Exciting times ahead for Hamer Hall and all that surrounds it. Earlier plans for our main music venue have been revised and new ones unveiled. First reaction is: why didn’t they do this when the building was planned almost 40 years ago. Well, Melbourne was somewhat different then and Southbank hadn’t even been thought of. At long last the hall is to be opened up to the river with entrances at river level as well as on St Kilda Road. Those narrow dreary scary steps down to the river level are to disappear, along with the dark sweep of the Undercroft. In their place – a broad stairway with vistas of the river and the city beyond. The broad promenade where EQ now sits will be narrowed, more cafes and food outlets will wind around the hall’s facade at both levels. People will be able to look in, and patrons gaze out. No longer will we be incarcerated in the hall’s windowless womb. It promises to be friendly rather than forbidding. And it will only take two years before we can enjoy it – unless it runs to this government’s normal over time and over budget process.