Peter and I saw Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris recently. What a charming surprise it turned out to be. Filled with beautiful scenery, great dialogue, a fun plot and, well, love...for Paris. The whole movie just seemed like a love letter from Woody to Paris, and we were lucky enough to sneak a peak. Interestingly, Woody Allen: a Documentary was on telly recently. For someone like myself who has never really watched any Woody movies, it was fascinating. The good, the bad and the ugly of Woody was all out for discussion. If you were even just a little bit interested, grab yourself a copy.
But one thing I loved, was something Martin Scorsese said. He said when he made a movie about New York, he made Taxi Driver - full of violence, grit and sleaze, but Woody makes a film about New York, and makes Manhattan. Filmed in black and white with breathtaking vistas, street scenes and beautiful architecture all set to George Gershwin tunes. Martin called it a love letter to New York.
By a weird coincidence, in that same week I saw a cartoon from the fabulous Oslo Davis. In a play on Manhattan, he did a cartoon of 'Melbhattan', as if to show that same love for our own town of Melbourne. All this made me think of how we can love places. Peter and I go to the Malthouse Theatre a bit, and drive over Kings Way bridge to get there. As we drive over the bridge, I look up the Yarra River and see the lights of my beautiful city. It never fails to make my heart skip a beat. Every. Single. Time. It's one of my favourite views of Melbourne at night. When Peter and I first got together, we decided to meet under the clocks at Flinders Street Station for our first kiss. Everyone tells us 'what a Melbourne thing to do'. There are so many wonderful spots in our city and for the most part I'm lucky to see the beautiful, romantic side...the Woody Allen side.
Over dinner with Peter's cousin (who grew up in Queensland and has recently moved to Melbourne), I was talking about the Great Ocean Road and Apollo Bay, in particular. I called it my 'happy place'. For me, driving along the winding roads, with sheer cliffs and ocean to the horizon puts my head in the right place. Somehow feeling so small against the massiveness of nature puts things in perspective. Maybe it's the fresh air, maybe it's the ocean tides putting my body clock back in rhythm or the fact I'm away from my normal life with space around me, I'm not sure. But it is somewhere that makes me exhale as soon as I arrive.
I have only travelled a little bit, and feel a certain sense of love for London, Cornwall and some parts of Scotland. Perhaps it comes from being a first generation Australian. Knowing you are from somewhere else, gives you a connection with other places. Like a 'sliding doors' moment of fate, where this place on the other side of the world could have been your home instead. I know others from the diaspora who feel this too. A weird connection with somewhere you've never really been, and a strange sense of coming home when you do eventually visit.
I am lucky enough to have found someone that I love dearly. He is the first person I've met, that I thought I could follow anywhere. If Peter had to move, or wanted to, I would go too. I'd never felt this before. I have always been quite anchored to my home town...well, city. Funnily, we both love Melbourne so much that we couldn't think of living anywhere else. Our sense of self is very much tied in with our sense of place. I would love to travel more and we both place countries on our 'to do' list. We'll get there one day, with a little luck. But our home, our happy place, our love is Melbourne. And this is just a tiny love note slipped to my beautiful city.