The Melbourne Comedy Festival runs from 23rd March till 17th April. It was launched in 1987 by Barry Humphries, Peter Cook and John Pinder, and so is now celebrating its 30th year. Comedians come from Britain, Canada, America, New Zealand and, of course, from all over Australia.
It’s big; in fact, it’s the third biggest in the world after Edinburgh and Montreal.
Before heading to my show at the Town Hall, I strolled from Flinders Street Station along Princes Bridge towards the food hall at Southbank for a bowl of fried rice and a coffee, my version of dining out.
Beautiful music was wafting up the steps leading down to the river and I just had to check it out. At the bottom of the steps, a man played jazz on a clarinet. In front of him, a little girl in a black dress and white lace top, a flower in her hair, was dancing. Her mother sat on the wall beside the river, well away from her, applauding after each song.
Suddenly, the girl dashed across to her mother and came back with a frilly handbag, complete with a flower on the side matching the one in her hair. After a quick consultation with the musician, she dropped the bag on the ground in front of her, and continued with her dancing while the music played. I watched for a while, as tourists and passers-by dropped coins into this little entrepreneur’s bag.
By the time I returned it was dark. The busker was still playing but the little girl and her mother were gone.