What I did on my holidays – Back in Perth

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Friday, out of Mark and John’s place (very nice too) by 9.30, which is pretty good for me. I’m hoping to master the public transport system today. I think I‘ve got the buses down pat ($1.70 to Anita’s; $2.40 to M+J’s) but they have some sort of beepy card system that the locals all flash at a screen. I’ve a feeling it’s that automatic system that they were planning for Sydney back before the Olympics. Nearly 10 years on it still hasn’t been achieved. Perhaps someone from Transperth can come over to Sydney and have a chat.

–+–

I’m on a train out to Fremantle to explore the markets and the neighbouring streets: Cappuccino Strip for one. It’s on the list they give you when you fist arrive, you see: Ring the bell in the Tower, go see the stuffed bison, have a coffee on Cappuccino Strip. I’ve done one of the three so far, will probably pass on the bell, but must have that coffee. On the subject, I’ve just realised that I got a cup of tea ready this morning then forgot all about it. Be nice and strong when I get back.

The train system seems to be on a 2-hour ticket. There’s no return ticket but there is an all day. This trip to Fremantle, it works out cheaper just to buy another ticket when I get there for return.

–+–

So that was Fremantle. I had a coffee and eggs benedict (with the greatest poached eggs eva!), then went to the markets and bought a new shoulder bag … and that was it. I’m not interested in the maritime museums (they have two), and I find prisons just a little distasteful – Ok, I get it! They had small rooms! They suffered! Don’t you think it’s about time ya built a bridge? (Of course I can say this being an overfed white male Generation-Xer with a secure well-paid job and a tertiary education) – so after wandering around the second hand bookshops for a while, trying to remember who wrote Dangerous Liaisons, I got back in the train and went back to the city.

I think the problem is I keep trying to talk up (think up?) what Perth is, making it bigger than it really is. As pleasant as Fremantle was I didn’t see any reason to hang around any longer and was more interested in just going home to Mark and John’s and, well, read a book. Perhaps it’s time that I started relaxing on this holiday and do nothing?

–+–

Back in the city I went to the State Library and did some research for my Beautiful Creature.

The Macquarie Australian Slang Dictionary (2004) had this to say:

brasco a toilet. Recorded first in 1955, defined as ‘the dummy at a showground’. Some have conjectured that it arose from a toilet manufacturer named Brass Co. – but there is no confirmation that such a company existed. At any date, it is pronounced with a short ‘a’, not the long ‘a’ of ‘brass’.

Stunned Mullet & Two-pot Screamers: A Dictionary of Australian Colloquialism; Fifth Edition (Oxford University Press. G. A. Wilkes, 2008) defines with the more polite “lavatory”. It also lists the first written use with a possible origin:

1967 King’s Cross Whisper No 32, 6: Brasco: Toilet. A play on words, ‘where the brass nobs go’.

The most recent use being:

2002 Australian 30 August, 17: The boutique brasco [heading to article on new fashions in toilets]

Can also be spelt brassco, brascoe and brasker

Now, someone told me that the word had an American origin due to the US Navy coming over in WWII, with the toilets in the American ships being made by Brass Co. I searched through all the American lingo and colloquialism and slang books but couldn’t find any evidence of this.

As a sort of bibliography (and thoroughness) I also referred to A Dictionary of Australian Underworld Slang (Oxford University Press, 1993, Gary Simes).

–+–

After dinner (where I had the most fantastic osso buco in the history of all osso bucos) M+J and I went to the Court so I can see the Friday crowd. Had a great time. They have this back beer garden area that they have covered with a large permanent tarpaulin tent thing. It was interesting to see the night fill up; we got there about 9.30 and it doesn’t really get going to after 10 – ever half hour a new level of people would pour in. There is also a separate dance floor with a separate DJ, and the front bar, which I think was playing R & B music videos (what’s with all the damn R & B, the worst style of music ever invented?). We stayed to stumps – 2am – by which time I had knocked off seven pints, so that’s… let’s see:

7 x 570ml = 3990ml

which is:

3990ml ÷ 425ml = 9.4 schooners

Gosh!

Fell straight to sleep when we got home. Felt right as rain in the morning. Mark was pretty much okey doke too, especially considering we were basically going one for one throughout the night, though we all did start the new day very late.

What did we do Saturday? The boys took me to see the ocean, which was lovely, then, after perving on some incredibly hot surfers standing with their suits rolled down to their hips, we strolled the boardwalk at Sorrento Quay, sort of what Darling Harbour used to be before it went commercial. The Quay is your traditional touristy souvenir type place but there were also two English lolly shops (where I picked up some steak and onion chips and some marshmallow wafers dipped in chocolate – delicious!) and – which I’m still trying to understand – an Everything Egypt store. This concept shop sold Pharaohs, little figurines of black pointy nosed dogs, scarab beetle wall hangings and other paraphernalia that has come to be associated with Ancient Egypt thanks to the Mummy series of movies (Funnily enough, in the city a few days later I walked past another of these Everything Egypt stores. I wouldn’t have imagine that there was that much of a demand but maybe it’s the picture framers all over again?). Sitting on the water’s edge we feasted on fish and chips and more vinegar that can be possibly good for you. Unfortunately we needed to get back home to prepare for Mark’s birthday party otherwise we could have stayed and watched the sun set. I still haven’t seen the sun set but I understand it’s pretty magical considering it sinks into the Indian Ocean; I’m looking forward to the sizzle and the steam.

Mark’s party was a great success with lots of booze, lots of nibbles and lots of friends. I got chatting all friendly like to one fellow named José, who I had jokingly said earlier that day that I would date someone called José simply ‘cos he’s called José. The party ended with José, two lesbians and myself commandeering the ipod and playing DJ and taking requests for people’s favourite songs. Bananarama’s Love in the First Degree got a very early playing, I can tell you! So then about seven or eight of us piled into some cars and headed for the Court.

Now it gets a little weird and messy. I probably should add here that at the party I had drunk at least a bottle of white wine, 6 or 7 vodka jelly shots, and a Jäger bomb, which is a shot glass of Jägermeister dropped into a glass of Red Bull which you then scull. So I’d had my fair share of booze. Anyway, as we’re walking to the Court I lent one of the girls my leather jacket as she was feeling the cold, the rest of us had drunk enough to be protected from the elements, so at the Court she’s got my jacket and I’m just in a shirt, a very fetching shirt but just a shirt none-the-less. Mark buys the first then half an hour later I go the far far back bar to get the next round.

With me so far?

Now, at the bar was a bunch of BLONDE PERKY STRAIGHT WOMEN all standing around in that blasé way that BLONDE PERKY STRAIGHT WOMEN have that fully inconveniences everyone else as they can’t get past without tripping over their handbags. There’s a gap next to them – about 6 inches, no more – so I walk up and with my hands squeeze my way in, opening my hands apart as if I was giving a sermon, and gently – I said GENTLY – eased – NOT PUSHED – aside one of the BLONDE PERKY STRAIGHT WOMEN so I could get to the bar. They had all ordered and were just in the way to the bar: YOU DO NOT MILL AROUND A BUSY BAR!!! Anyway, I smiled at the barman and before I could even asked for a drink he, whom we are guessing must have been friends with the girls, gave me this outraged look as if I was wearing a Dirty Sanchez. All of a sudden this Indian bouncer has me by the arm and Mark and I are outside behind a locked corrugated gate garnished with barbwire. The whole thing took a matter of seconds, like some sort of SWAT operative. “What just happened there?” I asked Mark. He just shook his head.

On telling this story to others the next few days many were not surprised. Some told likewise stories of not even being allowed in on numerous occasions as the same bouncer was at the door, others of people being kicked out after being complained about by BLONDE PERKY STRAIGHT WOMEN. It’s all very strange, very serious and very sad. Sunday night I was back at the Court (reason soon) and of the dozen or so people in the entire bar two were a STRAIGHT COUPLE canoodling on the couches. All I could think was: Why? The Court is the only gay bar in all of Perth, and there are plenty of great straight bars with much nicer music and far better beer gardens, so why why why come and kiss and cuddle in the gay bar? What’s the fucking point you are trying to make?

So Mark and I (no jacket) head down to Connections, which is a gay nightclub open one day a week. I don’t remember much (truthfully, I don’t remember anything) but apparently I was chatting to a couple at one point of the piece, but somewhere along the line I got separated from Mark. So now I was jacketless and friendless and far too drunk and in a foreign city. So, in a brief moment of clarity, I said, “Sod this,” and caught a taxi back home; lucky I was able to remember the address. John let me in (he’d stayed home due not being all that able due to a recent knee operation) but there was no Mark. So I went to bed.

In the morning I felt horrendous, though I hadn’t drunk nowhere near as much as I had the night before. What did I do wrong? I mixed my drinks. Mark looked just as bad and spent the whole day either napping or laying on the couch. But he didn’t have my jacket. There was a phone call from the girls: my jacket is in the Court cloakroom and they will be bringing the stub around later. It’s after 5 when they finally show and, even though I know there won’t be a problem, I’m feeling a little frantic at being so long separated from my lovely Target-brand leather jacket. So that night after dinner I go to the Court and pick up my jacket (there was no problem) but then leave after one sole drink. I was expecting Sunday nights in the gay pub in Perth to be like Sunday nights in the gay pub anywhere else – packed with people trying to get that last bit of excitement out of the weekend. As I mentioned before: twelve people. Defeated I went home and to bed early.

–+–

Monday I was all planned to go to the zoo when José rang to see if I’d like to have lunch. I could do the zoo tomorrow, thought I, so slowed down my morning preparation and met up with José at noon. Had a nice time with him then walked him back to his work and then down to check on the zoo ferry timetable. One of the great things about Perth is it has three free travel buses that scoot around the city constantly taking you north/south, east/west or around and out a bit (for wont of a better description). I picked up the timetable and there was one of the buses so I jumped on that and went to Perth’s outlet centre: Harbour Town.

Picked up a nice pair of pants and a nice shirt, which M+J said I must have got from the ladies’ section (doesn’t matter what they think, I like it). Did try on some pants in the Roger David store. They had a stand of 2 for $40, a great bargain, and they were all of patterns that I like, so I grabbed a few pairs of Size 34s and went to the change room. (This isn’t a very interesting story, is it? It does get better… not much but at least better.) In the change room there was a bit of a problem because every pair I tried on… well… they left nothing to the imagination. I don’t know but whatever man they designed these pants to fit obviously does not have a scrotum. I was certainly dressing to the left. Gay Los Angeles men of the late 70’s did not have their balls so fully pushed forward as I was displaying. I had the groin of a rock musician appearing on “Count Down”. I know I’ve put on weight but I don’t think it’s actually possible to have fat testicles. “Is that a kransky and two boiled eggs in your trousers or are you just happy to see me?” DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY – MY PACKAGE WAS ALARMINGLY HUGE! So naturally I bought six pairs.

BOOM BOOM!

No I didn’t; I put them all back and caught the bus back to M+J’s.

Quiet night in with me mostly on the laptop typing in my blog entry (I’ve been very slack for a few days) and the boys upstairs watching taped eps of Home and Away and Eastenders. It’s Mark’s birthday tomorrow (Tuesday) and my last day in Perth. I fly the red eye that night (Wednesday morning) to Melbourne for the next stop on the journey. But now, time for bed.


What I did on my holiday – “Zoo”

Monday 6 July 2009

I did the “Robot” and moss green combo and looked fantastic.

Anita and John’s is one of those townhouses built on the back half of another block so it’s kind of difficult for people to knock on the front door – it’s down a little pathway then through a locked door. I figured it would be easier if I just met the Mark and John out the front; they didn’t seem to mind and were out the front of the house waiting for me when I walked down the path..

So we drove to “Zoo”, which is just around the corner from Mark’s work in Northbridge. Northbridge, from what I can gather, is Perth’s (to use Sydney references) Kings Cross and Chinatown and Oxford Street and George Street, all rolled into one. A kebab shop on every corner, a nightclub in between, some sort of drunken revelry out the front – home away from home for me. “Zoo” is entered via a back laneway past some skip bins – very KX. After the $10 entry fee, the three of us snaked down the darkened path to the dance floor and bar. The space was a pretty accessible one: good sized bar, some lounges in an alcoved section, a hearty dance floor with the DJ booth in one corner, and a smaller back section for standing around. The walls, though, were like black marble (I’m sure they’re just glossy paint) but they made the place look twice as big with little mysterious passageways into exciting little private areas. Even with my glasses on I needed to feel my way around the walls – I walked into my own reflection on more than one occasion. Anyway, bar visited and a drink each, we took up a spot in the little back section, just on the edge of the floor.

Well, M+J seemed to know everyone. All these people kept coming up and saying “hi”. I was well impressed, especially considering they had told me they rarely ventured out. They even knew the organiser, a man who I worked out had served me drinks at the Manacle Bar back in Sydney. Quite handsome he was too. So, people would come and go and I would be introduced to them all. I said to the boys at one stage was social butterflies they seem to be. John assured me if was just because they had “new meat” with them for display. Oh, I thought, but just between you and me I quite liked being described as “new meat”.

We had got there around 10.15ish, and the night was going well, having had a few drinks each. The boys have slowed down – school tomorrow – but I go to get another drink. “I’m sorry,” I’m told by the girl behind the counter, “the bar’s closed.” It was just on midnight.

Twenty minutes later the three of us are standing in the laneway. We would have left sooner but I got confused in the cloakroom (the leather jacket they were trying to give me looked a lot more smart than my actual leather jacket. Turns out it was the right jacket after all, I just didn’t recognise the tag) and so we walked back to the car. I was tempted to get a kebab but I kept the desire tamed; I’m not sure the boys would have appreciated me smelling the car out with garlic sauce. Soon they were dropping me out the front of Anita’s and I made my way through the gate and to bed. I was home in my boxer shorts flicking the light out by a quarter to one.

So that’s the night life of Perth.