Oh Melbourne how I love thee/ hate thee!
I appreciate you more now that I live further away. I love your many faces. You are indifferent and snobby to all people. They try to make a corner to call their own. The rabbit suited guitarist playing Stayin’ Alive at the traffic lights, only to be upstaged by the penguin suited busker playing the bagpipes on the bridge across the not-so-beautiful waters of the Yarra River. Earlier this spot belonged to an ancient looking Asian man sitting cross-legged and playing an ancient Asian flute.
The able-bodied wheel-assisted pedestrians weave uncaringly amidst the brisk walkers; they on scooters big and small, skate boards, small bikes and large bikes.
The beer/wine/coffee drinkers inside and out at bars and cafes in every nook – river pontoons, holes in walls, rooftops, lanes, everywhere.
By day your grey footpaths cause sore feet; by night your fairy lights deceive. Too cold and windy in winter and too hot and dry in summer. Autumn and spring is when you are best dressed.
You exhort an edgy fashion sense – cool, tough, absurd, and aloof. Stilettos and Doc Martens; flat runners and boots; always thongs (flip-flops) in summer. The clothing is always dominated by black; splashes of colour here and there, but always black, black, black.
The idea spruikers try and persist: The Big Issue; The Watchtower; the endangered species protectors; the sidewalk chalk artists; the actual beggars; full of daring and hopelessness; optimism and pessimism. They are ignored by the suited office workers, the beautiful women, the haggard faces; the many shapes of people matched by the mixed architecture. There is no dominant style – old and new, symmetrical and asymmetrical, shiny and textured, elegant and ugly; conformity and anarchy. The gold phallic top of your Eureka Tower catches the afternoon sunlight shining like a beacon that can be seen from The Heads.
You beckon but when they come you turn them away with indifference. Unless…..unless they like your football. You give us that. One thing to hang our hopes upon. One thing to inspire us, excite us, unify us. Are you really happy to share that one thing nationwide? If they like your football you enfold them.
OK so you have more to offer than football. There is live theatre, music, opera, comedy, soccer, art, cycling, markets, movies, libraries, museums, golf, and great food food food. We know.
You could be Paris but there is an absence of dogs. You lift your nose with mistaken self-aggrandisement, but you are not Paris.
Melbourne you are like a dysfunctional parent that is difficult to hug. Still…you are my city. (Fortunately for me my actual parents were not dysfunctional at all.)
What is your relationship with Melbourne?