Monday, February 12, 2007


Reasons to be cheerful

1) Finding a fantastic hidden gem known only to art teachers - the Adelaide Recycling Centre, or That's Not Rubbish! as it's known. All kinds of scraps and fabric ideal for collage and projects, and run by a couple of really interesting and friendly women. If you want to go there, take a friend to map read and be prepared to ask passers-by for directions, though. It is a well-hidden gem.

2) Driving along, talking about depression and doom, wondering what I'm doing with my life, when on the radio we suddenly hear Sir Mixalot. That song is guaranteed to have us geeky white girls slapping the air and shaking it like slightly less coordinated versions of Cameron Diaz. "My anaconda don't want none unless you've got buns, hon!" Ah ... good times.

3) My wonderful photographer friend Rene has a website at - everybody should visit here for some surprising moments of restfulness, inspiration and startling beauty. I first met Rene when I made cups of tea for a bunch of random travellers in a Prague hostel. (Note to prospective British backpackers: you can always introduce yourself to people with tea and sympathy! I like the scientific Tetley's drawstring teabags best for making a first impression.) Karen and I travelled with him and Tymen through the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary, saying a sad goodbye to these energetic guys in Budapest. We were overjoyed to get a call saying they'd come all the way down to Romania to hang out with us!

Former bookshop owner Rene has a broad smile, an infectious laugh, and the most unique Canadian accent I've ever heard. My sister and I stayed with him in Edmonton when we were doing our cross-Canada pilgrimage. Randomness attracts him: one night he took me along to a club night where he was photographing a latex spiderwoman. I saw his cross-processed prints of a previous theme night featuring kitty-cat dancers tangled in balls of wool. He also taught me some of the few photography facts I've remembered: what cross-processing is (well, I can recognise it when I see it, but don't ask me to explain it); and that when having a black and white portrait photo taken, ladies may request a red filter over the lens to even out the skin tone. Talking of which, he owes me either a photo or a bottle of red wine. Murfatlar would be nostalgic...

4) I had a brush with local fame when as I was waiting at a traffic light, behind me I heard a resonant "LAAAH!" It was the sort of Singing Voice that clearly belonged to an Actor warming up his Vocal Instrument. Sure enough, I turned round and recognised the chap. "Weren't you the First Voice in Under Milk Wood?" "Why yes! Yes I am!" he said delightedly, pumping my hand. It was apparent from his delight that he hadn't yet been Spotted very often. When I informed him that I'd reviewed the production and singled out his Welsh accent as notably convincing, he rose several feet into the air and strode across the street beaming. It's good to make someone's day!

5) Pete and I had a near-miss brush with real fame: Tenacious D were in town! We were walking through the CBD when I got a text message from Susie saying "I'm on the bus and could swear I just saw Jack Black standing outside Hotel X!" We had to hunt him down, of course, but by the time we reached the hotel, pens at the ready for autographs, he had gone inside leaving a small gang of hardcore fans clutching signed posters. "Is he coming back out?" I asked. "He didn't say," one responded dogmatically, "but he might. So I'm staying put." He unfurled his poster and permitted me a glance at the great man's scrawl. Somehow I expect celebrities to have more flamboyant handwriting than the rest of us, for their signatures to feature stars and hearts or in this case thunderbolts. But no. (I can't talk though - my "Rosie" has often been misread as "Kevin".)

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