Given the blissfully short, three-day week I’d been left with after Easter, I really didn’t feel too bad skipping out early from work on Friday to meet up with my friends Dave and Melinda, who were in town briefly on a tour from Eugene. They had booked an early dinner on a cruise around the harbor, and touristy as it was, I was actually looking forward to getting on the water in anything other than a ferry, plus the food sounded quite good. We caught up, discussed the geography of the place, drank wine, and had a generally good time. After, we braved the post-work weekend crowds at the Opera Bar, so named for its location almost directly under the opera house, which I had never been to but turned out to be the perfect place for after-dinner drinks. We also opted for a few rounds at Cargo, which was blissfully douchebag-free, apart from the doormen at one entrance who wouldn’t let us in because they claimed we needed a membership card, which is a blatant lie.
Some time ago, my recent friend Pete had invited me to pick up his extra ticket to the V Festival, one of the many, many summer music festivals here in Sydney. Checking out the big names in the lineup, I couldn’t really say no: Modest Mouse, Air, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Queens of the Stone Age, Duran Duran, and, best of all, Smashing Pumpkins. It also made me realize that any more, the only concerts I actually want to go to are small indie groups or big names that hit their peak 10 years ago or more. Yet more evidence to me that the big-name record industry has completely lost touch with reality or taste.
So Saturday after a leisurely breakfast (I outright refuse to call it ‘brekkie’, the common term here. What am I, five?), I met up with Pete downtown, where we negotiated the bus system to Centennial Park and cruised into the festival. For the next seven hours, we ate expensive fried food, drank impressively good beer for a music festival, ogled eighteen-year-old girls in extremely small outfits and refused to feel old, and above all, listened to some excellent music in the sun. The Jesus and Mary Chain, for having just come back after almost 20 years, put on one hell of a show. Duran Duran clearly knew how to own the stage, and has lost nothing over the years. But by far the highlight was the Smashing Pumpkins set at the end, as Billy Corgan seemingly called up the lightning with some classics from Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie as a huge storm passed behind the stage, the clouds providing as much of a light show as the stage. The man has serious talent. After braving the crush of people all at least 4 inches taller than me for the beginning of the show, I watched the remainder from the back for a much better view, blissfully nostalgic as the soundtrack of my teenage years that I played over and over in my old Mazda 626 was played to me on stage. It was a perfect finish.
The following morning my friend Daniel from work came and picked me up to get my first taste of Sydney mountain biking out in the bush surrounding Manly on my newly resurrected bike. The day was perfect, sunny and hot but not uncomfortably so, and we bombed down some outstanding sandy singletrack and sandstone rock. We hit it with a ferocity that made me very glad to be riding full suspension, and I managed to come away caked in sandy mud like I’d glued rocks to everything, but otherwise unscathed. We rounded it out with a massive burger down on the beach, and I returned home to enjoy a nice quiet afternoon in the sun.
Apart from the uninteresting details of work, there, in a 3-part nutshell, is where I have been the past few weeks.