Ridiculous hipster event is peak Sydney
SOMETHING popped up on my Facebook feed the other day. It may well be the most Sydney event ever.
Called Rumble in the Jungle, all the ingredients are there: it's exclusive, it's on trend, it's quirky, it's super secret and it's served with lashings of FOMO - don't you dare miss out on this incredible happening, the post seems to tacitly and ominously warn.
You have to register for free tickets in advance: if your name's not down, Sydneysider, you're not getting in. Then pick a timeslot.
And the location for said Rumble, which takes place next Saturday? Well, it's a mystery, to be revealed closer to the date. Because, as we know, location unknown always equals extra excitement.
So what is Rumble in the Jungle. A trendy new nightclub? A beachside alfresco dinner party et la Diner en Blanc?
Non Madame et Monsieur. Rumble in the Jungle is an indoor plant sale. That's right, funsters, an indoor bloody plant sale.
Surely, Sydney cannot go no further up its own perpetually pampered posterior than persuading the hipster masses to sign up for a strict timeslot to head to an unknown location to visit a garden centre.
When you have to buy tickets in advance and await a text message for the location of a plant sale as if it's an illegal rave from the 1990s, you know we have now reached peak Sydney.
Sign up, say promoters Jungle Collective, and look forward to "designer pots! Jungle tunes and vibes! Style inspiration!"
"We are throwing a bigger and better plant party!" they enthuse.
If that's an indoor plant party what's going to happen when the succulent loving hordes in attendance discover Bunnings? They will literally die.
But how to explain Bunnings? Here goes, it's like Rumble except it's a 24/7 foliage festival! Which you can rock up to any time you damn well wish! No tickets! No logging on to EventBrite! No FOMO!
I confess, I know someone who went to a previous Rumble and she loved it. She told me she enthused to her dad about the sheds full of cactuses, the rooms overflowing with ferns. He agreed it did sound good, but she did know there are places at least as big as that beyond the inner city bubble that are open seven days a week, right?
How did Sydney get to this - this combination of our love for one day one-off special events coupled with our gullibility about being sucked into believing things really are only available for a limited time?
Remember when fashion store Zara opened and they made people queue down the street? Zara wasn't full, there was plenty of room, but the queues made us believe if we didn't get in right away we would forever miss out on owning a T-shirt.
An indoor plant sale dressed up as the Second Coming of Christ herself is, I fear, a symptom of a hollowness at the centre of this city. A need to be endlessly entertained because, otherwise, we're at a bit of a loss.
We are beguiled by the twinkling of the sea and the insta-worthy sundowners by the Opera House.
But it's all surface. When we look deeper what else does the city offer? Live music is but a charming memory; edgy districts like Kings Cross are shadows of their former selves, with the tearing down of the Sirius building the Harbour is being sanitised of all but the ultra-rich.
Perhaps this is why a net 44 people leave Sydney every day for other parts of Australia. Because this city is an exhausting round of keeping up with the Joneses, even when it comes to pot plants.
Some things, Sydney does get right. Give me a month of Vivid lighting up the evenings over the 12 hours of Melbourne's suffocatingly packed White Night. And Mardi Gras is unrivalled.
But the rest of the time, into the void tumble these nonsense events. Remember Curious Labyrinth, a $45 a head function that promised to "take you through a maze in a secret location" but ended up delivering no more than an overpriced entry to a Bondi bar.
The New Year's functions that promise a curated food and dessert event, below an umbrella of fireworks, but end up being a three hour queue for a food truck sausage.
Or the Opera House's outdoor gigs where the volume has to be turned down lest the multi-millionaire neighbours living in harbour view apartments have to turn their TV volume up.
And now we have a plant sale dressed up as an event so exclusive you have to go through hoops to get your hands on a wilting fern.
It's enough to want to make you move to Melbourne where they wouldn't fall over themselves for such obvious nonsense. But tragedy, I looked further into Jungle Collective and, it appears, it's not a Sydney concept it all, it's from Melbourne.
All it seems, is lost. Knock, knock Brisbane, any vacancies? Lack of secret plant sales is a must.