Jan 25

Last night Rach and I were awoken at 2:00 AM by a loud crash from somewhere inside the house. It sounded like a box of crockery being thrown down a stairwell. Immediately the Critical Incident Response Team (me) went into action. I grabbed my night vision equipment (mobile phone with backlight) and headed out into the now eerily quiet house to investigate.

Creeping into the living room I saw in the dim light the shape of a man standing against the far wall. I did a Ninja roll to my right and came up clutching the nearest available weapon, a medium sized stuffed tiger. I was milliseconds away from launching an all-out assault when I realised the intruder was just our large Bob Dylan poster.

I dropped the tiger and turned around to face the glass sliding doors that open on to the deck. A naked man was standing out there, shining a small torch in at me. Terror hit like a bucket of icy water. Adrenaline flooded my neuroreceptor sites. Just as my brain stem was considering the options – fight or flight – I recognised the depraved prowler as simply my own reflection. Phew.

Everything in the kitchen appeared to be in order. Likewise the bathroom and other bedrooms. Teesha, our fearless attack cat lay sleeping on the floor under my desk. I moved silently towards the laundry. Whatever night demon had invaded our home must be hiding in there.

I flung myself around the laundry doorway and flicked on the light. The room was empty. There was, however, evidence as to the cause of the mysterious noise. The metal vacuum cleaner tube, which had been leaning against the wall, had fallen over, knocking to the ground an eski, which in turn flipped over the garbage bin. But how could this have happened spontaneously?

The day before had been incredibly hot, with a cooler change occurring late in the afternoon. My thoughts turned immediately to the possibility of thermal expansion of the metal vacuum cleaner tube. Had heat-related changes at the atomic level in the metal tube caused the infinitesimally small adjustment in position required to send it crashing to the floor?

I crunched the numbers as I stood there, paying attention to the angles involved, the relative friction (both static and kinetic) of the laundry wall, converting temperatures from celsius to kelvin and back again. Even taking into account my estimate of the coefficient of thermal expansion of vacuum cleaner tube metal, I concluded that no evil forces were at work here. This was simply a case of something going bump in the night.

Either that, or it was a poltergeist.

P.S. When I returned to bed Rach told me that the noise had interrupted a nice dream she was having about a marble cake.

Jan 14

I am seething with rage. Last night Rach and I went to Open Air Cinema at Mrs Macquaries Point – and had a lovely evening! Absolutely nothing unpleasant happened the whole night! Imagine my disappointment; there I was expecting the worst that Sydney has to offer, and as usual this city failed to deliver.

Our hellish night began with a late afternoon stroll through the Botanic Gardens. The pleasant atmosphere and gorgeous scenery won’t have me returning any time soon. It was a sadly agreeable way to begin a night out.

At the cinema entrance we were forced to endure absolutely no wait whatsoever before being met by some of the least unwelcoming staff you will ever have the misfortune to meet. As we entered, a young lady greeted us with a free chocolate. The nerve! I gave her a piece of my mind, let me tell you. And I took two chocolates.

Next came the moment I was waiting for, finding and reserving a seat. Surely this task would generate the levels of frustration and anger that I craved. But alas! For some inexplicable reason the seat allocation was based on the preposterous notion of first-come first-served. This shows a total lack of ineptness on the part of the organisers, something which I made clear to the young man who handed us our seat reservation stickers.

By now I was becoming calm and relaxed. Surely the food and drink service would give me cause for complaint. But no, it too was quick and painless. Where was the pushing and shoving, the muttered threats aimed at elbow-wielding queue-jumpers? I had a beer to fray my calmed nerves.

As the pre-movie ads rolled I rehearsed my repertoire of moves designed to intimidate noisy patrons, including my favourite, the “half-turn with scowl”. This Sydneyside rabble will surely display the lack of good manners necessary to incur my wrath. But again I was foiled, as it seemed the audience was deficient in every form of social impropriety. And, to my consternation, they remained this way throughout the entire film.

The only truly satisfying moment of the evening occurred as we were leaving the venue. Shuffling along in a crush of cinema-goers I was delighted when the dishevelled, older gentleman in front of me loudly broke wind. At last someone had restored my faith in the people of Sydney! As we quickened our pace to thank the phantom farter, we recognised him as a popular film and TV actor. I won’t stoop so low as to reveal his identity, but I will just say that this little tale of public flatulence is going “straight to the pool room”. Ah, the serenity.

OK, enough clues, it was Michael Caton.

Jan 12

“STEVE FROM MT. COLAH IS GAY”

These are the words I found hastily scrawled in the men’s toilet cubicle of the Mobil service station on the Pacific Highway at Killara last Saturday night.

I find it intriguing that someone would go to the trouble of specifying Steve’s home suburb and yet fail to include his surname, mobile phone number or GPS co-ordinates for the purposes of more precise identification. The other thing about this sort of graffiti is that it implies that being gay is somehow wrong. I pondered this as I stood there in the toilet cubicle, my mind wandering back to earlier in the evening when I had briefly held hands with this man:

This is Scotty the Blue Bunny. He is incredibly gay. A gayer man than Scotty the Blue Bunny you could not find.

I can see you’re confused, so let me explain.

Last Saturday night Rach and I went with our intrepid friend Emma to see La Clique at the Famous Spiegeltent in Hyde Park. La Clique is a burlesque cabaret/circus troupe, currently performing as part of the Sydney Festival.

Emma, Rach and I arrived early and sat sipping alcohol and munching over-priced noodles before heading in to the Famous Spiegeltent. We were among the last to enter, and nearly all the seats were taken – except for a handful of tables and chairs which had been placed at the rear of the stage itself. Oddly, though these seats seemed to offer prime views nobody had sat in them. Did they know something we didn’t?

One of my biggest fears when attending live theatre is the dreaded “audience participation” – the possibility that I will somehow be forced to take part in the act. And here I was sitting on the stage at a burlesque cabaret show. I took my seat on the stage and tried to ignore the feeling that several hundred pairs of eyes were focused on me.

The show began with a guy getting naked while appearing to extract a small, red scarf from progressively more private parts of his anatomy. Ending with his anus. As an encore he revealed a red balloon hidden underneath his foreskin.

Then Scotty the Blue Bunny appeared for the first time. Scotty is a sort of Master of Ceremonies for the show. He also performs his special brand of risque show tunes.

Several performers did their act on a small platform which was literally right beside me at chest level. There was a deranged Swedish magician, two crazy sisters who performed spectacular trapeze tricks while smoking and drinking beer. One had the word “FUCK” printed on the back of her tights while the other had “YEAH”. Other highlights included the rope guy, hula-hoop girl and the bath guy. You’ve probably seen the bath guy – he lies in a tub of water while suspended from straps attached to the ceiling, allowing him to do amazing acrobatic stunts like spinning around, getting people wet etc.

Anyway, right near the end of the show, Scotty the Blue Bunny came out and sat on the little stage next to me. I pretty much knew I was in for it. (Emma had already been included in several acts, as she was sitting in front, right in the line of fire.) Sure enough, as Scotty began singing – a slow, “goodnight, you’ve been great” sort of number – he reached out in my direction and said “touch me”. I did of course, how could I refuse? He said to me, “I love your hair” and we held hands while he sang. I feel it was a special moment for everyone in attendance.

Outside after the show, as we sat sipping our drinks – and as the giant Hyde Park rats closed in on the evening’s dinner scraps – Rach, Emma and I enthused about what a great show it had been. Some pals of Emma’s showed up and we shared a few laughs before Rach and I had to head home … stopping briefly at the Mobil service station on the Pacific Highway at Killara, where this whole story began. So Steve from Mt. Colah, if you’re out there, you’re fine by me, bunny suit or not.

P.S. At the Mobil I paid $9.05 for a bag of Maltesers, a bottle of water and a chocolate Cornetto for Rach. The Cornetto was all frosty and misshapen, and looked so disgusting that even I – Lord Sweet Tooth – would not take a bite.