Swindling Yourself on to a Melbourne Map
I know a man named Steve (not his real name) who works as a documentary filmmaker (not his real job) in the Melbourne suburb of Spotsville (not even a real suburb)
I’ve gone to the effort to hide Steve’s identity because Steve is responsible for one of the cleverest scams I’ve ever seen, with one of the most modest pay offs.
Steve has convinced the world to name the street he lives on … after him.
I met Steve when we were filming a short film about the history of counterfeit hammers (never happened) and I noticed a beaten up street sign hanging from the wall of his studio.
And that’s when he told me about Steve Lane.
In reality, Steve’s studio is at 22B Rapple Drive (it isn’t…you get the idea). Unfortunately for Steve, the only access to his section of the dual occupancy was via a nameless alley behind the building.
Any visitors who come to his place of business were forced to follow a series of complicated instructions to find him.
It became such a running joke that one of Steve’s brothers made him his very own street sign to affix to the end of the street.
And so was born Steve Lane.
It would of ended there if not for a group of vandals who, one Saturday night, bent and bashed a number of street signs in the neighbourhood.
Seeing the damage, Steve snapped into action, bashing and bending his own street homemade sign.
He then rang the council and complained about the damaged sign. The council, in a rare display of effiency, snapped into action and replaced Steve’s dented fake sign with a genuine council one.
With the tacit endorsement of local government, Steve began contacting Melways, Gregorys and Google Maps to inform them that his street had been left off of their maps.
All three companies sent out a representative in due course and all three, on seeing the official council signage, dutifully added the entirely fictional street name to their records.
Now, almost every map, GPS and record in the city lists Steve Lane as a real street.
There are probably those who believe Steve was wrong to do what he did and that streets should only be named after notable and important people.
Personally, after what he did, I think Steve is more than worthy.
Nicholas J. Johnson is a Melbourne magician, author, entertainer and collector of scams.