I left a nearly empty bar and walked out into a hot Sydney night. I stood by the curb weighing my options. I walked up to two girls who left the bar a few minutes before I did. Hoarse from a weird cold I’d picked up in Brisbane, I asked if they knew of a better bar in the area. Rather than direct me to a bar, they invited me to a rave they were heading to. They could have sold me on a trip to Macca’s at that point, I was so relieved to have a destination and female companions. The only patrons I’d encountered in Side Bar were males with body odour.
The three of us crossed the street in the wrong direction, crossed back and moved on a changed course. The girls introduced themselves as we made our way north on Pitt Street: Bethanne, two years my junior and Cody, five years. They conversed freely with me and with nearly every male who passed. Actually, it was only with me that they conversed. They catcalled every male under the age of forty. To men moving in packs they called, “The boys, the boys!” To men in cars they called, “The boys, the boys!” To the poor solitary dude who had the misfortune of crossing our path they called, after some consultation between them, “The boy, the boy!” All of this was in reference to a video they showed me, the existence of which I have since been unable to verify.
After twenty minutes of walking the only place we had reached was a 7/11, where a couple of bogans in straw hats stuck Band-Aids on Cody’s scraped knee and Bethanne bought cigarettes. I began to wonder what the hell I was doing there and whether I should buy another Cherry Ripe. I didn’t. We exited and again changed course. We had walked in the wrong direction.
When we finally arrived at the Agincourt Hotel, we went up a few flights of stairs to find another empty bar. We were told to go to the basement so we went back down, past the pokies and horse racing broadcasts to a dimly lit bar called Valve.
Valve was disproportionately populated by white people with dreadlocks for an event called GlitchSys Bass Rave. The DJ, another white man with dreadlocks, played heavy dupstep while the crowd danced itself to frenzy to his repetitious beat. A man with crazy eyes passed out Spider-Man stickers to people dancing around the stage. I smiled like a grimacing emoji at the man and the shiny Spider-Man on my arm. I found Bethanne and Cody on the dance floor, themselves covered in shiny stickers. They asked if I wanted them to tell me before they left but I said I was able to make my own way back.
After a few hours of dancing I consulted a posted setlist and realized that I had, in fact, been there for about twenty minutes. A guy in goggles approached me twice to ask if I’d like him to buy me a drink, perhaps not realizing that I wasn’t two similarly dressed people but was instead one disinterested person. I waited around for the next set to start while the people around me continued to two-step to whatever was playing on the house speakers. I sighed and admitted to myself that I simply wasn’t on their level. I peeled the Spider-Man sticker from my arm and walked back out into the hot Sydney night.
Song of the Day: Diamond Heart by Lady Gaga