Impromptu balcony party erupts

Impromptu balcony party erupts

By David Schout

Hundreds of Southbank apartment residents broke out into song and dance on Good Friday as locals showed social distancing wouldn’t break their partying spirit.

Perhaps inspired by apartment dwellers in Spain and Italy finding creative ways to interact under quarantine, the ad hoc party quickly brought many locals out to their balconies.

And best of all, no one really knows how it started.

“I don’t actually know,” Balston St resident *Claire said when asked how the celebrations began.

“I was just sitting in my room and then I started hearing some yelling outside. So, I went out onto my balcony and everyone was just having a good time and I thought ‘oh this is fun’. I thought I’d participate in the best way I know how, and got my horn out.”

That “horn” was her saxophone and the final year bachelor of music student soon joined in the fun.

With lasers shining from some balconies and cow bells being banged on others, the mayhem was a welcome relief to the quiet many have become accustomed to in recent months.

“I don’t actually know if it was organised or if people just started yelling out at each other. I think people were a bit bummed they couldn’t go out so thought they’d bring the party to us,” she said.

Residents quickly took to Facebook to post their videos of the party.

“Most excitement we have had for a couple of weeks!” Joanne McMillan wrote on the Southbank Residents Association (SRA) Facebook page.

“I agree, it was such an amazing experience to be part of,” resident Tracey Allen said.

Yarra Condos resident and SRA committee member Marcus de Rijk was, like many residents, confused at first.

“Initially what we started to hear was what sounded like some drunken shouts, which you can hear on any given Friday or Saturday night given the number of short-stay apartments around here. I thought ‘here we go, people aren’t adhering to the rules’,” he said with a laugh.

“But then it became a cacophony. And when someone decided to play music and everyone started to come into sync, it became something else entirely. It was really nice to hear the music and an obvious sense that people were enjoying that. This idea of coming together and being able to be part of a community; as odd and as unusual as it was, it was actually really nice.”

Mr de Rijk especially sympathised with those living by themselves during this period, and hoped the impromptu party gave a sense that locals were in this together.

He also wanted to thank his neighbour for spinning some great tracks!

“Whoever was the nearest person to me certainly selected music that I enjoyed,” he said.

While the government’s “stay at home” directive has made Southbank a far quieter neighbourhood than usual, there were signs in the final weeks of April that things were slowly coming back to life.

“I feel like the foot traffic is starting to pick up compared to when isolation started to hit,” Claire said. “Back at the start things were very, very quiet but now I think more people are getting out, walking to get a coffee and that sort of thing. It was really weird at the start; walking to Flinders St and hardly seeing any cars. It was such an eerie feeling.”

She said, like many, she was leaning on those close to her.

“It’s not too bad. I live with my two best friends so they’re keeping me sane and I’m still getting out for work and stuff like that, so it could be a lot worse.”

*Wished to withhold her real name •

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