I was in Coles at West End this afternoon and I saw this guy with a really good tattoo. I could tell that it was well thought out, and that it would have been designed and then inked. It was a mid-arm piece of a bright coloured flower neatly contained by a contrasting monotone background. Completely cool.
I pondered and realised that really good tattoos actually shit me. And the reason? They’re too good. All of my tattoos, you see, aren’t that good. Sure, I love them, but they weren’t ever planned, nor designed. They were done as part of my life at the time and done because they meant (and mean) something to me.
It’s weird that something that’s too good can sometimes not actually be that good. Because Kitty and I are flying to Canberra tomorrow for the long weekend, I’ll try to explain this concept with the story of two different Australian cities.
Canberra, Australia’s capital, is a purpose built, planned city of 334,000 that began in 1913. Canberra was extremely well thought out, planned and then built to be Australia’s capital city. Canberra, by the books, is too good. The 2006 census showed that the average weekly wage in Canberra is $600-$699 which is almost 50% higher than the Australian average. Also, 4.5% of Canberrians have a postgraduate degree, compared with the national average of 1.8%. Driving around Canberra is a breeze because of the planned nature of the roads and there’s no tolls and little pollution. Unemployment is also very low. But it’s really quite hard to tell the various suburbs apart so it all feels the same. That’s why people get lost driving around, even though the roads are great.
Sydney, the state capital of NSW, was established in 1788 with a population of 1300 odd people and has since grown to be home to about 4,280,000. Sydney is by no means planned and by the books, not that good. Traffic is congested and housing is very expensive. The trains don’t often run on time and you hear people say that it is very polluted. Many tourists actually mistake Sydney to be the Australian capital, and often haven’t even heard of Canberra.
But if you were to ask Australians whether they prefer Canberra or Sydney, I imagine that most would they’d say Sydney. Sydney is an amazing city. The Sydney Harbor and its Bridge, the Opera House, the city beaches, and the surrounding geography are stunning. You can be in one part of Sydney in the morning and in another completely different part that same day. And that’s because it wasn’t planned.
So, Canberra did all the right things to be a perfect city, but almost four million more Australians prefer to live in crazy, congested and polluted Sydney.
The Minister for Roads in NSW, Eric Roozendaal, recently said it best. Whilst responding to the ‘like traffic that moves? move to canberra” advertisements found on Sydney buses he said:
“Anyone who goes to Canberra knows Canberra is even more boring than Adelaide, and Sydney is the greatest city in the country.”
Because I don’t have any really good tattoos, I’m hoping that my collection of will grow into a Sydney rather than a Canberra.
Photo by theointarifa (creative commons).