Lost and Found in Melbourne Laneways

One thing you may have noticed about Melbourne is its love of art. Street Art is no exception. It’s pretty easy to lose yourself in the Graffiti filled laneways of Melbourne CBD, but how easy is it to find something?

Well here’s a challenge for you. If you like puzzles, scavenger hunts and exploring the city – then keep reading. Also, it’s free, so there’s that too.

I give you – Chazov-Dmytryk-Harkov treasure hunt.

Basically a series of visual puzzles scattered across Melbourne’s walls. Starting at Hosier Lane, the answers to the puzzles will lead you to your next destination. The first puzzle is in Bullens La, off Lt Bourke St (near the corner of Lt Bourke st and Russell st).

Here’s a link to the artist’s website here. and to his post about the ‘Deductive Logic Tast’ you’re about to embark on.

His advice is to;
1) Set aside atleast one hour – you WILL be walking around the city, so yeah – that’ll take a while.
2) Bring along some sort of smartphone to help you find your way around the laneways. This is not considered cheating (Although an oldschool map of Melbourne would be really cool). You could also use it to snap pictures of the puzzles, in case you realize you didn’t solve the previous one correctly, Saves you the walk back.
3) Bring a friend – because you may not be as smart as you think. Or as CDH points out, safety in numbers in case you get mugged. Laneways don’t have the best reputation for being hospitable and welcoming to lone strangers.

Good Luck, and happy art-hunting.


Laneway Learning – Higgs Boson and hugging bisons

If you’ve been to Melbourne, you’ve probably noticed the lack of places to get a good coffee. (\sarcasm)

Yeah, right.

More like the abundance of places – cafes, bakeries, bistros, restaurants and on and on. Try searching for “Best Coffee in Melbourne” and see if you find any definitive results. I didn’t.

So the difficulty to compete on just coffee and food in Melbourne may actually be a good thing – because it forces places to come up with outrageous and quirky ideas to get customers through the door. Or they just copy someone’s outrageous and quirky idea.

Take Laneway Learning at The Little Mule Cafe in the CBD.
They run a series of classes taught by a variety of people on different topics.When I first heard about it, I was all “What a creative, innovative and original idea.” but then I did some research and found out they were inspired by the Brooklyn Brainery in New York, which runs a similar concept of classes taught by ordinary people. Cheap, Accessible and Fun.
So Tom, the guy who initially visited the Brooklyn Brainery and brought it to Melbourne, talks more about the concept here.

But let me give you a sample of the menu;

Karate: Self Defence
Unconventional Baking
Wine: A One Night Palate Trainer
Urban Beekeeping
Citizen Science – Astronomy for all
Makeup and You

So I went to the class on Higgs Boson. It was, surprise surprise, very theoretical but at the most basic level. But if you check out their facebook page here, you’ll see pictures of more interactive classes such as Next Level Cupcakes and Steampunk.

When they say ‘Cheap classes on anything and everything’, they kinda mean it.
Classes run for roughly an hour to 90 minutes, but it depends on the subject. Prices are around $12 a person. And all classes are held on site at The Little Mule Cafe in the evenings. Classes sell out FAST, so get in quick. You can email them and request them to repeat a class, or ask to be put on the wait list in case a few people drop out.

The kitchen is still open during classes, so you can grab a soup or a cup of coffee whilst you contemplate the universe or learn how to pickle a tomato (do people even do that? I have no idea).

I think it’s a great idea. Even if it may not be “original” in some people’s narrow definition of the word, but it does provide a great example of how a good idea can be adapted and appropriated (even in this case it was pretty much just the geographical shift of the concept from New York to Melbourne) – but I don’t think the people at Brooklyn Brainery would mine. But even if they did, would Laneway Learning be in the wrong? I don’t think so.

If you’re interested in taking a class, check them out here – http://www.lanewaylearning.com/

Secondhand Melbourne

My best friend recently moved back overseas after a semester in Melbourne. One of the things she misses the most about Melbourne (besides me of course) is the number of decent secondhand shopping options. There are literally tons of secondhand and vintage goods around Melbourne, but you might need to know where to look if you’re new. Keep reading and I’ll tell you about my favorite places to shop for secondhand and vintage items, based on prices, quality and selection.

Lost & Found Market

If you venture a little further out of the city on Lygon Street, it’s probably very difficult to miss this one. A bright yellow building with “Lost & Found Market” blazoned over its doors, not to mention a tricycle and a dolls head (?). The place is packed with things! As far as layout goes it’s decently spaced out, enough room to move around, pull out things. They have a great selection of vintage bags and clothes (clothes are really pricey here though $60-$70ish on average from what I saw). I picked up a floral teacup for $6 to add to my collection. You can pay by card and cash.
511 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
website: http://www.lostandfoundmarket.com.au/

Camberwell Market

I’ll be doing a whole post about the Camberwell Market soon, because it’s one of my all-time favorite places to go in Melbourne. It happens every Sunday in Camberwell, from as early as 7am until about 12:30pm. If you’re into browsing odd and ends at a market, it’s worth giving up your sleep-in. It wins the prize for randomness, with heaps of stalls, all run by different people with all kinds of things to sell. Think vintage cameras from $700 to 50c clothes. Most vendors are open to bargaining and some of them radically slash prices from about noon. Bring cash! No one will take cards, although there is a Woolies around if you need cash out.

Retrostar Vintage

Hidden away in the city, this is one of Melbourne’s most well known vintage stores. The store has a very eclectic, with a carefully edited, but vast range of items. Prices can be quite high, because many of its items are originally vintage – however, check the back room for some cheaper items. The staff are really helpful and friendly (at least on the days I was there)
Nicholas Building (go up to the first floor)
37 Swanston Street, corner of Flinders Lane
website: http://retrostar.com.au/


If you’re more into a bargain rather than unearthing a lost treasure, Salvos is pretty much unbeatable on price. The upside is you can find a Salvos in pretty much any suburb. The prices are low, the selection is vast and random and the shops are usually pretty organized. Plus you can use eftpos!
See also: Brotherhood of St Lawrence, Australian Red Cross stores.

Midweek Madness – No Lights No Lycra

What is it?

No Lights No Lycra could be described as a dance class. Except it there’s no instructor and no choreography. You’re not required to wear a leotard and you don’t need a partner. And probably most importantly, there are no lights. It’s simply a time and a location. All you have to do is show up and dance.

How much fun would it be to dance in a room full of people without any element of scrutiny or performance? The answer: A LOT.

I was a bit sceptical attending my first NLNL session. There wasn’t a whole lot of information on the website at the time. And from the vague account I got from one of my classmates, it sounded like a cross between a nightclub and a fitness class. But don’t worry, it’s neither of these things!

After a few minutes of awkwardly standing on the side of a dark church hall, watching the shadowy outlines of less inhibited individuals fling their limbs around to the drum beats of what sounded like African tribal music – I joined them. The two step shuffle and periodical shoulder lifting turned into fully fledged groove session. In the span of one and a half hours I had attempted the moonwalk, rediscovered my jazz hands and even thrown in some hardcore crumping.

The music is as eclectic and random as the people who attend. Expect to hear anything from Oldies to dreamy electronic beats, Michael Jackson, or the Pussycat Dolls. Expect to (vaguely) see giggly teenagers, professional dancers and even people in business suits – all caught up in their own bubbles of awesome dance moves.

It makes for an extremely casual night out – No reservations needed, and you can walk in or walk out halfway. It happens twice a week, every Tuesday (Fitzroy and Windsor) and Wednesday (Brunswick) and usually runs for about an hour and a half. You can find all the details below, or visit their blog or website. You can also find them on facebook here.

NLNL is fun, a lot of fun. But more so than that, it’s therapeutic, incredibly personal and different to any other dance experience offered in Melbourne.

To get you in the mood, here’s a clip of one of their flash mobs called ‘Lunch break’ from way back in 2009.

Locations and Times

Tuesdays in Fitzroy, 7:45 pm to 9 pm
St Marks Hall, 250 George Street, Fitzroy

Tuesdays in Windsor, 7 pm to 8: 15 pm
Will Sampson Hall, 102 Henry Street, Windsor

Wednesdays, 7 pm to 8:30 pm
49 Nicholson St, East Brunswick

How much: A $5 donation at the door when you leave.
Additional Info: You may want to bring a bottle of water.