Sep 29, 2012


I will now briefly relay to you the story of our visit this year to Riverfire, the Late Night to end all Late Nights.

You'll no doubt be aware that Brisbane is famous the world over (probably) for its Riverfire Firework Display which rounds off the River Festival in this, the River City. Riverfire has in the past been renowned internationally (probably) for the most excellently exciting flyover by the General Dynamics F-111 bomber aircraft, which pioneered the swing-wing configuration of military aircraft and had the (probably unique) capability to dump its fuel into the exhaust of its jets, creating a spectacle which, bar none (and pas de deux) is the most amazing thing that I have ever seen at a fireworks display, with a jet aircraft flying low along the river, past the high-rises, with a sun-bright fifty metre flame behind it, before executing a reach-for-the-stars power climb into the clouds above, all with the blistering roar of its engines shaking the very bones of the hundreds of thousands over gawkers beneath.

I say "probably unique" in an exploratory way, for having no actual knowledge on the subject, the only other example of jet aircraft at firework displays is the F-18A "Hornet" conveyance which we have now that the F-111 has been retired, having finally confronted the inconventient truth of its ancient rust-bucketiness.

Anyway all this is by way of a whetting introduction.

Nicole was of course drudging at work, as is/was her lot, leaving Eloise and I to brave the sweating throng between us.

Public Transport was our weapon of choice. We drove down to the Hospital to catch a bus from the mega-terminal there, and caught a bus before too long, embarking down the busway, a piece of urban infrastructure whose praises I cannot sing too highly. Under the golf-ball shield to Kelvin Grove and under the city we went then up into the open air and over the bridge where we were jaw-droppingly astonished to see an Apache helicopter rise over the eaves and hover, keeping pace with us, waggling its gun, thwocking its rotors.

"You just keep your eye on the road" I astutely advised the driver.

"Right-o" he said.

We walked across to the South Bank. The Apaches retreated only for some Black Hawks to take their place.

We watched an Artist do Art for a while. He was quite good. We bought a twinkly shiny lighty necklace for Eloise from the Riverfire Tat Stall.

We entered The Throng.

And a throng it was, a congealed mass of a zillion people all wanting the same thing, and all heading to the same place to get it. And we went with it, hand in hand.

I did lose Eloise for a while when she went to put something in a bin. - Do you know where the bins are? I said. - Over there, somewhere, she waved nonchalantly.

We made it down to near to the riverside and hopped up onto a wall behind which was what was once a flowerbed but was now a viewing platform, and joined the Sub-Throng that was using the flower bed as a viewing platform. I hovered at the back, wondering how I was to deploy the picnic blanket. Eloise went down to the front.

There was a certain amount of angst as I struggled with the conflict between:
1) the parental urge to actually have some idea of where one's child is an a huge throng of people and animals, and
2) the English urge to unfurl one's picnic blanket.

The struggle played itself out over a reasonable protracted period of time, with option 2) having the upper hand for most of the time, until I reached a denouement, decided that option 1) might be a winner after all, and issued the Monoversal Whistle of Immediate Return.

Eloise returned.

We sat down on the wall, and then someone plonked their child down next to Eloise, and with her new friend, we waited for the time, as the sea of people washed up and down around us, parting for the paramedics, eddying around the islands of established camp chairs, filling up the available space.

And then the Hornets overhead, roaring a quiet, civilised roar which didn't really shake the bones, and deploying decoy flares which floated prettily, but not amazingly, over the river and the fireworks started, and the lasers.

Adele's Set Fire to the Rain came on the speakers, blaring out beneath the cacophony of incendiary violence, and it started to rain a little, and we existed in a timeless continuum of rain from above, noise and light from around, and the crowd below, for a timeless period that lasted for, ooh, about half an hour.

And then, the fireworks over, and amazement in our hearts, we realised we had no real idea how we were going to get home.

A visit to the busstop revealed it closed with officials pointed in a direction to the temporary arrangements. We looked along their extended arms and moved in that directions beneath our humberellas, coming to a line of buses that did not include our own, but which expanded with new buses, some of which looked like they should have been ours, but mysteriously changed their numbers upon arrival.

Finally, exhausted, our bus arrived, and did not change its number, and we got on, and it was free, and we were delighted, and it left, and we talked, and I delivered a monologue on the subject of something-or-other and we missed our stop.

The next stop on the Busway, Brisbane's fine municipal Public Transport Infrastructure, whose praises I cannot sing highly enough, is about halfway between our home and the Hospital.

With no choice, we deployed sweeties for fortify us, and proceeded to hike.

At one point Eloise said "You know what, I actually really enjoy walking long distances" before we elected to tackle the final hill by elevator by way of taking a shortcut through the Hospital, and home in time for, well, bed.

No comments:

Post a Comment