Sunday, 20 December 2009

Culture vulture

More from Melbourne, and I'm still loving it! Saturday was Ned Kelly day - Victoria's most famous son. I visited the Old Melbourne Gaol, home to the death masks of criminals hanged on the grounds, including our Ned, which was incredibly atmospheric and not a little creepy. You could brave the claustrophobia and wander right into the cells - making sure the door didn't swing shut behind you... The effect was diluted somewhat by a painfully embarrassing live-action reenactment of the Ned Kelly story by two actors playing all the parts in bad wigs. I was reminded of a street performer Paul and I saw once at the Wireless festival - all eyes and teeth, he'd realised it was his moment and was giving it his all.

After that, it was on to the State Library, which is sensational - the domed reading room is just beautiful; I almost signed up to a course of study there and then just so I could spend time studying again. Wonderful. And around the rotunda there were exhibitions, one displaying some of the library's collection of old texts, from Bibles to Japanese ukiyo-e illustrations, and another on the changing face of Melbourne, which had Ned Kelly's armour from the siege of Glenrowan - mighty cool.

And yesterday I headed down to the South Bank (wherever I go in the world, it seems there's a south bank with all the arts stuff there) to take in the National Gallery of Victoria's international collection. The building itself is a work of art - one wall is made of water, constantly falling before being recycled to start again - and inside it's all high ceilings and angular rooms. I only had time to look at the European stuff, which starts with icons and altarpieces from the 14th century, and goes on to Francis Bacon and Barbara Hepworth, and of course Stanley Spencer (hooray!).

And there's more to see today - I might wander down to Parliament House and have a look at Carlton Gardens, and the Melbourne Museum. And later I think I'll have to take advantage of my hippie surroundings in Fitzroy and find a meditation class. Groovy. And tomorrow I'm off to see the fairy penguins on Phillip Island, which will be the cutest thing I've ever seen in my life!

1 comment:

  1. You have brought alive a city which my (resident) family have not described! I know James loves it and doesn't want to be anywhere else. Their wedding present to us was the catalogue of an Australian Impressionists exhibition which is a treasure. Keep on blogging...not dancing!