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Thursday 7 April 2016

Three changes that would make Melbourne even more magical

There are so many things to love and admire about Melbourne. 

There are myriad quirky cafes, bars and restaurants. The city is the heartbeat of Australia's food and wine culture.

There is the shopping - by far the best in the country. And a public transport system that works. 

There are the laneways, the magnificent sporting facilities and the Yarra River, winding its way through the city centre.

Throw in two magnificent wine regions on its doorstep - the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula - and you have a fine place in which to live, or visit. 

But it could be better. So much better. 

First there is an abiding obsession with AFL football that permeates everything.

From billboards and TV ads to conversations and calendars; so much revolves around a sport that is only taken seriously in a few states of one country. 

Let's be honest. It is a freak hybrid of a sport that you have to grow up with to love. 

And yet virtually the first thing anyone asks you in Melbourne is: "Who do you barrack for." And an answer of "Norwich City, the Greens and Bruce Springsteen" is not good enough. 

You'll get a puzzled look and a response of: "No, seriously?" 

If only Melburnians could learn that only they really care about drug-taking Bombers, wife-bashing Kangaroos and a schoolgirl from St Kilda misbehaving with player manager then their city would be a much more balanced place. 

And then there is the Southbank; and what I presume to be its pedestrian precinct.

You walk along the banks of the Yarra (no cars are allowed) and can choose from a selection of world-class eateries in which to enjoy fine food and a glass of wine. 

If you survive the walk, that is. 

Because the Southbank precinct is favoured as a thoroughfare by a large number of lycra-clad homicidal would-be Lance Armstrongs. 

Some ring their bells, or at least use lights as they emerge out of the darkness.

Others just weave in and around the pedestrians, who must feel like one of the pins in a giant tenpin bowling alley. It's scary as hell if you aren't used to it. 

And then there is the weather. Arrive on a Tuesday and it is bright, sunny and charming. 

Leave on Wednesday and it is raining and as dark as the final moments of the apocalypse. 

It's not charming - just annoying. 

Just three things Melbourne. You could be so much better. 

# The writer was a guest of the (very good) Hilton Melbourne South Wharf. 

1 comment:

  1. Now seriously - "Let's be honest. It is a freak hybrid of a sport that you have to grow up with to love." Now quite frankly if you come to Melbourne one of your bucket list moments would have to be seeing a game at the MCG. Not everyone holds a blind prejudice for soccer and rugby union. Aussie Rules has to be one of the greatest games in the world. Southbank - well I can understand how one could come to have those opinions and as for the weather - a bit rich coming from Tassie.


    ps Personally a shot of you and I in lycra - there's a keeper!