You are content with your life (sometimes even happy) but you are caged in an environment that brings you down. You have no excitement about waking up in the morning and have nothing to look forward to except another day of existence. You’re merely existing, not living. You go to public places and sit there, reflecting, wondering aloud, “Is this it?” as people give you weird looks. You see things as they are and wonder why other people are so slow to pick up on the obvious meanings that lie beneath the surface.
Melbourne, a city that often gets named the “World’s most livable city“, leading to its residents possessing a feeling that they live somewhere great in this world. A notion which I thought was true before exploring further and realising otherwise.
Is Melbourne really that great? Aside from the inner suburbs, the vast majority of Melbourne isn’t exactly amazing, and that’s where most of the people can afford live. The city’s “Growth” has meant people are divided even further by living on the edge of civilisation where there’s nothing but open land and lots of dust. A huge house in the middle of nowhere is still amazing though right?
The city’s public transport system isn’t great, cost of living is high and people’s attitudes aren’t great. On top of that the actual CBD itself is quite tiny, with a pretty dead zone feeling most days and nights too. What’s so great about this place?
Oh the coffee! Oh the lane ways and culture!
Yes, the coffee fascination of this place is sometimes astounds me as does the fad of having breakfast in a cafe and having some “cultured street art/graffiti” lined through the streets but does that really make it so great?
Then there’s the people.. Melbourne really produces the cookie-cutter variety of people, you go to school, you attend higher education, you work in a draining job your whole life, you pay your taxes and continue in this delusional grand mission to chase money and accumulate tangible items. This is all done in the space of one city over a span of a lifetime, how interesting!
The culture here has also broken the women. A girl wakes up and she’s 30 and has no man and no hope for a man, yet she already passed on several who didn’t give her the tingles or butterflies in her stomach or whatever the fuck term she uses. Because of course the culture gave them this sense of entitlement as well, to think that with mediocre looks and 15 extra kilos they can get a hot stud like they see in the magazines in line at the grocery store. But hey, the easy sex that girls give out like tap water these days isn’t anything to complain about for me, but there’s not much reason to date them seriously.
Creativity is sucked out of you, Risk taking is looked down upon, and soon you’ll just be the hamster spinning in its wheel. The city will also start to turn you into a self-absorbed person, you’ll only become more and more superficial. Your “rat race” weeks end up being so lifeless you will feel the need to punish your liver every weekend, so you have something interesting to say on Monday morning when you’re back at your lifeless job.
The culture amongst educational institutions also drives the “daily grind” lifestyle, especially The University of Melbourne, whereby the notion amongst everyone is something along the lines of “Career is King!” every kid is out to get a head start over their peers in their “rat race” lives and get that CPI-aligned pay rise every year. Luckily, Financially I’ve built a pretty solid empire so this hasn’t applied to me personally but for many others it really is hard for them to swallow bitter truth that you’ll never get rich working for others, but they never contest that, they continue to live their drone lives and fail to defy the status quo.
Then you have the people continually riding the “Melbourne is the best city in the world” bandwagon after visiting a string of South East Asian countries in a 3 week trip and coming back feeling as if this city has some sort of magic power. I think you’ll have to venture out to a few more countries besides that to really find where Melbourne really stacks up.
Now, whenever I’m outside of Australia and I meet someone from Melbourne I often feel the need to avoid them, just because the reminder of the most overrated city is just not worth putting up with throughout an interaction.
People may ask, if Australia and Melbourne suck so much why do so many migrants move here? Well, everybody knows the welfare system here is good and that definitely helps. If you live in this city, you probably won’t be poor, nor rich and live a pretty boring middle class life in the suburbs. Your life will be passive and soon you’ll be saying that the most interesting thing that happened to you in the last week was someone giving you the time of day.
Combine the shitty weather, terrible attitudes of people, the lacklustre beauty of the city and you have it, a very overrated city, Melbourne!
Update: Oh and I don’t live there anymore, I’m much happier splitting my time between a few other cities these days.
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Australia as a whole is shit
Was shit back then, is shit now, will continue being shit.
In the end not many people defy the work life
I had this realisation a while ago, and now I’ve geared myself into moving overseas in 2013 – cannot wait!
Is Sydney good?
I’ve visited melbourne before and thought it was okay, nothing amazing.
Geez bitter much? Also I think if you took out the word Melbourne and replaced it with any other major city, you would have have the same issues. What you’re complaining about is something that is a product of living in a modern society. Live with it or get out!
This is probably one of the people riding “Melbourne is the best city in the world” bandwagon also perfect example of the terrible attitude that the author wrote of. You just played into the hands of what was written.. smart one
You assume wrong of course. I’m taking emotion out of this and pointing out this ‘problem’ is not exclusively a Melbourne one. Pity you can’t be objective!
Louise, I’ve read magazines about the moon and Mars. Am I now qualified to say how it feels to walk on the moon?
So Louise, how many cities have you lived in for extended periods of time besides Melbourne. You indicate that this ‘problem’ is so widespread, I’d love to hear your experiences with other cities that this ‘problem’ occurs in.
Cas I’ve lived in London for nine years, in Buenos Aires for six months, Geneva for the same. I also read magazines like the Monocle, the Alantic, the New Yorker to name a few. You don’t have to ‘live in another country’ to know what’s happening in the world! You guys need to get out more!
It’s Melbourne, there’s only a limited amount of places to go before you realise there’s not much more left here.
Stupid cliches much?
Of course there’s plenty of better places, but there’s a lot more worse places too
Japan is a lot more fun, don’t miss Australia one bit
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Newcastle is the best!!!
[…] It’s odd, hipsters try hard to emit a care-free ambiance, however they are often some of the most self-absorbed people around, especially in a city like Melbourne. […]
Festivals, plays/musicals/opera, the local music scene, public lectures, and a whole bunch of other stuff you can do!
Lived in Riyadh for 4 years, Dubai for 2, HK for 1, Manila for 4 and I’d like to say Melbourne’s not the best city, but it’s a damn good one to live in.
How insufferably precious.
You’re exactly the type of person that makes this city a toilet.
*twweee, hehehehe. Thai food one day, indian the next. Catch a play at Hamer and a flick at trop. Oh I love Melbourne :)*
[…] environment you are in is very important. Place yourself in a toxic environment and watch yourself decay into meaningless oblivion, exist in a positive environment […]
Life long Melbournian here.
This is all true. Why is it that so few people can see it?
This place is a slow poison. It will slowly erode you. It wants to break you down.
“Have you heard about ____? It’s this little coffee shop on ____ Ln. WOW! The coffee is aaaaamaazzzing.”
Rarely have I read such a biased article. You make a few, half reasonable points but they could be applied to any modern city. As for a city “eroding you” please move or toughen up!! Don’t live in Melbourne if you don’t like it. I feel sad for you, living with such a negative view of the world. Sure there are downsides to Melbourne but I’v live in six other countries and you have no clue that Melbourne is pretty damn great. But then again it is what you make it. You don’t seem to be making much of it though. But if you move somewhere else try to find things to enjoy and not hate on, okay?
This, ladies and gentlemen typifies the attitude of people in Melbourne. Bitter hate, anger and unwillingness to accept a differing point of view. Instead they hop on liberal leftist causes like gay marriage to make their dull, empty souls feel a winch of faked happiness.
Lol. It’s funny because it’s true XD
it may seem somewhat pessimistic but yea unfortunately is true a city with many many uninhabitable people witch make it really boring it’s dead city you have to just work work and work not anything more no excitement no friend. nothing I was there for 3 months.
While I think living in a place can make you depressed, more often than not you are depressed by more than that. Everyone knows the first world ennui to some degree, even (especially?) people who wax lyrical about laneways and coffee. Some people move around the world when they are young trying in vain to escape it. But people are people wherever you go. You come to realise there is no city or town on Earth that isn’t soul destroying. I’ve moved around and failed to find happiness, but I’m still naive enough to aim for one last move: away from people. I’m not sure I could cut it subsistence farming so I may have to be more pragmatic, visiting a town to buy things. The idea of one day doing this keeps me going through the drudgery.
I’ve recently returned from a 4 month world trip, although I didn’t live in one specific place for an extended period of time, I still understand what the author is saying. Melbourne isn’t the worst city in the world, however the vast majority of people bring it down. Attitudes of men and women in this city are the reason it is slowly decaying. To the point where people have developed a scorn whenever you approach them.
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There is nothing special about Melbourne, it is just another city. However, I think the real problem here is there is nothing special about you. It is you that is unoriginal and boring, and I don’t believe for a second any city would make you happy. Life is what you make it. I am sure you are the dude that sits in the corner of the bar complaining how woman must suck because they are showing no interest in you. They must be the problem, it couldn’t possibly be you. Likewise Melbourne sucks because opportunities don’t just fall in your lap. You complain of a boring city of people stuck in the rat race, yet I am 100% you are doing exactly this. Once you find this magic fairy land where you get to hook up with 10’s and an abundance of cash falls in your lap for no real exertion, please be kind enough to share with us all. LOL.
Nah… Melbourne just genuinely sucks. Too many hipsters. That plus the place smells funny and the tap water tastes weird. I also once saw a guy wearing short-shorts in the middle of winter. They were so short I thought they were underwear. An image that scarred me for life. Strange place that Melbourne.
You were lucky. I once saw a guy wearing a mini skirt and heels. That’s Melbourne.
The problem is Melbourne is subjected to a constant PR campaign 24/7 about how great it is, from media like The Age and so on. In reality, is just a mid sized Western city – no better and no worse than many others the same size – but it is nothing outstanding or special. I once briefly shared a house with a woman in East Brunswick who was convinced she lived in a major Western city and seriously bought into this whole ridiculous collective ego trip that Melbourne is a major urban centre.
[…] an overall decline in culture made me realise I simply didn’t fit in that garbage city named Melbourne any […]
[…] things which will undoubtedly keep me rather busy for the next few years. A long-term return to the depression of Melbourne is still an unlikely option for the next 3-5 years, and I’ll try my best to avoid […]
If you don’t like it then go back to your own country!!!!!!
just kidding… I’ve heard that way too many times in Melbourne, well in Australia in general….. can’t wait to get the f*k outta here!
off you go then, chop chop:)
[…] regurgitates my views completely which further validates my notion of it being a location that is bitter poison to men in their prime and must be […]
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Honeslty, it’s not just Melbourne, it’s Australia. I’m from Europe and I’m not saying everything is good over there. The opposite is true, live quality is better here I think, you have fewer social / immigration problems, people are probably richer and even more friendly. But in the end, in most European cities there’s something in the atmosphere. The feeling that there’s something going on beyond the working life, there are tensions, there is energy, there is history.
Here, everything has to be “this new special place in town”, everything has to be something cool and special, although the excess of rules destroys every posibillity of creativity and spontaneity. There’s a lack of interaction, interaction between the people and the environment, between the buildings and the people, between the buildings. A cool street is just “a street with shops and bars”. In Berlin, Paris, Brussels and Rome, and actually in virtually every village over 100 000 people, you can go at three in the morning to some nice pitoresque square, buy some beers for half a euro a beer and drink them in the portal of a cathedral with a cigarette in your mouth.
This exactly is what I think!! You you put it just right. “everything has to be something cool and special” and ‘lack of interaction” between people, environment and buildings. I get what you say about how the cool street. I wish I had read your comment before moving here 2 months ago. I am dissapointed, and that coming from a place worse off than Australia or Europe (although I lived there too).
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This article is hilarious. I gaurantee it was written by an atypical Melbourne uni international student who never mixes with anyone outside of their own nationality and never ventures far outside of their student accomodation or crappy soulless overpriced apartment in the docklands paid for by their family. If these people ever venture forth to talk to a local they are usually rejected for their bland naive take on things, it’s no wonder they see no value here. If you are connected in Melbourne, like every other city in the world, it will open up for you. If you do nothing but bitch and moan there is nothing here for you–it will reject you by a process of natural selection. There, problem solved, let’s have a laugh at this idiot and get on with it.
Haha well said.
If you read the articles about international students in the rest of the blog, I think you’d beg to differ as to the background of the person it was written by
Nope. Australian… Loved twice in Melbs, have travelled abroad, lived in Rio, New York, Mexico… and Melb sucks. Once you get outside the melb bullshit bubble that people convince themselves of, and actually see the world, you see melb for what it is. I know plenty of friends who agree and they still live there.
Lived in Sydney 35 yrs, NZ for 6 and now Melbourne for 2. Melbourne is a scruffy dump, much the same as Auckland. Councils do not keep weeds down amd the gum trees they planted around town are the fluffy ones full of pollen amd THAT my friends is why people die when there is a wind storm. MOW THE GRASS amd spray the weeds! There are no allegy issues to the extent of Melbourne in Sydney amd that is because councils keep street scapes maintained. Crime in Melbourne is rising and there is no justice. Andrews is so soft in crime and we even have a gang of bikies protesting in Sunshine for tougher penalties – so hello ther is a problem!! Melbourne also strikes me as a bit of a nanny state, ie slow movers and not great at enforcing legislation, like Sydney. NZ guilty of this too, but worse. All said Melbourne has grown on me, people are friendly on the whole and I like the grubby graffiti streets with their coffee shops, but YET to find good coffee…all watered down these days. What does it for me though (and it is because of this Im leaving) is the WEATHER. Costs a fortune to run heating because it is always f. cold! Even Hobart is warmer as is Sydney around 5-6 degrees warmer. Cant hack it as it affects my motivation, mood. I am also a beach person and the beaches here suck. As soon as kids finish college and go to uni, Im off! I conclude with thenfact that Melbourne is not the most liveable city in the world. Nowhere is because nowhere is perfect. It is about adjusting if you want to stay in any one place and moving on if you cant hack in the search for a perfect world. For me personally the main deal breaker is temp.
Sorry guys, lots of typos in my blogg – fingers so cold too stiff to type.
Couldn’t agree more with this article’s points and it’s 2018 and only gotten worse, I’m putting together an exit strategy and this has helped cement my own feelings. I moved to melbourne for secondary school from a small victorian town with my family and have lived here for nineteen years. Some points I’d like to add to the conversation and re-iterate:
– The whole coffee scene is fucked. People are constantly in the flux of coming down off coffee and act like cunts unnecessarily. The coffee is amazing, I totally agree with melbourne on this, but you’ll be paying $5 for a large which is mini in comparison to other countries.
-The women are toxic and they’ve created their own neo feminism which is just toxic there’s no other words for it. Also it’s because they have foreigners from every single country trying to fuck them and pick them up from when they are twelve years old. All women would prefer if all Aussie men acted like their gay friend. Not that I have anything wrong with being gay, they would just rather you being a nice gay boy.
-Millions of Chinese and Indian and foreign people in general come from their own broken down countries and are more than happy to do shitty work for no money and not speak English and take up all the seats on public transport and get on welfare and buy cars. And its only because the welfare system and wages are higher here they don’t give a fuck about being Australian or anything.
– The cost of living is ridiculous. House prices are more than london and new york and there’s fuck all to do! you get coffee go for some good food, melbourne does have good food, but it’s extremely expensive. It’s not like there’s that much going on ever.
– The suburbs are horrendous, no transport, depresssion. It’s exactly like what the suburbs were in 80’s middle class America.
– Pints of beer are $16 in most bars. (Average wages are between 19 – 30 p/h)
– The music scene is pathetic, lots of students no real talent, people think they are super talented but it’s all just a rip off of America.
– It’s sports obsessed to a fault if you’re into it fully into it then this is the town for you, but it’s all so melodramatic and the same every fucking year.
– Traffic is fucked. 1 accident on the Monash in the morning is another 2 hours of driving, the same with the Hume and Ring roads. There’s road works everywhere which slow things down because there’s so many people coming to live here.
– There’s massive underlying ethnic tensions waiting to erupt, thank god guns were outlawed or it would be like Rio De Janeiro, i’m not joking here guys, if anyone reads this. Australia is extremely safe though. The police force in Melbourne is Excellent and possibly one of the best in the world but even they are getting sick of these ethnics that cause problems for them
– Most people are depressed. Foreigners come here and can’t believe how depressed everyone is, and they are just happy to get out of their shitty countries so they’re not depressed, Aussies hate their lives, truly.
– It’s live to work, not work to live.
– Most people really are douche bags, honestly. The culture lets it thrive because there is no culture, its Brazil of the future, everyone separated into groups and people are just making up their shitty lives as they go along, this could be said about a lot of sites, but at least in New york or Paris it’s actually a nice city with history and culture.
– The TV and Movie industry is a joke and they have this thing called the AFI’s were all these nobody’s congregate and award themselves. Joan Rivers made a fantastic point by insulting the whole crowd on purpose yelling at them ‘Who are all of you people!’
– There are good points about living here, i’m not anti melbourne but honestly the negatives far out way them, especially when you can travel and settle in other cities, melbourne is just all fluff.
Agreed. What is your exit strategy?
Mine is to continue up the university ranks (post graduate and masters) and apply for as many overseas opportunities as I can and then hopefully get invited to do research or get a job overseas. Probably nursing as they are needed in many countries but if possible I’d love botany/plant research.
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Where did you move (author?) ?
I hate Melbourne, I think it’s just my personality though. Accessibility is it’s only strong point. I am looking to move somewhere with a decent warm climate and less rat race vibe as I find I am always happier when working or travelling in these warmer slower paced environments.
I left for 6 weeks earlier this year and came back quickly discovering it was the same things in Melbourne making me feel miserable dejected and hopeless as before I left. The idiotic nanny state rules, the cost of basically everything but especially housing, the awful weather, the rat race, the people in my home suburb. I would grimace whenever someone says “best city in the world ” best if your super wealthy perhaps.
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Melbourne is a completely unremarkable city with its inhabitants comprised of a large minority of obnoxious people who believe this to be the best city in the universe.
my resentment at having had kids with a melburnian is something I deal with through incessant domestic and international trips through which I try and forget that I even live in this depressing and extremely average place.
Over the last few years I have gradually but surgically excised myself from the social circle of hipsters that I was in and now I stay away from hipster melburnians altogether. I would actually much rather be alone than interact with some melburnians.
Of course it goes without saying that not all people are obnoxious. I’ve dated several local women who have all been kind of heart , pretty of face and fit of body and I can honestly if it weren’t for them the last ten years of Melbourne would’ve been even more hell.
It’s refreshing to hear views held by others that I practically kept to myself because al my so called friends in Melbourne wouldn’t probably have wanted to hear it
Melbourne is a mostly flat, drab, and suburbanised city. The inner areas used to be cool; now in the quest for every wanker who wants to be like every other wanker in a copy cat Ponzi scheme of wanker proportions… there’s now wankers everywhere.
There’s more to life then coffee and football.
Traffic is pretty fucked… and unless u live close to the city a good proportion of your day is spent in traffic looking at the back of other people’s cars… or sitting on a train, where everyone pretends that nobody else exists and it’s a silent group retreat.
Too many people are trying to be something; narcissism seeps out of the core of many; and conversations feel like another competition where the people who gets the most attention wins.
The worse part is that nobody acknowledges the general shiftiness of the place.
When you go out; drugs drugs drugs. Either drink lots or pop pills or both. If it wasn’t for alcohol and pills people probably it wouldn’t talk to each other. So much of the social scene is absolutely dependent on drugs for everyone to be able to relax and unwind and actually have a conversation
I met a lot of great people in Melbs but a LOT of wankers. People bitch about each other. A lot.
Coming back from New Zealand after a holiday I got to see how horrible it is for a foreigner to visit. The bus ride back from the airport to southern cross is just shitty I maintained backwards, graffiti and freeways.
Most cities suck; as does Melbourne. But melbournites need to get the fuck over themselves and stop claiming it’s the sporting and music capital of the world. To say so it a complete joke and once you travel to and live in cities abroad you really see how much Melbourne pales in comparison.
Get out while you can.
[…] Kong the past few years and London before that. We started talking about how it felt being back in Melbourne. The feeling of re-adapting to the place and so on. Here’s an excerpt of how the conversation […]
This is your best post.
It’s great that 9 years on you can see the factors described here continue to worsen.
So very true. Born and bread here 54yo I can’t stand the place. I stopped voting years ago in all three levels of government as I know my vote does not count. The place is being destroyed by overseas money laundering VIA real estate. A corrupt dump of a city.
Australia is a sh*thole (they don’t call it ‘down under’ for no reason. Especially Melbourne!! I feel like I’m serving time in prison living here. Melbourne is probably the most boring place to be on earth, there’s just no excitement or adventure here, it just feels like everything is drag. Overpriced and high cost of living not worth the value of, everything closes before 9pm, bars and clubs are absolute sh*t. No sights or attractions worth seeing. The people are uncivilized assholes and have no sense of decency. Not to mention the influx of immigration turning the city into more of a sh*thole than it was before. I wish I could get out of here….
i think it depends on your personality, but i too have felt the same way as the author. It’s 2022 and i still have the same feelings towards melbourne
The traffic is awful. I am going to put my house up for rent and find a small town. Bigger is not better, Melbourne is nothing but a stressful dump.
[…] Yet despite living in a culture of constant consumerism and material purchases, the environment and sustainability are key political topics for most Australians as we saw in the recent elections. I hope we see a change in trends and behaviour rather than be riddled with hypocrisy. But in all honesty, I’d expect nothing less in Melbourne. […]