Monday, May 01, 2006

I Heart Semaphore

The Semaphore Library's Art Deco interior: originally the Mechanics' Institute, 1883.




My closest beach, five or ten minutes' drive away, is Semaphore in Adelaide's north-west. Heading towards the north-south coast at right angles across the flat, flat Adelaide plain, straight down into the sea (the jetty is pretty much an extension of the road), is the long, broad, boulevardy Semaphore Road, famous for its slightly run-down, out-of-the-wayish antique shops and currently enjoying a renaissance as a bit of a foodie haven.

There are several good restaurants, lots of substantial takeaway/eat-in places in various cuisines, an excellent bakery and ditto fruit and veg (beautiful produce plus local gourmet treats), a bunch of, erm, Alternative cafes, and several pubs -- one of them, the Federal Hotel, still seriously old style, by which I mean dusty blokes in dusty boots watching the races.

If you go for a walk out to the end of the jetty at dusk, past the hand-holding couples and the dedicated dog-walkers, past the rowdy, gawky teenage boys and the quiet Vietnamese families fishing off the side, you can look back at the shore and see a straight wide border of white sand, and across the esplanade a line of lights and giant pines, and behind the lights the black silhouette in the lavender sky of the Adelaide Hills across the city.

But in the daytime, which was what it was when I went down there last Sunday, everything is still blue and green and yellow instead of lavender and pearl. There are armies of kids and dogs. You can buy a fairy dress, some industrial-strength analgesics, a yiros with garlic sauce, Dutch-iris and hyacinth bulbs, a slab of coffee-and-walnut cake, and a bottle of what Leunig once called hospital brandy. You can borrow a basketful of library books. The signs say there'll be live music in three different places over the coming week.

And if you come to the Fed on a Thursday night, you can get a seven-dollar schnitzel and sing karaoke -- not necessarily in that order.

My kind of gig.

15 comments:

Geoff said...

Semaphore have not been there for a couple of years now. Used to go and do stand-up gigs at Comedy in the Kegs there when it was running. The Exeter Hotel it was, and had a great crowd the poeple were terrific to put a show on for.

Zoe said...

Your hot karaoke faves are?

ThirdCat said...

And your schnitzel of choice?

Pavlov's Cat said...

Geoff -- I keep meaning to check out the Exeter, I hear only good of it.

Girls, I was sort of joking, but only sort of. There are certain forms of dagginess I just adore. Karaoke: I druther watch than sing (at least in public), as long as it's people I have some connection to, but I did a pretty good 'Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves' once -- although I do prefer midcentury classics like Crazy and Stormy Weather. And the more thoughtful country girls, Emmylou and so on. Schnitzel: veal is the only true schnitzel IMHO.

Zoe said...

Word from one who knows: Do Not sing Delta Dawn. It goes for a good 20 minutes and feels like longer.

Zoe said...

Word from one who knows: Do Not sing Delta Dawn. It goes for a good 20 minutes and feels like longer.

Zoe said...

And don't hit the little person in a wheelchair next to teh verification box either.

Pavlov's Cat said...

I would never hit a person in a wheelchair. Not intentionally, anyway.

Delta Dawn is one those songs that seems to go on forever because it's in an exclusively major key and has no chord progression to speak of, ie almost no harmonic interest at all. If you sang the chorus in the key of C then the chords would be, let's see, C C F C C C G G7 (oh thank God) C C F C C C C ... ZZZZZZZZZZ

Pavlov's Cat said...

Apologies to those for whom the above is completely meaningless. For clarification, compare the chord progression in 'Delta Dawn', above, with Paul Simon's 'Still Crazy After All These Years' (which I had to look up) for degrees of musical interestingness: G G7 C F7 G F#7 Bsus4 B7 Em7 Ebm7 Dm7 (one of my favourite chords) G7 C C#7.

And so on.

Zoe said...

I think Danke Schon (?sp) has the same problem. A friend from work sang it one night. Don't sing it either.

R H said...

What? You've sung Gypsies Tramps and Thieves?

Why didn't you tell me?

You could have sung it in Hamlet!

Pavlov's Cat said...

Ophelia didn't seem the type for Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves. You could always move on to King Lear, in which case I bags playing Goneril or Regan. Either of them would be good for it (unlike that insufferable goody-goody Cordelia).

R H said...

Miss Cristy has it all tied up for Cordelia.

Well I'd do King Lear, but I'm a bit worried about the Markus going blind.

Lucy Tartan said...

RH, pleeeeease do The Importance of Being Earnest.....don't you see how perfect it would be?

R H said...

Yes well I could outdo Oscar any old day, with his corny handbag jokes, but why do you say it'd be perfect?

I'm considering Comrade Graeme (in drag) for Regan.