Andrew Bolt is back, and he's seen something of the world. He's loped back into his office, having gotten a taxi from the airport, and doesn't like what he sees he find Melbourne wanting.
Maybe it's just me, but every time I get a taxi or drive back from the airport over the bridge and clock the Melbourne skyline, my heart soars. I feel sorry for Andrew that his doesn't. I've travelled the world too. Was born overseas and have made the trek back via god only knows how many places five times. I've seen the sights Andrew laments we don't have, and you know what? I wouldn't live anywhere else.
Fine and dandy the cities that have the landmarks. I've trotted to the top of the Eiffel Tower, I've been on the steps of the Opera House. Seen the London Houses of Parliament. They're all organic to their cities. The latter two are functional. The first was a gift from the Americans. They have meaning. They're intrinsic to their cities. Do we really want a landmark for the sake of having a landmark?
I don't. I prefer the fact that this city has soul. That every time I journey into the city I see something new. There's always something to do, something to see, something to enjoy.
Yes, the Ferris Wheel thing at the Docklands was a bad idea. But for precisely the reason we have no landmark now - the true, enduring landmarks are those that spring up because of what a city already is, not because of what a city wants to be.
Our city is a place of hidden alleys where you stumble across bars that serve drinks in test-tubes. Or an art gallery you never knew existed. Or a tiny restaurant where the owner knows exactly what you want and takes the time to chat to you and your friends. It's footy at the G, it's drinks afterwards at Holliava and the best Souv in all of Victoria (depending on opinion) in Preston. It's music at the Corner.
Melbourne's landmark is it's liveability. It doesn't need some gaudy trinket tacked on to it to make it great. And here's some more pearls of wisdom from Andrew:
"Take Federation Square, all surly elbows and cringing in camouflage colours - just the building for a generation of neo-barbarians with lip rings and bum antlers."
What the bloody hell are bum antlers? I don't particularly think Fed Square is a thing of beauty, but it's a great meeting place, and I think it's contributed a lot to Melbourne's sense of community.
Andrew also hates the fact that the modern is replacing the old skool. He hates that the "Little Italy of Lygon is being diluted by by restaurants of Thai, Lebanese and Malay cuisine."
Right. So what Melbourne needs is some shiny giant trinket and segregation of eateries?
Dude, for serious? Word of advice. Don't write with jet lag. And appreciate what you've got, because you live in one hell of a city, Andrew. Landmark or nay.
**UPDATE** Mike Sheahan weighs in with his opinion that the MCG classifies as a landmark.
Got to say sorry
2 days ago