Seven Ways to Enjoy Vivid Sydney Without Leaving The House

As anybody who has witnessed the Vivid festival this year already knows, it’s the usual bunch of lights, mundane art and a few shows that were mostly already happening around town anyway. Every year the NSW Government gleefully fork out millions of taxpayer dollars with the dubious claim that it brings some hefty tourist coin through the coffers of Sydney, all to illuminate some buildings in different colours and give the faint whiff of cultural relevance to a city long ago earmarked as an artistic desolation of misspent public funds and downright boring boondoggles (MCA, anyone?)

Now to be fair, Honest Sydney was impressed with the execution of the light display on the Opera House, although couldn’t figure out if it was a respectful nod to our First Nation’s people, or a mildly racist and condescending attempt at bridging a gap long since damaged (probably when they built the fucking thing there in the first place…) Either way, it was cold, hard to get around and the amenities were shit, so as much as I fucking despise listicles, here’s a few suggestions on how you can enjoy Vivid without leaving the comforts of your own home.

1 – Spend fifteen bucks at Bunnings on this piece of shit:


So sure, it’ll probably break after a month, but that’s still longer than Vivid, and a much smaller price to pay than however much the state has spent on making the walls change different colours. Plug it in, flick it on, and stare at your newly illuminated walls as they change from blue to yellow – then green exclaiming ‘that’s so cool’ whilst secretly feeling slightly ripped off.

2 – Get 300 people to stand in your corridors looking lost.

Okay, so this might be a little harder to coordinate, but if you own a farm then cattle or sheep could be substituted. It doesn’t matter what species you use, as long as they all move in different directions, change tack without warning, and the majority are clutching iPhones.

3 – Have 3 security guards block you from entering the best parts of your home after 10:30.

That’s right, a NIGHT TIME festival in Sydney wouldn’t really quite be in Sydney if it didn’t have an officious lesbian wearing a high-vis vest telling people they can’t do something. In our case, we made the egregious mistake of trying to visit the Botanic Gardens display at 10:34. 10:34 at fucking night. How dare we.

4- Get one of these:


For about fifty bucks at any hardware store, this little beauty will ensure that everything shuts off at 11pm sharp so that everybody can be in bed early for a good night’s sleep, just like Vivid.

5 – Use Siri.

Yep, one of the attractions this year is literally a blue band of light on a wall attached to a microphone. You get the idea, talk into the mic and the line wiggles, right? Well Apple beat you to the punch on that one Vivid. Years ago. I’ve had that ‘art’ in my pocket for fucking ages and I still don’t use it because it’s shit.


6 – While your iPhone is out, remember to use the panorama feature.

Take a photo of your newly lit lounge room and share it on every social media outlet possible with the caption ‘Sydney, I love you’ at 9pm with love heart emojis as you cry into your blanket about rental prices and the fact that Sydney Water is owned by the Chinese and, oh the Chinese investment… And try getting a good bottle of wine for under $15, or after 10pm… And baby boomers with their negative gearing they fucked it all up for everybody didn’t they?! And why can’t we have free tertiary education – where’s Gough Whitlam? Who will be our Gough? #wewantgough

7 – Don’t go to Vivid.

Yep, while Destination NSW’s website suggests that the festival attracts north of 1.5 million attendees, including a considerably small handful from overseas (specifically China), the other 6 million residents of NSW don’t seem to give a toss, an odd 3 million of which actually live in Sydney.

So don’t feel too disloyal for staying in and enjoying Vivid from home this year; you’re just doing what every other detached Sydneysider who thinks that an immature display of colourful lights is a condescending and unimaginative gesture, and in no way recompense from the NSW government for selling off our public assets, destroying our nightlife and subsequently our late-night economy, sacking 42 democratically elected officials, lying about public projects such as WestConnex and generally pushing a blatantly dorky Christian agenda, is doing.

Mike Baird might not forgive you, but Honest Sydney will.

Pramgmatism Will Break Your Heart

It wasn’t the fact that her twins were clearly old enough to walk. It wasn’t that they were sitting in a double-wide pram. It wasn’t even because they were ginger. It was the fucking look on her fucking face as she smugly pushed her Hummer of a stroller down the footpath, clearing aside a sea of unsuspecting pedestrians.

You know who I mean. Black jogging tights with day-glo pink stripes, neon trainers, Oroton sunglasses and the cap that Frank Burns wore in M*A*S*H with a ponytail poking out the back. Yes, you. You fucking cunt.

Let me tell you something that you really won’t believe. The world doesn’t change because you didn’t use a condom. We, the people, get it. You’ve had kids. Whether it was years of traumatic trial and error and expensive IVF, or a drunken romp in the back of Gaz’s SUV after Nick and Shirley’s wedding, nobody gives a shit about your shitty kids. Nobody.

I’ll accept that those two fat lumps of orange-maned absolute fucking joy are too heavy for you to carry everywhere. And I even salute you for not having resorted to a dog leash like many parents do. But don’t expect me to recognise your slightly modified Conestoga wagon as a socially acceptable way to snake your shitty family down a shitty footpath full of innocent bystanders. It’s just not going to fly with me.

So when you give me that ‘step aside – I have a pram therefore right of way’ look from behind your deathgrip on the handles of The Starship Snotmachine, don’t be surprised when I don’t. Because I don’t have to.

Fuck you.



In ‘n Out ‘n In ‘n Out

Sydney. Oh, Sydney. What to do with you. Of the many, many things you do to parody yourself, of all the food served on boards, cross-backed snap-button khaki aprons, $12 vodka, lime and sodas and different flavoured cronuts, there is but one jewel in the crown of your ridiculousness, and that is, the queue.

Sydney LOVES a queue. Whether it’s for The Grounds on a Saturday morning (I hear this place has animals – the kids will love that! Wrong – the last thing anybody needs while they get stuck into a bacon sandwich is to have a cute piglet nuzzle their fucking ankles), Black Star Pastry for a strawberry watermelon cake (because Asian Crack), Brewtown Newtown on a Sunday (okay Brewtown is an excellent brekky, but I wouldn’t queue for a Frank Zappa themed club night with playboy bunnies handing out free 90s pingas, let alone scrambled eggs and cold drip) or any other goddamn example of everybody in this city so desperate to get one good Instagram photo to make their followers lime green jelly (that means jealous, for those of you playing at home.)

When In-N-Out announce a pop-up in Sydney, the crowd goes wild. So wild that they queue outside the given venue for 6 hours before the doors even open, in the vain hope that they might score a golden ticket to a standard issue all-american freedom-loving coronary sandwich. The In-N-Out burger is a combination of a soft bun, beef, lettuce, cheese and sauce. That’s right. IT’S JUST A FUCKING HAMBURGER.

But you don’t care about that do you, 26-year-old -who-works-in-design-dressed-in-beige-chinos-and-a-maroon-pocket-tee-with-thick-framed-glasses. You couldn’t care less about that juicy meat, the freshness of the lettuce, the way the bun just falls apart at love’s first kiss. No no. Because if there’s no Instagram pic, no way of sharing this exclusive experience with five thousand of your nearest and dearest, there’s no point in that queue in the first place.

If you can’t let your other Sydneysiders know somehow that you got exclusive access to something that they didn’t, then why queue for it at all? And it is true that social media has made this a parody of itself. If you took the food photos away from Instagram you’d be left with a few thousand babies, a couple million cat gifs and lots and lots of gym selfies.

But that would be it. Because it’s the food photo #nofilter that really gets the self-adoring brownie points. It’s that magical snap of the Instagram lens over a take-away chain’s most basic offering that fills the heart of a Sydneysider with joy. It’s the sheer relief that you won, you beat them to it, this is your burger-moment-of-fame. Once it’s uploaded, it doesn’t matter what hashtag or filter you’ve chosen, nobody can take it away from you. You are one of the lucky 300. This is Sparta and you are in, not out.