Every city has its own way of “dealing” with homelessness.
This almost never involves giving homeless people homes. Instead, cities and businesses opt for all manner of different methods for dissuading the downtrodden from hanging out on their doorsteps. This can include installing hostile architecture, spraying them with water or just plain loading them onto a bus and shipping them out of town.
They also try to drive away these poor people by blasting music in areas where they may congregate (that’s right, it’s not just limited to torture victims anymore!). Now, one of the artists behind that music is asking them to please stop doing that.
For some context, The Wiggles are an Australian band who make music for children. While kids seem to love it, any parent will tell you that hearing the same children’s song over and over will drive one mad — sing “Baby Shark” for any new parent and be ready for a response akin to a Vietnam flashback.
Recently, the City of Bunbury in Western Australia decided to weaponize this visceral reaction in order to prevent people from hanging out in its “Graham Bricknell Memorial Music Shell.” If you go to the music shell right now — or any time, really — you will hear the song “Hot Potato” by The Wiggles being blasted on loop.
The Wiggles, as it turns out, don’t like the song they made to entertain children being used to antagonize the homeless. “A Wiggles spokesperson told WAtoday the group’s music was created to bring joy and happiness to children and families around the world, and they were ‘deeply disappointed’ to hear it was being used in any other way,” writes Jesinta Burton. “This masthead understands The Wiggles have since approached the city’s council requesting it stop using the song.”
As of right now, the city doesn’t seem to care. In fact, the mayor noted that the shell has been playing music to fend off poor people for years. Previously, the stage played Peter Allen’s hit song “I Go to Rio” — a song about loving the feeling of going on vacation blasted for people who cannot take one. Great!
Only time will tell whether the city will agree to The Wiggles’ demands. Until then, at least change up the playlist a bit — “Big Red Car” is a banger, and I won’t hear any ill words against it.