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Reacquaint

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Growing up in Melbourne’s western suburbs meant that a) people thought I was part of a gang, and b) travelling to the other side of the bay for high school was pretty much a given.* As much as I regret the 180-minute daily round trip, travelling for school meant that I got my head around the city and the inner suburbs which is something I really appreciate now. The wonders of education: you won’t remember what an enzyme does but you will know where to get coffee. 

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Lately I’ve been getting to know all my favourite teenage spots again. They’ve changed, for better and for worse — so have I, I guess. It’s so good to see them through new eyes and also above the drinking age. Hence: Chapel str, which I remember as having the best vintage going, is suddenly a wonderful playground of elaborately/joyfully named bars and eateries. 

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If you can’t quite make it out that’s Borscht, Vodka and Tears and it’s as fine as it sounds. I took The Drink With No Name (not pictured because it disappeared very quickly) and found a new love in chili vodka. Still, you’ve gotta shop.

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In this case it meant an incense burner shaped like a little pueblo because life wasn’t absurd enough at that moment. Pictured on my unnecessarily elaborate bedspread

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And then to my best city/CBD/downtown. The wonderful Victorian-era Block Arcade which is populated by the kind of shops that only seems to exist in Victorian-era arcades: merino wool outfitters and photo restoration services. It’s caught in a sort of web of narrow alleyways and though I’ve been going there as long as I can remember I’m never quite sure which way the exits and entries will take me. 

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It also houses the Hopetoun Tea Rooms, which always have the longest queue but I know one day must be conquered due to its fully-restored, late 19th century realness. Maybe I’ll have to engineer a special occasion, I don’t know. Any ideas?

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Finally the Nicholas Building, home to creatives of all kinds. All the shops I remember in the arcade have been replaced (with equally lovely things) but upstairs is still mostly the same; all fish-scale tiles and an unnerving elevator. Around the corner is L’uccello, which is a crafter’s dream and still heavenly for people who don’t understand how sewing works. Everything is lovely but they have piles of antique ribbon that I just feel I need, for some reason. Admiration, I think.

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*For Catholic school, mind. Although it was the sort that let us watch Shrek in religion classes.

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