The Heavy Metal fest Blacken, which grew bigger and bigger in the beer garden of the Gapview Hotel and the RSL in Alice, will have its seventh year out bush this weekend, featuring more than 30 bands with names that would give mere mortals nightmares. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Pictured: Cosmic Psychos.
My last piece was a little gushy at the marking of my first year in Alice Springs. I was in the throes of a busy week leading up to the Wide Open Space festival and was excited to be celebrating the anniversary with my own coffee cart stall, ‘Monkey Beans’. I had caught myself thinking that it was a perfect way to appreciate my seasoned perspective of this place a year down the track. Essentially sentiments of feeling like part of a community were rambling on. Sentiments that I shared with a friend at the festival recalling how this time last year I was wandering around the festival rather bewilderedly. She said, "Yeah, I remember seeing you, you looking pretty lost." Which for some reason pretty much cut the conversation short!
Back to Monkey Beans, that also served 100% banana ice cream (hence the name!), Moroccan spiced pumpkin and capsicum bread (which I was up till very late on Thursday night baking) and the A-team that made it all happen! I was lucky to have another barista extraordinaire and another enterprising lady who was the face of the stall, a face that quickly became a morning favourite amongst the caffeine in need. Setting up the little stall was like setting up an extension of my lounge room. I found seeing this aesthetic in the amazing surrounds of the Ross River intensely gratifying.
This coming Saturday marks exactly one year since I arrived in Alice Springs. I rolled into town in the morning and in the afternoon headed out to Ross River for the Wide Open Space festival.
I remember feeling rather overwhelmed by the colourful crowds after a solid six months at a rather remote truck stop further up the track. In the end I met a couple of amazing women and the journey that this last year has been was off! I’m happy to be marking the anniversary by being a part of the festival. This time I’m operating a coffee cart and the buzz and frenzy of last minute organistion is setting in, with lists that seem to get longer the faster I tick things off!
It’s recently been a pleasure to watch Alice Springs 'warming up' in this cooler weather with the arrival of visitors and Wide Open Space festival-goers. I’ve noticed the town’s benches are now rarely empty, often occupied by visitors having a snack, a chat or a coffee. I looked down the mall the other day and saw in the bright light quite a number of people wandering around, looking to check out the sights. More than a couple of times I’ve been waved down by a map and with gestures and finger-pointing sent people off in the right direction, I think!
Attempting some laps and trying to cool off a little at the town pool on Monday (the eve) I overheard a lovers' quarrel: "But you said we weren’t ‘doing’ Valentines Day! Now I’ve got to get you a present!" So that is ‘doing’ Valentine's Day, buying stuff. Christmas had barely been peddled from the shelves before gaudy Australian flag propaganda was being hawked and now it was poor old St Val’s turn to be flogged (who coincidently was apparently almost stoned and clubbed to death and failing that was in the end beheaded). I may as well start preparing now for the next commercial 'shock and awe' event that is Easter.