Last year I had a little twinge of envy when friends told me they had been to White Night Melbourne. I love an event, especially if it includes lights and quirky happenings. White Night was not going to escape me this year.
White Night Melbourne is a difficult thing to sum up. Basically the city is alive from 7pm to 7am. Buildings are lit up, buskers abound, events happen, galleries are open. All sorts of quirkiness. Just up my street, alley and lane way!
Unfortunately much of Melbourne was as excited by the idea as I was. The crowds were enormous and in places they were a dangerous crush.
My White Night experience began on the train. We stuffed ourselves into a carriage at Malvern station, jammed up at the door. But we were near a group of delightful, wacky 20 somethings. Some were dressed up as characters from Toy Story and they entertained us all the way into town. They weren’t staying in town, but hoping to catch the tram to Albert Park for some sort of disco fun run. Good luck with that plan ~ getting to a tram would have been difficult!
We flowed out of the train at Melbourne Central. This took us up to the northern end of the city. Most of the action was at the Flinders Street Station and we knew that that area would be jammed packed. From all reports it was. At least at our end we could move around fairly easily.
Photos are a much better way of telling my story, so……
We came out of the station opposite the State Library, a beautiful Victorian building. It’s facade was changed by a fantastic light display.
At the next intersection, La Trobe and Swanston, there was a huge crowd around some buskers.
The music was amazing. I craned my neck to see but only caught glimpses.
People were videoing them. My brilliant idea was to watch the event as someone else recorded it. That didn’t really work very well!
(Just realised that those two guys in the photo must have been twins!)
All worked out in the end, because we came across them later on, set up on the footpath. It allowed a much better view. Two young guys, playing percussion and keyboard with a computer recorded background. It was great.
RMIT was exhibiting material from Australian bands in the 70s and 80s. Lots of Skyhooks memorabilia, including these costumes worn by Shirley, the band’s lead singer~and male, hence his nickname.
A very different event was an ongoing lecture on ethics. People came and went. The reasonably comfy chairs were nice to rest in for a while too!
We watched a light projection on the RMIT wall. It was of paint (or was it blood?) running horizontally across the wall, with a hand pulling it back.
We made our way across to Elizabeth St and then down to the station.
Past the GPO with all its splendid lights
Flinders Street Station was glorious!
But trying to get any further to the intersection of Flinders and Swanston St would have been ridiculous. We hived off into Degraves St, a little lane that is full of tiny coffee shops and eateries. There were people sitting on every seat!
By this time, we had had enough of crowds. Down into the station via the Degraves St entrance. But wait, there was more happening down in the subways! This projector was set up in a quiet corner.
My last delight was a zine store, Sticky Institute. Who knew it was there? They had a challenge for the night. It was a zine making marathon. “The photocopier will run hot, and the staplers will clatter as 25 hardcore zine makers each make an issue in the space of a single night for White Night Melbourne.” Good luck to them!
The outward bound train was just as packed as the inward bound one, but again, there was such a good camaraderie.
Would I do it again? I did enjoy many of the quirky things. I would have liked to look into Sticky Institute’s zine challenge. There must have been other things like that going on. So may be I needed to be better prepared. However, my brilliant thought for next year is to hire a hotel room right in town. Then I can have rests in between explorations, even leaving at 2 am to go wandering. Good idea, hey?!