Friday, May 20, 2005

Blokey excuses

It can't be denied, Blokes do socialise with each other. For Vern, Lamont and myself the excuse we use is blogging. Indeed, in the 2 or 3 hours we're together each month we do actually spend as much as 5 minutes actually talking about blogging. The rest is, of course, the usual suspects. Women, politics, religion and sport. Not that I'm much good when it comes to sport. At those moments I'm a spectator faking it. With politics I'm still playing it carefully; you never know, when discussing American politics with Americans, when you might accidentally hit a sore spot. The same rules apply with the politics of any country of which you're not a citizen but Americans DO seem to take the whole thing a lot more seriously than I'm used to.

That's the inflammatory stuff outta the way :-)

In Australia from early 1999 until late 2002 Heino and I would get together maybe 3 Sunday mornings out 4 at the local computer swapmeet. The swapmeets started out as a bunch of amateurs trading and swapping but it grew into a marketplace where the deals were a few percent cheaper than at a regular retail shop. It also had, and has, the advantage that there are literally hundreds of dealers; if this dealer doesn't have what you want just move a couple of metres down the aisle and check the next one. The venue for the market varies according to which weekend of the month it is.

There are some unwritten rules around this that we always observed. The market opens at 9 AM but you've got to be a sad geek to be in the line impatiently waiting for them to open. It's not a lot different from the lines of Star Wars fans lined up for the release of the next installment. We never ever arrived before 9:30 AM. Once met, we had the ceremonial smoke. It was also an unwritten rule that we never arrived at the same time. Usually it was I who was there first but that's just the accident of living alone; Heino had to escape the family :-)

For quite a while there we'd go inside the market and spend a couple of hours fingering the merchandise. My favourite weekend was when the market was held at Camberwell. I think it was the third weekend of each month. Afterward we'd wander up Burke Road to a cafe that did pretty good bacon and poached eggs on toast with (barely) drinkable coffee. The weekend when the market was held at Collingwood Town Hall was also pretty good. Malvern Town Hall was fun but parking was a bastard!

As time passed we'd spend less and less time actually at the market and more time over breakfast following. Eventually it got to the point where we might just as well have met out the front, thrown the 3 dollar entry fee into the gutter and repaired straightaway to breakfast. Well, that's how Heino described it just 30 minutes ago on the phone! :-)

So that was our excuse for blokey bonding. We had a better excuse in the early 1990's, when we were making a movie, to start with, and then, when that had been done and premiered, making the 'making of'. I'm eventually going to write about that; the hard part is setting the scenes that led to our doing it.

It's still in the planning and scheduling stage but I'm hoping to return to Australia for a couple or three weeks later this year and, amongst the eating of fish and chips and the cooking of roast lamb we're planning at least one visit to a computer market. I probably won't buy a thing but I'm sure looking forward to bacon and poached eggs on toast with (barely) drinkable coffee done Australian style accompanied by a gabfest with Heino!

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