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Posts Tagged ‘chapel street’

Let's get...

Let's get stereotypical

Bruce would never claim to be a proficient boy scout, let alone a man in the Bear Grylls / Ray Mears mould, but he has some idea of how to get a fire going.

To fit easy stereotypes, it’s a skill which all men should possess and one – like driving, map-reading and urinal-using – which women will never understand.

So, there they were, just past 11pm on a wet, chilly Friday night, being kept warm by the roaring beast Bruce had lovingly tended for the past hour in the Back Bar, off the Windsor end of Chapel Street. It looked magnificent and had attracted complimentary noises from the smartly attired gents in the corner, but the logs needed turning.

“Oi! No! No! No!” came the cry. “What do you think you’re doing?”

The manageress was on the warpath.

“Tending the fire,” said Bruce. “It needs a poke.”

“Get out of there,” she said. “You’re not allowed to do that.”

Elbowing Bruce and his assistant to one side, she grabbed the tongs and, well, it pains me to say this, but she, yep, she destroyed the fire with a couple of ill-judged thrusts.

Gone was the pyramid structure that had been allowing air below the logs.

Down went the logs to lay flat on top of the previously healthy bed of embers.

Away went any chance of heat.

Shortly afterwards a couple dressed like characters from a particularly amusing game of Misfits walked in to warm their cockles.

“The fire’s not very warm,” said Misfit #1.

“No,” said Bruce indignantly. “It’s not.”

Still, the mardy manageress presides over a nice enough bar.

Vintage armchairs, tactile wallpaper, velvet flashes and chandeliers make up the decor, with a good cocktail list, a Chapel Street clientele that for the most part wouldn’t put you off returning to Chapel Street, bearable music and – apart from the corked first glass – nice enough red wine to send Bruce home merry.

Fran attempts to disprove Olivia Newton John's badly paraphrased theory

Fran attempts to disprove Olivia Newton John's badly paraphrased theory

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I’d completed my north / south sweep of the city centre for Fran’s birthday gifts, picked up a couple of local wines from a retailer in Prahran and was heading home down Chapel Street when the first raindrops in months began to fall. One of the city’s few remaining rusty, dusty yellow and green trams came rattling past the market so, dodging through traffic, I hopped on board.

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As I took my seat, I heard a man’s voice: “OK if I squeeze up next to you?”.

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In the corner of my eye, a woman shot up from the bench opposite and scurried to the back of the tram, leaving behind a tall, grinning ginger 20-something slouched in her wake. Turning after her, he grinned: “What’s wrong? Does no one want to sit with me today?”

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You couldn’t fault her judgment, or those who had apparently gone before. If his appearance wasn’t enough to scare off his prey – he wore a thick layer of grime, particularly on his polo shirt and trousers, which were combined with sockless feet in trainers – the smell that arose from him as soon as the scurrying woman’s tailwind had settled would have seen to it.

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Not so much come on Eileen, as WTF Kev?

Not so much Come on, Eileen, as WTF Kev!?!?!?!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS IS THE MOST VISITED POST ON THIS BLOG. I ASSUME PEOPLE ARE COMING TO LOOK AT THIS PHOTO. CAN YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN IN THE COMMENT BOX BELOW WHY SO MANY PEOPLE WANT TO SEE THIS PHOTO? THANKS. 20/11/08)

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Before I had a chance to consider moving myself, the tram began to pull off, only to be halted by four loud thumps on its side. On the pavement was an outcast from Dexy’s Midnight Runners (see above) locked in confused conversation with a passer-by clutching a CD. They too had been startled by the banging and were looking at the cause of the noise.

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“Wait up,” came a cry from outside as the wooden door creaked slowly open. “I’m trying to get on here.”

“The door’s open, you bloody idiot,” replied a passenger sat midway down the tram. He was in his fifties and dressed in shorts, shades (sunnies) and a skimpy blue and white sports vest.

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Eventually, the banging man’s hand appeared on the rail and he slowly pulled himself and his shopping on board. Little more than five foot tall, his blistered, pockmarked and screwed-up red face a living testimony to skin cancer, he stumbled across the aisle and landed on the bench next to his erstwhile abuser.

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“These old trams are bloody useless. They should burn the lot of ‘em,” he muttered.

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After a brief pause, the man in sports vest piped up.

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“Don’t be too harsh on yerself, mate, you’re not that old,” he said.

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“Ey?” said the old man.

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“I said there’s no need to set fire to yourself. You’re don’t look that old. Or useless.”

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“I wasn’t talking about myself. I was talking about these bloody trams, you idiot. They’re awful. The need to be burnt. The city only keeps them for the tourists. And what tourists do we ever get here anyway?”

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Another pause.

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“Well,” came the reply. “There’s the folks in Footscray.”

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Ah, humour and racism in one perfectly formed package. And the Aussie government claims it wants to make such people a relic. Shame on them.

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