Wednesday, 21 September 2011

How to survive Melbourne

Thank you Miss K for your email, it’s reassuring hearing from other ‘out of towners’ about their perception of Melbourne, I sense there are a few similarities of opinions, I too am struggling to find ‘the place’, the Cheers bar that keeps pulling me back, the club that I can’t resist forming bonds with to ensure I am treated with an air of familiarity and acceptance. Perhaps the non-existence of these places is what makes Melbourne unique or maybe the do exist and I am yet to discover then, or dare I say it, I’ve become too desensitised (coming from a bigger city or being slightly more worldly wise ‘ahem’ older) that I fail to appreciate everything I have uncovered thus far.

I have managed to wind up/stumble upon quite a few decent house parties, a particular highlight was a Winter themed party, with jumpers, fake snow, fires and ski suits, pretty much all visits have occurred randomly and have the result of probing, persevering and saying yes to unpredictable and on occasion uncomfortable situations. Melbourne is a place of great cafes and even better house parties, all of which require a great deal of smiling and work to infiltrate, even now my links to these worlds are at best tenuous. However there is a lot to be said for stamina, and momentum, I haven’t stopped speaking to people since I arrived no matter how much of a dick I’ve felt at times.

For information on how to find people to talk at, try here

1. Melbourne Art Openings This is a fantastic tool for free booze and art; pretty much most of my Wednesdays/Thursdays when I've been lost and looking for inspiration have come blossomed here. There are lots of cute, creatively dressed types at these events. You can even go it alone under the guise of art - most importantly, the booze is heavily discounted or FREE, a great social lubricant. Be careful of too many fizzy whites on an empty stomach.

2. The Thousands (Three Thousand for Melbourne) The Thousands are GREAT, slightly more user friendly and less fluro before the revamp; I’m slowly adjusting to the new design. The OUT section usually has better ideas on what one should be doing with there time, whether its music, art or fashion there is something to entice. The guys at Rightanglestudio are business savvy and are making the site work.

3. FESTIVALS There are an unbelievable amount of Melbourne based festivals to attend, volunteer - be involved in. The Australian World Music Expo (AWME), happens in November, I’ll helping the producers which is a great way to make connections. There are a ridiculous amount of events happening, there is an international film festival running now. The Wheeler Centre always has something interesting on.

I make myself go to as many places in Melbourne as possible, from shopping visits to obscure Savers to visiting well reviewed cheap eats in Footscray. It’s important to explore and find your own little spots. Okay so maybe (as you seem nice) I’ll share a few with you, certain places work at different days/times of the week, bars/spots have changeable vibes/crowds.

(i). Max out your area to suss out the best coffee shops, its an obvious one, yet imperative. I live just off Lygon so the best ones near me are Small Block, Each Peach, Sourdough and Greens if I’m looking for quantity. The Gelobar is tacky but nice, bar wise Eydies has great décor and friendly staff, feeling welcome is important. Shame but that’s the only bar I’ve really enjoyed near me, oh dear, perhaps I need to invest more time. Blackhearts and Sparrows - great for take out booze. To be honest I’m convinced there are some killer bars that I’m not cool enough to know about, with dancing and everyone being nice to each other whilst they go nuts. If anyone finds them…?

(ii). Smith Street, Northcote High Street, Sydney Road, Carlton, all these places you know already I can name specific bars, however I’ve not been blown away by any of them, half decent ones include, Gasometer, Joes Shoe Bar, Wesley Anne, Retreat, Old Post Office, Geralds Bar. In town, there are plenty of options, get the pack of playing/bar cards and ask around.

(iii). Take up an activity, Go-Go Dancing, Drawing Straws (life drawing), Choir, Vintage Fairs, anything that encourages interaction with humans is good. (iv) Club wise the is RGOB (Buffalo club), Anytime Place, Worker’s on a Monday, nights pulling the cool kids are Can’t Say and _____ (trying to find on facebook will update).

Basically I spend a lot of time reading, stalking, eavesdropping and drilling people for information, it could work for you too.

Slipping in disguised as a child ready to listen in on peoples conversations

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