Directions to the Next Stop:
From here, turn right at the ‘T intersection’ and continue to the end of the alley, turning left into the pedestrian walkway. From this walkway, you emerge onto La Trobe St, with Melbourne Central right in front of you. Enter Melbourne Central from the entrance slightly to the right on the opposite side of the road (the red stairs). Walk through Melbourne central (just keep going straight ahead), crossing Lonsdale Street and continuing through the Emporium to Little Bourke St.
Take this time to note the extremely different atmosphere in this precinct. The extensive advertising that encourages us to believe that we are inadequate and that serves to herd us into the cycle of consumerism, striving for something unobtainable. A fake depiction of what defines happiness. And yet this is normal, it’s everywhere and it’s comfortable. Everything in this environment serves to reassure you of this.
Now for contrast to this familiar setting. Once you have reached Little Burke St, turn right and continue past the Elizabeth St intersection. Notice how quickly the glamour fades. Approximately 65m past Elizabeth street, turn left into Ranklings Lane.
Stop 4 - A Sparkle of Life
On entering this alley, it appears dull and lifeless in comparison to the allure of the previous environment. A derelict building without identity stands at the end for those who wander far enough to notice. However, it soon becomes apparent that there are small glittering lights swirling around the alley. On looking for the source, a disco ball mounted high in the alley can be seen, providing the glitter of life.
Hanging from a winch, it brings into focus a high door, revealing the identity of the building as an abandoned theatre. A space once a community hub of life and expression, now stands derelict as we rush forwards, striving to live our life according to the current standards we blindly accept. All that remains in the space is a disco ball, a subtle disruption reminding us that this wasn’t always the way.
It highlights the contrasting mindset of the Melbourne Central environment, with its lack of friendliness and genuine laughter, have we replaced the joys of community with glamour and consumerism? It reminds us to always be open to the unexpected, and the messages they whisper if you’re open to listen. The sparkle of life swirling around, reminding us of the forgotten ways of the past. It highlights the constraint of trudging through a familiar life, overlooking the subtle differences that provide a different perspective.
Explore this alley, with its various works of art further challenging your perspective. And why not have a coffee break in the Manchester Press Cafe (M↓P). It’s a super funky environment that takes advantage of the out-of-the-way location this little laneway provides.
The next page has details on where to go next!