Mark Thompson

Scaling Everest: A first-hand account of the Opera House protest

Last night, I attended the Opera House demonstration. Strangely, it enabled something rarely felt in Sydney: rampant waves of collective optimism.

 

 

In the vibrant canon of organised complaint, last night’s performance on the Opera House steps probably won’t shine brightest. On the surface, it’s a demonstration that is easy to marginalise, a wave of keyboard warriors and leftards loosed upon city streets well beyond their bedtime, unifying in the same manner a frat does a U2 concert. And yes, while it was probably the only revolution in history to be solely reliant on the amount you charged your phone beforehand, it certainly meant something, and it was certainly the correct application of angry millennial and gripped torch.

Using the correct vernacular, it was something well lit as it was well, lit.

As I stood in the elbow of the wriggling mass, something far more precious was illuminated, something not usually seen in this glassy, dim metropolis: a rampant vibe of unchecked optimism.

As a city, we don’t do that well. We either need to be high, drunk or deluded (or all three) to feel a connection with our fellow resident. But not last night. It garnered us something indeed precious: a night out in Sydney felt, well, good.

 

 

While it was a question of light fighting light, it was a palpable case of light fighting dark, as we, the anonymous masked warriors of virtue assembled to outshine the bat-signal of needless corporatisation. Our antagonists even had to stoop to using the images we ruined.

Marvel at our shining virtue, Gotham.

photo

 

I mean, yes, it didn’t stop the ad, but we certainly ruined it a bit. We made a difference, and the amount of heart emojis and pieces of minds won on social media proved our complaint was of the correct wattage. In many ways, it was probably the world’s largest selfie. We shone our torches on the sails to project ourselves up there. We climbed the top of Everest to make sure our complaint echoed below.

 

 

I’m unsure if a couple of thousand phone users will trump many more thousands of dollars in the future, and I fear our actions tonight will embolden the “block out” laws of tomorrow, where individual illumination will be solely the property of Crown Casino, but the fact that we did something, meant something.

Per the ABC, the organisers of the race will not be using any of last night’s photos for marketing purposes. Maybe that’s as far as our demonstration will affect, maybe not. But our point has been made, and we’ll know if they heard us when more comes to light.

Until then, maybe our legacy is as one random Twitterer opined, in that we put on the worst vivid ever. 

I’ll take that.

 

 

Vive le resistance!

 

 

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