Earlier in the week I was in Western Sydney on an assignment and found myself in one of the monolithic clubs that dots the horizon, both physically and culturally as I came to understand. As I approached the club before betting time began I shouldered my way through a crowd already swelling around the front set of doors. I managed to make my way through the group and then wander through the empty club.
The machines sat lit up waiting for punters.
I found the general experience inside the club quite surreal. The day before was the first time I signed in as a visitor and witnessed the Sunday evening bistro and raffle. The hopeful winning tickets were spread across tables in the hope to score a kettle or toaster, the only sound that broke the silence was the multitasking of knives and forks as people quickly looked up to check the last number called. The huge pokie bays started just behind the table stacked with raffle prizes. A small attempt to blur the line between family eatery and the pokies could be seen by a line of potted palm trees (couldnt get close enough to verify if they were real) but I cant fathom how such a space could be considered a family environment.
Is this just me?