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Polaroids Of Androids


Topshop Sydney Opening Night, an ode to Lord Gowing's promiscuity and how to eat pretty good greasy pizza in the CBD

Stolen from Pedestrian.tv

There's plenty of fond memories of the ol' Gowings Building stored deep in my remaining brain cells. Most significantly, there's the time White Josh and Lil Stuart bailed me out of a "An In-Practical and Useless Guide To Designing Physical Things in the Digital World" university lecture. We joyously skipped down George Street with the life damaging Sydney Sunshine splashing our faces, happy in the knowledge that the scary "melanoma's can turn into tadpoles and eat your heart" government-sponsored advertising campaign was at least a decade away.

Our destination — the Gowings Building. More specifically, The LOLz T-Shirt section of the Gowings Department Store.

Now, to put this in context. This is pre-LOL. Pre-Laugh-at-Lindsay-Lohan-as-she-trips-over-her-own-sagging-flaps. Pre-meme. The Internet was still a Nerds Only Playground. Basketball players weren't yet fronting up to their press conferences dressed like science carnival prize-winners. People didn't get jokes sent to them via electronic mail, they saw them on t-shirts. At shitty nightclubs. It was a glorious time. Every wide-eyed dickhead was only one funny, mildly sexually suggestive t-shirt away from copping a feel or a quick dry handy.

Stuart had lost his favourite t-shirt (I think it involved the cookie monster and "nookie"; the t-shirt, not the adventure where he lost the t-shirt) and because we had plans on tearing up rugs and doing a bit of dancing that evening at the local nightclub, The Filthy H1, he was going to need a fresh dose of perfect comedic assistance only possible via some cheap cotton and an ironed-on print.

After much deliberation, this is the one he went with...

Gowings in those days was known for two things — 1) Great Camping Gear at Reasonable Prices; and 2) t-shirts that dramatically shrunk in the wash. Knowing both of these Facts, Lil Stuart decided to get his Funny Fonz number a few sizes too big. An XL draped over his S frame. What he didn't factor into this equation was time. And $2 schooners. A few sneaky ales at the local university bar and we'd completely forgotten we were intending to spend the afternoon warm-washing Stuart's new fashion item down into a skin-tight one-piece, ideal for a forgettable dance floor session of grinding between two month pregnant moms and desperate high school dropouts with fake IDs. Backed into a corner, and with nothing else clean to wear, Stuart decided to rock the Henry Winkler Bedsheet anyway.

On our way to a friend's house that evening for pre-pre-drinks, Stuart realised it was never going to work. Even the kids wearing shiny FUBU jerseys and Adidas snap-pants hanging out at the Franklins carpack mocked the looseness of his tee. Upon arriving at our friend's place, Stuart angrily removed the shirt (thankfully, he'd worn a considerably less-funny t-shirt underneath) and gave it our friend. Mistaking it as a gift, our friend embraced Stuart with a mixture of elation at being given such a generous gift and concern over his friend Stuart's obvious disregard for his girlfriend fucking morals. We never pulled him up. And he went on to wear the t-shirt at several social gatherings afterwards. To this day, he thinks we just went and got him a funny t-shirt because we thought he was such a top bloke.

In a similar, brash show of ignorance towards the local fashion market, UK high street giant, Topshop, decided to not retain any of the former fashion-forward mastery of Lord Gowing, when they conquered his former castle and established it as their Sydney epicentre. Instead of affordable, poorly constructed, incredibly funny t-shirts and all the camping accessories you'll ever need, the British lads and ladettes have focused on tweed suits, nicely un-slutty womenswear and affordable, poorly constructed, not-very-funny t-shirts.

The store opened last night and because we're now considered a integral part of the Local Fashion Scene, we were invited to the official opening. And, surprisingly enough, we weren't alone. Local legends and soon-to-be-fairly-big rockers, The Preachers/Preatures, were there. Showing off the novelty-sized $120 million cheque they recently received for inking a 15 album deal with Capital2. Hopefully that whole thing works out better than it did for the Mercy Arms, The Vines and Everyone Else. I think someone from Masterchef was there too. Maybe one of the judges from Season Two of New Zealand's Search For A Supermodel. Heaps of birds without wings. Or logical bone structure. Or stomachs. And cocaine noses. Almost zero ladies with "back" or "junk". That guy from the Cronulla Seagulls who I played soccer against this year was serving drinks. Free drinks is always a good decision. More important than escalators that work. Or even air-conditioners. I heard some of the anorexic birds squawking about those unpleasantries. They probably just need to carb-load more. And, of course, snapping up all this action is that 16-year old photographer guy you always see out, clicking away without consent, paranoid he won't get enough elated E-list celebrities for the society page spread. He thought I was someone else. Someone he skated with "from back in the day". When he was 15.

And then upstairs on the Topman level there were about 140 staff members ready to pounce.

I'm an anxious fella even when I'm comfortably reclining in a lazy boy getting a lazy boy from a lethargic 12-year old Vietnamese male sex slave, so having a few dozen Retail Specialists ask me "how ya doin" 17,000 times in the space of 4 minutes is likely to make me more strung out than Woody Allen at a Sexy Barely Legal Step-Daughters Convention. So, just like ol' perv Wood twelve seconds into such an event, we shot out of there pretty quick.

Apparently it got pretty wild later on. Make out sessions in the change rooms, drinks spilt on those nice womenswear blouses, no return policy. Wild. Around the same time, I was getting fairly "Mike Whitney" on the best unknown pizza joint in the CBD.

Decent (greasy) pizza in the CBD is possible! Sign-up now to find out more.

Just like good, affordable pizza within the central business district of any international city — Topshop in Sydney makes perfect sense. People here wear clothes and they don't mind exchanging legal tender for the privilege of doing so. It'll probably never be as quick on trends or ridiculously cheap as it's British outlets, but if you like merry old England so much you should move there and live in Kangeroo Point, East London and complain about the weather heaps while you listen to that Waifs EP.

1. Surprisingly, the H doesn't stand for Hepatitis.
2. We were Daryl Braithwaite's plus one.
3. They also (apparently) performed later in the night.

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Honestly, you could be Daryl Braithwaite's anything and I would be in absolute awe.

7 years ago

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