Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The national capital

Staring out of the window, watching Mount Ainslie fade into the warm autumn evening. No one can touch me here.
I flew into Canberra tonight, for work purposes. I have two days of talking and listening to endure, before flying home to a gig. In fact, I will be going straight from Adelaide Airport to Higher Ground on Thursday night. It sounds very rock and roll, but it isn't. It's just necessary.
I like Canberra. I always have, and I don't really understand why. I know a lot of people think it is boring, but it seems to suit me. Perhaps that says something...
I've done a couple of 3-4 month stints over here, for work, back in the mid-90s. I was impressed with the compact nature of the place, and the fact that I was still able to source most of the things that bring me pleasure - books, music, non-Hollywood cinema, a variety of restaurants and a decent pub.
I saw the Sex Pistols here, at the Royal Theatre in 1996, as part of the Filthy Lucre tour. It was, surprisingly, one of the best gigs I've ever attended, so I guess that gives me some sense of a special connection with Canberra.
One of the best things about this town is the The Phoenix. A great little hole-in-the-wall public house, where the wait for the Guinness is well worth it. When I first started going there, none of the furniture matched, the seating comprised a raggy-arsed collection of old bus seats, kitchen chairs and the like, and it was fairly rough and ready overall. The pub's music, Willie Nelson being the highlight, emanated from an archaic compact cassette player sitting on the bar.
Since those golden days of yore The Phoenix has undergone a bit of a face-lift, without going overboard, and now presents itself as a music venue most nights. It's still cool; the walls are festooned with what I assume to be local original artworks, and you still have to wait five minutes for your pint.
I hope to get there tomorrow night.


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