Tag Archives: Things to do in Melbourne

Things to do in Melbourne when you’re walking (part III)

Melbourne is a city that I fall into with open arms. There is so much to love, so I just had to make one final post on some of the places that I have been frequenting on my travels. These places are all on the must visit list:

Mamasita: This place does Mexican food like no other (outside of Mexico that is). It’s gluten free, eco-friendly and boasts fresh, authentic flavours. The line to get in to Mamasita says it all… In a taqueria, it is hard to go past the tacos and believe me, they are good. I started with the Street-style chargrilled corn with queso, chipotle, mayonnaise & lime and the Totopos con guacomole, then sampled the de Pescado (grilled fish taco with lime, achiote paste & red onion salsa), the de Res y Chorizo (braised beef & chorizo taco with coriander & onion) and the Frijoles con nopales (baked black bean taco with cactus, picode gallo & queso fresco) and washed it all down with the Modelo especial. Meal of the trip!

Basement Discs: If you are a fan of folk, country, jazz, blues or world music, then this is a record store you need to visit. And best of all the store owners Suzanne, Rod, Pat & Mikey are all brimming with musical knowledge and are eager to help put you on to some new sounds. The other great thing about this store is its regular in-store concerts. On Friday we were lucky enough to catch Collard Greens & Gravy launching their new album Juke Joint Boogie. The shop was hopping with smiling faces making the most of their Friday lunch hour. Here’s a sample of what the band are all about:

Jungle Juice Bar: Small in size, but big on character, the Jungle Juice Bar is located in Centre Place Laneway. This place does an amazing variety of juices that are a perfect way to kickstart the day and they also do a mean New York style bagel. Their menus are housed inside pre-loved Little Golden Books and the crew that staff the place are always up for a good time. Just this morning, the owner was goofing around with a severed hand (fake of course), leaving it out to see how the customers responded. Reminds me of The Alibi Room before it was chromed…

The Paperback Bookshop: Another one of my favourite bookshops in Melbourne, this place is also small in size, but the shelves are well stocked with poetry, journals and other literary delights. A great place to lose an hour or more just browsing and chatting to the staff but it is very hard to walk out of without something tucked under your arm, but then again… that’s not a bad thing! I now have a job ahead of me finding space for all my new acquisitions from the two weeks away.

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Things to do in Melbourne when you’re walking (part II)

Today I had the pleasure of spending a bit of time on the 3RRR airwaves with Alicia Sometimes and Jeff Sparrow, talking poetry in Brisbane, the mighty QLD Poetry Festival and the state of poetry publishing in Australia. And as Alicia knows I love my music, we also talked musical influences and I read my poem, January 29, 2009 for the late John Martyn. Aural Text really is a great promoter of all things poetry, so I recommend you get online and listen to the podcasts and if you can work it into your week, don’t forget you can livestream it each Wednesday.

On the way there and home, I continued my pilgrimage to many of my favourite Melbourne haunts. Today I visited:

The French Lettuce: Voted by The Age as baking the best vanilla slice in Melbourne and for mine, they are on the money. Served with a generous dollop of rasperry sauce on the side, this is one heavenly dessert. Don’t balk at the $5 price tag… it is worth every cent.

Alice’s Bookshop: For secondhand poetry, this store is hard to go past. Today I picked up a gorgeous copy of Kenneth Patchen’s ‘Hurrah for Anything/Poemscapes and A Letter to God and a pristine Black Sparrow Press edition of ‘Without Music’ by Michael Palmer. So many other books there that I also wanted to take home… another time.

Polyester Records: Another great independent music store that boasts an extensive catalogue of Australian and overseas artists. For me you know you are on to a good thing when they stock artists such as Tren Brothers, Vic Chesnutt, Uncle Tupelo and every album by The Necks.

Polyester Books: Dubbing itself the world’s freakiest bookstore, Polyester stocks literature, art books, film, mags & zines from the edge. If you are looking for a bookstore that holds the censorship laws in the contempt they so richly deserve, then look no further than Polyester.

Horton Books: This place specialises in quality remaindered books… and I emphasise quality. A really great Beat Literature section, some fine poetry and a large number of art books. And did I mention that most of the books in store are about half the recommended retail price? Well worth checking out!

Pellegrinis: What do I say… this place is a Melbourne icon and has been since the 1950’s. Every time I visit Melbourne, I always stop in for the spaghetti bolognaise. It is without a doubt the best I have ever eaten.

Tonight, I am off to Poets Stripped Bare, feat. John Tranter & Lisa Gorton sharing insights into their creative process and reading a selection of their work. Very much looking forward to it.

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Things to do in Melbourne when you’re walking

Been a busy couple of days in Melbourne. The city has turned on some good-ol-fashioned sunshine, so I have been out enjoying it and some of the amazing stores, pubs and cafes that dot the streets and laneways. Places I have visited so far include:

Collected Works: Quite possibly the best poetry and ideas bookstore on the face of this (or any other) planet, run by one of the world’s true gentlemmen, Kris Hemensley. Located on Level 1 of the Nicholas Building, 37 Swanston St., this store is a must visit for poetry lovers. Yesterday I had the chance to chat with Kris at  length and I know the store is facing some tough times, so if you are on the lookout for poetry, make sure you do your shopping here. You can ring up the store and order over the phone (no online store as yet, but keep an eye out in the future for this) and believe me when I say, this is the most comprehensive collection of poetry you are ever likely to see assembled in a retail outlet, so they are most likely to have what you are looking for! I can also recommend checking out the Collected Works blog, poetry & ideas.

Missing Link Records: Very cool independent music store, boasting sections as diverse as psych/folk/drone (now that’s a genre I can get into!). Great place to find out about local, independent bands or get your hands on that hard to find import. Great vinyl section too!

Sticky Institute: This is place is a treasure trove of zines and independent writing. There are zines covering just about every topic you could dream up… some are printed on squares of toilet paper, some are printed on high quality glossy stock; there are titles like culture slut and all my friends are dead because I killed them. You can lose yourself in this place for hours!

Mag Nation: if you dig magazines, this is the place for you! Again, you can lose yourself in this place for hours. Great range of music, art and literature magazines as well as some pretty cool t-shirts and other bits and bobs.

Readings (Carlton): Last night was lucky enough to catch a reading there by the delightful Nick Powell (who will feature at the final SpeedPoets gig on Sunday December 5), Bonny Cassidy and Melbourne favourite, David Prater. Great store with a comprehensive Australian poetry section.

The Brunswick Hotel: Had the immense pleasure of featuring at their fortnightly poetry gig, Passionate Tongues last night with Tiggy Johnson. Tiggy’s work has that hit of authentic domesticity that makes it immediately accessible. Her sets last night featured poems from her debut collection, First Taste as well as a number of new poems, inspired by her recent trip around the country. We in Brisbane are very lucky as Tiggy and her family are about to make the move north! I also performed two sets last night. In the first, I read a number of haiku and longer poems from Ocean Hearted and then a set of completely new work. Michael Reynolds as always was in fine form as MC and kept the night rolling along. Good times indeed!

Degraves Espresso Bar: Melbourne prides itself on being a good coffee city and Degraves Espresso Bar serves up one of the best coffees you will find. Their menu is simple, but tasty… the homemade spicy beans on toast is a great start to the day!

And tonight I am off to a wonderful event called ‘Haiku & Soup’ at Myron Lysenko’s place and then tomorrow I am being interviewed by the ever smiling Alicia Sometimes on Aural Text. You can tune in to the radio live at 12:15pm Melbourne time. Details about how to live stream the show are here.

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