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Monday, February 27, 2006

Too popular - or too popular with the wrong crowd?

It's so popular that we had to cancel it:

27 February 2006

Cancellation of Dancing in the Street #3

The third event in Auckland City's Dancing in the Street series on March 17 has been cancelled due to the event outgrowing its current location.

The programme of free street parties, a component of Auckland City's Music in Parks series, are held in front of the Auckland Public Library in closed-to-traffic Lorne Street.

The popularity of the series has meant Lorne Street is no longer a suitable venue. Due to a shortage of time to find a new venue, Auckland City has decided to cancel the next scheduled event.

Or is it because of the outbreaks of violence reported towards the end of the event last time? I mean it sounds stupid enough to be a decision that the council would make; but is it just spin? Cancelled due to police pressure doesn't sound so good.

Russell Brown's experience of the last one:

I love these events; they're mad and energetic, and Lorne St was packed with kids when we arrived [...]

Around us, kids hopped up on BZP hopped around and texted their friends. Then Concord Dawn came on and they hopped 30% faster. Drum and bass isn't my favourite kind of music, but I do love the energy of drum and bass crowds, and it's not hard to see why Concord Dawn are regarded as one of the top D&B acts in the world. Here and there, a pair of cops wove through the throng, seeming almost stationary against the hubbub and clatter around them.

Apart from a brief scuffle near the front, there seemed to be nothing to trouble the plod. But as we left afterwards, someone working on the production said there had been several people staggering away from the mosh pit [...] dazed and bleeding, on account of several other people - on the P, no doubt - going way too far. There had been perhaps half a dozen arrests.

In which case, allow me to salute some intelligent, organised policing. There was a time when New Zealand police would have piled in on something like this; aggravated people, created a disturbance, stopped the music. But not this Friday night in town. They appear to have dealt with genuine problems so swiftly and efficiently - whipping miscreants to vans round the corner - that we, and a couple of thousand other partygoers, had no idea anything was amiss.

Mr Brown perhaps sees intelligence where others see necessity - or negligence. The result of low-level policing may not have been by design - it may have been understaffing and being taken by surprise at the sudden turn of events. Having attended only once before (last year or so) it was all very nice and civilized and there was no need for any heavy security presence. Perhaps that has changed? I heard from someone who was there that afterwards was no safe place for skinny white kids (although, where is, really? - not even the North Shore where there is nothing but).

No doubt the cops acted appropriately in that situation; but maybe they would find it easier to recommend cancellation than have to re-jig things to get more staff on? ie. they can't be bothered.

What about Aotea Square if it's so popular and is "outgrowing its current location." Is it just the historical association with the 1984 Queen St riot that stops them recommending that? They can use the market stalls erected for the following day as a perennial excuse not to have it there and avoid having to deal with that aspect of our past. (sorry- can't find any pics of it on google).

I wouldn't be surprised at all if this council decision had something to do with the violence and arrests last time round. And I'm not surprised that they wouldn't say it outright either.


At 28/2/06 11:33 am, Blogger t selwyn said...

The NZ Herald reports in a very brief item that it is because of "public safety" issues.

At 28/2/06 2:37 pm, Blogger Russell Brown said...

Mr Brown perhaps sees intelligence where others see necessity - or negligence.

Jeez, Tim - would it kill you to take me at my word, given that I was there and you weren't?

The trouble was concentrated in a very small area right in front of the stage. I - and I would think nearly everyone else there - wasn't aware of any of it, apart from seeing a brief scuffle in that area. It *was* good policing - the wading-in option would have been a disaster, and it would have been all over Saturday's paper. (A reader emailed me to compare and contrast it with the aftermath of the 20-20 match at Eden Park that week, where the policing seems to have been shambolic - he stumbled on half a dozen perps handcuffed face-down on a footpath required for egress.)

It would be interesting to know exactly what has happened in the interim, though. The overcrowding excuse is credible - it's a concentrated space and there were a lot of people there. Maybe it's just because I'm old, but I didn't feel any sense of threat during or afterwards.


At 28/2/06 5:59 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...

"Jeez, Tim - would it kill you to take me at my word, given that I was there and you weren't?"
If I thought you lived up to your own claims of omniscience I fear I would suffer a massive and spontaneous cerebral haemorrhage.

You didn't see what one person told me happened afterwards either.

"the wading-in option would have been a disaster"
What I said was that they might not have been able to initiate that option because of under-staffing or bad planning. The fact it has now been cancelled due to "public safety" (according to the NZ Herald) seems to confirm that policing was nonetheless unable to cope.

"It *was* good policing"
Well, those left "dazed and bleeding" might not have that opinion of their strategy.

"Maybe it's just because I'm old, but I didn't feel any sense of threat during or afterwards."
Maybe it's because you were pissed? Maybe you've got poor eyesight? Maybe your hearing is faulty? Maybe if you were a "skinny" white boy you would have been more conscious of threats?

There is an almost infinite number of reasons why you could be incorrect. I just don't have enough time and there isn't enough space or capacity on the entire internet and all the servers in the world to load up the necessary detail on every possible way that you could be wrong :)

I always seem to miss the fights and am oblivious to vibes that lead up to or follow these fights. Many a time I arrive somewhere or come back to some place and everyone is going on about the "huge fight" that broke out. There's probably some Masters thesis somewhere with the mathematical probablilities of a random person in a crowd of c.500, with loud music, without perfect visibility, in conversation with others, witnessing an incident that only takes 10-30secs.

"It would be interesting to know exactly what has happened in the interim, though."
Well, to use your term: "would it kill you to take me at my word"? - If you want to spend the time to find out that I'm right - go ahead.


At 1/3/06 1:56 am, Blogger error404 said...


Now that's entertainment.

At 1/3/06 6:55 am, Blogger Russell Brown said...

What I said was that they might not have been able to initiate that option because of under-staffing or bad planning.

No Tim, they didn't do it because it would have been completely fucking stupid - not to mention wholly unnecessary - and would likely have resulted in more than a few injuries.

If you read up on the Aotea Square riot (I was there too) you'll discover that the police waded in in response to a minor incident on the periphery of the area. As a senior cop told me later "we blew it".

From our vantage point on the balcony, we saw one arrest. It was very slick. The cops indentified one guy, converged on him from three different directions and walked him out of the crowd. He hadn't done anything untoward that I could see, but presumably he was picked up for a reason. That's good event policing.

But feel free to carry on purely for the sake of disagreeing with me ...


At 1/3/06 10:49 am, Blogger t selwyn said...

It would just be negligence on my part to leave commenters still obviously writhing in a state of delusional omniscience.

"they didn't do it because..."
You don't know why they did it. You are one witness, with limited knowledge, drawing conclusions that seemed based on the oxymoron of intelligent policing.

"If you read up on the Aotea Square riot..."
That little nostalgia trip doesn't make you an expert on policing.

"...we saw one arrest"
You stated "There had been perhaps half a dozen arrests." So the other 5 or so arrests were not done so well? - or were not seen by you? The incidents that I heard about that occured afterwards weren't seen by you either.

"That's good event policing."
Was it for the victims? Was it by accident rather than design? Why do you think it has been cancelled due to "public safety" issues (according to the NZ Herald)? Join the dots.

I reiterate that there is not enough communication satellites in orbit, not enough fibre optic cables across the oceans and continents, not enough aggregate bandwidth on the entire internet, not enough hard drive and processing capacity in existence, not enough servers online and not enough software invented that could even hope to calculate the almost infinite number of ways in which Russell Brown could be wrong.

But feel free to carry on purely for the sake of disagreeing with me ...


At 1/3/06 5:27 pm, Blogger Rob Good said...

Ah the 84 Queen Street riots..... Wasn't Mr Dobbyn something to do with that?

At 2/3/06 3:57 pm, Blogger Mark said...

No, if you ask a revisionist leftie, it was all about "releasing the pressure of the oppressive autocracy of Muldoon's government" or some bullshit like that. It had nothing to do with the fact that it was really hot, people were pissed and some of them were wankers who saw their opportunity to smash windows and have a fight with the pigs..

At 3/3/06 12:47 am, Blogger Psycho Milt said...

Er, doesn't the right also consider Muldoon's govt ot have been oppressive autocracy? Or are the lefties the only ones calling a spade a spade in this instance?

At 3/3/06 12:59 pm, Anonymous RR said...

Lefties are more prone to revisionist habits, because they're obsessed with the existence of so-called right wing conspiracies.


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