Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jenny’s 30!

Miss Jenny turned 30 on Friday, and I joined her for lunch in Hardware Lane to mark the occasion, with Mary and Jules. Preparations were in full swing for the evening ahead.

After work, I managed to find something to wear on the way home. A quick change and then a taxi out to Ascot Vale, and to Dreux Bar for Jenny’s 30th. A funky little bar, perfect for a gathering of family and friends for drinks.

Of course, being in the middle of footy finals, and having a work mate there, who’s wife is a friend of Jenny’s (small world!), I had a buddy to duck across the road to the dodgy Ascot Vale Hotel for the last quarter and a beer, before heading back to the bar for a jager bomb with the birthday girl.

Many more drinks, and some crazy and silly dancing, the night got away from us before we knew it…..and it’s all a little hazy in the memory bank now!

After walking down to another bar and inspecting the queue, the group hailed taxis and we found ourselves back at Jenny’s for vodka and silliness. No idea how long this went on for, but I know I eventually crashed at Jenny’s. Recounting the night the next morning, like we were 17 again was all very funny.

Happy Birthday, Jenny. Hope you had a great one!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Across The Great Divide

Last night, Melissa and I went along to Rod Laver Arena for the Across The Great Divide gig, and tour of both Silverchair and Powderfinger, all around Australia. Having bagged out gigs at the tennis centre for the lack of view and poor sound up in the seats, I demanded floor tickets if I was to go, and that’s what Lissy got – and they were great!

Making our way down to the floor after a drink, we found a posse where we could most avoid tall people, and got ready for the much anticipated show.

Silverchair up first, and a ripped Daniel Johns and his band gave it their all on stage. Sadly, while Johns’ musical performance was brilliant, he just struggled to engage the crowd, with no chatter for at least the first four songs. Clearly hadn’t learnt too much from that performance down at Pyramid, at one point working hard at gaining crowd participation he reach a chorus and called out “hopefully you don’t need help with this one”, hoping for a crowd singalong….which was met with a sold out stadium that simply did not know the words! Very bewildering, really, considering how long this great Aussie band has been around.

Johns pulled out all the tricks, except his ability to engage with his audience, he played his guitar with his teeth at one point….. Pulling out the huge numbers at the end of their set, Silverchair finally got the crowd reaction much desired, with Straight Lines and Freak, to finish.

A short interval, before the boys from Brisbane come on stage, with Bernard sporting a new haircut. Opening with the first track of Dream Days At The Hotel Existence, they rocked from go to whoa! Massive numbers like My Happiness, On My Mind, Lost and Running, These Days received a stadium chorus, and so did many of their other unreleased tunes. A haunting Black Tears solo by Bernard was amazing, showing the range of his voice, showed us where this tour’s message lay.

Beaches by the three acoustic guitars of the band started the encore for Powderfinger, again showing off their talents, before coming back out with Silverchair for a combined rendition of The Who’s Substitute.

Such a great gig!

The tour’s message is about reconciliation, and left us with a clip of people talking about their views on the need to say sorry, and the plight of the aboriginal people. Take a Chair, Lift a Finger, was that lasting note of the evening.

Monday, September 17, 2007

An End to the Finals Run

Another nervous wait till match time this weekend, although with more confidence that I had going into last week’s match, the Hawks met the Kangaroos at the MCG for the Semi Final. A night match, the gang gathered at Transport for a beer before walking along the Yarra to the match.

Taking our seats in the Southern Stand in the Hawthorn member’s section, we completed the anthem ritual, before the bounce.

This week, however, no matter what the lads did, nothing seemed to work for them, and the match slipped away all too soon. Glimmers of hope with a Buddy goal at the beginning of the final quarter, these were soon dashed with the rush of the blue and white, who were too good on the night.

After such a great year, it was so disappointing to end like this, especially after last week’s high hopes and emotions. Commiseratory drinks at Young and Jackson afterwards, the mood was somber as we re-lived the skills errors, the umpire decisions, the misses at goals, and the never ending courage of one Campbell Brown.

In the end, getting to the Semis is a massive feat, and if anyone told me that that’s where my beloved Hawks would reach at the start of this year, I would have been very pleased. Proud and passionate, I am, as always. But shattered that the 2007 dream is over!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Buddy Awesome

Arriving at my first footy finals match since the 2001 series, I was too nervous to eat, let along sit still! I joined Mum, Melissa and Jessie, Clinton and Noodles while they were having lunch, but all I could manage was a beer!! This was a big day! This was one of the reasons I had come home, and it was happening. And yet, the Hawks were not expected to do any good against the Crows in this Elimination Final.

Another beer inside the Telstra Dome, with the others joining me (even Mum was on the vodka), in attempt to quell the nerves as we took our seats on the top level, and prepared for the match. Standing for the anthem, with the massive cheer at the end, it was game on.

Looking shaky for the first half, the Hawks were hanging in there for the match. Working hard, taking risks, making mistakes, and pulling off the near impossible. Beers at every break for a nervous spectator experience in the outer.

The last half was more stressful than any day at work, or any near miss for a flight, with the usually soulless Telstra Dome seeming to come alive with a big crowd, of clustered supporters for both clubs. Amusing banter as I haven’t heard from others for sometime, coming from behind us, the match on the grass was electric.

Seven goals to the lad Buddy Franklin, with the final kick happening in the last minute of the match to put the Hawks in front. The collective jump to our feet, arms raised, voices at full stretch was experienced around the ground for the brown and yellow, as the Hawks advanced to the next round of the finals!!! The moment the siren went was another highly emotional moment, with screams and hugs all round.

Lagered up from the tension during the match, and in full hyper mode, our gang made our way to the bar one level down, to watch the last minutes of the last quarter again on the screen, and enjoy some celebratory beers. Joined by Jenny, we re-lived so many moments, and were loving it!

Moved along from that bar, and the Dome, we walked up Bourke Street to the Royal Melbourne for the next phase of celebratory beers, and jager bombs, the entire bar erupting into the Hawthorn Team Song at random intervals.

More drinks later at the Turf Bar, and my memory starts to grow hazy. I know we were watching the other match, and still drinking, and recounting specific plays, goals, Changa and Brown heroic moments…..but I know that I eventually ended up on a tram home.

Buddy great game, Buddy sensational finish, and Buddy exciting to be through to play on in the finals! Woke up to watch the footy show, finding that my voice had diminished to a whisper…so worth it! On top of the Buddy world!!! Hee, hee.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sydney for the footy

This weekend was quite huge, with a second trip to Sydney in the month for me – this time for the footy. Flight up again after work on Friday night, and again I found myself catching up with the lovely Miss Leilah over a bottle of wine, upon getting up to the warmer and busier city.

Saturday I was left to my own devices while Miss Leilah had bridezilla duties to complete, and I decided to wander around the city doing some shopping. What a confusing city! I spent most of the afternoon totally lost, wandering around the labyrinth that is the shopping precinct – I think I found David Jones five times when I didn’t want to! Found a couple of things to buy to add to my tight work wardrobe rotation, but nothing I couldn’t have found at home!! When it was time to head back to Leilah’s I headed down to the Quay for a bit of scenery, and got to see the hideous fence being put in place for the APEC conference happing next weekend.

After a quick regroup, I headed back into town to meet up with Belinda, Bumbles, and Reggie, along with Melissa and Clinton, Jessie and Noodles, Mum, and Steve and Shoo Ling for sangria and tapas at Encasa. Dinner and drinks were great, and catching up with the Flag girls was lots of fun. After dinner we headed to a few pubs around the area, and ended up having quite a large night!

An interstate trip for the footy just wouldn’t feel right without the trip to the ground feeling the brunt of a hangover for me, and Sunday was no exception! Leilah and I were driven to the match, Hawthorn v Sydney for the last round of the official season, arriving to the under-construction SCG, just in time to see Buddy kick the first goal. All seemed good. We made our way to our restricted viewing seats with the rest of the Reid girls…to find a massive pylon in the middle of our view of the ground. Hmmm. The Swans kicked on, and run away with the match early, while we debated about what to do about our view. Eventually moving to the section immediately behind the Hawk cheer squad, our enjoyment of the view was then hampered by the poor display of football from our team.

A beer and a pie with Leilah provided some distraction to the hangover and footy disappointment pain, a little. Shattered at how bad the game was, I made my way to the airport and joined the line to check in. Soon to discover that our flight had been cancelled due to mechanical issues, the rest of the family had already checked in, and I was told “being dealt with down at the gate”. I was checked in for the following flight, and caught up with the gang, to discover that they were being flown much later in the night, and to a different Melbourne airport. Good ol’ Jetstar!!
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