Symbolism is important in life. So what
could better sum up the relative decline of Victoria than the collapse
of one of the nine remaining Twelve Apostles yesterday morning.

if Sydney lost part of the Harbour Bridge or the Opera House? Sure, the
Twelve Apostles are natural, but millions have been spent in tourism
campaigns to get people to Victoria to drive along the Great Ocean Road
and soak up the Apostles.

Sydney-based Kerry Packer controls
Victoria’s most popular tourist destination, Crown Casino, but the
Philip Island penguins and the Twelve Apostles are the most popular
out-of-town attractions for visitors.

Kim Beazley’s move to
Sydney, John Howard’s rejection of Canberra and the new Telstra CEO’s
decision not to live in Melbourne are just some of the more recent
examples of Bleak City’s falling influence – and now even our natural
beauty is crumbling before our eyes.But there are some important areas
where Melbourne still dominates, as this poetic subscriber writes:

One cultural activity not on your map is the spoken
word/poetry scene. In this area Melbourne is easily the most
significant in Australia, and a world player in terms of vitality.
There are perhaps 30 events each month. The Overload Poetry Festival in
August is in its fourth year – 70 events over two weeks, featuring
national and international acts. Rappers, wordsmiths, and lyrical
grandmas all feature. It’s a fun scene, friendly, grassroots, not much
funding, often sophisticated, often daggy. In other words, Melbourne.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey