Sydney Festival First Night was an immensely fun night: the city was heaving, Al Green was spectacular in his brief set, and there was a lot of other stuff happening which I comprehensively ignored but I was glad it was happening nonetheless. The night was marred only, as usual, by the extreme presence of police which seems to accompany any Sydney event in the 21st century.
These are not the sort of people who are going to catch Osama bin Laden should be rock up with ten tonnes of C4. These are run of the mill, gun-toting officers who mull around the city streets and parks, intimidating and purveyors of gloom. People who have repeatedly proven themselves to be unreasonably trigger-happy in some of the most non-threatening situations a police officer could expect to face. It is a travesty that they can parade about the city's premier cultural event with guns proudly on display.
You've got to hate people, surely, to become a cop. You've at least got to enjoy hurting people. If you like people and you want to perform some sort of public service, you become an ambo or a fireman or something. Only an obsession with weaponry and violence lead to the force.
And this sort of anti-social bitterness was demonstrated perfectly when a gang of police officers interrupted a young busker outside David Jones and disbanded his crowd of listeners, who were excitedly singing along to 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. It was an utterly harmless performance, and I was quietly disappointed nobody king-hit the arsehole who broke it up.
If police are going to be present, and armed, at such events, they should do actual policing and keep us safe, rather than just throw their egos around spoil the party.