Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Bondi Skatepark

Bondi is an eastern suburb of Sydney with an extremely popular surf beach. The area was named after the surf community was deeply affected by the death of beloved AC/DC singer Bon Scott in February of 1980. For weeks, traumatised surfers aimlessly wandered the length of their beach lamenting the loss of the talismanic singer, repeating, "Bon die, Bon die, Bon die." These words became associated with the place, and the place became associated with the mighty surfers of Australia courageously staring melanoma in the face and saying "bring it on!"

Bondi is also celebrated as one of the planet's number one places for scoping on hot babes, but as my visit coincides with a biting autumn wind, the beach is very quiet. I have lived in Sydney for over 2 years but this is the first time I have ever been here - my Scottish skin is vampirically susceptible to sunlight, and I prefer quieter beaches, like Vaucluse. I do not like the Baywatch vibe, and I find myself becoming fixated with male body hair when I go to places like this. When did chest-waxing become so prevalent and acceptable? Is it acceptable, or is it every bare-chested beach bunny's dirty little shame, carried out in secret in a locked bathroom with watering eyes and suppressed yelps of pain? I mock their hairless Bieber tits.

I ride my bike there, and it's a fine ride apart from briefly finding myself in the midst of 60km-per-hour traffic in a multi-lane road. The ride is just under 19km. The skatepark overlooks the beach, and it's a bit of a fishbowl - passersby stand and gawp as they lick ice cream and shout the names of tricks learned from playing Tony Hawk Playstation games.

The park is dominated by the bowl. It is a deep scary thing, famously the venue of the annual Bowl-A-Rama contest. I lower myself into the shallow end and do a couple of kickturns, but I will never be a bowl skater. The 'street' course is very tight; there's some ledges and stuff that I can't figure out how to get at. The section with the flat bank hips and bowled-out corners is fun.

Bondi skatepark

Bondi bowl - handrail bg gives scale

I'm dehydrated and have a sore tummy stomach ache, so I ride south to see my beloved wife and the band Dusker recording in Coogee. As I ride, I notice a pile of books at the roadside and find this lovely Faber paperback. It includes a fantastic MR James chiller, and a story by Saki, who I have never read before, but whose former home, marked by a plaque, I used to pass as I walked to a previous job in London.
a spook-takular find

Dusker are recording in Studio Zapata. I rock out to some Bart-beats as I lock my bike to a tree outside. Apparently Sleepy Jackson recorded their album Lovers in here. Have you listened to that lately? What a great record. I'm listening to it now.

Dusker in the studio

On my way home I do not get lost - Sydney, I own you now - and stop for wedding-flavoured blueberry cheesecake and coffee at Chocoreve patisserie in Stanmore, where our wedding cake was made. What the hell, here's a picture of our wedding cake. It was baked blueberry cheesecake on the bottom, alcohol and chocolate cake on the top. Birds made by tha D-double-E. The wee bird me's even got a wee skateboard.

Cake is important

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