Month: April 2012

somebody that i used to know

    Occasionally, a song comes along that makes you feel as though it’s been written just for you — as though someone has been following your life and taking notes. Of course, this is the mark of a truly great song. And when a truly great song has the pulling power to make millions of people around the world look over their shoulders and wonder who has been able to capture their experiences so truthfully, a global hit is born. Melbourne is currently bristling with pride that local singer-songwriter Gotye‘s beautifully painful song ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ is at this moment sitting atop the US charts, and has hit the number one spot in eighteen countries so far. Written by Gotye for his album Making Mirrors, the song also features New Zealand singer Kimbra, who appears with Gotye in the mesmerising music video that was produced and directed by Melbourne filmmaker Natasha Pincus. If you’re unfortunate enough to have been through a break-up recently, this song can be tough listening, but that’s just …

anzac day

    On the 25 April 1915, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) landed in Gallipoli, Turkey. This was the ANZACs’ first major military action of World War I, and it was to be a devastating campaign for both the Turkish and Allied forces. Just over 8700 Australian troops died at Gallipoli, along with over 2700 New Zealanders and over 32,000 other Allied soldiers. Around 60,000 Turkish soldiers died protecting their lands, which they did successfully after a horrific eight-month campaign. I could write much more about the Gallipoli offensive — the ludicrous nature of the campaign, the presence of the revered Turkish commander Mustafa Kamal (today known as ‘Atatürk’ or ‘Father of Turkey’) who went on to revolutionise Turkish government and society, Gallipoli’s ongoing significance in shaping certain aspects of Australian culture — but I won’t. The reason I’m writing about the Gallipoli offensive is its date: 25 April. Tomorrow. Every year on 25 April, Australians and Kiwis commemorate the ANZACs who fought in wars throughout our history. Originally held in honour …

happy meals

– No, I’m not talking about the kinds of happy meals that come in a cardboard box. I’m talking about real happy meals – the type that will bring joy (and much-needed vitamins) to the grumbling stomachs of penniless backpackers and other plebeians throughout the city.   This post is dedicated to covering happy hours in restaurants and pubs across Melbourne. I’ll keep updating this page as I come across new specials.  Remember that I haven’t tried out all these places yet so I can’t always vouch for the quality of the food of offer… – Bimbo Deluxe Address: Cnr Brunswick and Rose Streets, Fitzroy 3065 VIC Happy hours: 12pm–4pm, Monday–Friday; 7pm–11pm, Sunday–Thursday;  7pm–9pm, Saturday On offer: $4 pizzas. – Wesley Anne Address: 250 High St, Northcote Vic Happy hours: 12pm–10pm, Monday; 12pm–6pm, Tuesday–Friday On offer: Two-for-one meals (cheapest meal is free). – Elgin Inn Address: 75 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn Victoria 3122 Happy hours: Dinner, Monday–Wednesday On offer: $12 meals: Porterhouse and chips on Monday nights, fish and chips on Tuesdays, six types of parmigiana on Wednesdays. – Victoria Hotel Address: 380 Victoria St, Brunswick 3056 VIC Happy hours: Mondays and Tuesdays …

be happy

– This post is dedicated to happy hours in bars and pubs across Melbourne. I’ll keep updating this page as I come across new specials.  Please note that I can’t recommend all these venues because I haven’t visited them all yet. I’m just the messenger here…    – The Workers Club Address: 51 Brunswick St, Fitzroy 3065 VIC Happy hours: 4pm–8pm, Mondays & 4pm–7pm, Tuesday–Sunday On offer: $2 pots on Mondays (until 8pm) and $5 house wines, $7 Bulmer pints and $7 Fat Yak pints Tuesday–Sunday – Thornbury Theatre Address: 859 High St, Thornbury 3071 VIC Happy hours: 5pm–6.30pm, Thursday–Saturday On offer: Half-price drinks – Bar Etiquette Address: 408 Sydney Rd, Brunswick Vic 3056 Happy hours: 5pm–9pm every day On offer: $2.50 pots, $5 pints and $10 jugs of lager, ale and cider – Wesley Anne Address: 250 High St, Northcote Hill Happy hours: 12pm–6pm every day On offer: $12 jugs of Gypsy Cider and Boag’s Draught – 1000 £ Bend Address: 361 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne 3000 VIC Happy day: Tuesday, 4pm–11pm On offer: $2.50 pots of Carlton – Angler’s Tavern Address: 2 Raleigh Rd, Maribyrnong 3032 Vic Happy days: 11am–late, …

discover the first australians

    For those of us who live in Australia’s major cities, particularly the largest cities in the country’s south and east, it’s easy to forget that we are living on land that has been inhabited for more than 40,000 years. We think of Australia as a ‘new’ country devoid of mature culture and history, when in fact Australian Aboriginal culture is widely considered to be the oldest continuing culture in the world. Unfortunately, Australian Aboriginal culture and history is largely passed over by the majority of Australia’s non-Indigenous population. Even the history of white settlement in Australia is known only in its broad outlines, and has traditionally been taught from the perspective of the English settlers. In 2009, SBS television made a seven-part series that told the story of white settlement and its ramifications from the perspective of the Aboriginal people. This fascinating series is called First Australians, and should be required viewing for all Australians, as well as travellers who want to learn more about Australia’s history. The series begins with the arrival …

seek, and ye shall find

– – The Brotherhood of St Laurence store in Brunswick Rd is a particularly great op shop. It’s enormous, and it’s a triple threat: a go-to place for clothes, furniture or books. They’ve got mountains of everything. – Brotherhood of St Laurence Community Store Address: 109 Brunswick Rd, Brunswick 3056 Tel: 9387 9519 Opening hours: 9.30am–5pm Monday to Friday, 9.30am–5pm Saturday, 10am–4pm Sunday –

aussie rules explained

    So, you’ve just arrived in Melbourne. You step into a pub and see a television on the wall that shows a bunch of beefy men wearing short shorts running around an enormous oval. ‘What’s that?’ you ask a couple people sitting at the bar nearby. ‘AFL,’ says one. ‘Footy’, says the next. ‘Aussie Rules,’ says another. Right. It’s difficult to understand Australian rules football (or Australian Football League football, aka AFL footy) without seeing it. Luckily, some proactive person in the USA has made up this little YouTube video to explain the game (complete with the required ACDC ‘Thunderstruck’ background music):     As you can see from the clip, AFL football is extremely physically demanding. Players need to be able to run long distances, kick, tackle, and jump very, very high. To read a full run-down of the rules, see Wikipedia’s ‘Australian rules football’ page. The most interesting thing about AFL is that the game’s activity and popularity is intensely concentrated in Melbourne, where it originated in the mid-1800s. This is quite a …

the alderman

    It’s what every neighbourhood needs: a simple, no-fuss bar where you can have a simple, no-fuss drink. The Alderman reminds me a bit of Joe’s Shoe Store in Northcote – the type of place where you can immediately tell that many of the customers are firm regulars. There’s a beer garden out the back and a small central room featuring an open fireplace that’s kept lit during winter – a warm heart to this unpretentious little watering hole. Note that this is not the place to come for a wild night of getting trashed on happy-hour drinks; in fact, The Alderman doesn’t have a happy hour (for exactly this reason, according to the bar’s owner). Drink prices here are fairly standard: Beck’s on tap is $5 for pots, $9 for pints and $15 for jugs; house wines are $6.50 per glass. You can get cocktail jugs ($23.50 for a mojito jug) and spirits are around $7.50–$14. This is a lovely spot for a quiet drink and refreshingly audible conversation.   The Alderman Address: 134 Lygon St, Brunswick …