Byron Bay is a strange little town. It has been said that Melbourne
is a metropolitan Byron Bay, something I do refute. There is little to no resemblance that I can devise. Byron feels quite homely. There are always
always tourists and locals there, usually wearing no shoes (either that or they’ll be wearing ballgowns or something), there’s always something going on, even if it’s only some Raelian
convention with lots of blonde Jesuses strolling around timidly dispensing leaflets.
There are lots of specialty stores, they keep chain stores to an absolute minimum which lends the town more of an distinctive and original appeal. There are cozy back streets with quaint little stores, my favourite is ‘de*vinyl’, which is an old house, essentially, and you walk in, and all the rooms are just laden with nostalgic, retro pieces. A colourless pink vinyl chair with ruffles, a little sewing basket exhibiting a plump girl with cute doe eyes made out of cherry coloured straw. Everything has its own distinctive scent. There is even a bathroom (I wonder do people ever use it). There are old unwieldy cameras, little brown deer figurines, a tin full of jeweled hairpins, lots and lots of jesus memorabilia, old elegant shoes. Drawers full of crochet hotpants and fur hats, pinkish unclothed mannequins, a room where everything is orange. A zillion lampshades, some with tassels, some very tall, some romantique, some fat and toadstoolish and green. Snow White mirrors, wooden floorboards, ancient postcards of cute french girls leaning against a boat in striped shirts.
They don’t allow McDonalds or Pizza Hut or anything in Byron Bay because it’s too unhealthy. There are a lot of vegan stores and juice bars and people who drink wheatgrass shakes in this town. On any given day you can visit and be absolutely overwhelmed by how freakishly pretty the people there are. Of course there are going to be a bunch of weedy, nerdy hippie types but there’s an abundance of luminous, gorgeous individuals. There are girls who paint themselves olives and emeralds and limes and wear leaf leotards and pretend to be trees, lots of buskers, lots of street performers. Lots of those crystal stores, the ones where you walk in, and idiotically, even against your will, feel cleansed.
At night time people sit around smoking pot and drinking cheap wine in the beach and in the park, as though it is some strangely large house party. There are families watching constellations through jumbo telescopes, B-Grade Goths about, lots of beach culture girls wearing nothing more than bikinis, tourists tourists tourists, flame throwers, Rastafarian men playing bongo under big old trees. Puke coloured combi vans, people approaching you to ask for or offer drugs, it is all very friendly.