Thursday, 13 May 2010

A couple of months back I visited Brisbane, capital of Queensland, where I live. Mooching around the city centre on Queen Street, I was sucked into an ornate gem of a foyer with outlandish decoration that was a throwback to a more genteel era than that represented by the hideous entertainment gondolas strung along the street outside.

Outside, you've got shops selling mobile phone plans, inexpensive clothing, coffees, pharmaceuticals, sports gear and every other kind of humdrum consumable. They're housed in drab, glass-encased, marble-clad boxes with automatic doors and nasty echoes. They are functional, commercial, and boring.

You can find shops like this in any Australian city. Anywhere in the world, indeed.

The Regent Theatre is different. Inside, you breathe a rarefied air. You goggle. You strive to take in all the references harboured in mouldings, paintings, and scrolls. In the vaulted cieling. In the heavy ballustrade of the staircase.

It challenges you, who are used to the dullness outside with its constant seeking after cash and custom. But now they're going to tear down the theatre and replace it with more dull, vanilla blandness. It's a crime.

Pic credit: the foto fanatic

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