But if I have to do the apocalypse, there is nowhere I’d rather do it than in Melbourne.
Since I moved here (all the way from Ballarat) in 1987, I’ve found that while people can let you down, Melbourne never does. Its consolations are subtle but effective. Here are a few.
For heartbreak: Walking alone at sunset in a public garden, say the Darling Gardens in Clifton Hill, with drifts of autumn leaves swirling around your ankles.
For a jaded appetite: The all-five-senses-at-once insanity of the Victoria Market, where you can buy a loaf of bread, stuff it with smoked salmon, smear it with feta and wash it down with a bottle of wine in the time it takes you to walk to the Flagstaff Gardens.
For convalescence: A tentative walk down Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, towards the city, watching the glass towers reflect the first rays of the rising sun.
For despair: Beaconsfield Parade on Anzac Day, when everything is dark until one by one candles appear in driveways, torches appear on the beach and windows light up in apartment buildings, attesting to people’s willingness to get out of bed at 5.30am to honour an idea.
For self-obsession: Bunjil, the Kulin creator spirit in the form of a bird; just the idea of him soaring over the city, regarding everyone and everything equally.
This city helped produce Nick Cave, Courtney Barnett, Hannah Gadsby, Cate Blanchett, John Brack, Jack Charles, Kylie Minogue, Gerald Murnane, all of AFL football and, of course, Paul Kelly: call it Melbourne, call it Naarm, call it the last place on Earth we’re allowed to be: call it home.
Jenny Sinclair is the author of Much Ado About Melbourne.