Saturday night

Posted on March 27, 2011

It’s been a long time since The Builder and I have had a date in the Big Smoke. Just the two of us. Not meeting friends or family or dragging the children behind us. So when we found ourselves heading to the Opera House on Saturday night to see Tim Minchin, we spent the opening moments of our date in shock. There were moments of silence, and they were not filled by childish chatter, nor by half-cut friends asking if it was our shout. It was just the two of us. Alone. In the City (we say City now that we are Country folk).

Once we got our first beers in at The Australian, there was much discussion about how busy it was, how cool the girls next to us looked in their 1940s frocks (they were enjoying a very late High Tea… at the pub… I know, but somehow it worked), how much traffic there was… etcetera. We wandered down by the Quay, watching the preparations underway at the Earth Hour stage, marvelling that so much electricity was being used up in the preparations for turning off the lights.

We enjoyed a glass of bubbles in the foyer of the Opera House, watching young women totter past us on high, high heels, watching families with young children in the throng (wondering if the parents knew much about Tim Minchin and his propensity for ‘adult themes’ and F-bombs), watching silver-haired ladies in shawls realise that they were in the wrong place to see The Barber of Seville.

And then we watched Tim Minchin, a whirling dervish of music and comedy and words. So many words. Torrents of words. Walls of words. A battery of words. Funny. So clever. Thought-provoking and managing to offend everyone and no-one at the same time. From our position at the side of the stage, we also had a spectacular view of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in action. Which provoked even more wondering.

What is the role of the harp in that wall of sound? How do you get the Glockenspiel gig? Why can the orchestra be divided almost down the middle into genders – brass and percussion all men, bar two women. Strings, nearly all women, except for the double bass brigade, all men.

The conductor, Ben Northey, was a star in himself, rocking along and clearly having a lovely time. What must it be like to enjoy your work so much? Equally, what must it be like to be the older French horn player, doing your thing as a wild-haired Rock’n’roll Nerd sings about how “only a ginger, can call another ginger, ginger”. Do you even hear it as you concentrate on your cues to blow your horn? Or do you go to your Happy Place, where only the classics are played?

After the show, a leisurely stroll back into the city (note lowercase, for we are back in the swing of it by now). Gaggles of girls in high, high heels and short, short skirts teeter past, accompanied by young men in blindingly white shirts, open at the neck. In one case, the girl had clearly chosen her companion for his ability to fit neatly under her armpit and hold her up as she navigated the terrain in 18cm heels. Perfect.

Slow lines of cars, shined and polished for the night and thumping out the owner’s execrable musical taste to the world, eased along the road, most full of keen-eyed men, watching, content to spend their night in a traffic jam. Front row seats for the ever-changing show.

The City on Saturday night. Don’t you love it? (And, yes, every time I think of it, the Cold Chisel song comes to mind… got it… you’re welcome for the earworm.)

[image: Vintage Posters & Prints]


  1. Kymmie

    You wrote this so beautifully, I felt like I was there watching everything, and even being offended by Tim Minchin. (Well, he does that awfully well, don’t you think?)

    Glad you enjoyed a night out with just the builder. It sure is a treat when outings are so rare! xx

  2. Emma

    Great story – wonderful descriptions.
    Haven’t been ‘out’ properly – in a city or otherwise – myself for a while either, but whenever I do these days the girls in their gaggles all look about 12 years old. Scary.

  3. Kez

    We were there on Saturday night as well – in that same shell shock of a childless Date 🙂 Wasn’t it an awesome concert?!

    The conductor was clearly enjoying himself. There was one of the cellists (??) who was giggling along while playing – so she was obviously a fan!

  4. Thea

    How wonderful! I’m still waiting for a date like this. This used to be our almost-every-Saturday-night pre-kids, I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like. Thanks for reminding me…..*dreaming* 🙂

  5. Donna

    Gos I love your writing – its although we all got to enjoy the date vicariously (especially those of us who have not been on one for about 6months…). Sounds like a well deserved and special evening x

  6. Stacia

    A date? What’s that? I’d settle for being able to eat a meal with two hands. =>

  7. Sydney Shop Girl

    I really, really enjoyed reading this post, Allison. It has made Monday morning after a long weekend working much more bearable.

    Have a great day.

    SSG xxx

    Sydney Shop Girl blog

  8. Mrs Woog

    Reading this, I felt like I was intruding on your date! Loved it xx

  9. Victoria

    I don’t know Tim Minchin and I’m now intrigued. You described Saturday night in the City (any City) so well. Love all your descriptions. Sounds like a wonderful night out for just you two.

  10. Jane

    Sounds like a pretty awesome date! Nothing beats a bit of people-watching at the Opera House xxx

  11. Kelloggsville

    wow that’s like a real grown ups date!!! Did you not find a packet of hand wipes and a piece of lego in your handbag whilst you were out even?!

  12. therhythmmethod

    Your city date sounds wonderful. The city looks so different when you live in the sticks.

  13. MultipleMum

    A lovely piece of writing about what was clearly a top-shelf date! Go Al and the Builder 🙂 No dates for us this weekend – just piles of washing, jumping castles and crazy kids!

  14. magicgardencymru

    I am very happy to read that you had such a fab night out.Our littlest is two so I calculate that we may get a similar night out in about two years time. I am looking forward to it very much. Oz nights out sound like a LOT of fun.Possibly more than Welsh ones. We may have to nip over the border into England for a bit of contaband fun.Maybe Liverpool.Or Manchester.We’ll have to see.

  15. Naturally Carol

    I probably wouldn’t like Tim Minchen and don’t know the music you refer to..but I loved reading your post. It was interesting and the words flowed into me…effortlessly. I have now been in the country seven years and Brizzy is the City for me! Great story.

  16. Sarah

    We went into the city on Saturday night as well. For drinks followed by a play. Our first “just the two of us” date in a while. Loved it. Loved being with my husband. Did not love my hangover this morning.

  17. Lucy

    I am deeply envious. Sydney on a Saturday night. A childfree date. The Opera House. Tim Minchin.

    Bloody bliss.

  18. A Farmer's Wife

    Love Tim Minchin… So funny and so clever. I went to the same Uni as him as well, but being older than Glowless it was also at the same time!

    We used to “hang out” in the same group when I was 17… He was always funny and extremely clever but not quite as cool (but who was at 17!!!)

    Saw him in Perth recently and it was brilliant.

  19. Glowless @ Where's My Glow

    I love the Ginger song 🙂 In an effort to make myself look good I’ll mention I went to the same university as Tim Minchin… years apart but that doesn’t matter, does it?

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