What to do if you’re not watching the AFL grand final

29 September 2011

Written by: Erdem Koc

This may come as a surprise. It might shock and offend you. But the fact remains that some Australians will choose not to watch the AFL Grand Final this Saturday.

Maybe they’re missing the Aussie gene; maybe they think a bunch of men passing a ball around is dull; or maybe they just don’t like the shorts.

Whatever the reason, all over Australia these citizens will willingly choose to occupy Grand Final day with non-football activities.

If you’re one of those few, take solace knowing that you don’t have to hide with the curtains drawn like a social pariah – there are plenty of other things to do.

Here are some ideas:

Start Christmas shopping
No, it’s never too early to start that dreaded Christmas shopping. Now that it’s turned October, it’s less than two months until that annoyingly busy festive season comes knocking again. Take advantage of the emptiness of the big department stores and layaway some undies for dad and a new juicer for mum.

Take your nanna out for lunch
Life gets busy, and before you know it, you haven’t been to visit your dear old nanna in far too long. Take this opportunity to treat your nanna to a nice sit down lunch in a trendy café or her local RSL, fill her in on your news and listen diligently to the ins and outs of her new batch of jam preserve.  Assuming of course, she won’t be watching the footy.

Bake a cake
Sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying than biting into a freshly baked batch of brownies that you whipped up yourself. Use the afternoon to bake some homemade treats, like scones, a cheesecake, macaroons, and anything else that will make the house smell heavenly – and cause jealousy in those who come home from watching the game to discover not a crumb is left!

Get started on that ‘To Do’ list
The list of chores that need doing around the house keeps getting longer, but as they’re not imperative, they are left undone. Spring calls for a new start, so change all the bedding, weed the garden, wash the car, sew on those missing buttons and wash the dog. Most people will be out of the house to watch the game so you’ll have free reign of the house.

And if these ideas still don’t cut it, there is plenty on in Melbourne you can still do:

Royal Melbourne Show
Take advantage of the last weekend to visit the annual Royal Melbourne Show. You may just be swapping grown men sloshing their beers to kids spilling their ice-creams, but at least the reduced crowds will lessen the time lining up for the House-of-Horrors and the Whirly-Twirly. Besides, you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy a bit of fairy floss or a Bertie Beetle, right?

There is an abundance of food and craft markets scattered across Victoria, and this weekend, you won’t have to rise at the crack of dawn to nab the best looking strawberries or that one-off vintage dress. Here’s a pick of the best markets.
Craft: Lost and Found vintage market, Rose Street Artist’s market, Sisters market, South Yarra market, St Andrew’s community market, Fitzroy market.
Food: CERES organic food and craft market, Preston market, Queen Victoria market, St Kilda Farmer’s market, Bundoora Park Farmer’s market.

Zoos Victoria
The Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo have all introduced free entry for children under 16 during the school holidays. Given that it’s cheaper and there’ll be fewer crowds to see the elephants, all the more reason to monkey around at the Zoo this Saturday.

Fringe Festival Show
The Melbourne Fringe Festival is currently running with shows across Melbourne and some are even free. Top picks are 3 for 1 at the Comics Lounge, Insomnia Cat Came To Stay, At the Sans Hotel and My Picked, Pickled Days.

ACMI activities
To escape the city streets filled with Collingwood supporters, take refuge in the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. There’s a few great exhibitions to see, like Star Voyager: Exploring Space On Screen or Margaret and David: 25 Years Talking Movies. If space and movie critics aren’t your thing, then the film Fire In Babylon might take your fancy. It’s a documentary about the West Indian cricket team but hey, at least it’s not football.

The Italian Film Festival
Grab your red wine and pizza and head to any of the Palace cinemas across Victoria during this film festival. With 31 films on offer, the best of Italian made films is sure to entice. As they say, ‘molto bene!’

High Tea
What’s better than a cup of afternoon tea? That tea accompanied with scones, cakes and little sandwiches, of course! Enjoy an afternoon of elegance at the excellent few establishments offering High Tea. These include The Hotel Windsor, Sofitel on Collins, and The Langham.

Get in quick for the second last weekend of Vienna: Art and Design at the National Gallery of Victoria. You can even book in for a ‘Vienna Breakfast,’ where you’ll be treated to a hot breakfast, an introductory talk and an early viewing of the exhibition. If you like your art a bit more hipster, then go see Space Invaders: Australian Street Art at RMIT Gallery, which is showing a collection of different street stencils, stickers, posters, paste-ups and zines.

While it’s not an actual event you can attend, Ocsober starts on the 1st of October, a campaign encouraging you to go ‘sober in October’ and raise funds for Healthy Harold and Life Education. This is mildly ironic, considering half the nation will have a beer or twelve the day it starts, and even more so because one of the ambassadors is Alex Fevola, also known as Brendan’s wife. Hopefully, some Australians will reform in their hung-over state on the second day of Ocsober.

But whatever you do, opt for the long way around to get to your alternative activities, rather than travelling down Hoddle Street on Saturday. The backlog of cars around the MCG will see you wasting your football-free day stuck in ridiculous traffic.

Laura Carroll is a final-year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University.  You can follow her on Twitter: @laura_carroll