As a general rule of thumb, the more facial hair Tennant has in any particular role, the more serious the drama. - The Guardian
Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been? I've been to Brisbane to see the Queen. Well, not quite, but a surreal time was had (and a brutal crashing back to reality upon my return). But first, some piccies:
- Concrete koalas, bless. The building was actually named Koala House but I couldn't get it in frame without stepping out into the middle of the road so you'll just have to take my word for it. Ironically now it houses a Japanese restaurant, which probably qualifies as Curtin's worst nightmare.
- Sympathetic architecture, Oz style.
- Boer war memorial. Astute viewers will note that rushing off to ill-conceived foreign wars is a national characteristic that pre-dates the nation.
- Brisbane town hall. I love the palm trees. The tight angle is not so much arty as of necessity, as there was about a metre of footpath twixt entrance and bloody great construction pit.
- More sympathtic architecture, the seemless blending of building styles...
- The ubiquitous Queen Victoria, Parliament House.
Anyhoo, yes, booked this ages ago and as all tickets were non refundable, I went. Besides, it was The Saints. Live on stage. For one show only. Like hell I was gonna miss that.
So, late night at work, packing consisting of throwing stuff wildly in direction of interstate bag (fortunately I have a special travelling kit so there's no need to rummage in the bathroom cabinet no more). I must brag that my bag going up weighed a mere 69g, that's grams, dearie, to those who scoff at the idea of me packing light. There is a difference between what I take for four weeks (12 kg, mostly my enormous jeans) and four days.
Up at 3am, off to airport for 6am flight - just made it thanks to the slowest taxi driver on the planet (oh where was the one that made me sick the night before going round bends at 10gs, I lamented). Get into Bris-Vegas tennish after a roundabout route in the airport shuttle bus. I wasn't bothered. I chose the bus over the train because the bus into Singapore reminded me of the bus into Brisbane but upon closer reflection, not a bit of it. At least this time the route took in a few little suburbs still adorably cute with old fashioned Australian architecture. It really felt like home (because home has been bulldozed). Very nostalgic. Which was they key note of the whole weekend.
So Friday was sightseeing day. Nothing wildly exotic, just a wander up to the town hall where they had an exhibition on Cook's landing sites consisting of a series of photographs of Cook memorials around the globe (he was a well travelled fella) and the requisite angsting over first contact and what not.
Best, and quite adored by me, was the exhibition on the flicks in Brisbane. This was gorgeous. Small, but amusing, with a little cinema set up with canvas seats like the old days showing old news reels and a trailer for Kangaroo, which was (unintentionaly) hilarious. There were also some great clips from 1899 taken by a chap from the Dept of Ag who seemed to have gone a bit off topic but the clips of crowds at stations and men off to the Boer War were fascinating. Loved it to bits.
Then I wandered down to St John's which boasted stained glass windows and tapestries. The windows were okay, if a little modern for my tastes, but the tapestries were hysterical. Not, as I'd hoped, ye olde ripoffs but stuff straight out of a Women's Weekly knitting pattern. Oh my. Queensland, where Edna Everage still rules, I see. How quaint. How cute.
Then I wandered up to the art gallery via the Queen St Mall. Stopped for an outrageously priced lunch in a "British" pub but the pint certainly cheered me up. Which is how I discovered that the impressionists are best seen completely pished, or at least wobbling on the fine line of happily buzzed. Mersyndols + beer + impressionists = trippy. Oh yeah, the only shopping I did on Queen St Mall was: one packet super pads, one hot water bottle and one packet of mersyndols, for which I had to fill out reams of paper for, funny bananabenders. Timing, eh? Tried not to let it crimp my style but it was a bad 'un so there was some crimping, but fortunately Oz hotels run to kettles so there was tea and hot water bottles and towels so all was as well as it could be.
Anyhoo, loved the gallery. They had some nice Chinese/Korean/Japanese/Iranian pots on long term loan from Shaghai and the Smithsonian (more should do that, it's not fair the V&A has tonnes of stuff languishing in vaults and we have nowt to see) but the paintings I really adored. A small but pert collection. Especially loved the autumny one with the red apples, but it was while I was staring deep into the heart of Degas that I could swear I could hear Morrissey. I stopped, I lisened. I could hear Morrissey. And I could, as I discovered, for three rooms later I found Jarman's clip for The Queen is Dead being projected up onto a wall.
So I sat in front of it and let me tell you, that big and flashy - that was trippy (and possibly why I was having nightmares about the Winchesters and the Eros statue the next day - Dean! Don't blink! - because, weirdly, there was an enormous poster of the Winchesters in the window of the Virgin Megastore at Picadilly on my last day in London and well, weird how my poor brain works but that must have been what triggered it). So I skipped round more paintings, each one rooly, rooly good, and then onto the Oz stuff, also with many fine works to adore but my fave is the jacaranda one. This is why I weep blood for the chopped down tree that was such a part of my life.
And, to my delight, they had even more clips from the 1899 Dept of Ag camera and I watched them all, entranced. Too bad it's not on dvd - should be, being govt owned and all.
Friday night was spent cocooned in bed with blankies, hot water bottle and Jonas pouting ever so prettily on tiny hotel telly (later I was to discover that a power outage had killed my pvr timer so no Pete for me, or you, as I was gonna try and upload it). And that was the last of Jonas, too, boo hoo. Time will tell as to whether the withdrawal kicks in hard like it has for the Winchesters (most unexpected, that). The only thing I've got going on is Doctor Who and Torchwood, and not even that as I fell asleep during Torchwood, despite my best efforts (and it was the only good episode, too, the evil petal choking fairies one).
Saturday: Pig City! Wallowed in bed until 10am then it was up and down to the quay to catch a rivercat to the UofQ where the concert was being held. That was nice. AS was lying around in the sun by the duckpond waiting for the gates to open. I could tell this was going to be a mellow gathering of mature-aged fans, and why not? We all remarked how it was nice to be amongst our own and not mocked by the young uns, cause it's unfair, we all grew up on punk and grunge, where are we to go, what are we to do? There should be more retro gigs, and not just for boomers. In fact I was bemused at the stalls selling cutsey stuff - they should have had stalls selling pension plans - grin.
The whole thing was under an enormous big top, which saved in sunburn, but it was so cold. I had no idea QLD got that cold. Sadly on account of cramps that could have had me biting through a solid steel bar I had to sit up the back on some hasily erected tiered seating they'd set up for the aged and infirm (oh dear) instead of popping up the front. Oh well. Also, pylon vision. As in a giant pylon in my line of sight, but that was also to be borne. And sadly it wasn't until the fith band that I really unclenched my jaw, but I ewnjoyed ScreamFeeder and the Ups and Downs and the Pineapples but when the Riptides came on - yay. I adored the Riptides, followed 'em round, even had the t-shirt but I couldn't remember a single song, until they started, then they were all there, all the lyrics. Heh. I'm still humming Hearts and Flowers, btw. The 'Gurge were good, and Dave McCormack too. The GoBetweens tribute was woeful though. Brilliant as those songs are, even they had some hard work trying to stay ahead of versions rendered by a school brass band and a Cyndi Lauper wannabe. Yikes.
And there there were The Saints. Magic. Just magic. So worth the wait, the miles, the expense, the everything. I so adore them. I've always adored them. Btw, that was them making a cameo in Return of the Saint. I once saw it on a tiny b/w telly at midnight and I could swear it was them but Chris Baily, that lying fiend, swore it was not. Well, I've got the dvd now, Chris, you old dog, and it is so you there, sharing screen time with Ian Ogilvy. Heh.
Anyways, after the concert, oh, how ironic, I did get stranded. It was nearly a case of begging for a lift from The Saints - again.
Oh, aside from the music and atmosphere, which was just so great, full praise to the organisers for the superior number of girl loos and the speed between bands - stuff was changed over real fast. I also liked the slide shows that flashed up old poster art - so evocative of old memories, I could smell the old inner city streets, and the mini docos that set the time and place. Horrifying actually. QLD really was a police state, no hyperbole, brought alarmingly to life by the footage of cops going after and bludgeoning a young woman (to screams from the audience) and then the Channel Seven camera man (more screams). Harrowing stuff. It'll be a while before I forget that long since rcorded cry oh "Betty! Look out!" as the cop rolls up his sleeves. The boo that went up when they flashed up pics of old Joh and Russ, it was more than a panto boo, it was visceral.
From this, argues the book, sprung a fiesty music scene. Or, as Kev Carmody put it: from little things, big things grow.
All in all, a stunning concert. Wonderful. Loved it. Very nostalgic but without being cheesy or force-fed, it just was, you know. More like finding a packet of old photos than one of those awful packaged lets laugh at the 80s shows. It was, to me, very personal, but possibly because, for once, this was nostalgia I'd actually lived.
Ah, ya shoulda been there.
Sunday was spent wallowing but I did wander down to Old Government House which was closed, but still nice to look at and I guessed it's date of construction when questioned so yay me. Then I toured Pariament House, which was much like this old building, all grand staircases and the like and I got to bounce my blood soaked butt in Beattie's chair, which was fun (not that I have anything against PB, but he'll do for a proxy). Wandered through the gardens, up Queen Street Mall again and then it was wallowing until my flight back on Monday.
Went straight to the hospital and found mother in tears so that was horrible. Was there for hours trying to comfort her. On Tuesday my boss was so mean she made me cry. So needed that. And now I gotta go visit Mum again. Laters.
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