Saturday, June 18, 2005


The Happy Hookers

Good news my friends. Hot on the heals of Melbourne’s most successful export industry; the wholesale shipping of the corporate headquarters of our largest companies up the Hume Highway to Sydney, another mighty Melbourne institution has left the Laboratory of the CBD and is now being trialled ready for export.

I am speaking of course of the much loved hook turn.

Clarendon St. in South Melbourne was the very first street outside the CBD to be granted the opportunity to have the hook turn as part of a trial to see if the tram times could be sped up. The hook turn wasn’t the only thing in the trial. There were several other aspects of the trial including making it harder to find a park, causing a downturn in trading along the shopping strip, and creating confusion amongst public transport users by relocating the tram stops. All to no avail however, the trams still could not be sped up.

Personally I’m not disappointed. Have you ever been on a tram where the driver moonlights as the brakeman on the scenic railway? It is most undignified to find oneself cannonading down the aisle. Flying briefcase nearly decapitating some poor punter, only to find yourself on your knees in front of the ticket inspector. Did you validate the ticket this morning? Of course you did. But where is the bastard? And then you find it, in your wallet after double checking all of your seven available pockets. The inspector duly inspects, and sniffs dismissively, and you clamber to your feet. “You’re lucky I validated it this time”, you say, in an attempt to assert control over the situation. But there really is no recovering from that.

Trams most certainly do not need to be faster, and the trial is now over. But the hook turn remains in Clarendon St, and it is for the better, for the whole city one day should have hook turns. Hook turns on every corner, and then when we’re ready, we ship the hook turns up the Hume to Sydney, so that the corporate headquarters that were nurtured and cultivated in this fine city and which are now relocated overlooking the glistening waters of Harbour can once again feel at home.


And to celebrate the dignified and understated spirit and beauty that is Melbourne, I invoke the fine work of Russell Degnan and am proud to say:

Been there
Been there
Been there
Been there
and its so good I’m going back.
Update: For those out of towners wishing to practice the hook turn in their dreams before arriving, Russell has provided a link to a neat little animation

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