News

Still spreading the love, it seems

BARE ESSENTIALS: The annual world naked bike ride is on this Sunday in Byron Bay.
BARE ESSENTIALS: The annual world naked bike ride is on this Sunday in Byron Bay. Jacklyn Wagner

SURVIVORS of the hippie era who moan that Byron is not the free-lovin' paradise it used to be should check out the San Francisco Chronicle's take on the town after a recent visit.

SF, remember, is where it all began, so the Chronicle's writer should know when he reports on "counterculture Australia, 1973".

Noting "a young woman in a flower-printed granny dress offering cranial sacral massages, a didgeridoo player in the wool felt hobbit hat, a dreadlocked dad with his baby in a tie-dyed sling leading a drum circle and a white-haired couple with the beatific expressions of long-time meditators sitting behind baskets overflowing with organic passionfruit", the writer feels he's been transported back in time.

Yoga classes, a kayak ride with dolphins, a visit to the Lighthouse, with its "worn Oriental carpets and perfectly retro kitchen appliances", confirm his view.

"Perhaps the explanation is Australia's geographic isolation, which has turned it into an environmental time capsule that's kept species like the platypus alive ... or maybe it's just plain magic," the gullible Yank hypothesises.

He goes on: "1973 was the year of 10-day Aquarius Festival in the nearby town of Nimbin and somehow, everybody seems to have managed to hang on to those 1973 ideals without being infected with one ounce of irony".

A quick shufti at Nimbin today may have disillusioned the innocent abroad very rapidly.

THE true state of Centrelink's Byron services has been brought to The Scout's attention.

A visit to the office in Byron St revealed a desolate and cavernous space, with a couple of lost souls standing around looking bewildered. And that was just the staff members - a grand total of two that day.

A few "clients" were visible, tapping at computer keyboards or waiting on the phone for a "customer service officer" in some far-off realm to pick up and speak to them.

Face-to-face contact, which the Department of Human Services swore would not suffer from the replacement of people with computers in January, is non-existent, according to an informant.

Having failed with his home computer to inform the department of income changes, this very tech-savvy person went in person to set the record straight.

He was guided to a phone, through which he enjoyed classical music for 15 minutes before asking staff how long he might have to wait.

"Twenty to 25 minutes," replied a complacent official.

At which our friend heard a small popping noise in his temples and said he had understood he might be able to speak to a human being - viz the spin poured out at the changeover.

"You can," he was blandly assured. "Through the telephone or the internet."

THE Scout hears last Thursday's council meeting was particularly animated, with plenty of argy bargy between councillors and some lively interjections from the gallery. Perhaps it had something to do with the councillors' new supply of coffee from their you-beaut new Lavazza coffee machine - which itself became a source of contention between the mayor and some of the council's senior staff.

At the morning tea break, Cr Barham made it known to anyone within earshot that she thought the new machine was excessive, and out of step with council's recently adopted corporate sustainability policy. "I would have been happy with a plunger and a bag of local coffee," she said.

NOTHING on this weekend? How about a cycle around Byron in your birthday suit? It really is a matter of bums on seats for the annual world naked bike ride, which is on again this Sunday. Bring bike, body paint, helmet and a sense of humour to the old Byron Bay railway station for a 2pm start.

Toodle pip!


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Sara Connor trying to protect killed cop, says lawyer

Australian woman Sara Connor being interrogated at Denpasar District Court in Bali, Indonesia.  (AAP Image/Putra Sinulingga)

Byron Bay woman says she is not guilty of killing Wayan Sudarsa

Byron Bay Brewery will reopen next month

ENTERTAINMENT: For years, the Byron Bay Brewery has been an important venue for local artists to showcase their creations.

It has been closed for six weeks of renovations

Yann Martel on novels: "Like building cathedrals in the mind”

Yann Martel is a Canadian author best known for the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, an international bestseller published in more than 50 territories.

The writer of Life of Pi introduces his new novel in Byron Bay

Latest deals and offers

Priscilla is coming to Brunswick Heads

LOCAL iconing drag queen Maude Boate will host two special screenings

Sara Connor trying to protect killed cop, says lawyer

Australian woman Sara Connor being interrogated at Denpasar District Court in Bali, Indonesia.  (AAP Image/Putra Sinulingga)

Byron Bay woman says she is not guilty of killing Wayan Sudarsa

Byron Bay Brewery will reopen next month

ENTERTAINMENT: For years, the Byron Bay Brewery has been an important venue for local artists to showcase their creations.

It has been closed for six weeks of renovations

Yann Martel on novels: "Like building cathedrals in the mind”

Yann Martel is a Canadian author best known for the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, an international bestseller published in more than 50 territories.

The writer of Life of Pi introduces his new novel in Byron Bay

Our rail could roll again on Byron line

BACK IN THE DAY: The old motorail express leaving Byron. The picture comes from the book Time and Tide Again courtesey of W. Brian Alexander

Friends of the Byron Line will be founded today.

John Williamson winding up for another Gympie Muster

John Williamson is bringing some new songs and artists to this year's Muster.

John Williamson is back and ready to put on his best show ever

Branson "amazed" he's still alive after cycling crash

Branson saw "his life flash before my eyes" during a bike crash

John Krasinski has better sex now he's in good shape

John Krasinski says there's at least one good reason to get jacked

Priscilla is coming to Brunswick Heads

Northern Rivers gender illusionist Maude Boate (Michael Gates) promoting the upcoming screenings of Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Brunswick Picture House.

Maude Boate will host two special screenings

Kanye West gets 'free reign' at VMAs

Kanye West has been let off the leash for the VMAs

Robbie Williams sings at manager's funeral

Robbie Williams and Lamar sang at the funeral of their manager

Twice as much Troy will please country music lovers

CATCH HIM WHILE YOU CAN: Singer Troy Cassar-Daley plans to take some time off to spend with family next year.

TROY Cassar-Daley is releasing a new album and book.

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m