Monday, August 31, 2009

Canberra folklore

People who have lived in Canberra for a long time will have two things in common: the fires of 2003, and Lake George stories. The fires of 2003 were fairly devastating – lives were lost and homes were destroyed – and it helped to unify Canberrans in their stories on what they did on “fire day.”

After a brutally hot and dry summer, eventually the forces of nature arched up and kicked our arses, hitting suburbs with walls of fire and razing half of the nation’s capital. Suburbs were evacuated, roads were closed and Canberra was on high-alert. Me, I sat in my room and played video games until I realised that it was dark outside and only 3pm. On closer inspection of the sky, it became apparent that it was so thick with smoke from the golf course that had gone up in flames about two streets away from the house that it had blocked out the sun. “Hmm,” I said. So I climbed up onto the roof armed with a hose and a six-pack of beer and awaited God’s wrath. The fire thankfully didn’t reach my house, which was good, because by the time the threat of a fiery death had been relieved, my beer was warm and I wasn’t feeling as stable on the roof as I once did. In hindsight, I should have taken some sandwiches up there as well. But I did flood the gutters, you know, just in case the fire was localised to the downpipes of my house, instead of the wooden deck out the back. In any case, I found a few old tennis balls and a soccer ball that didn’t belong to me, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

Other people filled up their bathtubs with water and prepared for the long haul; I got drunk on my roof and watched some trees burn.

Lake George, whilst not technically in Canberra, is also not technically a lake. In my opinion, a lake is a place that holds water and does not have livestock grazing in it without fear of drowning. But that is precisely what Lake George is now; a haven for cows and sheep to run amuck in, eat grass and chat idly amongst each other (“Moo.” “Baa.” “Moo?” “Baa.” “Moo.”) without getting their feet wet.

Go back a few years, and the experienced Canberran will tell you stories of how “back in the day,” the water of Lake George lapped at the roadside, and any sheep that were around would be thinking, “Well, I’m not going in there,” and the cows tended to agree.

There’s not a whole lot that anyone can add to the story of how we drove along that road and looked out over the endless stretch of water of Lake George, but somehow we find it incredibly important and exciting to point it out to passengers in our car. I’m never sure what the silence that follows means – it could be “I don’t believe you,” “No way! I need this time to process the very notion that this dry wasteland could have ever been filled with water,” or “I knew I shouldn’t have tried to hitch with this guy.”

This is an actual photo of Lake George. The fishing isn't what it used to be.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Canberra men have been put on notice the women of the ACT think they are a bunch of unfunny, horny, egotistical commitment-phobes.

At least that's what an online survey of 3700 people around the country has found.
The survey, commissioned by adult dating site, found men of the nation's capital were ''petrified'' of commitment, most likely to want sex on the first date, and the least funny of any state or territory.

They are also the least romantic.

However, the survey found they had the best level of hygiene, the best bodies, the best earning potential and the best dress sense.

I do like some social commentary. This particular ‘story’ calls Canberran men “unfunny, horny, egotistical commitment-phobes.” This means that Canberran men fit into the mould that the rest of the world call “men”. Quick, call Rove and Charlie Pickering to tell them that men enjoy sex and appear reluctant to enter a relationship. This is groundbreaking stuff right here. They might even spawn a new fucked-up dog’s balls of a show about it. As long as Rove gets to carry on his unusual obsession with Elmo, that’s all that matters.

Since the dawn of time, men have enjoyed sex. Women might also enjoy it; I don’t know – I haven’t bothered asking. Besides, they might charge extra if there are questions involved. By the way, that was a joke. It was a fucking hilarious joke. Don’t call men unfunny just because you don’t understand the humour.

The report then goes on to give us capital blokes a lift by saying that the survey revealed that the lads of Canberra “had the best level of hygiene, the best bodies, the best earning potential and the best dress sense.”

Some Canberrians might read this and think, “Yeah, fuck yeah! Score one for the boys!” I read this and think, “You fucking superficial bitches.” Apparently chicks are only after us for our chiselled abs, Armani suits and bags of cash. I wonder why we’re so “commitment-phobic” when it comes to gold-digging idiots with no sense of humour?

A great experience for everyone - licking a real life Canberra man.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Canberra by any other name

Crop circles outside Parliament House prove that aliens have a great taste in cities, and their lasers can burn more than wheat fields. Treat them nicely.

The land of Canberra is a wonderful place, full of roundabouts and broken streetlights and stormwater drains. We have a large board where people are encouraged to stick their old chewing gum, a penchant for Christmas lights the whole year round and a place called the Beaver Galleries, which was quite good, but not exactly what I was looking for. I also went to the Leisure Centre to sit around and play Nintendo, but they kept making me run on treadmills. People should be more careful about what they name their businesses.

Canberra has its fair share of attractions that defy their very definition; for example, the Canberra Museum and Gallery is probably the world’s greatest example of a four-wall collection that have been sparsely decorated with screen prints of flowers and a five-year old’s drawing of a fire engine. It also boasts a single vase that came from Copperart (and is used to hold umbrellas) and a stairwell that leads to an upstairs loft that specialises in minimalist d├ęcor and dust. Whether it qualifies as either a museum or gallery is open for debate. I hope that if it ever comes down to a debate, that I'm on the 'opposed' side. I'd also like to be second speaker, but I might be getting ahead of myself.
Other 'interesting interpretations' of Canberra attractions are the National Dinosaur Museum which tries to hide the fact that it has no fossils, models or dinosaur bones by turning the lights off ; and the Shepherds Lookout walking trail does not involve a single shepherd. Add to these the contradictions that are Gold Creek Village, which contains neither gold, nor a creek, nor a village. I mean sure, it has a pub and a few shops and a pub and stuff like a pub… oh wait. Now I get the gold creek part of it. Yeah? Did you see what I did there? I made a pee joke.

Federation Square is a part of the aforementioned Village of the Golden Creek, yet is quite circular in shape. I took my two-year old daughter there and said to her, “This is Federation Square,” and she replied, “It’s a fucking circle, man.” She’s got a mouth on her, for a non-existent baby. Anyway, she hates the place as well, and she gets lost whenever she has to go there. Like father like daughter, huh? If only she got her mother’s sense of direction; she’s like a fighter pilot or a private detective or a pigeon or something cool.

On the other side of the spectrum are the great places of Canberra which scream what they are, what they do and where they’re located to anyone with enough literacy to read the sign above the door. Places like Hyper Dome shopping centre, which is recognisable by its large dome; or it would be if you were flying over the top of it. At ground level, as is the more traditional method of transport in Canberra, it’s more recognisable by the single teenage mothers who hang out at the bus interchange spitting at people. But in a marketing decision applauded by all, the Spitting Teenage Mothers Shopping Centre will be a name resigned to the “what could have been” dream pile.

Parliament House was built to take over the old Parliament House, which is now known as Old Parliament House. If they ever make a newer Parliament House, we’re all fucked.

The Canberra Glasshouse is exactly what it sounds like; a place that deals in glass things. It’s super tops if you’re looking to buy that special something for that special someone, as long as they like things made out of glass, and as long as those things aren’t glasses, vases or anything useful. So… pendants and beads and paperweights. But hey, if glass-blowing is your thing, why not enrol in a glass-blowing demonstration and create your own unique glass decoration? For an extra million dollars, you’ll be able to stand about three steps closer than the rest of Canberra to see a couple of professional glass-blowers blow their glass and tell you what they’re doing. But you’ll have your very own souvenir to take home afterwards, as long as you pay extra for it.

While you’re in the area, why not stop in at the Old Bus Depot markets, which are fantastic, as long as you’re not looking to buy an Old Bus Depot. Man was my face red. Lucky I got outbid on my collection of old buses on eBay; I have no idea what I'd do without a depot to keep them in.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wild Canberra

There’s a remarkable natural phenomenon that takes place every year for Canberra and the people who have lived there for years. It occurs after the winter chill has lost its edge and the rays of the sun break through the ice-blue sky to provide warmth, rather than just emitting light. As Canberrans are woken from their winter slumber by the songs of morning birds rather than people scraping ice off their windscreens with old RSL membership cards, their thoughts turn to sand, salt and a two-day migration.

Native Canberrans have a unique sense of hearing and can detect the sound of an ocean wave breaking in another state. No sooner has this sound been registered that Canberrans involve themselves in a ritual that consists of putting an esky into the boot of a car, trying to find swimmers that had been ‘packed away’ in the ritual of winter, locating beach towels, thongs and intricate headwear called a ‘hat’. Then the Canberrans will attempt to find a lotion called ‘sunscreen’ in their home; a practice that is fruitless, time-consuming and can often result in swearing and angry yelling. However, this is easily pacified with the phrase ‘we’ll pick some up on the way’. From there, the Canberrans will leave their home and drive to a common migration site called ‘the beach’.

Upon arrival at the beach, the Canberrans will find a suitable resting place upon the sand to leave their belongings and then rush into the water with the enthusiasm and coordination of a slightly retarded Labrador puppy. Due to Canberra’s chilly climate, the Canberran’s skin is thick and resistant to cold, but the water of the ocean penetrates this barrier and causes shivering, goosebumps and a desire to use the sentence ‘it’s lovely once you’re in.’ Despite the obvious discomfort of swimming in the ocean as soon as the temperature has reached double figures, Canberrans will refuse to admit that they are cold and instead turn their minds to subjects that they know absolutely nothing about, including tides, rips, currents and the fact that ‘the waves are shit’, as if they’d have a clue what a wave looked like anyway.

Like a plague of locusts, Canberrans will occupy the beach and surrounding locations with loud games and screaming children. It is traditional in the Canberra migration ritual to eat New Zealand Natural ice-cream and fish and chips from a ‘great takeaway shop’ that serves remarkably similar food to the ‘shit takeaway shops’ in Canberra.

The final part of the migration ritual occurs just before sunset; the Canberrans will once again pack up their cars with eskies and towels, curse themselves for not bringing an extra pair of undies because the ones currently being worn are ‘wet and uncomfortable as a motherfucker’ and drive home. The idea of leaving in the afternoon is to ‘avoid the traffic’, but the drone-like brains of the Canberran means that each of them is hit with the notion at the same time, and thus a two-hour drive instantly becomes a four-hour drive.

Although the migration ritual usually only lasts for between 12 and 42 hours, the effects of it can last for several days afterwards, as sand continues to be found in bodily crevices, the car and throughout the Canberran’s house. The sunscreen that was ‘to be picked up on the way’ never was, and results in severe sunburn, leading to an enormous increase in the purchase of aloe vera in the Canberra region.

For the Canberrans out there – enjoy your ritual, drive safely and remember to take more CDs than you think you’ll need.

For the coastal locals - we know you hate us. Feel free to leer at us from working at the milk bar, and don't worry - the beach will be yours again tomorrow.

The Watson shopping complex has many things; an IGA, a hairdresser and a pharmacy. But it does not have a beach.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Canberra - the awesome place

Canberra is an Aboriginal word meaning “meeting place,” and I swear I heard my dog say it a few years ago when he sneezed. I think ‘meeting place’ is a fairly good translation and should be read as ‘awesome place’ because you’d never ask your friends to meet you at a shit venue, would you?

“Hey Bazza, let’s catch up!”
“Sure MEB, where should we meet?”
“How about at a funeral home?”
“That doesn’t sound awesome.”

If you changed ‘funeral home’ to ‘Viking battle on a pirate ship in space,’ it would be more appealing to Bazza, and awesomeness would ensue. And that’s what Canberra is. A Viking battle on a pirate ship in space. It is awesome.

LOL Mitter Breakfast whya do you think Canebraa is so goud LOLZORS?

The translation for that is: Why is Canberra so bloody good? I’m glad you asked.

Australia is full of hidden nasties like giant squids and sharks which could eat you, or at least have your eye out. I’m sick of reading about people in Queensland being taken by jellyfish and having their brains sucked out. Northern Territorians can’t go anywhere without being attacked by ninety-metre long crocodiles. South Australians have red-back spiders who are so adept at camouflage that they can pose as mailmen, teachers and Rice Bubbles and drain your blood without you even realising. Those in the Sydney region have to deal with cockroaches that skull-fuck you when you’re asleep; other parts of NSW are prone to explode in spontaneous fireballs. The snakes in WA have the run of the joint – they buy shoes made out of human skin, and they don’t even have feet. West Australian snakes also don’t need to make restaurant reservations; they just turn up and get the best table and then order things that aren’t on the menu and will probably eat everyone in the restaurant anyway. Tasmanians have hordes of zombies running around the street, feasting on brains and performing random acts of violence. Victorians have to put up with AFL and art students.

Canberra’s only problem is being too awesome for the rest of the world to comprehend. It’s a problem that we’re learning to deal with.

This is apparently a pirate from space. Who am I to argue with Google Images?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Woo! Canberra! Woo!

There are few things as beautiful as the city of Canberra by the glowing light of a nuclear holocaust

Welcome to Mister Evil Breakfast's Canberra Appreciation Month (MEBCAM) for 2009.

There's not much else to say about Canberra other than - WOO! Canberra! WOO! and since I already said that in the title, there's no real need to repeat myself.

An Ode To Canberra

It's finding twenty bucks in your pants
before they go to Vinnies
It's free cover charge and biker fights
when you get dragged to Sinnies

It's pear cider at O'Malleys
on a Saturday night
It's late for work on Monday
and getting all green lights

It's August and it's Canberra and that can only mean one thing
It's Mister Evil Breakfast's Month of Canberra Appreciating!


A trip to Parly House
and a visit to the place
where I tried to take a cowboy hat
and some guy punched me in the face

We've got Floriade and Questacon
and a lovely little zoo
we used to have Pandora's
til it became In Blue

It's August and it's Canberra! It's MEBCAM time again;
windy, cold, a chance of snow and a high of minus ten

(awesome rap part)
There's libraries, galleries, wineries & observatories,
universities, factories; no parking fees or busy streets.
Intencity, Academy, Trinity, the Hyper D
Lake Burley G, blue-green algae, and that thing outside the ABC.

How fucking tops is Canberra? It rates up really high,
August is the greatest month; it shits on old July.

You can keep your Chapel Street,
your Collins and your Pitt.
Rundle Mall can fuck itself
and the Valley is real shit.

They don't have our Mooseheads,
or some place called Bar 32.
They don't have an ATM outside Club X
like our Northbourne Avenue.

It's MEBCAM time in Canberra, it's August so let's sing:
thank you God for Canberra. Thanks for everything!