Newtown is often cited as the "trendy" area of Sydney but just one suburb to the south, Marrickville, is a far more livelier and experimental place. If Sydney is ever to be seen as a world centre for creativity then Marrickville will be the engine room of that creativity.
The little white sign at the end of the platform of Marrickville Station informs me that we're just 7km away from Central; keeping with its inner-city outlook Marrickville is a place of closely packed terrace houses, single storey and blocks of flats.
Usually when you bring a lot of people closer together, one of two things happens: either they start to display tensions between each other or they invariably start to produce more creative and innovative work. Marrickville it seems is possibly Sydney's greatest hotbed for the fine arts.
Marrickville Council last year hosted an event called MOST or the Marrickville Open Studio Tour, in which various artists, sculptors opened their houses and studios to the public. The council also runs such events as the Impossible Theatre in which short plays are performed in exceedingly small spaces like alleyways and the suburb holds a range of classes in oils, watercolours, the exploration of colour, light and dark and is also home to both The Pine Sreet Gallery and the Chrissie Cotter Gallery.
The neighbouring suburb of Enmore boasts the Enmore Theatre in which many many touring music acts from around the world have performed and The Factory Theatre in Marrickville proper, is more prodigious in the production of modern plays than any of Sydney's commerical theatre troops.
One of the jewels in the crown of Marrickville is a not-for-profit organisation called Reverse Garbage on Addison Rd. It is a place where industrial off-cuts, discards and things which would have otherwise have been wasted an be brought and resold to the public. It is something of an artists' treasure chest and is also a tremendous resource for craft supplies and schools.
However if you want a really fun night out in Marrickville, then head away from the centre of the suburb to the Alexander The Great - Greek and Macedonian Club on Livingstone Road. Although Melbourne is home to the largest Greek community outside of Greece, the Alexander The Great Club does its level best to distill everything Greek in one place. The music, the food and drink, the dancing; it's all there but all hidden away in a quiet part of the suburb on Livingstone Rd.
Marrickville requires a little bit of exploration to enjoy properly but that's usually the case with everything worth finding.