because we hardly ever had them. We used to be excited about Christmas and birthdays because we hardly ever got stuff. We would get a handful of presents and they weren’t that expensive.

Whenever I go shopping for one of the many birthdays in our family I feel like I have to buy so much so that they know they are as loved and valued as their friends. Then our home gets filled up with this useless junk that they can’t have half as much fun with as an old cardboard box or a packet of crayons.

Then, as I am spending the money, I think of what a difference it could make in the life of a child with no blanket or shoes.

I so wish that I could get the courage to say, “To hell with the system, my kids are going to have to be different”.

I think it is happening slowly for me, starting with my own birthday this year.

Just give me breakfast in bed, a bubble bath, a sunshiney day, a hearty meal and a home-made chocolate cake and I’ll be happy as a pig in mud!

Jonathon Reynolds 11:15 pm 22 Sep 08

Never is a single entity like QIC going to take their shareholders money and put it at risk just because YOU want something “trendy” to suit your particular (or should that be peculiar) individual shopping tastes. The Canberra Centre is what it is simply because it is a formula that has repeatedly been shown to work time and time again.

Nukezone 11:13 pm 22 Sep 08

The concerning thing is I sound like some antiquated old fool, or “miserable old tosser” and Im in my 20’s. Thats where Im at. I find it humerous that it has become a trait of the “older generations” to question and resist modern fashion and commercial trends.

Im not by any means advocating going bush and becoming a hippy, I love technology and all things modern, but do it with taste and reason, dont go overboard with crass comercialism and more of the same. We had a good oppurtunity to have something to make our shopping experience different or unique, instead we got rickrolled by the commercial mafia.

Unfortunately for me I wasnt raised on television and didn’t belive everything the teachers told me so that in turn has forced me to question my society and its values and search for the truth rather than have it packaged and sold to me.

circusmind 11:00 pm 22 Sep 08

Unfortunately, miserable old tossers aren’t a profitable target demographic for retailers.

ant 10:59 pm 22 Sep 08

I agree, it’s bloody awful. It’s a plastic, fake, pointless place. However I confess to quite liking some of the shops in the original bit of the Canberra Centre (where the parrots used to be). Meanwhile, you can have a pretty good shop at Kingston and Manuka. They’re not perfect, but they’re better than the cavernous array of carbon copy chain shops in the new bit of the Canberra Centre.

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