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15 Oct 2014

All at Sea. Part 3

Depends where you socialise. You may not have heard this:

Ay yah yah yah yah yah yah

Or this:

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Ynk ynk yyyuuunk

But I’m sure you’ve heard this LOUD one, which drove me out of the supposedly quiet Viking Crown Lounge yesterday at beer o’clock:

Uk ahahahahahahahahah

Those are chook calls. I was going to try to phonetically describe how the blokes laugh here too. But you can hear them in any working class pub or club, around about happy hour.

Perhaps it is time to explain how things work with 2,039 ecstatic bogans, plus one sulking Julius on board The Rhapsody of the Seas. Try to imagine a floating Penrith Panthers or Revesby Workers Club. And you’re locked on it, for nine days and nights.

Food is a serious matter for these folk. As previously explained, it is generally free, and specifically very important to most. The en-masse mess is called Edelweiss Restaurant, with tables for 10 and the odd smaller combo. You request either 6pm or 9pm dining on Rock The Boat, because they have two opposing show times in the main theatre.

Choices revolve around anything mass produced, but it is perfectly OK. The crew do a reasonable service, drinks cost an arm and a leg. My tab so far runs like this:

  • Day One: $135
  • Day two: $128
  • Day three: $109

It’s clear my drinking is shrinking, matching the mood in cabin 7062 where I have been joined by a fellow outcast: an exhausted seabird, found on my deck at first light while we were at least 40 miles from Vanuatu. It is still there, hour later, able to only stagger.

So far we’ve had these headlines: Mental As Anything, Angry Anderson, The Dynosaurs (Mark Gable, Les Gok, Mark Edwards and Buz Bidstrup), Jon English and Vicky O’Keefe – with a rare appearance (I am told) by Molly, who is otherwise hidden away in a suite on Deck 9.

Still to come:

The Sweet, Daryl Braithwaite, Rock for Doc, Brian Cadd and Russell Morris.

So what’s it like being a legacy rock star like any of the above? I’ve asked several, and there are two answers. The public faced answer ‘it’s awesome, I’ve been so fortunate, love being asked…’ etc. Or the honest one: ‘Look Julius, don’t say this (I’m not saying who said it, so I’m not) but I worry about my arthritis, I worry about my liver, I worry about my hands, my voice. Money, Gigs. I just worry.’

How about the swooning, cackling drunken elder female attention?

‘The old chooks organise everyone, so it’s their enthusiasm that gets the guys along’.

As for the guys, well what can I say? On this boat, as probably in the club auditoriums, they’re sure not retired lawyers or doctors. They call us ‘youse’ and they love to use the Australian terminology. ‘There’s Angels’ or ‘There’s Mentals’ or ‘There goes Hush’, as opposed to explaining who they are watching. The guys seem obsessed with where the stars are right now. ‘Have you seen Sweet anywhere?’ Like you mean on the desert buffet, the most popular spot on board? Where the boards are worn down by the hoards?

I’ve got some technical stuff to write for the mag next month, so I’ll leave that out of the Blog here.

Now we’re at Mystery Island, part of Vanuatu. So I’d better line up and get a tender ticket. Then line up when the number is called. Then be scanned off and jammed into the 120 pax tender. Then motor over, and line up to come back. Baa baa!

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