It’s been far too long since I celebrated New Year in Darwin. It’s always an event marked with excitement, sobriety, flair and sophistication. This year was no exception. A group of mates and I had arranged to car pool into town with Macca, who doesn’t drink. It’s always a good standing plan to have a non-resentful designated driver onside.
So there we were, cruising townwards along Tiger Brennan Drive; me, Macca, Davo, Obi-wan and Brian. We weren’t really looking for an overly wild night. We were just heading into the foreshore to catch the fireworks, before possibly grabbing some celebratory brews at one of the local pubs to toast the New Year and indeed new decade with style. Or at least what passes for style in our social group.
The foreshore, of course, was packed. Fortunately we were able to grab a spot on top of a hastily constructed Taj Mahal which some of the local girl guides had built as a fund raiser for a new stealth bomber or something.
The fireworks were pretty good. Obviously it wasn’t quite the same as watching a wall of fire undulate off the Sydney Harbour Bridge or celebrating the destruction of the dalek fleet deep within the Medusa Cascade, but for Macca, Davo and Brian this was just as good as it ever got. And the looks on their faces was enough to keep Obi-wan and I smiling. Davo said it was like someone had set the whole harbour on fire.
It was the first time any of us had been out to town with a fictional character for years. Davo claimed to have been on a blind date with Lady Macbeth a few months back, but we were pretty sure he was full of it. I had forgotten how prejudiced some of the local people could be towards people of non-reality background. We were constantly aware of the looks from people, and the whispers behind hands. Fortunately no-one made too much of a deal out of it, and Obi-wan didn’t seem to mind.
It wasn’t until we stopped in at a bar on Mitchell Street that we had any real trouble. One particularly drunk man from Karama started declaring to everyone how happy he was that the new year had come, how awesome the fireworks display had been and how much better off the world would be when we finally got all the stinking fictional folk out of our country. Obi-wan pleaded with us to ignore him, but it was more than Brian could stand. He grabbed a nearby claymore and brandished it menacingly, asking the drunkard if he felt like he was a real man, just because he was real and a man.
Unfortunately for Brian, the drunkard had brought fourteen of his friends, all armed with pictures of bears holding sharks. Fortunately for Brian, none of them felt like starting any trouble once Obi-wan started swinging his lightsaber in destructive arcs of pure energy. There are some things you don’t mess with, even if you don’t think they’re real.
After that, the night got much more light-hearted. We had a few more drinks at a different bar, Davo managed to convince a European backpacker to give him her phone number. He tried calling it a few days later, but no-one was home (possibly because she’s still in Australia). I got roped into playing tuba for an impromptu Edinburgh Tattoo that some guys put together on Mindil Beach.
Happy New Year!
Far from home
Garry with 2 Rs