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Don’t tell Melbourne – but I’m secretly falling for Sydney

Written by Nayuka Gorrie

Melbourne-based writer Nayuka Gorrie finally admits that this city ain’t all bad – in fact, she’s willing to leave her hotel room next time she visits.

“I love Melbourne” – a famous Melburnian proverb about Melbourne
I’m about to leave Melbourne for the progressive booming metropolis I came from: Brisbane. I live in Fitzroy. I love the post-apocalyptic Sunday morning feel on Brunswick Street when it’s just me, the anxious pigeons, four-hour-old vomit and two dudes looking for kick ons. I love our collective increase of serotonin when the sun emerges from a grey haze just when we had forgotten what heat and light is. I love the screaming men on a Saturday night when their team hasn’t won. I love the turmeric lattes. I love the cat cafés. The toast cafés. I love complaining about south of the river, a place I had forgotten about; a place I know nothing about because I haven’t been there in two years (Rev’s doesn’t count). I love the accessible bikeways that I have used exactly three and a half times in the last six years.

I know they will tell you AFL is the sport of choice down here but there is another – sledging Sydney. And for six years I was the best at it. If I was driven there for work I would make a big scene about how much I hated it; I wouldn’t leave my hotel room just to tell everyone I’d stayed in my hotel because THAT’s how much I hate Sydney. I’d talk about how shit the coffee is. How pretentious the people are. How shit the traffic is. How Sydney is to Melbourne what LA is to New York. I laughed, along with everyone else, at your lockout laws (I’m sorry for your loss, Sydney). I laugh at the name Rooty Hill every election year when a politician goes to Rooty Hill RSL. I laugh at your attempts at hip hop, you guys have those weird white dudes with an oppression complex and we have Briggs.

Some of my worst memories have been in Sydney
I lost my beloved iPhone 4 at an A.B. Original gig nearly two years ago outside of the Newtown Social Club (rip). The next day I went back in and it wasn’t there so I bought a packet of Mission chips which I sobbed into on my way to visit my grandmother. I once got stranded at the airport during a storm and my flight got cancelled. My employers weren’t awake and I couldn’t get approval for a hotel so I had to sleep at the airport overnight. At some point after 11pm they kicked everyone still inside the airport out and we had to wait until it reopened at around 4am.

The more I think about it though, the more I realise the way you experience a city is in some large part dependent on your attitude towards it. I went to Kuala Lumpur a few years ago. When I rocked up to the airport I realised I was inadvertently sitting behind one of my best mates. We were spending roughly the same time in this city but she knew someone there. I on the other hand was racked with anxiety over something that I can’t even recall anymore. My friend had a sick time going to underground gigs and I spent it in my head. Sometimes all it takes is a good day. Or an average day with the right company.

Sydney ain’t that bad after all
I’ve had a few of these days lately in Sydney. Sydney has places like the Giant Dwarf which has given many a burgeoning writer or dickhead like me a chance to speak at something. Sydney has has an incredible black poetry scene, with people like Lorna Munro and Evelyn Araluen. Sydney has water and nature. Sydney has the Block and mob that are still fighting for it. Sydney has my sissies Bhenji Ra and Amrita Hepi showing them how to move. Sydney has Bankstown Poetry Slam. Sydney has real life angels like Flex Mami and DJ Levins doing their darndest to keep a party scene happening in a state hellbent on destroying anything resembling fun. Sydney has MCA Artbar which if my friends’ Instagram accounts are anything to go by, are fantastic.  Sydney has Rooty Hill.

Sydney is also where a lot of the work is and so, I will probably continue to be there a lot. I don’t want to spend it in a hotel room. I’m sick of talking about how much I hate the city because each time I say it, it feels less and less genuine. The city has so much to offer and please don’t tell Melbourne; I’m secretly starting to fall in love with it.

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