There is no doubt that Melbourne is a fantastic city. Unfortunately, the price we pay for our metropolitan mien is often cosmopolitan conceit in the form of baristacratic cafés, specious store clerks and posses of poseurs. Here are some of our city's models of magniloquence.
Brunswick Street - the home of genuine pretension. Photo credit: Mat Connolley.
The Tan A running track doubling as a runway, this is not a place to stagger about in a red-faced race to fitness. This is where you parade your fine form and jaunty ponytail after slogging it out the ugly way in a less conspicuous location. Anti-Poser Antidote: The Cherry Lake track at Altona and the Brighton Bay Trail allow for round trips similar in length to The Tan and are scenic without being 'the place' to be seen.
The ultimate in pretension comes when you are a highflying defence lawyer trying to dress like you're oft-times homeless, with an undiscovered talent for dolphin sculptures made out of mini sushi soy containers. It's a hard look to pull off when being either too convincing or not convincing enough will have you on the outer in so many places, but on Brunswick Street, arty pretension is often the key. Alternative strategies include cultivating a pseudo-Euro accent even if you've never been north of the equator. Anti-Poser Antidote:Brunswick Street – it's not all bad. Some of it may even be real.
This late-night Prahran venue operates on repressed gratitude, and it all comes down to the door. It's one of many doors in Melbourne that you wouldn't notice unless you know it, and once you know it, you've got to be prepared for the politics that often come with getting through it if you're going to line up in front of it. A bit of star power helps (they love a celebrity) but if you can't play the fame game you may need luck on your side to be quickly pronounced one of the chosen ones. Anti-Poser Antidote:Circus Bar – it's super late-night too, and while it still gets its fair share of posers, they aren't necessarily encouraged as though they're as vital to the running of the establishment as vodka and tall straws.
St Ali Just one of many Melbourne cafés that treats the grinding of a coffee bean like it's an Olympic event that everyone should feel privileged to witness. Espresso elitism is a plague taking over the city but between the baristas and the drinking devotees, it's hard to tell who's spreading it quicker. Anti-Poser Antidote:Is It Café – a relaxed establishment with a down-to-earth team whose primary concern is quality and customer service.
Armadale Shopping Precinct This is where you'll find plenty of stores that make you wonder whether the object of the owners is to sell things or to sit around on Laura Ashley couches as some kind of tax dodge. To get anywhere, you'll have to take up some affectations of your own, and then feel ridiculous because it's High Street, Armadale, not Rodeo Drive, LA. Anti-Poser Antidote: Richmond's Bridge Road – it's designed for the serious shopper.