To understand what Brisbane was like in the 1980s, understand that I once paid the equivalent of nearly $750 to score a beer on a Sunday. In those days, pubs could open on Sunday for only two hours at lunch and two more in the evening. If you found yourself in possession of an intolerable thirst outside of those times, you had but one option. The bar at the airport.
top bit of writing. Even the change from my arrival to know is pretty stark. I think for the better, though there are some things I'd really like to see encouraged but no where is perfect
I remember being pulled over by the cops on coronation drive, as a newly minted green P-plater. I was following a flatmate to her mechanic and had to explain to the cops that I was a nervous driver, unused to city driving and if I turned the engine off the car was unlikely to start again. They insisted that I turn off the engine, and then they had to spend the next 40 minutes trying to get the car to roll start. It took a while for me to figure out the push start wasn't working because I still had the hand brake on. My flatmate was stoned off her chops and hid around the corner, rolling around laughing watching the entire scene.
Very similar to the writing in a pearler of a book about Sydney called Leviathan. Now who wrote that?
I was there in 1988 driving my work ute round the city and past the Expo site. Last job of the day was to go down the highway and get 2 cases of stubbies "fucking cold ones, but" to drink in the plant hire yard, listening to the occasional rat scream its last cry as the carpet python crushed it. The best day was delivering fuel to an excavator working at Sanctuary Cove - advertised as the place to buy in if you wanted to get away from the "cockroaches". That was the day the cockroaches left a lot of tyre marks in newly laid turf.
A pleasure to read.
Took me right back to the bad old days….. Brisvegas of the pre- Fitzgerald times. It was a strange time to be an “other”.
Zeitgeist indeed...much to ponder within, betwixt and between the words. The modern Beat poets Take That”captured the essence in their lyric “Everything Changes But You”...alas time again shows that not to be the case, we too change but it is less perceptible to ourselves. But, an excellent and thought provoking piece as always Jb and the Vegas is certainly different these days. Not necessarily better, but most certainly different. Thanks for the prose, most enjoyable to get the grey matter working again...
The music really was fantastic in those days. The age of ZZZ in the basement of the Uni, and the string of great bands at the refec. or South's or wherever in the valley. Just had to watch out for the walking-three -abreast police on the way home.
Well thanks for sending a cold chill down my spine remembering the Brisbane of the time. I glad to hear it's changed. Yes what it will be like in 50 years - that is going to see even more dramatic changes
"the anti-McGahan". Nice. I recall reading an article where he described his writing as "untidy realism", as opposed to the dirty realism that was Brisbane/Australian writing for that year or two in the early '90s.
The bar at the airport? Bollocks! There was the Grand View at Cleveland or the Samford Pub. It was best to own an American motorcycle though if you chose to frequent those places.. It was lovely to sleep in on a Sunday after catching a gig at Cloudland or the QLD Uni Refec.
The current dysfunctional transport infrastructure makes the whole place infinitely less desirable in 2022 than it was in 1982.
Great writing John - I remember it all - never did get deck shoes
I grew up in inner city Brisbane and used to wag school at the Expo site before it was the Expo site. Ah the memories. Thanks for bringing them back :-)
You are a great writer my friend. What a concise and succinct wrap up of Brisbane in that era. I’ve way too many stories to share on this platform. Suffice to say your musings wrestled these distant memories from the depths of my mind. Lovely work and thank you very much.
Been to the Bay Islands lately? Head to Russell or Lamb or MacLeay for some of the most uncanny vibe I’ve ever witnessed. Weird stew of boomer retirees, hippies, no-hopers, methheads, bogans and a trillion mosquitoes. Last time I was there a cigarette-smoking kid on a bike told me the best fishing spots. He couldn’t have been more than 12.
Came to Qld in 1991 as a grad nurse.
Had a job at the old PAH, no aircon but loads of vets, ww1 and the young blokes from ww2.
Lived in the old nurses quarters as the only bloke on the 6th floor, but only cos they thought I was Nicole, not Nicholas. Later, they segregated the m/f staff....
Moved from there to a huge share house qlder (now the site of a unit block).
Brisbane still had that vibe, especially noticeable having been to uni in Victoria. You had to dress up *very particularly* to get into the clubs. Lace up shoes (no boots), no jeans, long sleeve collared shirt tucked in....and a belt.
Sweet jeebus, went out recently and the kids were in T SHIRTS.
Yep, so much change.....