“Heveticas is the next bar on our list. We might also go to the Greenhouse” – Arotulon in an email dated 8 March 2010
I had made a plan. It was Friday 18 March 2010 and I thought that I would get away from work before 4.30 in order to get a good spot at Helveticas for the rest of the group, anticipating that they would all rock up after 5pm.
Before leaving the office I made a call to home. I wanted to see if my partner LP would be joining us tonight in the city. Her answer was no, as she was still hammering away at her uni assignments.
So, I grabbed my bag and headed out for the bus stop. Bus route number #79 was just filling up as I got there. I let it go without me. I had plenty of time to get into Perth. I would catch the next one which would be along soon. This was a mistake.
While I cheerfully waited for the next bus, TravelBug and SJVC headed off, by car, in the opposite direction, away from Perth. They were going to make this a real night out, with a long list of places to see and later on, other people to catch up with. So for them, the first stop was the home of one of them, out Freo way, and then a train ride into Perth.
MS was now leaving work. He had invited a new member KM along to this night’s gathering; only KM would not be finishing up until 5.30. MS told her we would be at Helveticas and away he went, not into Perth though. MS was also going to make use of the train lines. He drove home, heading away from the city.
Back at the bus stop, the next bus had arrived and I was getting aboard. I had plenty of time to make my destination. It was not yet 4.45pm and I thought that I would arrive at Helveticas in good time. The bus headed to Mounts Bay Road.
Bookbuster now left work. She had heard a news report that Mounts Bay road traffic was congested. Bookbuster drove down Winthrop Avenue heading to Thomas Street in order to avoid the carpark that Mounts Bay Road had turned into. It was a great idea; it would have been a fantastic idea, if only hundreds of others had not thought of it also. Bookbuster had swapped one carpark for another.
I was in the first carpark, the Mounts Bay Road one. The Swan Brewery was now coming into sight. It was after 5pm.
UltUp, World Inverted and HelenKitty had all carpooled together to make the trip into Perth for the rendezvous at Helveticas. Like Bookbuster, they thought to go down Thomas Street and like Bookbuster, they too were now caught in the gridlock. They passed the time talking amongst themselves.
TravelBug and SJVC had caught the train from Fremantle to Perth, without any incident. They arrived at Helveticas after a leisurely stroll. They were looking forward to their night out.
It was now 5.30 and the bus that I was on was just passing the Mount Hospital. What was happening in Perth to cause this incredible traffic jam? What was normally a 10 min bus trip had taken nearly an hour and the end was still far off.
One passenger had the answer. She had heard on the radio that there had been a murder in Perth; a fatal stabbing in the Supreme Court Gardens. The police had sealed off all access into and out of Perth for most of the afternoon; it was only now that traffic was allowed access once again. With such a backlog of cars trying to get in and out of Perth, a gridlock had quickly built up.
5.30 meant that KH finished work. This was to be her first Barchivists meeting. She was looking forward to it. She started her trek into the city using the public transport system; the bus that goes down Mounts Bay Road.
“Travelbug and I really enjoyed Helveticas…The drinks were good value too” – SJVC
TravelBug and SJVC were by now onto their second drinks at Helveticas and were enjoying themselves. TravelBug discovered that she knew someone who works at the bar. He told them it got pretty crowded at Helveticas on a Friday night. TravelBug and SJVC were starting to wonder where everybody else was. It was well on the way to 6pm.
With no likelihood of my bus reaching the Esplanade bus station in the next hour I had hopped off the bus and started walking to Helveticas. I counted the numbers on the buildings that should have lead me to it. Only there was no 101 on St Georges Terrace that I could see. Where was this place?
In desperation I took what I swore would be a wrong turn down an alleyway. I had at last reached Helveticas. I then got turned away at the door. The venue had reached its capacity and would-be drinkers were now having to line up to gain entry. Envious of those inside I peered in, and saw TravelBug and SJVC seated at the bar.
TravelBug came to the threshold and chatted to me. They were the only barchvists there so far. I said that I hoped to join them soon and took a spot in the line.
The traffic along Thomas Street was starting to move. Those Barchivists travelling in cars had now reached the city.
MS’s train arrived at Perth and he walked to Helveticas. He joined the line to get in, which was now starting to grow.
That line was growing at both ends. New arrivals, like MS, joined on at the back. So called friends of those already in line all entered the line ahead of me. While looking behind me to see how much further back in the queue I now was, I saw MS. I waved for him to join me up where I was. It was my turn to have a friend push in join me.
UltUp, World Inverted and HelenKitty had managed to park near the Supreme Court Gardens, unaware that a murder may have happened nearby. However, they did note the presence of quite a few policemen around. They felt that at least the car would be safe.
By now, enough people and their hangers on and friends had been allowed admittance that at last I was next in line to enter our first destination, Helveticas. It had been a long wait.
Bookbuster suddenly appeared to join MS and me at the front of the line. I took some sadistic pleasure in allowing someone else into the line.
Although at the front line, we were still not inside, and the waiting was starting to drag on.
Off in the distance, where the line was bending around the end of the alley, UltUp, World Inverted and HelenKitty joined the queue.
An emergency meeting was held amongst the three of us at the front. How soon would it likely be till we got inside? What about our other three members way at the back of the line? Should we just go onto our second destination for the night?
We decided to move on. Bookbuster was allowed by the doorman to step inside Helveticas to tell TraveBug and SJVC what we were doing.
MS and I trotted off to collect UltUp, World Inverted and HelenKitty and tell them that we were moving on.
To sum up Helveticas, from what I could see, it was too small for a Friday night crowd. I’ll have to leave it up to TravelBug and SJVC to tell us anything more about it. I will just add that the doorman was friendly and that the alleyway was hard to find.
“I loved the chairs at Greenhouse – we could have played Connect 4” – TravelBug
We all hoped for better luck at the second wine bar we had on our list for this night; The Greenhouse. It was across the road. TravelBug, SJVC and Bookbuster caught up to us as we crossed over St Georges Terrace. Together we all joined another queue.
The consolation was that this queue was shorter. However, with people ahead of us trying to gain entry using passports and photocopies of foreign birth certificates, it didn’t seem to be any faster.
While waiting, MS alerted us to the fact that KH was going to be at Helveticas looking for us. Having finally gathered this many barchivists together, we lost one as MS went off to look for KH.
It turns out that KH was looking for us, and she found us, sort of. She found Morgandorffer. Morgandorffer was not with us on this occasion but her travels home take her through the city. KH ran into her, while looking for us, and was given directions to where we would most likely be. “If not at Helveticas”, she was told, “try the Greenhouse.”
Morgandorffer then sent an SMS account of this event to us. We now knew that KH was nearby somewhere. I hoped that she would find MS, who was trying to find her, while she was trying to find us.
Somehow, while waiting to get in LouLou joined us. I never did find out how she found us nor even how KH found her way to us or when and how MS returned, because at last, some of us, including me gained entry.
Meanwhile, somewhere else, my partner LP, had decided to meet me at Helveticas.
well, headed off to Helvetica by car, parked down the terrace and then jumped on a bus…the person in front of me was talking on their mobile about a fatal stabbing. did not know at that stage where it had happened. hopped off and headed to where I thought Helvetica was, turned out it was the wrong place! asked for directions and was told it was ’round the corner, down in the mud’ . joined the queue and waited…and waited.
chatted to people in the queue, they had been waiting for some time…no sign of any other patrons leaving, so left…walking back to car passed a crowd gathered near Supreme Court Gardens…wondered what was going on. – LP
– End interlude>
“Lovely Cider. Shall have to go again on a day that’s not a Friday” – Bookbuster
Those of us who got in, headed for upstairs where they have a roof top bar. The view was grand, the place packed, and the bar not too busy. I ordered a Spanish Wine and started into sharing stories of the travels and travails that getting here had entailed.
Later we sauntered back downstairs to see if the others had gained entry and there they were, at a table. MS had found us again; he had also found an excellent imported beer.
The Greenhouse has done a fantastic job with the decoration. It has strawberry plants in terracotta pots completely covering the outside. The little upstairs area has more greenery (as well as a bar) while downstairs has touches of the farm. The water dispensers on tables are watering cans, which are rather hard to pour and so it is easy to miss the glass; there is fencing wire around the lights and empty bottles dangle from the ceiling. There is also an eating area and we could see the chefs in the open kitchen preparing the pizza dough.
The chairs must also be mentioned. The backs of the chairs were like a connect 4 board. That, though, was not their most distinguishing feature. Instead, what I remember most about them is their weight. Bloody heavy! You could hardly move them in order to sit down at a table. Pity us poor Barchivists trying to all sit together, having to heave these weighty items.
Still despite the heaviest chairs known to man, a great time was had by all barchivists, as we drank and chatted. Still the night moves on and before too long we had lost Bookbuster to The Comic Zone, HelenKitty to further adventures atop the ferris wheel and UltUp and World Inverted to the calls of home.
“The Kway Teow from the food hall at enex100 was delicious. Noodles were of sufficient length” – MS
TravelBug and SJVC were out to make a real night of it, with still other places to visit and other people to see. Those of still at the Greenhouse followed them outside. Most of us were feeling a bit peckish. So while TravelBug went off to find her next destination the rest of us went up into the foodcourt at the new enex100 which is right next door to the Greenhouse.
Our night was now starting to wind down over bowls of Asian takeway and talk of previous occupations.
Soon we all parted our various ways, and I eventually found my way home to find LP watching Transformers on TV, itching to tell me her hitherto unknown part in the night’s proceedings.
“It was the first time I could make it to work drinks. I had so much fun – can’t wait for the next meeting” – TravelBug
The final postscript to the mayhem and mishap of this barchivists meeting comes from the next morning when looking at the West Australian. There was a small article, well into the paper on some double numbered page, about how a dead man was found in Perth and that the circumstances in the end were natural causes, not a homicide. The closure of the city was passed over, in a sentence, as being a very minor event.