Author’s Note: Names have been changed.
The Flinders Street Steps—meeting place for so very many people from all different walks of life and different places around the country.
The iconic steps “underneath the clocks” are one of Melbourne’s premier landmarks, allowing folk from all over to meet and orient themselves before they head off into the bustling city streets or catch a train / tram to practically any of the suburbs thanks to Melbourne’s *cough*brilliant*cough* public transport system.
(To be fair, I think our system is wonderful in that it truly does serve a massive portion of our suburbs, with buses available to most areas, even those pretty far out. It’s just the cost and company running it that sucks!)
At one stage in 2002 I was passing through the station into the city with Marty and we were stopped by a group of people all dressed up to go to a funeral. No, I’m kidding! “The Goths” that hung out on the steps stopped us and asked me where I got my cloak (because black velvet cloaks aren’t apparently that common…)
We got to talking and, since we were only going to bum around in the city anyway, we decided to hang out with them for a while. Turns out that “while” was going to be almost every day for a good long time. When we weren’t out actually looking for work or a place to stay, we were hanging out at “the steps” with The Flinders Street Goths.
My story kinda ends there. Nothing overly special ever really happened with them, except for two things:
- Fire twirling. You remember I bought a fire stick at the Magick Happens festival in late 2001? Well, I had been twirling a fair bit in my backyard in Colac before I moved and I’d brought my stick down to Melbourne. Turns out The Goths were into fire twirling too and did it semi-regularly in one of the gardens in the city near a train station. (Flagstaff Gardens?)
- The other thing was the run-in with the “punks” of Melbourne. A bunch of twats that fancied themselves a modern remake of the proper classic punks of the seventies, this rag-tag bunch of tossers made it a point to come around “the steps” or turn up to the gardens when we were fire twirling to cause trouble.
There was one incident wherein the punks beat the absolute shit out of whatever Goths were there. Happened to be a night that Marty and I weren’t there, (thankfully for us/me!)
So yeah – those were really the only real things that happened with them besides playing guitar and simply bumming around town with them. Great life, eh?
I look back on that time and find myself really disappointed in the choices I made, my laziness. If I had that time again? Who knows, I probably wouldn’t change much. I at least enjoyed the time, so it wasn’t all a waste.