Pop-Culture Melbourne

November 7, 2010

Yes, I’m aware that the updates here have been… um… sluggish. I’ve been writing a TV show! Leave me alone! Anyway, in September I gave a presentation about Melbourne and pop culture at Aussiecon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention. Here is an edited transcript:

Melbourne is a city of culture. We have more cafes you can discuss arts funding in than any other Australian city, and many live music venues that are now pizzerias. We’re also home to Australia’s most exciting cultural institutions – ChamberMade Opera, Chunky Move, Circus Oz and Bert Newton.

But as well as all that “unpopular culture”, we also are a city that celebrates the popular stuff, being home to music, comedy, film, television and Bert Newton.

We’ll start with film, because Melbourne was home to potentially the world’s first feature film, The Story Of The Kelly Gang, which was filmed here in 1906. I say potentially because – like The Macra Terror – only about 10 minutes of it still exists and no one can agree on how long it was. It was filmed in bushland around the city, as well as in St Kilda, and it was made for 1 100 pounds, roughly double the average Australian film budget of today.

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Next Stop Hollywood: Five Melbourne Train Stations That Appear In Films

August 8, 2008

I was at Sunshine Train Station today.

If you haven’t been to Sunshine… well, good for you. It’s the most ironically named suburb in Melbourne. Actually, Sunshine’s not even named after that stuff from the sky, but for a company that made combine harvesters. It just gets better, doesn’t it? You may have seen the station in the film Noise. A train pulls into Sunshine, it’s passengers brutally murdered by a lunatic – if you’ve been there, you’ve probably had the urge to do that yourself.

My train to the city arrives, but the recorded woman isn’t well. Something strange has happened to her speaker, she now sounds surprisingly like the Borg. “You will be assimilated. Next stop, Footscray”. A young man in a hoodie across from me is doing something distracting with his hands. Is he shooting up? No, he’s juggling a glass sphere, just like David Bowie in Labyrinth. He’s actually pretty good. If there was a David-Bowie-In-Labyrinth lookalike contest, he could definitely make the top three.

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