Boston – The Party

The night started in a similar fashion to my last birthday party / house party.  My birthday party from the previous year was back in Australia, most people were fashionably late, there was no sound system to speak of and I was fairly certain we would be taking the party elsewhere at some point in the night, either to another house-party or adult venue.  Siting with the two other attendees in my kitchen at around 8PM we were off to a slow start.  The food had gone well, Colin’s seafood pizza and calzone were both great, the gaucamole was delicious and the volume of extra large salad I made was still at 95% (at least they’ll be left-overs I thought).  People then came in a rush, first our new  neighbours from the 1st level down-stairs, then more friends (some who had even bothered to follow the fancy dress requirement), then more random people who were trying to get to the party down-stairs but found themselves up here by accident.

We had a decent crowd growing, the sound system sucked, but drinks were flowing well, especially the UFO beer which everyone had decided to bring in following with the Space theme.  I did my part as a good host, showing newcomers around and lamenting the fact that we had a whole spare room, which would have been perfect for a dance party.  Eventually as the night went on we moved our party down-stairs, where our neighbor’s house party was in full swing.  Lots of engineers greeted us, a young but cool crowd and the two parties meshed into one seemlessly.  We could have left proceedings there, spirits were high, single guys were talking to single girls, there was more than enough entertainment to keep proceedings going.  I took a gamble though and suggested we make another move, there was another house party on nearby, an open house party at the CS Palace with bands scheduled to perform and a German called Tim who had created a massive anus out of paper machete.  The opportunity was just too good to pass up.

We arranged for transport, and managing to fit perfectly in the two cars of the DDs, before we knew it we left the safety of the familiar and ventured across to East Somerville.  “Trust me,” I told everyone, “this will be worth it!”  I was right, the party was in full swing, the house was packed far too full as always and the next band was setting up.  Alas, we had missed the previous act Enlarged Anus, but apparently they were excellent as many people later told me.  Its probably  worth pausing for a moment and considering if at this point I thought it odd to be hearing people express their joy at seeing a band called Enlarged Anus.  With the direction this night was taking, I wasn’t surprised in the least.  We neglected to BYOB, but some was easily found, though the fellows who discovered the Aussie group drinking their Captain Morgan were a bit miffed.  “I’ve got some JD back at my place,” I told them.  “If you’re ever round you’re welcome to it!”  Little did I know I would be making good on that promise by the end of the night.

My costume was still a mystery to most, such a lack of appreciation for Dr Who in the country!  Eric at least was extremely enthused when I demonstrated my working Sonic Screwdriver, complete with sound-effects and green light.  The next band Free Pizza started playing and it didn’t take long for us to hit the mosh-pit.  I never anticipated a full blown mosh-pit could be possible in such a small space, but somehow it happened, crowd-surfing also included.  I noted the looks of concern from those that resided at the house, the floor in the living room was certainly taking a pounding and considering how many people were stuffed onto it, it seemed a really possibility that something might give.  As it turns out, it wasn’t the floor, but what was likely a noise complaint from the neighbors.  Mid-song the music stopped, Tim (the German piece of shit who played from inside the anus) was on the mic and the party was given its marching orders.  The police strolled in and everyone quickly piled out.

It was at this point that once again things could have gone into  wind-down mode.  The police weren’t arresting anyone and we were piling back into our transports to head back to my place.  Abhi being an upstanding citizen was helpfully telling a couple girls that drinking on the street wasn’t the best idea in plain site of police.  One of them drunkenly responded with, “who cares?” and took another swig, before then quickly hiding her bottle after seeing the police officer no more than 20m away look directly at her.  Right beside me I saw a snare drum being dropped by someone obviously carrying too much musical equipment from the house, feeling helpful I gave him a hand and assisted him getting his stuff to the car down the road.  Engaging in a bit of chit-chat with the musicians, I soon learned they were scheduled to play next and were fairly disappointed at not being able to.  The decision made itself really without much input from my brain as I blurted out, “Hey, I’ve still got a house party going . . . AND a spare room, why not come round and play at my place?”

I gave the guys the address and my cell and before I knew it, I had just arranged for a band to play at my apartment.  I jumped back in the van to abuse from my gang asking where I’d been and why I’d taken so long.  “All good guys,” I said, “just arranging for a band to come play at my house.”  This obviously generated some excitement, the party was set to continue.  We arrived back, the 1st floor party was still going, but had little energy left, “Spread the word,” I instructed my party disciples, “let’s move this show upstairs so the band has a decent crowd!”  The rest was a blur, before I knew it, I was helping the band carry their equipment and setup upstairs in my apartment, they did a quick sound-check, then started with a Radiohead cover as I instructed those at the party to hurry up, stop talking in the living room and move into the next room to see the band.

The room filled up, the crowd got their dance on once again, the unnamed band played loud and actually put on quite a show!  Somehow my party had gone from one where music was played out of a tiny portable speaker attached to my phone to  having a fully decked out band consisting of singer, two guitarists and drummer.  I gave a shout-out from the mic to all those with birthdays in the room (there were a few of us) and then brought out the police tape to ensure people could engage in the tried and true “let’s cover ourselves with ridiculous colored tape game” and still try to dance.  Alas, the band was too good for the party, it was getting late, really late and people were out of stamina.  Slowly everyone filtered out until the band was playing to no one (I assume they wanted to finish their rehearsed set).  The kitchen was quite a site, nothing appeared broken but the JD was now almost all gone and the beers had all left the fridge, after all, the least I could do was offer some free booze to the guys in the band.  In typical hipster fashion as well the PBRs were well received.

As it turns out, my salad came in handy as I offered it to the band members after their performance and they hungrily devoured its contents, after the brilliant addition of cheese and olives to the mix.  “Crash if you need to,” I told the band.  In the end they decided to head off and simply left their gear, which I said was fine and could be collected later that day.  At around 5AM the band and any last stragglers made their way out the front door, I locked it behind them and then looked back at the mayhem spread across the apartment.  The remnants of a destroyed cardboard space-ship lay in the spare room, half-drunk beers were sprinkled throughout all corners of the apartment and the pile of dishes stacked inside the kitchen would ensure a decent amount of dish-washing would be required to return things to a natural order.  Somehow though I had managed to host a a house-party crazier than that of my birthday a full year ago.  What further amazed me was that I was on the other side of the world in a place were I had only just properly settled down and had only really started forming a decent social network.  In fact, what had happened was the most  ridiculously epic house party I had ever thrown.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to replicate the success of that party again soon (though the band did offer to come back and play anytime!) but regardless, it sure was a night to remember.

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Austin

The end of my flight-pass had come, it was a sad day indeed.  I didn’t feel I had done it justice, but I hadn’t really enough remaining cash to make use of it properly.  I’d hit South America though and seen some more of the U.S., so on the whole it was still a worthwhile purchase.  One weekend was left, one last destination to fit in, where should it be?  Cancun, the Carribean, Vegas, Colorado, New Orleans?  I could have done any of them, in the end I chose Austin, Texas.

After sending out a few couch-surf requests and hearing nothing back, I thought I’d just wing it and see what accommodation I could find when I got there.  I landed and caught the hourly bus from the airport to the city, checking out what hostels were in the city on my way there.  Alas there weren’t many to choose from, Hi-Hostel seemed liked the best option, which didn’t look particularly appealing due to their standard “no-drinking” policy.  One other option came up however, the Bee-hive hostel, I gave them a ring, got a  voice-message and promptly hung-up, I figured if the front-desk wasn’t manned at  this time of day, place was probably was a bit dodgy.
Much to my surprise, I got a call back in 5 minutes from the hostel, informing me I could stay at another hostel, the Rusty Railway Hostel instead, which was just south of downtown.  “Would you like me to pick you up on my scooter?” I was asked.  Why not I thought, what have I got to lose?  An hour or so later, I met one of the most interesting individuals I’ve yet encountered on my travels, a man known as the Scooter Rocket, riding indeed on a Scooter.

To understand who Scooter Rocket is, simply watch the following youtube clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yF6-JGQW8lk).  Scooter now runs the Rusty Railway Hostel in Austin (http://www.facebook.com/rustyrailway), whose location is not advertised so Scooter can try to filter out any dickheads who want to stay.  Scooter runs an awesome place, a personalised hostel experience, very affordable with a super chill vibe and even some great cooking on occasion, nothing quite beats some pumpkin pie to cure the previous night’s hangover.  Once checked in I immediately headed back out to check out the night-life of Austin with a partner in crime from the hostel.

As we bar-hopped our way back into the city, numerous food-carts with delicious menus were sampled on the way, until we ended up along the deadly 6th Street, an expansive strip through Austin’s downtown lined with bars, restaurants and night-clubs.  I had already visitted Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill for lunch that day (the name of the venue says it all really, they have waitresses, who wear bikinis) and the night that followed had it all.  Starting with some shots in an upmarket cocktail bar, we headed East towards the more “seedy” end of 6th Street, stopping in at the Chuggin’ Monkey while we listened to some live blues music.  We checked out several more venues, with nice outdoor beer gardens, one we couldn’t get into, which we later found out was due to Green Day playing a secret show there that night.

Thoroughly exhausted the next day, I joined Scooter on a bike ride to check out something called the Cathedral of Trash.  Walking into the backyard of a normal looking house in a suburban area south of Austin’s CBD, a structure a couple stories high came into view.  At its base is a large sign “Welcome to Trash Vegas” and it doesn’t take long to realise that the tower rising up out of the ground is composed entirely of trash – bicycles, old computer parts, bowling balls, sports equipment, sewing machines, furniture, anything that could possibly be considered junk had been used to create a mammoth sculpture.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it before and would highly reccommend a visit to anyone stopping by Austin.

The following night was jam pack once again starting off with some real Texas BBQ for dinner (music provided by a trio of singing golden oldies), some live music at a cafe (4 singer/song-writer guitarists) and then once again to 6th Street for even more live music at a Beach Club themed bar.  I can certainly see why Austin has a reputation as the live music capital of the world, just about any bar or restaurant I stepped into had some sort of live entertainment!  Scooter also proved that a bad dancer he most definitely is not as he tore up the dance-floor with the ladies (and in a pretty sober state I might also add) before then joining them by dancing on the bar itself.  Knowing there was no point going up against a pro like him, I instead discovered the availability of a scorpion tequila shot, which as one would guess is a shot of tequila containing a whole scorpion!  Best of all, it came with a free corny shirt advertising the fact that one had consumed and survived said scorpion tequila shot.  Like a lot of cities in the U.S.A., I barely scratched the surface of Austin and know its somewhere I definitely want to head back to again!  With good weather, a great music scene, excellent night-life and fantastic food, Austin definitely ranks in my top 5 cities in the U.S.A.