To paraphrase from Transmetropolitan, to understand a city, you have to get it beneath your feet. Adelaide has a distinct air of being the forgotten city. Truth be told, I know very little about it, past or present. So I went for a walk from my hotel into the inner city. I suppose after about an hour I got to know this place a little better. Adelaide is a bit like every other major city. It has the familiar smell and sight when you happen to accidentally walk through a slightly seedier part. A place of neon, fluoro and LEDs advertising night clubs, hostels, and bars. Classic looking adult shops, with blank-face mannequins in costumes and signs advertising “sensual leather’ and “cyber sex”. Most of the buildings look more than fifties years old. A hotel dressed in emerald-coloured tiles, would have sone brighter than Oz back in the day. But now, it looks old and worn. Old architecture that meets older architecture, with buildings whose mortar set more than a century ago. But this is in contrast to the street art that I found. And its mostly pictures. Not complex or freestyle writing, and certainly far and away from simple (and boring) tagging, but pictures and murals. Certainly some of this would have been commissioned to be this good… but on the surface, it does begin to put the Canberra street art scene to shame, when you have work of this quality so close to the inner city.
Norwood is a place of the gourmet. At least it seems that way. I didn’t see much, but I did have a chance to check inside Grace, The Establishment for some lunch. First were some Leek and Gruyere Croquettes with Leek Ash. Severed in a old ceramic ash tray, they looked like two cigars that out lived their use. The croquettes had a firm and crisp outer layer that held its shape well. While the inside was a rich, creamy mix of melted gruyere and leek. Next up was a Reuben sandwich with corned wagyu beef, sauerkraut and pickets, along with a side of American-style chilli fries and aerated cheese. While the chilli fries were on the too salty side, that sandwich was perfect.
The people of Adelaide seems pretty cool on the surface too. While taking photos of street art, two people were kind enough not to walk in front of my camera, either pausing or opting to walk around behind me. That’s damn considerate.
The reason for going to this city was to see Sigur Ros in concert for the second time this year. It was at the Thebarton Theatre, an old deco-styled playhouse, with the original acoustic dampers that looked like step-pyramid clinging to the ceiling like stalactites. My buddy, Phil, and I found some seats behind the sound desk for a view of the entire stage over the floor crowd. The show itself was awesome, which has become the standard of this band, the projector in the background, sequenced lighting effects, a brass and string ensemble on the background, along with a great playlist. Though I do miss Gobbledigook with its rain of confetti… The upside of this was to be treated with a new track ‘Brennisteinn’. It’s a darker metal/drone piece that has me now eying my emails for the official free download (This YouTube vid will have to tide me over for now).
The next day, we did a wine tour around the Adelaide Hill region, one of the four (or five) places that have an abundance of cellar doors and tiny villages to sample some local produce or vino to take home with you. Danny, our driver was a pretty accomodating with the tour taking us to the wineyards of our choice. One cellar door in Bridgewater, was converted from an old flour mill which still had the massive metal water wheel. It had the most impressive bar area, which a baby grand piano on a stage above the bar and two tiers above the main floor, filled with tables and chairs for the constant stream of wedding receptions that ran through here every weekend. When the wine tour ended, I managed to catch up with Justin, I guy I met on a training thing about a year ago. We had dinner at Andre’s Cucina and Polenta Bar, pretty awesome food to split between the three of us. And then it was drinks at The Apothecary Bar, a French/Euro-theme spirits bar and restaurant, filled with classy furniture and decent drops.
Afterwards, Phil and I went to Glenelg, a coastal suburb and the founding site for Adelaide. Its like Venice Beach sans the freakshow. Quiet and sleeply, a constant array of surf life saving games, with fortress-like hotels accompanied by bars and restaurants. Its a nice place And honestly I didn’t do much except check a place called The Changing Canvas, something of a art studio where you could take up classes in painting or buy some art from locals.
Overall, my visit was pretty cool and a decent time to spend a couple of days there. It would be nice to go back for a longer period, because I did miss seeing the art galleries and design school, but at least its something to check when I go back in the future.
Below are a sample of the photos that I took. I have more, but I thought I’d get these out of the way before posting more stuff about the city later. The really blurry ones of a stage are from my phone