Patonga – a night at the local and not really a travel tale!

Yes, my fabulous readers, as the heading suggests, this blog breaks my norm. We’re told on a regular basis that change is good! However, this is just a detour, an observation, I felt I needed to add to my blogs….
It does contain a small portion of travel so it won’t disappoint totally. Leaving our house we travelled about an hour via local roads where we saw kangaroos dining on lush green grass, headed onto a 3 lane freeway, turned onto town roads, climbed narrow winding roads, enjoyed magnificent views of the coastline and finally wound our way down a very narrow, winding, road to reach the hamlet.

A little history – Patonga is a hamlet on the Central Coast of NSW with several shops and a large pub all centred around a white sandy beach. I have no idea of the population however during holiday season it is extremely busy and to bring visitors to Patonga the local community holds various festivals. One such festival is the Blues festival which is held on a Saturday in November each year.

This evening, after the festival, Ty’s friends’ band was playing at the pub for those still in town. We had arranged to pick up my friend Maryanne and head to the pub for the evening. The band, Null and Void, are regulars at the Patonga pub so I assume they also have a local following too.

Null and Void

Arriving at the pub I noted the place was crowded outside and we heard the band in full swing. The regular security guard was hovering around the stairs as we walked past. We stepped into the darkened bar area and pushed our way past the people to a table near the band. Taking up our positions we settled ourselves in for an evening of music, wine and entertainment, which included people watching as well as great music.

The band members, Kai ad Bob acknowledged us with a nod and a wave. Looking around the room I noticed quite a number of interesting characters, many more than our last visit. There were a few that I recognised from last time and had to assume they were locals.

As the band played the next song a woman shimmied her way to the dance floor and continued to move to the music. Dress sense did not appear to be her strong point or perhaps I’m a little old fashioned with textures and colours that should be worn together. This lady was wearing what looked like my late grandfather’s multi coloured striped pyjama pants that had been cut off above the ankles with a top large tricolour stripes going crossways around. I couldn’t watch her any longer because the colours and the stripes were beginning to clash very badly. I turned my focus to the bar area….

Sitting at the bar facing each other, holding hands and looking lovingly into each others’eyes were two rather large lesbian girls in their 20’s. One was wore a baseball cap, matching fleece jacket and jeans, the other in a black singlet top and jeans. They appeared oblivious to anyone else in the room as they moved closer and started to kiss passionately…ok time to shift focus again!!! I know men seem to find this interesting for some reason but doesn’t do much for me.

The man I considered to be a regular was seated at a table beside us, with a couple of other men. I named him ac/dc or ‘aca daca’ last time we were here and you’ll read my reasoning further on. The men at the table were interesting characters…there was ‘aca daca’ with his greying mullet hair do under a black baseball cap, his sunglasses perched on top of the cap and wearing a dark grey fleece jacket with sleeves pushed up, a pair of grey jungle print shorts and a pair of black runners. He was slight build, his features were best described as scraggy and not a tooth in his head – as my darling husband would say ‘he couldn’t bite you but he could give you a nasty suck’. Hopefully I’m not offending all those that prefer no teeth to false teeth..it’s unintentional. Aca was a happy gentleman and I think he may have had an eye on Maryanne..

The other two men had mullets as well…most mullets I’d seen in one place for a very long time. One man was extremely thin, bordering on anorexic I’d say, he wore tan pants with thick white socks and black scuffs. He had a walking stick which he seemed to keep losing! He was quite chatty and obviously another local as people came over to chat with him regularly. The third man was in black and was more inebriated than the other two staggering to the bar and spilling the drinks on his return.

Suddenly a man burst onto the dance floor, spinning round and twisting to the music…dressed in black t shirt, black shorts and wearing his dark sunglasses. I gathered he liked this song. Several women were dancing near him so he slid over and joined them but from their body language I gathered he wasn’t welcome. After the next song had finished the man in black stepped back towards our table…not looking at us but still facing the band. He moved a little closer to Maryanne then suddenly wandered off. When the set finished I mentioned him and Maryanne said incredulously ‘he put his hand on my leg’! ‘You’re kidding’ I replied ‘No, I pushed him away’ was her reply. We couldn’t believe it….what sort of people are out there? We couldn’t believe the audacity of him. Where’s the respect?

Scanning the room and the dance floor I noticed that hats were popular with the males; baseball caps, panamas, fedoras, a trilby or two, flat caps and even a cowboy hat….they were all here and in varying colours. Some looked good, a couple were too small for the heads they adorned and several more should have been thrown out years ago. There was a rather tall, rotund man in a mustard coloured t shirt, a cream raffia fedora on his head that was way too small, standing at the bar with a corona in his hand who thought he looked pretty cool. Guess that’s all that matters!!!!

Whilst we’re on the subject of men, some stood around in a trance, some bopped to the music as they eyed the females in the room…as only men can do. Some men stood in circles and danced, others danced and sang to each other. Ah, music really does make the world go around and it doesn’t matter what gender you are it’s quite acceptable to sing and dance with each other. Although not too many years ago we wouldn’t have seen two or three heterosexual men bopping around the dance floor together and getting up close to sing a chorus of a song.

‘Wait for it’ I’d said to Maryanne earlier in the evening, ‘aca daca will throw himself onto the dance floor air guitar revved up and ready to go’. It was time!!! Aca moved onto the floor and proceeded to move across the dance floor playing his air guitar and gyrating to the music. He modus operandi was to slide across the floor in front of Chris, the Null and Void guitarist, and play his air guitar in time with Chris. He is so close rocking back and forth I’m amazed he doesn’t fall into Chris or step on the electrical gadgets up front. Then he’d scoot up towards the singer, Bob, and bass guitarist, Kai, to play air guitar with them. The only one safe was the drummer. The amazing thing is that his sunglasses never moved from his cap throughout his whole performance….we were impressed! So if you know of the band AC/DC (even if you don’t find them on you tube) and how Angus Young moves around the stage that’s your man aca daca. At several points in his dance he tried to catch Maryanne’s eye and that was amusing. The locals always recognise new blood in town!!

Aca Daca

Aca Daca

Whilst aca was playing air guitar,sliding and side stepping across the dance floor one of the three men had left and the other had moved to the bar to order the next round of drinks, a blonde and her partner moved to the table thinking the previous guests had vacated….they hadn’t!! The young man in the tan pants with the walking stick returned with the drinks to find he had some new friends to chat to. As much as the couple tried to be polite but uninterested it didn’t work. The blonde decided to take a photo of the band and our man in tan thought it time for a selfie with his new found friends. He quickly moved across to them, beer breathe breathing in their face and was very persuasive in getting in a selfie with the couple. We thought it very amusing.

The blonde and her partner had been dancing – mainly for the crowd – you know the type. They think they’re the best looking couple in the room, she’s playing to the room, flirting with all the men in the room looking around to see who’s watching…the partner is a bit on the broody side…thinking he’s a modern day Marlon Brando (young Marlon of course). There’s always one couple in the room. They were standing near us before the move to aca’s table. As she flirted to the room there was the one person who thought she really did have her eyes on him. Up wanders our man in the mustard t-shirt with the tiny fedora on his head…at close range he’s quite a hairy gentleman. For a minute I think he’s making a beeline for Maryanne but he steps up to the blonde. He puts his hand out ‘let’s dance’ blonde shakes her head in a no motion and moves closer to young broody Marlon. Mr tiny fedora moves closer and thrusts his hand at her this time young Marlon says something to her…perhaps ‘we’re in a corner here you better dance with him’ or ‘he’s bigger than the both of us just dance one song with him’. Whatever he says she moves to the floor with Mr tiny fedora. As they danced the blonde was looking to her partner and trying to move back towards him but her dance partner was having none of that. He kept pulling her back to him, at one stage she walked back to her partner and shared his chair but Mr tiny fedora followed her, had a few words in a cross manner and took her back to the dance floor and there she stayed till the bracket of songs ended. I figure in a crowd such as this it’s better to be a wall flower than attract too much unwanted attention.

When the next bracket started the same people jumped up onto the dance floor to start their moves all over again but another had joined them. A man all in black, hands in pockets, staring into space seemingly oblivious that other people were on the dance floor as he moved to and fro in time to the music. He moved further into the midst of the dancers still with that spaced out look on his face. He was a slight hazard and the dancers, I use that term lightly given some of the gyrations, had to move out of his way.

Suddenly a very tall man came into view to the right of us. The is man had a bored expression on his face, beer in hand swaying to the music with the tiniest amount of knee movement. Maryanne and I decided to call him Lurch. The man with the vacant stare was still on the floor and was now sidling up behind or beside some of the female dancers and at one point came a little too close to Maryanne and actually placed his hand on her leg! That hand was shoved away very quickly and he moved on to one of the lesbian girls. I leaned over to Maryanne and said “Now that is going to end badly for him!” and we then watched as the other lesbian girl pushed him back off the dance floor towards the bar area. People were moving out of the way as the other lesbian girl came for him as well. Security stepped in and broke up the little incident. The man was spoken to and later removed from the premises.

As the set ends a couple of men come up to the singer and cuddle him for the great songs he’s singing and tell him how much they love him. Music tends to do that to men!!

The conversation at the table behind us during the break was interesting…..all about weed and coke. It was clear they weren’t discussing your everyday garden variety weed nor coca cola. We heard about how cheap these items were ‘years ago’ and how they could no longer get ‘high’. This conversation and their anecdotes of days gone by continued for a time……amazing what you can learn on a night out in Patonga. Now we know why some of the patrons look so spaced out. Both Maryanne and I agreed we’ve lead such a sheltered life.

I heard a slight commotion behind me then I felt the dampness….the anorexic man in the tan pants sitting behind us had knocked a glass of red wine off the table and it landed right on my backside. Great now I’ll smell like a wino for the rest of the evening…thank goodness I was wore a mostly black top… Can you imagine a white top with a fabulous red wine stain across the backside?? Our friend was very apologetic – so what could I do except smile (through gritted teeth) and say “it’s ok accidents happen”. He rushed to the bar to get a cloth for me to mop up but that really didn’t help…my clothing eventually dried.

The dance floor was still bopping along and a man in a yellow shirt and hat danced like a rooster however there was no hen in sight to be wooed. A young couple stepped onto the dance floor, stood in one spot smooching with a little bit of rocking to the music.

The band broke into the song Tainted Love. This song revved up the crowd and they rushed to the dance floor. Men were sliding across the floor, women dancing round in circles with hands in the air….the whole of sleepy Patonga would have been woken by the beat.

Next came the song Let Me Go Wild, and aca was still up front playing air guitar, 5 males were dancing in a circle, a woman was crouched down at the bass guitarists feet, swaying with the music, when she slowly started to move her hands up his leg towards his groin…..he continued to play, we laughed and before she got too far up his thigh someone helped her up. We laughed about it with him afterwards but he did say he was getting a little worried there for a while and wasn’t sure what his next move would be to unlatch her from his leg. One of the perks of being in a band?

Music does some strange things to people or is it alcohol??

As the band played it’s last couple of songs in final set the harmonica player entered the group and played a number. People started to leave, not aca daca though – he had more air guitar to play. A couple of songs into the set a man who had been standing near us stepped over to Maryanne and asked her to dance. She obliged, Ty and I also joined them on the dance floor.

The music ended, dancers shouted for more, the band gave in and played another song, people danced as if they’d never hear another song again. Maryanne’s dance partner asked for her phone number and the night drew to a close.

As with most venues people are often slow to move on especially if they’ve enjoyed themselves so it was the job of the security people to move the patrons towards the doors and home.

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