Darwin Blog


It’s not just about horse racing!
Sunday, 5 August, 2007, 11:49 pm
Filed under: Observations

The much anticipated Darwin Cup, with all the glamour and excitement that the sport of kings attracts, climaxes today.

For the past month, those who have the need to be seen, have been clamouring to attend a number of events such as the Skycity Derby Day, the Coleman’s Cup, the Palmerston Sprint and of course, the Gala Ball.  This is a month of partying, social events and cocktail parties.

Apart from the many tourists who make the annual pilgrimage to Darwin for the Cup’s festivities, it is also a time for locals who proudly showcase the Territory with their unique style and world-famous hospitality, that can only be experienced in the Top End.  And this is where the cringe factor comes into it.

I have been to number of events throughout the Darwin Cup Carnival over the years.  To be honest, my favourites days have always been Derby Day and the Palmerston Sprint Day.  Whilst always being a corporate guest at these days, what I like about them is that even though you dress up to attend the races, there isn’t all that bitchy pressure like that is seen at Ladies Day.

Ladies Day is the worst social experience, I have encountered to date, in the 23 years I have lived in Darwin.  So much so, that I now refuse to go to Ladies Day, no matter how good the invitation is.  The last one I went to, I was a corporate guest in the Toyota tent.  The food ran out when they got to our table and what was slopped together was so not appetising, that the ten of us did not bother eating.  Not to mention that they served crappy champagne and it was hot!

Entertainment, well the obligatory fashion parades with way too skinny and young models – that, yeah right, as if they would purchase let alone wear the clothes.  Don’t forget the firies, each year the same old, same old, under the pretence of raising money for charity.  But what got me the most is the competitiveness and bitchiness of the women over outfits, hats, shoes and jewellery and yes, they are all there under the pretense of having a great time with their girlfriends – oh please.  Some of these women spend months, sometimes the whole year, just getting ready for this day and let’s not mention the thousands of dollars spent.

But despite trying to look refined, within a couple of hours, very few of these women are in anyway dignified, let alone very lady like in their behaviour.  I always warn friends that go to Ladies Day, that I really do not want to see them on the news that night sitting in the gutter, drunk with their shoes off and their hat hanging on the side of their face!  Honestly, this is how many of them look.  I chose to leave at 4pm before things get too messy and before anyone “barfs” on me!

The one event we haven’t been to is the QANTAS Darwin Cup Ball and this has been by choice. The tickets are $275 per person and this year 3 000 people attended.  I have to question whether one would receive $275 worth of quality food and alcohol and to be quite frank, there is nothing exclusive about it, when there is 3 000 people involved.  Think about it that is $825 000 in revenue!  Quite ironic that QANTAS sponsors the Ball, considering the lack of services and the rapid decline of QANTAS servicing the Territory.

Anyway, the Ball takes place on the Casino lawns dining under the stars!  At $275 per ticket, it is a seafood buffet extravaganza, yes, one must line up for food!  Would would like to think lobster might be involved, afterall oysters and prawns are now so every day.  Last year guests were served 7000 oysters, 10,000 prawns, 500 kilograms of beef, 300 kilograms of salad and half a tonne of fruit. The event has become renowned in true Territory style for a top night out getting “smashed”!

Many say the entertainment is always great, but for $275 per person, one would think that the Casino, with QANTAS sponsorship, would be able to secure a top lining act rather than has beens.  Although this year Leo Sayer performed, I just wonder how many in the audience knew who he was!

To be fair, I guess this is just not my scene and I am happy to let the wannabes enjoy it for what it is.  After-all, it may end up being someones 15 minutes of fame by having their photo published in the Northern Territory News.  It is times like this that Darwin still is a small town! 

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