I miss behaving badly in sin city Sydney. I want to get a face tattoo at 2am

I miss behaving badly in sin city Sydney. I want to get a face tattoo at 2am

As we drag our sorry, miserable existences through week 11 of lockdown, I am plagued by intense cravings to be really, really bad in Sydney.

Not bad as in attend a superspreader anti-lockdown protest. Specifically, I want to jump in a time travel machine to 2002 and dance till dawn at a Mad Racket party at Marrickville Bowling Club. (Oh merciful Lord, send me back to one such glorious night. At the end of it I swear on my grandmother’s grave to hop back into the time machine and dutifully serve out the rest of this lockdown sentence.)

I want to be bad in ways I’ve never wanted to be bad before, because Sydney is usually such a delicious place to be really bad. I want to go on a three-day beer bender with a pack of rugby league players in Cronulla.

I want to conduct an open-secret affair with a disgraced politician in the overpriced restaurants of Paddington. I want to lose all my money at the track. I want to get a face tattoo in Kings Cross at 2am.

For the record, I support lockdown restrictions. I am simultaneously committed to doing my bit to save lives while being one sourdough starter away from completely losing my mind.

I want something – anything – to happen. To me, not by me
I’m so tired of being a good girl toiling away at my stay-at-home lockdown hobbies. Screw your air fryer. Screw your cryptocurrency bets.

If I pass another Friday night doomswiping Tinder as I swig on alcohol-free tinnies, I will take a hammer to my phone.

I feel like a kid stuck in a really long and boring car ride griping in the back seat: “Are we there yetttttttt?” But in this scenario, I’m also Mum in the driver’s seat, having to devise elaborate ways to amuse myself lest I go batshit crazy.

It’s come to this: I want something – anything – to happen. To me, not by me. I’m thirsting for the organised chaos unique to big cities and the pre-lockdown Sydney we knew and loved. The city that could always be relied upon for a weekend of unscripted drama or unmapped adventure.

I want to go out for “a quiet bevvy or two” and wind up seven hours later at Establishment bar surrounded by coked-up investment bankers. I want to do burnouts in Liverpool. I want to seal the deal with Chinese developers at Golden Century – a three-decade old Sydney institution that, like my sanity, may not survive this lockdown.

When the Italian city of Siena locked down, residents took to their balconies to sing in solidarity. In other locked-down Australian cities they circulate wholesome inspo memes and scrawl on the pavement in chalk: #WereInThisTogether #WeCanDoThis.

But Sydney? We split the city in two by slapping down harsher restrictions on the city’s less well-off western half and then collectively added Crime Stoppers to our phone favourites.

I have a love-hate relationship with Sydney. When I lived in Beijing and London, Sydney seemed like the arse end of nowhere. When I lived in Darwin, I saw how repulsively overpriced and congested Sydney was.

Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time in different parts of Australia and seen my hometown through their eyes: a crass, indulgent, corrupt sin city.

And you know what? They’re right. Our city is bad. In fact, it’s the baddest bitch in town. It’s all the districts of Panem. It’s Botox meets baklava. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

To all my bad Sydney sinners: I miss you. Let’s have “a quiet bevvy or two” on the other side.


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