Monday, August 27, 2007

the MEBCAM feast

As is tradition at the end of MEBCAM, a feast of KFC is served on the 31st of each August – it is entirely up to the host as to which burger, value meal, combo bucket or feed box to serve. But the tradition of the MEBCAM feast is steeped in… uh… tradition. MEBCAM was a pagan ritual set up to pay homage to the Canberra gods for the greatest place on earth. There was Paak-Wey, who was the god of travel, and one of the most popular of the ancient deities. He was often depicted with a steering wheel in one hand, a mobile phone in the other and a large Coke between his knees. Paak-Wey’s followers can be easily identified even today, as they wear his motto proudly: I voted for a dragway.
Other popular gods included Staij For (the goddess of weather), Mousse-Hed (god of alcohol and love) and HottDoggs (god of late night tv game shows). In ancient MEBCAM ceremonies, offerings were made to the gods for their benevolence in the past, continued generosity for the future, and more comfortable seating at Hoyts cinemas today. Offerings included gold and precious stones, virgin sacrifices, and in at least one case, $100 000 worth of fireworks set to go off to the tune of “Purple Haze”. As the story goes, the gods became tired of these gifts (especially the fireworks), as the gold and stones had no value in Publik Serviss (where the gods lived, also where all Canberrans go after death), the virgin sacrifices were increasingly hard to find, and the music and lights show didn’t have ample parking. They wanted food – fried chicken, to be precise, but could not order due to the incompetent fourteen year old working on drive-thru. This angered them so much that they released the banished god of mayhem and irritation, Viziting Tewrist, from his prison (Queanbeyan) and he tore through the city like a chilled wind, complaining about the weather, the people, the jobs, the buildings, the trees, that dog, your brother, an emu, The Cheesecake Shop, an escalator… anything that could be criticised, was. His criticism wore down many, and they sided with him in his harsh interpretation of Canberra, but there was still an army of strong-willed Canberrans who fought back, with powerful protective chants like “fuck off back to Melbourne, you skivvy-wearing wanker,” “Sydney? Where’s that?” and “Yeah, Queensland’s ok. But have you been to Tasmania?” While not destroying Viziting Tewrist completely, it diminished his power enough to trap him inside the ‘Chasm of Wind’, which exists between the Woden Library and the Plaza entrance (where the big fountain was, before it dried up in the drought of 1792). Even on still days, where there is not a breath of wind, this corridor inexplicably generates gusts with enough power to knock off a hat, blow away loose papers or cause you to say, “Shit, where did this wind come from?”
So this Friday the 31st of August, grab a bit of KFC and do your best to appease the gods, raise your cholesterol and think, “Fuck, you know what? Canberra is bloody good. Isn’t it?”

Isn’t it indeed.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Brief History of Canberra

I've had the Prime Possum theme stuck in my head for the past week. It's been the greatest seven days of my life.

Many people reading this blog (and yes, I can see the irony of saying "many people" and "this blog" in the same sentence) will probably be wanting more information on the wonderful land of Canberra, since they've probably already packed their eskimo jackets in anticipation to move here. Note to those people: Bring pants as well.

Canberra is one of the most ancient cities in the world. It was founded around 1 billion BC by Kevin H. Canberra, a traveller from Antarctica who was sick of the heat and humidity of his own country. Impressed with the layout of the land, Kevin began 'the new world' by building a mall at one end of the city limits, and houses at the other end. This meant that you could sit back and admire the landscape for the duration of your travelling time, which was around 6 weeks, as the early inhabitants of Canberra were fish, and they hadn't evolved legs yet. It didn't take long for that to happen though, as Canberra's first drought struck the year after Kevin laid the first stone. Funnily enough, that drought is still going, so it shouldn't take long before we grow wings. Awesome.

Kevin's legacy as Captain of Canberra was abrupty ended when he was attacked by a rogue shopping trolley that had escaped the blue-green algae from Lake Gininderra. Fingers were pointed at UC students, other fingers at patrons of Sails (now The Lighthouse). In the end, it was realised that they were the same people. Their punishment was to be subjected to poor university residential dwellings and the worst McDonalds drive-thru ever made. It is still a sentence that is being served today.

The next leader of the Berra was Reginald War-Memorial, whose dream was to create a building so beautiful, so unique and with such emotional power that it would be talked about for generations to come, and stand as a momument to the struggles and hardships of Australian history. And so he began work on Telstra tower.

The Telstra Tower was completed in 1682, and still stands to this day as one of Canberra's most recognisable landmarks. However, this was not always the way. The Tower created a rift between the citizens of Canberra who saw this as a massive waste of money, seeing as telecommunications were still a few hundred years away.
The next Lord of Canberra was Elmer G. Kingsley, an explorer from Cooma. He saw the Tower and kept walking north, and lo! Welcome to Canberra. Kingsley is known in the tomes of history as the laziest of all explorers, as that was about as far as he ever went. Next time you're driving around Canberra, wondering which way is north, just look for the Tower, and think of Kingsley. It may not happen for a while, but then again, it might. I'm not a fucking mind-reader here people, I'm just a die-hard historian. Kingsley later set up a franchise to sell fast food to the people of Canberra, the likes of which can still be found at RJs food wagon in Woden.

This is taking way too long and I'm losing interest (so I can't imagine how you're feeling right now), so we'll skip forward a millenium or so and look at Canberra today.

2007's Canberra is the busiest city in the world, with a population of around 70 billion people. Its major exports are Persian rugs, refresher towels and ceramic figurines of old people having sex. Great works of art are found on the outside walls of prominent buildings, park benches are adorned with poetry (Pete craves cock, according to the work of one unknown writer in Glebe Park) and the residential architecture issues constant reminders of the 1970s and 80s. If Mission Brown is your favourite colour, then you're in luck - 96% of houses are 83% brown, and there is a 100% chance that this is not going to change anytime soon.
Tourism is also a huge part of the Canberran economy, with around a squillion people per year entering Ngunnawal country to catch a glimpse of the big fountain in the middle of Lake Burley Griffin, or to have their photos taken outside the Woden cinemas. With pubs, clubs and trendy restaurants as far as the eye can see (the shorter-sighted you are, the better), young and old will mingle seamlessly under the watchful eye of the sometimes-working-sometimes-not streetlights.
Traveller's tip: If you find yourself lost in the labyrinth of the city centre, feel free to approach any local Canberran and ask for directions. The most it will cost you is $3 in change (for a sandwich or a bus ride home, apparently) or two cigarettes.
Pollution has been called a problem, with smoke often thick in the air on busier streets. This is quite easily countered by winding up your window while the windscreen washing lepers drool and flick ash on the side of your car. For those without cars, the public transport system is second to none, and many Canberrans have 'discovered the pluses of buses', including many escaped mental patients, unemployed drug addicts and fourteen year-old mothers of three, who will always give you the option of either taking one of her children away, or the opportunity to give her another one. Now THAT is Canberran hospitality!

The only downside of coming to Canberra is leaving. As we Canberrans say, "Come back soon!" (but not if you're from Sydney. You guys can go get fucked.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Canberra's A-List of Evil Breakfastness

Canberra, being the thriving metropolis that it is, certainly does have its fair share of top-end celebrities. Move over Brad Pitt, whoever you are. Step aside, Bono, or whatever your name is. This is Canberra. And this is the Top 5 Canberra Celebs (in the order that I thought of them in).

5. The guy from the Magnet Mart ads.

“The challenge keeps us cheaper.” Beautiful.

The Magnet Mart guy lives and works somewhere in Canberra, betwixt Banks and Gungahlin. Being one of Canberra’s most well-known and well-loved celebrities certainly has its drawbacks, and he has become somewhat of a recluse, for fears of being mobbed by legions of screaming fans. When he does venture out of his solid gold mansion, Magnet Mart guy can be found in the Woden Plaza food court, trying as hard as he can to blend in with the rest of Canberra, with his suit and tie, freshly waxed bald head, and fluro sunnies resting on top. In a world first medical event, he had his sunglasses surgically attached to his head in early 2001.

Magnet Mart guy, apparently you’re a tool, but I still love you. In that way.

4. Anyone from WIN News.

Whenever there’s a groundbreaking story to cover in the ACT, these guys are onto it. Whether it’s a new statue being dedicated, or plans for a new statue, or a statue being vandalised, the WIN News team are there to make sure Canberra knows. Journalism at its highest, especially with the classic sign off, “If you have a story, email it to us at the address below.” Nice work.
I haven’t actually seen WIN News for about 400 years though. It’s not my fault The Simpsons is on at the same time.

3. The Canberra Cabs voice guy

This champion must be fighting off the ladies with a stick. And the blokes, too. Actually, anyone who’s ever met the guy will probably want a piece, just to make sure he’s dead. The Canberra Cabs voice guy is the most well-known and most-hated guy who’s ever graced Canhattan. Canvegas? Eh. For anyone who’s ever wanted to order a taxi at any time of the day or night, and has been greeted with this voice from Hades, knows that their phone has about 4 seconds to live before it’s crushed by involuntary hand spasms.
The quick syllables yet incredibly slow speech of the Canberra Cabs voice guy is just… uuugh I just spewed all over the keyboard just by thinking about it.. uuh.
Hllo. Wlcme. To. Can-berra. Cabs. If. Yew. Are. Wishing. To. Go. To. The. Airport. Say. Airport.

Seriously, the airport isn’t that great.

If. You. Are. Ready. Now…… Say. Ready.
If. You. Would. Like. To. Make. A. Booking. For. The. Future. Say. Future.
Pls. Say. Th. Name. Of. Yr. Pick. Up. Point.
“Your mum’s house.”
You. Sed. 14 Westham Crescent. Is. This. Corrct?
Pls. Say. Yes. Or. No.
Pls. Say. Th. Name. Of. Yr. Pick. Up. Point.
“Jolimont Centre.”
You. Sed. 14 Westham Crescent. Is. This. Corrct?
Pls. Say. Yes. Or. No.
I. Cannot. Under. Stand. You.

If I ever meet you, Canberra Cabs voice guy, I’m going to shake your hand and then rip it off and beat you with it. I don’t even think Westham Crescent exists.

2. Jackie Chan’s parents.

Now, these guys may or may not live in Canberra, I think it’s Queanbeyan actually, but in the true Aussie tradition of claiming people for our own when they’re clearly not from here at all, we’ll let our guard down and take in a couple of Quanger battlers. Rumour has it that they once owned a pub, or a club, or a restaurant or something (details are my life), but since I’m not sure where or what it actually is, I’ll just say it’s probably my most favourite place in the whole wide world. I’ll even go so far as to say it will either be the venue of my wedding, or my actual bride.
Jackie Chan is awesome, I don’t care what you say. Shanghai Noon will be remembered like Citizen Kane.

1. Prime Possum

Prime Possum (for those not in the know) is a 10 second filler for Channel 7, who appears at 7:30 each night to tell the little ones to go to bed. If you’re not from Canberra (you unlucky souls), you’ve probably got your own version. But ours is better.

Prime Possum lives high up in a tree.
Prime Possum, soft and cuddly.
Prime Possum loves every boy and girl.
So let’s help Prime Possum to make a better world.

He’s also usually accompanied by a young hottie who’s tired of being a stripper at Sinnies or a Canberra Raiders cheerleader (Canberra + Winter + short skirts and a mid-riff top = unhappy ‘dancers’), although for a while, Remy Broadway was his right-hand man. You may remember Remy from his work on ABC’s “The Late Show” as Piffy the Bellringer during possibly the greatest toilet break ever. He still has puffy sleeves.

So who is inside Prime Possum? Rumours are wild – the old Prime newsreaders; Tiny from Rods N’ Tackle; Robbo from

I prefer to believe that Prime Possum really is a 6 foot possum, who does live high up in a tree, wears corporate t-shirts and pats children’s heads as they lay in bed. Awesome.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Wonders of the Breakfast World

While the Big Skiing Kangaroo is still under construction (but to be honest, not much else has been done, other than have the sign put up) Canberra does appear to be lacking in the architecture that stands out, that defines a city. New York has the Empire State Building, Paris with its Eiffel Tower, Barcelona with Gaudi. Canberra, the greatest city in the world, has a selection to appeal to each and every one of its inhabitants.

The ABC Obelisk. Located in the heart of the city, driving along Northbourne Avenue is now even more of a treat. It’s always fun to be stuck at the same set of traffic lights for three or four changes, but if you’re lucky and find yourself within sight of the ABC Building, you have the added bonuses of (a) knowing exactly how long you’ve been sitting there; and (b) knowing just how cold it is outside. So when you get to wherever it is that you’re going (and if you’re me, you’ll be late), someone will say, “Phroar. How cold is it?” And even though you know they’re making more of a statement than asking a question, you can reply with “well, at 8:27 it was 2 degrees.” Conversation starter or stopper? You be the judge.

Civic Sheep. Just outside Subway, near the Carousel of Justice (and cans of Coke for $1, bargain) there's a statue of two sheep. One is sitting on a throne, legs splayed like Paris Hilton (but less crying). The other is looking at the Paris sheep, slightly bemused, like Lindsay Lohan. I’m pretty sure there’s a plaque describing what is actually going on with them, but it’s quite small and at the bottom of the Lindsay Lohan sheep, and I have a restraining order, so I can’t get close enough to read it. These sheep provide endless hours of amusement for drunken idiots wandering Civic at night, and unless you’ve had your photo taken with your crotch pressed up against Paris sheep, you can’t really say you’ve experienced Canberra. The Blarney Stone can kiss my Canberran arse, the sheep is where it’s at.

The Homeworld Lantern. Shining out from the depths of Tuggeranong like the Lighthouse of Alexandria, this beacon reminds everyone of where they are – especially handy if you’ve just come out of Wanniassa or Chisholm or another confusing, crazy suburb that lives down there, and your choices are to turn left or right – one will take you down to Tharwa or Mittagong or some bumfuck nowhere place, and the other will put you back onto the Parkway. Just stop, and look around. High above the treeline, glowing like the star that led the Wise Men to baby Jesus, is the Homeworld Lantern. Get your bearings and carry on, soldier. Is also handy if you’re in Tuggers and looking for KFC.

In ancient Canberran mythology, the Homeworld Lantern was created from the eye of Sharon, the fifteen year old Tuggeranong goddess of fertility and Centrelink. According to the classic poem “4 eva”, which was written on the underpass wall on Boddington Crescent in Kambah, Sharon and Tracee (the goddess of hydroponic plant growth) were locked in an epic battle over who pashed Wayne (the semi-deity of black jeans) first. Tracee ripped out Sharon’s eye and threw it into Lake Tuggeranong, which then spewed it back out and into the sky. Sharon, one-eyed and bloody, still managed to defeat Tracee by luring her onto Wheeler Crescent, where she became stuck in the Wheeler/Sternberg loop, and no-one ever heard from her again. For years afterwards, people entering Wanniassa said they entered it with a full pack of cigarettes, and when they left, they were all gone.

The Parkway Datto. The sight of a broken down car on the Tuggeranong Parkway is not a rare one. But there is one car that has become a part of Canberra’s folklore over several years – the Parkway Datto. The Parkway Datto (or PD, for those in the know) has the mystical ability to appear in a slightly different position along the stretch of road that joins Tuggeranong to Belconnen to each person who views it. So too, does the car lose another piece of itself. First the hubcaps are gone, then the wheels get stolen, then the back window is smashed, the front windscreen disappears, then the mirrors, bonnet, the steering wheel. All gone. But yet, the PD never completely disappears. A mystery made by man, but beyond our comprehension.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

MEBCAM returns!

It's August, so you know what that means...

C is for the Capital of Australia (and my heart)
A is for the month of August (Canberra Appreciation Month)
N is for the Nowhere else I’d rather be
B is for the Burley of Walter Burley Griffin fame, who designed our fair city.
E is for the Easy-going cab drivers
R is for the Rest of the world (and how they can get stuffed cause they don’t live here. Losers)
R is for the extra R in Canberra
A is for the way you say “Hey” or try to start speaking Scottish after a few pints.

Welcome to Mister Evil Breakfast's Canberra Appreciation Month for 2007!