The Surrey Hills Historical Society has a session on Monday night with Gabriel Gate talking about “How to become a better cook”. I suspect the answer is forget the cooking lessons – even if you grew up in Maidstone just spend years cultivating a French accent and everyone will believe you must be a great cook – it also helps pull the chicks. Go along and find out for yourself. I assume a small entry charge applies. Details at Forums in Melbourne
The excellent Umbria Jazz Festival continues with lots of free performances. Details at Jazz in Melbourne On Saturday the Melbourne Symphony Metropolis Series commences. All music has been written in the last 20 years and each concert contains at last one world premiere. Details at Classical Music in Melbourne. If you find the music of the present too challenging, never mind there is plenty of old people’s music around. ABBA at the Maj and plenty of aging rockers playing the music of last century where you can enjoy not just one! not just two! but all three chords you’ve come to know and love. Details at Pop Music in Melbourne.
This Sunday is the annual RSPCA fundraiser, so time to harness up the pit bull terrier and head into the city. Details in all the mainstream media.
This weekend there is a grand fair and entertainment based around films at an old cinema in Essendon. Lots of memorabilia, entertainment and trivia quizzes (“In what film was the first gratuitous product placement for Bloggs Cola?”). Then you can try ‘Phobia’ – an entertainment based around Hitchcock’s Vertigo and having fun with the soundtracks of film noir. Details at Vertigo.Next week is the start of the 15/15 Film Festival. Participants are invited to make a film of 15 minutes duration within a 15 hour period and the results are shown to the public – basically the same model as used by TV cop shows. Details at Film Festivals.
Next week is Law Week with lots of free events and seminars on things like “making a will” and “driving offences”. If you hunt around you will probably also find things like “how to poison your boyfriend and get away with it”. Details at Forums in Melbourne.
Last week we mentioned we might occasionally suggest some cheap days out making use of the new Sunday Saver tickets ($2.50 all day anywhere in Melbourne) available for public transport. Let’s start out with something simple – a trip to the city.
You will probably want to do the following in advance
- Buy your Sunday Saver tickets because they are only available at Premium Stations or the Met Shop.
- A simple city map (available in most free tourist brochures) if you are not confident about finding your way around in the city.
- Print out this newsletter and the following pages from our website - Flagstaff Gardens and St James Old Catedral.
Some of you will want these printouts because you are task oriented and enjoy ticking off each activity after you have completed it. Then there are you lot who are control freaks. We know you will print off the information but not show it to anyone else so that you can pretend you planned the day. Finally if you are on a tight budget and don’t want to spend the $7 or so on food we suggest you can always prepare some food to take with you. The others can take a simple barbecue pack (some simple implements and condiments rolled up in a tea towel. Put them in a calico bag or backpack or whatever – you’re going to be buying some books - and you are ready to sleep in preparation for the big day.
Tune all your senses to detect the presence of a flatulent sparrow because that is when you will be getting up. Take public transport to the city (no I don’t know which tram, train or bus because I don’t know where you live!) and find your way to the Vic Market. You could have a coffee but why not try one of the exotic hot chocolates available from the stall next to the Bratwurst Shop. It is easy to find the Bratwurst Shop – you just bowl up to someone and ask “where is the bratwurst shop?” And they will tell you (unless they work for a public utility in which case they will say “your query is important to us…”)
Time to buy some simple ingredients for a BBQ lunch. Herbivores might try some Saganaki or Haloumi or any other frying cheese from Brown’s Deli (21-24). Omnivores may prefer a couple of spicy Greek sausages from Jim’s Greek Deli. Supplement this with, say a large flat mushroom, some onion, a lemon and a Tuscan Naan (easy to tear into pieces) from the bread shop. You now have time to browse the market for a while before heading along Queen Street towards the city. On the corner of Franklin Street notice the apartment block created by local Greek-Australian architect Nonda Katsalidis (that's why you bought Greek cheese or Greek sausages) and how he weaves the public art sculptures into the façade of the building. The apartments are quite stunning inside so try to get yourself invited to a party there. In the middle of the roundabout is another piece of public art which may inspire you to create something similar in your back garden.
Turn right into A’Beckett Street and up past the old Gill Hostel on the corner of Wills Street (the parties there were BYO) As you pass the the modern apartment towers built in Wills Street you will find a fine example of the 'Modern Melbourne Tokenism Style' where a set of heritage chimneys from the Wills Building have been preserved while an apartment block has been built almost around them. Continue up A’Beckett Street to the Historical Society located in the old drill hall on the corner of William Street. Here you will find the annual book fair (starting at 10am) with tons of cheap and even free publications. You will detect the unmistakable smell of sweet mildew and pleasant decay that is common to such events – it emanates from the gentlemen in leather elbow patches and ladies in woolly hats and sensible shoes who mysteriously materialise on such occasions.
Now that you have bought some books it is time to wander around the corner to the corner of William and Latrobe Streets and check out the Old Mint Building. While standing on this corner it is worth taking in the view. This is one of the few places in the city grid where you are aware of the old docks to the west. One block to the east you can see another Katsalidis building with a changing public art display built into the façade, the Republic Towers with its stunning apartments and views of the city. If the gates are open at the mint, have a wander around the outside of the building with its private garden and note the sentry boxes and battlements.
Over the road to the Flagstaff Gardens and up to the top with its memorial to those buried there. Time to read your printouts on the Flagstaff Gardens and St James Old Cathedral – you did bring them, didn’t you? There is not much point reading the plaques up there. Like many plaques around Melbourne they have been created by people proudly calling themselves “Qualified and Professional Historians” and the information is historically wrong and poorly researched.
Back to the corner of King and LaTrobe Streets and Russell’s Café which you will remember from a recent newsletter. Those of you who are mobility impaired (i.e. have a physical impairment, or are under 18 and therefore not prepared to walk anywhere) will want to wait for the City Circle Tram down to the Docklands. Others may choose to walk the couple of blocks over the LaTrobe Street Bridge and along Harbour Esplanade to Docklands Park. Here you will find several sets of public barbecues. If they are all taken there are some back opposite Docklands Stadium near the water. If the barbecues need cleaning remember the lemon you bought at the Vic Market. A lemon cut in half does a great job of cleaning a barbecue plate. If you have kids there are plenty of places to play and steep hills to roll down with pools at the bottom. If you haven’t brought enough provisions then you can always try bartering with others present. And a word of warning – ladies- if there are gentlemen with jumpers draped across their shoulders preparing a “divine melange of baby vegetables” then battering your eyelashes is probably not going to get you far on the bartering stakes. Time to examine your books and the new and developing buildings in the Docklands. Places are always at their most interesting while they are under development – you can see how they are put together and what makes them tick. Kings College in Cambridge is sometimes irreverently referred to as the “upturned sow” but I think the new Spencer Street Station would be more likely to generate involuntary urges in a bunch of piglets.
Lunch is over and time to make your way up to Fed Square on the City Circle Tram. You now have your basic BBQ pack, the books from the fair and the leftover paella from the kindly Hispanic group at the park. Fortunately you can leave your bag (free) at the cloak room of the gallery at Fed Square while you prepare for the free performances. No use bringing a cushion – no-one will be sitting down for these. At 1.30 is 'Funk Off' – an Italian band in the American marching band traditions with flair, precision and choreography that don’t occur in those countries that cultivate a “do it for me” youth culture. During the break there is time to head up to the top floor of the gallery and take in VCE arts exhibition. Then a quick wending down through the floors of the gallery. Even though today there is not time to give the works the attention they deserve it is worth walking through the space just to soak up some of the incredible Australian creative energy that is concentrated there and to marvel at what quality things can be done for free on any day in Melbourne.
Back out to the square for Dr Bobby Jones and the Nashville Super Choir at 3pm. Yes, I know you were all Catholic a month ago when the media told you to be, but today you are going to be Southern Baptist.
Now you’re exhausted. You could always head off to the street parade in Lygon Street, or stay for the next performers at Fed Square or head out to Essendon for the movie fair, but I suspect it’s time to head off home. After all, I said we would keep it simple first off. Be careful not to venture near the Town Hall where there is a Bridal Fair - that is truly scary territory.
Back home. Time to take off those sensible shoes, relax on the couch and maybe look at some of those books you bought. Where are those books? You left them at the cloak room in the gallery at Fed Square. The White Hat Guides may be foolproof but they’re not idiot proof.
New farmers’ markets have been announced at Moonee Ponds, Kilmore and Williamstown. I wouldn’t be surprised if some market organisers have discovered that all you have to do is take a standard market, rebadge it as a farmer’s market and hey presto – it’s just like taking candy from a baby or selling Feng Shui to baby boomers. Details at Farmers' Markets.
If you are trying to find some quiet time away from your friends who call themselves 'activists', then it’s time to consider joining a service club like Rotary, Lions or numbers of others. People quietly going about doing things for the community and not an 'activist' in sight – they’re too busy proclaiming that “They” ought to do something about it. Rotary have a grand fund-raising book fair coming up in St Kilda – see Fairs & Fetes. And if you have some books you can contribute to the cause they can be dropped off at the St Kilda or Port Melbourne Town Halls or call 0419 308 410 for more information.
A new show starts in Melbourne based around two of Henry Lawson’s short stories – The Drover’s Wife and The Bush Undertaker. Details at Henry Lawson.