Wednesday 30 June 2021

Blogjune Days 20-30 - The party at the eye of the storm

So, I have neglected to blog these last five days. In my defence, I've had quite a busy week.

On Tuesday evening, I boarded a flight from Canberra to Adelaide for my longest work break since last Christmas. I'd been getting rather anxious about the news of the Bondi outbreak coming out of Sydney, especially with reports of early-holiday-goers racing across the border to the ACT before the restrictions kicked in. I arrived in Adelaide without incident, but if I'd opted to go a day later, I would have been turned around due to the fact that I'd recently been to Queanbeyan, which is technically in NSW despite being closer to where I live than some of the farther-flung suburbs of the ACT.

Anyway, Adelaide! The last time I'd been here, it was for WOMAD in March 2020, mixing with thousands of strangers in a music festival setting. Two weeks later, we were all in lockdown.

This time, though, it finally felt like things were getting back to normal - with the additional task of checking into every venue and shop on arrival. There were fun adventures to a craft brewery with fancy beers, an inner-city distillery with fancy gin, and the Adelaide wine centre with an extensive range of wines available to taste. We also engaged in fun adventures around town, from wandering the Botanical Gardens to visiting random museum exhibitions.

And then there was the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. I have been wanting to visit this festival for years, and I'm glad that I finally had an excuse to go! My budget only allowed for a few shows - Alan Cumming was utterly charming with the world premiere of his cabaret show - performed in a theatre will thousands in the audience - and the Sisters of Invention were an absolute delight. Other evenings were spent singing along with Trevor Jones in the piano bar.

And then there was the final night of the festival on Saturday night, at the festival bar, 'Club Cumming', where Alan entertained a crowded dance floor with DJ antics and guest entertainers (including a surprise performance from Trevor Ashley as Shirley Bassey). The drinks were flowing, the dance floor crowded and stomping, and the fun and frivolity aplenty.

I'm not a big party person, but after a few days of being re-immersed in live music, theatre, and culture, I just felt so alive again - something that I haven't really felt in over a year and a half.

Then Sunday came, and we trudged, sleep-deprived and brain-weary, back to Adelaide Airport for our return flight. At the gates, we were told that South Australia had just closed their borders to the ACT, so we'd better be sure that we weren't planning to come back any time soon.

And now, three days later, all Canberrans are instructed to wear masks in public, a substantial proportion of Australia is going into lockdown - or stay-at-home orders - and it all feels a little bit like history repeating...

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