I worked in London a couple of times - once for a year, then again for six months - but it's not the same as the challenge of going so far outside your comfort zone you don't even know what the local words for 'comfort zone' are. I'm sure the reality wouldn't be as glamorous as I am imagining.
Anyway, back to Melbourne: I shopped, I drank, I ate, I danced, and best of all I caught up with very missed friends. You see, with friends like those I feel as though moving to another country with a small child might just be tolerable - there would be willing babysitters and lots of fun things to do with friends that don't involve finding a babysitter in the first place.
I had no literary activity whatsoever, except I did read some of the stories, as promised, in Paula Morris's Forbidden Cities. It was the perfect book to take with me (this from someone who regularly confesses to preferring novels over stories any day). I urge anyone to check out this book - there really is something for all moods, especially when travelling. My favourite stories so far are the ones with a satirical touch - I guess they are more like the Paula I know in person. But the one I loved best will come as no surprise to anyone who knows my own short stories: it was called Bright and it was quite short and finished from a dog's point of view. I like a good dose of whimsy and melancholy in my stories, and this one has just the right amount of both. I've still got a few stories to go and they are now my perfect travelling companion on short journeys too - the bus to work.
I have decided not to write about seeing Goran Bregovic in concert. Let's just say it was love. I am far too daunted at the thought of putting the powerful feelings the show generated into words. I'm sure you can imagine the awe of seeing "a 15-piece all-male choir; a 12-piece string orchestra, a six-piece brass 'Wedding and Funeral' band; two female singers from Bulgaria; a guest vocalist Alen Ademovic and, of course, Goran Bregovic!" I will leave you with this image though: I wondered as I looked at everyone sitting so politely in the four-tiered-seating State Theatre when we arrived just how we could experience the promised overwhelming urge to dance. I wondered if an arts festival crowd is the ideal crowd and a theatre the appropriate venue. I needed have worried. By the end they were dancing in the aisles, clapping and singing. Two middle-aged women at the very front finally got up the courage to dance at the very end and were so pleased with themselves they high-fived.
Maybe I will write about it another day.