Livin' la Vida Loca

Photo taken at a games arcade in Melbourne.


This was and I highly recommend it to everyone who's doing anything, anytime. You know you pass by that cute arcade with all the strange Japanese games and be-curtained booths all the time - next time, walk in: give it a go. Look how many people we jammed into our booth - but it would be just as much fun on your own, you know, if you don't have any friends. Loads of templates and themes to pick from - someone chose pink and it suited us best, don't you think? Quick too - didn't dent our precise social timetable a jot or the budget at all- I think it was about $12! You can see the full extent of the gloriousness on Fox's Flickr site.

Chinatown: Shanghai Dumpling House

Speaking of taking it easy on the pocket-book - if I was the boss of the dictionary, I would put a photo of Shanghai Dumpling House next to the definition of the word "budget" and cross reference it with "fast food". You'll have to queue to get into this joint though because this place is popular, but people move in and out pretty fast so you won't have to wait long - plus, it's fun standing in line in the laneways of Melbourne, you meet all sorts of people. But back to the food: the dumplings are crazy-cheap, cooked every-which-way and super-good inside and out. We ordered, and ordered and dammit 'BRING MORE DUMPLINGS' ordered and our bill for stuffing seven confident eaters full of dumpliny goodness came to $15 each.

Dude, we were *stuffed*.

The place is a bit sticky, really noisey, bustling, authentic, cheap and awesome. You can BYO (I found a lovely Kim Crawford at a local bottlo and it never stood a chance) Highly recommended!

Chinatown: Charltons

We found it - or rather: everyone else always knew about it and now I do too. Charlton's is on a laneway between Little Bourke and Bourke (I think.. I was a bit.. um.. distracted, disoriented, lost, sloshed (see story above about Ms Kim Crawford). Up a couple of flights of stairs is another sticky, noisey, bustling joint. This time it's all about the vodka-cokes and karaoke (there are pool and billiard tables there too). And it's damn fine karaoke. In front of a good crowd, all singing and dancing along - we had a blast. Great range old and new songs, a kind DJ who turns down the droners and cranks up the crooners, the wait time to get a sing on the microphone is well worth it, and everyone was having a goooood.timeeee.

Song list as follows:

  • Daydream Believer - mish
  • Mac the Knife - craig
  • Creep - willo
  • some song, he mostly danced anyway - dean
  • I saw her standing there - mish
  • Don't go breaking my heart - mish (elton) and stephen (kiki dee)


Melbourne has a lot of cafes. A _lot_ of cafes. But not that many scattered through the inner city. They huddle together in a few laneways here and there, and by far the largest concentration is near DeGraves Street, across from Flinders Station. They are all varying degrees of "good" but my favourite is a little number called Five.

Five has only started serving more than muffins and panini with it's coffee in the last few months. It's added a modest breakfast menu that is perfect for anyone who enjoys eggs. Five helped me get over Kim Crawford with a pair of perfectly poached eggs on thick slices of sour dough toast. I also ordered freshly squeezed juice, english breakfast tea and 2 coffees - though they were quite amused by the variety and quantities of liquids I consumed with my breakfast, I assured them it was all about "the hydration" and they smiled and nodded.

NGV International: Modern Britain

This exhibition is stunning. Modern Britain showcases British painting (there are a couple of sculptures, but the majority is painted canvas work) from 1900 to 1960. I really don't know what else to say about the show except GO! Don't miss it. It's really good. The audio/ipod commentary is worth picking up too. It's an easy-going conversation between three experts, separate tracks so you can go at your own pace, and has accompanying music which is well selected. It gives more depth than just reading the blurb next to each painting, and puts a lot of the works in context, really enriching the experience. The final part of the show (if you move throught it as it was designed - and I advise that you at least leave the War paintings across the courtyard until the last) concentrates on war-artists' work - and is particularly moving.

Easily the best $18 ($12 entry + $6 ipod commentary) you'll spend on a Saturday afternoon.

The Australian Ballet School: Coppelia

Outdoor Ballet. I never thought of that, but on Saturday night at Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, I was delighted to watch the Australian Ballet School dance a wonderful performance of Coppelia. Fox and I got there early enough to pick top-notch picnic real-estate on the grassy slope facing the stage. Thanks to Fox's superior planning (pre-planning? the plan you make to plan the plan?) we had a delightful array of snacks, breads and salads (I mostly just ate the thai and lime flavoured crisps) as a twilight picnic on a beautiful Melbourne evening. The dancers were accomplished and professional, the sets, lighting and costumes were vibrant and detailed: from the beginning, watching the dancers warm-up on stage to the end, was an absolute pleasure. The added delight of Fox's company, made for a lovely Saturday night.


This weekend sounds hectic and busy, full of so many good things - but it wasn't. There was still lots of time for reading, talking on the phone, sleeping in, going to the Post Office, buying Kris Kringle presents, bowling, home-made pizza and the movie The Three Amigos. It really felt, as many weekends in Melbourne do, like a very good and relaxing few days off work.