"Byron is Abu Dhabi with cafes and warm-water peelers instead of air-con malls… an orgy of aimless consumption in the spiritual supermarket."
One year ago, and shortly before his untimely demise, Steve “Longtom” Shearer wrote movingly of the dramatic shift in tone of the holiday hamlet he’d spent most of his adult life living in.
In response to a Vanity Fair story on a gang of Instagram influencer mom-surfers – murfers – in Byron Bay, Longtom wrote,
Six am and the carparks are packed.
Range Rover, Audis, idle in the carparks, the scent of diesel fumes wafts over the line-up. The serfs have had their hit, time to man and woman the cafes. Byron is Abu Dhabi with cafes and warm-water peelers instead of air-conditioned malls. Euro-babes and Brazilian studs do the coolie labour instead of South Asians.
It’s a monument to greed wearing a spiritual cloak. A glittering dream metastasized into a malignant nightmare. The bastard spawn of unhinged neoliberalism and grinning hippy capitalists running riot in an orgy of aimless consumption in the spiritual supermarket. Ayn Rand on a mid-length.
Now, a new Netflix reality series, “Byron Baes”, has confirmed the one-time surf hippy utopia’s desert into Longtom’s “malignant nightmare”, the eight-part docusoap following “a tight circle of friends as they navigate life, love and career.”
The fourteen influencers, which include models, creatives, a spiritual coach and marketers, hit Byron in an attempt to grown their biz’s and social followings.