11; .0.4. This Issue and A Texas Observer Subscription as a Christmas Gift Direct-dial us at: 1-512-477-0746 All holiday season gift subscriptions will begin with the 20th Anniversary Celebration Issue. We’ll air-mail the announcement of your 1-year gift subscriptionSpecial Delivery postage, if you want it, for 60c additionaland bill you later at the reduced rates for multiple orders: $8.40 for the first $7.35 for the second $6.30 for a third $5.25 for all others Just remind us, when you place the order, to deduct the cost of the phone call from your subscription bill. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W. 7 AUSTIN 78701 The screwing up of Austin By Bud Shrake Austin The other night I was talking to a country musician about the screwing up of Austin, and he had what seemed at that hour to be a pretty good idea. This country musician hisself had moved here from Nashville a while back and had in fact set off a near to stupefying rush in this direction of musicians and semi-musicians, as well as literally hundreds of hairy vagabonds loaded down with Nikons, videotape machines, cowboy hats, electric mouth organs, and deer-horn coke scoops. This country musician was only about half pleased at what he had helped to attract, but that was no bother at all \(even semi-musicians don’t like to knock down compared to what was coincidentally going on in the screwing up of Austin. “Well, the only way I can see to handle it is to build a big tall electrified bob war fence around the place and give out numbers to the folks inside,” the country musician said. “I suppose I would probably be about number 217, 156. Anybody with a number higher than 250,000 has to leave town and can’t come back until they get hold of a number under the limit, say by their old uncle leaving it to them in his will, or maybe by winning it in a card game, or buying it outright, or sticking a pistol up aside somebody’s ear and hijacking their number. Anyhow, we can plainly see there’s just too damn many people flocking in around here for what is good. If they was deer, we could declare a harvest and send a bunch of their meat overseas.” We can see what a struggle that would be, placing numbers on people and shoving thousands of the poor bastards off toward Wink or Graham. It would require vicious dogs at the very least, and you would have a hell of a time explaining to the exiles why you were demanding that they do the right thing. Pick up any outlander newspaper or magazine these days, and you are liable to read about the peculiar appeal of Austin. They’re catching on to it out there, partly because of these honkytonk heroes and motion picture gypsies who are slipping in, and partly because a number of greedheads discovered they could make a living out of Austin by chopping it down. FOR YEARS Austin has been a stopoff on the hippie railroad between the Left Coast and the Right Coast. Rolling Stone called Austin “the hippie Palm Springs,” which didn’t help any, but after all, hippies didn’t hurt anybody who didn’t ask for it, and they sure didn’t get together to put up parking lots. The hippies realized, as generations of college students have understood, that Austin is the best place in Texas to be, and that there are precious few places in the whole of the U.S.A. that have got the odd magic that Austin has got. Some of the very things that make that true cedar hills, water, unexpected vistas, a sultry mafiana way of moving are the things that have to get torn up to make room for the people they seduce. Just about my favorite place to go in Austin is out on our back porch. From there I can see as far as I can look. At night the flashing light straight ahead is the airport miles away, and the flashing light off to the right is Bergstrom. I can see the Tower, the Stadium, the Capitol, Westgate, and that gold firecracker that bank employees have to work in, and there’s squirrels and possums and birds walking around on the porch, and I can see down to Bee Creek and a little piece of the river. Except one nice fall day not long ago, I
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