The ghost of Melbourne (and a life) past

Flinders St station - Melbourne

Flinders St station – Melbourne

I lived in Melbourne before I moved to Sydney. Specifically in Richmond, and before then Prahran when I was at university.

Back then Prahran was the poor cousin to, well, just about every other inner Melbourne suburb. The process of gentrification hadn’t really taken hold and it was still a cheap place to live. Affordable to students and just a short walk from where I studied. But the area was somewhat down at heal. Most of the pubs were still typical inner city dives – dark, smelling of beer, and inhabited by people there to drink away the day and forget. It wasn’t an inspiring landscape.

When we look back on our lives, we have pictures in our heads of the way that places were when we knew them. But nothing stays the same. Everything changes. Life moves on. Especially so in cities. But memories are comfortable places. They don’t challenge us, or ask us to change, or better ourselves. In fact they can be excellent excuses for not changing. For staying the same.

Last week while I was in Melbourne, I was lucky enough to have time to walk down Chapel St on Saturday night. Chapel St (for those of you who don’t know Melbourne) runs from Richmond, all the way down to St Kild. Through South Yarra and Prahran.

When I lived there, Chapel St had two faces: the glamorous South Yarra end and the down-at-heal Prahran end. Walking from one end to the other was to see a (certain) cross-section of life and culture in Australia.

The dazzle of Chapel St on Saturday night

The dazzle of Chapel St on Saturday night

Not any more.

I was truly stunned by what I saw. I had intended to only go half way down Chapel St, then turn right and head back to my hotel. But when I reached the half way point I was amazed to see that the glitter of South Yarra now spilled on into Prahran. Even the South Yarra end was more alive. More restaurants, more people, more activity – More life!

I blame Fifty Shades... but not too much

I blame Fifty Shades… but not too much

And it just went on and on… The further I walked, the bigger the change. The few restaurants in Prahran and the dingy shops have been replaced with more eating places than I could count – it seemed like every third shop front was a restaurant. And the shops themselves were now much more up market. And everywhere were people! Masses of them. When once Chapel St was a bit of a desert, even on Saturday night, now it was positively crowded! Tables full of people clogged the footpath, security staff stood guard at door after door of trendy pubs, clubs, and eateries. And everywhere were people going too and fro.

It was like nothing I ever expected to see in my old home.

And it was invigorating!

Chasers nightclub still exists?  25 years later?  How is that still 'cool'?

Chasers nightclub still exists? 25 years later? How is that still ‘cool’?

Not expecting to see anything of note, I didn’t bother to take my camera and sadly my phone battery died as well, so I only have a few photos to share. I tried to capture the moment, but it’s not an easy thing to do with such a brief photo essay.

Having walked the length of Chapel St and confirmed that my favourite theatre (The Astor) was indeed still there, I turn off Chapel St, walking past my old university (much renovated and upgraded I saw) and into the comparative darkness and quiet of High St, heading back to my hotel.

The walk gave me time to think. And the lesson that my exploration of Chapel St was trying to teach me was this: life is about change – or more to the point: life should be about change.

Especially when we are talking about ourselves. Places that stay the same, that don’t evolve, don’t challenge us. They allow us to be comfortable with who and what we are. They allow us to not grow. The extreme changes in Chapel St made me realise that not only were the memories that I had of that place no-longer current, but that my attitude toward that place was not even relevant any more! It made me stop and ask the question of _who_ I really am. Am I the person who went to university there? Are the ideas and attitudes that were shaped by that place – that doesn’t even exist any more – still useful and relevant? Was I living in the past? Did I need to look harder at myself?

The answer was and is: yes. We always need to be looking at ourselves, asking ourselves whether the ideas and beliefs that we hold are still relevant? Or are they holding us back from doing and being what we need to be? Are we letting the past dictate our future? Is it time to build a new life that gives us the things that we really want?

I wouldn’t expect Youtube to throw up instructional life lessons, but someone there threw up some ideas that mesh well with my exploration of Chapel St. He said words to the effect of: you need to stop regularly and ask yourself “Am I doing the one thing that I really want to be doing with my life?”. If the answer is no, then that is what you need to do.

Of course not everyone can simply change the course of their lives. We all have commitments and history that place limits on us. But the lesson is sound: we need to be constantly assessing ourselves and our life and making the changes that we need to make to be happy, healthy, and fulfilled.

This about the hardest, most scary thing that most people can do. We are hemmed in from day to day by responsibilities, by “conventional wisdom”, by expectations, by our own fear of change. But we can’t let that stop us.

We have to be brave – because the world simply WILL NOT WAIT for us. It will change around us. It will not care how difficult life will become. So it is up to every one of us to take on that challenge and find a way to thrive.

John.

Stop and smell the roses – we only get one life

Tasmania is beautiful. If you have never been there, I highly recommend it. I was lucky enough to stay on the east coast, near Feycinet National Park (pronounced frey-sin-ay) for three nights recently. It is a truly magnificent area with rugged mountains, beautiful beaches (with rather cold water this time of year!), fabulous fresh produce, beautiful wildlife, and much to see and do.

I will share below, some photos that I took, but I also want to talk about how it made me feel. Sometimes trips away can be exhausting, but I truly found this place to be a pleasure to visit and for reasons that I can’t explain, it was a relaxing and refreshing experience. No hustle and bustle perhaps. Fresh air and good food. Exercise, but no grind and stress. I came home feeling truly invigorated by the experience and curious to see more of Tasmania one day.

The lesson that it taught me is that the world is a remarkable place. Worthy of exploration. Worthy of protection. And as people we often forget this. We are wrapped up in lives that don’t afford us the time, energy, or money to really appreciate the beauty  and fun of the world.

The same can be said for sex and our sexuality. Like quiet enjoyment of nature, being able to enjoy sex means that we need to be able to put aside the worries of the day and of life and truly be in the moment. Not an easy thing to do in a busy world where everything else takes priority in our lives – and society is so often busy sending us mixed messages about sex and what part it should play in our lives.

I hope that you enjoy the photos below.

John.

Wineglass Bay

Wineglass Bay

The Hazards

The Hazards

Coles Bay

Coles Bay

Swanwick Bay pelicans

Swanwick Bay pelicans

Tasmanian devil

Tasmanian devil

Wineglass Bay from Cape Tourville

Wineglass Bay from Cape Tourville

Wineglass Bay from Cape Tourville

Wineglass Bay from Cape Tourville

The Nuggets

The Nuggets

The Tasman Sea under leaden sky

The Tasman Sea under leaden sky

A Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus) over Carp Bay

A Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus) over Carp Bay

All good things must come to an end, but this is hardly a disappointing place to fly home to!

Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour

A grand day out!

It’s spring in Sydney, the weather is fine, and it’s time for the beach.  What could be more grand than that?

WARNING
this short film contains nudity and is NOT SAFE FOR WORK

If you would like your own grand day out (or night in) with me, then drop me a line.

John.

Available in Sydney, and now regularly in Melbourne and Canberra

Male escorting in Australia is an ever evolving industry.  From one year to the next it’s certain that things change.  It is, I expect, part of the evolution of our society.  Years ago most of the women who came to me were in their later forties, recently divorced, and looking for an experience to rebuild their confidence in themselves and their sexuality.

A couple of years later and that age had dropped to early forties and many women were still married, but looking for a way to fill their needs and also maintain their relationship – often for the sake of their children.

Then it was couples looking for safe ways to explore their sexuality and expand their experience together.

Suffice to say that sex work is always different!  Part of that this year has been increased interest in my services from both Melbourne and Canberra.  So much so that I am now traveling to both cities regularly.

If you live in Melbourne and don’t fancy flying to Sydney to see me, then keep an eye on my website and I will publish the dates for my upcoming tours – currently I will be back in Melbourne in the first weekend of September.  I intend to visit Melbourne every second month, so you can also expect to see me there in November, January etc.

Canberra is another story.  Being so close to Sydney it’s easier for me to visit at shorter notice.  I won’t be publishing dates for regular tours in Canberra, but if you are interested in seeing me, then please don’t hesitate to contact me and we can arrange a time that suits you.

John.

Canberra in July

2016-07-21 21.12.45Two weeks ago I was in Melbourne. This week I’m in Canberra for a couple of day!

2016-07-22 10.16.28 20160722_110630I haven’t been so lucky with the weather – it’s pretty wet and blowy down here today – but it just makes it a nice day to sit in a cafe, drink tea, and write. Something of a luxury really.

The aesthetic of cities changes with the season. Having lived in Canberra a couple of times, the thing I remember most about winter is the stark beauty of the European trees, stripped of their leaves by the cold…

Walking to the cafe this morning I saw a bus with a bike rack on the front (and two bikes attached). I have never seen this before and it struck me as a very clever idea! Especially in a city like Canberra where public transport and you intended destination may not line up well. Being able to take your bike “on” the bus seems like a splendid idea.

A black truffle

It’s truffle season here in Canberra – and while I am not traditionally a fan of truffle oil – I have been sampling some fresh truffle and found it quite delightful. If you love truffles then Canberra is a great place to be in July, not just to eat truffles, but I am told that there are people who will take you out truffle hunting in a Truffière (the French name for a truffle orchard).

Since truffles grow underground on the roots of trees (often oaks), the hunt is conducted by truffle hounds (yes dogs! What can’t they do I ask you?) – or some people I have heard off use pigs (who love truffles too). The dogs can smell the truffle from above ground and lead the hunters right too them. It’s a rather quaint kind of industry, but given the price that black truffles fetch in restaurants (up to AUD$3000 per kilogram), it also a very serious business.

So, if you were thinking of a trip away somewhere for a weekend and are happy in a cool climate then I think that a truffle tour in Canberra would be a lot of – tasty – fun.

John.