Last night at the pub, a Jesuitical gent, with a beer, asserted that Thornbury would never gentrify. He did this with all the emphasis of a man given to speaking his mind and thoroughly up on the vagaries of the property market. Not especially fancying a rent rise, I've no desire to object to such prognostications, only I can't help thinking that a suburb boasting this much Greek pastry, stocking "fresh delicious tripe", and smack next door to Melbourne's latest real estate prodigy, ain't long going to hold out against bourgeoisification, boutique cheese merchants, and blithe young couples keen to get a piece of the federation cottage action.
In the interests of low rents and community diversity, of forestalling the bourgeois creep along High Street, I've been keeping Hôtel Harlot as ungentrific as possible. But tomorrow night I'm having my Carltonian friend round for supper, and - not that she's one to impose her style standards on we feckless Thornburians - I've felt moved to spruce the place up a bit.
So, Style Tips for the Stingy.
Bare table? Why not dress it up with this tasteful Thai eggplant and brussel sprout arrangement? Cheap, colourful and biodegradable.
Don't waste money on original artwork or another Gustav Klimt print. Sticky-tape wrapping paper to your wall. Cheap, colourful, and almost biodegradable.
Tomatoes looking a bit lacklustre? Dress them up for the night with your favourite brooches. Remember to remove jewellery before cooking.
Conceal unsightly musical instruments under piles of hats. "My, so many chapeaux," your guest will say, oblivious to your cunning ruse with the harp.
If all else fails, clutter. It's a décor genre all its own.