Dakota: An Obituary

May 24, 2016

BY MADDY THOMAS.

Oh, Dakota. You beautiful, dirty bitch.

I awoke to the news that you had gone down in a blaze of glory early this morning. Like, an actual blaze. Like, burned to the ground.

While I’m sure that many, many of us drunkenly shouted that we would burn you to the ground as security threw us into the gutter outside, you know we would never do you any harm.

You were a rite of passage, firstly for myself, then my brother, and my sister. We lined up at your doorway with our fake IDs nestled down the side of our bras (my sister and I at least, I imagine my brother probably doesn’t wear a bra), the scent of adulthood, Lynx Africa, and stale urine stinging our nostrils. I still remember the look of surprise on the faces of your security guards when they realized my name was Madison and not Laura as I handed over my real ID for the first time.

You were all over the questionable celebrity appearances, too. Who could forget the fateful night that Big Brother housemate and Zoo Weekly cover girl Krystal rolled into town? Okay, to be honest the answer is most people, with the exception of my friend and boob enthusiast, Dale Hughes. In that shining meet and greet moment, you allowed Hughesy transform from an 18-year-old boner, to a man.

Dakota2What about the fights? A bunch of drunk, horny, barely formed adults together in a smoky room were always an exuberant dance move away from violence. Two girls, all hopped up on Cruisers, or fighting juice, as I like to call it, attacked each other for a reason that wasn’t immediately obvious. In keeping with the usual theme, it could be well assumed that it was boyfriend related. In the hissing, spitting, swinging wake of these two furious females, I witnessed my first, real life tumbleweave blow across your dance floor. When the fight spilled outside, those of us still watching were treated to the majestic sight of one of the contender’s handbags being drop punted across Maroondah Highway. To this day, it remains one of my fondest clubbing memories.

I spent every Friday night in your flammable walls for almost a year, dancing to hip-hop in baggy jeans and tight t-shirts with my best friend, Sam. We fancied ourselves as pretty talented dancers, but our real gift was drinking the cut price, suspiciously chemical tasting booze. If I close my eyes really hard I can still taste that cranberry juice concentrate that wouldn’t ward off UTIs as much as it would power wash your insides.

All jokes aside, my dear Dak, you did bring us all together. Where else would you be able to run into your teenage dream, your dad’s weird mate, the girl who always gave you the stink eye, and the guy you went home with one time but really, really hoped to never see again, all under the one roof? You had the dubious honour of smelling slightly less like vomit than The Irish, even though there was always someone throwing up their weight in cheap fizz out the front. I include myself in this statistic.

We lost touch a long time ago, Dak, but I will think of you fondly. I will think of all of the boys I kissed, and all of the fights I talked my way out of. I will remember the momentary joy when I accidently stood on that girl’s foot, thus giving me the opportunity to push my way to the front of the dance cage. I will remember all of the times I got low, and bent over to the front and touched my toes – Lil’ Jon and you will forever be inextricably tied. I’ll remember all of the nights with my high school friends, before there were marriages, babies, and mortgages to worry about. I will remember every single one of Luke’s terrible shirts.

Dakota, you were gross, your fire safety strategies were non-existent, and you were the best possible place to be on a weekend, 2004-2007. You let me refine my sad girl schtick before there was even a word for it.dakota1

Oh, Dakota. You were a towering monument of dirtbaggery. You catered almost exclusively to underage clientele, your floors were always sticky and your alcohol tasted suspiciously of petrol.

You died as you lived – full of asbestos.

And I will miss you.

 

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