You know what Melbourne? For a city which prides itself on having a darn amazing and reputable arts and lifestyle culture, some people really know how to ruin it for others.
It’s 12. 30am and I am boarding the train to Melbourne’s CBD, White Night festival is on and the crowds are out in force. Before I take a seat on the train, I am overcome by the strong stench of alcohol. I look around; the carriage is filled to the brim of kids, not families, not responsible adults, kids, who clearly think Melbourne’s White Night festival is an excuse to get drunk. 80% of this carriages passengers have an open bottle of alcohol. A few stops have passed, Metro officers get on the carriage. Everyone goes silent. One smug looking Metro officer smirks at the youths, one by one, as if to say “we know what you are doing”. However in a carriage filled with approximately 50 young drunken louts, and 3 middle aged Metro officers, what can they do? They catch one young man out, the idiot running into them; I think he was so drunk he didn’t even spot their uniforms. This young man, the only youth on that carriage booked, and when the officers asked his age? 17, the kid said. The smirking officer just shakes his head.
A little while later, the Metro officers get off the train. I hear one say, “they are all drinking, every single one of them, we can’t do much”, and he was exactly right. Booking every single teenager (yes, they appeared to be teenagers) would have taken ages, it would have been an unmanageable task for 3 outnumbered Metro officers.
The doors shut, one guy yells to the crowd, “They have gone, everyone get back to your drinking”, another drunken kid starts a slurred and mumbled chant “Metro, Metro, Metro”. I am disgusted, and no, I did not feel safe, not one bit. Two stops away from Flinders street station, where most passengers will be getting off, all of a sudden everyone starts screaming and running away from one individual who had just thrown up all he had to drink, and his chicken parma dinner. Then, to my amazement, another chant starts, “skull, skull, skull”, someone yells “I neknominate you”, the kid who can hardly talk, can’t see straight, is stumbling all over the carriage and has just vomited, is being egged on to drink more. Encouraged by the crowd, the intoxicated youth then found it funny to kick one of his glass bottles at the passengers on the carriage, the passengers who were now clumped together near the doors or had gotten off the train to escape the trail of vomit that had moved its way down the carriage. Gasps go through the train, the glass bottle hitting 2 people in the head, one quite heavily. I just wanted to get off that carriage. This one idiot, pushed and celebrated by 50 more idiots, just ruined 2 peoples nights. Claps to all those youths on that train, because it is people like you who really give this beautiful city a bad name. Particularly disappointing as this was an event to showcase the arts and culture of Melbourne.
Finally we arrive at Flinders Street station. As I am about to get off the train I look towards a young teenage girl on the carriage, her jeans were that far down her “lady bits” that it revealed her shaving rash and stubble. She was all class, and it was at this point that I felt really proud of my city and the people representing it… Not!
Thankfully, I got off the train, and although the crowds were so terrible that it took 20 minutes to walk 50 metres down the road, the event, I believe, was a success. A few sporadic drunken youths, again using this as an excuse to party and get drunk (c’mon really?), would occasionally be spotted in the crowd. One young woman walking up to a young man and slapping him across the face, then walking off, yet another fine example of the well educated and cultured beings in Melbourne’s society. However on the whole, the event was incident free, I did not witness any fights, no drunken behaviour that was untoward to others (apart from the train of course). What I did see, was a city filled with smiles, friends and families taking selfies, people bonding over art, over the glorious spectacle that Melbourne showcased. Many photographers, lights, beautifully lit buildings, a concert at federation square, with thousands of people doing the dougie at the same time, it was an amazing site to see.
The train ride home…. well, thankfully that was peaceful, just filled with tired adults, appreciative of the amazing city they live in, enjoying what Melbourne’s White Night festival had to offer. It was 3.30 in the morning at this point, the kids drinking on the train into the city were most likely passed out by now, proving why the legal drinking age is 18 here in Melbourne. Kids don’t know how to drink, and they certainly don’t know how to have a good time without it… it is a shame really because I am one of them. The difference being that I know how to enjoy myself without getting so shitfaced at an event which encourages elegance, class, sophistication and most importantly, culture.
Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the night (expect for the drunks), I loved the atmosphere, and I did not have an issue with the crowds, here is what some others had to say about White Night Melbourne.