there goes the neighbourhood


The long simmering row between two of my favourite local retailers has spilled over to the street with signs appearing in each of their windows inviting customers to take sides.

It’s not subtle. Take this salvo:

Megalomaniac: n. One who has delusional fantasies as to the greatness of their power.

e.g. Being such a devout megalomaniac she actually expected that her ranting and raving would result in the local authorities overhauling their traffic management policies to meet her ludicrous demands.

No wonder she is so frustrated and cranky all the time; no one listens to her malicious babble or does her bidding.”

And the response in the adjacent window:

Hmm, I wonder what brought on this new outburst … Perhaps all his staff cars got parking tickets at once! Believe me, I don’t want parking laws changed … I just wish shopkeepers would let customers have the parking rather than taking it for themselves.

If that is the definition of megalomania it is a very curious one. But hopefully none of our customers have an interest in name-calling and misogyny.”

This is pretty uncomfortable for people who love both good books and good food and is creating a vibe not much conducive to either.

It’s the restaurant that most surprises me – like, the owners are practising Buddhists.

But that’s the thing about such disputes. They can unhinge even the most Zen individuals.

Reading the signs – wondering if I can ever enjoy a secondhand book in my favourite Thai restaurant again – the name Eddie Azzopardi springs to my mind.

Eddie became legend for his pursuit of justice after the garage of his rented home was burned down in 1971 in the midst of him disputing a negligent driving charge following a bingle with a policeman.

The fire became one of the most inquired into matters in NSW judicial history, spanning more than 25 years.

Eddie was a man obsessed with proving his case.

Hard-bitten journalists would near weep at news he was on the phone, knowing that he wouldn’t draw breath for an hour.

Eddie always had right on his side and was ultimately proven to be the victim of a great injustice.

But at what cost?

The acclaimed investigative journalist Evan Whitton once asked him how many more years of his life the case would consume

Eddie replied: “Forever. It’s like a cancer; it just keeps growing …”


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