Melbourne and Mentally Worn.


Another day on the road and we arrive at our final destination. We're in Melbourne for a couple of days, giving us enough time to see the place properly on a free bus that tours the city. The wife has booked us in on the Neighbours Tour. It's starts a bit weird when tour driver Jerry promptly introduces Libby Kennedy so we can all have our photo taken with her. She tells us what she's been up to since her leaving the show in mysterious circumstances and I nod like I know what she's talking about. Driver Jerry proves to be value for money. An Irish guy who clearly loves his Neighbours and chats non-stop for
the 40 mins it takes to get us into the suburbs and onto Ramsey Steet. All I can really say is it's a street, like a normal street. Though it does have it's own security to prevent student backpackers urinating off Harold Bishops patio, and to stop seventy year old men beating up student backpackers with a cricket bat for urinating off Harold Bishop's patio. Danny Pensive sings the Neighbours theme, holding the street sign.

We blag a whole days ride on the tram because no one told us we had to put our tickets in the machine. There's plenty of free stuff to do without breaking the law; visiting Australia's shrine of rememberance, a large proud stone building commemorating soldiers from all wars. Also the big Victoria market, photographing Kylie Minogues bottom (statue of) and the amazing Australian Centre for the moving image. I'm here one day too soon to see the Games Masters video game exhibition and talk with Warren Spector, but not for the regular exhibitions and the indie games showcase, where games like 'Dear Ester', 'Proteus' and 'Fez' can be played on big screens. Sweet.

I have seen the future and it's a pub with it's own separate cider bar on the roof! Cider Bar. Roof Bar. If I'd known about it earlier I have let the wife do the Neighbours tour on her own. I try two of the local ciders, both at 7%. Yummy. Melbourne has a big comedy circuit and after a few facebook enquiries I'm offered a short spot at a place called the Felix Bar, but arrangements are against me. We rock up at our plush cabin accommodation for the night and I ask the camp receptionist how to get into the city by public transport. At length she describes how to get to the nearest tram station, so long in fact that I ask how far away the station is. 'About seven kilometres' is the answer 'If you're driving. Then the tram takes about an hour'. Balls.

I'm at the wrong end of town and I'm not going to get to the gig in time, nevermind get back. Next time Melbourne. Dissapointed. Saying that I've spent the last nine nights in a van in the cold and I honk a bit. The cabin has a telly, an electric blanket and a pizza shop five mins walk away. I'm not going anywhere.

Thursday is emotional saying goodbye to the van. Now's it's sitting in my pants recharging batteries watching Australian telly. It's mainly imports, adverts for life insurance and repeats of MacGyver and Please Sir! with John Aldterton. Sleep now, and dream of L.A.

John Cooper
Comedian & artist.
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