Photo by Candia Dixon-Stuart
Alan Bennet, Barramundi, Barry Manilow, Billy Connolly, Blairgowrie, Blue-Eye, Brave, Carsten Holler, Castilian Spanish, Chai Latte, cone bra, Creole, David Shrigley, Eleftherios, Federation Square, Flinders lane, Frozen, Great Ocean Road, gum tree, heist, Ice, John Paul Gaultier, kanga bangas, koala, kookaburra, lingusitic convergence, McClelland Sculpture Park, Melbourne, Melchisedek, Mornington Peninsula, Mountain Goat Steam Ale, NGV International, no worries!, Panagia Kamariani, Pele Tower, Philip Larkin, Pidgin, possums, Poundland, Rab C Nesbitt, Red Claw, Red Hill Greek Orthodox monastery, rhinopithecus strykerl, sans soucis, shotgun wedding, snub nosed monkey, Sorrento, Talking Heads, The Island Bird by Neto, www.chrispattas.com, Yabby Lake, You'll Never Walk Alone
Dear Posse, or should that be ‘possums’?
You have probably all wondered why Candia has gone off radar,
but I haven’t got time to correspond with you individually. So,
maybe you can make do with reading the communal postcard I
sent to my dear girlfriends in Suttonford, who are probably even
now sharing its contents in Costamuchamoulah‘s must-seen
cafe, as they sip their Chai Lattes– an inferior blend to the original
which I have just imbibed in Flinders Lane, Melbourne.
You see, the price of an air mail stamp to Pomland- not to be
confused with Poundland- is almost as much as an additional glass
of Yabby Lake fizz for moi and, on this once- in-a-lifetime walkabout,
I am not about to downgrade to the Red Claw ‘drinkable’ variety.
So, G’day, mates! I’ve already been down The Great Ocean Road;
seen my first koala in the wild- thankfully unaccompanied by Putin,
One Direction, or Obama- gawped at a joey peeping out of a row of
vines and consumed my first Blue-Eye and Barramundi. The latter
sounds like Barry Manilow, but is infinitely more subtle. As far as I
know, it doesn’t attempt to sing. I do seem to remember Big
Mouth Billy, the singing sea bass, so maybe one could form a
It’s so good to relax and the upgrade to Business Class from
Singapore was a down-payment of future bliss. It took a few
moments before I realised that I was watching ‘Brave‘ in Castilian
Spanish on the back of the seat in front, but my personally
appointed steward soon tuned me in to the appropriate lingo.
Better than a remote in the control of The Husband and a tad
more obliging. It’s good to be treated better than Dame Edna
I see Billy Connolly is coming to Melbourne shortly. The Scots’
community should comprehend his repartee, but no doubt his
Antipodean spouse has taught him a little linguistic convergence,
so the audience should probably work out that he is not speaking
some kind of Pidgin, or Creole. Anyway, hybridisation and cross-
fertilisation seem to be the name of the game over here. One minute
you are in Sorrento and the next you are driving through Blairgowrie.
Talk about fusion!
The Husband grew some roots in Federation Square as he
downed a Mountain Goat Steam Ale, while riveting his gaze
on the big screen’s events at the MCG and demolishing some
While Gus, Virginia, Diana, Murgatroyd, Dru and Nigel are
snowed in at the pele tower in The Borders, The Husband
and I are experiencing four seasons in one day down in The
Mornington Peninsula. The chattering classes of Suttonford
have been silenced by the maniacal laughter of a kookaburra,
who stereotypically does sit in an old gum tree, as well as
crapping all over the garden fence every morning. But, sans
soucis! Even the mynahs’ cackles are shriller than some South
of England socialites.
I know I said that I only sent one postcard, but that isn’t
I did send Juniper a card of Jean Paul Gaultier’s teddy bear,
which he has cherished since the age of three and which sports
his prototype cone bra.
She would have loved the holographic talking heads on his models
in The NGV. So would Alan Bennet! Maybe I should have sent him a
postcard too, but he’s probably a friend of the designer and gets a
Even church-going is a lot more exciting here. I don’t think Philip
Larkin would have been as lugubrious if he had removed his cycle
clips and gone into the Red Hill Greek Orthodox Monastery of Panagia
The priest told me that his Christian name- ‘Eleftherios‘ means ‘Liberty’
and he certainly takes a few. I mean, back in Suttonford, the staid
congregation are startled out of their professed sobriety by the
ringing of a ship’s bell; the crashing of the organ and a cacophany of
bells in the Easter Saturday service in Wintoncester Cathedral. But
Father Tatsis is much more melodramatic. Look up http://www.chrispattas.
com and you can see a Youtube clip of the sacerdotal gesture of
celebration to the pronouncement: He is Risen! Brings a whole new
angle to the phrase ‘shotgun wedding‘!It is a pity that the latter day
Melchisedek didn’t wield his weapon at the teenage thugs who raided
the icon’s golden votive jewellery collection and who made off with a
heist worth $100,000. Failing that, he could have maybe stowed the
stuff in a safe. Unfortunately there is Ice in Paradise and I don’t mean
anything as innocent as the latest Frozen movie.
The liberating thing about Oz seems to be that you can act like a big
kid and you are actually encouraged to do so. Case in point: The
Husband climbing into the art installation The Island Bird by Ernesto
Neto at The NGV International.
He got tangled up in what appeared to be an unravelled string shopping
bag, or a coloured version of Rab C Nesbitt’s vest. I was more attracted
by Carsten Holler’s golden, mirrored carousel and managed to restrain myself
from breaking into You’ll Never Walk Alone, though, if I had, it would have been
regarded as a valid interactional response. Like Oz itself, even the artwork
invites us to stand on our heads and re-imagine the world, reconsidering our
place within it.
So, whether it is wallpapering a gallery with anarchic David Shrigley
observations, or sculpting a Sneezing Snub Nosed Monkey -Rhinopithecus
strykerl (McClelland Sculpture Park), the infectious Aussie irreverent take
on life affects even its Un-Orthodox priests and makes one feel that,
indeed, there are No Worries!