Kings Cross late night tales: The Glassie

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In December, a series of videos was launched to delve into “the good, and the bad, of late night living on Sydney’s most infamous party strip”, through the eyes of five people with stories to tell. 2012 was a year of contrasts for Kings Cross, so inthemix is also pulling together first-hand accounts of the weekend scenes there. We’ll be going one-on-one with venue owners and DJs, but first up, here’s how a glassie sees it.

The Glassie

“I’ve worked as a glassie for about a year now while I’m at uni, in a couple of different venues. There’s really two sides to Kings Cross: after 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights on one side of the coin, and everything else on the other. I also live just outside the Cross and the weekdays are a different story altogether. At places like the Vegas Hotel or the Crest at 9am on a Tuesday morning you’ll have the career drinkers sitting with their schooners, and there are some very colourful characters. Then on the main strip of Macleay Street, no matter what the time on a weekday, there’s always something going on. You get to know the regulars and some of the bigger personalities around the neighbourhood, but you also realise that the Cross is just a place where a lot of people live normal lives.

Then there’s after 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights. My hours have varied; sometimes I’ll work through till around five am. As anyone who has been to the Cross on a weekend will know, it’s not a big place, but it gets absolutely swamped, and that’s always going to cause problems. You see people streaming out of the train station, and a lot of them are already well on their way. It’s not always pretty, ‘cause bouncers are generally cautious about who they let in if they look like they’ve had too many, so you get drunk people roaming the main strip and Bayswater Road with nothing to do…and the results are obvious. You see some really stupid fights, and girls whose night is over before it’s even really started. Inside the venues, security tends to be tight, and as a glassie, I can see the sense in using plastic. But you can’t keep control of everyone. My friend worked as a waitress at one of the strip clubs there, and she hated weekends – you get really rowdy groups of guys who’ve probably been denied entry at other clubs. That can be pretty full-on.

I know transport was a big issue, because people couldn’t actually get out of the area easily. Now they’ve added some extra buses leaving the Cross, which is good. I have to say, though, that the media portrayal doesn’t always help. There’s an idea out there that the Cross is just about drunk groups roaming around and getting into trouble, but I’ve seen some really great music there – DJs and bands. There’s a bunch of promoters pushing fun parties, but they can struggle to make their nights a ‘destination’. I think this will be a better year for the Cross, though – hopefully more people will realise there’s nothing much fun about sitting on the footpath outside a club cause you’ve been kicked out at 11pm.”

You can watch the story of another Kings Cross glassie, Ben, in the video below.

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