Adelaide, you’re amazing! You’re my home town – the only place I’ve ever lived in fact, but that’s all about to change as I do one of the most typical Adelaide things to do…and leave Adelaide.
Many a list has been put together of fantastic things to do in Adelaide (here’s one from the Adelady gals) before you kick the proverbial bucket but what about a list of things to do when you’ve decided to leave the city (for a while)? What about a list for when you say “I’m going into hiding (moving to Melbourne) for a while”?
I present to you, the Adelaide bucket stuff it list.
Walk Burnside Village in your pajamas
Hit up an unnamed outer suburb dressed (and behaving) as Tru and/ or Pru from Kath and Kim
Sit at the start of the Mt Lofty hike eating a KFC family pack. Make eye contact and smile at everyone who passes by. Continue until you pass out from overeating.
Join The Adelaide Fountain Diving Team (a concept concocted by equally crazy aunties. It’s pretty simple; you swim in Adelaide fountains. Bonus points for fountains protected by fences…)
Head to the Central Market (or any other fabulous local market) and shamelessly consume ‘samples’ until you are content. Take a disguise for seconds if need be, but don’t forget, you’re leaving so who cares?!
Maslins Beach. Do it good and do it proper, you know what I mean.
Busk in Rundle Mall. Don’t have a talent? It don’t matter – everyone can yodel after a bottle of wine
Ride the bull at The Woolshed. Bonus points if you do it in a dress
Ride a bike along the linear trail and tell your deepest darkest secrets to walkers (and pray to god that they only hear a tiny snippet as you whiz by)
Hit up a late night eatery along Gouger street and order the house wine by the carafe (or BYO for a bargain price) play drinking games until you’re politely asked to leave
Go to windy point. Go stand outside a rocking vehicle and just start cheering. When you get sick of cheering, start singing “Sweet Caroline” (for no reason other than that song is so fun to sing and it’s kind of hilarious to harass a snogging couple with)
Ride the Popeye and convince a stranger to go all Titanic (no, not the bit where they bang in the car…or where they die an icy death) and head to the front, get nice and cozy and shout “I’m king of the world!” or alternatively “that plank could have fitted two”
Head to the Zoo with the classic book “where did I come from” and read it to Funi and Wang Wang. It seems they’re not all that sure on how to make it happen. Our whole city is rooting for you guys (pun intended)
Attempt to mount the malls balls
Do the same with the malls pigs
Streak at Adelaide oval? (if you can cop the massive fine…)
Photobomb weddings in the Botanic Gardens
Live like a tourist for a weekend – pitch a (canvas) tent in Vic Square!
Have a drink on the Balcony at the Hotel Richmond. Take a spray bottle full of water. Come on, you know what to do (if it wasn’t clear, you’re here to squirt people in Rundle mall as they walk on by…and then DUCK!).
Get “Adelaide famous”. To be clear being “Adelaide famous” isn’t necessarily a good thing. Below is an image of my version of “Adelaide famous” – I was twenty and I was not aware that this photo was being taken. Then I recognised my legs on a Marble Bar poster. My friends will NEVER let me live it down.
I’ve done a few of these things already (though I won’t admit to which) but what I will admit to is that, despite abandoning Adelaide for Melbourne, I don’t really have any very good plans. I’m so lost in fact, that I’m putting on a Fringe show (my debut solo after being nominated as best new comer by Adelaide Comedy in 2016!) all about writing a bucket list! Want to help me with the challenging task before I abandon our beautiful city? Hit up Fringe Tix for your own ticket here.
Hey gorgeous! If you’ve made it this far you’re probably my kind of people already. I mean to get here you had to knowingly click on a link or type in a URL featuring my name – which is pretty confronting in itself – so go you! Pour yourself a wine, you deserve it. Don’t worry, I’ll wait til you’re done (I’m polite like that (which is a good enough reason to see my show, right?)) but even though you’re here, maybe you’re not sold yet. If so, fear not, for I have compiled a list, complete with 10 excellent reasons that my show is perfect for you.
You saw the 2007 film The Bucket List and which you found it endearing and inspirational, you thought “I reckon a 26 year old girl from Adelaide could do that better”
You understand that there is no science behind vision boards however you’ve read (and kind of believed) that they totally work
You have the bizarre desire to exercise some control over another person’s life (you weirdo)
You get very chatty after one drink
You don’t even need one drink to get chatty
You know what a bucket list is and the first item on yours is to write one
You have one single signature dance move that you pull out at every social occasions and sometimes just when a really good song comes on in the supermarket
You’re a generous, loving weirdo who wants to help a lost little kitten (me, I am the kitten in this scenario) find her way in this big bad world
You like to laugh (well that was a given)
You sometimes wonder if you’re alone or if everyone else is just as nuts but just not showing it…
Are you convinced yet? If I got you across the line, you can grab tickets from here but if you aren’t there yet, maybe I’m not for you (and you therefore have terrible taste!)
Have you heard about the curry at the Snowtown Service Station? No? That’s tragic!
A quick and innocent Google search of the term ‘Snowtown’ inevitably returns a Wikipedia page detailing the gruesome murders and decaying corpses, an IMDB link to the film that dramatized them and numerous news reports with in depth information explaining exactly how it all unfolded. Not a single page mentions the absolutely top notch curry and fried chicken that can be found at the Snowtown Servo. I believe that this is an absolute travesty that needs to be rectified post-haste so I took one for the team and ventured (far) past Gepps Cross to retrieve curry so good that it should be consumed by the barrel full.
An hour and forty five minutes from Adelaide’s CBD is where you’ll find this curry and do not doubt me when I say that is worth every mile. Sure it may seem dodgy and mates, please don’t get your expectations up – a road side BP is what I’m talking about but it is the roadside BP of your dreams (if your dreams include bathrooms that may or may not have been cleaned since Snowtown was last in the news…). The curry though? It’s good enough to kill for – I shit you not.
I know I’m not alone in thinking this either; the only way to discover a gem like this is through word of mouth and I’d had at least three people tell me to get my ass here before I finally committed. Need any further convincing? Just ask anyone who regularly drives out to that side of the state what they think of the curry at Snowtown – it is known.
If you’re like me then you may be thinking; “I am a sensitive little first world flower, is a road side truck stop really the best place to eat a volatile curry? What if it doesn’t agree with my gentle stomach and I find myself 50km from anywhere with the feeling of severe regret hitting my belly?” Well fear not petal, for I have pushed the limits here many a time. I have stopped and eaten and then put left over curry in my car only to continue eating it a few hours later. Chicken too. And much to the disappointment of many, I am not dead yet.
I’ve tried the butter chicken, the lamb madras, the mango chicken, the cashew chicken and the beef Vindaloo (and likely more…) like I said; it’s been…a few visits. Every single item tastes as if it were made carefully by beautiful Indian angles, brought down from the heavens to allow the folk from the mid north the chance to once and for all know true happiness.
Add to that the fried chicken. Yes, fried chicken. Ten points already for providing those passing though with the greatest food known to mankind however delivering in terms of quality? Bloody legend status that is. Crunchy on the outside featuring delicious flavor whilst maintaining a moistness that can only be rivaled by…well, I don’t feel safe mentioning when children could read this.
When it comes to the food, it’s all bang on here. Even if it wasn’t I probably wouldn’t bring it up for fear of retribution. Despite the fact that the towns’ reputation is due to crimes committed beyond its own boarders, I just wouldn’t want to risk it.
I’m certainly not the first to say it – in fact I definitely stole this from my boyfriend, but why is Snowtown not famous for its curry?!
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 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.).
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.
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 don’t know what it is lately but I’ve been getting super nostalgic. All I listen to is throw back playlists; anything released in the last ten years makes me want to violently plug my ears and I am OBSESSED with the memories function on Facebook. What was that? Six years ago I rode my bike to the beach? Shit, past me was a far more glorious creature than I am now.
That being said, prior to August 2012, I was absolute filth trash on a regular and frequent occasion thanks to a conveniently located local drinking hole. It gave off a vibe that simultaneously said “please, join us” kindly fuck off. It was unique. But in August 2012 my life changed forever YES IT DID when the pub closed with very little hope of it ever reopening again.
Sure there were three closing nights – they kept it open until the kegs ran dry and the supply of beer glasses was depleted completely (because I kept putting them in my handbag – on the plus side, I always have a very big beer sized glass of water every morning, such healthy, much hydration) so we got to say goodbye. I tried to dance on the front bar – I got told off. I was wearing ugg boots. I am only 50% glad that I have grown up since then.
So when I was recently alerted to the fact that the pub, closed for near four years and previously incredibly close to being completely condemned, was re-opening, I was filled with mixed feelings and flooded with memories – some of which I would rather forget.
If you know one thing about me though, that is that I have no shame – so who better to mull over these memories with, than complete strangers and a few close friends on the internet.
My first memories of this establishment were of it as my childhood pub – yes that is totally a thing. Feel free to correct me mother (because I know you will) but I recall swinging by the pub on Christmas morning after church. So many questions. Why was I let in a church in the first place? Why was the pub open on Christmas day? Should I have been removed from my parents? What is the meaning of life? These and many other questions will haunt philosophers for years to come.
Flash forward a few years and I was eighteen, with a freshly minted ID to prove that was the case and you’d think being the Hills lass I was, I’d be striding up to the front bar to claim my first legal drink. You would be wrong. I was mega nerd to the extreme, I was at least 18 and a half before I made that front bar my bitch (and by “making it my bitch”, I mean getting silly drunk from a filthy shot called a “squashed frog” and vomiting in a bucket that the bar tender so kindly provided). You won that round alcohol.
After this point though, the memories began to flow (assisted by photographs and inappropriate Facebook posts)
All the bottles of passion pop consumed in the car park before actually entering the pub – we were poor students living at home with mummy and daddy, what did you expect us to do?
The shoeys (that’s drinks sculled from a shoe for those playing at home)
The cheeky strategic voms
Purchasing out of date fruit flavoured condoms in the ladies bathroom (for the LOLs Mum – but also, aren’t you happy I was never a ‘statistic’? though there’s still time..)
The friendships made…and broken
The sadness that the jukebox didn’t have any Aaron Carter – however that Fat Man Scoop song was the number one played song – you know the one “engine engine number nine…” – what a good time we had.
There was that afternoon we stopped for a casual cider and ended up watching a group of Morris Dancers do their thing and wondered if our drinks had been spiked.
I passed out on the not so comfy chairs in the pokies more than once and cried over plenty of lads (yes, I am going to use that word) who, to be perfectly honest, were not worth a moment of my time. But at the time it felt like the end of the world. Every Sunday afternoon was spent messaging my girlfriends, dissecting the events of the night before and living our lives by what happened in that place.
I learned to play pool, I learned to drink and I grew out of thinking pineapple and Malibu was a tasty beverage.
Then it all ended and I guess it coincided with us all changing too. Not long after the pub closed, I started dating a guy who lived near the beach and stopped hanging out at home, my best drinking buddy moved three hours away to start her teaching career and a lot people realised how much money they could save by drinking at home…alone. The thing that kind of kept us together was gone. Things really did change.
Now the pub has reopened its doors and boy howdy have things changed – but I have too. I only occasionally wear my ugg boots out of the house and sadly live too far away to stumble home from it.
No longer falling apart, the new owners have brought out the original beauty of the building, the menu is phenomenal and the staff all seem way more friendly than the curious creatures that used to reside behind the bar there. All of that however won’t cloud or dismiss my memories.
A friend recently contacted me asking me to remove a few old pictures from Facebook. By my standard, the ones she had requested being removed were incredibly tame but I get it (sort of), some of my mates want to be lawyers, teachers or just respectable adults – not all of us are as capable of accepting our grotesque past with such levels of pride. Your memories though, make you who you are and the Uraidla Pub is absolutely brimming with memories for me. Not all of them (like barely any of them) are family friendly but the fact that a whole new generation of kids (and not so much kids) will get to learn how to drink (and maybe learn to appreciate a nice meal accompanied by a Malibu and Pineapple?) that’s pretty great.
I would like to tell you that this is a happy story but it is not. At the beginning of this experience I was a happy go lucky young lady. Well a lot has happened since this morning and I write to you as a broken and fragile woman. This is not a tale of heroism; it is merely a tale of survival. There was no triumph over adversity in my adventures today however a simple and gracious, acceptance of my own mortality did occur.
This morning I awoke with only one simple goal – to purchase a pack of millinery brooch pins from Spotlight. A ten minute drive to industrial suburbia should do the trick and then I would be free to explore the surrounding stores within the 62,000 square meter compound of home making ‘bliss’. Right. I set out with all the determination of a true crafter (I woke up and watched outright abused my Netflix subscription for two hours in my pyjamas on the couch). By eleven thirty I was on the road, passing by a number of precarious establishments claiming to be ‘motels’ but better known as the safe house of many an affair.
It wasn’t long before I was navigating my trusty (often breaks down with no rhyme, reason or explanation) Ford Fiesta into the car park of an establishment that is likely responsible for more marriage breakdowns than Ikea and reality TV combined; The Gepps Cross Home Maker Centre.
If aliens visited earth and landed here, without a doubt they would get right back in and go back where they came from. A monstrosity of concrete and Mecca of capitalism taken most advantage of in the form of twelve month lay-buys and interest free plans by residents of surrounding working class suburbs; visiting this place is a risky voyage for the most mentally of sound individuals – unfortunately it attracts those who are not.
I undertook the voyage alone, not sure enough in the strength of my long term relationship to take that level of risk. I could have taken a friend however I value my friendships far too much to gamble what we’ve built on such a volatile yet petty expedition.
I entered Spotlight with all the trepidation that such an undertaking deserved. I was keen to get in and get out quickly so that I could soon reward myself with an overpriced warm drink in a nearby cafe. My goal was to engage as few people in conversation as possible – I would have no such luck. I made my way to the area that I expected to find the pins and in the process achieved my entire required daily step count, yet what I was looking for was not to be found.
Next step: engage a staff member – a task that turned out to be far more difficult than finding a genuine connection on Tinder. A few more laps of the store layout, a conversation with two staff members who looked at me as if I had three heads (to their credit I’d forgone makeup application for the day) and finally I found reached my goal, however satisfied isn’t a word I would use to describe myself. Looking at the selection of millinery brooches I was forlorn. Six for $3.50. In the past I’ve purchased 50 for around $10 in the same store however I wasn’t ready for my trip to be wasted. I grabbed two packs and headed for the checkout.
This, dear friends, is the moment where I truly began to see my grip on reality fading away. Two very young and determined yet hopeless staff members had around thirty middle aged women, a few broken husbands and a handful of bratty children lined up and expecting to be served. A saner person would have dropped their potential purchase there and then and headed to the nearest fast food restaurant to eat their sorrows into oblivion however by this point I was determined – I had my overpriced pins and I was going to buy them – even if it killed me.
By the fifteenth minute waiting I started looking at the woman in front of me, wondering, if I got the rest of the ever expanding line to team up with me, could we take her down and survive off eating her body until we were rescued?
The situation began to get dire when a woman marched through the line to get the drinks fridge near the front – she swiftly took water back to her shopping buddy who was clearly becoming dehydrated – in the mid-winter chill.
Never before have had I experienced a group of people share such a strong, negative emotion as they did when a woman marched through the shop door and immediately approach the front of the line exclaiming “I’ve just got a quick question!” – she was swiftly shut down and sent to the back of the line, where she is probably still waiting, five hours later.
I was almost at the front of the line and I heard a woman paying $950 for the collection of curtain rods and throw cushions in her trolley. I couldn’t relate – I use milk crates for all manner of furniture in my home.
Finally I was served, paying resentfully for my overpriced pins, attempting to feign a mixed look of sympathy and disappointment towards the assistant as I left.
I took a deep breath of what felt like my first taste of fresh air (which is reality was steeped in outer city fumes) as I walked out into the overcast day and appreciated my life in a way that I never had before. Whence previously I had looked forward to an afternoon alone strolling the 62,000 meters looking at Italian designed, Chinese made furniture that I could never justify buying, I was now just searching for the quickest escape.
As I got into my car and drove off, I experienced a feeling of freedom the likes of which I had never felt before. While my feeling was temporarily dulled by a red light causing me to stop and reflect on the hour that had felt like eternity, I had a new appreciation for online shopping and drive thru fast food.
Now as I sit here, now full of food that I took myself out to eat, to console my broken soul I Google “millinery brooch pins” and look what I find. Fuck bricks and mortar stores, it’s eBay for me here on out.
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.”
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: http://tks.im/heartofgold
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!
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.
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!
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.’
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.
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 adelaidecomedy.com for more details!
The airport is a great melting pot of people, all mixing together with one key objective; to safely board a flying chunk of metal, without engaging in confronting communication with their fellow travellers. While it could be said that every airport around the world has the same old commuters passing through, Adelaide is just a little bit special.
Here are my fave 10 people you’ll meet at Adelaide Airport:
1. The Fashionistas
Ready and searching for a bargain before they’ve even left the state, the ‘fashionista’ probably stopped by Harbour Town on the way to the airport and they’re keeping an eye out for rare ‘sale’ signs in the airport outlets. In two days time they’ll be holding up the check-in line at Melbourne airport as they attempt to repack their bags after piling on all the clothes they bought over the weekend. It doesn’t seem odd that they’re wearing three hats, two coats and, most curiously, five bras, on the flight home, in order to avoid excess baggage costs.
2. The Footy Fans
A group that is heard before they’ve been seen, loudly singing the team song or discussing post game stats. Have you ever been stuck on a plane with a team of excited Port Adelaide fans (#sorrynotsorry for the blatant stereotyping) on their way to Melbourne in September? I’ll give you this advice for free; at all costs, try to avoid it — for your own sanity.
3. The High Flyers
You can spot an out-of-towner in a number of ways; they’re usually more stressed than your average Adelaide Joe and let’s be honest, they’ll probably be drawing attention to themselves by speaking loudly on the phone, whinging about the shitty day they’ve had in, “This hell hole of a city”– being Adelaide. How dare they!
Dressed uncomfortably in a suit not made for the climate, they’re itching to get back to their corporate-jerk job and inner-city home that has them mortgaged to the hilt. What they don’t know is — we don’t want them here anyway!
I’ve never really thought of myself as brave but it’s a word that gets thrown my way on a far more regular basis than I would like. Heading to the bar for a drink after a spot at a comedy night, it’s rare that I won’t have a complete stranger exclaim to me; “you’re so brave, I couldn’t do what you just did.”
It often leaves me scratching my head in confusion, I certainly don’t feel that getting up on stage, rubbishing on about failed relationships, sharing crude, debaucherous tales and randomly sprouting out of tune lyrics from my favourite pop divas makes me all that brave at all. Are they being honest or are they saying that I’m brave because I wasn’t good? I don’t think I am brave. More than anything, I feel like it might be a little bit self indulgent. After a recent encounter at gig I began to wonder about the term ‘brave’ –as I explored it within my own mind I started to travel down many paths within my own self.
I decided that to chat to some ladies who I think of as brave and whose life journeys have involved tough choices or hurdles along the way that have helped to define who they have become. Now I don’t know anyone who has run into a burning building or risked their life to save that of another however as I’m sure many of us know, an act of bravery for some is a simple as getting up the strength of get out of bed and face the world each day. Immediately I thought of my best friend Stacey, a lady who I genuinely believe is one of the toughest and most resilient that I have ever met. She hasn’t always been this way – in fact knowing her since we were in primary school, I always kind of considered her to be a bit of a hypochondriac drama queen (sorry babe!) however all of that changed almost two years ago. Stacey and I were living together and despite the warnings to the contrary, living with my best friend was one of the most fun experiences ever – but all of a sudden it changed. I felt like I’d been hit by a train so I can’t even begin to imagine how Stacey felt – within the space of a week, at age twenty four, she was diagnosed with MS and doctors also found a four centimetre tumour at the back of her head, attaching itself to her spinal cord.
The removal of the tumour was horrendous; the tumour was wrapped around the nerve that controlled the left side of her face meaning that it too had to be removed. My beautiful Stacey could only smile with half of her face and all of a sudden it seemed like her amazing flame had been dulled. It hasn’t been easy for her – that much is evident, but even then I still wondered – did she feel brave? When I asked her, she told me, “People call me brave all the time, which makes me feel a bit embarrassed…I never felt like I was being brave, I just felt like I was getting through each challenge.” Which I guess is what being brave actually is – right?
Stacey is basically blowing me away at the moment. Not only has she been through two more surgeries, worked hard to learn how to understand and live with her MS but she has also met an awesome guy – John and while he is certainly more than just a quick fix, Stacey did make me laugh when she explained; “People called me brave for going on blind dates but I don’t think that makes me brave – I just wanted to get laid!”
I don’t think I will ever be able to fully comprehend the level of courage that it has taken for Stacey to get on with her life and not just survive but absolutely thrive and I truly hope that I never have the opportunity to relate, I do however dream of having the bravery of the next two ladies that I spoke to. I first encountered Hannah Collins when I started working in my current day job – in fact she used to do what I do now, and she trained me up to take over her role. Since leaving the role she has volunteered in Africa, subedited a magazine and just recently moved to New York – with no safety net. I can only dream of having the guts to do what Hannah has done and as she explained, “I knew it was out of the ordinary but I also knew it was what I needed to do at the time.” Which once again brings up the idea of bravery versus self indulgence however, as Hannah enlightened me, sometimes to be self indulgent, you have to employ a level of bravery; “I felt a lot of guilt over leaving my family and friends, especially my family but I also knew that if I didn’t go and do it that I would only regret not going.”
There’s nothing more disappointing than a feeling of regret – I know that all too well.
Another clever lady who is taking the world by storm is the wonderful Laura Pietrobon – one of the most outwardly warm people I have ever encountered. I first met Laura when we were both sixteen and doing work experience at a radio station. Our paths crossed again at University but now she finds herself living in London, a dream I have always had for myself. She explained that “The first thing a lot of people said when I announced my move was something along the lines of “wow you’re so brave, aren’t you scared?” To be honest, I never thought this move was particularly brave.” However assessing the situations of others who have also undertaken the same challenge that she has she was able to see the bravery in their choices, “so maybe it’s all about perspective in the end” Laura concluded.
The concept of perspective actually, weirdly enough, put things into perspective for me. There are two aspects of bravery; one is perceived bravery, while the other is acted. So while you might not ‘feel brave’, the question is, if a person describes you as brave relative to how they define ‘brave’ in their own mind, while you might not actually be engaging in an act of bravery you could be brave simply because it is in the eye of the beholder.
At this point I was certainly envying the sheer guts that it took for these two ladies to do what they had done and luckily I had one of my oldest friends Hannah Willsmore (who I have previously described as my womb buddy since we’ve known each other that long) put things into perspective for me. Hannah has recently started her own business – rather sitting idle in a job that she was beginning to resent, she explained “I could’ve just stayed there being unhappy like so many of the others are” however she boldly chose not to – if only for her own sake. I guess this confirmed for me that it is hard, risky and yes, brave, to do something a little bit different but it’s probably harder to let it just pass on by while the world keeps moving.
Finally it was starting to click in a general sense – those around me who I viewed as brave, sure they were overcoming hurdles and individual adversity but each act of ‘bravery’ that I’d investigated had in ways just been a way of moving forward in life rather than choosing to remain stagnant, despite the challenges that may hold. I though, had been called ‘brave’ for the act of performance so I needed to know, is this something that other performers experience? After speaking to several male comedians it quickly became clear that ‘brave’ is a term almost exclusively reserved for female performers or those who deal with challenging and confronting material – it’s rare that a guy gets called ‘brave’ just for picking up the microphone but I think that might be a topic for another day.
In a performance sense I immediately thought of three ladies who I might be able to relate to and from whom I could learn. First up was Haley Brown, a wonderful and talented performer whose direction and style has profoundly affected my own. Haley faces her own physical challenges meaning that ‘brave’ is a word that gets thrown her way and for the first time since I began this exploration, the concept of the term being overtly problematic was raised, as Haley explained; “It’s a very close cousin of what folks in the disability community call “inspiration porn,” when disabled people do fairly ordinary things and are celebrated as being “brave” or “inspiring” for doing it while disabled.” Continuing on that theme of ‘brave’ not necessarily being a compliment, she elaborated “Often the word is awarded to individuals that society deems incapable of doing something who are “doing it anyway.”
I get that. While I may not have the same hurdles to face as Haley (whose work you can find here), there is that matter of my gender. It may be 2016 but don’t even begin to imagine that we live in a world where everyone is used to hearing the female voice as one of power, strength or, god forbid, humour. Sure times are changing however on more than one occasion (many, in fact) I’ve been outright told that “women aren’t funny”. That hurts and I can’t really put into words why – though mostly because it’s outright wrong. I like to think that I can prove those who hold that belief wrong. One woman who I know can do this is Nicole Henriksen whose giddily bizarre show ‘Techno Glitter Penguins’ made me laugh like nothing else ever had, before she slapped me in the face and tore my heart apart with her other totally different but equally brilliant show ‘Makin It Rain’. Despite obvious talent and a drive to succeed that is downright inspiring, Nicole has had experiences that have caused her to feel patronised when being referred to as brave; “I feel especially as a woman, and a woman of colour, the more it’s used “oh you’re so brave… really, really, brave… wow, so brave”… Why am I so brave, you know? Is that person implying that I’m brave for supporting myself, or performing, or what-have-you because my work isn’t good or isn’t financially viable? If so, why is that?” It’s a perspective that echoed my own thoughts, despite our somewhat different performance experiences.
Finally I reached out to the lovely Alice Tovey, wise beyond her years, who helped me to put it all together in relation to my own experiences. She identified the sheer fact that she and her material had been belittled at the discretion of particular audience members, choosing to let the fact that she is a young woman cloud their opinion of the content. However she carries on, continuing to present shows that push the boundaries in one way or another. She explained, “I think when most people are asked what bravery is, you’ll get back a picture of an Alexander the Great like figure, who against all odds conquered the world. Or Oscar Wilde, who opposed a regime to preserve the true self. Or An Sung Su Chi, who stood up to an oppressive and unfair government. These pictures are all perfectly valid and good definitions of bravery, but I think comedic bravery is a completely different thing all together.”
“Comedic bravery, I believe, is making an audience laugh at something, whether dark or absurd or unusual, and asking them why. That’s the power that a comedian has. What an audience laughs at will tell them more about themselves than what makes them cry.” But does Alice consider herself brave? The short answer is, yes – “In a way” How so? She explains; “I hope that I am doing just that, that I am pointing out some of the nastier things in our society. It can be confronting.”
Now I can’t say that I’m pushing the boundaries in the same way as Alice, but on a good day I am making people laugh at some pretty absurd ideas – and hey, maybe that is a braver concept than I first believed. I am yet to feel like I possess the same level of bravery that I believe some of the other women I have encountered do, and while I don’t think I will ever feel comfortable being told that I am brave for doing what I think of as ‘dumb comedy’ I suppose I can make brave my own. I can chose to hear it as a compliment rather than in a patronising manner and I can choose to use it as a motivation to push on. Most of all though I can be bravely self indulgent because with life experience under my belt I now know that without being brave enough to indulge my soul in doing the things that truly make me happy, I would ultimately be facing the tougher challenges of regret, disappointment and true sadness. While life is never as straightforward as simply ‘choosing happiness’ –I’ve learned that it can be pretty brave if you’re able to put in action a path that allows you to do so.