Tuesday, 2nd August, 2005
I am seated at a rickety table in a typical Dublin pub, all dark scratched wood and chalkboards advertising how late they’re open. Breakfast at 11am, day two of my jet lag and already feeling pretty good. Out the window I can see a small but busy forked intersection lined with shops. KFC, Pizza Hut, pub, hardware shop, pub, restaurant, pub, barber, pub, pub, etc.
My Dad would LOVE this place. Not because of the wide selection of alcohol – he hates the stuff – but because they’re playing all his favourite bands through the house music system. So far I’ve recognised quite a few, but of those could only name Elvis and The Beatles.
“Stop, children, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s goin’ down…”. Who sang that song? It’s great.
I’m struck by the genetics of this place. In Melbourne I have a few friends with Irish heritage, and never assumed that their features were more specialised than “generic white person”. Now I see their faces and bodies in presumably unrelated people on the street.
“Louie Lou-ay, ho baby, [unintelligable]”. That song rocks. Who the Hell sang it? (For bonus points, explain the lyrics)
I’m staying on the floor of my friend Anna’s place. Yesterday afternoon was spent talking and drinking. In the evening we went out with her friend Paul to the Gay and Lesbian film festival, specifically to see a collection of short films from Japan (Anna studied Japanese at high school and Uni, and lived there for a while on exchange). The session was introduced by an ebullient middle-aged dyke who raved briefly about how much fun they had “bringing the films to us”. Maybe they should have watched them before bringing them, because even through a (very) dense fog of lager I could tell that these films were totally lame: filmed on a handycam, packed with seeming in-jokes, ham-handed visual metaphors and stylised editing at the expense of any real meaning or entertainment value. In protest I burped, slumped in my chair and fell asleep. From the time the first short ended, large groups of people were walking out in boredom and disgust. Eventually I fell awake (that sensation you get when you fall asleep drunk and keep falling until you pop out the other side) and threw myself at the aisle.
“That’s alright, that’s alright, that’s alright now Momma, any way you doooo”. Aha! Elvis.
Moving backwards in time, as stories often don’t, the flights to London were increasingly long and awkward. Brisbane to Singapore I was crammed in the normal seating arrangement rather than an exit row seat, which meant that whenever the person in front of me leaned back I had to lean my own chair back and tuck my legs into the aisle. On the plus side, I had a spare seat to the right of me for all my junk.
The ten-plus hour flight from Singapore to London was a nightmare. I was in the back row of the plane, no spare seats beside me, and my seat didn’t really lean back because the wall was behind it. As a result, I was hardly able to sleep because this time, when the person in front of me leaned back, my legs had to curl up like two thick snakes in a tiny jar of formaldehyde.
On the plus side, NOTHING. Oh, no, wait. I was seated next to an interesting 30-something New Zealander returning from a wedding in Christchurch to London, where she’d run her own business for the last 6 years and lived for 9. I plied her with an annoying barrage of questions intended to scrape shavings of wisdom from her life into my mental petri dish for later examination.
“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore”. Dean Martin! Now I feel old.
My last few days with Frances and Daniel and their young brood were lovely. We had a really good, relaxed weekend, and I got the impression that it was an improvement over recent times when they have suffered waves of colds and flu, as well as the usual troubles making ends meet and building their future. We had conversations long into the night about family, raising children, what’s wrong with the world and how to fix it. We learned a lot from each other, and I think our relationship shifted gears a little.
We went for a bushwalk and barbecue on Saturday, and to the Brisbane museum on Sunday.
“La la laaaa laaaa la la”. Well, that could be anyone.
Time has flown, it’s now almost 12. I need to get out and see Dublin, buy some food for dinner, run a few errands.
“I’ve been workin’ all day, all day, all day…”. No idea.