Posted by: Nick Ward | 3 May, 2010

The Empire Strikes Chapel Street

Sport took me to Melbourne this weekend. Not football, mind you, although it was nice to be in a city where people know that when you talk about the Bulldogs you mean the Western Bulldogs. No, it was swimming.

Saturday night was the Glamourhead Sharks Awards Night, the night of nights for Melbourne’s GLBT swim team. A beautiful autumn day was arranged specifically for the event, and everyone prepared for the ‘So You Think You Can Sing’ Karioke. Oh what a night.

Well, in fact it wasn’t quite as big a night as you might expect… as the odds would have it, the Victorian State Long Course Championships were the following day. Good for people travelling from interstate and wanting to cram in as much as possible on a weekend. Bad for big nights out.

Not to worry, after the somewhat ambitious choice of Bohemian Rhapsody as my karioke contribution an early-ish night was had and I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed rather early on Sunday morning for the big meet.

Now, the meet was great fun. Wouldn’t say it was the best swimming I’ve done, but it wasn’t the worst either (late nights and ample wine are usually predictors of really bad meets). More importantly, it was a brilliant day with the team.

I do have fun in Melbourne, it’s a warm and welcoming city. Sometimes a little kookie too. I think I love that most. On Saturday morning I was in Chapel St (you know, the fashion hub of Melbourne) with friends when we came across a couple of knights. Yup, knights.

What was more than a bit intriguing was not that there were knights walking down the most fashion-associated street in Melbourne, even if it was the Windsor end. It was that they didn’t actually seem to be going anywhere in particular. They seemed to be just, well, shopping.

OK, well, there you go.

One hundred metres down the street when we ran into a stormtrooper and a cantina-bar refugee just hanging out with the humans we didn’t really blink an eye. Hey, you got a problem with that? Not me.

The thing was, I swear there was no sign of a dungeons and dragons convention, no Star Wars funclub meeting, no jousting competition warming up at a nearby park. If there was more than some great clothes shopping drawing these happy folk to Chapel St, then it was well hidden. Good for them, I say.

And so back to Sydney. They might have excellent beaches here, but I’m not holding my breath waiting to see chewbacca window shopping in Oxford St. Although, coming out of The Barracks late one night, maybe….

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