Continuing my epic journey around the globe to Contact all Culture listees that are the furthest away from me (despite having not met most of the guys in London) I spent a fun day going around Melbourne with Claire.
First up was the ScienceWorks museum outside the city centre. I’ve made something of a hobby of visiting science museums in the last few years; I’m not really learning anything from them, but I do find it interesting to check up on what kids are learning these days and how the public perceive science. Being a good-for-nothing student, I got in for free although I did pay $2 to get inside the special Formula 1 section. This was interesting enough although more aimed at kids – just like the whole museum, really.
There were a few interesting exhibits in the Formula 1 section, such as a little air hockey car crash table, a Simon Says game that bore a strong resemblance to Dance Dance Revolution, and an F55 driving arcade simulator. I did pretty well on the arcade game, managing to finish the race; mind you, I was driving with all the assists on. Claire didn’t fare so well and apparently had some difficulties with the accelerator…
Things that stand out in my head from the rest of the museum: the big steam pump in the sewage station that, if in a Stephen Baxter novel, would probably have been the engine for some space rocket; the ‘journey of a poo’ computer exhibit in the sewage building; the rowing and wheelchair exhibits in the sports section; the strange talking cat in the James Cook section; and the jump measurement exhibit where, on my second go, I managed to jump a startling 9mm high (it was a bug, I swear!)
All in all, the ScienceWorks place was pretty good value for money, costing me about 70p, but it’s very much suited for kids and school groups.
For lunch, we went to the Botanic Gardens, a pleasant enough place where we talked about how the world would be far better if we were dictators. From there, it was a short walk to the Shrine of Remembrance building which was very grand, and then into the city centre. I was surprised to see that Eddie Izzard was in Melbourne that day for his Sexie tour, but seats cost $62 and I figured that I didn’t really want to go on my own; maybe I’ll go back in the UK.
As we were walking back from the Ticketmaster place, I spied an arcade, and immediately dragged Claire to be indoctrinated into the ways of Dance Dance Revolution and thus join the grand pantheon of Rich, Lal, Eccles and myself. I have to say that Claire gave it a good go and I think she was pretty good by the end of the game, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s an experience she won’t repeat any time soon.
Federation Square wasn’t far away so on the recommendation of a friend we checked out the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. This was a quite a new building and still hadn’t been fully completed; however, we did manage to see the Remembrance exhibit. I made some comments to Claire about how I feel modern art can often be hit and miss, and sometimes inaccessible to those who are not completely familiar with it. It’s a difficult subject for me; while I enjoy walking around modern art galleries like the Tate Modern, a lot of it just passes me by, while there are only a few that really make an impact. Maybe it’s supposed to be that way.
Coffee, and then we fought our way through the traffic to park at Melbourne University and search for a good place for dinner. A suitably good pizza place was discovered and I detailed my plan to hold a huge world Culture List event if/when I become a millionaire. It is something I have thought about not inconsiderably, and consists of two alternatives: plan A is the Culture Convention, which will take place in international waters on board a refitted warshiop, and plan B is the ‘Pied Piper of Culture’ in which I will traverse the globe, collecting various listees and terrorising the locals.
So, it was a fun day and tomorrow I’ll be going into the city centre again to check out the Melbourne Museum and the Imax, and maybe do a spot of shopping.