THE giant Christmas tree has shot seasonally skyward from the City Square. Huge toy soldiers stand guard, as parents with pushers make for Santa's grotto, the faces of their children telling of that confusing emotional combination of excitement and alarm that a close encounter with Father Christmas brings. Santa! No!
The scene is a riot of yuletide hues: the tree sparkles with decorations, the grass beneath a deep emerald. And this is where the vista becomes jarring. Grass? In the centre of Melbourne?
Any excitement is a short-lived thing, for a closer inspection reveals that the ''grass'' lifts up easily at the edges. It is of the artificial variety: hardy to the extreme, fake to the maximum.
This really shouldn't matter, except for the yearning it evokes. The City Square was once a patch of grass, real g…
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