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General Pleasantries

The Napkin Diaries
By Paula Pistol
General Pleasantries

Didn’t we feel posh last Sunday when Sarah Barr, Wanda Martini, Gita Mann and I donned our hats and Max Stout put on a tie, in order to grace the Governor General with our presence at her Festival 2002 Garden Party.

It’s nice of the GGs to open their house to artists every couple of years. Well actually you aren’t allowed in the house - when the GG says ‘garden’ she means garden. The South Garden. Wanda Martini wasn’t having a bar of that however.

Under the guise of “must have a word with the caterers” she confidently waltzed into the majestic kitchens to have a nosy. Apparently Silvia has some great whisks.

It was a nice do. The food was above average (especially the veal bits dipped in plum sauce, and the salmon roe) and the bubbles were flowing. Trusty old Carla Van Zon gave one of her speeches-of-gratitude to the artists that was inspiring. In the case of one Lindauer-lover, it brought her to ecstasy in the most startling display of Government House column-humping I’ve seen in broad daylight. The Golden Holden pulled up in the driveway, performed its show, and the same woman tried to climb through the Holden’s window as they attempted to leave.

The merits of various shows were discussed; Copenhagen was pronounced genuinely thought-provoking, The Worlds’ Wife so enthralling, Gita only looked at Don McGlashan twice even though he was on stage throughout the show. Rota was the epitome of dancing your own steps, Failing Canvas had us all intrigued and the whole of the Fringe was bloody marvellous.

We concluded our day with photographs of Sarah and Wanda performing the Dame Silvia Cartwheel on the front lawn, followed by a good roll down a spongy grass bank that was just made for it.

All in all the girls and I wholly approve of Dame S. She’s a handsome woman, smart, dignified, and far more stylish than the Queen. Speaking of which, did you know, taxpayers paid $1.76 million to bring an old lady to drive round our streets, wave a gloved hand, and eat our salmon.

It just seems that the money could have gone to better things. Like upgrading the level of methode champenoise at the garden party. Just kidding. I’d give it to the SPCA, really I would.

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