The Not So Wonderful World Of Oz.

Summer in Australia, what could be better eh? At the moment I vote for a root canal. It’s not that Melbourne isn’t nice, it is, very much so, it just the most unoffensive place in the world. It brands itself as a cosmopolitan city but, having been here longer this time, it’s not really floating my boat. Plus it’s been raining so much recently I’ve been thinking of pulling a Noah and building myself a boat. The sun has had his hat on for a few days now, and has looked lovely, through the office window! That is a tad harsh as we have been eating dinner outside on the Southbank around the Crown Casino. Crown is like Vegas-lite with restaurants and shops galore, around the gaming floor. We’ve eaten our way down the Yarra and back again, and enjoyed the rain, well, as much as it’s possible to when you’ve flown a million miles to get away from it.

Anyways, Melbourne. Really can’t figure the place out. It’s beautiful, allot like Calgary, but, somehow, unlike Calgary, it feels soulless. Working 17 days on the bounce put paid to any notion of getting up to Sydney, or enjoy myself to any proper degree. But, a few enjoyable nights were had. Young Gavin and I hit the town to see Quantum of Solace, in the fabulous Gold Class Cinema thingys they have in the Crown Complex. 30 Lay-ze boy style seats, Big Screen, waiter service, in short, bliss for a movie fan. But not so much for a crewing jockey, Gavin slept through most of the film… But did get stuck in at the casino bar at 2 am, where we met the “creme” of Melbourne society. We were following the noise of what we thought was Karaoke, but turned into a lounge act, “entertaining” the bar. Amused, we joined the crowd and started mingling. What an odd “horsey” bunch they were. I have form with horsey types, The Edenbridge and Oxted Agricultural Show lives long in the memory. But, unlike The Show crowd and the numbing effects of Pimm’s on a summer’s afternoon, this lot were nuts. Most could barely stand and were oddly talkative. We mingled and tried to figure out when we had left the real world and landed in OZ, yeah, the other OZ. Which was apt, really, for what happened the next day.

The Boss was rather determined to see Wicked, the musical about the witches in The Wizard of Oz. Paul had found that for each performance, they offer up the front row in a lottery for $30 a seat, instead of the usual $200. So, the intrepid Rocade 6 headed off to put our name down for the lottery. Well 5 of us anyways, as Gavin was still recovering… Me, the start of the Hot Water saga in the hotel, the resultant cold shower worked wonders on the red wine and Wild Turkey induced headache. So, up we all pitch, some later than others, and popped our names into the tombola. Now lets get this clear, the last musical I went to was Noddy with Ellie, and many, many years before, Sunset Boulevard with Kimy. Now Sunset was right up my street, as the film is, probably my number 1 of all time, and first shown to me by my Granma. On the whole, musical theater is not my thing. So when my name was pulled third out of the hat, in front of about 50 or 60 really excited musical theater enthusiasts, my utter lack of enthusiasm when down none to well to the rabid mob. But hey, I won, they didn’t, ya bo etc etc. So, with two tickets in my hand and my colleagues, who didn’t win BTW, and I headed off for a late breakfast and to argue over who would go. Me being the greedy git I am, one ticket was mine, so it was up to the other to fight it out over the spare. My greed was paid for by truly the worst Eggs Benedict ever created on this green earth of ours. As last suppers before Musical Theater go, it was cruel and unusual punishment.

Gavin won the ticket fight, and with a green Daiquiri, massively overpriced programe and a spring in his step, he lead the way to our front row centre seats. The crowd around us we, very excited, to say the least. My theater buddy, well to say he was truly giddy would be an understatement. Me, well, they were the best seats in the house. Nothing but the best for Mrs Bone’s little boy, even for three hours of singing about being green (no Kermit in sight, sadly. Now that would have been a laugh!) and thinly veiled statements on equality and race. It wasn’t too bad really. The plot twists were telegraphed, the plot holes were gaping, but it was fun, and I think I fell in love with one of the ensemble dancers, so I had something to keep me entertained, at least. Gavin, well, he loved it. I do mean to ask if he’s ordered the soundtrack yet. He did get a “I Won the Wicked Lottery” button which was cheeky, I WON, not him. I did ask for a “My Mate Won the Wicked Lottery and Brought Me Along” button, but they said they were out. Typical…. Mind you, as we were walking out, they did have a copy of the original Broadway production of the show, where Kristin Chenoweth played the Good Witch, Glinda, that would have been cool to see. For a tiny woman, she can belt out a tune. Just to be clear, I know this cause she was in The West Wing and currently in Pushing Daisies. OK…

So, back to work the next day and, after 5 whole days without hot water, we finally were moved into an apartment on Southbank. With views over the Yarra and the City, it was truly lovely, shame Gav left the day before really! Here, though I was able to cook and work off the steam and stress of a frustrating trip, by beating meat, and breaking a knife in the process. Like I said, frustrating trip.

So, Oz… Melbourne has some great people in it, and I did meet a ton of fun people, who I shall keep in contact with in a non-work sort of way. But,would I go back? Well, I’d rather be green.

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