Saturday, 27 January 2007

The Odyssey

Today (well, yesterday, really) was the first of the four that comprise my extra-long Australia Day weekend. If the rest are like this one, I may need another week off to recuperate!

I organised with Susan to bowl our phantom league games for this week in the afternoon. Before that, however, we popped into the Vietnamese restaurant across the road, which was once one of our favourite nosheries. It has since changed hands, but the food is still good.

After bowling ... I was well down on last week's scores, but Susan reduced her handicap considerably ... we went to see The Last King Of Scotland, which is a film about Idi Amin. Not bad, but your life will not be ruined if you happen to miss it.

After that, I had planned to go into the CBD and see a couple of other films, but when I checked the listings, it turned out that nothing I wanted to see was starting at a reasonable hour.

So, I rode the bus all the way to Circular Quay, thinking I might take a ferry to Manly. I missed the ferry by two minutes!

Not to worry ... it was Australia Day, after all. So, I took a stroll down to the Lord Nelson hotel in The Rocks. I was slightly disappointed that they were only serving their beer in plastic cups, but the Old Admiral I had soon made up for it.

I walked back down to George St, to pop into another pub, but they were all so packed that I just couldn't be bothered. When a 432 bus to Birchgrove appeared, on a whim, I jumped on it.

This took me to Balmain, where I alighted and walked down to the Unity Hall Hotel. I had a few schooners of Reschs and started in on the Sydney Morning Herald cryptic. Of course, yesterday being Friday, it was a DA, which resisted me strenuously.

Around 9pm, the horrible muzac that had been assaulting my ears disappeared, being replaced by some live jazz, for which the Unity Hall is famous. One of the musicians was Paul Furniss, an excellent woodwind player who is often involved in gigs with my mate Greg Poppleton.

When they took a break after their second set, I decided it was time to go, because the price of the beers had risen by over 25% since I'd arrived, which I felt was a bit of a rip-off. I strolled up the road, with the intention of grabbing a cab home.

As we know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions :-). I ended up at the Town Hall Hotel.

This was a serious test for my Etymotic ER6i isolating earphones. Fortunately, they were up to the task, very effectively shielding my Leonard Cohen, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions and k.d. lang from the doof doof "music".

I swear the number of damaged ear drums in that room must have been almost as large as the amount of semi-naked, gyrating female flesh!

This caused me such concern that I felt morally(?!) obliged to monitor the situation until the pub closed at 1:00am this morning. It's a good thing they had St Arnau on tap, to sustain me, otherwise I may easily have succumbed.

One down, three to go ...