Theatre of the bizarre
Is it just me?
I often wonder if i’m the sole inhabitant of this spinning marble in the sky, who steps outside his door and see’s and experiences most everything as though its an onion with the various layers being stripped away .. take Friday night for instance.
I went up to Sydney to watch a band at an RSL, i sort of figure most people would be happy enough with that, if you asked them they would say ‘Yup, saw a band at the club’ but this night for me turned out to be ‘Theatre of the bizarre’. I honestly dont think i’ve ever been to an RSL for entertainment before, and i hadnt really thought about it, but by the end of the night i was totally blown away at just how far removed i am from ‘average suburban life’, when i live in and amongst it .. and this isnt a blog where i’m gonna pick on the locals or hang shit on suburbanites, but for me it was an interesting excercise in how i have managed to stay completely detached from this life(style?) whilst living over the road from it.
I ventured up to Burwood RSL sort of situated in Sydneys South/West area, it was a little corner of Las Vegas hemmed in by semi detached houses. We got there at 7.00pm and the stream of people filing into the club dressed to the nines (well, if truth be told more like the sevens) was amazing, instantly it got me thinking, wow this is THE night for these people, they all seemed to know each other and you could tell that this was the night that they got to really gussy up and smear on the lippy and rouge.
Walking in i was at first confronted by a sign saying ‘No bags or packages over a certain size will be permitted in this club’ .. wow, terrorism alerts have reached the clubs of Burwood? and the acrid air of cigarette smoke at once permeated every fibre of my clothing, until you step into a full on smoking area you dont realise how much smoke has been eradicated from our venues and public places. My next ‘club life’ culture shock came when i mentioned at the bistro that i was vegatarian, ???????????
is all i saw on the faces behind the counter, i had to spell out in great detail that i would like just a plate of veges and the potato and mushroom soup, for which i payed top dollar, i think they thought being vegatarian made it exotic and so the doubling of the price, which wouldnt have been so bad if you really savoured a bowl of beef stock with a mushroom thrown in and bit of potato peel, my ‘Vege exotica’ consisted of some chips, opaque pumpkin and liquid corn, the liquid corn was a particular highlight as a dear friend of mine Koozbaine has a singular mission in life, and thats to find the worst food in clubland, this corn i’m sure would tip the scales for at the very least a merrit certificate to be awarded to this fine establishment in honour of their rancid food.
Making our way upstairs we entered the ‘Entertainment dome’ which was actually just the upstairs auditorium where every Wednesday morning they hold the chook raffles, tonights entertainment (or so i thought) was to be provided soley by the talents of ‘Jim Keyes, Russel Morris and Daryl Cotton’, between them these guys have around 12 Australian number one records, some of them true classics such as Jim Keyes ‘Do what you want to do’ and Russel Morris’ song ‘The real thing’. The auditorium soon filled with what turned out to be the ‘peripheral entertainment’ .. the audience.
The lights dimmed all too soon, cutting short my purusal of ‘fashion terrorism and deconstruction’. Just befor the lights dropped i did catch a glimpse of the enormous portrait of Her Majesty hanging on the wall, i couldnt help but think .. in years to come, will they REALLY have a portrait of Charles up there?, surely someone more worthy, like .. i dunno, Jack Meadows from The Bill?.
The band kicked off with a slew of hits, really impressive and if these guys were of the same calibre and in America they would be afforded the respect that lacked here tonight and would be playing in much larger venues, the applause was tepid to say the least at the start, tho once the crowd got a few larney juices under there belts it got a little more interesting and wild. We were right down the front so i thought i’d cop a look over my shoulder to see what was holding these people back, i go to heaps of concerts but mostly in the city or arena’s. When i had a look it was truely ‘Bizzaro land’ the audience was made of the most .. varied, cliched, foriegn people i have ever seen at a concert.
For a lot of these people i think it was just something to so on Friday night, to others it was obvious they had been dragged out by their partners who wanted to recapture, or try ‘to’ capture something that had by passed them in their youth, you could tell the partners of these people as they were the ones sitting there looking like Dame Edna’s bridesmaid Madge Alsop, with their arms folded and their mouths pursed into the most extreme cats arse pucker’s i’ve ever seen. For many others i feel it was a night to ‘go off’, to be taken back to a time before marrige, divorce, death and kids had set in, and through their plastic framed 80’s style spectacles you could see a look in their eyes that said ‘take me back, if only for awhile’ .. thats what i meant earlier about i cant just go and see a band, or anything much really without seeing a whole other picture, there are so many underlying things to everything going on around us if you peel away the layers and look at what is going on beyond a superficial level.
As the night wore on you could see more and more people who i’m sure lead the most ‘suburban’ lives just busting to head bang, to dance .. to let loose, do ANYTHING they dont usually do, something that they could leave behind as they walked out the door but still have a sly smile later on knowing that they had ‘gone wild’ if only for a few minutes.
Towards the end of the concert the most extrodinary thing happend, from tables far and wide the brave rose to dance and moved towards the front, to cut loose .. to enter into the unchartered territory of ‘freeform avante guarde interprative dance’, the concert had now become the ‘Burwood burlesque’ as groups clustered on either side of the stage, no one was brave enough to move to the centre .. not yet, at first the two groups wobbled a knee, then one girl in a maxi mini denim skirt let fly with what could only be described as ‘flailing semaphore’ arm movements, she was like a dyslexic trying to spell out the YMCA arm movements, from the corner of my eye i could see a tall ultra thin man wearing stretch grey stonewash denim jeans had suddenly remembered the dance steps so abley displayed and executed by Dick Smith in his self promoting ‘Dick Smith the electronic wizzard’ television commercials from the early 80’s, then whirring in front of me came Burwoods answer to Coutney Love, all lipstick zixo bleached hair, she had head banged her way from the group at the side, right to centre stage where she stopped at our table, sculled a schooner of beer, and without missing a single rythemic head thrash, moved back amongst her people. At first i thought the people at the right hand side of the stage had all taken ketamine, then i realised that most of these people probably hadnt danced since the progressive barn dance in high school.
Almost as soon as it had begun it was over, this break with conformity .. this step outside the square was at an end, the lights came up and the crowd .. who mostly knew each other were back to talking about aunt Mildreds bladder prolapse.
I dunno, to me it was just facinating .. *I* was outside MY circle, maybe .. hopefully someone there was looking at me and thinking the same things i was wondering about all those people, i’d like to think so.