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Burning sculptures, songlines, coal-mine protests – two Geelong festivals last weekend seemed a little more new-age than usual.

The arduous Mountain to Mouth arts walk earned some praise but the other, Geelong After Dark, copped flak for the anti-mine message of one light display on City Hall.

Fair enough, public events are fair game for public opinion, after all.

But both events also demonstrated just how far Geelong’s come in terms of community revelry.

And mostly in the right direction, if not left in terms of politics.

Yes, nothing on the current calendar holds a candle to the bipartisan horror that was … Springding.

For anyone able to remember, and for those who would rather not, this 1980s festival was in spring all right but the ‘ding’ was more ‘dung’ as the celebrations fatefully coincided with the rise of cask wine among Geelong’s budget drinkers.

In other words, practically everyone at the time.

Eventually the boozy antics led to Springding’s demise, possibly clearing the way for genteel events like Geelong After Dark.

So these days, maybe thankfully, the theme’s slightly political rather than paralytic!

Mind you, the increasing ubiquity of City Hall’s new favourite catchphrase might become the only thing more sickening than the day after Springding.

After inheriting the Clever and Creative imperative from their predecessor administrators, Geelong’s councillors are applying the phrase with gusto.

The council’s barely six months old but is already Clever and Creative beyond its age, using the mantra to justify, explain or reference everything from international travel to community events.

This week the mantra was stretched further to include, of all things, roadways in proposed growth areas.

According to council, “Clever and Creative Corridors” will provide routes for public transport, bicyclists and pedestrians in the city’s new northern and western growth areas.

What next? Clever and Creative Toilet Blocks? Clever and Creative Parking Officers?

Give us a break!

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