By Jax Cullen



The former wonder of Sideshow Annie’s costume parlour has morphed into a hipster-attracting Thai massage salon. As I walk past the vintage ladies Malvern Star and spinning yet silent vinyl on display I am immediately transported back to South East Asia. A couple of women sit in a corner sipping tea and gossiping while I stand idly looking for signs of customer service. Thankfully it arrived in the form of Ms Chic Ta and her beaming smile. I told her I had tried to call ahead but there was no answer. She explained they were very busy today but as a staff member had just arrived she could fit me in.


I fit in with great difficulty into a small cubicle with a massage table and more towels than I could care to count. I was told to remove all clothing except my underwear. As I reached behind myself to unhook my bra the curtain opened for all of Nicholson street to see. Not that the curtains were doing much for privacy anyway but hey when in your cheap local massage place leave your modesty at the door. If you can’t do that then this isn’t the place for you.


Leave your modesty at the door…”


My nose was assaulted by oils and laundry detergent and I wondered how I was going to manage breathing for the next hour. I got used to it and allowed my eyes to close as I nestled my face into the travel neck cushion that was used in lieu of a face hole in the table. As I waited I listened to the gamelan orchestrations and floated away to relaxation town.


I was about to receive a combination Thai and oil massage to relieve the soreness my first Pilates class had welcomed my body with. As the massage commenced I was struck with horror at the image of the corn I had been unsuccessfully treating under my big toe. Big props to masseuses and the maladies they have to rub their oiled up hands over. Needless to say I spent the next 15 minutes trying to expel that thought and calm down. I got there eventually and made myself a promise to get a massage at least once a month, for the therapeutic benefits of course.


My session had a few interruptions as clients wandered in and Ms Chic Ta went to greet them. Not ideal but easily forgiven. The massage was firm and accompanied by hot towels, my legs, arms and back all got equal attention. I heard satisfying cracks and pops from my spine and felt the knots in my limbs unravel and stretch. This massage style includes yogic stretching, my legs were alternately arranged into tree and warriors poses while my arms were pulled away and across my back. It’s amazing how flexible one is when a Thai woman is kneeling on your legs and pulling your arms and torso away from the table. I apologise to the girl in the waiting room who copped an eyeful of my lady lumps.


While the oil free massage through the towel draped over my body was nice and I truly appreciate a good glute rub in my current condition I have to say I much prefer the feel of warm aromatic oil being rubbed into my skin. One hour, $70 and a cup of honey sweetened tea later I was feeling well and truly pummeled into relaxation. I was presented with a loyalty card promising me one stamp for every thirty minutes of massage. Once I reach ten stamps I will receive a $30 voucher (yay for loyalty cards) but I plan to try the other three or four places in my little nook of Nicholson St because I can.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.


  1. ray ban brille

    June 18, 2013 at 12:37 am

    so useful.hehe.thanks for your share.

  2. YarraYarra

    October 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    You were at least lucky to get in and get a massage! I booked a massage for a friend and she closed the shop without warning, leaving him and other customers without service. As an apology, were were both given massage vouchers but when I booked and came to redeem mine (a week in advance), I was asked on the day if I couldn’t come back later. I couldn’t, and now I can’t imagine I ever will. I’m keen to know if the other massage places you tried were more professional?

  3. Boobiefarklejuice

    November 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    A massage experience I’ll never forget. My first thought when I entered the chic establishment was, hmmm,,, a cheap rundown wannabe cool place, “here we go again”, but the more I looked around, the more I was intrigued by its mysterious nature. I was welcomed in by Charlie,the owner, with a big smile in a courteous manner and told of the prices from their chalkboard. Nice touch. I figured the hour would be enough time to experience what wonderful services they had on offer. Then the curtains opened and I was told to undress all but my jocks. without going into detail, a combination of kneeling on my back and legs, yoga stretches and the mainstream strokes, I felt totally relaxed and enjoyed the unusual wonderful relaxing experience. I certainly will return and I highly recommend the experience.

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