Nothing like waking up at five-thirty in the afternoon and heading out for a beer. I'm riding down William Street to the Brass Monkey to meet Jules and Das when my mobile rings. I'd left an early 20th century bicycle locked to a pole outside the Flying Scotsman, a For Sale sign tied to it with one of my shoelaces. (Yes, i'm broke again.) The idea being that at some point during the Sunday session, some drunk will want to buy it. It's a 28" women's bike with a curvy old school frame. A Flying Arrow, found on a recent street collection in Highgate. I answer the mobile. It's some drunk. "You selling that bike?" Bingo.
At the Monkey, we have a quiet beer. Safari Bob arrives and we have a slightly louder beer. Then, off to the Kerb to see the Red exhibition. All the artwork is red. The food is red. People, wearing red. One girl even has red hair. The lengths people go to fit in. I try some organic red wine from the Porongorups. It's bloody awful, so i switch to Red Stripe. I see a guitar and a keyboard set up. A Simply Red cover band? Sweet Jesus Sanchez, i hope not.
There are three paintings here i really quite like, so i grab a cattledog to look at the prices. NFS, NFS, and NFS. What is it with artists these days? Don't you want to sell your work? Three words: let it fucking go. Are you artists? Or sentimental, anal retentive art collectors? Paint it; sell it.
We drink, look again at the work in case we missed something, drink some more, and eat. Jules suggests we go up to the Brisbane for a beer. I am dumbfounded. Why, why oh why in heaven's name would you go up the road to pay for beer when there is perfectly good free beer here? "You can't stand around drinking their beer forever," admonishes Jules. No, that's true, i acknowledge. Just till it runs out. "But by then people will see you for what you truly are," he warns. Well, they see that the minute i walk in, i say. Jules then posits the thought that perhaps the women are better looking in places where you have to pay for beer. And the higher the prices, the better looking the women. Hmmm. Interesting proposition. I look around, and yes, it's kind of Skank City. So it's either the Queens, or the Brisbane. Das is in favour of the Scotsman. That's because has a penchant for weird and freaky looking women, says Jules. A quick rock paper scissors and it's decided: the Queens.
At the Queens, Das runs an idea by me for a photojournalistic expedition. The sand drags at Beverley. Blokes with beer guts, tattoos, and beards, who take a lot of speed, race motorbikes, dune buggies, and whatever through the dirt, drink and fight, camp out, and wreak havoc. Plus other assorted sundry carnage. Sounds great, i say. I'm in.
After plowing through a selection of ales at the Queens, i suddenly find enlightenment. I'd always thought the Sunday session at the Queens was just a meat market. In a blinding flash i realise that it is indeed a meat market. It is full of good-looking, available women. The wisdom of drinking beer in such an establishment dawns on me: because you never know.
After about two hours of never knowing, Safari Bob, Jules and i throw caution to the winds and visit the Brisbane. We take a walk down Beaufort Street and get there at around four minutes before ten. The bouncer outside the beer garden refuses to let us in, on account of it being nearly closing time. No worries mate, i say. We walk around the corner to the door on Brisbane Street and let ourselves in. Gabriel is tending bar. Gabriel used to work at the Grapeskin with Ausra the Lithuanian. He has a lambda symbol tattooed on his neck. Why, i don't know. How long have we got? I ask. Three minutes, says Gabriel. He recommends a beer. We buy a few pints, and wander out to the beer garden, and see the bouncer in a whole new light, i.e. from inside the pub rather than standing out on the street staring at his ugly face. Ha ha. Goose. I meet the former singer of Lash, a tall blonde who lends some credence to Jules' philosophy and whose name i can't possibly remember on account of all the (increasingly expensive) beer. But it must have been Belinda-Lee. Her chaperone slash drummer asks for, and takes, my card. I could definitely use another photoshoot. There's a limit to how many junked bicycles you can sell to drunks on any given Sunday.
Hey, it's a living.