I went to Melbourne recently…I wanted to have to fun, I really did. Everybody, well alright, a lot of people, told me that I would enjoy myself, contrary to my experience some 19 years ago.
I didn’t. It just made me grumpy.
I enjoyed the first half-day, but then it all became grey. The buildings were grey (with the exception of Flinders Street Station), the sky was grey, the so-called iconic Federation Square was grey (both inside and out – why do they paint inner walls grey? It’s so dull and depressing) and looked like it had been designed by plastic cut-out method…it looked cheap and unimpressive.
I went to the gallery there. There were good paintings, classic paintings, and very bad paintings, all packaged up in an energy sapping grey environment. Why so much grey? So I went to Southbank – there’s nothing there except for a few cafes and restaurants, the type of which you can find anywhere in the world – and guess what…it’s also very grey. There were so few patches of grass that the grass outside the library was so full of people that you would have book a space…perhaps it’s different when the footy’s on…I don’t know.
I could have gone and done a tour of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, I was told. But why do that if there’s nothing happening…it sounds dull (and I am a huge cricket fan). An empty sports stadium is like a morgue, a ruin that has been left to rot. It exists to be used, not stared at.
I did like the small cafe’s, but there’s only so much coffee that you can drink. And they are in small alleys which are quaint, but they don’t let in any sun – how dull is that?
The music scene is good in Melbourne. I enjoyed a couple of evenings out – but it’s also good in Adelaide which is heaps less claustrophobic than Melbourne and a much more pleasant place. There were also some good bookshops…but there are in most cities.
I went to St Kilda and had a pleasant lunch on the pier, looking back at what could not do anything but remind me of a beaten up and out of season English seaside resort that had seen better days. And in the distance the city looked grey.
Basically, unless you are into shopping Melbourne fades into an insipid grey mist that threatens to swallow your soul. It’s not a place to visit, but perhaps if you lived there (and could put up with the weather) the nightlife would make for the greyness…I’m not convinced.
It was recently rated by the Economists Intelligence Unit (hardly a badge of pride considering what economists have done to the world) the most liveable city in the world…except for its climate (can’t disagree with that), its culture (I suppose it is as cultural as any Australian city can be), and the petty crime (not a ringing endorsement).
My apologies to Melbournites, but perhaps me and Melbourne are destined not to be friends…I’m not sure why it grates so much with me (the greyness maybe), but, in short, I was happy to get on a plane to head back west to sit on a good beach and soak up the sun. Yay.