Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I will be hopping on to a bus that marks the start of my next adventure. Over three days it will take me along The Great Ocean Road, through The Grampians National Park, and leave me in Adelaide to start my first WWOOFing duties.
This means I have to say goodbye to Melbourne. I am unexpectedly sad about doing so.
Anyway, there are a few things that I've done whilst in the city that I've been stock piling for a single post. Now seems as good a time as any to tell you about them.
Firstly we have the Comedy Festival that ran here between 25th March and 19th April. The annual event brings local, national, and international comedy shows to venues across the city. When I first started looking into all the performances going on I managed to shortlist 23 individual shows that I'd consider seeing. I decided that this would be far too expensive, and somehow managed to pare the list down to 3; one for each week I had available.
Fake It Til You Make It
I'd spotted this show and decided to see it before I'd heard about the comedy festival, and after procrastinating about getting a ticket I discovered that the final shows were selling out fast so had to hurry. I'm very glad that I managed to get one as it was possibly the most powerful piece of theatre I've seen.
The two person (Bryony Kimmings, and fiancé Tim Grayburn) show revolves around Tim's chronic depression and anxiety, how he copes with it, and the help the Bryony offers. It's fairly dark, and I wouldn't necessarily consider it comedy in the traditional sense, but the use of humour helps keep the show from being too depressing in itself.
The thing that got me most about the show is how much help it can offer the audience; from watching the show I now have more of an understanding of what depression is, and in turn, has helped me grasp how to treat those who suffer from depression. Others in the audience who have had experiences like Bryony's, aiding a depressed friend or relative may find it comforting to know that there are others coping with similar difficulties. And audience members who may relate to Tim's conditions might take a different approach to how they deal with their suffering.
I am in awe at how two people can stand up and bear all to the public, and in such an engaging way. I believe that the show will be coming to the UK and I highly recommend that you go see it.
This show sparked my interest while I was perusing the Comedy Festival website for suitable shows, mainly because it was quite obviously video game themed. The show was another two person performance, this time two brothers (Eden and Joshua Porter) regaling the audience with tales of their growing up with video games. Discussing various consoles, games and experiences the brothers took the audience on a rather amusing tale through time. It was a well put together little show, held at a place called Tuxedo Cat. I'm not sure how the Tuxedo Cat operates but from what I could gather it's a popup theatre, although I think the Melbourne venue (which appeared to be an old carpark converted to house several separate stages) is relatively permanent. It was certainly a quirky little venue, and I very much enjoyed the atmosphere as well as the show itself.
Elizabeth Davie: Also Ran
The third show I went to see took a much more familiar stand up comedy format. Also Ran was Elizabeth Davie's debut solo performance and describes the people in her life who, although being fantastic people, have the responsibility of making Elizabeth the person she is today; the kind of person who needs a life coach. I was hesitant at first when I got to the venue to find I was one of only ten people in the audience (some of which were apparently family members) but despite the low turnout Elizabeth performed well and made me chuckle a good number of times with relatable content.
I nearly bought a ticket to see one of the five shows that Ross Noble was playing down the road but having already seen a show from the same tour in Cambridge before I came out here I decided that I would be better off saving the money and letting someone else see the humorous Geordie (two of my flat mates said he was quite good!). I'm sure I could have had some more enjoyable evenings watching other comedy shows, but I stuck with 3 shows and was pleased with the variety I managed to pick.
Another of the activities I haven't told you about yet came courtesy of two very good friends. Using the power of the internet they found a themed city tour, for which they bought me a voucher as a birthday gift.
Melbourne Murder Tour
Presented by a lovely lady who introduced herself as Madam, the tour took place during a 90 minute walk through Melbourne's Chinatown. Little Bourke Street is considered to be one of the most dangerous places in Melbourne, it has played host to a number of deaths, attacks and vicious murders in the past. Most of the murders seemed to be related to prostitution, mostly ladies viciously beating either clients or colleagues (is colleagues the right word?) for whatever reason, there were however other tales of drug related axe murdering, men pulling a lady limb from limb, and the beating to death of one woman over a bottle of rum. Despite the rather grim content, the evening provided some alternative history for the city of Melbourne, and a pleasant wander around one of the city's busiest areas.
Melbourne is known for its art, theatre, and music (among other things). I'd done the art, I'd done the theatre, what better way to round off the city than with some live music. Some of my first explorations of the St Kilda suburb had brought my attention to a gig that would be taking place towards the end of the month. I looked it up on the internet and discovered that it was quite expensive at $75 so wasn't sure if I'd go or not. I ended up winning a ticket which made sure I did go.
The ticket was won via an email competition that I had completely forgotten I'd entered, so I was quite relieved that I had dithered about buying one. I wandered down to the venue at 9pm (gigs start later in Oz) to find a huge queue. Thankfully it moved quickly and upon reaching the door my name was confirmed as on the guest list. The Prince Bandroom is a popular venue, they have played host to the likes of Lenny Kravitz, Jack Johnson, Scissor Sisters and even that really popular beige band. The venue itself is pretty cool, although there's an irritatingly placed support pillar right in front of the stage.
So what bands were playing?
Time for some awful photographs...
Extortion. I missed the start of these guy's set but they seemed pretty good. Fairly thrash based metal from Perth that got the crowd warmed up well.
Carcass. Legendary Scouse heavy metallers, absolutely nailed it. It's easy to understand how they've been so influential, their own music contains so many different sounds that have been replicated over the years.
Napalm Death. Another legendary UK band, this time from Birmingham. Fast, thrashy riffs giving their distinctive grindcore sound.
So yeah, I enjoyed myself with some brutally loud music, hopefully I'll be able to do it again soon.
That concludes my little hoard of unwritten (now written) treasures from Melbourne. It's definitely been a good month, and the city's going to hard to beat on the "possible places to live" scale. It's very likely that I'll be back here (I've already had a quick scout for rent prices).
For now, we shall just have to see what Adelaide has to offer...