Friday, August 05, 2005

Urban myths of Melbourne. The other day at work, we were talking about a new Brisbane street press called Vulture. Apparently there's a great article in there about Brisbane-specific urban myths. One myth was that there is a hill in a Brisbane cemetery that actually allows cars to roll up. But my favourite one is about the Sky Needle from World Expo 88, which was purchased by local society hairdresser Stefan and installed at his headquarters. The legend went that when the beacon on top of the tower flashed in a certain way, you knew you could come and buy drugs off Stefan.

When I went googling for this book, I found this interesting messageboard of local myths. (Many of them are just claims that well-known myths happened in their local area.)

Anyway, we had a think in the office but were stumped for specific local Melbourne myths. Here are the only two I can think of.

The Market Mafiosi: The word was at my primary school that Box Hill fresh food market was just a front for the mafia. We used to shop there every week, and I used to imagine the coded messages the mafiosi would send to each other. Woe betide them when they found a fish wrapped in newspaper in their stall.

As an adult, this sounds quite likely to me, despite a slight racist tinge. ("Only wogs have market stalls, and the Mafia is a wog thing.") I mean, those Mafia cliches about restaurants being mob hangouts have got to be cliches because mobsters really do hang out there.

Find 100, Get $10: I was on the tram a couple of months ago, and I overheard a boy aged about ten talking to his dad. According to this kid, if you collect 100 Metcards and hand them in at your local train station, they'll give you $10. The dad was sceptical, but the kid said that they do it to discourage littering, but they don't publicise it because people would take advantage of it. "I've seen these old guys going around picking up Metcards off the ground!" alleged the boy. "They do it for money."

For about one second I was really excited and believed this to be true (I was this close to calling the manslave to check with him!), but then I realised that Metlink are such cunts that there is no way they would ever institute such a program, even if it were for 1000 tickets. What would the station staff do with the tickets anyway? Chuck 'em out! And doesn't it sound counter-intuitive to have an anti-littering campaign that you don't tell anyone about? I think this myth resonates because its philosophy is similar to Cash-a-Can: shitloads of hard work for very little financial reward, and only kids and old people do it. It's like something Pugwall would do.

Oh, this reminds me of another urban myth:

South Australian Bottle Rebates: Hasn't everyone looked on their bottle (Mel surreptitiously consults empty bottle of Vodka Cruiser sitting next to computer - the manslave gave it to me, I swear!), found that it attracts a 5c rebate in South Australia, and toyed with the idea of transporting a shitload of bottles over the border and cashing in? Has anyone ever actually attempted this? Surely the cost of the petrol would outweigh the pitiful profits of such an enterprise?

I would love to hear of other people's local Melbourne urban myths. And no, I don't want to hear localised versions of existing overseas myths, like the story about the staring Goth girl on the Frankston line train.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Meter