A friend of mine scored a couple of tickets to the annual victorian cultural diversity dinner which is held as part of multicultural week. It was held at the Crown Palladium room. I got to be the handbag. Several hundred people from official community groups attended. Special guests were our premier John Bracks, the current state opposition leader, the mayor of Melbourne, Wellington So and other personages both illustrious and grand. They made speeches, very little of which i could remember because my memory capacity for well-meaning self-congratulatory carefully inoffensive feel-good phrases is very limited.
It was so swanky you could drink as much Heineken beer as you liked. I did. Enough so that a new one appeared even when i wasnt at the table. Fortunately, I dont get drunk on beer anymore (which is why i soon stopped drinking the very average chardonnay) so this entry doesnt contain anything embarrassing.
There’s really not a lot to report on swanky official dinners like this. The networkers and climbers cluster around the centre of power and the rest of us plebs eat and drink as much as we possibly can hoping that the speeches dont go on too long between courses while eyeing off attractive people on the next table.
The difference in this dinner however was there were taxpayer funded acts from community dance groups. Everything reeked of authenticity. There were:
– cypriot dancers whirling glasses of alcohol in what looks like small wheat sieves
– lots of islander people clicking sticks and being very cheerful while singing
– a jamaican woman with really cool dreadlocks and a white dress (with a distinctly non jamaican looking drummer guy she ironically called Pablo Castro.)
– a small but very energetic troupe of african drummers and dancers
– an eighties to nineties cover band with a couple of very toned girls who had at least three mid-rift baring costume changes.
Pretty much half the hall crowded on the dance floor at that point even if he was wearing a bad pink suit. The fun part of the evening had commenced. After standing around wondering why it wasnt an afro-regge-world-beats type band on stage, I left. Perhaps there was a not-so-subtle point behind it all.