Friday, 8 June 2012

fast buck freddie's

Key West literally lives on the edge. It's also at a point of balance between its uniqueness and its need to thrive.

The imminent closure of Duval Street's large department store is an example. I believe it was founded back in the 1970s and has a slightly ramshackle history of location, expansion and recent demise.

Called Fast Buck Freddie's (after a Jefferson Starship track), it occupies a prime location but now looks quite sad as it sells off its fixture and fittings.

There's also a feisty set of descriptions of its history draped along the length of its windows. It exemplifies the difficult balance of progress in a once very free-thinking environment.

Other areas around Duval have already become more corporate and there's extensive manicuring in parts of the central area, where apparently up to 600 cruise ships now arrive per year. Tourism drives the Keys and Key West in particular. That business need also affects the balance between uniqueness and surviving without becoming over ticky-tacky.

As Grace Slick might have sung it:

Now it's hard to get serious when the joker 
Is laughing 
And by now the joker is wild 
It's hard to keep laughing when a rich man's 
Looks like a gun that's gonna smile 

What's going on,  I ask you 
What's going on,  can you see? 
What's going on, I ask you and 
Who's coming on, is it you or me? 

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