Oh yes, I remember you.
But I'm getting ahead of myself in the story.
The day started out earlier than usual as I had conspired to leave my poor office in the lurch and go off gallivanting. Well, not entirely as such. I had put the leave in ages ago but now suddenly it was inconvenient and I was supposed to fall on my sword and give it up. Well, this time, no.
It had to be this weekend. The sculpture thing Bro had done footwork on was closing up and I wanted to see the French paintings: lots of 19thC allegory, romantic and rustic peasants and a really pissed off fallen angel that I really liked but that nobody had thought to turn into a postcard. Then there were the Warhols, and the Aussiewood portraits (which seemed ashamed of Errol, and hell, he was who he was. I read some of his letters in an LA museum and I love him because he was a rake, not in spite of it).
So off in a taxi to the airport. Discovered loads and loads of swish and heavy and frigteningly expensive glossy magazines. Colin and Ewan et al gazed up at me from the covers (and yes, I'll be scanning and posting the boys sometime this week). I was also feeling lost because I'd told myself to be a man about it and try flying somewhere without my security Jack, but I was fretting, and there he was, Jack, or rather Rusty as Jack, on the book shelf. So I bought it, and I had my Jack. It's about the fifth copy I've worn my way through too. I'm so glad I did: Jack is the most excellent of travelling companions.
So up in the air we went, wheeling out over the sea and I though hang on, we're heading to New Zealand, until we swung back around again and headed inland. I can see the effects of the drought, and stupid foolish clearing and development that will lead to more drought and bushfires. Buy a house on that hill and you deserve what you get. Met someone from a sister state Dept for changing its name every week and we bonded over a mutual horror of shorts and long socks.
So far so fun.
Okay, so the hotel has lost my booking and I have to stay next door, at three times the price in a suite that is twice the size of my friend's shoebox of a flat. Ouch. Okay, might as well face looming unemployment in style, right? Though I'd have preferred to economise. The suite, with its mirrors everywhere, weighs heavily upon me all weekend.
I trudge into the city to catch a bus out to gallery #1 and I discover Starbucks by happy accident. The French paintings are a little, well, flat. Either they sent us the lesser works, or I'm starting to become jaded and fussy. Both, I suspect. I loved the Asian art, most hacked off various temples, that I discovered down in the basement. It kind of reminded me of LACMA, only very small, but I sat there happily. I swear I had a religious moment with one of the glittering buddhas, but maybe I was just overtired. I followed the smell of coffee wafting down the corridor past the Nordic bits and had a lovely long sit in the sculpture garden. I added to my study of Rodin from the rear, which is silly but once you're on a theme... Master of the tightly clenched buttocks though, is old Rodin. There's a thesis in there somewhere, heh.
I then suffered the embaressment of not being able to find Old Parliament House and actually had to ask directions, twice. This is what comes of a school too cheap for any excursions, but it was fun once I got there and I could wander the rabbit warren of corridors to my heart's content. Lovely old government building, full of old government office furniture and equipment. It was strangely reassuring, nostalgic and comforting, the soft gentle touch of the familiar. It took me back, especially the old chairs and desks and phones and files. They had a biege knitted cardy under glass to represent the public service. I should be offended, but fair enough.
I loved the Dismissal display, tricked out as a 70s room with a 70s couch, big 70s lamp and a big old 70s tv. I felt the urge to sit down cross legged in front of it. They were playing 70s ads that amused me greatly in between the old news footage. Goodness knows what the tourists must think of the Underdaks ad. Heh. Glorious fun. The room, not the Dismissal. Still loyally maintaining the rage.
Told several wandering Americans that Harold Holt was actually nabbed by Chinese frogmen. Several Aussies in the vicinity instantly backed me up and elaborated upon my tale. God, we're terrors. I just love the way any Australian, anywhere, will back you up on a good story, the bigger the story the better. Ah, my work was happily done. Heh heh heh.
Quite enjoyed the sculpture exhibit. Discovered that I remembered far more history than I thought (yay me) and Henry Lawson was unmistakable, a character that dominates the room, even in death. Ned, by contrast, was a bit of a non event. Wandered about scaling our founding fathers and folk heroes on their shagability.
Staggered, literally staggered (just a two minute walk from the gallery my fat arse, only if you're Cathy Freeman) back to the hotel after the Aussiewood display, which was small but pleasing. Canberra, alas, is a city of bloody car parks. It is a planned city and planned for a motor car (by an American, natch). Those wide avenues and parks are all very pretty but rough going when on foot, and with a sprained ankle, even more so. I suspect my abuse of mersyndols also played into my weekend disappointments.
Still, I love all the glorious 30s and 60s architecture. It still reminds me a lot of DC. It still looks more like an American film set plonked down in the middle of nowhere than any Australian town, as the buildings all look like American government buildings, not the grand British edifices that dominate everywhere else in the country (and all through Canada, NZ and Scotland, too, that I have seen).
I then discovered that there's a Stargate con on in town this weekend. Oh dear. What shall I do? Pop into the cocktail party of course and see if there are any familiar faces.
Then Himself arrives. I was actually smiling at an aquaintance several persons behind him but he catches my eye and smiles back. Okay, I totally imagined that. Or did I, because when he wanders over he picks up teasing me where he left off. He remembers the effects of the cerulean haze very clearly and it amuses him. Oh, crap. I babble incoherently. This also seems to amuse. I crawl off and to die in shame and drown my social ineptitude. I made Bridget Jones look eloquent. This was to become the theme of my weekend.
Why oh why can't I talk like a grown up and have proper conversations like Trish or Maggie. I used to manage it, you know. Still, I contrived to loiter and eavesdrop and picked up lots of good gossip, too good to repeat here, certainly. Suffice to say he was very, er, candid in his opinions.
I must be getting old as I gave up on knocking onto another bar, or room parties or just sitting about chatting to go soak my poor feet in a nice hot bath. I wish I could have drowned myself in the bath. Oh, the shame of my babbling.
spinster, lunatic and lush
Now he thinks I'm a lunatic and a lush. This just keeps getting better and better.
Breakfasted with dear friend. Mildly interesting morning guests. Even more entertaining afternoon guests.
Then there was Himself. I was going to say he'd grown up a lot since I saw him last, but that isn't quite the term as he is even more of a brat than ever, but he's so confident, so damn sure of himself. It's all very sexy. And he's still drop dead gorgeous. And as breathtakingly forthright and frank as ever. And as bitchy. And hilariously funny. Extremely good value.
Even if he does think I'm a lunatic, and a lush.
Dinner was a thoroughly boring affair, cruelled by the fact that most of my friends failed to get in, and, given the chance to redo it, I should have arranged an alternate dinner with me mates instead, but no, I sat there and tried to make the best of it. The most entertaining thing that happened was Jacqueline's partner showing up and making the provocative statement of wearing an All Black's shirt on the very night the Wallabies were playing the All Blacks. The boys gave him hell and the night turned sweet as the All Blacks were thoroughly routed. Heh. I don't think the silly Canadian realised just what he'd walked into.
Still, I was very disappointed because usually I get to hang with my mates and it's magic. Oh well. I went to bed early, horrors, and it was here that the flu really started to hit me hard, though at the time I blamed the dessert.
danger, lunatic at work
Sunday was same old, same old. However it was extremely hot, 38C, which meant little Canadian boys had to get around in very skimpy attire indeed. I did my duty by my absent friends who love a well turned out arm by recording the ocassion as much as possible, and earning myself some feelthy looks as my camera kept beeping. Next time I will forgoe the expensive seats up the front so I can lurk up the back, beeping away with my 10X zoom to my heart's content.
At least a couple of my friends appreciated my efforts, which was gratifying.
The highlight of the day was the Dougie experience. The Americans pursed their lips in stern disapproval but where would an Oz con be without a guest who was, well, exuberant, and with a ticket dispensing machine set up outside his door. Tis tradition, afterall.
Himself was a riot, and I'm sure it had nothing to do with the entire ocean of beer that seemed to be drunk. We had Ninja Daniel, we had teapotting across the stage, we had excellent props work. In fact he was so naughty that Jan, the stern school mistress of the con (and makeup artist and not a disher of good goss in any way as I'd hoped), kept smacking him.
Snippets (to the best of my very faulty recollection):
The wrap party was the best bit. Most of my friends made it to this so I had a great time, even if I did make a complete prat of myself again. Oh well. We sat up chatting until 2am, only giving in to the now freezing cold weather and exhaustion.
just as I am
Monday involved an invite to the breakfast table, of which I was most grateful to receive. Probably made a complete prat of myself there, too. Then it was off to see the exhibition of old photos at the library. The WWI ones were especially moving. Not Hurley's arty composites, but the ordinary snapshots and particularly the moonscape aerial shot. It was amusing to pick out my head office on an 1870s streetscape, gaudy old Victorian pile that it is.
Then I caught the bus to the ScreenSound exhibit which I just loved, sitting through clips of classic movies and old shows like Skippy and Homicide. I'd forgotten we had our very own 60s spy show: Hunter, and I loved the opening credits for Division 4, with old Kennedy slamming some guy's hand in a car door and it goes on from there. No way would EvilChannelNine play any of that now. Ah, those were the days.
Then it was home, with half the con on board, including poor Jacqueline and her misguided All Black loving beau.
Tuesday: Crawled into work, posted some pics, endured the day and crawled home again. Crashed and missed Farscape, and damn, because it was a goodie. This time JC was making the Dorothy references. Episodes like this, that are so good, make me sad that the Scape was canned. Still, Himself said that if there was a film to finish off the series (and finished it sounds like), they were looking into filming it at Fox. Time for my Farscape friends to brush up their CVs.
All in all, a good weekend. Not great, and to be honest, I enjoyed my sightseeing more, and I didn't get to catch up with friends as I'd hoped, but I'm sure it could have been worse so I will tell myself to be content. It was better than not going.
And Michael, if you're reading this, get off the damn internet, sweetie, there's a love.