Almanac Life: The First Beer After Lock-Down


Enjoying the first post-lockdown beers


On Wednesday morning, the text-messages commenced. The shackles had been loosened. ‘Let’s go for a beer.’


Only those in metropolitan Melbourne could appreciate just how soothing, and how sweet to the ears, those words sounded after almost four months of lockdown. For the first time in weeks there were plans: later that afternoon, we would be able to meet, outside of our homes, in each other’s company.


We emerged, slowly blinking in the light of this new dawn, from all points of the Williamstown compass, descending upon the local bowling club, ‘the Bowlo.’ There was a sense of pride in having toughed it out. We’d made it.


The Covid-safe rules were explained to us: ten people only in this section, ten people only in that section, a maximum of fifty people outside. Masks to be worn when inside at the bar. We were happy to comply with any and all rules. Nervously, we signed our names in the book.


The crowd was sparse, and we were told that the teams may struggle for players this season at the bowling club as, being in the older demographic, many of the players are still too apprehensive to socialize.


We elected to stand outside and breathe in the mild spring air. Amid the hesitation and lingering uncertainty, there remained a feeling of sanctuary in being outdoors.


The familiar refrain: ‘Whose shout is it?’ There were no shortage of takers willing to purchase the first round.


An 8-person shout can be at once unwieldy, breath-taking, and brutal if one is not “piss-fit”. Even more so when the thirst being quenched has been building over a period of months. As the beers were joyously passed around the group, glasses were clinked, and a ‘Cheers!’ was joyously exhaled. Here’s to us, to the local community, to Melbourne. We survived!


And the first pot? It was cold. It was perfect. Describing it as superb would be doing an injustice to that ice-cold amber fluid. It fairly rolled down my gullet. But what made that first beer taste so much better was the companionship, the piss-taking, the banter, the face-to-face catch up, the hope that the Zoom sessions might now be a thing of the past. We were battle-weary, but keen to put the past behind us and make up for lost time.


Unspoken was the apprehension, deep within us all, that missteps and mistakes could so easily see us confined to our homes once again. There was a tentativeness in every move we made: not encroaching too close, not back-slapping nor hand-shaking. No-one wants to be the person responsible for putting Melbourne through the misery of another lock-down. The more intimate details could wait.


We spoke of Europe and America, and the problems the world still must confront, and then marvelled at how fortunate we are.



More stories from Smokie Dawson HERE


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About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. What a ripper sight that is Smoke!

    We had our own version, just on a half-sized scale to your mob – a four way shout is less dangerous, though not without risks if not ‘piss-fit’. None of us had done a preseason, that’s for sure!

    My shout next time we meet.

  2. Love it Smokie, looks like it was a great catch-up. You have captured an essence of our moment both in the doing and the writing. That essence has, as we are all noting in our little gatherings, been sorely missed. Hanging out with friends and seeing who can tell the biggest lies, laughing together and going another round is one of the unmeasurable qualities that knits us as community. Cheers

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Beautiful Smokie. Here’s to getting piss-fit.

  4. Smokie- your piece captures everything great about what HG once described as “drinking in concert.” Hopefully we can discuss this piece in the NFA front bar in 2021. Being Friday I’ll be having a light run around 4.27 in order to maintain my piss-fitness.

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