Sep 27, 2014

Riverfire: Airborne Assault on the Senses, Mainly Hearing

I don't actually remember what we did for Riverfire last year.

You'll no doubt recall, be aware, or be completely ignorant of the Brisbane Festival, which this year has offered us the delights of a huge inflatable cure for dyslexia and a mysterious bamboo construction of dubious utility, as well as a "veritable" "cornucopia" of "performances," none of which we have attended (that I recall).

It all culminates in a fat-bottomed firework display over the river. There are jet planes flying around and choppers chopping up chop (that's a nautical term), and it's an event, possibly the event in the Brisbane calendar of events.

Anyway last year, we were bogged down with babies and what we did is lost in the fog of war. Two years ago with Nicole doing something, probably working, Eloise and I dared he public transport system and were delighted when an Apache helicopter followed us across the Victoria Bridge, hovering outside the window of our bus and wiggling its weapon at us like a big macho chopper should do. It transpires that Eloise now remembers nothing of that remarkable occurrence and it will be up to me, the old codger with the fading brainwaves to carry the flag of that memory for future generations.

This year, we went down in the car with a Mum, and an Esky, and a Baby, and parked underneath South Bank for maximum utility. Not wishing to draw attention to myself in the surveillance superstate we must all toil under, I will merely say that there has been a heightened security status her to do with the T-word you'll be familiar with through historical events such as Omagh, the King David Hotel, and Gavrillo Princep (was that even his name?) and so we were a bit worried that our Esky would be frisked and any illicit liquids contained therein confiscated, and indeed such was the concern over the potential heavy-handedness on the part of short-term-contract thuggery that it seemed many would be keeping away from the festivities this year.

All this concern proved unfounded as our lift doors opened onto the South Bank Arbour we were greeted by a charming old fellow, yes a Grey Guardian but a nice one in a yellow T-shirt who helpfully directed us to the places we were most likely to find a spot to sit. And even at three in the afternoon things were starting to get a little bust with it.

We cast around a little bit for a decent place to sit then came across a little place just behind the Green and next to Janelle's Lovely Herb Garden where we could lay out our modest little pied a terre aka picnic mat, which we layed out then laid on, and listened to the sounds of the river, with the boats chuntering up and down, the hum of the crowds moving along the footpaths, the playgrounds behind us, the generator not far away.

Pretty much no sooner had we done that than the air was filled with the raucous rip of high-power jet engines as the two Super Hornet jet fighters began hairy-arsedly splitting the very heavens with the power of their mighty turbine outlets, streaking nakedly overhead in various degrees of tilt, bifurcating my bloody vestibules with their terrifying cacophany.

I liked it, it was exciting but Eloise objected to the noise on the grounds of its volume. I'll remind her of that in years to come when night-clubbing becomes the thing and playing loud Goth music in her bedroom.

After showboating up and down the river a few times, the jets tipped themselves onto their bottoms and powered into the sky, disappearing beneath the sparse clouds, and we began the waiting game. The kids went off to the playground, and my game of choice was lying on my back in zen-like communion which my swollen ribcage watching clouds start to form over Australia. I couldn't do anything, just watched them swing with the wind out to sea.

Eventually the helicopters showed their rotors and started messing abut on the river, spraying their spray, buzzing boats, waving at the crowds, wiggling their big guns. All very macho.

There were five of them I think, Apaches and Black Hawks. I know what a Black Hawk looks like, I think, from the fillum of the same name, but I didn't see Orlando Bloom doing any abseiling.

The Apache I remember from such classics as The Iraq War and the Other Iraq War, though these particular examples hadn't to my knowledge or ability to detect been outfitted with the Hellfire missiles that made them such effective anti-armour machines.

Instead they had apparently amiable dinky-di Aussie pilots who waved and wiggled their weapons in a very jolly way. The crowds waved back at least, though thankfully their weaponry remained under wraps.

The choppers went on for ages, then coffee seemed appropriate and various foodstuffs were dispensed and drawing was done as the sun dipped and the air began to cool. Clothes were fetched and put on and before long night was falling and the build-up to the actual fireworks crescendoed as the Fighter Planes rattled our bones with their sub-bass kerosene roar, the sound bouncing of the buildings in the gathering dusk and then they were power-climbing again through the apricot clouds.

Really I should have taken my tripod and proper camera, but well I didn't so you'll have to make do with this firework photo taken with my mobile phone. As soon as the fireworks started Eloise disappeared but I tracked her down pretty quickly, leaving behind Lyra with her face buried in Nicole's neck.

Eloise and I made it down onto the beach and had a pretty good view of the stretch of river looking up towards the Victoria Bridge; the fireworks were going off in perfect synchronisation, clearly under computer control. It was in impressive display; it always is. It's rear end was, as previously trailed, generously proportioned.

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