Dear Melbourne, there’s something I need to tell you. I think I’m falling in love with Sydney. I didn’t mean to but it just kind of happened. I was sitting with a friend at a café in Clovelly – the one that overlooks the cute little bay and the path that winds around the cliffs to Bondi. It was a sunny day and as my friend talked, her face was framed by Sydney’s broad blue sky and banksias and beachiness…I couldn’t help but get a little breathless. I’m sorry. I felt guilty about it but you have to admit you’ve been a bit erratic lately. Well frankly, you’ve been quite Old Testament, with your bizarre storms and threats of plagues of locusts. You know I’ve stayed with you for 15 years. I’ve defended you when people said that you’re cold and sneered at your lack of natural beauty. I’ve told them that you have many other attractive qualities, like your appreciation for the arts and culture and intelligent conversation. I mentioned one of your conversations about Wikileaks to my friend and she said ‘What’s Wikileaks?’ See that’s the thing, Melbourne. If you were more like Sydney, you’d care less about Wikileaks. You’d be more relaxed; you’d stop obsessing about ‘vintage’ this and ‘retro’ that and just buy new stuff, like Sydney. You’d start having proper summers again, where people play beach volleyball and smile like they’re in a Coke ad. So Melbourne, I’m giving you these happy songs to cheer you up and remind you of what summer used to be about, before you started trying to make it into a David Lynch movie. These songs of summers past remind me of the carefree life before water restrictions and SPF 50; those days that ended with my sister peeling great swathes of skin off my sunburned back and the ticking of sprinklers as loud as cicadas. I can see you frowning already. I still love you, Melbourne, and I’m coming back to you but do you think you could be just a teensy bit more like Sydney? If you’d lighten up, you might even get to like Sydney’s flip sensuality. And maybe you and I can revive the spark we used to have.
PS: Sydney said to say hello but couldn’t quite remember who you were.
PPS: Sydney’s music venues are still crap. Last night I went to see my friend play. The venue had pokies and looked like a Best Western hotel lobby. A curtain separated the yabbering hordes in the front bar and the music in the back. A curtain! Can you imagine, Melbourne?
Tenor Saw – Ring The Alarm
Roy Ayers – Everybody loves the sunshine
Bjork – Big Time Sensuality
Massive Attack – Be thankful for what you’ve got
Nina Simone – Feelin’ Good