Jacobin on Hyde | Opinion

Every year I have been at Otago there has been noise about the death of Scarfiedom in this very publication. My noise is probably no different … except it is personal. The personal is not always political, but in this case it is.

At the heart of the issue of Scarfiedom is a type of graduating class struggle. I never thought I would end up living on Hyde Street. But here I am, in the only brand-new flat on the street, which was completed a few weeks ago. I feel like some sort of shock trooper in a gentrification effort that my former self would have sneered at. Some people have given me odd looks, like I must think I am above them. I don’t, but I am torn.

I am part of the last major population cohort still at Otago who saw all the major changes happen around them as an undergraduate. I once, like many others, thought that the stream of golden wine from the sack held above my head would be endless. But as soon as images of people rioting on Castle Street were broadcast on the news in 2007 it struck terror in the Clocktower. It was the beginning of the end, the reactionary phase of this struggle.

Things I saw die:
1. The Fresher Toga Parade (walked in it as fresher; threw flour as second year)
2. Undie 500 (attended the last two)
3. The Bowler (uh … drank there?)
4. The Cook-a-thon (arrested, 2008)
5. Gardies
6. The Cook

Things I saw rise:
1. Rent
2. Campus Watch
3. The Campus Code of Conduct
4. Gentrification of Castle St

And, as I look at the street where I have attended the Hyde Street Keg Party a total of six times, I cannot but mourn the shadow being cast by my flat and what it represents. We can all become what we once sneered at.
This article first appeared in Issue 18, 2013.
Posted 3:50pm Sunday 4th August 2013 by Jacobin.