Australia Day 2013. Much to my surprise, I found myself drinking beer in a pub in Loxton, SA.
After a bite to eat at the local tavern, we mosied on down to the Loxton Club where a band was playing. This is the first time I’ve ever celebrated Australia Day, not out of spite, purely laziness, as most Aussies use the long weekend to get absolutely sloshed, and once we reached the club, we realised Loxton was no exception to this unspoken rule.
What DID surprise me was the amount of patriotic paraphenalia around. Aussie flags had been stuck on windows, hung out of cars, used as capes, plastered to businesses, and in one case, used as a (very skimpy) dress. Women had used those fake little tattoos to draw attention to the Australian flag in rather compromising areas (I saw more cleavage than I meant to that night) and after a few drinks, were up dancing and showing those Aussie flag tatts off to anyone who cared to look (everyone in a five K radius).
Now, the drinking beer part. I don’t drink. Well, I haven’t for two years. After a rather strong glass of wine, however, I stole some of Sean’s beer and found it pleasantly more mild than the heady wine. I took to beer that night I think. Plus it’s cold, and fizzy. Wine confuses me. Tastes like it’s gone flat.
The band* was brilliant. As well as playing some brilliant covers of ACDC, Guns & Roses, Pink Floyd etc, they played a few originals which actually sounded pretty darn good. There were a couple of hecklers in the crowd, especially once the night wore on and the booze kept flowing. The band kept playing, taking it in their stride, even giving it back a little, the cheeky buggers. I found I hadn’t been drinking enough when I was pulled onto the dance floor, but that story is just too embarrassing to tell (if you think YOU’RE bad at dancing… well).
I like live music. A lot. I just don’t like crowds**, which is why I liked this gig so much. There were only about twenty people there in a fairly open area, so I could “dance” freely and watch the crowd. One fellow got a little bit too sloshed and was removed by the bouncer, but not before managing to insult nearly everyone in the bar, a rather considerable effort considering no one could hear him over the band.
It’s the first time I’ve really felt the Australian spirit I suppose. The people in Loxton are Riverland people; they’re farmers and hard workers. They are proud to work with Australian soil, and even prouder of the produce they, well, produce. They’re a friendly bunch, and they love their country. I met people like them when I was younger, but now that I’m older, I can see the true sprit of Australia in these people, and I must say, I’m impressed.
*The band was Cherry Grind. Here’s their Facebook page if you want to check them out, and you should: https://www.facebook.com/cherrygrindband/app_2405167945
**Last gig I went to was down Hindley Street in Adelaide… boy was that an eye opener.