Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Notions Recollected In Tranquility

I Came, I Saw, Icon
Everything in Melbourne is an icon, but some things in Sydney are an icon too. Gowings was an icon; so was Valhalla Picture theatre, but they both closed down. Norton Street is an icon, and Glebe Point Road was an icon - or is in the process of becoming something that once was an icon. How many icons does Sydney have? From my cosy abode on Paramatta Road, it was rather hard to work out over the traffic. On Saturday night, I decided to take a walk down to Norton Street, perhaps pick up a meal, and see a film. Norton Street was absolutely packed, full of yuppies and yeppies making puppy eyes at one another over bowls of industrial-strength al-dente pasta. After a while, I began to feel guilty about even thinking of getting a meal in one of those places. What would I do, sitting hunched over a table with only my pen and notepad for company while I waited for dinner? It seemed selfish. I'd be just taking the place that a couple could be using. Besides, I was having so much fun taking in all the hotties decorating Norton Street from my vantage point on the footpath. I decided that I had enough to digest already, so I turned into the Palace Picture Theatre to see Wordplay.

1. (across) Nerd God Surrounds Nothing (9)*
As it turned out, I'd been to the Palace before to see 'Being John Malkovich'. It had swanky digs, alright - there was even a fully-blown Italian restaraunt sitting right outside the theatre. More of what I'd seen on Norton Street, really. They had an Italian film festival going, and plenty of people were here to see that, too.
Wordplay is a simple documentary about crossword compilers and crossword solvers. It looks at some of the competing players in the American crossword championships.The nerds were out in full force, with characters who are fond of completing gigantic cryptics in 2 minutes flat, and pointing out obscure anagrams of 'altercations'. Hilarious stuff.

So that was my Norton Street night.

* This caption dedicated to Tony T.

Random Fact
Nothing tastes better than hot pie with sauce and cold ginger beer in a hotel room at midnight.

Let's Get Out Of Here! It's The Bus Appreciation Society!
On Sunday, I shaved, bought the long-sleeved shirt that I forgot to come from Melbourne with, whacked on a bow-tie, and went and caught a bus down Paramatta Road to Glebe. The bus went in stops and starts, with one or two people getting on occasionally. At some point in Annandale, about thirty people got on in one hit. The bus went from being undercrowded to overcrowded, just like that. Is there some Bus Appreciation Society operating in Sydney where people get on just for the pleasure of standing around in public transport?
A couple of stops later, a fat guy jumped off the middle doors and the following dispute occurred between him and the driver.

FAT GUY: Hey driver, why don't you put too many people on the bus, you dickhead!

BUS DRIVER: Screw you!

FAT GUY: (Struggling across a crowded Sydney street and yelling obscenities which we can't hear) *&%&$*%&*%&$(!!!!!!!!

BUS DRIVER: Yeah, maybe I can smell you too, you dick!

Of Beauxs and Ties
Wandering down Glebe Point Road, I thought about going into Sappho Books again as the woman who was there last time was fully hot. Though when I peeked in through the door there was a 50-year-old behind the counter, so I decided not to go in. Not that I think my bow tie and shirt alone would pick up women. You have to, like, totally connect with them and stuff, too.

Here Comes the Bride, the Groom, the Bride's Family looking at the Groom's Family who are carrying suspicious violin cases, the friends, the priest, and some rather curious selected passages from the Song of Solomon.
So! Wedding! Caz told me, a few weeks ago, that she expected my report on the wedding, not only with reference to the musical choices, but also with a full report on bridal gowns, hairstyles, jewellery worn, etc, etc. I'm happy to report that everything went off brilliantly. The wedding was held at a church in a quiet corner of Glebe. I had a quiche and salad at a nice little cafe on Glebe Point Road before wandering down the side street in sunlight with a McSweeney's book to keep me company. A photographer turned up shortly afterwards. He was followed by the groom's older brother, in a sleek black car, wearing a tuxedo, dark glasses, and a red hat, joking that people would have looked at him suspiciously if he carried a violin case. I turned out to be the only guy not wearing a tux.
The wedding was well planned. It had to be, being the joining together of A, the groom (from a Maltese/Australian family) and L., the bride (from a Chinese/Australian family). The ceremony itself was Catholic, but had been chosen to coincide with an auspicious day on the Chinese calendar (apparently there are only four or five such days every year). The music was tastefully selected, with simple selections from Bach and Purcell. The bride wore the classic bridal dress, with a simple white necklace and hair done in a fancy curly way. (I'm sorry, I can't be any more specific than that).

I nearly pissed myself laughing when S., brother of the groom, got up and read this passage from The Song of Solomon:
As the apple tree among the trees of the wood,
so is my beloved among the sons.
I sat down under his shadow with great delight,
and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
He brought me to the banqueting house,
and his banner over me was love.

I've known these guys for ages, and I was surprised how S. could actually get up there and read the whole thing without cracking up. Actually, I think that I was the one who'd first shown them these saucy passages in the Bible. (The holy father who was presiding over the ceremony was so moved that he actually said the word 'erotic' in church. )

Everyone's a yolker (amusing anecdotes about eggs.)
The reception was on The Rocks, looking over the harbour. I went along with the parents and some family friends to help string up some lanterns outside, and then we stood around in the sunlight while waiting for the place to be opened up. Little yachts bobbed by on the water, and at one point, for no reason, a huge barge barged through until we couldn't see it behind the hotel (we all found that rather bemusing). I sat at a table with P. and G. and we started talking about Collingwood and Coburg. Later, the father of the bride came around to our table and thanked us all for coming. When he was called to speak later in the night, we weren't sure what to expect, but it was interesting - consisting mostly of a little humiliation of A. and amusing anecdotes about L. and how she once threw an egg yolk into a bin as a kid ('that was the only time I ever remember her being naughty' he said). S. got up and read from an old school report of Aaron's that he'd dug up before quipping that he reserved the first bridal dance for himself.
Later, they started playing some weirdo 80s and 90s dance tracks. Since it seemed to be a time for guys to make a goose of themselves on the dance floor, I actually got up and made a goose of myself as well. Maybe it was the alcohol.
All in all, it went off wonderfully.

BONUS! Icon Count
Which is more iconic? Glebe Point Road in Glebe, Norton Street in Leichhardt, or King Street in Newtown? Let's consider the pros and cons:

Pro: Cafe Badde Manors is still in business.
Con: More touristy venues.
Pro: Glebe Markets are still cool.
Con: Valhalla has closed down.

Pro: Hot Italian girls.
Con: No secondhand bookstore (that combined secondhand/firsthand bookstore opposite the shopping centre doesn't count).
Pro: Palace picture theatre, doing extremely well.
Con: Yuppiefication seems imminent.

Pro: The new store Elizabeth's Books, which made me think of Elizabeth Street in Melbourne, and with a decent range. (Although no humour bookshelf that I could make out).
Con: Working class lefties have all moved out, to be replaced by Uni Class lefties.
Pro: Pulp Books.
Con: Pulp Books was closed when I came round Sunday morning. (How could you do this to me, Carvan!)


nailpolishblues said...

I'm a King Street kid. It's local, I never feel any weirder than anyone else [actually, I frequently feel like a narc, it's rather odd], and holds some of my favourite shops and drinking experiences. Also, it's just down the road from my fav drinking hole - proximity and a stunningly beautiful bar-boy maketh a home from home... Dendy doesn’t suck, either, well, aside from the rabbit warren layout. I think, though, that I love any cinema where you can booze as you view.

Never was a fan of Glebe Point Road - for some reason every time I venture down that way I come home feeling disappointed without ever knowing why. I went and saw a really shit film at Valhalla not long before it closed down. I'll miss seeing films there, but not that one.

And Norton Street, oh fucking Norton Street - gets more pretentious by the night. I think that what I dislike about Norton Street is the feeling that I'm simply too poor to be there. I've never had a bad film experience at Palace and love the little bookshop downstairs... But I cannot relax there. My hair is not done enough, nor is my handbag designer, and chic is a foreign word to me.

Tony.T said...

Is that because I like crosswords, am a nerd, or because I hate Being John Malkovich?

TimT said...

Nails - is it that bad, eh? I'm still mourning the death of that secondhand poetry bookshop. I was looking forward to getting something from them. Strangely, when I left the cinema after seeing the film all the restaurant goers had disappeared and drunk Italian guys were hooning up and down the street shouting at one another.
When I saw my brother on Saturday arvo he told me he had NEVER HEARD of Glebe Point Road. He's lived in Sydney for, oh, six years!

Tony - because you're probably about the only one clever enough to figure out the caption!
What's wrong with 'Being John Malkovich', anyway? I thought it was original and took the piss out of Malkovich brilliantly.

Caz said...

For a bloke, you've done well [mumbled begrudgingly]. Reviewing a wedding is no easy thing.

Your description of bridal accessories was a little eccentric: "a simple white necklace". Hmm. There are white necklaces?

Your far more technical description of the bridal hair was appreciated: "hair done in a fancy curly way".

You omitted the bridesmaids entirely.

I'm very glad they got married on an auspicious day. I just wish I knew when those days were each year. I know I shouldn't sleep in the coffin position, or have water in the back right quadrant ...

TimT said...

There was only one bridesmaid, her sister, wearing a peach-coloured dress and carrying roses of the same colour. The groom and the best man and the Dad had a rose pinned to their tuxes too. They omitted a couple of the normal wedding details - the wedding march (usually Wagner or Mendelson) and, obviously, the throwing of the bouquet.

I was trying to think of ways to describe the bridal gown, but got really stumped. Who knew clothes were so complicated?

I think the auspicious days depend on when you're born. They'd have to, otherwise you'd have all the Chinese getting married on the same day ...

Tony.T said...

No idea. Give us a hint. THe first letter, maybe.

nailpolishblues said...

So, absinthe?

TimT said...

Obviously I don't do enough cryptics! The word's a bit obscure I guess, but I'm sure I have seen it before. First letter is G and the 'God' being referred to is Indian.

Ras - *weeps* no! Various amounts of beer and wine though.

TimT said...

Or is there an unwritten rule against using that sort of word in crosswords? In Wordplay, there were tonnes of weird words. 'Batteau Boi.' What the hell is that?

nailpolishblues said...

Um, other hallucinogenics...?

TimT said...

Alternative clue: 'Eager amok' rearranged.

Okay, okay, maybe I should have tried a different word ...

Nicholas said...

How? I forgot to adjust my alarm clock for daylight savings, that's how.

TimT said...

Understandable. Daylight savings is a terrible, terrible thing.

Anonymous said...

lmao! you mistook nails for me, i dont know whether she should be angry or not.

Thats a question I would have asked though...

I demand a tour of Melbournes Absinthe Bars when I get there late december!

I like King St, probably because its where I usually stay as my
sister live in the Georgia Apartments Building above one of the many thai resturants.

Sounds like a nice wedding as far as weddings go. Cant say I"m a fan of them myself, to go to or to have...not that i've ever had one.

TimT said...

Did I just do that? I think I did. I bury my head in shame.

I'll let you and Nails decide the members of the assassination squad.

Tony.T said...

Nup, not here. Anyone?

Anonymous said...

tony.t Nerd God surrounds nothing.... what is the go with cryptic, isnt the first part something and the last part means something?

nerd god
Gates? Hawking? Spock? Picard?

TimT said...

The answer, for what it was worth, was:



Tony.T said...

Yeah, that works out fine by the rules of cryptics. Just I've never heard of a geekorama. Did you make that up?

TimT said...

I've used it before, but I thought I got it from somewhere. Bit of a pop-culture thing, though. Though I just checked, and it's not in Macquarie or Dictionary online.

Tony.T said...

I thought the clue read as:

Nerd = God surrounding O.

In other words, I was looking for something like "gan - o - esh" meaning geek, pinhead, poindexter, etc

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