Hey Canberra. Smith’s recently underwent a transition. The dust now has settled, the paint has dried, the wounds have healed, the approvals received, the teething problems have been chewed, the feng has been shuied, etc. etc. Now it’s time for us to have a little party, yes?
The Back Story
Way back when Smith’s came under our unsteady stewardship, our next door neighbour was the heavenly Hunt’s News Agents, purveyors of newspapers, trashy magazines, out of date lollies, stationery and, most importantly, scratchies. They were very good neighbours and we loved them very much, but secretly we hoped they would retire and that our landlord would then agree to us taking over the space for our own nefarious purposes.
Two years later they did indeed retire, but in a surprise twist, they found someone to buy the business off them. Good for the Hunts. Sucks to us. And super bad for the purchasers, who never really grasped the task at hand. Six months later, being Xmas time 2017, we arrived at work to find brown paper covering all their windows and signs saying they were closed.
Merry Xmas Canberra, because the landlord agreed we could have the space. But then ensued six months of legal wranglings, administrative torturings, renovations that would make The Block look like an afternoon building sandcastles with the kids at Broulee… I nearly killed myself about five times and a few other people came pretty close too.
Long back story short, we eventually completed the renos, filled in the paper work, paid all the fees, waitied some ridiculous inexplicably long time for it all to get processed and our precious little certificares to be delivered and… with a massive sense of anti-climax, we opened the new Smith’s, just as hand hewn, comfy, loungey, degenerate etc. as before, but bigger, better, braver…
And ‘tis time now, wethinks, for us to make a bit of an effort to reopen in a slightly more climactic fashion. And to properly thank everyone who helped us do it. So this is it. The name, btw, comes from the lyrics of our song entry into the inaugural Canbeurovision contest, sung to the tune of Leonard Cohen’s ‘First We Take Manhattan’.
First We Take Burn Street
They sentenced us to twenty years in Downer
For trying to make Canberra less like Hell
For trying to bring the music to the people
First we take Burn Street, then we take Cadell
We started with a little Backanalia
In a house some millionaires could not afford
But the residents of Reid got to our landlord
First we take Panton, then we take Allport
And maybe sometimes we all took our clothes off
And danced under the moon lasciviously
Maybe we got drunk and stoned and happy
First we take Swinden, then we take Shirley
You really want to live in Downer baby
You’ll love our oak trees and our murder scenes as well
And you might hear the sounds of naked frolics
Oh Downer, oh Downer, oh Downer, you saved us from Hell
The Health Department, Licensing and the Police
And Margaret from Ainslie on Triple Six
They’ve all done their best to stop the party
First we take Padbury…….., then we take Smith’s
La la la la la la la la la…..
First we took Smith’s…….., then we made it bigger