Thursday, November 12, 2009

401 St Kilda Road

Remember this lovely mural, exposed last year when the courtyard with shops and a 711 opposite us was demolished? I was astonished as I remembered seeing it in the nineteen eighties but I could not remember where. Then it appears right opposite us.

Albert Park Manor, a couple of doors along, opened a very handy small convenience shop after the 711 closed and another 711 has now opened in Illoura, just to our south.
401 is now almost complete. The cheapest apartment seems to be $2.7 million. It amuses us up here in the cheap seats to look down upon it, knowing we are blocking their views with our less than fine architecture. See the top apartment? It has no shading at the front and faces west. Fortunately for them, our building will block some of the late afternoon summer sun. R suggested we should charge them for the favour.

At its base are a number of shops, yet to be let or sold. One has opened already though. Cafe Vue, a child of Shannon Bennett's Vue de Monde in Little Collins Street. We had coffee and cake with a friend there last Saturday night. It was very pleasant sitting out in the warm evening air.

Remember it was the last day of the Spring Carnival Racing Season, and a warm night, so people were a bit crazy that night. One of the new apartment owners was having a party, even though the apartment was as yet unoccupied. Guests in various states of soberness or not arrived and went as we sat. Most tried to enter the residential part by going into the arcade. They would walk out talking on their phone and then find the correct entrance. There seemed to be an issue with the intercom system as the guard kept coming out to let people in.

To one side of Cafe Vue is an arcade lined with empty shops which may eventually lead to the street behind.

Late info. The arcade ends in a large shop, so it won't be a walk through.

Staff at Cafe Vue were slow to attend to us at our outdoor table. Should we wear suits to visit? R went inside to order, and was told to go back out and someone would attend to us. We had waited over five minutes. Yet again, after R arrived home tonight, we had coffee there again, and the same thing happened. We waited and waited, then R went inside, only to come out and shortly after a waiter came out. Five staff were gathered behind the counter but managed to not notice us sitting outside. I am sure I need a suit. The food prices are quite reasonable, the wine prices very high, the service is good once you do get served. Very attentive in fact.

Some residents have moved in. The top apartment has a guy who wears red jocks and maybe has a grand piano. Hard to see into the hotbox.

Below him is a guy who has two West Highland White Terriers. The dogs come and go onto the balcony. It is the apartment with the outdoor furniture. No sign of a wife, although there was a young man who was barbecuing last weekend. We once had a West Highland White. Lovely nature, but physically defective. Poor Jess. Get a mongrel from a lost dogs home, not a pure bred from a breeder.

Below there is an apartment that has either a camera tripod or an easel. I can't tell which.

At the back two levels down, a family seems to have moved in. They had a barbecue last night. They pulled some awnings out which we had not noticed in the past.

I think I might have totally reinvented nosy neighbours.

I posted construction progress photos to Walking Melbourne. You can see them here.


  1. Guy with two fluffy white dogs...chances are he's gay. WHWT are so cute. I still remember the first time I saw one. I was in primary school and his name was "Shortbread".

  2. Always had a mongrel...then I progressed to the canine variety from the Lort Smith Animal Hospital - they're much nicer than the 2 legged ex hubby variety :P
    Shall dub thee Mrs Jessop lol.

  3. a) that mural is awesome, I've never noticed it.

    b) We were going to take Andrew's brother and sister in law to Cafe Vue this weekend, but perhaps after your service experience we shouldn't?

  4. Anonymous5:15 pm

    I remember that mural!! Vik.

  5. That's a fantastic muriel, very creative.
    People watching is my favourite past time, if I lived in your apartments I might even get binoculars!

  6. AR, I have seen him on the street and no gaydar beeps. Shortbread is a funny name, although does keep a Scottish connection.

    Yep Jayne. Experienced both sort of dog dogs and I would go for a mongrel everytime. Signed Ida Jessop.

    Evol, you weren't exactly around in the early mid eighties. It was only exposed for a couple of months or less last year. I would say take them to Cafe Vue. Today I noticed waiters standing outside and looking very attentive. The prices are very reasonable for a fairly upmarket looking cafe. If you see some old queen madly waving from a balcony in the building opposite, it could well be me.

    Do you Vik? I am guessing mid eighties. Would that be about right?

    Me too Fenz. We are just that bit too high to see fine detail. I would not want to be at the top of the building. Btw, you can get away with looking but binoculars look a bit obvious. I use them only for barely dressed men.

  7. I love the prgression of pictures there Andrew. If I were working full time I would love to be taking the same sort of pics of the destruction of the old dental hospital. Watching them work in that heat all this past week and a bit in full suits because of asbestos has been amazing.

  8. I'd bet the ranch that cafe is in there rent free for the cachet.

    and I'd bet that tripod is a telescope for window peering.

    remember Mrs Kravitz the neighbour of Darren and Samantha ?

  9. Oh Cazzie, don't mention the asbestos on the building site. Pleased to hear they are kitted up now.

    Emstacks, your theory could be right. Would not surprise me, although I did not think of it. Yes, of course I remember Mrs Kravitz and her poor long suffering husband. What was the episode about an electric garage door? She got stuck or something.

  10. My daughter commented on the lack of service in some frock shops and restaurants...she said if you get dolled up in business chic, they fall over themselves but if in jeans and shirt... clean but older she sad you get ignored a lot and thats about in the area you mention...the same everywhere i suppose.

    I remember in Absolutely fabulous when Edina went into an art gallery to buy some art...and the assistant looked down her nose at stuck with me when Eddie said "Drop the attitude, you're just a jumped up shop assistant.

    What is it with people who work in these places? they probably don't get paid much more than someone working at Coles anyway.

  11. I too overlook a shorter apartment block across the road and (quietly) admit that I take an interest in the comings and goings of the occupants.

    It is a bit like Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rear Window'.

    For most of my twenty years in this location, the occupants across the road have provided an unremarkable image of modest domesticity but there have been occasional tenants whose behaviour has been nothing less than R rated exhibitionism.

  12. Anonymous6:07 pm

    Yeah, it might have gone up in the '80s - I can't really remember. I know it's been awhile though...Vik.

  13. Victor, I hope you averted your eyes when such licentious behaviour went on.

    Vik, focus. When would you have been travelling along St Kilda Road?

  14. MC, so agree with you. Young people in shops and cafes don't know who might have money and spend a lot over a long period, as against those young ultra trendy who may spend once. Their loss really.

  15. Anonymous8:26 pm

    Sorry, I tried focussing but it didn't work. Nor did doing an online search of said mural. Still can't remember when I first saw it...must be gettin' old! Vik.


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