The new Twin Peaks

IMG_2564.JPGHere is a shot I took of “The Great Northern” back in 2010 

INTRODUCTION and INITIAL THOUGHTS

It was a slow, but very transfixing experience. (I remember warning Conan that it would be slow.)

Nothing was intensely bizarre, or frustratingly oblique — except for that scene in Space. And everything seemed to be flowing towards something. It had a narrative!

It also had plenty of nods to the fans and quite a few laughs. But I got the distinct impression these first episodes won’t have the beautiful re-watchability as the 90s TP had. But of course this wasn’t a reboot of Twin Peaks — it wasn’t a brand new soap opera or an “Invitation to Love.” This was a big, bad “What Happened Next.”

The credits were incredible. As much as drone-filmography have a bad rap, they really do get some amazing vistas and the shot over the falls was just incredible. Like what a poetic death-plunge would look like. Very symbolic. And yep – I was ready to dive right in.

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A 12PM, MONDAY PARTY

So I was due to watch this all at Bri and Tim’s place. Also coming were Conan, Susan and Ben (And Laura eventually). Just barely north of beer-o’clock.

I arrived super-early having tried to engage everyone I could about the momentousness of today: a) the guy in the boozer — no idea. b) The woman at the donut stand — completely oblivious. And the taxi driver tried his best as I piled into the cab with all my bits. But again, no hint of any idea what Twin Peaks was. Sigh.

As I came in Bri was putting the finishing touches on her cherry pie. But there was music in the air and soon Conan swaggered in with an equal sense of nervous expectation. Tim was doing exercise and the dog Arrow was so cute he had a way of getting onto the balcony by magic. (The dog door in another room was later revealed to me.)

Susan arrived with wine and then Ben with cigarettes. We watched the last episode of season 2 and then a little mashup before Bri suddenly announced it had dropped a few minutes early. I was so nervous it took me a while to relax enough to actually sit down. I noticed Susan spent the majority of the 4 hours of viewing on the edge of her spot on the couch, leaning as close as she could to the screen. (Bri and Tim have a projector so we got to see it almost cinematically).

There was silence in the room for the first 50 minutes. It was all business. The ground rules had been laid before. No chit-chat, but laughing and crying and gasping were acceptable. And there was all of that. Including the tears at Margaret — the Log Lady’s final scenes. (Heartbreaking). Bri lost it apparently. She had tubes going into her nose and we all know they were totally legit.

Then we had an accidental break at 50 mins and we could all grab some air, use the facilities, get some more refreshments and do a tiny debrief. It had been pretty intense up to that point. We all agreed it was compelling. But we needed more!

Steadily the party got looser and I got in trouble for talking (see below). Conan kept looking at me with that “eek!” look in his eye and any time there was a “Blue Rose” mention — Bri and I had a little nod at each other. (That was the name of our trivia team at GOMA and BLACK [BEAR] LODGE).

Conan gripped my thigh quite a few times at intense moments. I jgnored it and just kept sinking another beverage. I got quite wasted by the end and started talking about how the cosmic background radiation has a cold spot and that was evidence of another universe with just might be connected to the black lodge. Ugh.

Luckily it was time for episode 4 and I was forced to shut up.

SPOILERS NOW!

EPISODE 4

That’s where things really clicked. Apparently they (Showtime I imagine) were only going to “drop” the first 3 episodes on May 22, but it seemed they realised that would be a mistake and they needed a lighter, funnier, more traditional episode to keep us all keen.

By this stage the whole world was trying to hit this stream and Stan kept freezing or going low-res or pausing for buffering. It was almost imperceptible if it wasn’t for the spinning “loading icon” at the centre of the screen. We got used to it and decided to plough on.

What made this episode was it had a great deal of old characters. Heaps of Good Cooper just coming to sense with the real world. Then more Hawk and “Sheriff Truman.” (Is this the real Truman re-cast by Robert Forster or is it Truman’s brother?) In Ep1 one was “sick” and the other was “fishing” according to Lucy. And this one was the one “fishing”. I think Bobby calls him “Frank”. Just before he says: “I gotta take a leak so bad my back teeth are floating!”

So I think we have that issue sorted. LOL. Then we get Wally (Michael Cera) confirming that. Sick Truman was his godfather. Wally is paying his respects. But also saying goodbye. (I think he will be back.) He talks about Lewis and Clark. (Just like in the Secret History book by Mark Frost).

The biggest laugh of the afternoon came when Wally is trying so hard to be profound: “My shadow is always with me. Sometimes ahead, Sometimes behind. Sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right. Except on cloudy days…or at night.”

Then Sheriff Truman walks away and does a quick shake of the head.

Bobby says that Cooper was the last to see his dad Major Briggs. But of course this insinuates that Bad Cooper killed Major Briggs and covered it up in a fire.

And we get some Naomi Watts. Our Naomi Watts. Brilliant.

Oh god Lucy and Andy are just the same and it is bloody, bloody incredible. And Ched is a dick! Go have a word with your pine-cone douchecanoe.

Mike puts it down saying that Good Cooper was tricked and that now one of them must die. Battle lines are drawn. Good vs Evil.

Cooper looks at his reflection again and it seems like he is beginning to know he is real again. Cooper has a great thumbs up with “Sonny Jim.” Coffee can save him!

Tammy is going to be a real force in the next episodes.

I really suspect that the body (without a head) in the Ruth Davenport crime scene is actually Major Briggs. EEK.

And who is the woman that Rosenfield and Cole need to talk to to expose the fake Cooper? Cannot wait.

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THREADS

There were so many threads. Here are the few I can just about note down:

1) Dr Jacobi and his mission to paint several shovels in gold.

2) Ben and Jerry had a welcome joust early on. It seemed these eccentric characters had turned out in their old age (25 years later) just like they would have IRL.

3) Bad Cooper (And Darya + Ray + Jack’s conspiracy) [and Otis and clan]

3.1) Bad Cooper and his link to the death of Ruth Davenport (Obviously he had Bill Hasting’s wife [“Phyllis”] under his spell).

3.2) Bad Cooper’s plan about NOT getting pulled back into Black Lodge. (And what Gia Carides’ “Hannah” has to do with that). See pt 10.

3.3) Bad Cooper vs Agent Rosenfield and Gordon Cole. (And what role with Agent Tamara/Tammy [Chrysta Bell] play?)

4) Who is the “rest” of Ruth Davenport’s “body”? (And who is that “burnt man” in the jail cell next to Bill Hasting that promptly evaporates?)

5) Hawk and the clue that Margaret (Log Lady) left. Plus all the other stuff linked to the Sherrif’s office.

6) The clues the giant gave Cooper in scene 1: “4.3.0.”, “Linda and Richard”, “Two birds with one stone”

7) What’s the deal with the “Billionaire” with his glass box. And who/what was released just before that ripped Tracey and Sam to shreds. (In the credits it lists “Carel Struyckenn – ??????”)

8) Mr Todd (and Roger) in Las Vegas. Someone makes Mr Todd do bad things.

9) James! and his motorcycle accident. His link with Shelly? And then there’s Balthazar Getty (“Red”) and his connection. Also in that scene (according to the credits) is a new Renault: “Jean-Michel Renault” played by Walter Olkewicz who played “Jarques” back in 90s TP. More interesting than intriguing.

10) The THIRD “Cooper”? oh boy. His name is “Dougie Jones”. And he had the ring. It seems that Bad Cooper can’t be in the real world at the same time as Good Cooper. Someone had to go back to the Lodge so that the real Cooper could come back. (Was he the bad Cooper’s decoy? — this is Susan’s theory). Like the ring made him appear to be the Bad Cooper the Lodge wanted back. (Aside: Loved how Bad Cooper vomited cream corn.) ‘Something is wrong,” Mike says in the episode before. And then, “Someone manufactured you.” So I think there is no real third Cooper — just something Bad Cooper tricked the Black Lodge with. But then there is this gold ball that keeps coming up. We shall see. I think Susan is spot on perfectly right here. (Oh and what is the deal with the assassins trying to kill “Dougie” (Trick Cooper).

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And finally:

10) Good Cooper! Cooper was pretty much the only thing I really paid attention to in the original series. And although his storyline here is really frustrating — by episode 4 it seems he is getting somewhere. Someone who has spent 25 years in the Black Lodge is going to behave a little (I mean “LOT”) weird in the real world. I do need to mention that that bit in space with the woman whose eyes have grown over is silly! But maybe beautifully silly?

MUSIC

Loved how they had genuine bands playing at the Roadhouse at the end of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th episodes. (Au Revoir Simone!) But otherwise music is quite sparse. There appeared to be a Trent Reznor song during Bad Cooper’s drive through the woods to Otis’ house. But it took until over 7 minutes into episode two (apart from credits) for any of Angelo’s original score to get an airing. And even then it was painfully brief.

The Cactus Blossoms are the band in ep3.

LAURA PALMER

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I am thoroughly convinced that Laura is going to get out of the black lodge and kick ass in the real world. She says to Cooper, “I am dead. Yet I live”. Then she gets sucked into some vortex and disappears.

From what I knew at the time I was 15 talking to girls who were totally into TP, Laura’s story really affected them. She was almost an “everywoman” to certain people. A woman in trouble and everyone knew it — like Bobby screams at the funeral.

While I identified with Cooper, plenty of women saw Laura as just as much. She had insights into what it was like to be a girl. I read Laura’s diary and someone said to me she almost felt I shouldn’t be reading that because it contained secrets only girls should know. Laura hit nerves. I just saw her screams and how she could instil terror in me. But she was much more than that.

While we were watching EP2 when “contemporary” Laura (2017 Sheryl Lee) appeared I instinctively predicted what was about to be said I got a very firm, “Shut up!” from Susan. I imagine this scene, although pretty predictable to me, was truly important to her. And then Bri said after all 4 episodes were watched: “There needs to be more Laura.”

It’s a thing. Laura NEEDS to come back just for closure or just because it will make a supreme difference to many, many people. (Me included!)

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DID I LIKE IT?

Fuck yeah.

It was amazing and if everything goes to shit from here I will know that at the very least I had an amazing time on Monday with great mates and it was a total experience. Genuinely one of the best days of my life.

And upon the second viewing I am even more excited for what’s to come.

It won’t be as magical as the original, but it will have a different kind of magic.

OTHER RANDOM OBSERVATIONS

If “The man from another place” (the actor Michael) refuses to get on board, he can be replaced by a talking brain-tree with and some lightning effects. Genius.

A 30ish year old Kyle MacLachlan made up to look 20 years older (in 1990s TP) looks older than the nearing 60 Kyle in 2017 Twin Peaks. Just saying.

That was Ronette in the “Space Scene”. (Credited as “American Girl”)

Bobby Briggs is a police officer. God that was a perfect arc. Major Briggs was such a special character and Bobby was such an antithesis — but you just knew they were always on the same page. (Briggs had that dream he told Bobby about in ep8).

Chocolate Bunnies get a shout-out! (“It’s NOT about the bunny…Is it about the bunny? No, It’s not about the bunny,” Hawk says.

Michael Cera is just perfect. Bri had predicted this and it just makes so much sense. And it looks like he might be a Bookhouse Boy – or trying to be one. The look of supreme “proudness” on Andy and Lucy’s face is priceless.

The moose head gets a new day in the sun!

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WALES (CYMRU)

Had another big interview at Bristol passport control. It seems that UK border control staff can’t fathom that someone could get 5 weeks of leave all at once. Plus they must suspect all Australians just want a UK job and then we’ll stay forever. After a few minutes I almost said, “Look, my dad was born here — I could get a UK passport no probs.” But thankfully I kept my mouth shut.

Another big wait for a hire car and it turned out to be a month-old Seat Leon. Great car — except the sat-nav was flaky. (Kept crashing). The guy at Europcar tried to get me to upgrade to an auto for a mere 50 pounds extra a day. “Um. No thanks,” I said. It was such a ridiculous suggestion I almost lol’d.

Next we were slugging it out with the serious traffic that is omnipresent in the UK. It took us an incredible amount of time to get over to Wales. We crossed this massive bridge — possibly the longest bridge I have ever been on. There was a toll at the end — but apparently it is only a one way toll. We made it to the hotel was in the Cardiff bay area.

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TOBY

So the reason for our trip to Cardiff was to meet my cousin Toby for the very first time. We are actually half-cousins — my grandmother had a child (Pam) when she was a teenager and Pam was secretly adopted out. And I say it was a “secret” because my grandmother never mentioned it to us. Grandma got married, had three children (my dad being one of them) and then immigrated to Australia.

Pam managed to locate my grandmother when I was about 10 years old and it was a big commotion. It was like suddenly my dad had another sister and I had this big branch of family in the UK — including a cousin only a year younger than me (Zoe) and another cousin just a baby (that was Toby). It was almost a scandal because my grandma is such a ridiculously uptight and authoritarian. She seemed affronted by all this information and behaved appallingly.

But during all that drama Zoe and I exchanged a few letters and then again as adults — but we only met for the first time on my very first trip to the UK in 2007. But by that time Toby had grown up and was living in Birmingham so I didn’t get to meet him. Later during the hey-day of Facebook Toby and I bonded over music and it was just a given that I would track him down this trip.

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By this time he was married to Emma.

So we arranged to meet Toby at a multi-story pub/restaurant called Mt Stuart and that was awesome. Emma came a bit later as she was still working. (ASIDE: Emma was already a celebrity to me because she knows the amazing Cate Le Bon personally.) We all had a great time and Emma and Toby announced one of them was “preggaz”. I am pretty sure they used that exact term/phrasing. Totally!

The next day we went over to Toby and Emma’s place and then drove up to the Brecon Beacons for a hike. It was so fucking beautiful and because the landscape was so devoid of trees — there were impressive views almost 100% of the time. The UK is a pretty flat place — especially at this latitude — so it was incredibly refreshing to see so much landscape in all directions. I think the term”rolling hills” was coined up here.

Later we went to central Cardiff where the Roald Dahl festival was going off. There were giant peaches, big chairs, snow-sledding, frogs, fantastic foxes etc. I was such a big fan of Roald as a kid, and am so glad kids still see how amazing he is/was. He was so irreverent. My favourite book was Danny the Champion of the World. But there didn’t seem to be any monuments to that.

Then we had food and beer at this food stall section in the park. Then we were joined by Toby and Emma’s amazing friend Lowri — which is “Laura” in Welsh. Moved on to a quaint pub, then a small bar where we got to see the fireworks. Brilliant day!

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PHOTOS OF BRECON BEACONS

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OTHER BITS: in dot-point:

• Roald Dahl was born here.
• There is a Dr Who museum.
• The road signs are in English and Welsh
• People get dressed up in costume (hen’s nights etc) and climb the Brecons
• There was a massive, but very polite, queue just to get a photo at the summit marker (see below)
• There were a bunch of military doing training up there. Guns, backpacks, camo, the works. As one of them ran by us he joked, “We’re looking for a lost sheep.” Everyone LOL’d.

BONUS PICS

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My Pokémon take

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So everyone knows I am utterly obsessed with Pokémon Go atm. I have done quite unnatural things. Nothing sinister or tragic, yet, but I have been caught in public quite a few times trying to snag one. And I hate looking conspicuous in public.*

I have had a few disparaging looks. I have had to stop suddenly while walking through the city. I have varied my route to work (and home) every day.

On Monday I said to a workmate who had joined team “Valor” or “red” as he called them — “Valor is the team Adolf Hitler would have joined.”

“How do you even know what the teams are even called?” he replied. And later he implied that I had committed some form of workplace harassment**.

On an all-day pokémon-expedition on Saturday Dee and I were so low on battery we had to source a free charger in the city and then we just sat around in this tragic food-court beside a BIG W for 30 minutes. (It seemed like 2 hours.) It was both pathetic and awesome at the same time.

A START

Like everyone else from Wednesday two weeks back we saw these random pokémon references in our socials. These pictures on instagram of a pokémon “in the wild”, so to speak. When I knew it was getting ridiculous was when I read an online story on the Friday imploring poké-hunters to get themselves a portable battery lest you retire from the hunt prematurely. That night Dee and I were getting toasty on the couch and had run out of things to watch on Netflix so I suggested we download the app and give it a go.

And I thought, “I like walking! This could be mildly amusing. Even just to see Dee get excited!”

As soon as I said it I realised there was something of an ambit claim in my thinking. To my absolute shock Dee said, “Why not.”

See Dee grew up with pokémon, but for me, it had come a bit too late. Still — I love all things Japan kawaii. And cartoons/anime especially.

HUNTING & TRAGEDY

Pretty soon we donned sensible footwear and clothing and headed out into the dark. Our street was pretty dark as far as pokémon were concerned, but down the road was something interesting. Soon we found our first gym. It was weird to see this tiny park was now a tiny centre of some virtual universe. Dee knew more about the rules than me. “We should head to the park,” she said. We smashed ahead, or stumbled it should be said. We searched all the parks within 3 kms from our house. We didn’t get one single pokémon. Despite running back and forth across Milton Road (one of the busiest in Brisbane).

Because the app was only installed on my phone we were constantly transferring that phone between us. And of course it got dropped onto the concrete footpath. I picked it up to see that the screen was horribly cracked — even in the gloom all around. I was pretty “zen” about it at the time, but pretty soon I thought — “I don’t want to be *those people* with the cracked screen.” NO!

To me a cracked screen is like an albatross around my neck. It implies stuff. I have prided myself on having four iPhones over seven or so years and not one got a cracked screen. I’ve never even had a case. I take care of my shit. Yet now I was suddenly clumsy, a drunkard, a douchecanoe, a Mr Magoo. I got that screen fixed the very next day.

[And that cracked iPhone screen cost $179) A screen which is seemingly so “cheap” it doesn’t work with polarised sunglasses. Like the screen is completely invisible.

So as you can imagine, this means I have to PARK those glasses. Ugh.]

By Sunday evening I was so hooked we now had separate pokémon accounts.

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THE CRAZY STUFF

1) I met this guy on Saturday who runs a venue in the Valley right under a poké-stop. He now reckons his business is booming and now has a LINE ITEM poké-coins to buy lures so his bar is constantly lit up for poké-hunters.

[I know the press have been complaining that poké-stops are at Arlington Cemetery and a Holocaust monument (eek) but I have this feeling that the real story will hit soon. The seemingly arbitrary allocation of poké-stops will lead to some consternation in the business community. All the cafes and restaurants and bars that are just outside the poké-stop — while their competitors are right under it — will feel deprived. If this phenomenon has some longevity — this could really be an issue.]

2) I have been at a poké-stop where a lure has just been set off and seen a car pull up where the occupants were just there obviously trawling the neighbourhood for lures to improve their chances of catching.

3) Personally Dee and I have only ate out over these past two weeks where the restaurant had a poké-stop directly on top so we could eat and either set off a lure, or take advantage of the current lures. Then catch them all!

4) Dee and I were in the Queen Street Mall last Saturday and stopped to catch something and the place was teeming so we were just nabbing them wholesale. There were so many poké-stops within range with lures going crazy. When we eventually ran out of prey we looked up and realised about 10 other people were doing exactly the same as us within spitting distance. We chatted to a bunch of them — one being this brother and sister. The brother had an arm in a sling. He had run into a parked car trying to catch a pokémon and got a wrist fracture — before he realised you could still snare a pokémon without getting right up in their grill. (I made that mistake too). The sister asked what team we were on and I said, “We’re both on Mystique and we both chose that team independently!” I said.

“It must be TRUE LOVE,” she replied — slightly lispy because of her braces.

5) After gushing about how hooked I was I asked my boss if his eldest kid was into it. (She’s 11). “No, I think she’s too old for it.” SNAP!

6) The Server Meltdown of Tuesday, July 12, meant a totally wasted walking-commute to work. I could have listened to music, or devoured a podcast or two. But instead I tried to log on to the server every 50 steps. I was LIVID. For the next few hours I could not get out of my head how many pokémon I had missed catching.

I was so depressed I wrote a song about it. Key of C minor of course.

You can listen to it here.

7) On that very Tuesday, (before I realised the server was fucked) I had bumped into our neighbour who has two kids aged about 8 and 11. I asked if they were into pokémon. She had no idea what I was talking about. “What? It’s all over the news. It’s changed the world,” I said — and I was only half-exaggerating.  The next day I get a call from the youngest asking to go get some pokémon. My neighbour had had her revenge. So I set off an incense and took them for a walk up and down the street until they had captured a few.

8) I have made so many new friends. It’s like how in Fight Club you know someone else is in Fight Club cause their face is super-beat-up. And you do this little nod at them saying, “I know, but I am not gonna say anything about it cause of that RULE #1”. And when iPods came out it was just like that because of the white ear-phones. But this time you can tell obviously someone is out chasing pokémon cause they are walking around with their phone held out in front of them desperately looking down hoping for stuff. And they are wandering around parks in the dark. Or they are sat as inconspicuously as possible at poké-stops or poké-gyms.

I have shared so many smiles, and nods, and hellos and even this. This woman was coming towards me, make 20 metres away, and I just held up my screen (which was a huge green halo in that dark) and she did the same. When we met in the middle we just chatted pokémon. “What have you found?” “What’s nearby?” And when she replied to the “What level are you up to?” I was so disgusted I said, “Oh — you are so dead to me.” I headed off and she laughed.

9) There are poké-masters out there who see it as a business opportunity. They are hoarding stardust and super-upgraded pokémon to sell once the fabled trading system gets released. I met one of these guys at the RE. He and some mates were just hanging around lures and using the pub’s powerpoint to charge their phones so they could go out hunting again. That guy told me so many tips I bought him a drink.

* As a kid I hating being in the city with my mum, cause we both had the same bright ginger hair and I assumed everyone was looking at us knowing definitively that we were mother and son. Ugh. I was so introverted it was appalling that a stranger could instantly know something so personal about me with just a glance. And so I made my mother walk a few steps ahead. TRUE STORY. Don’t worry — I have kinda got over that. 🙂

**mostly true.

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David Lynch in Brisbane

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 7.32.16 PM It shouldn’t be much of a secret that David Lynch is a big deal with me. A super deal. As an impressionable kid I assumed his vision — mostly based on Twin Peaks — would make me and sustain me for the rest of my life. That didn’t quite work out — but it came close.

So just being in his presence got a bit more full on. In the lead-up I was super-nervous. I was about 2 degrees above the recommended 37. I felt clammy. And because I had booked the instant you actually could we managed to have seats in the 2nd row. Being so close made that melting into my shirt sensation seem even worse. I got into such a state I felt I would eventually get so overwhelmed I just might be compulsed to leave before I vomited.

THE COOLEST THING EVER IN BRISBANE

And this malaise was exacerbated by the fact I think this was THE coolest of the cool scene Brisbane could manage. Like forever. I cannot imagine an event in Brisbane’s history that could unite ALL OF THE COOLSIES.

This event was unprecedented. And of course there were some interstate blow-ins — but I felt me being so “Brisbane” I could unconsciously wade through those distractions to my overall assumption. And that assumption was that if a bomb went off at QPAC that day — all of the cool people in Brisbane would be GONE.

There were so much glasses. So much quality attire. A bunch of beards. So many super-humans and so many simply highly attractive ordinary people. And it was barely 2pm. But in that vein of “ordinary” and “natural” looking people — just like me — we of course looked a bit totally out of our depth. Always looking around, watching, wondering if we were being judged or worse: exposed.

Luckily I had worn my best cowboy shirt, I had given my hair a brush and crucially had a good three beers inside me so I could float through that epic current rather than dive under the water in shame like I usually have to do.

But it still was pretty full on. I will say it again. Brisbane will NEVER be able to collate such a COOL CROWD. Not again in my life time I would think. Never.

david_stratton THE SHOW

In the hour before show-time when I heard David Stratton was the host I shuddered with anticipation. This was now NEXT LEVEL. I was almost conflicted. Was I more excited to see Stratton in the FLESH or Lynch? But then the knowledge of the two of them together just made me dizzy. So the show itself went like a blur. I listened as best I could and followed what was being said, but most of the talk I knew from other interviews. What I appreciated was Stratton poking Lynch for a scoop. And he tried his hardest to get Lych to reveal some secrets by using Paul Byrnes’ story in SMH as a foil. It almost came off. It was pretty cool seeing them together.

RIOT

Everything was going along in that “beginning to end” narrative. But when it got to the prospect of a future Twin Peaks David revealed that the project was currently mired. The details were obscure — but it wasn’t to do with money. I felt like dying. Look — I WANT to see a new Twin Peaks regardless if it is crap or if it is brilliant and even if it is just bland. I don’t care. I just need to see David revisit it again. It’s one of those “before I die” kind of needs. Talking to Conan after the show when we discussed that revelation we decided that we couldn’t understand why people weren’t turning their seats over. It was pretty brutal. And it seems to be some legal bullshit. UGH.

LYNCH

Lynch was of course super cool. He has a consideration in his voice. I KNOW that comes when you hear your own voice so many times. He wore a suit like he was channeling David Byrne and slunk into the chair like he was melting. I purposely drifted off while Lynch was talking about meditation. I mean — that’s great for him, but it has always been nuts to me and even David Lynch can’t sway that resolve in me. When it was all over I was relieved. I could relax now. In hours I would forget everything that was said that afternoon but I would never forget the feeling. And then we got to have a bit of an after-party with Conan, Sonya, Brad, Timmy, Bri, Miro, Erin, Susan, Dee and others at Tomahawk.

Engagement Party Pt2 (Party edition)

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This is Jess and James being awesome. I forgot to upload this bad-boy and then I remembered but our computer broke and it took ages of bullshit to get it firing again. So this has just given me time to refine things.

MORE ON THE SPEECH

I know it’s a bit boring to rake over this stuff but it seems to have dominated my life for a while, not just before, but after too. See, some people didn’t really appreciate what I had to say that evening and they told me thus on the night — which was a bit confronting. All I wanted was to make people happy, but if I didn’t succeed in that, I guess I expected everyone to at least be on their best behaviour, despite any grievances they might have had.

That being being said — here is a bit more of my clinical advice just on the process.

So I have had just a tiny bit of practise at public speaking of late. And it is no secret that it is fucking scary and just like Jerry Seinfeld describes it.

But I am getting more confident about it. However — I was thrown a little at the engagement party by the audience participation. There were lots of interruptions — which is fine — but I just forgot to expect that. My rhythm was a bit knocked about consequently — but all this is good and some of the jokes coming from the floor shat all over my material! Conan’s quip “We’re not gonna sit in silence” when Dee declared there would be no John Farnham on our playlist that night was inspired. (You had to be there).

So this is what happened after:

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Shirts, Dee’s mum Mary-Anne and “Singlettes” (real name Red or Brendan if you wanna be totally formal)! Good to see so many gingers in the audience and it was pretty funny how well Mary-Anne and Shirts got on.

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ImageAli and Scott

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ImageTegan (a different “Tegan”, not pictured) made our awsm cake — Bake Even

ImageDee’s Grandpa from Finland — Ismo

ImageIsmo, me, Ilka (younger brother of Ismo), and Dee’s dad Terry. I look tall, but I am not.

ImageBec and Ann try and fight over who loves Dee the most.

ImageTHUMBS UP! This is perhaps my favourite shot of the night.

So then there was the “Cake-cutting” and I suck worse than Campbell Newman at staged kissing.

ImageMe being a dickhead but I like Jennifer’s pose in the background

ImageJane giving Dee the re-gifted doves* (*in-joke)

ImageMary-Anne and Kristian (Dee’s bro). Judd in the BG!

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Mark and Alicia (Dee’s aunty)

ImagePeter was a bit overwhelmed by the occasion. Don’t blame him.

ImageLinda, Luke and Erin looking beautiful.

ImageRyan, Marty and Shirts.

ImageFi and Tom. Gorgeous!

ImageAleisha (Archaeologist — NO SHIT!) and Jess

ImageBec and Libby

ImageMrs Picton and Mary-Anne — I’m just guessing but I assume that are saying, “yay for party-timez!”

ImageJudd and Jennifer being like dinosaurs, or tigers, or something.

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Jess and Conan and Dee. I like how only Conan is in focus cause — VOICE OF REASON

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Ash (who looks like the guy from Bush) and Joel.

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ImageClaire (our awsm photographamer) and Dee and Jess

ImageKay and Dee

ImageJennifer and Jeffro!

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ImageJeffro and Julian

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ImageBree and Jess Jardine

New Zealand

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Photo: Australian Geographic

The first time I went overseas I was 11 years old and it was on a school exchange trip to New Zealand.

My dad had just got a REAL job after years at university, years struggling as a wedding photographer, a stint in the army reserves and another stint in hospital which resulted in me spending some of my schooling in Wagga Wagga. Anyway, traditionally every year our class has an exchange program with a group of kids from a very, very remote town in Far North Queensland called Forsayth whose whole school didn’t even come close to the numbers in just our classroom.

So year after year those kids that could afford it trotted off for a week in that wilderness and I had to stay home wondering. But then in a change in policy our teacher, Mr Jacobsen, blandly explained there was a proposition that a group of us might get to go to New Zealand.

And it was to a school called Heaton School in Christchurch. And it seems this exchange has lasted all these years later.

So I took the newsletter home to my dad expecting another disappointing, “We can’t afford it” tale. But bizarrely my dad said, “Maybe”. And as a kid I knew “maybe” was 99% of the battle. This was surreal. I tried my best not to get too excited, but I knew our circumstances were changing. We suddenly weren’t quite so desperate. Indeed we miraculously had a colour TV for the first time ever, and then a VCR — admittedly, the TV was an ancient hand-me-down from the grandparents and the VCR was hired.

Eventually things turned from “maybe” to “OK” and it was like Disneyland to a kid that had never even had glad-wrap, let alone cling-wrap to protect his sandwiches for little lunch and big lunch. And maybe that is why I am “DJ GLAD RAPPA” — just a little nod to how I grew up seeing that shitty strip of plastic as being grand and aspirational.

MY FIRST AND ONLY SLR

So then I was on a plane to NZ. My dad, a one-time quasi-professional cameraman (see above), gave me his best camera to use. It was heavy and important-looking and I had to spend hours and hours with him getting tutored in how to use the damn thing. It was so fucking complicated, but I dragged it along. And in our group, I was the only one with a camera. I even had to change rolls and that was almost more complicated than keyhole surgery to an 11 year old.

When I got home Dad said I hadn’t put enough people in my images and my “composure” was all wrong. He picked out one photo of a snowy scene at Mt Hutt that was OK which I thought (at the time) looked shithouse. He was right of course, but all I cared about was the fact I had actually managed to capture images on such complicated machine with so much expectation involved.

MY FIRST LOVE, VOMIT, SHOULDER PADS, AND MORE

So the trip was crazy. I am now used to the fact that when I get out in public things go wrong, but this trip set the bar — this was where it all began.

Just a few months before I had gone on a trip to visit mum in Sydney and she had given me one of her old shirts. It was blue and had buttons — something I had no idea about — but they were “female” buttons, the wrong way around. And they also had shoulder pads. I wore this shirt to the airport thinking I was quite important, not really realising I could take them out, then at the line up for customs thinking, “Oh shit, they are gonna think I have drugs stored inside!” I fretted for ages while they processed us, then ripped them off and threw them away.

We arrived in the middle of the night in Christchurch. The father of the kid I was billeted to (someone called “Hamish”) picked me up. “Hamish” was presumably asleep and couldn’t be bothered. So having some random guy with a beard picking me up from the airport and taking me home would possibly be something that would not happen these days, but to me — I was ecstatic that I had a bed to go to. See “Hamish” was still a mystery to me. All the other kids in my group had had letters from their billet, but I had none. “Hamish” was already a lazy deadshit and I hadn’t even met him yet.

At the “Hamish” home I got to sleep in his bedroom, a small consolation, but one that made “Hamish” resent me.

The next day we went to Heaton School and we rubbed noses (our ethic education) and had this big rock star reception at the school assembly. Then we went on a bus trip to some hills outside Christchurch with the whole of our reciprocal grade 7 Heaton class. But on the way home I got horribly motion-sick. And the bus stopped for me at one point and I walked out onto the road verge in front of everyone and felt like a complete douchecanoe — but even though I felt awful — I couldn’t vom. Meanwhile I could feel the vibe on the bus from the nationals — Aussies are such weaklings.

Then the bus driver said as we drove on, “Stay up the front with me, that always helps.” I proved him wrong. About 30 minutes later, while being stuck up there standing at the front of the bus like a statue of ridiculousness — I projectile-vommed all over the entrance to the bus, all the way down the stairs, and then vommed some more a bit later. I really made an impression on our new compatriots as they vainly tried to step over my epic-vomit.

RAEWIN

But later that all seemed to be forgotten when this girl started talking to me. She was beautiful too — way out of my league. And I resorted to running away from her, just cause I was so embarrassed a woman would show any interest in me. But then she chased me! And she was a good runner!

Then a few days later was a school dance and it was amazing. Hamish begged to leave early and I stuck round and begged Hamish’s dad to pick me up later — thankfully he agreed.

Raewin even sent me a multi-page letter when I got back home, but even though I cherished that correspondence, possibly my first ever “love letter” — I never replied. I suck. And that effort she made is gone — I have no idea how or when I lost them. Sigh.

TOMORROW

So I am going back to NZ tomorrow — this time to Auckland. I will keep you informed.

Plaster Fun House and the SouthSide Tea Room

So the SouthSide Tea Room had an event on Sunday. It was called “Plaster Fun House” and we had a great time. It was me, Dee, Jeremy, Kerrie and Ella.

I am not exactly sure what occurred — because I wasn’t quite sure what I had signed up for and just had to go with the flow as events happened. But there were tangible results at the end.

THE GRATES

The SouthSide Tea Room, an amazing venue, has just been established by John and Patience who previously had been part of the band — The Grates.

And so I am going to talk a little about our history. In 2003 my band Specialbranch formed and we soon recruited a 17 year old Eastside lass called Jess. I had known her (online) for years from us being diehard fans of Custard and when I learnt she could sing and play keys and she was already a veteran of a band called Parkertron I asked her over to audition.

I have always thought having a woman in a band is crucial. Not that the band was “blokey”  or one bit masculine — it was just we needed (even superficially) some gender-balance and I love female voices.

Anyway — Jess got the part and we all got to be friends and she became part of the band.  And so our very first gig at Ric’s was accidentally with “Clifton” — one of John’s (John from The Grates) bands.

I designed the poster below and I got John’s band’s name wrong:

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That night I remember trying my best to compliment John on his set — but truth be told — I was too nervous about us playing next to pay enough attention.

Later, John and Patience and Alana formed The Grates who turned out to massively successful. But just while the inkling of that was happening we played another show with them: (this is their (The Grates’ poster)

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Anyway. There suddenly was this very “Brisbane” backlash against them — mostly from snobby bands and snobby musicologists here locked up in Brisbane’s malaise. And Jess got caught up in that stuff. But she was young, horribly opinionated (which was your duty in that period) and dating a guy that was half bitter about music and half in love with it.

[I guess it gets easier and easier as time goes by to get stupidly disillusioned with music when it gets so prolific.]

Jess: “It was basically tall poppy syndrome. No one knew them. They came from nowhere. And every band in Brisbane was jealous because they had been struggling away for ages and thought they were more deserving than a band who had not been around as long.”

I was having no part of the argy-bargy. I thought The Grates were compatriots — even if they were a bit flawed or derivative. “Aren’t we all?” I thought.

They were decent, lively and had fun tunes. No harm.

So Specialbranch imploded very soon after and we lost touch with them — except that our friend Conan played with them for a while and then Dan Condon did the same and I got John to write some stuff for my zine in 2005/6.

But then this Sunday — even though it wasn’t the first time I had been to the SSTR, I got to say hello to them again. And they are living a dream I fantasise about. Running a bar and having fun events and getting to host your favourite bands. Amazing.

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ImageTaken by Kerrie! “Beer-Dee”

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KERRIE

Lastly, I just want to say Kerrie did amazingly well. She is an Artiste. She did amazingly well and her attention to detail was truly whoa! If I had a say, I would award her FIRST PRIZE!

This is her result after it had been glazed next to Ella’s. Image

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Update

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First of all — even before you read this blog — you should all see Angus’ blog about this brand new event, as well as backflow valves and also for more photos and some dire predictions (which basically equate to the fact that these flood events happen in groups.)

So once climate change is factored in — this is pretty much our future. Woah.

But these past few days were more about the wind and omnipresent rain for us. We felt it way worse than in 2011. In 2011 we had constant power, no serious winds, rain (without it being a deluge) and some internet capabilities.

We also had KARL! But where is he now?

This time around having no power was a real drag and the wind was scary. The water was also a massive concern. Both combined we had the potential for an even more epic film than a 50-strong Rapha crew could manage. Going outside at several points felt ridiculously dangerous and once I had taken a photo I dove back inside. And having all those big trees topple over within metres of our house was fucking dramatic.

In those conditions I took the refugee-chooks over to my sister’s house.

MY COMMUTE

So the flood peak of about 2 metres was the least of our worries. This morning I was expecting disruption — but not destruction.

I attempted to be at work by 9 but there was so much stuff to do to secure the house and chooks and cat and phoning trades cause we needed to clean up the fallen palms and because they were tangled up in garden lights — they were literally LIVE. The Energex crew last night virtually ordered us to get an electrician in to secure the zone.

So on my bike first drama of the day was pretty easy. I slid through only about 3 inches of water at Torwood, but then the lights were dead at the intersection with Milton Road. A bunch of cars were stuck there faced with having to find a break in traffic in one of the busiest roads in Brisbane. They looked like they had been there for hours.

“Stupid cars”, I thought.

DIRECTING TRAFFIC

I have become good at this situation. I did this routine yesterday and did something very similar back in 2011 (but that time helped by a muddy broom).

I jumped off my bike and determinedly put up my arms making a “STOP” motion in the most SERIOUS way possible and calmly walked into this massive intersection.

And you would be surprised how effective this was. The traffic were mesmerised by these actions and consequently stopped in both directions almost immediately like I was Crocodile Dundee doing his weird bull-horns hand sign on that buffalo.

So there were no horns, no agro — just a general peace and acceptance that I was in charge. The world was silent all of a sudden.

And they all waited patiently as I waved the cross-traffic from Torwood out and the Australia Post van attempting to turn right. And then I jumped back on my bike and completed my crossing and the racket that is “Milton Road” started up again.

THE RIVER

At the river, as expected, I was forced to turn around after my usual route to work along the river was blocked. I mostly tried this route just to inform the CBD BUG followers. So I went back through the University and over the Green Bridge — adding about 12ks to my journey — but I secretly loved it.

But then I noticed my Garmin was dead. It looks like it succumbed to that wet ride on Saturday. It is devastating. What will I do?

LUNCH

At lunch I walked across the Victoria Bridge and I have never seen so many people on it at this time of day. Everyone was taking photos and milling about looking a bit disappointed.

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THE RIDE HOME

The bike-paths were rotten with mud and I had to alter my usual route a few times to get home. But just quietly — the muggy 34 degree heat was more of an issue.

I picked up our cold stuff from my sister’s fridge and tried to interest her chooks in mealworms — but they were too afraid to notice.

Once back at home the chooks were very happy to see me. They hadn’t had their usual treats for two whole days and they went slightly nuts — crawling all over me. They are now back in their pen — it’s reasonably dry in there and they don’t seem to mind.

And just as a bonus — here’s Kara’s weekend. She is an old friend with chooks like us and a very similar old Queensland house and she has almost as good taste as us. Maybe. 🙂

What has just happened

Since last we conversed that massive storm of wind and rain and debris hit us and we lost power and then things started crashing over and all sorts of other drama ensued.

But these adventures began with me going for a walk at 8:30pm on Sunday evening. It was wet, windy and dark — but the rain was easing.

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At the river I noticed this pole and it’s banner blocking the bikeway — so I called it in to Council. It took 30 minutes to get through and sucked up a bunch of my phone’s power. And then Dee called me home because our home’s power had been cut. Back up from the river the world now was so dark and only cars had the power to look “epic”.

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But Paddington and Milton had power and it was only Auckenflower (and Bardon we learned later) had the power out. Back at home Dee had broken out the candles.

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The chooks were safely secured in our bathroom. I hauled them upstairs when downstairs turned into a river. They shat everywhere but at least they were safe seeing as their pen was a lake and the laundry where they had been housed before was within inches of being overwhelmed with water.

Just cause I was a bit toasty I put the candle in my bike’s water-bottle holder thinking it would be an awesome pic. Sadly it turned out a bit shit.

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CRASH and DRAMA

At 3am we both awoke with this massive BANG. We looked around but just thought it was a palm frond on the roof or something. I stayed awake and then noticed this bad-boy had collapsed at the back of the house. When daylight arrived I took this picture.

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The wind was still fucking insane. It felt unsafe just being outside for the 30 seconds it took to take the picture above and to assess the damage. The clump of palms was also attached to a garden light which was attached to the mains power — which in turn was attached to a power cord and this is a bit of a worry cause upon talking to the energex crew tonight — they think we need an electrician to clean stuff up before we get a arborist involved.

But across the road was another drama we missed cause the crash that broke our sleep was in fact a massive gum tree across the road keeling over — in just the same fashion as our palm-clump. That tree belonged to Lisa and she had had it assessed by arborists in the last few months and they had said it was healthy and safe.

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But the wind last night was incredible. I have never experienced anything like it. I think I am not alone in that assessment.

So I loved that tree. I loved the sound it made in the wind. But more on that later.

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Thinking the chooks needed some safety from the wet and wind we took them over to Paddington to chill with my sister’s ladies. They turned out to not be quite receptive to new company and that blackish hen in the centre went a bit nuts at Yoko (the white one) to assert her authority. Yoko did her best to defend herself but she was no match. Freddie tried her best to ignore everything. We then separated them and took them back home this afternoon once the weather was calmer.

Later we went for a walk and saw multiple news crews trying their best to exacerbate the seriousness of the situation — which wasn’t so bad — wearing goretex jackets in the 30 degree heat and full-sunshine. There was no rain at all today. Just a very few periods of sprinkles.

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At least Lofty looked natural.

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Sandbags at Rosalie

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Pumps pumping out stuff from under Rosalie Gourmet Markets.

Then I went down to the river on my bike. It looked fierce but the level was no where near as high as in 2011.

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AT HOME

Back home I made some Lego. It was some weird spaceship that is vaguely associated with the Star Wars universe. I built it up and it was fun seeing as there was no power and I am pretty useless at reading and then I left it on the doorstep of my nephew’s house. Apparently he had been very naughty that day and this gift was with-holded from him until he behaved. And luckily it was just the incentive and he turned into an angel, weathering his 20 minutes of “Time Out” until he could receive the reward.

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ImageChainsaws cutting down a fallen tree across the road

LISA’s TREE

So across the road and up a bit is Lisa’s house. In her yard were two big gum trees at least 20 metres high — each of them.

But at 3am one of them keeled over. The crash woke us up, and it seems, everyone else. We were oblivious, but it seems this is what transpired after. The neighbour whose house the tree fell upon went nuts and there was a massive one-way tirade at poor Lisa who had done her best to maintain the tree and assess that it was healthy etc.

I cannot help but side with her. It was a massive, beautiful tree and it was native and literally a hotel to a bunch of native animals. And this douchecanoe wanted it chopped down. And yes — it did fall down — but it took this incredible event and I just can’t help thinking people who are miserable to other people are just horribly miserable inside. Good luck tree-hating-douchecanoe.

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THIS EVENING

So I need to thank this bad-boy below. It is a no-battery, hand-powered torch that requires only a few spins of the handle to produce a pretty brilliant amount of light. It was a gift from some corporate supplier at work. It has lasted almost 7 years and is still lifting well above its weight. Well done little hand-powered-torch.

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Got to use the “bar-b-mate” tonight!

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Candles! I managed to seriously burn myself later. Ow.

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The Auchenflower Cafe was deserted and cleaned out of anything perishable, but offered free TV to our sans-power neighbourhood. Nice:

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This is the dude in the Wine store at Rosalie showing off a flood-map Premier Newman had drawn for the cameras. That’s his handwriting! TRUE STORY.

Then we saw Newman being all majestic just a bit up the road.

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As I was taking an instagram photo the camera guy told me I was making too much noise and to leave. I ignored him and took another bunch of photos just cause.

I so, so wanted to say something but instead I tried to be decent and civilised.

On the way home we thought the power might be back. But even though it wasn’t we saw an Energex crew in our street (see below) and they were just clearing trees from powerlines so they could switch stuff back on. And then only 20 minutes later we had our power back. GLORY DAYS!

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The Flood — 2 years on PT 2

PART 1

That Wednesday the sky eventually turned a brilliant blue which apparently was the same thing that happened back in 1974. It was eerie how the rain had stopped overnight but the water crept up and stuck around like a ghost.

And then there was an overwhelming stillness about the world which defied the vibe I felt — which was essentially that this was the most profound thing that has happened to Brisbane in my living memory.

When I got back home, it was still quite early and as I casually posted these pictures on FB — I didn’t realise how shocking this might be to wake up to for a few of my friends:

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But it was also shocking to the Brisbane people not living anywhere near the River. To them Brisbane must have seemed entirely normal, but perhaps just a bit quieter than usual. And so I think some people actually felt a bit left-out or a bit detached from this situation — which they perhaps overcompensated for later — something I will examine soon.

Anyway I soon went riding again and arrived at a deserted Coronation Drive which was already covered in leaf littler — a state that might appear quite normal — but to me it was stupidly bizarre. And it was also obvious all the residents of the buildings around had been evacuated.

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Heading towards the city with all six lanes to myself I felt a bit like the last person on Earth. At Hale Street I was stopped by flood water but a cop was posted here for some reason and instead of sending me back — he directed me up the flyover (and on what normally would have been the wrong side). Then as I was mashing up a policeman on a motorbike seemed to be giving me an escort over. Soon I was on the expressway at North Quay and through to the city.

I remember savouring the experience, riding slow and sucking everything I could in telling myself this could well be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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Around the city was more sandbagging — as far as the Queen Street Mall. But to me it seemed only Charlotte Street was seriously flooded. On the way home I saw that Suncorp was under water and so was the adjacent part of Milton Road.

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Back at home I expected the power to be gone but all our stuff still had juice. But our internet connection dropped out and our mobile phone coverage was limited to a spot in the back corner of the garden which made things a little awkward.

And this being exacerbated by the fact relatives were trying to call us to see what was happening.

Around midday we were starting to think maybe we should try and find some food, just in case, and we found a shop open just off Milton Road and paid about 5 times as much for a very dodgy looking piece of pumpkin. This profiteering was really appalling and I haven’t been back to that shop.

By the afternoon we went for a wander on foot and on the way home noticed the water had entered our street and had flooded the underneath of the first 4 or 5 houses on the odd side of the road.

FLOOD TV

I should note the TV coverage of this spectacle. You could tell everyone was throwing all their resources at it as there were helicopters in the sky as soon as it got light and they only landed to re-fuel or when it got dark.

Dee was so glued to the TV she developed a slight crush on Karl Stefanovic.

But then there was reports like Suncorp Stadium was on fire, or the entire riverside restaurant had floated away and most incredibly — there was a crocodile in the River. All nonsense.

But there was real, real drama which was utterly gobsmacking to watch: like the Riverwalk breaking-up and the boats smashing into various bridges. Another. And this view where someone is applauding it.

TOURISTS

That Wednesday afternoon at around 4 I went for a quick look to assess where the levels were at. I was riding up a tiny street called Thomas and a car started smashing down towards me giving me no room when it’s side of the road was blocked and therefore it should be giving way to me. I had to stop because it would be dangerous to keep riding as we passed and I was just so pissed off I blocked the car’s path.

I shouted at the driver that he had given me no room which was met by the driver laughing at me like I had no issue. It was then I noticed his car was stuffed with at least 5 people. I instantly realised what these people were up to and I wasn’t feeling too diplomatic.

“Who the fuck are you?” I said. “You know what? You’re just fucking tourists. Now fuck off!”

There was a look in his eye of shock like I had somehow read his mind and all he could stammer was “You’ve lost it”. At that point I rode on.

I was just getting so sick of all the useless traffic up our street. I was also worried about the cat getting hit by a car. And I was just generally over all the noise and the selfishness of people who come from the other side of Brisbane just to gander at misery. I know I was guilty of a little voyeurism, but this was my neighbourhood and a substantial part of these tours was just working out if we would be affected. The only other area I gawked at was the city — and I did it by bike, which is hardly as intrusive as doing so by car.

The 4AM PEAK

Maybe I was also a tiny bit worried about the looming high tide which was due to peak at 4am. We went to sleep exhausted with the drama but at 2:45 I found myself wide awake. So I just jumped out of bed and grabbed my bike and disappeared into the gloom. Dee didn’t even realise I had gone. I headed straight for Haig Road because that would be a good indicator of how high the water was going to get. A woman was already there silently watching the water rise. She pointed at a house and said she lived there and she couldn’t sleep. We both noted it hadn’t got that much higher since this afternoon. I stuck around for about 5 minutes and then headed for the River.

I went up Milton, down Ridley and across the train station overpass. At Chasely Street beside the Wesley Hospital I started riding slowly as there were no street lights or lights of any kind. The road here dips down into Coronation Drive quite excitedly but despite the blackness I could see where the water began. This was new flooding — I hadn’t seen it here the day before. At the edge I looked up and saw that the water here had come from under the road — not across it. There was no way to get to the Drive without jumping a fence into the Wesley carpark and then I was over another fence and dropping my bike from a wall at the road side and hoping I didn’t scratch it. I jumped after it and then I realised how alone I was here.

It was so dark, but not so quiet. The sound of water was incredible. And mixed into that roar was the sound of metal and other flotsam and jetsam randomly banging against eachother.

Down at the Drift Floating Restaurant the sound got even worse. This time it was timber creaking and wincing under the strain of the torrent. Although there had been news reports of the entire restaurant breaking away — it was only a pontoon at the back that had in fact been swept away. But still — the owner had had to smash all the windows to let the water it to try and save his structure. I am not sure it made a difference. Two-years-on the building is still derelict and getting more and more decrepit.

As I rode on towards the city in that scary, scary gloom I saw the water was over the road in four sections: the biggest around the Regatta Hotel and Land street, then a tiny bit at Lang Parade near the floating restaurant, then a bit more at Cribb Street and then another lake at Hale Street. These sections were once natural creeks and you can read all about them on the “Once was a Creek” blog.

When there was not much else to see I headed back the way I had come and talked to the security guard at the train station who was having quite a lonely night protecting the trains that were being warehoused here. Apparently it was because the Bowen hills railyard was in too much danger of flooding — which seems anti-intuitive now I think about it.

It was now raining again, but not very heavily. Next I wanted to see how Toowong was faring, thinking maybe the real danger was from water backing up through drains, but it didn’t seem to be suffering as badly as the predictions warned.

And so I headed home and crashed into bed.

Thursday was another brilliantly sunny day and I went out riding again, this time attempting a trip to new farm to see how some friends were doing. They weren’t home but I got to enjoy all those car-free roads and expressways and this time there weren’t just bikes around, people were walking here too.

Later that day we went down to the Rosalie shops and just near the school some cops told-off a group of five kids for swimming in what was essentially shit. The kids obediently left the water but then followed us over the rise towards the strangler fig. At the fig a news crew was filming and interviewing people. When they saw the kids coming I saw one of them asking the group to jump into the flood water just near the Frew Street drain so they could get some footage. The kids happily obliged. I was shocked and was working up the gall to say something — knowing Dee hates it when I get righteous — but some old ladies beat me to it. They forced the kids out pointing out they could get sucked into the drain and drown.

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THE AFTERMATH

That night the water disappeared and all that was left was mud.

I got up and grabbed an old broom and headed over to a house in Aldridge Street where friends of friends needed help cleaning up. I arrived early so just volunteered to help at the house next door. Soon I was carting out all sorts of personal items which I was told to chuck. And this just might have included a stash of pornography, but I shouldn’t confirm, nor deny this story.

But then I was expected to trash some important looking papers and I thought I should check with the owner but it turned out he didn’t care. So I heaved them on the increasingly huge pile of shit across the road but it nagged me a bit cause it seemed like he was in a daze — and not really capable of rational thinking. And then deeper into his under-house-tip I also had to lug stuff that looked suspiciously like asbestos sheeting — which thankfully was wet, but still broken and fibrous and I just had to pray it was something benign like plasterboard.

In that vein it should be said that in Torwood Street over-zealous “helpers” had chucked out someone’s perfectly salvageable kitchen while the owner was absent.

An hour or so later, car after car started arriving with people enthusiastically offering help — but we had to turn them away as the area was already choked with volunteers. And one group were distinctly “Aussie” and were already on the turps and concerned they would get breathalysed on the way home. It seemed this was a party to them.

On the way home I noticed an important-looking heavy vehicle was trapped in a side street. So I held up my broom and the cars stopped and the truck could escape. But then I didn’t get a thank-you wave. UGH!

Then I went over to South Brisbane to help another mate at his home on Cordelia St and got to ride in mud at least 3 or 4 inches deep. Crazy.

That afternoon after deciding the shoes I had worn all day weren’t salvageable I went for a lazy ride over to the western freeway bikepath. I did some laps and then on the way home I decided Milton Road was too chaotic so I headed up past the Botanical Gardens thinking I would go home via Birdwood Terrace.

Unbeknownst to me, the police had issued a request to cyclists to avoid the area as the quarry was being used to dump flood clean-up waste. In any case I cruised through and was waved through by a stop/go person and just as I was past the quarry turnoff — without disturbing any trucks I should say — suddenly this TV cameraman from Channel 7 leapt at me from across the road and got right up in my grill filming everything I did like I was famous. I was rattled so I stopped the bike and asked what was going on. The cameraman just said, “Oh, my boss just asked me to film bikes here.”

Then the stop-and-go guy was shouting at me that I was blocking the road — which I wasn’t — and so I turned around and headed home the shitty way, not really sure what had just happened. At home I realised that the news was going to attempt to pillory cyclists again and this time it was going to be me as their poster-boy of nastiness.

Great.

Thankfully there was nothing on the news about me, but that’s the power of the media. I was just finding a safe route home yet they could paint me as some kind of demon. And I later thought, “Why didn’t I just show him the address on my ID?” Or point out all the caked-on mud all over me. UGH.

All that “flood-hero” nonsense really annoyed me. People were just doing their duty, but many it seemed walked around like getting a broom out made them superior.

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