I had fallen in with an Emirates flight crew—British, Irish, South African, Korean—sometime after eleven. A Swedish stewardess, the eldest among them at a mere thirty-something, watched her charges’ increasingly drunken antics with a wry smile and a half-concealed yawn before slipping off at around one o’clock into the clouds of cigarette smoke that hang over Hindley Street like a pall.
I had come to Adelaide to write an article about the city’s nascent laneway culture, the transformation of its alleys and side streets over the past three years, which had so impressed me on an earlier visit. This is not that article. While I was impressed by Leigh and Peel Streets’ numerous watering holes, I was also struck by the fact that the hipsterisation of these smaller side streets hadn’t entailed the neutralisation or dilution of Hindley Street’s traditional, invigorating harshness, or at least hadn’t entailed it yet. Gentrification is often a euphemism for class warfare and community displacement, but that didn’t seem to be the case here. I felt a second article coming on and ducked into the Woolshed on Hindley to do some research. This isn’t that article, either.