When You Get Really Close to a Movie Screen, Film Emulsion Looks like…
Boiling Sand
Any City That Has a Street Named after Dame Edna Is A-OK !!

MELBOURNE — I’m a Cold War baby. I grew up with the constant fear of Nuclear War. So of course, one movie that made a HUGE impression on me as a kid was ON THE BEACH from 1959. In this movie, total nuclear war has occurred and the only place the winds hadn’t carried the radioactivity was Australia. A U.S. submarine commanded by Gregory Peck arrives, and the crew is surprised to find humanity still exists, although the Australians’ lives are time bombs due to the inevitable contamination of their environment.

One scene that really hit me as an impressionable pre-schooler was when — at a party — Ava Gardner’s character gets tipsy and starts to fall apart because she always wanted to see Paris and now there wasn’t any Paris. Right then and there I said to myself, “I’ve got to see the world ASAP.” And sure ’nuff, due to sheer will power, when I was fifteen I found myself having dinner on the Eiffel Tower, followed by drinking champagne at a ringside table at the Moulin Rouge. And the wanderlust never stopped.

That’s why I’m writing from Melbourne, Australia, today. You see, ON THE BEACH was filmed in Melbourne; so it feels like some sort of completion that the Journeyman in me has at last arrived at the setting of the birth of my wanderlust.

Near here is Barwon Heads, where the poignant end of the movie was filmed, as Ava Gardner drives to the top of Barwon Heads and watches Gregory Peck’s submarine set out to sea, never to return.

Barwon Heads, Victoria

Barwon Heads, Victoria

So here I am, glad to be on this wonderful planet earth. Those Cold War fears are no longer nightmares but nostalgia. And Melbourne is great: even has a street named after Dame Edna Everidge.

So, as I raise a shotglass of fine whiskey, I make this toast:

Here’s to Ava and here’s to Aussies.
Here’s to watching movies and seeing Paris.
Here’s to la vie boheme, la vie en rose, the examined life and la vida loca.
And, dear reader, here’s to you!

Doug of PostModern Joan

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1 Comment to “Any City That Has a Street Named after Dame Edna Is A-OK !!”

  1. Paul Joiner says:


    fucking melbourne

    you bastard

    Bring me back a memento. How about a platypus coprolite?

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