Your town now

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No Wal-Mart signThey are going to build a fucking Wal-Mart in my neighborhood. For those not of the Austin persuasion, the mall in which they plan to build this behemouth is practically across the street from my house. I would probably be able to see this thing from my back yard. Well, not quite, but almost. Seriously, it would be like four or five blocks away. And they don't just want to put a run of the mill Wal-Mart in, either. Plans are for a two-story, 24-hour megacenter, the biggest in the county. In my neighborhood, which is an older, established neighborhood with full grown trees and houses that have seen at least two generations grow up.

Fuck that, I say.

And luckily, so do many of my neighbors. No Wal-Mart signs are popping up in yards up and down my street (we'll hopefully be getting ours this weekend). A protest is planned at City Hall next week (I plan to take off work to go). Letters are being written to the city council. The developing resistance to the plan has published a "Top 10 Reasons Why Wal-Mart is Bad for Northcross" list, which is being distributed (sidenote: I actually really dislike some of these reasons, but I understand they're tryiing to appeal to a broad base, so I'll let it slide). Resistance is mobilizing.

But will it be enough? There are honestly few things I can imagine that would be worse for my neighborhood, a neighborhood which I have come to love, than being the site of a Wal-Mart SuperMegaGiantCenter. Not only is the residential part of the neighborhood beautiful and established and friendly, but the non-residential part is fantastic. It's home to an increasing number of really great independant businesses, including an Alamo Drafthouse (which would end up literally across the street from the new Wal-Mart), Top Notch, which is the hamburger joint featured in Dazed and Confused (great not only for their flame-kissed burgers but also for the fact that it's not retro, it's just old), and the best toy store I've ever been in, Terra Toys, as well as a local gym, local hair salons, etc. New indie businesses are moving in all the time, and they are doing well. It's that kind of neighborhood. And that is in spite of the overload of bullshit chain businesses we already have (including a Starbucks, an Einstein's Bagels, a CVS, and a McDonalds). The space taken up by Northcross Mall could be put to such great use, moving in more independant and Austin-local businesses. I can easily think of a hundred, or even a thousand, better and more neighborhood-friendly uses for that space than a 220,000 square foot bastion to American greed and stupidity. However, Wal-Mart seems to generally get what Wal-Mart wants, so my hopes aren't high that the organization against it, as right-minded as it is and as organized as it seems, has much of a chance. Still, Mark and I will do everything we can to keep Wal-Mart out of our neighborhood, and if you live near where we do (as I know a couple of readers do), or if this is happening in your neck of the woods, I encourage you to do the same.

Your Town Now
I used to go out quite a lot,
chase to chase and shot to shot.
I'm all done with that somehow,
and it's your town now.

These days the mighty eagle sings,
of money and material things,
and the almighty Dow,
and it's your town now,
your town now,
it's--

From the mountains to the plains
all the towns are wrapped in chains,
and the little that the law allows,
and it's your town now,
it's your town now,
it's--

Where are the young bands gonna play?
Where're the old beatniks gonna stay,
and not before some corporation bow?
and it's your town now,
it's your town now,
it's--

So be careful everyone,
Cops can get careless with their guns.
And then they slip off somehow,
and it's your town now,
it's your town now,
it's--

You young ones it's up to you
to fight the fight and I hope you do,
Oh I see in your eyes that you know how
and it's your town now
your town now.

Don't let 'em take the whole damn deal,
Don't give up on what you really feel.
Ah, the small and local must survive somehow,
if it's gonna be your town now.
Is it gonna be your town now?
Is it gonna be your town now?
Is it gonna be
?
-Greg Brown

2 Comments

UGH! good luck in the anti-walmart fight.

Ugh! Walmart at Northcross? Over my dead body! I'll be pestering all my old grad school friends about this!!

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