Date: Friday, 3rd March 2000
Place: Flavour of Tibet (Himalayan cuisine), 127 King St, Newtown
Guest Speaker: Doc Neeson, lead singer of the legendary Aussie rock band The Angels.
What omens of disaster presaged our Third Dinner! The room was obviously becoming too small as guests invited ad hoc by Tony and unbeknownst to Richard began to appear. The air conditioner failed to deliver the promised Himalayan temperatures and one of the windows refused to open. Doc Neeson was temporarily incommunicado and Tony was running late. The second room, booked until 7:45 for our cocktails, became unavailable. Sy Barry's artworks had failed to arrive from New York. Glenn Ford's injured eye prevented his completing Sy's birthday card. The Dalai Lama's photo was looking askance at Lee Falk's portrait in the corner and we were all set for a really rotten evening.
But what a magnificent evening we had! It all came together, by George! and the joint was jumping.
I can't say that I remember or saw everything but here are some vignettes of a truly memorable evening.
Warren Dickson from Canberra must have been the happiest man there. His devotion to our hero and his extensive collection make him an indispensable member of our happy band. Warren was seated next to Jim Shepherd, whom he had never met personally, and oh my God!, why was there no tape recorder under the table?
Phillip Johnston, also from Canberra, had written to Jim Shepherd as a youngster and now enjoyed the opportunity of talking with our favourite publisher. Phillip's contribution to our Club in his yet short membership has already made him a legend.
René White won the excellent Felmang drawing and his exultant yell of joy brought the noisy throng on Friday night in King Street, Newtown, to a momentary halt.
And Doc Neeson. Well, what the hell can we say about Doc? A guest speaker who doesn't speak much can be a bit of a worry... unless he sings... and has everyone else singing... and clapping and table thumping... and is accompanied by one of Australia's other greatest rock'n'roll voices (Skinny of The Poor) and a brilliant guitarist called Jason... and even brings the Tibetan staff to a standstill.
He sang Buddy Holly, he sang The Ballad of The Phantom, specially composed for the evening... it was a winner... and had all the guests joining in the jungle beat chorus with gusto. He sang a song from the Christmas concert for Aussie INTERFET troops in East Timor... one sung after the television cameras were turned off. (Travis, aren't you glad you didn't leave for Canberra before all this?)
Indeed, Doc had a better time we think than anyone else and has expressed a desire to join us at future functions as an ordinary member. Done!
And who won the print so graciously donated by Dietmar? Why, our own Dr Di Dio's name came out of the rice canister. And who was more deserving, you may ask? Well, I'm too bitter about the result to answer impartially, I'm afraid.
The various bottles of wine from Deep Woods Estate and Langmeil Winery were gleefully and randomly disbursed and I do not believe that anyone left The Flavour of Tibet empty handed.
It really was a great night, dominated by the constant hum of happy conversation, imbued throughout with the camaraderie and selfless generosity which is becoming the hallmark of our ever growing and worldwide Club.
Can we top this one? Hell, we won't even try. But we will be aiming to be just as good, and just as different!