A Formal Affair.
The Poles call it Studniówka, the Poms call it a Leavers Ball and the ‘Mericans call it a Senior Prom. You might know it as something else in your part of the world.
In ‘Straya its called a School Formal and is usually held at the school auditorium where teachers, politicians and other interested parties wax lyrical and acknowledge the achievements of students leaving school to make their mark on the big wide world.
Arrival at the school auditorium is generally a subdued affair with the graduates putting on their best attire (or not, as the case may be). Some arrive in the family car, while others come with friends or in vehicles specially hired for the event.
The formalities at the auditorium are followed by a sit down dinner at a separate location, usually at an up market restaurant or resort in the city somewhere. The dinner lasts until around midnight when some graduating students, usually those under 18, go home, while those that are 18* seek out the after parties.
All manner of vehicles are hired to take the graduates to their dinner venue. Everything from hire engines, ambulances, stretched h, custom cars, hot rods and bikes turn up.
It’s quite the spectacle.
In 2011, The Pillion In A Million graduated from high school and she asked me if I could arrange something nice for her and three friends to make an entrance with.
As it happened, I knew a bloke who had imported a custom 1970 SS 454 Camaro into the country a few months earlier. It had just passed customs, was complianced to Australia and was registered. So the deal was done and the girls all turned up in this stunning example of American muscle-car-dom.
The drive into the city was uneventful, the girls arrived at their destination and entered the venue safely. While they were walking through the foyer, the concierge and other venue staff started yelling and running outside with fire extinguishers. The girls turned and followed to see what the commotion was all about.
When they got outside they saw that the Camaro they had just arrived in was on fire, it had gone less than 20 metres (65 feet) when an oil line burst, spraying its contents on to the headers.
The car was destroyed from the firewall forward.
Gives new meaning to a hotted up car eh?
A few years later it was The Bar Tender’s turn to graduate high school.
He’d been asked to chip in some folding with a bunch of mates and get a hire engine for the night, but decided that he’d rather go in on the back of a Harley than in a decommissioned fire engine.
The last time I’d ridden a Harley was back in ’98 when a bloke I worked with brought his brand spanking new Softail Custom in to show it off.
Was I jealous?
Maybe a smidgen… I’d always wanted a Harley, but could never afford one. It was one of those distant love affairs.
Before that day I’d never sat on one, let alone ridden one. So when Old Mate threw me the keys, I jumped at the chance to go for a burble around the block.
I was in heaven, I loved the sound of the engine, the chrome appointments and the classic looks. Alas, that’s where the attraction ended.
The thing handled like a wet sponge, didn’t like cornering and refused to pull up in a hurry.
I was shattered.
How could a machine with so much history and character perform so poorly?
It was now 2013, 15 years had passed since I last rode a Harley.
I mulled it over and figured the boffins must have improved their product since the last time, so I hired a Fat Boy Low from a local Harley dealer here in Brisbane for the weekend.
Apart from scraping a foot board on a right hander when I left the shop, I actually liked the bike. It handled well for its portly 330 kg (725 lbs) , sounded awesome and looked the goods.
There were just two little things…
The first, was that the seating position had me leaning back slightly while riding. This put pressure on my tail bone, so after about 20km (12 miles) I was in a bit of pain. I’m told that this can be fixed with some adjustments to ‘bar position and a different seat.
The second was the pillion seat.
It looked good, but that’s where it stopped. The Bar Tender found out about the seats limitations when we’d stopped at a set of lights in Chermside on the way into the city.
We were surrounded by hot rods, custom cars and bikes, all with kids on board Yahoo-ing and carrying on; as kids do when they’re excited about something. The Bar Tender was doing his best to keep up his end of the festivities.
Eventually the light turned green and I let the clutch out and accelerated away.
In doing so the young bloke, who wasn’t paying attention, slid backwards on the rearward sloping seat and on to the rear guard. The first I knew of his predicament was when I felt the collar of my jacket just about strangle me. The lad was trying to get hold of something to hang on to so he could pull himself back up on the seat.
I backed of the throttle a bit and he clambered aboard. He was laughing his head off at what had just happened… just quietly, so was I. Man it was funny.
Fast forward another couple of years to 2015, and its JaJa’s turn to graduate from high school. Not wanting to be out done by his older sister or brother, he wants to make an entrance to the formal as well.
He was a little upset when I told him he couldn’t set fire to any cars… and that it might be a bit hard to land an F/A-18 Super Hornett on the school oval.
Reluctantly, he decided to go into the city venue on a bike like his older brother did. The only difference being that he wants a Harley Davidson Softail Breakout instead, if there’s one available
Hmm, looking at that seat I think I might have to educate him on the finer points of not sliding down the rear guard when we take off from the lights.
- You must be 18 years of age or over to vote, buy smokes and drink alcohol in Australia.