Visiting Sydney and The House
Once upon a time, I worked in Sydney. And every day, my train would emerge out of the railway tunnels to Circular Quay station, overlooking the azure of Sydney Harbour. Then I would walk through The Rocks to work – Sydney Theatre Company in 1989, and Bell Shakespeare Company in 1991 & 1992. I loved my glimpse of Sydney Harbour each day – the sun gleaming on the water was a vital start to my work day.
Prior to that, I worked at Luna Park (making doughnuts). You can glimpse Luna Park in these photos under the right hand side of the Harbour Bridge. It was my first job out of high school, during the holidays. So I do have an attachment to the harbour.
Even when I spent 4 weeks in Concord Hospital following a car accident, the staff took pity on me and gave me the Bed with a View, looking out at Sydney Harbour. The little red light at the top of the Harbour Bridge stops blinking in the early hours of morning (maybe 2am). I know, I was awake and I was watching.
On New Years Eve, it seems that all of Sydney gathers around the harbour to get the best view of the fireworks. One year I was privileged to be invited to a rooftop party in The Rocks where we had a superb view of the pyrotechnic display. Another year, when I was young and silly, a friend and I ventured into the streets of The Rocks for New Years Eve and were kissed by strange guys at midnight and accosted by drunks. Not so pleasant. Plus there’s always the nightmare of trying to get home in the early hours of New Years Day.
Last week I went to Sydney to catch up with family and friends and have some down time. I caught up with my ex-flatmate who works at the Sydney Opera House. You can drool over the view from a desk in the above photos. Seriously? People pay millions of dollars for a view like that, and he gets paid to sit at the ‘Desk with a View’. He gave me a tour of the backstage labyrinth of The House, ending with lunch in the green room. Contrary to the popular opinion of people who know my theatre background, I haven’t been past the stage door of the Opera House many times. Once at 7 years old for a poetry recital, and another time to visit a dressing room.
So the tour was fun and made me yearn just a little for my previous life. But not for long. The thought of how much money a week I’d need to pay out in Sydney compared to what I pay now, quickly extinguished any nostalgic longing to return to my former life on a permanant basis. It’s so easy to view the past through nostalgic longing and rose-tinted glasses, and yes, compared to my day job now, it was more glamorous. Sure there were moments of glamour – particularly at opening night parties – but mostly it was hard slog.
Au revoir Sydney – it was fun and I’ll be back to visit again.