Phil Brown talks repeated holiday itineraries: My own Groundhog Day
Anyone who knows me will tell you I am a creature of habit. I live my life by a set of rules that I have made up.
I’m not so good at following other people’s but I am a stickler for my own. Everything is regulated.
When I travel this expresses itself thus: I go to the same places time after time. When I visit a city I know, I have certain rituals.
I was thinking about this the other day when I went to Melbourne for the weekend to see that play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which is really very good.
I’m not wild about Harry, or potty about Potter but I knew enough to get me by.
I was staying downtown and 15 minutes after arriving I was sitting in Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar in Bourke St.
I cannot visit Melbourne without going there and it’s usually my first stop. Second stop is just nearby – Hill of Content Bookshop. I have been going there for 20 years or so.
Then I go to the NGV International on St Kilda Rd.
These three things have to be done on a visit to Melbourne.
Wherever I go I have similar itineraries – itineraries that are the same, time and time again. I’m living in my own version of Groundhog Day and I love it.
When I visit my old childhood home of Hong Kong, as I do every couple of years,
I have a similar checklist. It includes The Peninsula Hong Kong, Swindon Book Company, the Kowloon Cricket Club, Shek O Beach and Sam’s Tailor.
We will be there again soon and I will be out there with my clipboard checking things off.
Some people like to mix it up, do different things but not me.
I find things I like and I stick to them.
It’s why I stopped listening to contemporary music years ago.
I already have enough to listen to and nobody yet has topped The Beatles or Van Morrison so why would I bother?
Am I living in the past? I certainly hope so. It’s where I’m most comfortable.
Oh occasionally I will try something new but only occasionally.
I remember once running into an acquaintance who was having a party and she asked me to come along. There would be, she told me, some people there that she’d love me to meet.
I replied that my roster of friends was full and I didn’t have room for new people on it and she laughed.
She thought I was joking. But I was deadly serious.
If I lose a few friends I might have limited capacity for a couple of new ones but then we’d have to get to know each other and that would be tedious and time consuming.
I could furnish them with a biography and just refer them to my website. Then I wouldn’t have to meet them at all.
That’s just the sort of warm and wonderful person I am.