This weekend just past we hosted at stall at Rootstock, a sustainable wine and food festival that also managed to open the door on Aboriginal Agriculture to many of us who didn’t know much about it at all. Q worked the stall like a pro, Edie blasted about the place and cemented my wish for a taser and Gregory suffered third degree arse chap that he is happy for me to tell you about in this public forum as he knows it is a fate suffered by many of his fellow cheffing comrades. I’ve been hearing about arse chapping for about 8 years now and it seems to be a tricky thing to negotiate. Things like the quality of your baby powder, the level of added humidity versus regular kitchen heat and the fabric choice in your pant-wear can all adversely affect the intensity of chap-page which had Gregory walking around like a cowboy who’d been riding a stolen horse. Stay put you might well suggest. But all the walking around was necessary because Rootstock gathers together so many people all interested in supporting each other and the common cause. A community of arse chapped individuals all with similar ideals. It’s almost romantic.
After my shift at Rootstock I hightailed it to The Gretz and nailed my first order by getting confused between the grenache and the grenache blend on the wine list. Things went up from there and I spent the evening chatting with locals, meeting new Gretzies and chewing the fat with our lovely staff. A community of cocktail sipping, confusing-wine-ordering folk all gathered around a plate of freshly chucked oysters. Nice.
Yesterday afternoon was the Christmas party at the girls’ daycare and while it would be fair to consider shoving a pin in your eye as an alternative, it actually wasn’t too bad. We were all asked to bring a plate to share and I didn’t help provide any calm by upping the sugar offerings and ‘baking’ a microwave brownie, but the second we were inside the double lock gates, the community enfolded us – I caught up with a mum that I went to Primary School with in the country 25 years ago, Edie marched about making outrageous demands for food in certain colours (even though I reckon it’s luck more than knowledge if she ever gets her colours right) and Q immediately found her best mate Stella and they were stuck together like glue until her dad and I dragged them out a couple of hours later. The girls belong here. For two days a week it’s their little community of snotty-nosed, play dough-eating buddies.
Many years ago now – 8 probably – my mum came to visit me in NYC. By this point I’d been away for about 6 years and was simultaneously loving my gypsy theatre life while also wondering if it was at all sustainable in the longer term. Talk about community – I had incredibly wonderful friends who really had become my NY family but I still did miss the people I’d left behind. One night we got last minute nose bleeder seats to see Hugh Jackman perform in The Boy From Oz and when he sang ‘I’m always travelling I love being free, and so I keep leaving the sun and the sea, but my heart lies waiting over the foam, I still call Australia home,’ I cried tears of recognition. My own life was being sung about on a Broadway stage by a really good-looking man.
To diminish Hugh to his looks though, is to do him a huge disservice. He is the consummate performer. Utterly engaging, incredibly polished, oozing charisma with an absolutely stellar voice to boot. No surprise then, that last night my parents, Gregory and I joined 10 000 others and squashed into the entertainment centre (which I actually thought they’d demolished) and watched Hugh carve up the stage in a truly magnificent performance on his home soil. Even Gregory (an ambivalent musical theatre watcher at best) loved it. Mr Jackman entwined stories about his childhood, marriage and career around a collection of show-stoppers and paused after the second act opening to talk about how sometimes things line up perfectly – timing, location, people… and on walked his mate Russell Crowe and the two sang the duet they had performed in the movie musical of Les Miserables. It was clear that even in their international, suitcase-living lives, their friendship and nationality gave them a sense of community and belonging.
Next week is slated as the long awaited opening of Stanbuli (from Ibrahim Kasif and Elvis, Sarah and Jo) and we’re pretty excited to have them as our neighbours at The Gretz, to serve them their post-service bevvies and meet them in the back lane when we’re all taking out the rubbish. Ole Enmore Road seems to have caught the eye of a few operators – unsurprisingly. It’s a really nice place to call home.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, we all like to belong and you can find your community anywhere and everywhere. Edie as the mayor at daycare, Q and Stella going together like peas and carrots, Rootstock, Enmore Road, Hollywood Superstars… really, we’re all the same. We’re all looking for the same thing – somewhere to belong.
You and me.
We’re just like Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe.
(Poor photo quality I completely agree, but tickets sold out fast and by the time I got myself organised, we were so high up we were next to God.)