Akika Says “The Melbourne Identity”

By Geisha Bar

I’m not sure if it happens as frequently as it used to, but I find it’s still pretty commonplace to hear people engaging in the good ol’ Perth vs. Melbourne debate. Yet debate might be the wrong word. I’m talking about that conversation thing that consists of one person arguing that “Perth sucks and is pretty boring I wish I lived in Melbourne”, which is followed by the other person immediately agreeing with them. An informal discussion, if anything.

The horrifying truth that a lot of people try to shove deep into the back of their subconsciousness cupboard (to be chewed on by rodents, etc) is that Melbourne is actually just a slightly larger version of Perth. But with the added bonus of traffic that is somehow even more congested and impossible to navigate through than Perth’s: you get to walk absolutely everywhere. Oh, and did I mention the pie franchise that has infected Melbourne like a virulent STD? Because there’s a lot of these pie stores, and they’re all exactly the same. So much for a vibrant inner-city culture – unless you really, really enjoy being able to walk fifty metres from anywhere whilst still retaining the option to cram your mouth full of lukewarm meat and pastry. The first of these stores has just opened up in our beautiful city, so get excited about that.

It’s not that I hate Melbourne or want to be excessively cynical about it, or anything dumb like that. It’s a great place to visit, and has a literal ton of awesome stores and museums and galleries to visit and parks to walk around in at night-time and barely any crack addicts who come up to you in the street and try to sell you paracetamol. It’s just that it’s not really all that different to Perth, despite the hype that leaks out of every vaguely hip twenty-something who visited Brunswick street for a day and “…couldn’t believe what they did with the polenta, oh my gawrd!”

It’s just that Perth has a whole lot of really nice things too, now. Maybe it didn’t for a while, but in Northbridge at least, we’ve actually surpassed that small-bar saturation point – this being the hypothetical glass ceiling where there are so many successful small bars in one area that they start to merge into each other and create a sort of small-bar conglomerate in which you can’t walk a fucking metre without being offered some kind of avant-garde cocktail that tastes of musk, but don’t actually want to patronise any because how different can they all be, really? There’s only so many puffy red couches that your butt can enjoy before you’ve drunk enough sangria to become disillusioned with the whole idea of change in the first place. Essentially, the whole stupid business could be summed up in this question: do I really want everything to be new and different but exactly the same as somewhere else?