Monday, December 18, 2006

hope inn briefing

Palmerston - dishonourable mention

Sarah and I visited the Hope Inn, on Port Road (should start taking pics of these places for daily illustrated), for our weekly, or less than weekly, briefing. It was a briefer briefing than usual, just a glass each of Cockatoo Ridge sparkles.

The Hope Inn is basically on the corner of Port and South Roads, next to Abbotts, a shop I've used regularly for years for co-op purposes without ever noticing the pub's existence, which isn't surprising.

I made the usual tired old jokes – should be called the Abandon Hope Inn, etc - provoked by my need to feel superior but mainly by the fact that on entering the place from the back carpark, we had to negotiate inter alia the usual neonised pokie machines and their hapless aficionados. The first patron I encountered in the bar was a thin elderly madam with a greased grey mullet. This front bar – possibly the only bar – was dominated by the biggest television screen in the southern hemisphere, belting out fox sports so loud that talk endangered the vocal chords. We found the only table from which it was impossible to see the screen, a window table looking onto a semi-demolished building across the driveway. It looked as if someone had got bored with demolishing it months before.

But enough snidery, the fact was that this pub didn't pretend to be other than basic and working-class; low-brow and down market, in my infamous and inadequate pub taxonomy. Having said that, the carpet was new and clean, and the walls were quite freshly painted. No smoke haze, no autumnal piles of bingo or lotto tickets to crunch through, no defensive territorial glances, or not too many. As environments of this sort go, quite bearable, without being in any way appealing – and we couldn't help but reflect that the place's spruceness, the ginormous foxtelly and the shiny new pool table were all achieved largely at the expense of the losers in the poky back room. The building itself was quite likely late nineteenth century, like many of the watering holes dotted along the Port Road, but otherwise of no great interest – a modest establishment in every sense.

As to the briefing – can't remember much of the discussion, but Lord Palmerston and his relationship with Queen Victoria was one topic.



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