Sunday, March 13, 2005

The strange things that people do

well maybe not so strange!

I was walking down Swanston Street, Melbourne, in late 1996 when I saw a gothic young lady resplendent in her dark makeup. Not so unusual though one would normally expect to find such young ladies in Brunswick Street or perhaps in Acland Street, St Kilda. What really caught my eye was that she was proudly leading her pet by a leash. The pet was a ferret! Doubtless the ferret would have preferred not to be led by a leash! I thought it was pretty cool.

A couple of months later I was on the train. For someone who'd travelled the entire Melbourne network many times in 1970 it might seem odd that this was the first time I'd been in the underground loop but indubitably it was. The underground was 20 years old by then! I'd become a driver before the underground loop was even started let alone finished and we all know what happens when you get a car; suddenly public transport isn't good enough anymore. So there I was, for the first time, travelling on the underground. Why? Well I was on my way to lunch with someone where I knew I'd be drinking. I drink, and I drive; but I never ever combine the two activities.

Anyway, seated opposite me on the train was someone probably 30 years younger than I was. He had a walkman and the obligatory headphones and he was away in his own world. He also had an electric guitar and he was playing along with the music. This was an air guitar with a vengeance. If I had a dollar for every time I've played air violin to a concerto or conducted, in my head, one of my favourite symphonies...

Again, I thought it was pretty cool.

I remember walking along Swanston Street toward Flinders Street station one warm night; it was most probably in September 1972; in October of that year I got my drivers license and my first car followed in November 1972. It was after night school and I'd been to the pub with some friends. I was, shall we say, pleasantly intoxicated, and I was conducting Bruckners 6th symphony in my head (to this day I remember it was the second half of the first movement; it's always reminded me of the landing approach of an airplane). A policeman stopped me and asked what I was doing. I told him. With a somewhat doubtful look he let me continue on my way.

So I've done those strange things myself; I understand how it works. I suspect that most of us would admit to such silliness at times. The trick seems to be to remember it. Heino remembers but I've had other friends who act as though they were born aged 40. Poor bastards! They've missed a lot.

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