Our brush with history

It was just before 7pm last night.  “I’m going to the library,” I said to D.  “Are you coming?”

For some reason D likes to come on these little excursions with me. 

I had two reserved books to pick up at Marrickville Library.  The library shuts at 7.30pm, so this was a trip in the car. We got there at about 7.15pm. Time enough, if not much to spare.

Usually at such an hour you can park with ease right in front on Marrickville Road.  This time, there were no spots to be had.  There was curb space a bit further down just in front of the fire station (pictured above) and Marrickville Town Hall (to its right) and I pulled in there.  D hopped into the driver’s seat and I headed back on foot to the library.

I noticed a few people talking to each other outside the Town Hall.

I borrowed my books.  This didn’t take long.  By the time I came out of the library D had found a spot in the carpark for St Brigid’s Church across the road from the library.  The church and school were all shut up and quiet.

“There must be something on at Marrickville Town Hall,” I said to D.  D was doubtful but it seemed that now we were out and about on foot he was keen to make something more of our being there.  We decided to go and see.

The street was very quiet.  There was no longer anybody standing around at the front of the hall. As we got closer we could see the lights were on and we could see a bit of action in the kitchens.  “Maybe it’s a private function” said D.

The doors were open and we went in through the empty vestibule.

I opened the double doors to the hall itself.  It was a magical moment – a bit like a surprise birthday party, a Thomas the Rhymer or Venusberg moment, or (odd literary memory to surface and I haven’t checked if it is accurate) the assembly of rebel animals in Prince Caspian.  The hall was full of people. At the far end on the stage facing us was Anthony Albanese giving a speech!

It turns out this was a civic reception put on by Inner West Council for AA as the new prime minister.  I guess you had to know about it.  We just got lucky.

There was food.  For free!  I made a beeline for that while the speech continued.

At the end of his speech, Mr Albanese did his selfie thing.  We are in this picture – D thinks we are the two figures just in front of the rear door. I think we might be closer to the food [back left in the picture].

I found the bar.  The drinks were free as well.  Mr Albanese came down to the floor of the hall and circulated, at first followed by a bunch of media.   After they left you could still spot AA by the clump of people waiting to speak to him. 

Not that there was much of an opportunity to speak.  There was a band and it started playing.  I had been minded to get close enough to put in a word for Julian Assange but I soon gave up on that. 

Politicians no longer have to improvise anything much by way of small talk when they “press the flesh.”  A joint selfie does the trick.  The AA caravan meandered round the room in a kind of slow Brownian motion of mobile-phone photo opportunities.

Last year we were walking near Marrickville Golf Club on a Sunday afternoon when we spotted AA.  He was alone, on his mobile phone (of course), accompanied by his (now but not at that stage so famous) dog.  My usual rule with famous people encountered on the street is to give them a break.  D did not share my reserve and went up and offered generic words of support.  D was pleased to commemorate that with a couple of phone pix, one of which he posted to Facebook.  The picture was almost deleted when Labor voted for Morrison’s religious discrimination bill in the Reps and against the Green amendments (at D’s insistence we joined a small crowd of very unhappy transgender people shouting rude slogans that Saturday outside AA’s electoral office) but it survived when, as things turned out, AA was saved by the bell and the “Christian” Lobby’s dummy-spit.

D got into the spirit of things and sought out AA.  D was a bit miffed when AA insisted on taking the requisite selfie (on D’s phone) himself.  It came out a bit blurry.

If that’s the biggest disappointment we face with the new government we’ll be doing well.

Postscript: topical reference at the fire station (spotted that night; I took this picture by daylight on a subsequent trip to the library):

3 Responses to “Our brush with history”

  1. Andrew Says:

    Wow, you gate crashed a party of the faithful for the faithful. Free nosh and drinks too! Re selfies, I think AA likes to be in control. Who would have thought that would come from borrowing a couple of library books.

    • marcellous Says:

      You probably didn’t need to be one of “the faithful” to score an invite – just be involved in some local community organisation – but I guess those who turned up mostly were and I’m sure the local “faithful” were all in on the semi-secret.

      I don’t think they were bothering to check invitations at the door or anything like that.

    • marcellous Says:

      PS: re selfies, it wasn’t like that the first time at the golf course, though I suppose D took AA unawares in an impromptu situation. I reckon AA has learnt to toughen up on this sort of thing and to control the process a bit more after the bullshit he was subjected to by the press pack during the election campaign.

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