‘Welcome to the Jungle’

Duane Rea Goes in Search of Creatures Both Great and Small at the Melbourne Guitar Show 2015

Last weekend saw a motley collection of bedroom heroes and weekend warriors descend on Caulfield Racecourse for the fifth annual Melbourne Guitar Show. The venue’s customary pomp was replaced by a slightly more irreverent display, as an altogether different fascinator took centre stage. Denim-clad crowds snaked their way down labyrinthine aisles of gleaming instruments and rattling speakers, giving the makeshift showroom-come-monstrously-oversized-guitar-shop the appearance of unnatural life. The usual host of spotty-faced adolescents sat transfixed alongside their middle-aged counterparts, gazes as wistful as their remembrances of rock stardom were faint. Others elected to straddle their objects of desire, clutching fretboards intently as for one brief moment instrument and body became an all-encompassing, indivisible unity.

But perhaps what characterised the fifth iteration of the Melbourne Guitar Show most was its unerring sense of community spirit and interconnectedness. This, it was clear, was a playground that welcomed all. For every flight of testosterone fuelled posturing there was an equally redemptive display that elevated the event above adolescent self-indulgence: dads and their sons revelled in shared wonderment, mates caroused in riff-borne camaraderie, and even the fairer sex frolicked among the typically male-dominated crowd. What the 2015 Melbourne Guitar Show did demonstrate was that a shared love for a cultural icon can transcend both gender and generation. And that is something worth celebrating.

Duane Rea is a journalism neophyte from La Trobe University in Melbourne. He hopes to one day write something profound. Avail yourself of his innermost thoughts on Twitter @Duane_rea.

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