Last night, walking down a dark street, between Museum Railway Station, in Hyde Park, and the Tap Gallery, in Palmer Street, for a brief moment, I felt exactly the same, as when being a tourist, in Paris, in December 1971, or meeting school-friend, Hans, in Germany, in January 1972, or on more recent trips to Europe.
Even though I’ve lived in Sydney, for 52 years, for about 90 seconds, I felt like a tourist.
There was such a mix of old buildings, interesting people, huge, brightly lit windows of some posh establishment where there were clearly businessmen, arriving for some meeting and a very brief look into an internet café, where I caught a glimpse of a woman, of about my age, intently staring at the pc screen, sitting among, I guess mainly back-packers, reporting to relatives and friends, all over the world, on their impressions of Sydney.
In recent years, I feel so much like a country-bumpkin, coming to the city_, when very rarely, I catch the train, into town.
Even slightly disorientated. Had not had any reason to actually walk through there, in many years. I knew already that I was going to the street, where best friend, Terry, from Maroubra Bay High School used to live, but now, in the dark, I also remembered being at a party, in that street, a bit further up the hill, in 1969, standing on the balcony, with glass of wine, with colleagues, from my favourite school.
One of these was also Dutch and (as often happened) the topic was the lack of culture, compared to Europe.
(Whenever my parents met up, and that was very, very often, with Dutch friends, in the 50s and 60s, the most common topic was the state of the highway here and the lack of proper signage, on street corners._)
I will never stop being surprised, at how your mind is like an iMac that stores certain images and memories, which never get wiped.
In my enthusiasm for for this event and the lack of experience with train time-tables, I was quite early.
Steve was still taking care of the snacks and things.
I straightened up a painting that had let go of the blue-tack and was proud to see one of my paintings, as I walked in.
Last night, one of the guests, sat down at the keyboard and played a tune. I rushed up to him an explained that I have everything that was ever produced by and about Dean Martin.
This includes, on several CDs, Bob Hope introducing Dean, with the words: _I went over to Slapsie Maxie’s the other night and as I walked in, that brand new pair of comedians, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were performing their act. Dean Martin was singing………………
….and then you hear Dean sing: Everybody loves somebody sometime_……
which is what this fellow played, last night, except that he expressed surprise.
Said he had no idea that that was Dean Martin’s tune!
Now I feel like writing…….._as I walked in last night, Steve was still cutting up the cheese and arranging last-minute details………
…..I could have a good look around, before the place got crowded, soon afterwards.
The brother (I assume) of the Boy from Bourke (My painting) and Remi and The Girls, I found, around the corner.
After the conversation, with George (at the piano) and the whole experience, I reckon I shall be in the neighbourhood there more often, returning where it more or less began, nearby, in East Sydney Tech and the Art Teachers Conversion Course.
………..to be continued……..
Jo Goes To Town. (Felt like a character in one of those old black-and-white movies.)