At last, Friday is the new Friday. Again. I seem to remember sometime in the 70s or early 80s when Friday was definitely Friday, but ever since it’s been either Thursday or Saturday with the occasional doomed challenge from Wednesday.
But that was in New Zealand, in Auckland to be more specific, where Friday was late night and there was no Saturday morning shopping and very few shopping malls. Back then Friday ruled, majestic and so did Queen Street. The Golden Mile it was, a heaving, steaming, jumping place. I worked on the corner of His Majesty’s Arcade. Every few minutes the Hare Krishnas would chant past loudly and the Topp Twins would often take up residence outside the bank next door. Smelly Feet, later half of the Kiwi Animal, would sing his own brand of songs across the road on the corner of Vulcan Lane: My Festered Toe, Peanuts, A Vegetable Market…
In Sydney, however, Friday is challenged by the fact late night shopping is on Thursday. Nevertheless, it still goes off. The net result is everything is back the way God intended when He created pissing up.
The after work booze-up is my personal favourite and always has been. Apart from a phase in my early thirties, at the Box and Cause Celebre mainly, I’ve never been a go-out-late-and-get-home-in-the-morning kind of guy. The after work booze-up requires little planning, needs no excuse, requires no dressing up. It’s hassle free and it’s a big tradition here, as it once was back home before they pulled all the pubs down or turned them into faux Belgian atrocities.
Try and buy a Lion Red in town these days. Go on. Give it a go.
Anyway, over here I’ve taken to asking for a schooner of “bitter”. The confused bar staff look at you very oddly, “I’m sorry, what was that?”
“A bitter thanks,” I say. Then pause briefly before making a snappy, smarmy finger pointing action: “…Victoria Bitter”.
Oh I crack myself up, I really do!
Anyway, having been remiss in posting here’s a quick catch-up of unfinished business.
First I went to see the new NZ film In My Father’s Den on the opening night at the Sydney Film Festival, Girlie in tow. A great script but a relatively dour film with the angst laid on thick at times. I enjoyed it overall as did most of the audience, but can’t help feeling it had been over-hyped. A workmate, an editor from eastern Europe, enjoyed it greatly though. I think she thought it was a comedy.
On another front, I've realised that as the years go by and one's natural charms fade, a more scientific approach to the mating dance seems sensible. Thanks to my access to census data, I’ve now been able to accurately pinpoint concentrations of single women around the city.
The Kirribili and Cremorne areas just across the bridge rate tops but generally I don’t get over there too much, until last Saturday to meet a friend for brunch. There’s a market under the bridge and some good cafes and there certainly are a lot of the gentler sex about strutting their stuff – or at least that’s how I interpret it.
They’re probably just out to buy a paper and a bottle of milk.
We wandered down around the PM’s place later and there is still a remarkable lack of visible security around. I saw one guy with a pistol on his belt and that was it. From the ferries you can look into the back garden of Kirribili House and once again there is usually no sign of activity.
Apparently back in the 80s there used to be a permanent brown patch of grass on the lawn where Bob Hawke practiced his golf swing, firing balls into the harbour.
This weekend, I think, will be Biennale time. Lots of free art stuff at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Museum of Contemporary Art and elsewhere. It’s getting mixed reviews, but what the hell?