Damo and I enjoyed a really terrific moment earlier tonight at the Brett Whiteley Gallery. I’d been invited, you see, to the launch of a new book, a photographic diary of the artist. Given the proximity of the gallery to my own house, I immediately said yes to the invitation. And because Damo had lived in the area for a number of years and had never been to the gallery, I invited him to come along. A fair percentage of those attending were, as you’d expect, deliciously eccentric. Wendy Whiteley was there, of course, wearing what Damo described as a “Jamiroquai Hat”. Edmund Capon was also there, of course, in an official role, as the Studio is now run by the Art Gallery of NSW. But pride of place for the night went to Brett Whiteley’s mum, Beryl, who was celebrating her ninetieth birthday. In a truly memorable moment, a chocolate cake was brought out, candles were lit and we all sang and wished her a very “Happy Birthday”.
It wasn’t until later tonight that I began to reflect on the significance of the event, though I enjoyed it at the time. Only later tonight did I reflect on the fact that this year I’ve been to a 30th, a 50th, a 70th, and now a 90th birthday this year. Surely that’s gotta be some kind of record?
As we left the gallery and wandered up Davies Street, with the intention of dining at Snake Bean, Damo and I saw something we couldn’t walk past. You may recall I recently mentioned I was on the lookout for a brand new desk, to replace the totally inadequate desk I currently have. In a wonderfully cosmic alignment of the stars, we spotted what be both realised instantly was “the perfect desk”, along with a lot of other furniture dumped by someone who had either upgraded or had moved house. “Are you up to it?”, I asked Damo. Thankfully he was, and so in a move that I know will horrify my friend Graeme, we picked it up and, walking 100 metres or so, brought it back home.
From there, we wandered off to dinner at Thai Thah Poh and quickly remembered why we thought it was such a good local take-away and dine-in-place. The duck curry, the beef salad and the fish cakes were wonderful. We also enjoyed the clean-skin chardonnay from the Mornington Peninsula which we picked up from the local bottle shop for just $10.