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“You can go to any bar in LA, marvel at the champagne towers or whatever, and on the way out you can say ‘that was nice’, but where you really want to go back to is somewhere real. You crave the dirt.”

Words by Jordan McDonald

“There are two types of people in the world, there are taps, and there are drains. The taps give, and the drains take. We need to get rid of all the drains.”

James Young, the recently appointed Night Mayor of Melbourne, pillar of positivity and beacon to the believers, is always in your corner. He will, quite literally, fight for your right to party.

As the official face of Melbourne’s crippled after-dark economy, his role will be to help reinvigorate what was, just a few years ago, a $3.5 billion dollar industry.

James Young: natural-born entertainer, yarn spinner, and automatic life of the party

Young’s art is in his ability to knit together a global community of entertainers, nightclub operators, dive bar fanatics, wayward travellers, and Rock ‘n’ Roll revellers writ large. He is their pillar, he is their constant, and he is their champion.

And he believes Australia is about to experience a wildness not seen since the roaring 20s when society let loose after recovering from the Spanish flu. “If you’re the most locked down, then you become the most set free,” he says. “Everyone is watching. Melbourne is about to explode. Sydney, too. The next decade will be the greatest.”

Enjoyed this extract? The whole story will be available in glorious print, on all good bookshelves and via our store from October 6. Pre-order here.

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Writer

Jordan McDonald

Photographer

Dakota Gordon

Sub-editor

Pru Engel

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