First published on 16 Jun 2011. Updated on 20 Aug 2012.
Deep in the Degraves Street Subway you won’t even be aware of the rain pounding on the bitumen overhead, so focused will you be on poking your tongue out of the side of your mouth as you type, scissor and glue your own indie magazine together. By the end of your endeavours you might even be ready to join the ranks of those inky mags, both local and international, that line the walls.
10 Campbell Arcade, Degraves Subway, Melbourne
The Melbourne Town Hall tour will teach you many things, not least that founding father John Batman was a “syphilitic, whoring alcoholic” with half his face eaten away by the sexy disease. But the best part is the exploration of the three-storey pipe organ, the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. You’ll peer into room after room of springs, pipes and whirligigs. Agatha Christie could have plotted an excellent death within the machinations of a pipe organ.
90-120 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Go-go for blood flow
You can wear what you want – white pixie boots and fringed skirts aren’t obligatory, just considered to be good taste – the main thing is to dupe yourself into thinking that Anna’s Go-Go Academy classes aren’t exercise. Not too much of a stretch when you’re squawking in delight at doing the chicken, while sticky-beaks crane through the bar room door jealously. Yes, bonus: these classes are held in licensed venues!
The Bendigo Hotel, 125 Johnson St, Collingwood on Tue 7pm and 8.30pm
Bella Union Bar, 2 Lygon St, Carlton on Wed 6.30pm
The Victoria Hotel, 380 Victoria St, Brunswick on Thu at 6.30pm
The State Library’s a marvel to behold ain’t it? The dome galleries and glorious exhibitions render one slackjawed, plus there’s the journals and mags section to browse without getting yelled at to buy, and a whole room devoted to watching films. If you’re in need of some human interaction, though, check out the chess room, in which you can play chess and checkers amongst related paraphernalia. And if you really want to get your feet under the table, the library’s always looking for volunteers.
State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Join the good people of Looped – a knitting and crocheting gang that hangs out to drink coffee and make warm woolly things on Wednesday nights. The venue, Can Do Books, also hosts its own crafty shindigs, specialising in exotic sounding things like ‘zentangle’ and ‘hoooked zpagetti’.
Can Do Books, 608 Burwood Road, Hawthorn East
If not everyone at work shares your zest for a good beery bargain, why not ditch them for a bunch of likeminded roustabouts? The Happy Hour Commandos hunt down good times and cheap dates with a fervour that’s to be admired – even when there are no meet-ups planned, members will leave you a trail of their whereabouts as they chase that happy hour around the city till nightfall.
Whether you just can’t wait till Christmas to break out the Pictionary, or you find stacking Jenga bricks staves off the nicotine twitch, you’ll probably get a kick out of Café Games. This bunch convene in pubs and cafes across Melbourne – a favourite is the Bull and Bear Tavern on Flinders Lane – to imbibe and compete in equal measures.
Be an even more sociable social media mogul
Social media butterflies have a healthy choice of real-life Melbourne tweet-ups to flit around, but two of the better established are the Melbourne Twitter Underground Brigade, who arrange bashes on the third week of every month, and Socialmelb, who meet every Friday from 8am at 1000 £ Bend at 361 Little Lonsdale Street. Come along for brekkie and put a face to an ‘@’.
It’s been scientifically proven that cheesy songs sound 96 per cent more stately and gorgeous when sung in harmony with fellow wine-chuggers at Melbourne’s Glee Club. Held at the uber-kitsch Butterfly Club, it’s got that so-daggy-it’s-good vibe going on.
The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank Street, South Melbourne on Tue and Wed 6.15pm
Get a Zsa Zsa-style winter makeover
Head into David Jones or Myer and get a makeup artiste to glam you up – it’s absolutely bloody free, if you buy a whole stack of their gear afterwards. This season M.A.C. are pushing Lady Gaga-inspired nude shades or, at the other end of the spectrum, the Manga-tastic ‘Quite Cute’ range. If you fancy a big gun, Laura Mercier has international makeup artist Marc Bertraud in between June 24 and 27.