Friday, November 04, 2005

I Know Where You Live #5

So far we have limited our travels to Melbourne's outskirts. There comes a time, however, when the lover must cease tracing his partner's areola and gently but firmly apply his thumb to the nipple proper. That time is now, and the nipple in question is none other than Camberwell.

The standard adjective for Camberwell and its environs is "leafy". And indeed, Camberwell is be-leafed to remarkable degree. Large, stately European deciduous trees abound, gardens are well-tended and tasteful, and some locals even wear special hats with bonsai trees growing from them, thus carrying a symbol of their verdant suburb wherever they might roam. Home to Peter Costello, a bustling Sunday market, and more skivvy-clad orthodontists than you can poke a Saab at, Camberwell is truly a place to be, especially if you're not somewhere else.

It's no secret that Camberwellians think well of themselves, and why wouldn't they? They've got nice cars, even nicer houses, and they can afford to send their kids off to be buggered at expensive schools so that there's more time to spend pampering their dogs, many of which are anthropomorphised to a disturbing degree. Yet lurking within Camberwell's collective psyche is a suspicion that beneath the quality knitware and sensible slacks, Camberwell is really just a slightly upmarket Box Hill. Hailing from a slightly downmarket Box Hill (i.e. the actual Box Hill), I'd like to reassure any Camberwell folk reading this that while your accents might lack the polish of a Balwynite, your careers the glamour of a Toorak type, and your rear ends the gym-honed shapeliness of a South Yarra trendy, you are still appreciably better people than most Melbournians. There is no need to worry or change your ways. Simply continue walking around as though there is a pole shoved up your arse, basking in the warm glow of your affected superiority, and everything will be just fine.

Yes, Camberwell residents are special people. This is clear from the fact that, as indicated above, their local "sitting member" is the human hyena himself, Peter Costello. Yet Camberwellians are not your typical staid, buttoned-down conservatives: witness the intermittent hoo-ha over plans to develop the suburb's train station. Camberwellians might have consistently voted for a senior member of one of the most morally reprehensible governments this country has ever had, thereby implicitly supporting any number of inhumane, absurd or just plain bad policies, but don't go fucking with some old building or they'll have you for brunch! As the slogan says, "Camberwell - We've Got It All" - including, it seems, a nice line in upper-middle-class hypocrisy.

That said, Camberwell is a pleasant-enough suburb to warrant a visit, blessed as it is with the art deco Rivoli Cinema, and a number of second-hand book stores of varying degrees of preciousness. Despite vestigial temperence tendencies, Camberwell even boasts a pub, the Palace, which used to be a regular meat market on Saturday nights, until a vegan action group forced its closure. While you're in town, be sure to check out the world-famous man-who-plays-his-saxophone-poorly-while-his-baffled-poodle-looks-on. He is usually located outside Hungry Jacks between nine a.m. and whenever the police move him along.

Camberwell: four trophy wives out of five.


Nick said...

Camberwell is full of civic delights. Have you tried the salmonella at Sophia's Pizza? My appendix is still tingling. But you're quite wrong about the suburb's political bent: from the Junction north, it falls within the federal seat of Kooyong, and thus is responsible for Petro Georgiou along with that fiend Costello. Camberwell is a harlot sharing herself between two men, while pretending to be stainless.

Tim said...

Georgiou's still a Liberal, albeit a less malignant one than Costello.

Chai said...

Ted Baillieu was hanging out at the local train station last state elections. I said something and his minder almost went for me if Ted hadnt held him back (I exaggerate a little here). That's Camberwell thugs for u. And Balwyn has shit for public transport.

Adam 2.0 said...

Mmmm... anthropomorphism.

It's depressing when you see these people treating a lesser species with such attention and financial investment when elsewhere in the world people of the same genus starve and live well below the poverty line.

I'm really enjoying this series, by the by.