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.