Friday, July 17, 2009

Melbourne love

I bin up in that there spire, I have

I was feeling a teeny bit deflated going back to work on Monday after my ace mini road-trip last weekend. I had been looking forward to it for so long...and then all of a sudden it was over.

But, Melbourne being the hive of events and culture and awesomeness that it is, there's always something to look forward to and I'm feeling inflated with gleeful anticipation once again. For serious, my cheeks are even puffed out.

This weekend, I'm having a sticky beak at a bunch of old city buildings during the second annual Melbourne Open House (MOH) on Sunday. It's part of the State of Design Festival and boasts an impressively expanded line up of 32 buildings this year. Some are old and some are new; all are architecturally or otherwise significant. Most of the buildings are not routinely open to the public, if it all.

You may recall that I'm excited about seeing Queens Hall at the State Library. That's where I'm going to start and I plan to get there early so I don't miss out. Last year a massive crowd descended on the CBD for MOH, which meant I missed out on getting my foot in the door of a few of the buildings on my list...but I did get to ring a great big bell at St Paul's Cathedral (above)! Bing bonnnnggggg!

I also want to see:

The bizarrely named Donkey Wheel House (formerly the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company Building), which was built in 1891 and hasn't been renovated so "its character is beautifully exposed", according to the MOH program.

The Mission to Seafarers building in the Docklands. Built in 1916-17, it is the Melbourne home of the Anglican Church-run Mission to Seafarers, which "cares for the practical and spiritual welfare of seafarers of all nationalities and faiths". Its interior, featuring Tasmanian hardwood panelling, is also largely intact.

Capitol Theatre. I visited it last year, but I want to see it again because it's spectacular.

Manchester Unity Building (below). I missed out on getting inside this Melbourne landmark last year, so I'm going to have another crack at it. The tour includes the 12th floor rooftop entertainment area and the "magnificent" Boardroom.

And a few others too. There's an MOH photography competition running, so I will of course have my trusty Canon clamped to my hand (not that I wouldn't have anyway!)

So much to do, so little time

I know I have said this before, but I love the way that no matter how well I think I know Melbourne, there's ALWAYS something new to discover. And there's always new stuff to see and do.

A couple of weeks back I grabbed a copy of the litte Winter Hot Spots 09 book produced by That's Melbourne. It is a compact treasure trove of events and activities the city, written in a refreshingly fun and quirky style (Melbourne staid and stuffy? Pah!).

Some stuff I have highlighted:

The City of Melbourne Laneways Commissions, which are being progressively unveilled in city lanes (the first can already be seen in Lingham Lane). I'm looking forward to the arrival of Call Notes in Hardware Lane on 8 August. It's a series of solar powered sound devices which will play popular tunes from the last 60 years...sung by birdies! The brighter the sun, the louder the birds will sing. This is right near my work and preferred sushi provider so I will be able to hear it every day.

Craft Victoria. I didn't know Craft Victoria on Flinders Lane has a gift shop featuring the work of local designers. But then I keep forgetting craft isn't just for nannas anymore.

In a similar crafty vein (not that I'm crafty, but I like to buy stuff), North Melbourne is home to the Thread Den "sewing lounge" and fashion boutique. Hot Spots 09 says Thread Den:

"..conjures up images of bobby socks, Chevys and hula hoops. The den recently underwent a make over and now has a powder room...a kitchen with an aqua hutch, flying ducks on the walls and a garden made of Astroturf".

They sell local designers' creations, vintage gear, and cute accessories; they run sewing classes and they have eight sewing machines for hire. They can even hover at your elbow like Mrs Krepp from Year 8 Textiles to help you with that tricky zip, if need be.

Outside-in Cinema.
Free movies at the State Library! Every second Wednesday there's a movie (mostly docos) on the big screen. The State Library could host an evening of sandpapering your own eyeballs and I would think it was an awesome idea.

Also in North Melbourne are Arthurs Circus - "home to real, down-home collectible shiz, things that make you nod your head and smile" and Wally Johnson's Antiques - "one of Melbourne's most obscure curiosities [with] 6000 square feet of tightly packed, dimly lit, old world gold".

And then there's Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire at the National Gallery of Victoria and the A Day in Pompeii exhibition at the Melbourne Museum.

So much to do...Do you ever go to bed on Friday night feeling impatient for it to be morning so you can get out there and do stuff? Like a little kid on Christmas Eve?


Jayne said...

You subscribe to the White Hat newsletter, too? lol
There's a fab book (with fab photos) out on the history/biography of the Manchester Unity Building, titled 'Grand dreams and grand men' by Bill Hitchings.
Coz it's got so much character you could call it a biography!

Frisky Librarian said...

Hi Jayne. Yep, I do get White Hat, although I confess that rarely do I read it properly (sometimes just the Pedants' Dating Service). Why do you ask though?

Will keep an eye out for the book.

Becca said...

This makes me want to visit Melbourne :) The way you describe it makes it sound like such a fascinating place.

Jayne said...

White Hat offer an email reminder service of when special buildings are open to the public throughout the year ;)