“It was a night out they were going to remember for a very long time…”

“I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey…”

Last year, Davey and I bought his mother tickets to The Rocky Horror Show for her birthday. After months of antic…

…pation, the weekend in question had finally arrived!

“But maybe the rain is really to blame…”

The Cawoods were due to land in Brisbane at about 4pm on Thursday, which they did. Unfortunately, that was also the time that a storm landed in the Brisbane area, trapping them on the plane for about another hour. Welcome to Brisbane!

But, our spirits weren’t dampened like the areas of the city that flooded that evening, and we carried on with our intention to show John and Marge the best of South Bank, starting with the South Side Diner (which is almost directly under our apartment).

“Hot patootie, bless my soul, I really love that rock ‘n roll.”

I am not exactly sure what I like most about the South Side Diner – the incredible burgers, Liechtenstein prints, enormous chips, super-keen wait staff, alcoholic milkshakes, “traditional” diner decor, the menu with a whole section dedicated to dessert pies or the fact that I get to indulge in kitsch 60s music for at least an hour without someone “accidentally” switching the radio station.  We had a great dinner and I think we were successful in our “South Bank Ambassador” role with John claiming that it was the best burger he’d had in his life.  And we didn’t even buy the $39 bottle of beer (which we had the week before):

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“Oh, woe is me, my life is a mystery.”

Being an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, topped with a heavy helping of illogical, despite living at South Bank, my favourite breakfast restaurant is not one of the 49 eating places listed at South Bank, it is near where I used to live in Taringa. Possibly less understandably, the restaurant in its current form wasn’t actually there when I lived in the area. Nonetheless, we went to Place of Stones for breakfast on Friday and were treated to the usual attentiveness from their matriarchal maitre d’, Kim, who always remembers our order, no matter how long we go between breakfasts there.

“It’s true there were dark storm clouds, heavy, black, and pendulous, towards which they were driving.”

We made the decision to travel North for the day but didn’t commit to the specific destination initially, letting the weather decide – rain, we head up the hills to Montville, shine, Noosa. It rained.

I had never been to Montville before, but its high street is so similar to other artisan-based mountain towns that I had a feeling of ‎déjà vu, but I was probably just flashing back to visits to Mount Tambourine in the Gold Coast Hinterland or Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills.

We visited the German clock shop, which, I can verify, had very Germanish wares for sale. There was a lovely little garden and pond outside the shop. Davey made himself at home and I took some photos.

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We wandered past some little shops, including an opal shop with a water wheel, until we found a pub which provided suitable shelter from the rain.

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“Rose tint my world, keep me safe from my trouble and pain.”

On the way to the pub, a lonely size 37 shoe called to me, it was the last of its kind, and beautifully adorned with a rose, so I had to take it and its pair home with me.

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After a beery interlude, we had a bit more of an explore of the town, including the sweet shop, Candy Addictions, where they make rock candy with personalised messages.

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“Cause I’ve seen, oh, blue skies, through the tears in my eyes, and I realize, I’m going home.”

It started to clear up on our way back down the mountain. Davey took us past Lake Baroon (which he describes as “like Barron, only more fancy”).

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On the way home, we drove through the town of Maleny, which is where Davey’s favourite type of Guernsey Cow milk originates.  We noticed that a lot of the shops had wooden creatures crawling on their roofs.  (A particular favourite was the wonderland-esque caterpillar with  hookah pipe which was above the Happy Herb Shop.)  I wasn’t quick enough to take any photos  but there are some accompanying this article.

The view driving back towards Brisbane was lovely with the sky clearing.

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“Master, dinner is prepared!”

After being out all day, we relaxed at home using Kimi’s recipe for homemade pizza.

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“Oh Brad, I’m frightened.  What kind of a place is this?”

One of the iconic initiations that I experienced when moving to Brisbane was my inaugural trip to Ikea.  As such, very few of my regional visitors escape Brisbane without a trip to the unofficial Swedish Embassy.

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We arrived early enough for a $4.99 Swedish breakfast, which, despite Davey’s expression, was actually quite palatable.  Unfortunately, John was also tricked by the whole “apelsin is not apple juice” concept which I encountered on my trip to Sweden last year.

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We wound through the maze, picking out our favourite kitchens and living spaces (my favourite was one with a living area and desk under a bunk bed, but being vertically-challenged as I am, I could actually stand without slouching in the tiny space).

I hadn’t ever realised before that Ikea made king-sized sheets, because they don’t sell king-sized beds.  In my excitement about my new found knowledge, I allowed Davey to select the sheets, because I would have been happy with any of them.   He chose the Swedish alphabet design:

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It’s always fun to try to imagine what the actual meanings of the product names are.  I thought that this one, for a brandy glass, was particularly appropriate.

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“You’re a hot dog…”

Any Ikea pilgrimage is incomplete without a $1 hot dog, so I indulged in one on the way out.  It’s actually quite a long walk to the car.  It is really quite necessary to have a snack with you.

“Food has always played a vital role in Life’s rituals.  The breaking of the bread, the last meal of the condemned man, and now, this meal.”

After we returned from the delights of Ikea, we lounged around the house for a few hours deciding where to go for lunch.  In the end, we took so long to decide, that by the time we managed to get to The Embassy, the kitchen was closed until dinner time.  This was not the setback it could have been, because the beer choice and beer knowledge of the bar staff at The Embassy kept us occupied until we could order dinner.

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I would argue that The Embassy makes the best steak sandwich in the CBD.  The bread is heated but not toasted to oblivion, the steak is tender enough to chew through without needing to wrench the sandwich from your face to tear off a bite and the chips come in a darling, little bucket.  And I’m pretty sure that I would have made an equally favourable recommendation even if I hadn’t eaten the sandwich after 2 pints of cider…

“You’re lucky, he’s lucky, I’m lucky, we’re all lucky!”

Sunday morning was Australia Day, but not a public holiday.  Luckily, this meant that things at South Bank were actually open.  After having such a positive experience at the South Side Diner the first time, we took John and Marge there again for breakfast and bottomless coffee.

We had quite a lazy day browsing the markets and relaxing at home until it was time to get ready for The Rocky Horror Show!

“Come, we are ready for the floor show!”

I was incredibly excited about seeing this show, but my excitement paled in comparison to Marge’s which was at capital-D-smiley levels (far exceeding the realms of mere bracket-smiley).

We had some pre-show snacks and drinks in the Cafe, which had the most detailed chalk art I had ever seen.

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I even managed to get Davey to pose as Riff-Raff.

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I confirmed that Craig McLachlan was indeed playing Frank and we had some Rocky Horror themed cocktails – A Jump to the Left and A Step to the Right, in festive glowing martini glasses.

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We also acquired a programme for Marge, which contained a particularly fabulous centrefold:

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And then it was time!

I always feel satisfied if I think that I’ve gotten more out of my experience by seeing a show live than if I had just watched the film at home.  And we were definitely satisfied.

I love stage lighting.  The combination of different gels and possibly black lights produced colours on the tattered curtain that I’ve never seen before.

Unlike in the film, the opening number is sung by an usher rather than a disembodied set of lips.  Not sure which would have been creepier, the usher outfit was a strange mix of vintage, distressed and blow-up doll.

The Denton set was very cute, especially the ineffective windscreen wipers on Brad’s VW van.  The actress playing Janet was quite tall which made the actor playing Brad seem a little Tom Cruise-ish.  Perhaps that was the intention though, because his accent was exactly Tom Cruise.

Craig McLachlan was fantastic and, not only that, he seemed like he was having a fabulous time himself, proving a smorgasbord of camp gestures (head flicking, nose crinkling, suggestive lip shapes, girlish foot flicking) and mouthing “thank you” to the audience when we provided particularly long bouts of applause.  Also, he is surprisingly built, even more so than the actor playing Rocky.

The bedroom scenes were particularly well done, with the bed upright so we could see every detail of the action and gratuitous innuendo.

I was distracted by my enjoyment so much that I had forgotten how the story ends, with Frank’s swan song and untimely death, and then the song with the somewhat depressing sentiment:

“And crawling on the planet’s face, some insects, called the human race, lost in time and lost in space, and meaning.”

But to turn it around, the cast performed two encores, which ended in most of the audience dancing, followed by all of us giving a well-deserved standing ovation.

“It was a night out they were going to remember for a very long time…”

On Monday, Davey’s parents returned to Townsville and I spent the rest of the week with Rocky Horror songs stuck in my head.  It is always lovely to have guests to show around Brisbane and even better when it provides the excuse to watch men dance in fishnets and leather.

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