I’m visiting Canberra for a couple of days and stayed last night at Rydges Lakeside Hotel, which is something of a blast from the past for me. My first job, for six weeks after leaving school, was as a porter at the Lakeside, then brand-new and top-of-the-market. Some decades later, we’re both showing our age, and the upmarket place to stay is the Hotel Canberra, which was massively revamped some time in the 80s. An even sharper indication of age (and inflation) – the bill for one night’s stay is the same as the total amount I earned here.
A more minor temporal warp: the downstairs cafe is a bit of a mishmash in terms of decoration, but the main theme is old ad posters from the 20s and 30s. One set is of stage magicians, notably including Houdini. But there’s a ring-in. The Amazing Randi, scourge of Uri Geller and of alleged psychics in general, has managed to inveigle himself into the scene.