Who flies all the way to another country for a themed dress-up birthday party and gets the theme wrong? It’s a question I’ll most likely ask myself for the rest of my life, though the answer is easy: me. But how did this travesty happen!? It was my dear friend Georgie’s 30th bash in Melbourne and the theme was musicals. You could go as anything you wanted so long as it had a connection back to a musical, be it a play, movie or both.
Armed with this knowledge, my wife and I went to an Auckland costume hire shop, had a chat with a staff member and decided we’d go as Dorothy and the Scarecrow from The Wizard Of Oz. With costumes stuffed into our luggage, we boarded a plane for Australia.
Etched in my mind is the feeling of confidence as I strutted across the street and into the old theatre in Melbourne where the party was being held: I knew I was owning my look and yes indeed, I was the Scarecrow. What’s more, I had a very sexy Dorothy on my arm and good times were about to ensue. And that they did.
That is until I saw another Scarecrow. My heart sank – I may have been dressed as a scarecrow, but in a shocking development, I was not the Scarecrow! Despite having seen The Wizard Of Oz roughly 73 times over the course of my 37 years, it had admittedly been some time since watching the 1939 classic. Adulthood had evidently dimmed my memories of what the Scarecrow actually looked like and distressingly, it most certainly wasn’t me that night at the party. Dimmed memories yes, but they came flooding back as soon as I saw my rival Scarecrow dressed head-to-toe exactly as he was in The Wizard Of Oz.
Oh well, the party itself was sensational with the host Georgie typically stunning in a Moulin Rouge costume, her fine bloke Lee as a spectacular Beast from Beauty And The Beast, plenty of Dannys and Sandys from Grease, a bunch of Von Trapps from The Sound Of Music and about a dozen Book Of Mormon characters. Special mention also has to be made for the chap who used no less than 26 tissue boxes to make himself the yellow brick road from Oz. I felt a brotherhood with him, though given I was in the wrong costume, it’s possible he didn’t with me.
It wasn’t until I got back to our Airbnb apartment in the Docklands area on the edge of the Melbourne CBD and looked back at my photos that the penny dropped: I was Worzel Gummidge. I don’t know why I hadn’t seen it earlier, but there was no denying it: I’d gone to a musical-themed dress-up party not merely as the wrong character but as a non-musical one too. Dear Worzel may’ve been a scarecrow (Worzel Gummidge began as a storybook character in the UK in the 1930s and found greatest fame through TV series broadcast in the 70s and 80s), but he was not the Scarecrow and to my knowledge, Worzel never sang. How scandalous that Dorothy was cavorting around with another scarecrow!
I felt like asking for my money back from the costume hire shop, but this at least hopefully makes for a better yarn.
So that was the less successful aspect of the weekend escape – Gummidge-gate as it’s now known – but the party was a cracker, as was the catch up with old friends. The opportunity to have two nights in one of our favourite cities wasn’t wasted either. Collaborating with Airbnb, we sampled two different central city high-rise apartments. Property number one was a lovely plant-filled apartment on the 30th floor of a 45-storey tower on Spencer St. Overlooking Etihad Stadium and the Southern Cross Station, the views and location were grand.
As for property number two, we were treated to an apartment in Docklands that’s classified as being ‘Airbnb Plus’. This categorisation means you can be guaranteed an elite standard of luxury and attention to detail with each Airbnb Plus home coming with near uniformly great reviews and having passed an in-person 100+ point inspection.
On arrival we were greeted with a bottle of fine Australian Shiraz in a kitchen and living area that opens up to a balcony with 5-star views over the water and neighbouring skyscrapers. With two bedrooms (complete with floor to ceiling windows like in the living area) and two bathrooms, we had plenty of space to get into our costumes – Sexy Dorothy and Worzel Gummidge!
The interaction with our host was excellent too with my wife and I able to drop our bags off a couple of hours before we checked in. I may’ve been in completely the wrong theme, but it was a great place to do it!
Enjoy the photos (which include some of the famed Melbourne lane-ways, the beautiful State Library Of Victoria, the turret-tastic architecture of the Intercontinental Hotel and the unique wave-like roof of Southern Cross Station) and click here to read more about Airbnb Plus.