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Jenny Valentish

Jenny Valentish

Articles (4)

35 incredible facts about Melbourne that you probably didn't know

35 incredible facts about Melbourne that you probably didn't know

1. Melbourne’s CBD has the highest ratio of street furniture (benches to rest your weary legs) to people in the world. 2. We also have the largest organ in the southern hemisphere – the Grand Organ in Melbourne Town Hall, that is. 3. Beloved music den the Tote was originally located at 136 Johnston Street and was an illegal gambling venue hidden behind a teashop. Punters entered through a gap in the lane at the rear, reached via Sackville Street. 4. During the building of the new home for Circus Oz, a sealed-up concrete bunker with a single bed and newspaper was discovered under the car park. It was rumoured that this bunker belonged to gangsters or bookies who built tunnels under Collingwood. 5. George Raymond Johnson – the architect behind North Melbourne Town Hall, the Meat Market, Northcote Town Hall, Collingwood Town Hall, Fitzroy Town Hall and many other civic buildings – has had most of his dedicated theatres torn down, but his town halls live on as theatres. 6. In 1966, pupils and a teacher from Westall High School were wrapping up sports class when they saw a flying saucer with a purple-grey hue over the oval. The story bagged two front covers in The Dandenong Journal, but only a couple of column inches in The Age. 7. Squizzy Taylor once claimed sanctuary at Abbotsford Convent when on the run from local authorities. He was put up by the Sisters in a shared room, but he had disappeared by morning. 8. Billy Thorpe reckons he buried a few kilos of weed in the ground. Wh

The best tattoo parlours in Melbourne

The best tattoo parlours in Melbourne

In recent years, tattoos have become increasingly common, with people from all walks of life investing in the art. But it’s as important as ever to take the time to investigate the many parlours and artists that are around to discover which ones suit your unique tastes and needs. Here, we take a look at some of Melbourne’s best tattoo shops and some of the inspiration behind the work.  Appreciate good art? Take a gander at our guide to the best street art in Melbourne. 

David Walsh on gambling, living in a museum and writing his memoir

David Walsh on gambling, living in a museum and writing his memoir

What do we already know about David Walsh? That he made his millions through a gambling syndicate, the Bank Roll? That he’s become the patron saint of Hobart, thanks to the tourists his museum MONA pulls in? That his summer and winter festivals, Mofo and Dark Mofo, are lifting the game of arts curators across Australia? That he has a mathematical mind and a horrid humour? On the back cover of his new 384-page autobiography, A Bone of Fact (hardbacked and gold-leafed, like the Bible), he adds some more labels – smartarse, penis, narcissist, author. But the chapters within do not render the man black and white. Having applied the concept of “having an edge” to gambling and art alike, Walsh has now done the same with the format of the memoir. Each chapter is a late-night dinner party debate that gets the synapses firing – but the sort of dinner party that guarantees somebody will storm out. Sometimes David Walsh, aged 20, will talk to David Walsh, aged 50 and David Walsh, aged 80. Occasionally he’ll muse over the publishing process of Pan Macmillan in real time. (Apparently there’s an editor there who is refusing to work with him because he is “sexist”.) Then there are the hypnagogic ideas – theories streaking across his train of thought like meteors. Walsh does dwell upon his impoverished upbringing in Hobart’s Glenorchy, but in a manner that joyfully mixes probability and philosophy – two of his favourite things. The keen Kurt Vonnegut reader and sci-fi nerd wishes he could ha

Weekend getaways: Goldfields

Weekend getaways: Goldfields

See and do We know you’ll want to make cultural town Castlemaine a focal point, what with its live music at the Theatre Royal and Bridge Hotel, and flourishing art scene, but stop off in Harcourt when you come off the Calder Freeway. At the base of Mount Alexander are abundant orchards in the form of Harcourt Perry and Cider. Bress is a sustainable farm producing wine, cider, olives, honey and vegetables; taste it all at the cellar door, open weekends and public holidays. A short drive away is the picturesque town of Maldon. Every July they celebrate Maldon in Winter, a festival of family-friendly events including a night market, art shows and a bonfire. To explore the hidden underground tunnels of a real gold mine that operated during the boom – some of them 225 metres deep – factor in a trip to the Central Deborah Gold Mine. Eat and drink It’s fun to explore the laneways of Bendigo and chance upon a great bar or restaurant, but for those who like to plan ahead, the Dispensary Enoteca offers adventurous dining, extensive spirit and cigar lists, and boutique ale. There’s similar browsing fun to be had in Ballarat, but you could schedule a cooking class at the contemporary Catfish Thai. Castlemaine has attracted many culinary-expert treechangers who have already reaped accolades in Melbourne. Try the Good Table, who do all the local foraging for you. Stay For the full historical experience, stay at Castlemaine’s Empyre Boutique Hotel for French provincial furniture and lacy ve

Listings and reviews (19)

Crucible Tattoo Co.

Crucible Tattoo Co.

Welcome to Melbourne’s first queer-owned tattoo studio, est. 2015. It’s a safe space where everyone can feel comfortable regardless of their gender, sexuality and race, and it’s wheelchair and walker accessible. The tattoo process can even be made vegan. As artist and founder Zero says, “The shop is cosy and filled with natural light, old botanical art prints, dried flowers and driftwood.” Zero’s style ranges from minimal line work/black work to abstract and Western trad. Adam likes contemporary line-based tattoos, often featuring abstraction and queer male subject matter. Brody’s style is mostly influenced by Western traditional, combined with colour realism; and Teddy’s work combines elements of Western traditional with Japanese and contemporary influences.

Dynamic Tattoo

Dynamic Tattoo

Trevor McStay set up Dynamic Tattoo in 1991, and it’s the essence of a timeless tattoo studio. It’s his love of Japanese style – also favoured by Daryl Lasken and Matt Collins – that dominates; however, artists Zach Hart and Shane Wilcox excel at American trad tattooists. Olivia Brumen loves explosions of colour, with her style ranging from huge Disney pieces, to floral, cheeky cartoon work and detailed images.

Good Luck

Good Luck

Good Luck is very much an old-school street shop – a simple, rectangular space with a communal feel and ready for walk-ins. There’s no overarching tattooing style here. Alexander Tyrrell specialises in black, red and white Western trad; Jake does modern abstract; Ben Fraser’s version of Western trad employs bold, black strokes; Daniel Ocotriver has a colourful take on trad Western style; Kirk Jones’ trad Western style is heavy on the detail and perfect for larger pieces; and Nat G’s more across feminine hearts, flowers and kitsch objects.

Hot Copper

Hot Copper

The vibe of Hot Copper, says tattooist Clare Hampshire, is “tropical greenhouse meets Scandinavian kitsch” – and you can find that out for yourself if you book an appointment. Sometimes there are same-day walk-ins, but only if you call first. Hampshire specialises in “post-modern Tropicana” – think palm trees, cocktails and flamingos; and of the team, she says Lauren Fenlon favours “stylised abstract realism”; Brittany Kilsby goes for “bright botanical bonanza”;Kat Weir’s style could be described as “pop culture glitterbomb”; and Amanda Brooks offers a “traditional Kawaii mishmash”.

Melbourne Tattoo Co.

Melbourne Tattoo Co.

Opened in 2013 by Zoe and Matt Wisdom, Melbourne Tattoo Co. sits above the Captains of Industry café. It’s “a little sneaky”, according to Zoe. “You have to come up a dark stairwell. It means people don’t wander in for a sticky beak, ask 27 questions and walk off.” Don’t worry, though – genuine customers are made at home the moment they walk into the warehouse space, with its window seat and skateboards on the walls. The eight-strong team welcome walk-ins, and are rapt if someone picks the flash they’ve spent hours painting.

Vic Market Tattoo

Vic Market Tattoo

Vic Market Tattoo, says Wade Johnston, is “an homage to the past and the 25 year history of the shop. There’s lots of tattoo flash and beautifully kept wooden furniture.” Johnston, who also has his own machine line, describes himself as “a jack of all trades, starting with neo-traditional and lettering tattoos”. He works alongside Pablo Morte, “our resident expert at black and grey and religious tattoos”; Mark Lording – “he’s the Australiana expert and does them in a traditional Western style”; Anthony Von Ratcorpse, who – as the name suggests – loves all things horror and skateboarding; Chris Jones, a specialist of dot-work and geometric tattoos; Lachie Grenfell, who “takes many references from the true greats of traditional Western tattooing”; Charlie Lacroix – “a French mastermind of the wildest trad tattoo ideas that you can think of”; and Kane Berry, who’s “all about super-clean, super-bold and, quite often, super-cute tattoos.”

Blue Lady Tattoo

Blue Lady Tattoo

You don’t get much more central Melbourne than Hardware Lane, but the décor of Blue Lady Tattoo is all New York loft. Tattooist Mike Tea’s personal style is “party tropical/traditional”, and he describes his team members Bradley Hampstead as “neo trad”, Emmet Jace as “neo-trad/Japanese”, Ben Koopman as “trad/black and grey”, David Agostino as “Italian trad” and TJ Day as “trad with a tropical twist”. Walk-ins are welcome. As for those seeking custom work, Tea says their dream client is “a person who understands tattoos and their strengths and limitations… we enjoy a chat with our clients.”

Chapel Tattoo

Chapel Tattoo

Co-founder Andrew McLeod describes the 22-year-old shop’s overall style as “a classic street shop”. Actually, it’s so popular that while they’ll make time for walk-ins, there’s often a six-week wait for custom work. There are currently 11 artists, first and foremost specialising in traditional, but as McLeod says, “We pride ourselves on being versatile. Everyone at the shop is pretty much able to handle anything that walks in the door, from classic, to black and grey, tribal, watercolour, you name it.”

Bridge Hotel: Castlemaine

Bridge Hotel: Castlemaine

The advantage of changing hands three times of late is that The Bridge has benefitted from multiple refurbs. The new owners of this rather picturesque pub and bandroom are brothers Patrick and Jeremy Furze, who’ve clocked up years in the music and hospitality industries between them. For the reopening in November 2017, they revamped the beer garden and built a new outdoor stage for sunny weekend busking-style gigs, while the indoor bandroom attracts touring acts from all over Australia. The new menu – designed by Alex Perry (formerly of The Good Table) and head chef Andrew Martin – features local produce and includes vegan options, with an early sitting for families.

Belvedere Social

Belvedere Social

Many a long lunch has turned into a lost afternoon in the Belvedere’s viney courtyard, and many a quick pit stop has fallen foul of the charcuterie board. There’s a hint of the 1960s in the casual fit-out of this 1880s building, replete with sculptural touches and with a fire roaring in the white brick hearth during winter months. The farm-to-table menu draws on local producers such as Tuki Trout Farms and Vue du Volcan Duck, and the cocktails are in collaboration with local artisan producer Natasha Morgan (such as ‘The artist formerly known as Quince'). There’s often jazz on weekend evenings, and if your visit is between Thursday and Monday, you can additionally nip next door to the Thirteen 05 gallery for a snoop. It’s run by two artists, Emma McAdam-Marmont and Struan Hopwood, with regular guest exhibitors.

The Boathouse

The Boathouse

The most prominent of Daylesford’s lakes is, appropriately, named Lake Daylesford. A leisurely circuit of its perimeter – which will take in secondhand store the Book Barn and plenty of waterfowl – takes half an hour, and there are paddle boards and paddle boats for hire from the Boathouse. Conveniently, that’s a great place to eat, too – either on the deck seating or in the light-streamed dining-room. They’ve got you covered for breakfast, brunch and lunch, with mains including garlic-steamed mussels and confit duck. The restaurant is licensed, with a generous selection of local drops.

The Farmers Arms

The Farmers Arms

This charming hotel, the oldest in Daylesford, expertly plays two roles: local boozer and destination pub. There’s a community noticeboard in the cheerful front bar and the framed whiskers of local chaps who’ve undergone a shave for Movember. Out back there’s a large, elegant dining room, adorned with floral arrangements, to tuck into smoked trout farfalle, venison ragu and Farmers Arms Draught beer-buttered gummy shark. There’s so much room in this joint that there’s even a room or two just for the pub grubbers picking off the bar menu. A massive wine list and local delicacies such as Castlemaine Red Ale and Daylesford IPA on tap.

News (2)

The xx are coming back to Australia and there’s nothing minimalist about the set they’ve got planned

The xx are coming back to Australia and there’s nothing minimalist about the set they’ve got planned

On the other end of the phone, Romy Madley Croft is listening intently. “That’s horrendous,” she reflects. “It could be so damaging.” She’s asked for an update on Australia’s same-sex marriage survey, because it’s a subject close to the heart of the xx. Two of the members are gay, with singer-guitarist Croft being set to marry artist Hannah Marshall. For their forthcoming Australian tour, $1 from every ticket sold will go towards LGBTQIA programs in each city. “We wanted to help in some small way,” Croft says. They started to do so via the festival they curate across European cities. It’s called Night + Day, and they partnered with Plus-One, a charitable organisation co-founded by Arcade Fire, to sort the donations. “When we did it in Brixton, near where we grew up, we wanted to give back to the community and have more of a positive impact than just turning up,” she explains. Spending some time apart seems to have brought a greater sense of purpose to the London-formed band – Croft, singer-bassist Oliver Sim and beats-maker/producer Jamie Smith. Not only that, but the averted gazes and aloof image has made way for something chummier. Their third album, I See You, feels like a fun bubble to be in, rather than the thinnest of membranes separating the band from the ugly outside world. “We realised that we’re often seen as serious and older than our years,” Croft confirms. “With this album we wanted to reflect that we can have fun with it.” That’s apparent in the suite of three v

The xx are coming back to Australia and there’s nothing minimalist about the set they’ve got planned

The xx are coming back to Australia and there’s nothing minimalist about the set they’ve got planned

On the other end of the phone, Romy Madley Croft is listening intently. “That’s horrendous,” she reflects. “It could be so damaging.” She’s asked for an update on Australia’s same-sex marriage survey, because it’s a subject close to the heart of the xx. Two of the members are gay, with singer-guitarist Croft being set to marry artist Hannah Marshall. For their forthcoming Australian tour, $1 from every ticket sold will go towards LGBTQIA programs in each city. “We wanted to help in some small way,” Croft says. They started to do so via the festival they curate across European cities. It’s called Night + Day, and they partnered with Plus-One, a charitable organisation co-founded by Arcade Fire, to sort the donations. “When we did it in Brixton, near where we grew up, we wanted to give back to the community and have more of a positive impact than just turning up,” she explains. Spending some time apart seems to have brought a greater sense of purpose to the London-formed band – Croft, singer-bassist Oliver Sim and beats-maker/producer Jamie Smith. Not only that, but the averted gazes and aloof image has made way for something chummier. Their third album, I See You, feels like a fun bubble to be in, rather than the thinnest of membranes separating the band from the ugly outside world. “We realised that we’re often seen as serious and older than our years,” Croft confirms. “With this album we wanted to reflect that we can have fun with it.” That’s apparent in the suite of three