Whilst I have no love for the city in which I am currently feeling imprisoned there IS one corner of this small section of the world that makes me feel comfortable and I am actually happy to temporarily call home. In my eyes North Melbourne is Victoria’s superlative suburb. Although I live just meters outside the 3051 postcode this is where I spend 80 percent of my waking hours and over the past five months I have grown familiar with its residents, cafes, bars, streets and culture and sometimes weeks can tick by without me ever having to step foot outside of this bubble.
This is why I love North Melbourne:
Just one block from my house is my favourite café, it’s so good in fact I would rather order a latté here than any of the trendy cafes dotted throughout East London. The staff know my name and as I wait for them to make my coffee on a Saturday morning they don’t make uncomfortable small talk, instead we talk about the night before and they offer hangover cures, they hate hipsters and mock the pretentious customers who walk in a ask for a ‘Magic.’ Every friend I have taken to Roller Door has given it a solid thumbs up and liken it to eating gourmet food in a friend’s garage, which really says something about the relaxed atmosphere. Last Sunday morning I entered the café door with shaky hands and bloodshot eyes and Charlotte introduced me to my favourite new beverage titled the ‘Backyard tea’ which comprised of two shots of Sailor Jerrys, Earl Grey Tea, Ice, Lemonade and a squeeze of lemon. Needless to say I will be back at Roller Door this coming Sunday morning.
Errol Street is home to just about every little thing I need without having to leave the bubble and the people who work in the stores, bars, supermarket, pharmacy, post office, bank or doctor’s office are people I see more than some of my closest friends who live in neighbouring suburbs. The young girls at Bakers Delight joke about me ordering the same mass amount of croissants each morning without putting on a kilo. The Mexican Waitress at El Sabor serves me free guacamole with a smile every Monday and waves us out the door if we don’t have the correct amount of change to settle the bill. If I’m feeling thirsty after work, I can just tell the bar tender at Joe Taylors what I feel like and he will make something unique to suit my mood. The Waiter at Oskar calls me by name when I stroll past each afternoon, I like to think it’s because we are tight friends, but it’s probably because I left my sunglasses behind and he held onto them for me until I returned to collect them. At the Errol Street Pharmacy (which I currently am picking up a lot of medication from) the pharmacists always come and chat to me and offer to hold my belongings when I wash back the drugs at their water cooler. One babe of a bank teller at the ANZ held a long and very friendly conversation with me on Valentines Day and when I received a call from her on my mobile half an hour later I was expecting her to ask me out, instead she told me she had short changed me by over $100.00 (I guess I just distracted her with my stunningly good looks). The weird thing about all these familiar faces is that when I see them outside of North Melbourne on a train or in the city they will look at me with a puzzled expression, confused about where they have seen me before, I guess it’s the same kind of thing as seeing a teacher from High School in the weekend.
My favourite thing about finishing work on a hot summer’s day was sitting out the front of my house in the late afternoon sun with a beer and a cigarette and watching the Melbourne Star turn. Not only is this structure now Iconic to the skyline of Melbourne but it will forever be a symbol of my time in this city. I was there when the wheel began to slowly turn for the first time and have spent countless nights watching the spectacular light show it sends out to its surrounding residents seven nights a week. There’s something about the way it slowly turns above the city that forces me to relax on even the most stressful of days. Not having the wheel to watch outside my front door will be something I will truly miss upon my departure from North Melbourne.
Another special place I happened to stumble upon over the summer in N.M was a remarkably out of place field of Sunflowers, sandwiched between abandoned warehouses in the shadow of the motorway. Titled ‘Fieldwork’, this site was created by local artist Ben Morieson who had the intention of surprising commuters on the Upfield Train Line. I certainly was surprised when I finally came across this site after wondering the streets with only images on Instagram to direct me to its hidden location.
A lot of people may say that Fitzroy or St Kilda is the place to consider living when moving to Melbourne. A lot of people are stupid and a lot of people are wrong (take the Germans and Hitler for example). If you are thinking of moving to Melbourne then don’t be another typical bloody New Zealander and follow the flocks of sheep in front of you, consider making the move to 3051, at least you’ll have a nice neighbour (wink).