I was working. How was your Australia Day mate?

So if you’re not Australian or Australian-adjacent (shout out to my fellow drink-slingers over in Whistler) there a solid chance you’re unaware that yesterday, January 26th, was Australia Day. Pronounced Straya Day. It’s a day of beaches and barbecues and arguing about what song will be No. 1 on the Hottest 100 when it plays on the 27th for some people, and to advocate for changing the date to something a little less insulting towards Indigenous Australians for others (#ChangeTheDate). What day that will be is a bit contentious, considering how many bad days have been inflicted on our Indigenous Peoples over the past 230 fucking years or so, but we really need to put some thought into it.

Me, I was at work in the evening. We were pretty goddamn slow for a saturday night, though that wasn’t all that surprising. I work in an underground speakeasy that specialises in cocktails made with premium spirits, which doesn’t exactly gel with sunburnt bogans draped in Aussie flags drinking shit tinnies, or sunburnt backpackers draped in Aussie flags drinking shit tinnies, or families of any stripe enjoying a barbecue or the beach and a couple of shit tinnies if they’re that-way inclined. Not a bad night, certainly, but slower than we like on a saturday.

Meant we got to close up relatively early, so at about 2:30am I was bringing up the garbage to drop into the on-street bin, and the tattooists next door were outside smoking a durrie or three. Pleasantries were exchanged, as you do when you get on with your neighbours.

“How was your night?” they asked.

“Alright. Slow as hell. Dead. But alright.”

“Same,” said a mustachioed hipster, “So slow I haven’t even done a single racist tattoo.

Brilliant. I was still chuckling as I made my way down the stairs back into our basement bar, and shared that little bit of insight with my black coworker, who also got a laugh out of it. Just goes to show how slow certain parts of Sydney are these days when a tattooist doesn’t get the opportunity to price-gouge a single drunken idiot for an implicitly racist bit of ink on Australia day.

Happy Australia Day folks. Lot’s of love to you and yours, no matter where you’re from.

Now let’s get around to changing the date and getting the refugees off Nauru.

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I’d absolutely watch that: A quick thought on M*A*S*H

So I’m at the bar and staring at a few gin bottles and for some reason my mind wandered across to the show M*A*S*H (possibly because of all the recent talk about North Korea and Kim Jong-Un’s continued testing of bigger and better missiles and talk of a possible US military response, possibly because we’ve got a Korean bartender and two Korean cooks who are just awesome, and make the best fucking fried chicken you’ll ever taste). My mind goes to weird places sometimes. Anyway, I’ve had to explain to someone recently about how gin is grain alcohol that’s had juniper berries added somehow (generally infused). That without juniper berries it’s just not gin, it’s vodka. At this point I remembered Hawkeye and Trapper (later B.J Hunnicut) had a love of dry gin martinis, going so far as to keep a gin still in their tent, and a question occurred to me: where were they getting their juniper berries?

Seriously, where were they getting their juniper berries from? They’re in an army hospital a few miles from the frontlines of what was a massive fucking war, often struggling to get supplies and equipment even through the black market (in fact that was the theme of a couple of episodes if I remember correctly), and juniper berries are not native to the Korean peninsula. But they clearly say they are drinking gin martinis and, as I’ve already mentioned, without juniper it’s just not gin. It’s vodka.

What I’m getting to is that I would totally watch a show about a Korean black market juniper dealer braving snipers and shelling to ensure that US army doctors can enjoy their dry martinis without having to resort to using vodka (like peasants). We can call it SM*A*S*Hed, or something less stupid and copyright-infringing, and it can be about more than just juniper. Maybe he also smuggles peat to a Scottish tank crew? Maybe he’s struggling to fill and then transport a big order of sugarcane to an Australian warship with a monopoly over the supply of rum to the rest of the allied fleets. There’s a lot you could do with this. Give him a dark yet hilarious past and a sassy cockney lesbian business partner and I reckon you’ve got television gold.

There you go Alan Alda, I’ve done the hard work for you. Now make it happen. ‘Cause I’d watch the hell out of that.

Thoughts at work: Mr Bean

So about a week back a friend comes into the bar I work at – the girl who taught me how to sling drinks properly in fact – for a sneaky bellini (in Vancouver that means an alcoholic peach slushy) and a quick chat. We hadn’t been able to talk much since she’d had to leave the restaurant (hospitality industry leads to some fucked up hours) so it was nice to catch up. Anyway, she told me a story a few stories about her recent adventures cat-sitting. Nothing crazy, mostly “I told my [family member] not to pay me so she filled the fridge with gourmet food that I have to eat before it goes bad” and the like, but one thing made me laugh.

My friend had been shopping (groceries) and had some other things that she needed to bring up to her [family member’s] apartment. Not wanting to make more than one trip (because no one ever wants to make more than one trip) she’d managed to sling all the bags and such over her shoulders until she resembled a hippopotamus waddling around on its hind legs, only to realise that she’d parked like an asshole (I’m using the North American spelling since she’s Canadian). Still within the lines but close enough to the person on her passenger side would have trouble opening their door. Like an asshole.

Now my mate, who actually tries not to be an asshole when she can, decides to move her car little to the side. Good on her. What she doesn’t want to do is put all the stuff she’s carrying down though. It took ages to load herself up and she doesn’t want to go through packing her shoulders and arms up all over again. So my friend does the only thing that makes sense at the same time. She swings the door open as wide as she can and stands half outside the car while she moves it. One hand, one foot inside the vehicle, the other foot on the street and the other hand sticking up into the air to keep a mess of shopping bags slipping off. And she got the bastard moved.

At this point in the telling of the story I’m watching her demonstrate the manoeuvre in the bar (it’s late and the place is basically empty) and I give her the best possible compliment I can think of.

“That is some Mr Bean shit right there.”

And it was, specifically reminding me of that time he bought a new chair. If you don’t know the one I’m talking about don’t worry. I got you covered.

Excuse me for four and a half minutes while I laugh my arse off (notice the proper spelling there).

Alright, I’m back.

One of the all time great role models, amiright? No, seriously. Mr Bean is great role model. I mean, I’m not gonna start suggesting you tie a sofa chair to the top of a mini and ride it home. Or blow up a paint can in order to rapidly redecorate. Or one of the many other ridiculous things that Rowan Atkinson’s incredible character has done. Seriously, don’t blow up paint cans when you want to redecorate. But if you’re looking for an example of ingenuity, determination, being able to both plan ahead and deal with crises on the fly, and – most importantly to an Aussie like me – practicality, then you can find no better.

So if I ever compare you to Mr Bean, there is a very good chance that it’s unironically one of the nicest things I could think of.