Monday, September 20, 2004

(*) Darwin stubbie

Have I ever told you (all of you out there listening intently with baited breath awaiting patiently... pmsl!) about my "Darwin Stubbie"? 'What the %$#@ is a Darwin Stubby, Mallard, you quackers?!" I hear you reply. Good question. A Darwin Stubbie is a really BIG bottle of beer, brewed and bottled in the Northern Territory of Australia. It's like an Aussie icon, altho it's rarely seen in these southern climes. How big is 'big', again I hear you enquire? Well, it holds 2 litres of NT Draught beer (4.9% alc/vol), is about 30cm (1 foot) tall, and weighs about 4kgs! That's for just ONE bottle of beer! Around the top of the bottle is embossed a water buffalo's head, complete with horns. I'd only ever seen one once before, and that was on the top shelf of a bar in town here back in 1983! Before then, the Darwin Stubby was somewhat of an urban myth, an enigma, a teenagers' fantasy. Like the one that got away...

Luckily, when my (ex) parents-in-law took their campervan up to the Territory a few years' ago, they brought back a few prezzies for people. Like 3 small bottles of the red sands from around Ayers Rock for the boys, things like that. Much to my surprise, this tall gift box was handed to me - totally unexpected, believe me. I opened it, and couldn't believe my eyes - it was a Darwin Stubbie!

Let me explain - you don't actually possess a Darwin Stubbie so as to drink it. You just have it to show people that you have one... they really are 'top shelf' kind of bottled momentoes! ("I'll put this straight into the pool room...") No-one believes you when you tell them about it - people claim to have heard of them, but because they've never (or rarely) been sighted in these parts, people assume you're pulling their leg. Voila! Upon producing the said monster beer bottle, a momentary lapse of silence followed by an intake of breath. "Look at the size of that thing!?!", together joined with much laughter. It's a silly thing to have (mine actually is still unopened in it's gift-box - as my bedroom door-stop!!!), but it's fun to pull out every now and again to give people a laugh!

My housemate had never even heard of it - until I showed the thing to her about 6 months' ago. She's an avid beer drinker - I mean, she tries out all sorts of different beers from across the world - her world-wide beer bottle collection here is quite remarkable ("I didn't know that country even brewed beer!"). So, she laffed heaps at the sight of this thing.

What does it taste like, as a beer? Well - who knows! Probably tastes like mud, if my guess serves me right. The whole concept of the thing is just it's pure novelty! Or - so I thought. In Darwin - and I've heard this from many and totally independent sources - the locals drink these things like the rest of us mere mortals drink a normal beer! Argh! The men are real men in the Territory! Gees, it's not as though I'm a big beer drinker myself (I'm not, really), but it's a very cool Aussie icon to own, all the same.

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!

On this 'Thor's' day:
Births - Brian Epstein (Beatles' manager); Cass Elliott (Mumas & the Papas); Bill Medly (Righteous Bros).
Died - Gram Parsons 1973 (Byrds, Flying Burrito Bros).
Soundtrack - "Blonde on Blonde" Bob Dylan (1966).

Mal :o)
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"If we see light at the end of the tunnel, it's the light of the oncoming train." (Robert Lowell)
"The Lord survives the rainbow of His will." (Robert Lowell)


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