Walkabout Chapter 4

John O’Brien’s Walkabout Files.
Chapter Four.
An ‘Oliver’ Twist of Fate.



“I hate to correct you on such matters, but we have only been drinking in here since 6am.  We have been drinking in the Iguana ALL NIGHT”.  The tall dark figure behind the bar did not appreciate my tongue-n-cheek following his repudiation to my request for a further two double splashes of Jameson topped with Tia-Maria.  The bartender’s insistence that we had been drinking in there all night and that it was time we went home was only in part injudicious.  It was time that we went home!


Dear ladies and gent, boy and girls, friends and family,

One may assume that the land down under is not always the free for all it may have once been.  My first experience of being refused a drink in the land of bureaucracy gone mad was somewhat amusing, as were the events leading up to such.


Opening with a boogie at the groove armada gig, the night was shaping up for the inanity reserved only for that of the life and times.  Making my way back from the bar at the gig, the shout-out of “Johnny O’Brien” in a familiar intonation prompted a “what the f*** are you doing here” riposte.  My reaction was aimed at non other than Mr. Shane Little (for the non old-boys reading this, Shane had the good fortune of enjoying my company during my years in that wee town in North Wales).  I had been in Sydney no more than a few weeks and had bumped into a fellow old-boy.  The world truly is a small bubble of coincidence!  And so after an exchange of numbers for further contact with the mad Dubliner, we proceeded to pick Tarn off the floor following his uproarious attempt at break-dancing (which resembled more closely to a dyslexic getting down to the tune of YMCA than it did the B-Boy Crazy Legs) and made our merry way to the Kingscross area to keep the good times rolling.


With our groove on at the Iguana, an invite was thrown my way to join a young lady at the party next door to which I defered until a alter hour.  Upon our timing to make our appearance at the shindig, we exited the dark hole, veered to the left and gained entrance to the bar next-door where only a few patrons lay sleeping on the tables.  The party it seemed had made an early closure!  And so our mission now fell to Jim to find us an establishment worthy of our custom over the next few hours.  Fifteen/twenty minutes into our dander, and a moment of cogitation was upon us.  What if the party was next door on the other side (so much for drink making you smarter hehe)?  Trekking back, we approached the door on the other side of the club that we were patronage to earlier that night and unsurprisingly noticed the signage for ‘Wendy’s Birthday’.  What fools we are!


A few hours were spent sipping on the cocktails and whatever else was thrown our way with the young Swedish hosts until the carousing finally came to a close.  It was at that point we would take the long route down a short road to the Sports Bar where the ‘Please sir, can I have some more’ scenario of my preface would transpire.  Ooh those good times just kept rolling…!


That night in which I have now dubbed the groove-session was by no means a rarity in terms of drinking ourselves daft until silly-o-clock in the cross.  Baby-face and I would find our selves in all sorts of peculiar establishments down the inner-east (including the rather squalid World Bar) time and time again.  On occasion of unearthing a laudable boogie-spot in freak-town, our presence in such would be short lived as a sip too many affected the perpendicular integrity of Katie’s jiving.


You may think it acceptable for the powers that be to insist upon an early departure for those verging on the slightly intoxicated (the ginger of Matt’s affection certainly was that), but in the land down under, their strategy for legislation in such matters, takes it to the point of absurdity.  A fine example of this lunacy saw me making my ingression to yet another tavern.  The fool sporting the bomber-jacket halted my progress and enquired as to what degree of inebriation I had reached.  “Well sir, I have been drinking steadily since 1994 and have lost count on the consumption tally.  I am absolutely hammered, and you’re a witnessing an miraculous phenomenon in the sight of my unswerving stance and verboten fluency”.  Well, a silly question deserved an answer no less deserving of such!  With a little chuckle, the doorman permitted me entry, declaring that he must ask everyone if they were drunk before sanctioning admission.  Even the bartenders must fork out their hard earned cash to attend a course that ‘teaches’ them how serve alcohol responsibly.  Mr Howard certainly knows how to get his alcoholic voters on the straight and narrow!


The take no nonsense approach to bouncing here in Oz can be somewhat galling, but everyone once in a while it can throw up a moment of amusement.  On yet another ‘quiet’ drink in the city, the baldy nonce patrolling the lower levels of Scruffy’s took a firm hold of certain Irish midget and exacted upon his immediate exclusion.  With a look of bewilderment on the wee-man’s face, he challenged as to why he was being forcefully removed, or as he so expressively petitioned “what the feck”?  To which the six foot four freak-show replied, “your too drunk, you’re out”!  What the bouncer failed to acknowledge was that his detainee is that of the pioneering sort.  An idiosyncrasy among all Irish you may think, but a man that doesn’t drink non-the less!  Following much proclamation of his innocence, the sober one was finally freed and let loose on the unsuspecting crowd once more.


The clear-headed sprite in question was yet another recipient of the “what the F**k are you doing here” treatment.  On the rare occasion where I was not securing my right of entry to one of many 24hr watering holes, I was sauntering down George Street with my head in the clouds, when a familiar face strolled by.  A quick ‘shout out’ and Mr Mark Curran had been added to the Old-Boys do Sydney posse.   I say it again!  The world truly is a small bubble of coincidence!


Would that be the end of unexpected encounters?  I think not!  On the very same night, where I was to meet the young Southerner from the north (Donegal) for a wee drink, I would bump into a man of my namesake.  The very man that, during my time in Kuala Lumpar, I found making an attempt to be the only person to ever get hammered on a jug of ice tea.  After our wee birthday bash on the plane John and Co made there way up the east coast, but running out of dough, Mr Farley made an about-turn and was back in town to make a dollar or two as a gardener…  One more time!  The world truly is a small bubble of coincidence!  Even smaller when you consider my sister and brother in-law were cruising through this part of the world around that time.


Having been away from home for a few weeks with the prospect of not returning for quite some time, my sisters and man-in-tows holiday here was most certainly a welcome visit.  They had the privilege of my company for there first few days in the land of Roos and crap TV soaps, before heading up to gander at the sights of Queensland, and a further week in which to look after younger bro. before setting off for the rain again.  In that short space of time I do believe I ate more than I have done in all my months in walkabout put together.  I’m not one for mixing my liquids and solids, but with my sister insisting upon the firmer ingestions, and I persistent upon the fluids, a happy medium was agreed (and a very merry happy we all ended up)…  Fatten Johnny up and then get him drunk.  What a genius she is hehe…


As you may have gathered, during our few months in Sydney, we have graced the audience of quite a few concerts with our presence.  There was Faithless, Groove Armada, Field day (which I will discuss at a later date, as will I note the antics of the Big Day Out), and a day out that would live in the memory of many Sydney-siders for our attempt to get the crowd going when Jet headlined the Homebake tour.   Now am I alone in thinking that the lead singer from that Melbourne band and Ade Malone are one and the same?  A fact not lost in my amazement when chatting to the fair maned one on the buzzer whilst he was entertaining the masses with a rendition of ‘Are Ya Gonna Be My Girl’!  Now if that were not enough, they then had to go and enlist Paolo The Italian Stallion Speroni to tap the drums, Brilliant…  To Splinter look-alike and Little Drummer Boy I convey my apologies for not hooking up after the show, but I knew you were in a rush to get back to England before anyone could put two and two together and come up with a ‘Get Born’ album.  Well that and the fact that we cleared off with the Canberra Crew on a mad one that would see Tarn and I stagger home the following night in a less than sober state.


Those Sunday recovery drinks never seem to go to plan, especially when the bar manager sends the free booze our way with his regards.  But why such generosity!  Were we really his best customers, or was it a gesture of appreciation for my striptease on the mechanical surf -board earlier that morning?  Quite possibly, but it is also likely that his commercial senses had discerned the Bondi Hotel had now been now been introduced to ‘the wee-tea’, and that it was time to move on to the many bars still ignorant to the finest of my creations, but there would be ample time to spread the word.  Tarn and I favour this particular Sunday sipping spot for the view (and some fine scenery it is) and this would remain so for many a rest day/night.


To kick off that wee 38hr binge Jim and I thought it a good idea to take some pedal power up the Blue Mountains and let gravity does it fine work in bringing us back down.  Possibly a fine plan for those of a more clear-headed and sensible nature, but for those of us that think it wise to undertake such pursuits following a night on the razz and prohibiting ample recovery time, it is most definitely not the way to go.  The resulting collision with a tree that flips you from your bike onto your head, however amusing it may be to the onlookers, can be detrimental to your health (given there is something to damage in your head of course).  I am still unsure how much of the headache that day was down to my unintentional acrobatics and how much was owing to the wee-teas.  Either way it wasn’t a pretty site.  My solution to this from that moment on?  Stay in bed!


Well boys and girls, yet again this emotional moment is upon us.  That moment when you must tear yourself away from this entrancing read and ‘get back to work’!

Go on Stino there’s work to be done!

Jez Green, get out from behind that desk and go spot some-one.

Ben, you got those wedding bells to pay for, work man, work.

As do You Gaz Davies,  Get back to teach those kids, teach em math man.

Tryf, put that beer down, your a responsible parent now!  Bring in the dough.

Ade, errrr, drink Tryf’s beer.

Jonesy, arrest Ade.

Small, why do they call you Small-Paul?

Hobbits get out and enjoy yourself, read the emails later.

This is all wearing thin now so I’ll send just send a collective big smoocher out to one and all mmmmmmmmmwwwwwoooooooaaaaaaaaa…


Take it eazzzy and let da good times rolls,



Sven’s Words of Wisdom:  Just Remember kids, too much pizza and not enough French fries and you’re gonna have a bad time…