Under Music’s Spell

Nicholas Quirke was happy to have a slow and domestic start to 27th January, involving laundry, general maintenance of himself and dealing with the surfeit of paperwork that had accumulated. By Midday Kim had left for work and he prepared himself for the day’s outing. Focus was around a beard trim, which was starting to irritate him in the heat, now it had got so bushy. Typically Vince and Doms Barbers was shut and step one of the day’s itinerary was out. He tried to look for another Barbershop he had seen and ended up getting lost and going round in circles on Swanston, Collins and Little Bourke Streets. He curtailed this fruitless endeavour and went instead to the State Library to see Ned Kelly’s armour. Kelly is an Australian anti-hero and it was difficult to catch a moment alone with suit to contemplate what it represented to a nation and to him. Nicholas had to intervene in a tour guides endless monologue to 2 people right in front of the artefact as the sightseers were queuing behind him to get a look. “I am so sorry to interrupt but can we get a look at the Suit”, “I am just moving on” the guide said belligerently. Nicholas was happy to see that the tourists looked suitably  abashed. In his behaviour he felt something of the Bushranger and this had given him an appetite for lunch which he took at Supercharger in The Emporium. He then started the walk to National Victoria Gallery identifying some wonderful architecture and, as Nanny Betty would say, some interesting street ornaments. He certainly started to feel the heat so was relieved to get into the cool of the Gallery to see the Triennial Exhibition. ‘Ah’ said the young asian security guard with an absolutely resplendant  moustache’ That’s not here.It’s on St Kilda’s Road’. Feeling Weary from all the walking Nicholas decided to get his energy back and look in the gallery which features the work of indigenous Australians. It gave him a feeling of great pleasure that he could now recognise, from a distance,  the work of Sidney Nolan and John Glover. He felt revitalised and able to walk over the river to the Arts Centre and the Gallery, it was impossible on this journey not to distracted by the views from the bridge and the art that graced the walk. The gallery was packed and it became very noisy and distracting and he found it impossible to enjoy the exhibits i such a chaotic atmosphere, he noticed the curators were fraught with anxiety, and he decided he would return but early in the morning to enjoy a more sedate experience. He walked back to where his day had started into the Paris Cat Jazz club where he would be seeing a new talented friend Alyce Platt who was trying out her new material. He had gone on his own, as Kim had a work commitment and had to miss the beginning which meant he was sitting on his own . It really pleased him to see Zoe who he had met previously and have her sit with him so he was not looking completely ‘Nicky No Friends’ at the table he had selected right at the front. Alyce’s set was truly inspiring taking her audience on an illuminating journey through the experience of being a daughter, a girl, woman and discovering a unique voice. From an ethereal ‘Me and My Shadow’ through a joyous ‘Is That all There Is?’ to a passionate ‘Ballad of Lucy Jordan’ and the raw passion of ‘Amsterdam’ Alyce touched some keen emotional nerves in him. After the performance he joined her party for drinks where he met Paul and Cheryl, Chris, Nick, Lyndel and Eileen. He quickly joined in with the absurdist word play of Paul, who turned out to be a writer and he really enjoyed their verbal jousting. There was an awkward moment as he paid the bill when the Welsh Waiter started talking to him about Football, (not a conversation Nicholas is noted for holding his own in) but he managed to bluff it out with talk of Brighton’s promotion before scuttling out with, ‘Oh look my friends are leaving’. They were and they were going back to Alyce’s. Weary from his 12km walk around Melbourne he took a taxi and went home alone.



  1. Another busy day for you! Definitely not Nicky no mates on this trip, feels like you’ve moved out there permanently! X

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