When I was 14 I can clearly remember awarding myself the title ‘Queen of the anti-Perth’. If anyone would have told me that in less than 10 years time I would be flying the flag for Perth enthusiasts everywhere I would have glared at you with my cruel black emo kid eyes and shouted something along the lines of “Get F*CKED! I can’t wait to get out of here”. The cringe worthy sentences that now trigger my Captain I ❤ Perth beacon as I immediately jump to Perth’s defense plagued my lips like a broken record “Perth’s so backwards”, “there’s never anything to do here”, “I can’t wait to move to Melbourne”.
Still hung over from the early 2000s when the Wildcats seemed to lose their sparkle and the Eagles got to enjoy the hard-times with Ken Judge at the helm I’ve come to realise that the hang-over and dislike for change won’t be going anywhere anytime soon with some people… But if my eyes could be forcedly ripped from their sleep deprived sockets and pointed towards the light I don’t see why the same future could not be held by the many Perth haters still wandering in the gloomy shadows amongst us.
It only took several years, a group of Norwegian exchange students and the real hero of my reckoning a boyfriend at the time (which I could honestly never thank enough) who took all my deleterious misconceptions of Perth and helped me truly see Perth for all it is. At first I stood strong in my anti-Perthism, but after constantly being dragged around Perth begrudgingly (only to be proven wrong time and time again) the warm sunlight setting over the Cottesloe horizon, and Swan river shimmering like black satin scattered with gold glitter took hold of my poisoned heart and won me over.
And yes, I’ll be the first to admit that a pricey coffee and not accepting day-light savings because it will fade our curtains (I’m still trying to work out how anyone could ever actually believe that to be possible) isn’t exactly dazzling, But I guess us Western Australia’s just love what we have and are scared of losing what makes Perth so special.
Up until recently the previous 20 years hadn’t seen a lot of change or development in Perth. Then all of a sudden all these crazy buildings (and yes I am talking about the Perth Arena, which design is actually very fascinating once you look into it) started popping up like a sore thumb. My belief is the only reason it stands out like a sore thumb is because the most recent development and architecture it has to be compared to is more than 20 years old and from the ever so stylish collection ‘greys of the early 90s’. To put it into perspective the Joondalup train line opened in 1992 and was the first suburban passenger railway line built in Perth since 1889.
In the last several years Perths art, social and cultural scene has become so strong as to I daringly say it rivals that of the prestigious, pedestal lording Melbourne. So whilst our transport system leaves a lot to be desired for (I’d blame our large urban sprawl if it didn’t me so many gorgeous and attainable locations to enjoy) the fact that you can take a walk along the beach and in parts not see another person for a good 100m, or bask in glow in the sunrise over the Perth skyline or the lights of the city from your romantic Kings Park picnic makes up for that 10 fold.
Enjoy Perth for the last few years I’ve begun to notice people starting to get out and about and really getting into all the wonderful things that make Perth so wonderful. Markets are popping up all over the place, with the Perth Twilight Hawkers and Fremantle markets busy as a bee, people are taking to paddle boarding on the swan like ducks to water and everyone’s giving surfing a go at some point or another. The hills are full of bush walkers, the hipster are roaming Mount Lawley, the hippies are still making love to Fremantle and families are packing into every street festival possible.
It’s now that I realise that I’d created this illusion of Perth from the evil darkness of my bedroom and computer screen, feeding off the cynicism of bitter people on the other side of the screen. It wasn’t until I was taken outside and made to stroll along the beach, take a bike ride along the river and develop a love of the sun and water that I realised that I’d blinded myself for so long.
So if you’re one of those Perth haters might I suggest you get you pastey body out of the dark corner of your house where your computer screen lives and get out into the sunshine. At first it might be scary and your eyes and skin may burn from the natural light but it shouldn’t be long before you too find a part of Perth that embraces you warmly, even if it is just a little and at an anime convention.