Who are you?
A dad. A Melburnian. A filmmaker. A writer. A lecturer. A Pisces. A dreamer. In that order.
How long have you lived in Melbourne?
About 25 years, on and off.
Before it became the AFL, it was the VFL and I loved the footy as a kid. As I got older, I looked for all the reasons I could to NOT live in Melbourne, so tried a few other cities – interstate and overseas – but here I am. Now, though, the real question is ‘Why not Melbourne?’ It’s consistently one of the world’s most liveable cities for a very good reason. For someone like me, being into the arts, food, wine etc, it’s the centre of the world.
I don’t really have one. In Melbourne, you don’t need to have one – there’re so many good ones. If I had to name one it would be Palamino’s in Northcote. No, make that TiAmo on Lygon St. Actually – Pelligrini’s on Bourke St. Oh, I don’t know.
Probably Minh Thanh, in Victoria St, for their barbecued duck. I also love the Carlton Chinese Noodle Cafe on Rathdown St – it’s as authentic as it gets in Melbourne. The Singapore noodles is a must!
The Standard Hotel in Fitzroy. Very old school. Inside is a open fireplace. They have Guinness on tap. Also, I have had the most important beer of my life there: a first date with the mother of my daughter!
Where do you take visitors when you’re showing them around the city?
If they’re international visitors, probably to the footy at the MCG. Otherwise, I find that the visitors we have like to do stuff that we do: Preston Market shopping, wander a few of the streets like Bruswick, Smith, High St. A good spot to end for a beer in the city is at Riverland, down on the Yarra. To be truthful, with visitors, I’d get them out of the city and head to the Great Ocean Road. That’s something that you can’t get anywhere else in the world and it’s only a couple of hours away.
Any final tips, raves, rants, thoughts?
Take-away fish ‘n’ chips. Nobody does fish ‘n’ chips like Australia does. And no Australians do it as well as Melburnians do. We pride ourselves on fresh and local fish ‘n’ chips wrapped in butcher’s paper. It’s an overlooked, under-promoted eating event for many people – especially visitors. I mean, when was the last time that Middle Eastern visitor of yours sat down on some grass and munched juicy Blue Grenadier with minimum of chips, a few potato cakes and a scallop or two? You see what I mean? Australia didn’t invent fish ‘n’ chips but we OWN it.
Andrew O’Keefe is a lecturer in Film & Television at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA).
He co-wrote and co-directed the feature film The Independent, which was released in 2008, and is currently working on a new feature-length adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment. Visit the website for more information.