Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Not Quite The Olympics - Part 1

Melbourne is currently being shaken by Commonwealth Games Fever!

Well, sort of. Like Manchester, the local populace seem to be taking their time to be impressed with the millions of dollars being spent, the proactive gentrification of venues and major landmarks, and the likely huge disruption that is anticipated. Like Manchester, restrospectively they will probably view it as a good thing, but at the moment not everybody is convinced.

It doesn't help that within months of the Sydney Olympics finishing the fabulous new stadium had seemingly gone to rack and ruin [a fact that was somewhat overstated, but there was some truth in this], and they were struggling to find something to do with the thing. Maybe Manchester got that bit right, even if the running track had to be sent to Birmingham [What did it do to deserve that?].

As well as my bushwalking, I've been doing a fair bit of walking around the city centre, usually in an effort to find something that has been affected so utterly by the public works currently being underatken that it's the proverbial needle in a haystack. After a curious runaround from venue to venue, I did eventually manage to get my Split Enz tickets from the Games area [various venues around the MCG] today. I also had serendipitous meeting that produced a mask of Bert "moonface" Newton, with which I frightened Claudine when I met her after work. I think the man's bloody funny and self-deprecating, but opinions seem to be divided in a sort of Bob Monkhouse kind of way - comedy genius or a bit of a dick? You decide...

So... there is absolutely tons of work going on, including the totally remodelled and newly renamed Spencer Street Station - now known as Southern Cross Station unless you actually use it, in which case it's still called Spencer Street , or "that building site with a leaky roof that cost millions and why couldn't they get it right first time or certainly get it ready in time for the Games as it's supposed to be a world class transport interchange Station".

The MCG does appear to be taking shape, the Yarra River is once again full of fish [albeit metal ones that spout water - see I'm getting Melbourne-cynical too now], Flinders Street Station looks not far off, and local politicians have been trading heavily on the Commonwealth Games "Brand" by including the logo illegally on various publicity bits and pieces ["I brought the Commonwealth Games to melbourne, everybody! Well, sort of..."].

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