Living Life with Lady Liberty

Friday, 19 June, 2015

“Now attempt to kick your partner in the nose in order to push the bone into the brain, thereby causing permanent brain damage, all the while disengaging his hands from your wrists and kneeing him in the balls.”

These were the words spoken to me one Wednesday afternoon as I stood nervously, sweating in an incense-smelling, character-plastered room preparing for my first foray into karate. My karate instructor was a withered old Chinese man, with a silver moustache that ran to the floor and the air of someone who had spent a lot of time and energy attempting to float, but had in actual fact only mastered a sort of transparent, faded quality.

Actually, I’m letting my imagination run away with me. In reality, my karate instructor was a disappointingly unsage-like, middle-aged Caucasian with large arm muscles, and the phrase he actually told me upon my first karate lesson was “try not to fall over your own feet”.

However, the point is not whether or not I fell over my own feet attempting not the daring roundhouse knock-out I was expecting, but rather the embarrassingly simple uppercut to the nose (yes, I did fall over). The point is how much I paid for my first (and, to date, last) karate lesson. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zip. Nicht. Rien.

A good friend of mine suggested that we attempt a free trial karate lesson together, and the rest, as they say, is a slightly humiliating, sore-bum history.

However, good did come about as a result of this free trial. It got me thinking. As a poor (completely broke) uni student (who procrastinates doing work by writing Farrago articles) and who is ever on the look out for fun things to do (ahem dodge ball on South Lawn) at the lowest price possible (a.k.a. free), I leapt at the opportunity to do something different. If karate is for you, then I suggest you try Wing Chung King Fa Kung Fu Academy (4/252 Swanston St Melbourne). Just call them up and they can arrange a free trial for you.

But if karate ain’t your thang, then never fear! Here is a list of potentially fun things to do for free around Melbourne.

1. Free Meditation at Fed Square

On Tuesdays from 12.30pm – 1.00pm, Fed Square has organised free meditation for anyone and everyone! You get your very own Buddhist Monk Gen Dornying complete with multi-coloured toga and you get to go on a spiritual journey through your own brain. Whilst you don’t get to sit on the floor (disappointing, I know) or lie down (devastating, I know), it is quite refreshing to do something so completely out of the ordinary! And it’s 100% free.

2. Free 3 Day Zumba Pass

The South Pacific Health Club (I know it sounds dodgy but work with me) on Bourke St (550 Bourke St, corner of Bourke and William St) does a 3 Day Pass where you can go to as many Zumba classes as you like in those three days. In case you didn’t know, Zumba is one of those things that you’ve got to try just once in your life, and then depending on your coordination, you either continue for the rest of your life or you never do it again. Think hip hop street performer meets enthusiastic personal trainer in a nightclub – their bastard child would be Zumba. It’s actually quite fun! See for more details.

3. Free Rock Gigs at the Cherry Bar

Advertising itself as “pretty much the best Rock’n’Roll bar in the world”, the Cherry Bar, located (very appropriately) on AC/DC Lane, just off Flinders Lane in between Russell St and Exhibition St, has a gig on almost every night. Whilst not all of these gigs are free (the majority are $5 – $10 entry), there are many that are free – just check out their website for the minutiae.

4. Free Movies on Bridge Road

At the Richmond Town Hall, movies are being screened on various Saturday nights for free and all you need to do is book online. If you ask me, it beats paying $20 at Hoyts or Village Cinemas (does anyone else remember the days when going to the cinema only cost $10?!) plus the food around the town hall is great! See for the particulars.