Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Observatory - Mans Worst Friend



The Observatory, Hobarts third best nightspot with a y at the end, isn't feeling like a magical wonderland as I stand in the corner. It's a farewell party for someone, technically a friend, but someone I kinda sorta stopped thinking about at some in 2005, but we're kept together by the chords of fantasy sports games and jibing e-mails that refer to long gone incidents far too tedious to recall. In a moment of eerie presience the DJ seems to be fixated on playing that Brittany Murphy song from a few years ago over and over, which is the first time I've thought of her since my DVD of 8ight Mile got stuck in my Mums player and I had to pull it apart with a screwdriver. The bouncers don't even care anymore, they stand in a semi circle around the dancefloor talking about Manny Pacquiao while a minor disagreement threatens to spill over, and in the far corner, a man with a ruddy complexion and a nose you can use to cut cheese is standing up against the wall, asleep while standing up, long beard flowing across the dance floor, drink precariously hovering in mid air about to crash down onto the ground and scatter glass at the feet of idling school leavers awkwardly sharing a 1st kiss. 1ne of the bouncers pokes him with a fat Samoan finger, but it doesn't stir the man, and he gives up after a while, going back to his discussion and making ribald suggestions about Rihanna that he would never have the self confidence to assert if he actually met her. My friend is tired, and I realise I should say something profound about our friendship - but there's not much to say, and so I just buy him another drink as he begins to talk idly about how the barmaid won't accept his gift vouchers. It's 2wo in the morning, when such things really matter. The 2wo guys who were fighting are now being ticked off by a bouncer, and shaking hands like naughty school kids caught in the playground punching on and made to apologize by the teacher.

The barmaids name was Carmela. She was younger than I ever remember being, the kind of young where every birthday is still exciting and lifes horizons are no broader than finding out the latest sparkle to stick on your mobile phone. She has a tattoo on her arm that snakes and cascades, and she says it's tribal. I say it's shite, because cocktails provoke forthrightness. She giggles in a corporate way all service staff are required to and pours me a cocktail. It's my final drink, and I indicate as much. I'm miles away from being drunk, having drunk water for most of the night in a follied attempt to stay up for some soccer later on that night. My knowledge of popular culture allows me to talk openly about the band of youngsters cavorting around the stage. It's lucky I'm not drunk, I'd think she liked me, but I can see she doesn't. Since her eyes trail 1ne of her co-workers around the bar and back again, and our chat, while brief, is meaningless, and I don't think I'm 100 times cooler than I actually am. There's a thumping dance beat on the video screen, but no thumping dancers. She's peturbed by the empty dance floor, the lack of business tonight, and in the middle of her chat drops in the word perspicacity, which you certainly don't get from the tiny blonde hairdresser barmaid at Customs House. That 1ne couldn't spell perspex. Her co-worker wipes some spillage off the bar though, and she turns into the hairdresser barmaid, speaking in short, breathy sentences in his direction, and saying no words longer than cat for the whole conversation. She finishes by tossing her hair and giggling like an idiot. When he leaves, she tries to pretend nothing has happened and return to normal, but I must have an expression on my face of surprise at her suddenly beimg dumb struck. She shrugs, says like you've never pretended to be something to get a girl, then goes off to tell 1ne of the bouncers the girl with the angel wings on has vomited again. The girl with the angel wings, I can confirm, is vomiting, although it's short, struggling gasps rather than anything significant or messy. She has 3hree colours in her hair that don't conform to nature, a big hole at the top of her tights, some hastily created angel wings, and she's vomiting on the floor of Hobarts 3hrd best nightclub that ends in a Y. She looks plaintively up at a bouncer who's about to kick her out and 2wo of her concerned friends who are stroking her wings in consolation and says she's too old for this shit. Whatever this shit is, I'm afraid I can only concur, but I've some well worn anecdotes to recount over my final expensive cocktail of the evening...

I don't know that I've ever pretended to be something to get a girl, I can't imagine wandering around a nightclub saying I was a spy or a merchant banker just to impress some1ne. I don't have the presence, I don't have a great ability to lie under disco lights. My cousin, the 1ne who died, used to buy sports tracksuits from his local market and pretend he just signed for whatever team tracksuit he had bought. His attempt at a New Zealand accent 1ne night was Guttenbergesque, but he still picked up a Blackpool barmaid. I tell this to my friend, as another of the travelling party we're hanging out with - who earlier bought me drinks and said his wife was his "better ho", Stephon Marbury style - has decided the girl with the angel wings is his perfect pick up, and he nods but he's not really listening. The girl with the angel wings somehow managed not to be thrown out despite her stomach troubles, or lack of support from her store bought Kayser Platinum. My farewelling friend looks quite sad to be honest, which for a man of exceeding self confidence is surprising, but then it is his farewell. I can only hope at this point he doesn't put his arm around me and say I'm his besht mate. Luckily the man asleep in the corner wakes up and causes a kerfuffle - I love that word so much - and is dispatched into the street with pretty aggressive kick. It is, in the words of Christian Bale, fucking distracting, but in a good way. My friend had wanted to say something I'm sure, a thankyou for coming or something like that, but in the end it was all lost in the kicking up the arse, appallingly sloppy pashing on the dancefloor, and the fact that the kerfuffle allowed him to simply go with the tried and tested conversation - remember that time at work with the water bottle. Oh yes...see I'm male. It's far better this way. When my Dad is proud of me, he doesn't tell me, he just puts a cup of tea on and breaks out the good biscuits. It's better to leave on these terms quietly and quickly with a short wave...and far better than awkward morning regrets when you stay out too long and see, and I mean these on both sides given the pashing going on on the dancefloor, exactly what you've picked up the night before...

The man asleep in the corner at the Observatory is 1ne in front of me in the queue for the taxi on the way home. He's doing an involuntary Tassie 2wo step, hopping from foot to foot, at any moment likely to snap in the kind of violent outburst the Mercury warned me about. He folds him arms, then unfolds them, then puts them by his side, then folds them again, perpetual motion, all leading to a grievance of some kind. He also has a cut lip, and the taxi driver at the front of the queue won't pick him up, instead driving off and leaving both of us standing there. I know the grievance look by heart - my Dad has it all the time when he's drinking. It's usually about how his Dad never loved him. Sadly for me, I've got 1ne of those retro New Zealand cricket tops on, the beigey 1ne Richard Hadlee used to wear. Mums right, I shouldn't wear it out, but it's so damn comfy. I think for a moment he's going to racially abuse me, but instead his gaze falls on the girl with the angel wings and my earlier Stephon Marbury aping friend, who are walking along the path engaging in a quite open, but utterly wrong display of open mouth pashing. He stops moving and narrows his eyes as he watches them disappear down a lane in Salamanca, his entire body leaning forward, as if the weight of the world has been lifted from his shoulders. He then swears really loudly into the air, and begins laughing. Out of nervousness, I laugh to, as if to say, hey, yeah, that's pretty messed up those 2wo huh, now please don't stab me. He then begins to walk all the way towards to Irish Murphys, on unsteady legs, just yelling something that I think is supposed to be get a room, but ends up being geratraotoon, and he collapses giggling face down on the path, where he still may be for all I know. I look up at the Observatory as I get into my taxi, and my farewelling friend is now on the top deck. At least i think it's him, sitting on 1ne of the couches, talking to a girl I know works in the ANZ bank who manages to mix the hotness of the average 60tys model - big beehive look, very Longet - and somehow the earnest sadness of a suburban poet as she stares across the counter. At least, that's what I think I see, I can't vouch for it. I hope that's what I saw anyway. Farewell my friend - we will always have the water bottle...good times...truly, good times...

As for me, I go home, put some Megan Washington on, and go straight to sleep, having picked up nothing but fatigue...

8 comments:

Baino said...

Dunno why you still go clubbing although it's good fodder for the blog. I have a friend, much younger than me, who has a knack for languages. He's not fluent but manages to convince the most gullible of girls that he's Polish, or a Kiwi or an Iraqi. . . it impresses for a while but he's but ugly so still can't pull the chicks.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas Miley!

Kath Lockett said...

'having picked up nothing but fatigue'. Oh Miles, that is so clever, so beautiful and so sad!

Kath Lockett said...

'having picked up nothing but fatigue'. Oh Miles, that is so clever, so beautiful and so sad!

Kath Lockett said...

Oh Miles. That's so sad...

....now I've just returned from two weeks in Tassie and walked past Syrup nightclub and said to Sapph and LC, "MILES MCCLAGAN WRITES ABOUT THIS PLACE", thus earning the scorn of all the 5pm trendy wannabes staring at the 41 year old woman wearing a sun hat and a large camera bag....

Baino said...

Miles? You still there? It's been a while?

Kris said...

Where are ye?

Ann ODyne said...

'very Longet' ... and which album cover are you referring to?
you are a delight. a quiet one this year, but still a delight.

BwcaBrownie said...

oh Baino I cannot let that 'ugly' comment pass without saying that intelligent women are NOT slaves to physical attributes.
I am not put off by baldness, or spectacles (so exciting when they are removed with intent) or anything a man might fret about.
I think your mate puts them off by that kidding. If I was the chick, I would think he had assumed I was an idiot.
Repulsive looking guys who married hot chicks: Lacan that famous philosopher, and Salman*Rushdie.
Tell your mate to change his act to poor little hopeless lost boy. Even hot chicks have mothering instincts ... oh you poor thing let me hug you, wash your shirts, cook you breakfast etc etc

(Hi Miles!)