> decadence and depravity so completely optional

decadence and depravity so completely optional

2011-11-01 - jjackunrau

Today was the something-or-otherth running of the Melbourne Cup, a massive horse race in Melbourne (though if you watched any of it you might be forgiven for thinking it took place in an Emirates airliner). Despite my work history I know and care very little about horse-racing. I know how the bets work but couldn’t handicap a horse if my two dollars depended on it. Which it did. I will now spoil the ending to this story by revealing that I am not now a millionaire due to my horse-picking skills. Nor a thousandaire.

A couple of weeks ago Edmund asked if I was interested in going to a lunch for the Melbourne Cup as a “team-building exercise.” The three of us from the office would go to a lunch at the Art Gallery where an ABC announcer would be calling the race and there’d be champagne and classy hats and it would all be an appropriately glamorous event. I said sure, and Edmund bought tickets to the fancy lunch.

I was prepared for displays of wealth and/or the aspirations towards wealth and got my observational mind ready to take notes. I mean, that’s what writers do at horse races, right? Observe the people who care about the sport of kings and how utterly appropriately they behave in accordance with those aspirations. So today I wore a tie for camouflage and was ready for Derby-day-esque 1% shenanigans.

We were in the elevator heading down to Edmund’s car when he was looking at the tickets we had. And he paused. “The National Gallery of Art? That’s not what they call it.” The three of us shared consternation (in glancing and frowning form). Edmund had a terrible feeling that was confirmed when we went back up to the office to check the internet: this lunch was in Canberra.

This is the hazard of buying things bound to locations in a medium that is so locationless, I guess. I saw the email Edmund had received and it didn’t actually say Canberra anywhere on it.

So we went for lunch at the nearby Thai place, bought a bottle of champagne and stopped off at a TAB to place a couple of bets before returning to the office to watch the race on our television with poor reception. It was a fine race. Edmund’s horse won, which goes a little way towards offsetting the donation he made to the National Gallery of Art.

And that is my Melbourne Cup story.

abc art gallery betting canberra decadence edmund emirates gambling glamour horse racing lunch melbourne cup