On Saturday I accompanied Jillian to a bar called Vineyard because she said there would be a good band there. A couple guys, one of whom was on her tour of the east coast, were planning on meeting us. We were just going to check out the scene, then make a decision on what to do that night. Vineyard was on Acland St., around the corner and about 5 blocks away from JM. Jillian decided to take the long way, “cause she wanted to show me the beautiful neighborhood of St. Kilda”, and we zigged and zagged through a very residential area. I joked that the “bar” would turn out to be no more than some dude’s house, and his crappy little garage band.
We finally arrived at Vineyard, at the head of Acland, before it dissolves into a blend of cafe’s, bars and restaurants (you’re free to come up with the distinction yourself — it IS very difficult in Australia, and I could do at least two entries just on that matter).
The band was Cold Sweat, and they were warming up as we bought our drinks and wandered around the bar. On the walk, Jillian and I had compared music tastes, and we even touched on the subject of funk music, a mutual member of the “like” column. Lo and behold, Cold Sweat started beating out popping rhythms with a very groovy bass and trumpet back. We definitely had to have that funk.
Jillian’s east coast travelmate was an Italian named Valerio (say “va-LEEEHHHRR-iio” and flick your hand, fingers up, into the sky when you say it; bonus points for having pasta sauce on the stove in front of you and an apron on when you do it). He had come with his friend Andrea (say “Ahn-DREY-a”) and Rosanna. Andrea was from Rome, but had moved to Melbourne about a year and half back for work. Rosanna was another backpacker who lived at the Manor.
I went up to the bar and was waiting to order a VB (Victoria Bitter) when a very-white bald guy sidled up to me. He put his elbows on the counter, also waiting for the bartender. He stuck his hand out and asked for my name. He attempted to make small talk, but he was too drunk, and I was too uninterested. I did catch his name, though: Wallace.
Back at our couches, I was talking to Jillian, but soon there was a small break in our conversation. All of a sudden, Wallace plants himself in between Jillian and myself, on a 3-seater couch.
After several awkward moments of slience, or me trying to talk across Wallace, he asked if I wanted to switch seats. “Yes, please.”
Jillian was in a conversation with Rosanna, so Wallace took that as an opportunity to talk to me. I asked him what were good places to go for live music around Melbourne, but all he seemed to do is extol the city’s virtues, as if it was even a battle to fight with me. He finally gave me a run down: Vineyard was definitely his favorite, and South Yarra (a suburb of Melbourne), though named by LP as the up-and-coming young person’s scene in the area, was overly-trendy and yuppie-infested.
Then he made a comment that made me realize the conversation had to end. “So … what are you looking to do tonight?” “What?” “You know, what do you look for when you go out … just to have a good time, or meet people, or what?” Ah, shit. Later, Valerio would tell me that Wallace was hitting on him too, and Andrea exclaimed, “That guy?”, as if there was a question of his sexual preference, then widened his eyes for a second and smirked, “Come on, of course!”
Valerio told Andrea and I at the end of the night that Jillian asked him if he was gay. Valerio didn’t understand why, but Andrea cackled and pointed at him, then looked at me, “[sigh] He doesn’t know why, he doesn’t understand”, then shook his head sadly. Andrea was convinced that Valerio had all the trappings of a good gay Italian lover, but Valerio, in his broken-English innocence, was none the wiser.