You know that the greatest house that I ever saw, the greatest single house that I have ever been in in my life was in Sydney. I was invited to come out by this guy—and he wasn’t a rich guy either—I rented a car and drove out to a suburb of Sydney which was on a big hill. I saw some other cars there and I parked. It was a party they were having that night and I was the guest of honor. So I’m all excited going there. I climbed up the steps, a long row of steps, carved stone steps chopped right out of the undergrowth, just going straight up in the darkness. I couldn’t believe what I saw. This house was built on the face of a sheer rock cliff and it was built in four levels—carved out of the stone! The stone was hollowed out like a cave and on each floor of the cave was a cantilevered floor walled totally with glass, and connecting the four of them was a circular staircase that hung in space, so you walked up the staircase with glass between each floor, with the bedrooms on the top floor.
You looked out of this thing—it was like four big glass bubbles hung onto this stone cliff and you looked out and you saw this tremendous expanse of Sydney laid out below you like an enormous carpet of blue and green and white glistening lights. And beyond you saw the bay of Sydney, which is one of the most beautiful harbors in the world. You see the Pacific stretching all the way to the Antarctic. I’m floored! Here was this beautiful place and of course, traveling and figuring I’m in a frontier country, Shepherd has come tastefully dressed a new pair of chinos and his J.C. Penny sports jacket. I’ve got my wash and wear Teflon shirt with a sponge-rubber tie, and I’m standing there surrounded by this group of people all dressed completely to the total nines—these people were wearing tuxedos, evening dresses, in Australia! Guy walks up to me and he says, “I hope you don’t mind, mate, we thought we’d go a bit formal tonight.”
I said, “I’m pleased that you thought about that.” And I thought, “I’m in the most elegant place in the whole Western World!”
And this guy came up to me wearing a suit right out of a Fred Astaire movie, and the chick he was with dressed like Ginger Rogers and I thought, “This is the ultimate sophistication.” They hand me a tray. He says, “Of course I realize all you mates back there love this drink called a martini.”
I say, “That’s right, mate.”
And he hands me a martini, the most obscene martini I ever had. It was like a martini made out of Diet Yoo-hoo with an olive in it and all of a sudden all of their civilization crumbled into nothing.
“Acquiring a taste for your martinis”
He said to me, and he was being nice, “I’m kind of acquiring a taste for your martinis, you know.” I thought, “Holy smokes, if he acquires a taste for this, where’s the next step?”
And so, friends, each man has to grab his own brass ring.
End of Part 5
Stay tuned for ANZAC DAY