It’s party time in the garage. Just make sure you’re allowed to move the junk.

November 8, 2011

I’ve noticed that people are doing strange things in their garages.

Not that I’m spying. Or perving. Just observing from a respectful distance.

It seems there’s been a shift in where we do things. Maybe homes have become too small. Cars are being left outside to make better use of space.

A bunch of lads down the road seem to be having fun whenever I drive past. Sometimes singing. Usually with a guitar. They laugh lots. Such is the Islander way.

Head up a few streets, and you’ll find a double garage that’s become a makeshift dance studio. Lots of girls dressed in national uniform. A mini Bollywood in suburbia.

Smiling parents line the walls. It’s never too noisy. Just enough for the dancers to hear the beat.

There’s another gang not far away. This gathering is a boys-only affair. They drive souped-up cars, which usually sit on surrounding front lawns.

Inside, there’s lots of fun stuff. A giant pool table, and a dart board, and other Big Boys Toys.

I noticed their collection one evening, heading home after some generous hospitality from my local publican. Admittedly, I was a little confused, but I swear there was a decent card game going on.

It was duly noted, that I didn’t receive an invitation.

Sadly, there is no such frivolity going on in my garage. No happy tunes, or toe-tapping, or sporting contests. Because the Garage Full sign is up.

Yes, it’s a double garage, but there’s only room for one vehicle. Just. Officially, I’m advised that it has become an Additional Storage Area.

I’m sure there’s a conveyor belt somewhere in the house, silently shifting mountains of stuff that, like a father’s favourite song, can be out of style within minutes.

Think I’m exaggerating? How’s this for a list of useless crap, that remains on a Protected Items list..

Doll house. Hula hoop. Santa poles. Unfashionable CD stacker. Faulty cat carrier. Broken table. Rug with small but definite dog wee stain. Hose with holes. Suitcase with no handle. Oh, and about 100 plastic bags of unwanted and unnecessary paperwork.

Fancy having all that rubbish, sharing the same space as my priceless bag of surf club medals from the Seventies, and those very important coaching notes I’ve kept since our premiership days.

As you can see, there’s a definite mix of highly significant memorabilia, and utter garbage. All on the one floor.

There’s been talk of a garage sale. I’ll believe it when I see it. The women of the house just hate to let anything go.

If you’re heading out our way, with a song in your heart or a dance that won’t wait, don’t come to our garage. There’s simply no room. You’ll be looked after up the road.

Keep an eye out for cool garage parties in your own neighborhood. You might be surprised what the locals are getting up to. And if you happen to find a card game, see if you can get me an invite.

Nobody panic. There’s a boyfriend in the room. Just keep him away from your Father.

August 30, 2011

This must be handled carefully.

No need to be silly. A father should remain calm and reasonable.


There’s a boy on the scene. I’m told it could be serious. The real deal.

All this time, I’ve been keeping watch over The Teenager. Doing my best to keep those crazy high school kids in baggy shorts away. Seems my surveillance has been on the wrong daughter.

While The Teenager fights them off with a stick and waits for Cody Simpson (young pop singer in baggy shorts) to discover her, the little sister has been growing up.

Yes, Daughter Two has been struck by Cupid.

I know this because she told me. She was very excited about it. So much so that she failed to notice my knees buckle.

The Treasurer, who reads me like a dog-eared book, was expecting such a reaction, and caught me. It’s becoming a habit.

This is not quite the traditional tale of love and romance. More a Grade Six version.

A deal is in place with one of her best friends. The boy’s current girlfriend. But not for much longer.

The lad has declared that he likes Daughter Two instead. So there will be a handover, much like sharing a chocolate muffin at first break.

The ceremony will take place on Friday. Everyone seems quite happy with the arrangement. My head was spinning.

We asked if this had the potential to cause problems with their friendship. No, she said. The other girl is fine. She’s moving on too. Everyone’s a winner.

As I pondered the generosity of the younger generation, I was advised there was a video that I needed to see.

We gathered around the laptop, to see a skinny blonde boy dancing. It must have been hot that day, because he wasn’t wearing a shirt.

It was him. A smooth-moving eleven year old with protruding ribs and footy shorts. And his own YouTube page.

Daughter Two was giggling like a … schoolgirl. So too The Teenager. Even The Treasurer was enjoying it. They thought he was putting on quite a show.

I was speechless. When he wasn’t strutting to the music, he was talking to the camera. About everything and nothing. In his lounge room. Where does a kid get that sort of confidence?

It would seem I’m about to find out. We’ve having Daughter Two’s birthday party next week. And he’s invited.

Each night we receive strict instructions on how to act. Most of the directions are aimed at me.

Don’t ask him questions. No bad jokes. Avoid any talk about his dancing. Don’t mention the footy. Most of all Dad, DON’T embarrass me!

As if that would happen. I’ve promised to be on my best behaviour. All I’ll do is have a simple chat with him. Father to Dancing Boy. What could go wrong?

And there’s one more thing. A girl’s first relationship is a delicate matter. Privacy is important. I’d hate for anything to go wrong. Do me a favour and keep this between us.

Old blokes sing and young blokes dance. The perils of a night at the pub.

August 23, 2011

The loudest singing was coming from the two oldest blokes in the crowded pub.

Yes, it was well past our bedtimes. We just couldn’t help ourselves.

I’m tired of the city life. Summer’s on the run. People tell me I should stay. But I’ve got to get my fun.

It’s what happens when old mates catch up. No shock to many of you.

The Dragon theme song was given a rousing rendition. At our table. To the bemusement of those around us.

So don’t try and hold me back. Ain’t nothin’ you can say. Snakes eyes on a pair of dice. And we got to go today…

When order was restored, and the tunes returned to this century, we got to talking about serious life matters. Like how pubs, and those who frequent them, have changed.

Our reminiscing was taking place at my favourite Brisbane pub, The Caxton. You may have heard of it. Next door to the city’s most famous footy stadium, the old Lang Park.

If you’re from another land, don’t worry. It’s just like your favourite. Picture the place that makes you feel good as soon as you walk through the door.

Everyone should have a hotel like that. In any city, there’ll be one place that puts you totally at ease. The barmaid might even know your name. Cue the theme song from Cheers.

I should add here, management of the Caxton wouldn’t know me from Adam. So this isn’t about getting a free drink. Unless of course…

I’ve always been attracted to hotels with soul. Granted, in some places you had to look hard through the dust and the grime to see it, but it was there.

Gents of my vintage tend to talk at length over refreshments. Solving world issues. Re-writing footy history. We do this by sitting, or leaning. For hours.

Males of the younger generation seem to like dancing. Not so much sitting or leaning. How do they tell their stories?

The young fellows are also supremely confident. When not busting moves, they actually TALK to girls. Even if they don’t know them. And the females seem to like it.

Thirty years ago, that just didn’t happen. Not in our circle anyway. We were too busy sitting and leaning.

My first memory of a drinking establishment goes back to an age where those of the fairer sex weren’t welcome in the main bar.

On a Friday after work, Dad would drive us to the local. But he didn’t like drinking inside without mum.

He’d find a spot for our old Holden in the car park, disappear for a minute,  and return with a tray of drinks. A beer, a shandy, and a red lemonade.

Mum would open the glove box, and they’d balance their drinks on the lid. I’d gulp my soft drink in the back seat, trying hard not to spill any.

Dad stopped going a few years after that. The Friday ritual moved to our backyard, under the famous Orange Tree. Everyone was welcome.

After I turned eighteen, it’s fair to say that a great amount of time was spent on licensed premises. A few cool drinks, punting and playing pool. What a catch I was.

(If The Teenager and Daughter Two happen to be reading this, that last bit was a lie. I totally made it up. All I did as a young man was study hard and clean my room.)

Come to think of it, I might keep the rest of my pub stories for another day. When the young folk are in bed.

It was great to catch up with an old chum the other night. But it might be a while before I get back.

It’s hard for a veteran party boy to admit it, but home is as much fun these days. The deck with the comfy lounge has become my Orange Tree.

You won’t see much dancing. Possibly some singing before bedtime. And lots of talking to three fun ladies. Until they get forced inside by all that noise.

Take me to the April Sun In Cuba. Ohohoh. Take me where the April Sun gonna treat me so right. So Right.