Melbourne - Breakfast @ Desgraves

Desgraves Street - Melbourne

Yesterday, as I was organising my suitcase for our trip back to the land of the never-ending beaches and perfect ocean waves, I came across one of the myriad of notebooks that I scribble in from time to time.
In it were a series of poems that constructively filled in some coffee shop hours for me in the inner streets of Melbourne in April '10, while Jo whiled away a few days doing some IB training course.

There is something special about the city centre of Melbourne. And within five hundred metres of the steps of Flinders Street station, more than enough happening to entertain a creative heart. At the time I thought the experience would be for me a taste of what lay ahead in Europe when we moved to Switzerland. And in many ways it was. Melbourne has a distinctive cosmopolitan feel, complete with individuality and colour. I found that using a part of each day sitting in coffee shops around this part of town to be an educational adjunct to the art gallery and museum explorations that I was able to salivate over.

 Since the white man's 'arrival' in Australia (1788), Melbourne has opened its arms and gardens (and unpredictable weather) to embrace many people from many different nations. This was evident in the interesting cross-culturalisation of the people I observed from the Desgraves Street cafes and the sculpture park bench seats in front of the SBS building. And as much as I love sitting in on the splendour of Sydney Harbour and Circular Quay via the steps of the Opera House, there is something special about being a part of down town Melbourne. A big part of it is the fact the most of the people passing by actually live here and are able to keep parts of their home culture alive and integrate it with what we Australians have come to call our culture. A culture still taking baby steps. And I must admit, that outside of the longevity and integrity of Aboriginal culture, in many places it is basically 'Football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars' , and trying hard to place a mark on the page called 'world of the twenty first century'.

But we Australians do try hard and do good no matter what or where we put our hand at are on the planet. And I know that many Europeans get us mixed up with Austrians, and that they have difficulty understanding our refined accent and vocabulary (I won't even go to our sense of humour), but that is one thing that Australia has over many other countries around the globe. We are a young, fresh, developing nation, free of the mores of social custom and tradition that is beginning to destroy some of the more revered countries of Europe and Africa through political, financial and moral decay.

 One thing that I have experienced again since Jo and I have been living and travelling over here is that forgotten taste and hunger of teenage inspiration. You know that feeling of having something that can change your world for the better. Through walking down the streets and roads of history's book I have been opened up physically and mentally to the new possibilities of what life is offering me right where I stand (or in my case sit). And having had almost a year to undertake this challenging and refreshing experience, I also understand that there is no way to make fair comparisons about the continents of Europe and Australia. You just have to explore them, appreciate the beauty and wonder of their individual creation and the people that make them both so special.

And as for the football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars? Well I can hardly bloody wait mate, to taste 'em all, and that's fair dinkum!

Breakfast @ Desgraves
Saturday espresso
in backstreet shadows
with one big family
talking louder
by the minute.
And I’m in it
in the middle
surfing on the feeling
that somehow I belong
to whatever
it is that brings
people to places
like these
where faces
leave traces
of origins so far
away that even
if you wanted
to go home
you couldn’t.
We’re all grounded
in coffee beans
here in Desgraves Street
by volcanic ash.


  1. Poor misguided antipodean soul!
    All I see is poor table service as dirty tables wait to be tendered to, vagrants on steps, rife graffiti, style victims and street people hanging out around wheely bins.
    Lost romantic fool.Looking forward to putting you straight on Kulture!!!!


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