Month: February 2012

event: sydney road street party 2012

Everyone loves a good street party, especially if it happens to be in one of the coolest streets in one of the coolest suburbs in this very cool city of ours. Yes folks, the Sydney Road Street Party in Brunswick will be getting its groove on this coming Sunday (March 4), and this in turn kicks off the Brunswick Music Festival (March 14 – 25). It’s a couple years since I attended this Sunday afternoon shindig, but it seems the organisers have rejigged the event a bit for 2012. What was once a somewhat hap-hazard rock-music fest is now being touted as ‘Australia’s only inner-city festival of folk, roots and world music’, so it should be interesting to see how the day plays out. Check out the line-up on the Street Party page of the festival’s website. Located between Union and Victoria Streets, Brunswick Time: 12 – 7pm Cost: Free  

treat your grey matter at the wheeler centre

    One criticism often levelled at Australian culture (usually by Australians themselves) is that our society largely ignores – sometimes even demonises – people who are considered too ‘intellectual’. Scientists, writers, mathematicians, philosophers, artists, academics of any kind – these people are generally neither seen nor heard within mainstream Australian culture. (Except if you’re Nicole Kidman and you win an Oscar. Then suddenly you’re ‘our Nic’.) This is one cultural evaluation that I happen to agree with. If you’re doubtful, stop a few people in the street and ask them if they can tell you anything about Peter Doherty or Patrick White (hint: each of these Australians won a Nobel Prize). You might be surprised by how many blank looks you get. But never fear: if you’re visiting or living in Melbourne there is some respite for your downtrodden brain cells close at hand. One of my favourite cerebral rehab clinics is The Wheeler Centre, which hosts frequent events dedicated to exploring ‘books, writing and ideas’. The centre was established in 2010 after Melbourne …

classical music free-for-all!

For those of you who are wondering what to do with your Saturday evening (apart from suck ice-blocks and sit sweating in front of a fan), you should consider heading to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl to sample some classical music under the stars. This is your last chance to catch one of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s free concerts for 2012 — tonight’s is the very last show. So pack a picnic, grab a friend or three and head to that grassy knoll we all love so much. Should be a simply smashing evening.    

for my fellow current affairs junkies

Well, a big day in domestic politics today, folks. If you’re a stranger to our shores, you probably won’t know a whole lot about the leadership stoush consuming the Australian Labor Party (ALP) right now. To fill you in (cue deep breath) … Kevin Rudd was our Prime Minister until Julia Gillard staged a coup in 2010 and kicked him out of office but she only just scraped through the last election to form a very tenuous government to say the least and her Prime Ministership has been rocky and her polls have sucked and last night Rudd resigned from his Foreign Affairs portfolio and today he’s challenged Gillard to a leadership ballot. (Ok, breathe.) To sum up, they all have their heads way too far up their bums and we’re all sick of them. Having said that, the thought of (Opposition Leader) Tony Abbott becoming our Prime Minister is almost as scary as that time an enormous hairy spider jumped on my neck… Keen politicos can get up to speed on Australia’s political system …

for a spot of nature…

    Maybe my favourite YouTube clip of all time. Strictly speaking, it isn’t about Melbourne per se, but you can find these incredible creatures in the rainforests surrounding the city (head up to the Dandenong Ranges National Park or Kinglake National Park if you’re keen for a touch of lyrebird spotting). I promise you this clip is completely legit.  

saigon pho

    I have a confession to make: I’m addicted to phở. Alcohol, smokes, drugs — meh. But put a steaming bowl of that delicious clovey-beefy-noodly goodness in front of me and I’ll be frothing at the mouth like a dehydrated bloodhound.    After three trips to Vietnam, I feel I’m somewhat qualified to rate a phở. And in Melbourne we’re lucky enough to have many fine, authentic phở establishments — and more seem to be popping up every day. My personal favourite is Saigon Pho in Footscray. Like most phở shops, this place is simple and cheap and serves phở almost exclusively. My standard order is ‘small rare beef’, but you can get your soup in three different sizes (ranging from ‘small’ = big, to ‘large’ = bucket) with all sorts of meaty combinations — including animal innards if you so desire. Ply it with Vietnamese basil and bean shoots, and if you’re brave you can test out the various chilli enhancements on offer. Vegetarians can order the meatless version (I doubt this even exists …

introducing melbourne…

  This might seem like a strange photo to choose to get The Melbourne Local blog rolling, but in a way this image is far more representative of the city than one of those panoramic shots of South Bank or shiny high-rise buildings glinting in the sun. Many of the things that make Melbourne interesting are tucked away and out of sight — down laneways, behind unmarked doorways, and definitely not in your typical guidebook. This photo was taken in the CBD — just a random little street that tickled my fancy. (I’m not going to tell you exactly where. To find it you’ll have to go exploring!)