Sex, Bananas & Degrassi: Health Education in 2006


Let’s take a moment to set the scene: It’s 2006, I’m fifteen – but I’ll be sixteen in July. This is a detail that’s always important until you turn twenty or so. No matter what age you currently are, it is important to highlight the age that you will be next (as if the person you’re addressing can’t count). I don’t have sex, my friends and I don’t talk about it – we weren’t “the type” (which is a definition I regret making between us and what I assumed of other groups). I think I maybe, possibly knew some girls who had probably had sex. I did, however, think about it. A fair bit actually. That, however, didn’t make it any less nerve wracking knowing that being a year ten student, I, along with my peers would be forced to complete a compulsory education unit simply known as “Health”.

Health, as the broad nature of the term implies, was a subject that was fairly all encompassing, but before the semester even began, all I knew was that this is the class where I’d be expected to put a condom on something vaguely phallic. In our case it was a plastic penis that lived in a plastic banana casing and looked like it had been used twenty years earlier when my Mum attended the same school. Considering the class would occur twice a week for a full semester though, I knew there had to be more to the curriculum.

Our particular teacher probably wasn’t the right person to be leading this subject. She called us all her petals or drops of sunshine – depending on the day. She reminded me of Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus. I couldn’t wait for her to start talking about herpes. Actually, I could, because unlike 30-year-old Alicia, 15-year-old Alicia would blush like a tomato at even the implication of anything related to *sotto voce* “sex”. Especially in the presence of an adult (because, you know, they’d done…it).  Having Ms Sunshine and Rainbows being the one who was set to dispel the rumours of whether you could get pregnant from sitting on a toilet seat that had cum on it (real rumour dispelled in that class) was certainly not looking to be ideal.

two images which demonstrate exactly how “15” I was at age 15.

With the gift of hindsight I could harp on for hours about all the ways that the class should have been presented differently, about the really important things we missed (like how sex should be pleasurable for both parties and guidance and strong emphasis on navigating consent, and about diversity in sexuality, just as a start) but I’m here to talk about the good stuff – however weird it was.

So, as I said, if the initial hints weren’t enough to indicate that perhaps we had the wrong person leading us on our journey to sexual discovery, confirmation came in the form of a television trolley with VHS player attached being wheeled into the classroom. “right petals, today we’ll be learning about the challenges that a young person might face should they choose to have unprotected sex” what she didn’t mention, as she struggled to locate the play button as she peered over her thick glasses, was that the example that we would be viewing was from 1987. Nineteen years later the world was a very different place, perhaps she could have selected something more appropriate? I’d later reflect back and know that she had, of course, made an excellent choice.

The sound of a peppy theme song filled the room and three words that would shape my personality for years to come filled the screen; “Degrassi Junior High.” On the outside I hoped that I seemed indifferent (because I knew that actually liking the show intended to educate us about sex, however poorly, would seem totally uncool) but as we were introduced to the characters, I was enthralled.

I immediately fell head over heels in love with Spike, whose storyline lead gave us the key take away message that our teacher was too jittery to directly voice (don’t have sex). I’m not sure what it was about her that first drew me to her, maybe it was her hair or her style (which I went on to replicate for the next few years) or maybe it was the way she pronounced the word ‘about’. Who knows what it was that first caught my attention but I watched on with bated breath as she navigated her first sexual encounter and, at age fourteen, after, may I repeat, only having sex once, she falls pregnant and eventually kicked out of school. Next thing I knew I was watching her baby daddy Shane try LSD and fall off a bridge, suffering irreparable brain damage. It was a lot to take in but it served its purpose; I dodged teen pregnancy and to this day I’ve never tried acid, but most of all I found a TV show that I would love for many years to come.


From what I could gather, the reason we watched the episodes revolving around Spike’s pregnancy was that our teacher wanted to push for abstinence (a concept that I was familiar with after being asked to sign an abstinence pledge at age 11, but that’s a story for another time) but due to the curriculum couldn’t actually say that. She still ticked the boxes (in the most basic sense) in terms of all other sex ed, maybe if I’d paid more attention to those lessons, I wouldn’t have had to spend my twenties bulk ordering pregnancy tests in discreet packaging off of Ebay. But then again, no ‘Health’ class taught at an Australian public school in 2006 would have ever given me the mental resilience to not be constantly paranoid about the perceived shameful threat of getting knocked up, so maybe this isn’t all on me. Either way, all’s well that ends well; I still have (and watch) the collection of Degrassi DVDs that I went straight out and purchased (okay it was 2006, it took me a while to save up the money), I’m really good at comical Canadian accents and I totally dominate at Degrassi themed trivia so I am chalking this experience up as a win for me – and in turn all those who have met me since.



Aldi Special Buys Saturday: A Cultural Phenomenon

Dear reader, friend and foe, I recently experienced a cultural phenomenon I thought only existed in American movies and pre-online shopping myth. I was caught in a throng of thirsty bargain seekers, early one morning out the front of a suburban Aldi, anxiously awaiting access to their famed special buys range.

It was a vacuum cleaner that I was seeking, you see, which prompted me to awake early and arrive at the store promptly by 8.20am.


As I pulled my car into the carpark, through the haze of a light early summer rain I could already see the crowd growing. I managed to park close to the entrance, initially deciding that the safest option would be to shelter in my car until the doors opened. As the numbers of shoppers arriving increased, I started to grow nervous; what if they too were searching for the perfect vacuum cleaner to fill the void in their life? A void yearning to be filled with a Dyson but operating on an Aldi budget. These people were suddenly my competition and I needed to cement my spot in the line to ensure that I could claim my dust busting prize.


I slid out of my car, attempting to join the crowd without notice. I spotted a number of people with sack trolleys; this was not their first special buys rodeo. At first, I assumed that they would not be my competition – “who needs a sack trolley to carry a vacuum cleaner?” I mused, “surely they must be after a bigger prize.” I then began to doubt my judgement, wondering if perhaps they were planning to buy vacuum cleaners in bulk. I began to regret not squeezing in some fitness training to prepare for this event.


Talk of dogs and vicious dog breeds is shared between three of the most dedicated and practiced looking bargain hunters. They speak loudly, clearly an attempt to assert their dominance. It seems to be a strange topic to bond the trip however other shoppers listen in with genuine interest, working to interject when they can; perhaps in years to come, anthropologists will discover that in times of crisis such as this, humans attempt to bond by sub consciously bonding to stand united – or we may never know the motives for this bizarre bogan dog chat.


A woman who we will assume is named Beryl mentions the low prices of bananas that she spots through the window – an attempt to ease the tension or a genuine observation, we’ll never know. I’m not even sure it is a good price for bananas. You’d hope that by age twenty-nine I would know what a ‘good price’ for bananas is however I’m just not at that level yet.


A woman is jostling to inch in front of me, using her trolley to poke me out of the way. I turn to give her a look that I hope gently and politely says “fuck off this is my turf”. She points upward to indicate that she is moving because of the rain however to me the fall seems minimal; she is being sneaky and manipulative and as threatened as I feel for the fate of my vacuum, I have to admire her ingenuity.


The doors open and for a moment I think that it will be calm, but the crowd begins to rush, so I too pick up the pace.


A man who we can assume is called Davo has led the pack, he’s charging through with his sack trolley, bouncing quickly despite his weathered appearance; “Grab the washing machine Beryl, I’ll get the upright freezer” – of course he and Beryl are a team. They seemed to hide it well outside, a strategy that I pause momentarily to admire and note for future special buy Saturday expeditions.


I grasp my prize, the 2 in 1 stick vacuum of my dreams. I hold her tight as I walk around the store and an older Greek couple holding the same vacuum cleaner catch my eye. We both exchange a look which says, “you did well fellow shopper, now let’s hope to shit that this is worth the $70 price tag and early morning jostle or it’s back to the dusty drawing board for us.”


Before I leave, I grab three lemons; at the time it seems like the logical thing to buy with a vacuum cleaner. In retrospect, it seems ill thought out. My ability to confidently hold this combination of items is non-existent.


The checkout boy has bathed in after shave – slightly fancier than Lynx Africa but still reminiscent of school busses and shopping malls at 4pm. He has tattoos on his arm – batman and comic characters and stretchers in his ears. This shit wouldn’t fly at Coles or Woolies but this is Aldi, the bad boy of supermarkets. Their staff sit on chairs, anything goes at a place like this.


I exit the store to see a guy with a washing machine load it into the boot of a hatch back, it protrudes out the back, but he has an innovative solution. Packing tape is used in a futile attempt to close the boot and keep the item in place. I hope for his sake that the police aren’t nearby, but considering the suburb, I don’t think his odds are great. I sigh and hope that he doesn’t hurt anyone or ever reproduce, lest his DNA be carried on to another generation.


I leave with cleaner, happy and proud. I fought the good fight, I won myself a coveted prize and you know what? Now I’ve done it once, I’ll probably be back for the snow wear sale in May.

My Dream Netflix Sub Genre

I’m not crying, you’re crying…okay I’m bloody crying, there’s a torrential downpour of salty dampness falling from my peepers and I bloody love it, okay? Okay. I did this to myself, I have no one else to blame and I regret nothing.
This is exactly how I feel after watching Cool Runnings. Or Save The Last Dance. Or Dirty Dancing. Not because they’re sad, per se – sure it’s sad that I’m sitting here in a Friday night, sure it’s a bit sad how (spoiler alert) the fast running dude doesn’t get to go to the Summer Olympics and it’s definitely a kick in the guts when (spoiler alert) Julia Styles’ characters mum dies, and it’s definitely a complete tragedy when Baby’s sister embarrasses herself by singing – but it’s not ‘choke on your Kahlua and milk because you can’t breathe between tears’ level sad. But somehow that’s exactly what I manage. Every. Single. Time.

And yet I go back for more. Time and time again. My go to movies don’t fall into a specific genre; some are dramas, some are comedies and hey, there are even a few musicals in there (I’m looking at you Hairspray) but the one thing that they all have in common is clear. There’s always a character that is in some way inspiring (for example, Baby (Dirty Dancing) inspired me to always carry the Watermelon – if the opportunity presents itself) and without a doubt, the ability to make me feel like I could take on the world while simultaneously feeling like the most inadequate human in the world. Standard day for me though really.

Unfortunately Netflix doesn’t exactly have a genre called “Happy Sad Movies That Make Me Doubt What Exactly I’m Doing Here and Question Every Decision I’ve Made Up Until This Point”. So I decided, after a brief survey on Facebook, combined with my own experience, to compile a completely non-definitive list of movies like that – because I bloody loves me a good emotional cry sesh.

  • Cool Runnings

Four dudes from Jamaica decide to start a bobsled team despite having never seen snow. They go on to compete in the Winter Olympics and despite numerous challenges and trash talk from the Swiss (those sassy Swiss). A good time is had by all, Sanka has a lucky egg that never breaks and even more miraculously never goes rotten which I am led to believe is a thing that eggs do.
4/5 on the inspiration scale – it makes me feel like surely even I could get into the Olympics – right?
2/5 for tear factor (it would be more if Sanka broke his lucky egg, but the happy tears come from the egg surviving)
Bonus points for being based on a true story
3.5/5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity

Image result for sanka cool runnings
I will never have this much fun in a bathtub.
  • The Breakfast Club

Five crazy teens, varying in levels of delinquency spend a day in detention together. Kookiness ensues as their wacky supervising teacher mostly leaves them to their own devices. They have a shared experience that the kids today would refer to as ‘a spiritual awakening’ (kids these days are mostly idiots) and admit to personal failing that most of us only begin to comprehend in our late 20s – at the earliest.
2/5 on the inspiration scale – they don’t do much more than learn not to be assholes and they don’t even do much of a good job at that.
3/5 for tear factor – I’m now too old to experience something like this and that makes me sad
2.5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity

  • The Pursuit of Happyness

Right in the feels – that’s where this Will Smith movie hits you – a sentence that has never been written about Wild Wild West. That was a shit movie.
It is basically the ultimate triumph over adversity. Feel like you’ve had challenges in your life? Nah, the true story of Chris Gardner will make even your biggest challenge feel like all you did was feed yourself and manage to only spill one mouthful on your jumper – you idiot. Bonus points for an adorable Jaden Smith – before he got weird and nonsensically philosophical.
4.9/5 on the inspiration scale – anything is achievable if you’re real good at Rubik’s Cubes
4.5 for tear factor – all the feels.
4.8555 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity

  • The Beach

Leonardo DiCaprio, the boy of my teen dreams escapes the burden of his (I assume) privileged Western existence to explore the exotic wilds of Thailand. He buddies up with some babin Frenchies and they find an exotic island filled with weed, inhabited by crazy Tilda Swinton and some other hippie kooks. A dude dies because a shark bites him. It all gets too much for Leo. He returns to the ‘real world’ having had a wild experience. He is still a bit of a twat.  But now he is worldly. All the characters are twats.
3/5 on the inspiration scale (the scenery makes me want to travel)
2/5 for tear factor (I shed a tear for all the misguided youth who took this film as gospel)
2.5/5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity (.5 bonus points for the bloody killer song by All Saints in the sound track)

Image result for leonardo dicaprio the beach
I think I used to have a poster of this on my wall. I was ten.
  • Erin Brockovich

Julia Roberts won a shit tonne of awards for this film. Like heaps of them. Steven Soderbergh won none (but he got them for other stuff so yay him). Erin is an unemployed single mother who takes on “the man” (in this case, Pacific Gas & Electricity), because they have been real shitty. Like they make kids have cancer – indirectly of course.
Erin is a hero because she makes them pay out heaps of money. Kids still probably died.
4/5 on the inspiration scale – I wanna save the world after seeing this. Every. Damn. Time.
3/5 for tear factor (true story and all that jazz)
3.5/5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity – I am realistic enough to know I will never be as motivated as Ms. Brockovich – and that does make me a little sad.

  • Factory Girl

Sienna Miller is an absolute babe as Edie Sedgwick (let’s be honest, she’s a babe in everything she ever does) and Guy Pierce is probably the creepiest Andy Warhol that ever there was. Like ten times creepier than actual Warhol. The real tragedy of this film is that. Guy Pierce in real life is actually a bit of a babe. Anyways, there’s drugs, wasted life and a smidge of sexual abuse. Its trauma wrapped up in a bow and I bloody love it.
2.5/5 on the inspiration scale – I wanted hair like Edie for like two seconds
2.5/5 for tear factor – I morn for missed opportunities to see Guy Pierce be a hunny.
2.5/5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity – enhanced with the addition of red wine. BYO childhood trauma.

Image result for Guy Pearce Factory Girl
Very disappointing. The film and Mr. Pearce
  • Little Miss Sunshine

Dysfunctional family. Adorable child. Someone dies. Heaps of adversity, heaps of overcoming of said adversity. A totally sick dance scene which I am not afraid to admit that I spent half a day learning when I was supposed to be studying for my year 12 exams.
4.9/5 on the inspiration scale – I want to throw caution to the wind and dance to Super Freak 24/7
4/5 for tear factor – the beautiful little sweet potato that is Abigail Breslin has more confidence than I ever will. Damnit.
5/5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity. It bloody gets me every time.

Image result for little miss sunshine dance
My hero.
  • Almost Famous

15 year old William Miller, played by Patrick Fugit, lives a far more exciting life at this tender age than I ever will. I am strangely attracted to him. The actor and the character. Luckily I googled it and he was definitely of legal age at the time of filming. Phew.
The scene where they sing Tiny Dancer is completely contrived, incredibly unrealistic and makes my cry a waterfall of regret and inadequacy every time I see it.
2/5 on the inspiration scale – none of this is ever achievable
4/5 on the tear factor – guys, Kate Hudson is real blue. She tries to kill herself with Quaaludes.
4.5/5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity. I will never be ‘impersonate an air hostess’ level of cool

  • Pleasantville

Okay so people in this movie literally turn the world from black and white into colour, just by banging. I haven’t been able to even make a child (thank god) and I’ve done heaps of banging, let alone change the world. This movie is nostalgia on crack and I bloody love it. It makes me sad that Betty Parker is so old that her son is almost an adult before she experiences an orgasm for the first time.
2/5 on the inspiration scale – motivates me to listen to the sound track, that’s about all
4/5 on the tear factor – the lack of orgasm sympathy is the main motivator here
3/5 for overall feelings of sadness & mediocrity. It’s the nostalgia that does it.

Sooooo yeah. I’m gonna go drink. And cry. Go forth and make the most of your steaming service of choice.

New Year New Me? Nah, Same Me, New Date

“The Final Countdown” by Journey is blasting from my tiny iPad speakers and I have no one to blame except myself. I was the one who selected the “Ultimate NYE Party” playlist from the plethora of options on Spotify and it’s a decision that I’m sticking with, despite the current outcome.
2016 is at a close and it’s a year that most people would rather forget – at least based on what I see on my Facebook newsfeed that is. I dunno though, as a whole I don’t think it was so bad. I mean, sure we as a society (all of us) made some pretty horrific moves in the political sphere, the time came to say goodbye to some of our heroes (Bowie hit me the hardest in case you were wondering, after that it was like “oh yeah that sucks” for the entire 11 months) and the power went out a few times but personally I don’t think the year wasn’t so bad.
I mean sure, you can look at the negatives or you can find the small victories – for example, I just read an article about a woman the same age as me who has NEVER BEEN DRUNK IN HER LIFE and DOESN’T DRINK ALCOHOL because she chooses not to. In the article she listed all the positive things that have come of this and as I contemplated that, I nodded and thought “I could do with a drink”, I mixed myself a Kahlua and milk and thought “good for you, but that’s not for me” AND I HAVE THAT FREEDOM so that’s a small win.
I hate to sound like an advice column and I hate to give advice because I hardly have anything figured out, so why should I tell you what to do? That being said, I do know a few things for sure; a year is just a way that we arrange our time, it shouldn’t dictate what you are capable of, what you can achieve or how you feel.
I’m pretty stoked with the shit that I achieved this year but that didn’t stop me having times where I felt useless, like a complete failure, continually anxious and like hiding under my covers and not coming out ever again (and yeah, lots of people I know are surprised whenever I mention this kind of thing, I promise that they ridiculously high and positive personality that you see most of the time is genuine, but so is the other stuff, no person is one dimensional). But I didn’t say “I’ll be better next week / month / year” I chose to feel better when I felt better, to work towards the end goal of healing myself rather than healing myself by an end date. “New year, new me” now we all know that’s a bit bull shit – while your problems won’t be solved in a single moment and yes, things do take time, the ticking of a clock and the flip of a calendar isn’t the kind of time that I’m referring to.
How do you solve the entire worlds problem without having an end date, I hear you ask. The answer is that you don’t (and if that’s what you’re worried about then you’re only going to put yourself through more suffering, trust me, been there, done that, cried myself to sleep heaps of nights) but you can surround yourself with absolute legends and just look after yourself and the ones you love. You rock and you should know that.
Now, time for things to get personal with a little roll call to the folks who rocked my world this year:

  • Ew. Gross, yucky, I LOVE YOU. That’s all.
  • Ma & Pat. You are the coolest folks, so motivated & a wicked inspiration, the true embodiment of turning your passion into your job and still winning at life.
  • Best. Brother. Ever. Always there to lend a hand and share a bottle of red.
  • All the Norton Clan. How did I get so lucky?
  • Emmy bear, you resilient little girl, hold on through 2017. The real world is better than High School.
  • Stacey, Hannah, Moe & Linda, the people who I have known for the longest time who have stayed through all the changes I have made in the last year or two and have always encouraged me and checked in. That I do truly appreciate.
  • The Raucous Caucus crew – I felt so lucky to get to try writing for TV in 2016 and have the opportunity to realise that this is something that I am (kind of) good at (maybe) and want to pursue in the future!
  • The work girls – you made that place bearable and will forever be grateful!
  • Bec Taylor – you get a mention because you told me to write this. You’re the kinda girl that pushes me to be a better citizen of the world, you rock.
  • Comedy people – people I met through comedy, performed with, drank with or anyone who laughed at something I said or did this year, even if that wasn’t always my intention, you guys make my dreams come true.

That’s all, whatever you do tonight remember that it’s just another night and like every other night of your life it certainly deserves to be great!

I Tried KFC’s Cola Wicked Wings (So You Didn’t Have To…)

There has been much hype surrounding KFC’s new Cola BBQ Wicked Wings (mostly on KFC’s own Facebook page which I follow since I am of the sincere belief that simply seeing pictures of fatty food (and then consuming it) can make a hangover literally disappear).
It was due to this genius marketing technique (and a stream of constant ads on Spotify) that I found myself drawn to find out if they lived up to the hype.

The Feedback online was solid:


Bella called them Heaven – a good sign however she seemingly blamed KFC for her allergy to pulled pork (or just pork in general, I’m unsure) so perhaps her mental stability was questionable.


Jack loved them so much that he wanted to throw caution to all human biology and seemingly consume his own blood? That’s commitment to a cause bro.


And Hemant called KFC the best thing that happened in his life. And that’s understandable, his name is Hemant, literally everything that happened after he was named was probably a bonus.

I thought carefully about what I was planning to inflict upon my body. I’d already worked out that day (I went for a walk and then spent an hour in the yard attempting to hula hoop, finally getting the hang of it as my speakers blasted Ricky Martin’s Livin La Vida Loca and a young Indian family looked on curiously from the balcony that has a perfect view into my yard). Plus I hadn’t eaten since the previous night – it was now 2pm. I showered (after taking a photo of myself in my active wear to prove that I’d worked out) and momentarily considered putting on the jumper from the night before deciding against it due to the large curry stain on the front.


I decided upon wearing this T-shirt that was my favourite when I was 12 years old, for several reasons; 1) because dolphins are bad ass, 2) because it feels good to still be able to wear the same thing that fitted me when I was twelve (even if it does remind me that I was a bit of a chubber as a kid) and 3) I think the whole look I was going for made me come off as younger. I think it is okay to feast on KFC alone when you’re closer to eighteen than thirty so I tried to make it seem that way.

As I got in the car (even though KFC is a ten minute walk) my phone buzzed – hazzah, I’d reached my daily step goal. I really did deserve this.

I set my goal embarrassingly low so that I can always achieve it without actually trying.

I hit up the Prospect KFC on Main North Road, even though I’ve previously had shit experiences there (I once rode my bike here, drunk, only to wait so long for my food that I was sober by the time I re-mounted my treadly). I took the risk and history had a mild repeat; only one attendant already serving a woman who seemed to be the most painful customer in all known history but I felt for the girl behind the counter so I put aside my judgement and politely waited in line. When my turn came I placed my order (3 x Cola BBQ Chicken Wings, Large Chips and Gravy and Large Frozen Mountain Dew) while mentally taking note of the energy intake because I just love to hate myself (at least 4,440kj, around half the daily recommended intake for an adult – YAY).
The food arrived and while I was mildly irritate that I had to ask for the cutlery pack (containing the all important trademark KFC wet wipe) I was excited for what promised to be a flavour sensation.

I decided to eat in because I’m concerned my housemate already thinks I’m a failure at life, I didn’t want to add fuel to the fire.

The woman at the table next to me was repeatedly asking her daughter (Erin Ray – I assume it is spelled like that but on surface appearance, this woman likely spelled it “Erryne Rayé”) if she needed to go to the toilet and to stop standing on the table so I decided to put my headphones in. I chose R Kelly’s ‘Bump n Grind’ because chicken is a really sensual food and deserves a sound track to match (I chose to pretend that R Kelly has never experienced controversy to ensure that I could better enjoy my juicy snack, I’ve shared the lyric video version below so that you can enjoy the song without SEEING R Kelly.).

That look I give you when you suggest “R.Kelly and Chicken”

First I licked the sauce – I apologise if that is a visual that you never wanted in your mind however it was worth it. The sauce truly is the real highlight here. Every flavour that my tongue has experienced up until now pales in comparison (and I once had pasta sauce made with condensed milk). Angels sang and unicorns danced with every flavour hit. This sauce really is absolutely everything that was promised – I don’t care what comes out of your Italian Grandmothers kitchen, it is total rubbish compared to this gift from the Gods – in fact, nothing this tasty could come from Heaven, as the name implies only the devil could supply something so delicious,which makes sense since we all know that The Colonel was no saint.
The chicken was a nice bonus. Could have been hotter, skin was good, like I said, everything else pales in comparison to the sauce.

Sad because there is none left, also sad because my body is trying to reject everything I just filled it with.

As I took my last bite I removed my headphones, sat back and took in the scenery. Playing over the in store sound system was ‘Let Her Cry’ by Hootie and The Blowfish, which seemed weirdly appropriate. There was a woman in her mid-forties sitting not too far away, digging into a family feast all alone, a sign in the window encouraging KFC customers to donate to a charity raising funds for starving children and in the car park a ute with a sticker that disturbingly proclaimed “Dip me in honey and throw me to the lesbians”. Despite being surrounded by such sadness, despair and grotesque horror I was in my element – truly in love with a sauce.

If KFC offered me to (please do) I would consume every meal for a month with that sauce on it and I will pray to God that my boyfriend likes the KFC Cola BBQ sauce because if my wishes come true it won’t be long before my body tastes of it. God bless you junk food giants.

I Have Embraced.

“My body is the only thing that I truly own…I will strive to make it perfect in every possible way” – that’s something that I jotted down in a note book; I think I was eighteen or nineteen at the time.
While I was lucky enough – and yes, luck did have a lot to do with it, to spend a number of my adolescent years relatively unaffected by body image issues, as I hit my late teens looks became the primary focus of my attention.
Sure there are some unpleasant memories that are etched into my mind, staying there while other flashbacks fade away – like the time when I was eleven and my Grandmother (with no purposeful malice, I would never hold it against her) implied that perhaps holding back on sugary treats would help me develop a more delicate feminine figure, once again, at age eleven. However on the whole I had the perfect outlook on food, fitness and wellbeing, thanks in part to a mother who was an excellent role model – balanced, realistic and driven by goals external to the way she was perceived by others. How lucky.
This wasn’t necessarily a shared experience by my friends – I recall spending time with my mates when I was younger who would be shamed by parents for taking an extra serve of dessert, for getting giddy on a sugar high at a sleepover and who had “healthy eating for teens” books not so subtly added to their bookshelf. While healthy eating is of course important, the heavy focus on it in their lives has had flow on affects which I’ve witnessed firsthand as we’ve all grown up together.  Never having been responsible for raising women, I can’t at all judge, however something about this seems wrong.
As I finished high school, the “puppy fat” that I’d carried all through high school that had concerned me only occasionally and very mildly was brought into attention and focus, not by my peers but by their parents. Older women who should have known better. Every time I stopped to chat to my mates mum (it was always the mum) she would comment on my new figure and always ask the same question: how did you do it, how did you lose the weight?
I was baffled – first of all I didn’t even realise that I had weight to lose. Second, I had no answer for them. I hadn’t lost weight at all (that I knew of, I didn’t really weigh myself a whole lot that I recall). I’d grown taller – a lot taller and slimmed out I suppose but for them, that wasn’t good enough. “Surely you’ve cut something out, have you been exercising more?” Maybe? I’d started working in a cafe and moving more, I was spending less time behind a computer than I had while at school, but I’d discovered alcohol with all its accompanying calories, so I guess it all balanced out.
The “things that my body was doing” were completely out side of my control however all of a sudden they were the core focus of every woman I came into contact with. I began to become aware of my body in a way that I really never had before.
During this time I burned my arm as I accidentally poured a pot of boiling hot water over it. The pain was incredibly intense, like nothing I had experienced before and it hurt for days but I remember thinking, as I walked down Rundle Mall to get a train home, tears rolling down my cheeks, nursing my still smouldering arm; “I don’t want to be known as the girl with the burnt arm”.
It took at least three months for it to heal fully and I was conscious of it for every second of that. It probably went unnoticed by others.
For me, the point when my body started to become a talking point for others was when it started to become an issue for me. I’d never looked at other women and compared myself – until then.
I started looking at the women in magazines who were there as the “token larger lady”, at the way their stomach sat and related most to them. It was weird to relate to someone who was there as a “token gesture”.
I am happy to say that now I have what I consider to be a pretty damned healthy relationship with my body, thank you very much. But that doesn’t mean that every day is great. I still compare myself physically to almost every woman that I meet – even if it is mostly subconscious, and I am sure that I am not alone.
I don’t know if it would be any different if I hadn’t been so drilled by my friend’s mums when I was younger or if my body and those of my friends hadn’t been such core topics of conversation for us over the years. It’s not just our size that gets spoken of – I once had a doctor (yes, a trained medical professional) comment that the needle marks on my arm from years of blood donation (I’m up to 56 donations now – humble brag!) may make others think I am a junkie! Um sorry what?! Firstly, why should anyone have a right to make opinions on me based on my body and secondly I don’t think “junkie” would ever be the first thing that springs to mind when anyone looks at me.
With a notoriously healthy appetite, food has become a part of my identity in an incredibly positive way however I do consider what others thing about my eating habits – does a judgement thought cross their mind as they see me shove yet another chunk of cheese in my gob?
I don’t wear a bikini at the beach or pool – why give people another area of me to judge, is what I think. That being said, I recently filmed a very short scene for an ABC iView series where I can be seen in just a bra. I doubt that anyone in the vicinity knew that I refuse to wear that little at the beach but was okay about it potentially being seen by all of Australia (we can only hope!). The thought played on my mind a little bit but it was also accompanied by a newly found attitude of “oh well fuck it” – because recently I was able to catch the film Embrace.

Embrace is without a doubt essential viewing for every woman and girl but we should also show it to the men and boys in our lives. It helped me to pause and re-asses myself. As I watched, I cried and mourned for all the time that I have wasted across the course of my life and in turn the many many more hours, days, weeks and even years lost by my friends who have battled body image demons on a level that I could never even begin to truly understand.
Not a week goes by where I don’t see something in day to day life, online or in the media that concerns me in the way that we discuss bodies – our own and others. I recently witnessed a grandmother casually commenting on her young, growing and developing granddaughters body – how do you tell someone like that to be careful – that it won’t be the shopping trips, movie dates and long lunches that her granddaughter will remember her for but the feeling of being not good enough?
At twenty-six I know now that I own more than my body, I know that I own my mind, my strong determination, my humour, my power to be me and everything that encompasses. Perfect isn’t a word I would ever use to describe any aspect of myself or my life and I can’t see it ever being, because I’d rather use stronger words – ones like “exemplary”, “extraordinary”, “incredible” and, though more practical and far less glamorous, capable is the word I love most. I am capable of achieving everything that I can dream of and so much more and for that, I am thankful.

Please please please do go see Embrace because what I feel, I want you to feel too.

This is How You Adult (Apparently)

Tomorrow I turn twenty six. Today I went to work wearing a purple tutu, unicorn jumper and a flower wreath in my hair. Instead of the customary birthday office cake (usually from Costco or made by a loving wife) I took honey crackles. Partially because I don’t have a Costco membership or a loving wife but also because I am a big ‘old, silly ‘old kid at heart.
As I sit here writing this, I’m wearing my unicorn pyjama pants (which I also wore to the supermarket yesterday…) and keeping warm with my purple hippo heat bag. Am I doing this adult thing right? Because when I was 16 (that’s TEN years ago) this isn’t how I imagined it.

Oh yeah, mermaid leggings too.

I had this idea in my mind of what I would be like as an ‘adult’ and, though I’m not sure why, this certainly wasn’t it. I pictured power suits, late nights at the office and a house full of furniture from Freedom (because it was pretty, heaps pretty). I don’t know where my idea of adulthood came from but I remember thinking, aged 18, that I only had a few good years to keep wearing my classic Converse Chuck Taylors before it became silly – real adults wear real adult shoes. Seriously WHO RAISED ME?
Flash forward eight years and I’m dating a man (yes, MAN) who is thirty years old and those are basically the only shoes he owns, like twenty eight pairs of them or something. For some reason I pictured a corporate high flyer with who woke up early to go to the gym and enjoyed visiting farmers markets on Sundays – just for kicks.
Now somebody please slap past me because I’m pretty sure she had absolutely no idea who she actually was – the things that she enjoyed or wanted from life. I don’t like waking up early and while farmers markets are alright, I’d rather my food be prepared by someone else before it hits the table (I’m also fairly partial to the kind of specials that fast food outlets spin from time to time, yes I’m looking at you Maccas and your magnificent 24 nuggets for $9.95 deal) so why in hell would I want to date someone who was into those things? Sure, his bod would probably be a little more in check than my fellas (gosh, sorry babe) but the fact of the matter is that he’d probably be a self absorbed asshole and we’d have nothing in common. Plus, I could never date anyone more in shape than myself, I’ve got enough insecurities without having my physical superior lying next to me in bed every night.

If I dated a health nut, all this beauty would be off the table. Like in the bin. How sad.

Thing is, not much has turned out the exact way I imagined it ten or so years ago and for that, I am so bloody thankful. I can’t imagine being stuck in a high flying corporate job where I go through as many pairs of stockings as there are jerks on Tinder (lots) or have to put my fakey professional attitude on all day long. I’m lucky to have a job where I get to have a nice fancy big computer screen that brings out envy in all the other staff, where I get to be myself for the most part and in some ways express myself creatively.
I am an adult, a ‘real adult’. Most of the time I pay my bills and I’ve even got a couple of ‘signature’ dishes up my sleeve (because Mexican food is easy to make and Banoffee pie seems fancy but really is truly simple). I’ve gotten pretty good at looking after my mental health, I can force myself to exercise and I eat spinach without it having to be hidden in my food.
I might not own a ‘power suit’ and while I do have some rather nice office wear, I’m most comfortable in a scuffed up pair of boots, the ones that are held together with a bit of tape. I’m happy. Way happier than I would be if I lived up to what I had thought I was ‘supposed to be’ all those years back. I’m glad I didn’t waste long trying to be someone who would have never made me happy – and the time that I did spend doing that was an interesting learning experience to say the least (if not some good comedy fodder…)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve just started learning to hula hoop and I’m getting rather good so I’ll be practicing that until I fall asleep.

Warm Your Heart & Fill It With Gold!

They say that the big city can be a scary and daunting place however for those working in the creative industries it’s usually the small cities that send us running away looking for something bigger, brighter and, dare I say, easier. Look close enough though and you’ll find plenty of bright young things bucking the ‘let’s move to Melbourne’ trend and bringing Adelaide’s creative and arts scene to life. One of these absolute gems is Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival Ambassador Michaela Banks who is presenting the Adelaide Heart of Gold Showcase, an event which Michaela explains focuses on presenting uplifting, positive and nourishing films to help you “come away with a smile on your face”.


Originally from Gympie in regional Queensland, where the Heart of Gold International Film Festival is based, Michaela has travelled the world working in the creative industries but Adelaide has managed to capture her heart (for the time being). Why Adelaide though? Well apart from managing to find a love of cycling in our bike friendly city she explains that our unique community and attitude is what really sold her; “While Melbourne and Sydney certainly do offer more year round work opportunities in the arts, Adelaide’s smaller pool is a fantastic environment to hone your craft. There is enough cultural stuff going on in Adelaide to keep you entertained every night of the week if you know where to look. And if there is a hole in the cultural landscape there is plenty of support in Adelaide to start up something yourself. To quote Daniels Langeberg, founder of EcoCaddy, “Adelaide is collaborative, not competitive”. I’ve lived in London and New York, and the pace in Adelaide suits me down to the ground” says Michaela.


Settling in Adelaide as a creative isn’t without its challenges though, and while Michaela wasn’t initially ready for the ‘post festival blues’ she has adapted and thrived in our fair city; “I feel as though Adelaideans appreciate the lifestyle they have here and are willing to contribute their talents and cultivate their passions so that in addition to having a beautiful landscape, and great food and wine, the community here can also have access to a really nourishing art and culture. Did I mention Adelaide is affordable? You can be an artist is Adelaide and you don’t have to be starving.”

michaela 2

Just like Gympie, Michaela explains that we in Adelaide have; “A fantastic appreciation for short film and filmmaking, and you can look up and see the stars in the night sky.” Just like Michaela I know that I’ll never grow tired of standing in the middle of the city at night and seeing the stars while also being able to find something culturally enriching to do every night of the week.


You can see the results of all of Michaela’s hard work on Thursday June 23rd the Producers on Grenfell Street as it plays host to a screening of eight diverse short films as part of the Heart of Gold Festival. Tickets are only $12 online and include a free drink on arrival – get yours here:

Let’s Get Political!

Guess what?! The election is JUST AROUND THE CORNER and this one is set to be a corker….!
Actually, that’s a lie – it’s batshit boring. That being said, we can still have a bit of fun with it!

I recently wrote an article for Scenestr.listing 5 memorable moments from AusPol history – that are sure to make you AusLOL (terrible, I’m only a little bit sorry about that too…)

All of this is in aid of my recent work on political television show The Raucous Caucus on Channel 44 – you can check out the first episode at the end of this insanely exciting post…and please do because I am so so so very proud of this bucking beast that is only getting better and better every single week!

piccy from Tonedeaf

So without further ado, here’s the piece from Scenestr.

With the election looming and weeks of arduous campaigning still ahead, you could be forgiven for feeling a bit of a political overload.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. Here in Australia we have an exciting history of bizarre political occurrences unique to our Aussie way of life. The team behind new TV series ‘The Raucous Caucus’ – which airs on Adelaide’s Chanel 44 and will be available online from 2 June – have put together a list of 5 uniquely Aussie political events and facts, these things that make our country… kinda great.

Cooking Crisis

In 2010 an Australian election TV debate had to be rescheduled so that it didn’t conflict with the airing of the ‘Masterchef’ finale. We Aussies sure do love our cooking shows!

DJ Albo

Our politicians aren’t afraid to rock out; former Prime Minister Paul Keating managed a rock band in the 1960s and in 2015 Anthony Albanese took up DJing to provide entertainment at charity and fundraising events. Mr Albanese adopted the name DJ Albo.

Cold Water Men

Likewise, our pollies love a bit if a drink, before becoming Prime Minister, Bob Hawke was immortalised by the Guinness Book of Records for drinking 2.5 pints (a yard glass) of beer in 11 seconds in the year 1954. Similarly, Sir John Robertson, five times premier of New South Wales, was said to have drank a pint of rum every morning for 35 years. He is quoted as saying: ‘none of the men who have left footprints in this country have been cold water men.’

Country-sized Electorates

Everything is bigger down under… our largest electorate, Durack, is larger in size than Mongolia. Durack, in Western Australia, stretches 2,905kms and covers almost 1.6 million square kilometers, which is like driving from London to Istanbul.

Time Out

In 1975, Australia had a government shutdown, which ended with the Queen firing everyone and the government starting again. While the whole thing is a little more complex than that, let’s just keep it simple – there was a whole lot of squabbling and in the end, our mum put us all in time out for a moment and since then we’ve tried (and likely failed) to be a little bit better behaved.


And now that you’re incredibly learned about all the complex ins and outs of the entire history of Aussie politics, watch the first episode…

New episodes will be screened each Thursday at 7.30 on Channel 44 in the lead up to the election, with all eps online after. You can also come along to a live recording – check out for more details!


I Come From a Proud Family of Liars

If there has been one constant in my life, it would be the lies that I have been fed – regularly and casually by members of my family. Usually they were innocent enough and mostly just off handed jokes that I was gullible enough to fall for. I genuinely believed for a long time that my grandma was a witch. Not JUST because my Mum (her daughter in law) would call her ‘that witch of a woman’ (kidding, they have a great relationship, though there was that one time that my Mum, in her early 20s called the incredibly proper, lovely woman who was to be her mother in law ‘fuckle features’ to her face – but that’s a story for another time). No, I genuinely believed that my grandmother was a witch because there was this HILARIOUS in joke in my family about it. I have literally no idea where it came from because that woman is as God loving as they bloody well come however for some insane reason apparently she was a witch, complete with her very own broom featuring handle bars and a bike seat. I shit you not. So there I was, all of eight years old, waiting to be handed a wand and taught the ways of people and I’m sure you can imagine how bloody disappointed I was, age eleven when I never did receive my letter from Hogwarts. Damn.

This is me with my witch of a grandma (looks pretty innocent, doesn’t she?) at a dress up party.

I literally had no hope though – turns out liars have been in my family for generations. My great grandparents fudged the date on their marriage certificate. When cleaning out the house after my great grandfather had passed away, my Mum and my aunties found the marriage certificate in question, complete with poorly applied whiteout placed strategically over the date, altering the date of their marriage by two months.  How they thought that they could get away with it is beyond me. I get it, it was a different time, photoshop wasn’t a thing, but shit, Nanna Jarrett must have really been on another planet to think she could sneak that one on by. Even if she had been able to do a half decent job using the stationary her plan would have been thwarted by anyone with a half decent grasp of MATHS and MONTHS. My grandpa was born suspiciously soon after the hastily organised wedding date – that’s all I’m saying team.

My mum and her sisters, all born into a web of lies.

The lies carried on though, I recall finding a ultrasound picture at my aunties when I was nine. “OH MY GOD YOU’RE HAVING A BABY” I shrieked. “No” she calmly replied, “The cat’s pregnant” which was a weird coincidence because a couple months later my auntie was married and not long after I had a new cousin. Furthermore, the cat suspiciously never had any kittens. EVER.

I’m no innocent bystander here though; I was a mean, mean terrible sister. I lied to my brother heaps. The most memorable, I will never live down. The tale goes as such; I was six years old, nagging my Mum to take my brother and I to the local kindy fete. Nagging, nagging and nagging some more. I do not blame my Mother for what happened next, she was not an irresponsible parent, I was just a really shit child. She snapped and without thinking said; “why don’t you just walk then?”
So off I went, to scrounge up some change (approximately $5) and find my four year old brother so that I didn’t have to walk alone. This was before my brother became a bad ass rule breaker (that didn’t happen until he was at least seven) so I needed to tell a half truth (LIE) to get him to come along. I knew that mum didn’t actually want us to walk. I was smart enough to understand sarcasm, but I still wanted to go, so I just told my darling innocent baby (like actually he was pretty much still a baby) brother that Mum had said it was okay.
Flash forward 45 minutes, Mum notices we’re missing, Dad finds us about 2kms away wandering down Greenhill Road and Mum learned that sarcasm isn’t an ideal parenting technique. I never actually revealed (until now) that I purposely lied to make this happen – so I guess my whole life has been a lie?

Look how cute we were (okay, the story in question happened a few years later than this photo)

I’ll leave you with this though and that is, sometimes lies are important – or half truths at least. I wish my mum hadn’t told me the truth of how she found out she was pregnant with me, how, after a booze filled weekend in Melbourne she returned to Adelaide and thought “hmmm maybe I am up the duff”, did the test and a few months later – hello, Alicia’s here! It’s all good, I mean she was married, to my Dad (though if she wasn’t that would have been fine – no judgement, obviously) however what I wish she had lied about (a little) was the vomiting in gutters level drinking that she achieved just prior to finding out that she was with child. I mean sure, I’m proud of her, she’s the lady that truly taught me how to party but it’s just that, every time something weird happens in my life, every time my brain is a little bit erratic and I feel unnecessarily violent I wonder if I can blame it on my Mum. Rather than just accepting my own personal failures like a normal person. So Mum, while I love you insane amounts, I wish that one time you had lied because now there is always going to be a little bit of me that feels like I genuinely can blame you for my failings.


Here’s a photo of my mum before I came into her life and made her cool. She is on the right at the front (the only lady in the picture…) and behind her…MY DAD!