May 9th, 2009
Bright and early one Saturday morning, Melbourne was hustling and bustling. As it does on a normal Saturday. Melbourne Central was booming, the local businesses were doing business, and a fine mist drizzled onto the city that soon departed during mid-morning. But what people didn't realise (and perhaps should have) is that every horror movie that they ever watched, heard about, or dreamed of, was about to come true, right in the heart of the city.
All over Melbourne, from Heidelberg to Mordialloc, Deer Park to Frankston, they rose from the graves, they limped onto the public transport network, and they set their sights on the Carlton Gardens. They had only one thing on their minds the whole time:
And then, they shuffled off, when they had all congregated, and apparently agreed on the route to take, to try and get as many brains as they could. Down La Trobe street, turning the corner of Swanston Street and shuffling the entire length thereof, past Flinders Street Station and down to Southbank, all the while groaning "What do we want? BRAINS... When do we want it? BRAINS..."
And people just stood there, and watched.
Melburnians, seemingly unaware or maybe even blissfully ignorant of the horror that was befalling them, just watched the zombies shuffle past. Some of them even pointed and laughed, and the majority of them even took photographs, as if to take them back to their relatives later and falsely claim "I survived the zombie apocalypse by the skin of my teeth!" In reality, the shuffling horde just left the populace alone, for one very simple reason.
Myself and Deejah decided to do this together. This was Deejah's second year doing the shuffle (I hope he posts an aftermath writeup from last year... but then again...) The zombie costumes that some of the people thought up were pretty magnificent. Deejah's idea was a scientific experiment gone horribly wrong (a lab coat with "HELP ME" written in blood), while mine was more minimalistic (farmer's clothing splattered with blood). Despite this minor attention to detail that I exhibited (given the fact that I only had about half an hour to prepare), it was pretty realistic; at one point on my way back from the Shuffle, a man asked me "Are you alright, mate?" clearly noticing the "blood" which appeared to be pouring out of my arm and chest. (That's not Deejah next to me.)
There were many and varied occupations represented, as well as fictional characters. I swear I saw Dorothy and the Cookie Monster at some point. By far, though, the better costumes were those who had paid a lot of attention to finer details (of course). There were at least a dozen with objects sticking out of their heads, necks, chests and backs - including axes, screwdrivers, knives, screwdrivers and a syringe - and still others that were carrying signs: "UNDEAD? YES! UNPERSON? NO!", "PAID MATERNITY LEAVE OR DEATH!" (from a zombie that was giving birth Alien-style) and - my personal favourite - "SEE YOU ON THE TRAIN MONDAY MORNING!"
The best reaction, by far, was walking down one side of Swanston Street, and watching people on the other side. They had literally lined up on the other side to us and were watching us, some in fear, some in confusion. It was a pretty amazing thought that about two thousand people, dressed as zombies, can make a city stand still. Well, the CBD. Well, a portion of the CBD. Well, OK, some of them were taking photos, so they weren't standing still. But it's still amazing.
Finally, what do zombies do when they run out of brains? They go to McDonald's. A quick stop there and a walk up to Flinders Street Station saw the Shuffle near its end. I didn't stick around for the after-party; having enough on my plate back at uni, I took a train back home.
We'll be back next year...