Not really! But last week when I had occasion to visit Greensborough Plaza I was feeling oppressed sitting in the perfectly dismal and hideous food court there and wishing really hard that I would win thirty million dollars somehow, so I could buy Greensborough Plaza and have my way with it.
First of all I would have a fleet of concrete trucks come and seal up all the car parks - no more driving allowed, if you want to come to Greensborough Plaza you will have to ride your bike or walk or get the tram (.....and there is no tram) or you may also arrive riding on a horse or donkey, or in your horse-drawn carriage. The very top level of the carpark, which is open to the sky, I would have sown with grass and equipped with some sheds and old bathtubs full of water and set aside for a horse resting area.
Next I would tell all the shopkeepers they had to come to a meeting. At the meeting I would tell them of how things are going to be under the new regime. All national chain shops have until the end of the day to get all their junk out of there and give back their keys. Angus and Robertson have until lunchtime. All the other shops will be given three days to prepare a convincing argument that whatever it is they sell not only does no harm to the people who make, pack, and transport it, but also actually adds something of real lasting worth and benefit to the life of the purchaser and to the world in general. And if they can actually persuade me of this (not very likely in the case of the Hairhouse and the shop which sells ornamental goblin lady figurines), if they want to stay in Greensborough Plaza, they will also have to agree to let their customers bring purchases back when they're no longer needed, and swap them for some other thing.
I will have the supermarkets gutted and replaced with picturesque wooden carts looked after by ruddy farmers up for the day from the Yarra Valley, the carts groaning with fresh fruits and vegetables, scones, bread, cheese, eggs, pickles, and noodles. You will be able to buy tea, coffee, rice, soap, sugar, flour etc as well of course. But you will have to bring your own container.
Instead of a bookshop there will be a vast, labyrinthine but impeccably catalogued book exchange, likewise the CD shop. The clothes shops will have to make their clothes on site and on demand instead of packing them in from China. There will be a pottery, a metalworker, a carpenter, a portrait painter, a tool library, a bike menders', a Turkish Bathing establishment, a life-drawing class, a jumper-knitting club, a consulting detective and a dancing master, many, many philosophers - plus one or two economists and political scientists - whose job it will be to explain or discuss whatever topics they and their interlocutors find most interesting, the cinema will be free and will show Blow-Up, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Au Hasard Balthasar, The Life of Brian, Jules and Jim, Black Narcissus, Tommy, Willy Wonka (the old one), Pride and Prejudice, Bringing Up Baby, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Goats Corner will occupy the floor space currently taken up by Dick Smith Electronics and it will consist basically of a grassy paddock lived in by some goats and rabbits. You will be able to get your shoes mended, hair plaited or brushed, teeth attended to, shoulder tattooed, visit the pet library for people who want to borrow animals for a little while, or take your own pet to hang out with other pets. There will be long communal tables in the food court and meals will be served there only three times a day, and at each meal there will be speeches and a ceremonial toast. There will not be any signs or posters and no loudspeakers. There will be big vases of flowers everywhere and open windows to let the sunlight in. I will have the whole place wallpapered.
The new look Greensborough Plaza. It's going to be great.