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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Road Trip to Quandialla #1

I had lots of mates at uni, but time being what it is, and the fickle nature of art school being what it is, I’ve lost contact with most of them.
Two of my favourites, though, are Sarah (‘Cuzza’) and Milly, and I think our (mostly email-based) friendship has endured, despite the tyranny of distance, because of our mutual intense love of art, music, and topical social commentary. And like, beer. And making up words for stuff.

Milly lives in the Blue Mountains (I’d call her ‘Mountain Milly’, but I’ve started sniggering already), and Sarah lives in Quandialla, in south-western New South Wales. If I was my Dad, I could say “Quandialla is X number of kilometres East of West Wyalong, and equidistant from thingo and whatsit”. But I’m not, so I’ll just say it’s half an album away from Grenfell by car.

Sarah is married to the very worthy Trev, and they live on a merino stud. About seven months ago, Trev was kind enough to knock our mate Sarah up, so Milly and I kind of invited ourselves to an old fashioned country baby shower last weekend. I hadn’t seen Milly in over a year, and neither of us had seen Sarah for the better part of a decade, so, in Milly’s words, we were a bit Big Dead Kev about the whole trip.

I buggered off from work early on Friday and jumped on a train to Valley Heights, or as Milly calls it, Australia’s Most Oxymoronic Suburb. Milly picked me up from the station and we began the first leg of the trip to Bathurst, where we were expected at a glass-blower’s exhibition opening at Bathurst Regional Gallery.

Along the way, Milly, who’s a journalist, was kind enough to explain split infinitives to me. Milly used to work at The Picture magazine, and is a perfect example of a cocktail made up of equal parts highbrow and lowbrow. Very carefully and articulately, Milly explained that “She pulled her pants down” is a split infinitive, whereas “She pulled down her pants” isn’t.

We pulled into Bathurst (a spunk of a town, even in the dark) at around 8pm, and found our digs, the Knickerbocker Hotel, without too much trouble. I’d never stayed in a pub before, but I was an instant convert. Cheap, available, and they give you the key to the front door of the pub. Milly and I have decided that we should go on road trips more often, and, inspired by the Knickerbocker, we’re currently planning a tour of Australia’s Pubs Which Are Named After Pants.

Bathurst Regional Gallery is a lovely gallery. Or so I hear. It was closed. In my day (whenever that was – right, Mum?), exhibition openings stayed open until the last pissed art student had drained their final plastic cup of cheap wine, and the last slice of cabanossi had been scavenged and digested. Milly called the glass-blower, and it turned out that most of the gallery-attendees, including our old uni mate Spencer, were only two blocks away at The Family Hotel. I had a crush on Spencer in first year. And now I remember why. Phwoar.

The Family Hotel is a friendly place. Matt the Glassblower and Spencer the Attractive Person introduced us around, and we were given a very un-Sydney-esque welcome. Even the demented ramblings of Peter the Fruitcake were warm and endearing. Sort of. Milly and I gratefully welcomed our first cold beer, and remembered our old uni custom. After chanting "One for me, and one for me mate", we kissed the first beer.

I need to remember one thing about Milly. She is a Champion of the Beer. An Accomplished Drinker. A Journalist. In other words, one should not try to match Milly beer for beer. This is why I ended up handing my black pen to Milly and Spencer and inviting them to give me a couple of tattoos. And I did magic tricks.

Don’t go to nightclubs in Batho. They’re not fun. When you’re a drunk, sleepy tattooed lady, nightclubs in Batho are bad. Milly and I said our goodnights and stumbled up the road to the Knickerbocker to our rooms.


milly said...
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shellity said...

Nice work. So picturesque! I was doing the nostril-dance enthusiastically. Can't wait for the second instalment.

shellity said...

Further, I particularly liked the way you measure distance in musical works. I think it should become a geographical standard. For example:
"How far away is your house from the shops?"
"Oh, not far. The roadie would still be onstage"
"Daddy, how long would it take to get to the moon?"
"Oooh, it's a ways, son. At least a Mahler symphony. Maybe even a box set".

sketchmonkey said...

i like the fact that the sharpie still comes out and you do magic tricks (and i'm presuming it was with ash!)... i'm so proud of you!