When I first moved into the area at the beginning of 2010, my mother, in one of our bi-monthly telephone marathons, asked me to tell her about it. I suppose she wanted to know ahead of time whether it’d be the kind of place she’d subject herself to an eight-hour plane ride to come and visit. In my characteristically nonchalant manner, I told her about the hippies and Goths, being sure to eludicate their many charms. I told her too about the yuppies in their brand-spanking new triple-story houses up on the hill, and ordinary folk like His Royal Highness, Amanda and myself, who live among them.
Once over-run with downtrodden druggy-types, West End in Brisbane is now this place where the trendy aim to call home. Alongside mum and pop run coffee shops, we have a wide variety of ethnic eateries, a sprinkling of second-hand shops and yoga palaces, and just enough speciality health-food stores to exude that cool urban-village vibe.
Being only a couple of blocks to Brisbane’s Cultural Precinct, West End also features a thriving arts community. In fact, since I started having coffee with some of the other mothers from school, I discovered that almost every other person is engaged in some artistic pursuit or other. Amanda’s best friend’s mother, Melissa, for instance, quilts. She maintains a blog about the joy creating quilts brings her. Understandably, when Campbell Newman, Queensland’s recently elected Premier, axed the Queensland’s Premier’s Literary Awards, a hue and cry went out among us West Enders, over the scant support we receive as contributors to our state’s arts scene.