A Very Long Complaint (Part 2)

So one sunny in early January, now over two years ago, the couple had been to the same display housing estate more than a few times and seen the smaller version of the house design that caught the eye and the imagination to the point of making first contact. Talking to a sales person.

Lesson: Sales people at show homes know very little about the ability of the company to build for you, or the house that they’re showing. But they’ll answer pretty much every question with yes, just to keep you on the hook.

The first big bright red flag came early. After looking at, and deciding upon a house design the intrepid couple told the sales person of their intentions, confident with their pre approval for financing (they had been at this some time and didn’t want to be tripped up early on) and so arranged to meet with them to sign the standard $1k deposit to get the ball rolling and begin refining the design.

Now the design itself was from a set that came with options. Let’s call it The MirrorBall 247 is originally a 3 bed (and study) 2 living area design. The first option is to change it to 4 bed, which they take. There is an option to redesign the pantry/kitchen to allow for a media area, which they take. And then they move a wall to turn the media area to be ready to become a bar in the second lounge area. That’s the MirrorBall 247. With these thoughts in mind they arrive at the company headquarters to meet with the salesman and sign themselves up for the first stages of getting a house built.

Oh, that red flag mentioned? The sales person had the couple sign paper copies of the design for the MirrorBall 229. The house they’d seen at the display centre but not the one they had been asking about to build.

This was the first ‘no it’s ok that this isn’t right, it’s not the final contract, so there is still time to refine the plan’ dismissal they experienced. It would not be the last. Far from it.

And so, begins stage one of months of missed communications, slow progress and growing frustration with building a home.

Lesson: if you are a couple, building a house, get a joint email account. You would not believe the number of times that an email in which you’re cc’d into by your partner, gets responded to directly back to them, leaving you none the wiser. Meetings can get missed, decisions miss made, and weeks can go by where one person rightly thinks they’re doing all the work. Get a joint email. Seriously. It’s key.

Their first sales person didn’t last long in the scheme of things (5 months, you know, long enough to fully design a house you’d think, from scratch even) plans went back and forth. Amendments were made, discussions were had. Every meeting that had a change even remotely structural resulted in a delay, sometimes of weeks before the amended plans came back only to find a previous amendment had somehow fallen away. Rinse and repeat.

Building companies for some reason have a 9-5 weekday mentality. They assume any day of the work week, you can just pop around, together, and meet them at their offices.

The process should have been easy. The couple saw a display home, and liked what they saw. The design, the materials, the colour scheme. So the answer to almost all questions was “like they had in the display home’. Everyone knows that a display home is built to the high end level, part of the bait, 5e switch usually being they’ve built it to premium specs. The couple however had the funds, so taking the best option on offer was something they could and in most cases, did do. However when you discover the sales person doesn’t know how to sell you something you hit a delay.

They built it once, can they do it again?

Sometimes it’s a 2 week delay just because you want a different door. Something you can google in 5 mins but takes them much longer to work out how to install it and what to charge you.

Almost six months pass, and the salesman leaves the company (did they jump or were they pushed) and a new, seemingly much more pro active and competent sales person takes their place. Plans and elevations are drawn up (again) mistakes discovered (again) and fixed (again).

Unending refinement

Even in the above design the plumbing for the bar seemed to have faded away, the fireplace was yet to be included. Lots of red and yellow to catch the eye, making it easy to miss the bits they didn’t include from last time.

Finally it seems progress has been made. They could sort the loan and build now, right?

No.

Like the Mines of Moria they were far from the last challenge for the Fellowship of the Ring our intrepid and future home owners had another challenge ahead of them.

Selections.

Which will be endured and bitched about in the next complaint riddled and therapeutic instalment of A Very Long Complaint: writing reduces rage.

A Very Long Complaint (Part 1)

A long story, even longer, starts with a single thought.

Wait, are those cracks in the walls?

10 years ago now, a yet to be married couple bought a house. A cute little 1926 2 bedroom bungalow with big entertainment spaces in the back yard, a tropical feel garden and plenty of space to stretch out.

Hard to miss colour scheme, a garden with a jungle that could be tamed or left wild

It may not have been the smartest financial decision, and yes, it was salmon pink, or peach, or… some paint name invented in the 70’s, but they loved it and made it a home. But an old home has cracks. Cracks you can’t ignore. So repairs were begun. But soon it came to pass that repairs were not going to be enough, re modelling was needed. So they drew up plans, designed structural changes, planned expansion and development.

They got married, the kitchen colour scheme even made its way into the vows. As time passed they settled back and looked at the house with fresh eyes. Eyes where this wasn’t a phase, or an investment but a home that will shape them, represent them, influence them. Eyes of commitment to a long future.

Then, they did the numbers.

This house had character, yes, but not enough character to have its form maintained while extensive (and expensive) work was done behind the scenes. So it was decided they would wipe the slate clean, pull the building down, and start afresh. An aspirational home. A forever home. A dream that at times felt like it was one of those ‘running late for an exam, you’ve forgotten to put on pants and the teacher is a clown with a chainsaw’, dreams.

Three years ago they went to a few housing developments. Looked at display homes. Wandered from street to street, armed only with the knowledge of the width and depth of their block, the possibilities were almost endless.

Knowing they had to knock down, re-fence, and build, they started many of their inquiries with that in mind only to discover more than one company proudly considered themselves the ‘knockdown rebuild specialists’. Some even had it on their branding, so they must know what they were doing, right? But quickly they discovered the first in a series of bait and switch techniques with some companies even openly telling them on the first meeting they wouldn’t organise the demolition or clearing of the land. So they moved on.

They had some requirements. New fences were needed at the back and sides. Demolition would be needed to done, and the land cleared to the needs of the design. The inclusion of a front wall and automatic gate. And, (as one of the couple had build once before) they knew the importance of having the driveway, surrounds concreted, stormwater and the flooring installed before the keys were handed over. So, armed with these, shall we say ‘sensible and achievable’ requirements, they met with some more builders.

Each encounter was met with frustration. Something was always on the ‘too hard list’. The company didn’t do fences, or they wouldn’t touch the land till the old house was removed. Or they’d do the drive way but we’re not willing to put any other concreting into the plan. So we decided to look at the smaller, more personal building companies. But their quotes were…., well, significantly more challenging to their finances.

Eventually, they found a company (that will be named in the final instalment) who claimed they could and would meet all their needs. And so, a little over 2 years ago, they met with a salesperson at a display village with an eye on a house that had a number of alternate options and design features they loved…. and they committed to building a home. A version of the one of their (currently unnamed) popular designs, heavily influenced, like many purchases of houses after visiting a display home, by the display home itself.

<Picture of design redacted>

And this, is where the adventure in frustration, at times unbridled rage and the development of this cautionary tale of building a home, began. The lessons learnt, the warnings outlined and the therapy that writing this blog post, all will follow in the next instalment.

The Business Card is Dead

Vistaprint advertises at me daily. So many business cards for so little money. Make your mark. Show your individuality. But there is something about the ‘business card’ that feels like it’s from yesteryear.

Decades ago, as a high school student, I remember my first business card. It was created using a machine at a shopping centre. Single sided, black and white, minimal details. I can’t remember the cost, or how many cards I got, or even if I’ve still got one of the cards, but I do remember it gave me the option of putting down my fax number.

I didn’t have a fax number. Not then, not now, not inbetween. The fax way beyond my means during my heyday, and obsolete by the time I could afford the tech myself. The same could be said for the business card.

In the early 2010’s (or to be more accurate, in 2010) I ordered some professionally produced business cards for a project, a folly. Bat Ball & Passport. My friend James convinced me (with ease) to join him on a whirlwind tour of a few countries to film a documentary about cricket being played in unexpected places. A perfect opportunity for business cards I thought. I spent hours online pouring over the design, deciding on relevant information and ordered 250 business cards from the popular online me store.

8 years later I have around 200 of them left. The problem was I never discovered an effective system of handing them out at appropriate times to the appropriate people. Something that still eludes me. And yet, daily I see the same store advertising in TV at me telling me the business card is a potential key to success.

I suppose the fact that the advertising is on TV should be a hint as to how out of touch the business card is in the 21stC.

The business world has changed. As pointed out by Adina Aghahowa in their post about business cards in their blog The African Salesman

“Considering that a huge majority of networking and collaboration is done online, alongside purchasing, the face to face meeting and handshakes are no longer necessary to promote one’s business.”

The physical card has seen its day, in the modern world it’s the @. It’s become important, almost vital to have a product/name/logo/brand that is easily discoverable on any platform simply by @’ing it.

Find a place where your unique name leads people to your business, your product, your content, and you’ve at the very least, cornered your market. Or, to be more metaphorical, you’ll have painted the market into a corner where it’s easy to find you.

Hashtags may come and go, but your @ is here to stay…..for now.

That said…there are a few business cards I’d like to keep in my back pocket for when the opportunity arises.

Having a laugh with local history.

I’ve always been a fan of podcasts, music has never really ever been my thing. When I purchased my first iPod (a 1gb shuffle), I didn’t transfer my music library onto it, I didn’t really have one to be overly proud of, some singles, some albums, some jazz, a collection easily dismissed by a music snob.

What I did do however, was take my trusty library card (I still have one, I’m a rebel) for a walk and came home with The Goons, Hancock’s Half Hour, Monty Python, and a pile of comedy shows reimagined for radio like Faulty Towers, and well known classics like Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It was the spoken word that un ironically spoke to me, humour in which I found solace in long summer afternoons, drives, bus rides, walks. Music, took a distant second,

With the iPod, came the unavoidable iTunes. But while people with a Zune might have likewise easily burnt Cd’s of comedy to it, I was introduced to a button: podcasts. A world opened before me, one I’ve been within for over a decade now. People with a passion found a market for that passion on every corner of the planet.

My schedule has been gruelling at times. When I find a new podcast that captures my imagination, I download its entire back catalogue, wanting to get up to speed, to be part of the long term listener I get the in joke crowd. I’ve listened to some for years, some for only a few episodes. Some I’ve never let go of (Hellen and Olly Answer me This, Oh No Ross and Carrie, Skeptics Guide to the Universe, No’s such Thing as a Fish) some who left me wanting more (Level 30, Get This,

I’m always finding new podcasts, one that push old ones out of rotation, or find their way to increase my addiction to the medium. One such podcast is AdeLOL. It’s a Heaps Good History podcast that showcases stories from South Australia’s unique, and often hilarious past, by Dan & Tom. (At least that’s what their twitter bio says) like many podcasts, they have been lured by the bright lights, and the roar of the crowd and have decided to put on a live show, a three night run at the Crown and Anchor at the Adelaide Fringe.

I’ve been listening to them since a few weeks after they came to social media, their mix of humour and interesting facts suits me perfectly. So when I found out they were putting on a live show I bought my tickets early, more to show my support than from fear it would be a sell out. That said, give them a few more years and I could imagine them being one of the most popular live podcast recordings in the festival.

Where would you record AdeLOL Live? At a pub, obviously.

The Crown and Anchor is a serious pub, with serious history and a good venue for the recording (though like any non recording studio environment the resulting content will have a much more muddied sound, but this is more than made up for with the live interaction with the audience. The episode was a piece of local history (“Edwin Turner Osbaldiston” the Royal Tour Jewel Thief.) I’m confident that no one in the room other than Dan who researched it, knew anything about. Adelaide has a history very short by world standards and yet filled with characters worthy of their own short film. If you’re quick you can still catch a recording on the 18th of March. Even if you don’t have a chance to see their show, head over to iTunes of your podmachine of choice and start from the very beginning with episode 1 Con Polites

Finding the heart of the Adelaide Fringe

For years the fringe has been growing, branching out, spawning satellites like an alien fungus, but is it reaching its own end of days? It looks good, but how is it feeling?

It’s changed forms over the years, at least from this viewers perspective. Once little more than a comedy festival (though I freely volunteer that I’m more into comedy than any other content) and early on located in a hub, it’s now sprawling, diverse and insanely competitive.

Literally thousands of performers (5,000 according to wiki) come to Adelaide in February and March to take part in an event that was originally a reaction to the Adelaide Festival of Arts in 1960 excluding some performers, inspiring them to create an unofficial event. The first fringe had 60 offical (and unofficial) events.

Think about that for a moment. The first Adelaide fringe, that was fuelled by exclusion itself had unofficial events.

How fringe is the fringe in 2018? Does it still have a healthy dose of risk?

The Garden…, you don’t even need to use its full name for people to know what you mean. It’s growing every year, its success coming at the cost of performers who haven’t payed the fees to do their shows within its coloured walls. Into the evening during the 4 weeks of the fringe lines snake out onto the roadway of people waiting just to go in and get some of the atmosphere.

Could their time be better spent somewhere else seeing a person put on their show in some out of the way venue? Of course, but it’s probably taken those people 5 years to build up the courage to go to the Garden in the first place, they already feel like they are on the fringe.

But that’s now…. what about then?

In 2010, I went to the Garden with my then newly acquired girlfriend. We were sitting on a hay bale, or something, eating and drinking and having early dating conversations when a person came up to us….. eyes filled with a mix of hope, or was it fear.

There was a show about to start in 10 mins. She could get us in at half price, 2 tickets for $10. We may have already seen something, or we may have tickets for something later, but I cannot remember. What I can remember is we said yes, bought the tickets there and then, and went and stood in a line of 2 other people.

10 mins later when the “door” opened it was still just the 4 of us. I say “door” because the show was performed in a shipping crate, the metal sort. Lined with chairs, a spotlight and not much else we entered and took a seat in the middle to discover our numbers had increased, people were already in the front row, and before the doors closed someone sat in the back. Now, I can’t tell you much about that show, and I doubt any of the other 6 or 7 people present could, but I can say for certain a few things.

The supportive couple at the front were Mum and dad. I worked that out quickly as the performer never looked at them once but afterwards talked with them as they carried her props out of the crate.

The person who entered just before the start was the tech.

Her show was self produced

It was fringe.

She was out of her comfort zone, she had taken a risk, she had put herself on the line and she was going for it. I don’t remember the performer (it was one of the reasons I started collecting flyers for fringe shows I’ve been to, my memory is almost clinically poor) but I do remember I laughed at the bits I found funny, applauded at the end, felt glad we had taken the risk, and recognised it was the reason I had gone to the Garden in the first place.

Back to now

In 2018, I go to the Garden to see comedians I’ve seen on the TV, or for the food, or the sideshows, or the markets. I don’t find the fringe in the Garden now.

Now I find it in The Producers Bar.

5 years its been running, the venue has become a staple of my fringe experience. Sure there is Tuxedo Cat, various pubs like the Astral, Crown & Anchor, Griffins, Elephant etc all of which support the fringe by having a few spaces for performers, but The Producers Bar is dedicated to the fringe. 5 venues within, running shows from as early as 4pm through to ones that finish after midnight, they don’t seem to turn anyone away, performer or patron alike.

Actually that’s not entirely true, if the venue has a bad point its accessibility. If you’re in a wheelchair, you’re screwed. If stairs are a problem, with effort you can access 2 of the down stairs stages, but the 3 up stairs are going to be a struggle. (Somewhat) importantly the drink prices are lower, and this year they have $10 pizzas that are much better value for money than what you’d find in a land behind coloured curtains.

As I sit outside drinking $7 red wine out of plastic cups, trying to decide which of the 5 possible 6pm shows I should go see, I realise that the Adelaide Fringe, or at lease the fringe of the fringe, remains in good hands. As for that date back in 2010…….. she’s my wife now, and spends more time using a colour marker pen on the fringe guide than I do.

Dusting off the laughter track with a drink

I’ve been lazy, I get it. I had planned to blog weekly, but things got in the way. It’s an excuse, but then like most excuses, really paper thin the moment you look closely.

The fringe season has come around once more and this time my holidays from work match up beautifully for the first 2 of the 4 week run so, like a person with no children but with disposable income, I’ve bought tickets and gone to town. Literally.

Though the fringe hasn’t started officially yet, I’ve already been to one event and am sitting at a bar preparing for a second… Unsurprisingly, alcohol has already been a focal point.

First up Mr Goodbars Guide to Good Drinking is situated on Union St in Adelaide, a venue that’s been within (well, up an ally) one of Adelaide premier foodie districts and night life areas for some years now. With a small intimate bar downstairs, and a split level bar upstairs it’s the sort of spot you could find yourself after work and remaining there for some hours to come. It was here we had a whisky blending bench with Jameson Whiskey in 2017, and here that we have come for a cocktail making evening with the knowledgeable mixologists employed at Mr Goodbar…….. knowledgeable about drinks, but entirely unaware of the event taking place at their venue.

Presumably no one bought tickets for their earlier 3pm ‘make an old fashioned cocktail’ class, but at 5:30, 7 people turned up to a bewildered barman, tickets in hand. But not to worry, after a bit of a false start (and music volumes set at ‘shout about the boss’ rather than ‘ muse about the contents of a classic cocktail’) we got up and running.

Mr Goodbars Guide to GoodDrinking is a 5 week, 5 cocktail experience that can be taken individually or, for the dedicated (and presumably borderline addicted) as a package. Week one, Valentine’s Day was “The Old Fashioned”, starting with a drink, before our barman whose name, unsurprisingly, I’ve forgotten the day after (my wife just said his name was Ryan), walks us through what an old fashioned is, and the different ways to make it. Then, one at a time, he makes us a drink, showing us his practiced technique, answering questions, and, while we are talking amongst ourselves, even finding time to serve the occasional early regular customer.

A classic cocktail the Old Fashioned. Whiskey bitters and a sweet syrup, built slowly, stirred not shaken, smooth, silky smooth.

After our first cocktail, we have been discussing our favourites, and from this conversation comes our second cocktail. I’d like to say what my second drink…. or was it third? was….. but I don’t know…… but the one after that was a dark and stormy. I remember that one..

At $65 it’s in the more expensive realm of fringe event but yea gods it’s worth it when you consider the captive audience and the free flowing information.

A must for any home cocktail maker.

Feb 21/22 The Martini

Feb 28/March 1 The Manhattan

March 7/8 The Negroni

March 14/15 Tiki Drinks.

Update: a week has passed, my liver and general blood work has come back with no bad news so once again I jauntily climb the stairs of Mr Goodbar, this week to learn to make the classic drink, the Martini.

First one I ever had if memory serves right was 18 or so years ago at a friends wedding. There e were, men in suits, between the ceremony and the reception, thinking, well…..we are talking the talk, let’s walk the walk and order a martini. There’s a reason Bond drinks them, their look is unassuming, their impact undeniable. Years ago my youthful (relatively) tastebuds felt assaulted by the drink, but now, a martini is soothing, mature and refined. Drinking it helps me pretend I am too.

First up the precursor to the martini, the Martinez. Old Tom Gin (which is never heard of), Dolin vermouth Luxardo, and Reagan’s bitters (an orange bitters which is intended for gin) in a 40/10/5/splash

The conversation flows, out mixologist Ryan (same as last week) continues to be informed, informative and interesting. Soon we hit the next drink, a martini comes and goes at a smooth 2/1 gin to vermouth ratio.

A bit of chat later and bang! a Dry martini 2/.5 hits the tongue with a crisp clean hammer. Each time the martini is accompanied by a lemon skin twist, it’s aromatic oil hangs around.

Followed up by an Australian based martini with West Winds gin and Maidenii vermouth . At a 3/1 ratio.

Limbs were beginning to feel a little wobbly at this stage and yet Ryan offered us a tipple that helped smooth the edges, an Averna. Like the hobbits filling up corners, this sated every last requirement the little alcohol powered halfling within me had.

Though this runs for another 3 weeks over the fringe (Manhattans, Negroni and Tiki) the fringe budget has run dry.

I literally cannot recommend this experience more.

Gymnasiums of my supple youth

Let’s just pretend you’re reading this when I wrote it, during the 40 degree days of late January

 

The recreation centre in summer is like a slow cooker where perspiration and body odour are the main ingredients

Ok. That may not be flattering but it been a while since I’ve been in one in anything other than a observatory capacity.

Like most, my first experience in rec centres and their ilk was the school gymnasium. A building of polished wooden floors, short concrete block walls and towering metal superstructure with a ceiling that almost begged you to try and hit it with your ball of choice. Problem was, at least in my school, if you wedged it, you unwedged it. Often during your lunch break, with a broom in hand and with an audience. I still remember one school chum spending almost an entire lunch break on top of a ladder, each pair of legs on a chair, on a table, broomstick on hand looking like a poster child for child safety donts

Look upwards in pretty much any of these types of buildings and you’ll find in some corner, a squash/tennis/nerf ball out of the reach of brooms. And if you’re extra lucky (or live in a somewhat posh area) you may see the rare creature the shuttle cock

The one time I regularly frequented this sort of building in my, well, at the adge of my, adulthood, was when I played volleyball in uni. The team was made up of fellow trainee teachers from the Drama and English departments…with a few extras for added talent and entertainment (a PE student teacher and a real live adult {read >26 years old} who had the entertaining habit of wearing a visor….indoors)

Volleyball was my choice of sport because of its technique to athleticism ratio. While I focused on developing the accurate overhand serve our opponents (and some of the team) focused on the spectacular running leaping thwacking approach. It looks good. Particularly right up until it becomes stuck behind a girder in the wall of rec centre.
Time to get the broom.

Audience Etiquette 

Whenever the Fringe is on, I find myself noticing audience behaviour moreso now than any other time. It’s probably to do with seeing multiple shows in a short period of time, on reflection you find yourself comparing the shows to each other, and at some point, the audiences. 

Venues come in all shapes and sizes. They can make an impact on the feel of a crowd just like the audience can impact the end product of a performance. A writer director could be acting their arse off, producing a theatrical experience that could be a revelation, a shining new path for the future. But all that would be for naught if Mr & Mrs DrunkSods argue in not so hushed tones about their bills or last holiday, or holiday bills. The audience around you can lift you up on a wave of laughter that threatens to make you piss yourself, but they can also be a sandy bank that makes even the hardest punchline end with a splooosh. 

Imagery aside I talked with a few performers recently. They explained how audience energy, interaction and most importantly their willingness to be heard when they like what they themselves hear (laymans terms ‘laughter’ ‘clapping’) can really make their performance. 

‘Teeth out’ is an expression my memory tells me I once heard Jimoen use. It was about the audience being ready, on the edge of their seat, prepared, intending to laugh. An audience with their teeth out will have a good night, that’s what they payed for, it’s what they want. It’s like feeding the hungry. Just provide the food and they’ll feast

The other side of the coin is the arms crossed brigade. Watching the act like a critical grandmother judging every phrase, sniffing with displeasure or quietly smiling when they are really really enjoying it. They make the room a blank wall, a fog that laughter and witticism disappears into never to be seen again. They may have a perfectly delightful evening but you’d never know it. 
Most venues have a bar. Most of the Fringe venues let you take your drinks into the tent/room/theatre. Most of my fringe experiences have involved alcohol in some degree. I’ll even take the ovassional precaution not to drive in, intending to taxi home. But what I don’t do is go to a show drunk. I’ve seen it from an audiences point of view and it’s frustrating, annoying at the least. I can’t imagine how a performer feels about it. 

A heckle, or a shout out is often expected, sometimes even encouraged depending on the performance but unfortunately within that is a trap. The drunk punter who gets a laugh, is likely to momentarily forget who everyone else in the room payed to see. Moments later they are having a flat out argument with the performer and the magic is lost, the curtain is drawn and you’re now just on the street outside a pub listening to two wankers argue. 

So go out to the Fringe. Be ready to enjoy yourself. Make sure you give the performers the respect they deserve, laugh if it’s laughable, keep quiet when it’s serious and remember, most of all, the spotlight on them, let them enjoy it. 

Bastardised Bard

It was sometime in 2016 I heard the rumour of a new Greg Fleet play on the horizon. Last year I enjoyed both his acclaimed play of a torrid love in youth, ‘This is not a Love Song’ and his deeply personal and honest memoir, ‘These Things Happen’, that I can’t bring myself to finish (bookmark in the last chapter, his story isn’t finished so I’ll not read to the end). So with high expectation and energy I looked forward to his new production ‘Signifying Nothing’, a story about state politics and a power couple Paul and Lainey Macbeth who, in channeling their Shakespearean namesake, do to party politics what a 100 alternate facts couldn’t hope to do. 


Though it’s a 2 person play, faces drift in and out projected onto stage to reveal turning points and it’s this tech that was, sadly, the weak thread. Syncing audio and visual was a bugbear that slowly took the stage. When the projection was short lived it actually improved the moment, giving it an ethereal quality. In some of the segments it took closing the eyes to avoid the growing rift of timing between the sound and the vision. There was also the moment when Paul Macbeth forgot to silence Mr Fleets mobile, but I feel partially to blame as before the Show I had been @’ing him on various social media like a star struck groupie. (Yes, I’m a fan, and this review is partially a soft ball suck up). 

The performance of Fleet was as I expected – enjoyable, believable, (less when he used Shakespearean language, moreso when he swore) and at times confronting, but Nicola Bartlett (Lainey), held the stage in her hand like a goddess able to fulfill or crush dreams on a whim. I believed her almost manic passion, I felt her struggle with reality, her loss, her tragedy. I ached with her and sighed with relief when the battle was over. Like in the bards tale, the lady Lainey was the true force that drove the Macbeths onwards and upwards. 
Every day until the end of the Adelaide Fringe (19th March) you can buy tickets to this show which is on 7:30pm at the Holden Street Theatre in Hindmarsh. It’s bar is one of the best you’ll find, and the chairs make it worth coming half an hour early.

Fringe beginnings. 

Since the dawn of time (ok, so, since maybe 1988) I’d been going to festival events. This year, because of my connections (I’m a wanton suckup) I was going to see more at this years Fringe than ever before. Here is just the first 3 days experiences. 

The Fringe started for me with a belated bang, reaching the exclusive pre Fringe party at the Producers Bar about 3 hours after the party started, and by the looks of it 1 hour after it stopped. Not one to be deterred I bought a wine ($6-10 a glass, probably one of the best deals around for those who’s spent all their money on tickets) and went to the booking office. 
My first show (Thursday the 16th) of the Fringe was the THE WUDIDONGA ARTS REVUE something that sounds like your grandparents dragged you along to it, but it’s far from that. Part talent contest, part character comedy, brash, volatile and manic, the team bring you a variety show that inevitably involves an audience member or two. Don’t look away, it won’t protect you. Just relax and enjoy the ride. 

Every beauty pageant has a talent portion.

On every day from now till the 3rd of March in the Warehouse at the Producers bar. 

The first Friday of the Fringe saw me catching the bus in (no driving for me tonight) to meet Tina and head to an event style we’ve done many times before. The pub crawl. 

The Cabaret pub crawl is intended to be a more varied version of its cousin, the Comedy pub crawl. We stopped by the Producers bar for a libation before the evening began. (Cheep wine, near permanent facial growth) then went via a pop up market to have some jumbalaya and onto a bar near our start venue for a cocktail. (Why not. It’s going to be an evening of fancy arsed entertainment. May as well class up the tastebuds) arriving at our start point we got some bad news, the Cabaret crawl was cancelled, followed by good news, they were teaming up with the Comedy crawl and we’d get an extra 33% of a show, followed by even better news, it was free because we were getting a refund. Hot diggedy!


Starting at the Bunka of the Austral we began a night of comedy sets, burlesque, wine, laughs, cider, heckling, crowd work, bonding and sore sides. Anyone who’s been on a comedy pub crawl knows that it’s a night long event where you do have to pace yourself otherwise you’re likely to be found the next morning asleep on a couch being vacuumed around. 

It should go without saying (but sadly it needed saying on our night) an occasional heckle from the crowd can be entertaining, but the crawlers didn’t pay the ticket price to hear your drunken opinions on the comedians parentage. Keep it to yourself. 

Both comedy and cabaret pub crawls run Fridays and Saturdays of the Fringe. Some are already booked out. You’ll end up near the garden so you may as well go in for a look see. You’ll be done by about 10:30. Plenty of time for a late night show. 

Third event of the Fringe, Saturday night, was the improv musical magic that is Baby Wants Candy at Le Cascadur in the Garden of Unearthly Delights. Tucked at the back past the Ferris wheel this venue is personal and perfectly suited to this type of show. A 3 piece band (percussion and double base players being locals) create the soundscape each night for an improv musical performed by a cast of 6 who take an idea from the audience and turn it instantly into a musical, with comedy, drama, wit, dance moves and lyrics. Behind me someone shouted out a title the audience found perfect but the performers couldn’t quite catch (possibly accent barrier, they’re from the US), so I repeated it for them: ‘Fiddle me on the Roof’ and a musical was born. 


If you like improv but want to see it taken to a new level, this crew have candy for your brain and your brain wants it. Each show is different, and you’ll be able to catch them each night at 8:30 every single night of the Fringe. 

Leaving the garden we realised we had enough energy to attend a late night show, what better late night show than Late Night Comedy at the Producers 11:15 for when a night of comedy was barely enough. Each Friday and Saturday finds a different line up, a taste of people’s shows and inspiration for your future bookings. 

If you’re lucky, you may even see Avacado Man.