Entourage Woodside

With a great sense of thrill I discovered the entire season Five of Entourage on the net and spent the better part of a lazy Sunday afternoon indulging in the entire 12 episodes back to back. Few television shows have the same powerfully addictive qualities as Entourage: the episodes are short and sweet, the urge to receive more and more vicarious hits of the Hollywood existence becomes too much to resist and suddenly you're left with the very real sensation that you're in on the deal, frequenting site shoots and scanty blonde Malibu beach parties, livin the dream, pimpin' fo shimpin'.

Entourage was an institution in our Fitzroy house at the time right before Pete and i dropped our Melbourne lives and hightailed to South East Asia. We'd taken to drinking a lot of 'Chang' beer in preparation, a Thai import that we later found was akin to Bangkok VB, and the arbiter of a particularly potent and frequently regrettable variety of hangover, known around Thai tourist hotspots as 'Changover'. Pete and i would down sixers of Chang on the cack green felt Slam Palace couch, getting lost in the indulgent, penis-friendly world of Vinny Chase, Johnny Drama, Turtle and E, rarely feeling any desire to to return make the depressing trek back to the alleged real world.

When my first stint of graveyard shifts began at the hostel around that time, i found myself crawling out of bed around 6pm, tucking into 4 episodes of Entourage over either dinner or breakfast (sometimes both, due to the dualistic, confused nature of my smashed nocturnal body clock), sit at a check in desk for eight hours, prevent English and Irish goon swillers from destroy the joint between 11 and 7, indulge in four more episodes of Entourage exhausted and wired...sleep, rise, rinse, repeat.

Aside from the promise of impending international liasons and adventure, Entourage was the lifeforce that kept me going through this weird period. Soon enough, Pete and i were free men, hellbound for a whirlwind stint through one of the craziest sectors of earth, then onward to London and the US respectively.

"Make it big, you bastard", Pete would frequently demand. "Make it big, so i can ride your coat tails and pimp it so we can LIVE LIKE ENTOURAGE".

The dream has yet to be realised.

It wasn't just a nostalgic reminder of good times past nourishing myself with season Five this recent weekend - I actually discovered I was closer to the wonderful, alluring world of Vinny Chase than i thought. You see, Episode 12: "Return to Queens Boulevard" was filmed not only in the haunts and streets of this Woodside neighbourhood, but Vinny Chase's mum lives in a red roofed weatherboard box house thirty seconds from my door on 41st Drive, there are shots of the gang traversing the 61st station steps where i tread every day, a shot where they cross the cafe window in which i am typing this, and down Roosevelt Av to my right under the LIRR ovepass sits the Station Cafe Pub, the site of 'Johnny Drama's' neon-signed dive bar.

With knowledge that the brothers Chase, et al hail from these very same Woodside streets, the undesirable divide between my vicarious fantasy world and sense of reality just got shaved down to within a pimp's inch.

I may not yet have made it big in order to support the delusional world of my Chang-swilling travel-pal/uncle, but you gotta start somewhere...

As sun spills over the Roosevelt and Woodside X intersection, the streets of box weatherboards soak, tree lined and bustling, and the 7 line roars and slices into Grand Central on the steel corridor across the heart of the hood, i sip my coffee proud, take it all in and in my mind declare:

I am Queens Boulevard...

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