Visiting a city
leads to deliberate observing
Living in a city
means being involved
Slowly, it is beginning to feel less like a holiday and more like life. Getting clothes out of a wardrobe as opposed to a suitcase or semi unpacked stripy bag for one thing, but mostly its been getting out and participating in things. Actually comparing prices and shopping at the Queen Vic Markets as opposed to just passing through and photographing them!
In one super sporty day I went and had me a swim in the historic City Baths, a marvellous 1904 building with an almost archaic looking four lane pool inside, there are still separate entrances for men and women at the front! But the walls just dripped with history, and chlorine. Was the strangest thing stripping off the five fortified layers of clothes to go jump in the pool let me tell you. Top attention to detail though, they have hair dryers for you in the change rooms so you don’t just go out back into the single figure temperature and freeze.
Later that afternoon, I began what will be an ongoing pilgrimage (kicking a few through the big sticks at all the old suburban footy ovals), and went and kicked a few goals down at the Arden Street oval – home of the North Melbourne Kangaroos, and a mere few blocks from our house. The grass was immaculate, the 50m arc painted in royal Roo blue, the clubhouse and gym gleaming with purpose just beside, and even better for me, nets up behind the posts, so I didn’t have to go chasing the ball after every shot. While I was there all reverential and taking in the history and significance of the place (the first game of Aussie Rules played there was in 1882! and was the Kangas home ground right up until 1985 – 103 years later).
The most profound part of my Melbourne however, has been having a kick with the local, and original, chapter of the Bang. Two decades of a motley bunch of blokes, and occasional lady, kicking a footy around a park. One particularly friendly fella who remembered my face from three years ago when I had a kick with them one Easter surmised it with, well, not much has changed, we’re still just kicking a ball in a circle, just the way we like it. It’s even better that some of my musical heroes are regulars, one being the first one I spoke to upon arriving, and even mentioning to another, gee that Andy is a good kick. The next week he even gave me a nickname ‘Teasedale’ (which of course in footy world, soon got shortened to ‘Teaser’ then ‘Tease’) after legendary South Melbourne full forward Graeme Teasedale, who as well as being a goalkicking machine, arrived to the Brownlow in 1977, which he won with 59 votes, resplendent in a brown velvet suit!