When Thursday becomes Friday

It was the Dandy Warhols who proclaimed that Every Day Should Be A Holiday, and while that’s unlikely to happen in my lifetime one can home for a utopian future where every weekend is long.

I’m writing on the tail-end of the Anzac Day long weekend. This year Anzac Day – April 25 – fell on a Friday. That felt slightly strange but also very welcome. I was in bed 2am Wednesday after poker, but had just Thursday to get through. In effect Thursday was Friday. Thursday night there were Friday night drinks on all over town – I went on two lots myself, tramming it between the Red Hummingbird and the rooftop bar of the Waterside. Everywhere was jam-packed.

Anzac day is not far off my favourite day of the year. I like it for all the cultural resonance it has for most Australians, a mix of celebration and myth and solemn remembrance. Last year I marched in the parade myself, one of the great experiences. A few years before I had huddled in the cold at the dawn service in the place it all began, Gallipoli. It means a lot.

This year it was simpler, but in ways, I think traditionally Australian. I went to a barbecue, we cooked our meat, we drank our beer and then a good shiraz, before settling down to watch the big Anzac day clash from the MCG.

The game was a bomb this year, but the occasion continues to impress. 90,000 people gathered to watch the biggest game outside of the finals and to celebrate the Anzac legend. It might seem strange, but I believe that this game adds to the theatre of the day and all that it means. Once upon a time, our forefathers scrambled ashore and up rocky crags to attack an unknown enemy in a region where many of the great legends of western civilisation centred.

Today their ancestors march and share a beer and play two-up and gather at the G to watch the game invented by us, fought out by bitter rivals. The bugle wails, players stand solemnly while the crowd on its feet make nary a sound to commemorate the fallen with a minutes silence. It’s as if the gentle but affecting scenes of the dawn and the march after, have built into this moment, a symbolic manifestation of what it is to be Australian: to be hard at the ball, to ask for no quarter and never shirk it. And so the crowd roars, the game begins. It is the final movement of the days proceedings, stirring and robust and unyielding.

The days since have been quieter, but herein is the genius of three day weekends. You can go out one day to play and laugh and let your hair down. The next day you can catch up for a quiet lunch before an afternoon of shopping, as I did yesterday. And top it all off with a long lie-in, some domestic chores, then some cooking interspersed with quiet moments reading – as has been my day today.

Back into the maelstrom tomorrow, but it’s a fair cop. Not every day’s a holiday.

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