Not so this year, I said!
I was dog tired, and not feeling particularly well, and had a blasting headache, but I shoved myself out the front door regardless. Mrs Speech really wanted to go - I think mainly, to scout out what other crafterteers were doing and maybe get a spot next year.
Things did not bode well when we got to the Myer Centre in the city, which also has a huge bus station underneath it - it's a catacombs of bus islands which sit amid the stream of heavy duty traffic.
Anyhow we got in around the start of peak hour last night and about fourteen buses were banked up to the side of us, cutting off our route in. You've not felt raw claustrophobic horror until you've sat in a metal crate hemmed in by a zillion buses, underground with fifty zillion tonnes of concrete and steel above your head.
We trotted off to King George Square, home of the Christmas Tree Lighting, and saw it seemed, about the same number of people as there were at the lighting. Except, with tents lined up all over the square and the plaza above.
There's a new trendy-looking restaurant at the rear of the square, called Groove Train, which looked...well, trendy. It was all open and inviting and very well patronised.
At the front there was a stage on which would soon be sung some Christmas songs - more on that later.
It was all handmade stuff as you can imagine - lots of dolls and felt and magnets. The odd glassware/ceramics. A stall selling independent magazines which was conspicuously vacant of customers.
It was all bohemian and lefty/liberal. Lots of 'good for the earth' and Christmas being about peace and hope and love (but not Jesus. Let's not put Christ in Christmas!). The flavour of activism was not dispelled by the group of twenty or so rallying against apartheid in South Africa (I think):
Leader: "What do we want?"
Group: "Equal rights for all humanity and an end to oppression. And a means of reconciliation and the belief in a common and unique love."
(Maybe I made that last bit up. But that was the gist.) They were largely ignored as the kooks that they likely are. One of the women in the group had a large tattoo on each knee.
And now I will admit to being uncongenial
I recongised not long in that I was getting snotty because of my tiredness and my headache and the crowds upon teeming, sweaty crowds of endlessly pushy/shovey people who I wanted to push and shove into the nearest hessian bag which said 'made from 100% pre-smoked cannabis butts.'
So I had to check the attitude and try to enjoy myself. Incidentally, I'm a big dude. Didn't always used to be that way. If you're reading this and you're big, have you ever noticed how much more difficult it is to navigate sales and markets and such? It's a tough deal. I'm pretty agile and I still find it tough to keep out of peoples' way. Makes it difficult to enjoy yourself when you can't dodge and weave like you used to.
About halfway through our visit in the square, the music began. It was initially a twenty-something woman whose voice operated an octave too high and had that shrill effect. You know the effect. The one that makes you wince, squirm and clutch at your bleeding eardrums all at the same time.
She also liked her licks. A lot of 'all I want for Christmas...is yo-o-o-o-u-u-u-u-u-u-u ba-a-a-a-a-a-by-y-y-y-y-y' that made me want to run for the nearest thrash metal concert for relief.
I had to check my attitude.
Your money can't buy me love
She was thrown off by the occasional Geisha as they are iconically manufactured to look a little like Babushkas, but she came home with a green t-shirt which she almost walked away from but which I convinced her was an eighteenth-century Russian peasant woman steal at the price ($20).
The amount of paper stuff the vendors were asking for was...interesting. Mrs Speech commented that they maybe had to pay a lot in stall fees and needed to make it back. But most things were three to four times the price I would have thought. There was one collection of four pink dolls, the largest of which was perhaps ten inches tall, for seventy dollars. A mud bowl for thirty dollars (we recently got three for two bucks each from Coles).
You may handcraft your wares but you will not handcraft your way that deeply into my wallet.
Watch out for the logies
After Mrs Speech picked up her goodies we began our way back. There was a Christmas parade which oddly was to terminate at King George Square, which meant it had to cross a very busy Adelaide Street. A strange choice.
They walked to the beat of their own drum (I couldn't resist).
"The drummers have been obliterated by the 131 bus going to Moggill."
They started out with the drummers, followed by the dancers in tight court jestery-type costumes, followed by a bunch of other performers. We're not talking floats, don't get me wrong. The thing was sponsored by Myer but I don't think they cared to invest that much. It was more a collection of themed people.
The Mary and Joseph on a donkey thing was cool. And the real camels! And the big star.
We sauntered back to head home, making our way through the throng. Incidentally we ended up on the wrong side of a two way stream of traffic, making our way up the left when people were sticking to the right, and with people packed together like little sardine people, no way of crossing. Oddly people swerved to avoid us as they made their way down to King George Square, like water flowing around a rock, in a stream.
Mrs Speech had a difficult time coming home - we had a long stretchy bus, whose tail kind of flails about a bit and catches all the extra momentum as the bus goes round the corner etc - she promised me to not sit in the tail again.
A nice night and Christmas is now only ten days away!