Big Red

There’s something a little scary about asking for directions in King’s Cross. Anyone you go up to ask for help is either a little scarey themselves, or perhaps thinking you’re looking to ask them for money or sex.

In the end, I asked a bouncer outside a bar if he knew where “The Bootleg Bar” was. He didn’t. I needed to know, because it was where I was meeting a friend tonight for dinner and a drink. It’s a great bar/restaurant and one I’d highly recommend. We both had beef dishes, by the way. Mine was the beef cheeks, which were excellent and reasonably priced. The calamari entree we shared was also very, very good.

Over dinner we chatted about life, the universe and everything. And my friend, a single woman in her forties, without children, and with flaming red hair joked “it’s our time”, commenting on the election today of Julia Gillard as Prime Minister. By the way, Julia is not our first red-head PM. James Scullin, the 1930s Prime Minister was probably the first, as history records.

It was obviously the talk of the nation today. A sign of this was when when I got my hair cut late this afternoon where the hair-dresser I went to near central was very, very busy. The barber told me it’s because it was so very quiet at lunchtime, as he concluded everyone had stayed at work to watch television.

In the place where I work it was, understandably, a busy day. We watched a lot of television and listened to a lot of radio. We watched the speeches, in particular, huddled around a television together.

For all his faults, the Rudd Speech was devastating. We – men of a certain age – have been brought up not to cry in public. And so as we watched the television together, there was a feeling both of sadness and disquiet in the room. “Keep it together Kevin” some people said. “Have a good cry Kevin”, others encouraged.

Fraser and Hawke both cried in public, of course, and were ridiculed for their tears. Hopefully in 2010, where much was made today of our first female Prime Minister as a sign of a maturing nation, there’s also room for reflection on the modern man who can be “human”, which is also a sign of our nation’s increasing maturity.

Politics is obviously a cut-throat business, and presumably Rudd also “lived and died by the sword”, and politics-aside, I suspect you’d have to be a fairly tough nut yourself not to be even the slightest bit touched by the personal tragedy in Rudd’s speech.

Wandering home at about 10.30, I sat down to watch the Julia Gillard interview on the 7.30 Report with Kerry O’Brien. Watching the two red-heads go head-to-head, I concluded my friend was right…. “it’s our time”. :)