Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The true story of why I have never been to Brazil

I get asked this question all the time. Especially from all my Brazilian fans.

Well, the true story is, I did once very nearly end up in Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro to be precise.

To start this story, I have a confession to make. I don't believe I have every made it before, at least not on this blog.

I know rumours have been circulating for some time. And yes, I can, with a heavy heart, confess they are true.

I did grow up in Perth.

And I can confirm that Perth is barely one step up from a graveyard when it comes to looking for a "good night out".

Perth pubs tend to divide into two categories: those that cater for rednecks (decreasing in number) or white-collar yuppie scum (taking over everything).

One horrible offshoot of this is that Perth has a sizeable Goth community, made up those horrified by everything else around them.

I understand their grievance, even if I cannot approve their solution.

I mean, I'm all for people's right to freely choose their own fashion statement/sub culture. But, I mean c'mon on, unless you look like a) Johnny Depp or b) Helena Bohnam Carter — and you happen to be staring in a film being directed by Tim Burton — I really don't see the point.

That aside, there is little in Perth.

If you live in Kensington, as I may or may not have (why the fuck do you want to know?), then sooner or later you will end up (unless you are one of those weird teetotaler freaks) at that bastion of faux-Irishness that is Rosie O'Grady's (South Perth franchise).

I may or may not have been drinking there one evening (you demand a lot of information don't you?) with a friend (or so I thought).

We got talking to some white-collar worker who hated his job and was drinking to forget it.

He was determined to buy us whatever drinks we wanted, as impoverished bums. (Art students, I think, at that stage of our degeneration).

My so-called friend was going through a weird "health kick" that involved not destroying himself with booze at every opportunity and left early because he had to "drive home".

(Last I heard this guy got married — you see where that sort of attitude leads you?)

Anyway, our new found friend (let's call him Jason because it rings a vague bell) was propped up at the bar and keen to adopt us as his drinking partners for the night, happily plying us without whatever booze we desired.

He was also something of a prat.

If, for example, racial politics happened to come up in the natural course of conversation and you happened to say something perfectly obvious like: "Well, I don't think Aboriginals are incurably lazy alcoholic scum of society, but I do think they are subjected to systematic oppression", he would reply with a drunken lean forward, a raise of the eyebrow and, on a number of occasions, a point of finger, as he declared: "Touche!"

He also regaled us earnestly with tales of his past life as a DJ on Adelaide FM radio.

I mean it hard to imagine anything lower on the social ladder than this (and he was in Perth drinking in Rosie O'Grady's) but he seemed quite proud of it.

He told us stories of the Beastie Boys coming into the studio and being completely obnoxious and smoking cigars — and just how cool that was (fair enough).


He also insisted on talking to us about Miles Davis and the significance of jazz.

Like I said — a fucking prat.

But, like I also said, he was buying the drinks.

With my so-called friend fleeing from the free drinks (for fuck's sake), the two of use were left holding up our respective end of the bargain. I laughed, oohed and generally fawned as required, and he kindly kept the gin and tonics flowing.

At a certain point he decided we should go and try and "pick up some chicks". (Insert vomit here).

This being Rosie's in fucking South Perth on a fucking Tuesday night, it wasn't exactly a likely proposition, but he was buying the drinks so I wasn't about to cause any trouble.

The inevitable disasters followed, but he never seemed disheartened. I loyally followed, looking embarrassed and awkward, but clutching my g + t with what was genuine gratitude.

The more we drank, the more the concept of just, you know, escaping from Perth. and all these petty things like jobs that pay rent, took hold of us.

He was determined to go to Rio.

I tried suggesting Amsterdam ("It's got everything you could possibly need!"), but it was the middle of winter in Europe and his heart was set on sun.

Plus, it was his credit card.

He was determined, "You gotta come with me, it's all right, I gotta credit card. We'll hang out on beaches, drink rum and try and pick up!"

After the pub closed, we retired to his apartment just down the road, where, on his balcony with Crown Lagers in hand, we sought to make our plans reality.

He actually called a taxi for the airport, with the plan of stopping of at my place on the way to pick up my passport. (As I still lived at home, this would involve not waking my parents, a difficult task given the state I was in).

We suffered our first setback when he realised his credit card was back in the pub, now well and truly shut.

We started planning our break in.

However, I think our plans were ultimately scuttled by him passing out.

Which, in hindsight, was probably for the best as he did have to go to work in just a couple of hours.

I think I slept on his couch for an hour or two, let myself out and made my way home.

And that is real the story of how I have never been to Brazil.

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