Monday, January 20, 2014

Queen & Edward (4)

What was I (along with hundreds thousands of others) doing outside Brisbane's newest Apple store at 10:00 am last Friday, waiting for its official opening. It wasn't to pick up the latest iGadget - my wife reckons I have enough of them already.

I am notorious for avoiding crowds. I hate the bustling, bumping, heaving mass of people that one can find in shops and malls, particularly at this time of the year. And I am impatient (mrs tff says it differently - intolerant is her pronunciation) when it comes to queuing for anything.

So, why was I there?

It was nostalgia that drew me to the centre of the city. It was to observe the transition of the historic MacArthur Chambers into its newest incarnation as Apple's first CBD store in Brisbane. Regular readers may recall that my first ever, grown-up, full time job was in that building getting on for fifty years ago now. I loved the job, I loved the company that I worked for and the people that I worked with, many of whom remain friends to this day. I am not alone here - a reunion of people who worked there was organised recently and 300 people attended! Some of them had commenced work in that building in the 1950s. I still love the building, now a heritage listed treasure right next to the Brisbane Mall. Here are a couple of photographs of it from 1950 when it was known as the AMP Building.
(Photo: BCC-B54-677)

(Photo: BCC-B54-775)

Here is Friday's photo that shows what I was up against, taken just before the 10:00 am opening hour.
(Photo: © 2014 the foto fanatic) 

That queue extended back to the GPO, including snaking in and out of the MacArthur Arcade next door where the Commonwealth Bank used to be years ago. There were police and security there to ensure that shoppers and business people were able to walk past unimpeded. There were photographers, journalists and TV crews there to record the Apple iMadness. It seemed that the people towards the back were not going to make it in the front door before closing time, so long was the queue.

That realisation brought me to my senses. There was no way that I was prepared to stand in that queue for hours just to see inside - I'll come back when things are more reasonable. Here is a media photo of the interior, showing the refurbished ground floor.

This is where the nostalgia really kicks in. I spent years working on the ground floor of the building doing customer service and clerical roles for AMP. I was hoping to walk around and soak in the atmosphere to see what memories were stirred. That will have to wait for a later time.


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