I’ve been to Melbourne a few times, but it wasn’t until my most recent trip that the city really took shape for me. As a Sydney-sider, it’s in my DNA to be anti-Melbourne and pity the city for its lack of sparkling harbour, expansive beaches, iconic sails and stately sandstone. There are, after all, few cities as proud of their looks as Sydney. But the truth of it is, Melbourne as a city, has a lot more to offer. What it lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in cuisine, coffee, culture and creative communities. Melbourne has scenes – fashion, literature, art, theatre, food, wine, whatever you want – and these scenes are fed by the unashamed passion of their members. The result is an undercurrent of energy bubbling throughout the city’s various laneways and hole-in-the-wall cafes and boutiques – a sense of possibility that more than makes up for a lack of natural beauty.
Sydney could take a leaf out of Melbourne’s book. Actually, make that should. We don’t support our various scenes like we should, we try too hard to be something we’re not, and if we don’t stop staring at ourselves in the mirror long enough to take stock of how devoid our city has become – of culture, energy and excitement – it will soon be too late.