Monday, August 9, 2010
Sophie’s blue eyes are as big as the Pacific. She wears a perpetual smile and an asymmetrical hair-do. She moves like the proverbial road runner. I wish I’d had a drama teacher like her. Annie’s a doctor, has an enviable collection of aboriginal art on her loungeroom wall, an astonishingly handsome Indian husband, and a broken finger. She’s pissed off and doesn’t want to talk about it. You can tell from the dark wells in her eyes, wary body language and small voice that Uma is often sad yet when the melody begins something instantly changes in her. I feel protective of her. Alex is the one I look to when I’m in musical discombobulation land, and being the ukulele virgin I am, that’s often. She’s an amazing muso, and when she plays the dimples in her cheeks are an exaggerated animation in action. Katey serves freckles, bullets, licorice allsorts and wine gums in huge bowls when we practise at her place, and is generous with her Coopers stash. She’s a town planner in local government and talks endlessly about the big bloke with abominable body odour, bad teeth and attention deficit disorder who’s her assistant. Lee’s an occupational therapist. That’s all I know about her. I think she must be a scorpio. She rarely looks at me and when she does it’s with that glare! Takes one to know one! Mel’s a tour guide, and what she doesn’t know about crocodiles is nobody’s business. Did you know crocodiles grow new teeth every two years? I want to be a crocodile! Grace is a systems analyst with a sharp tongue, a bogan swagger and a penchant for expletives. Whilst fuck’s a relatively common word in my vocabulary, around her I feel like a nun. Luke’s a blow-in from Liverpool, an artist with a gentle personality and a torso riddled with piercings and dozens of colourful tattoos of karma sutra positions he humbly claims are his norm. Our honorary girl. They’re all in their 20s, young, vibrant, on the mark. And there’s me. Weighing in at 55 years I’m old enough to be grandma but try not to act it. I’m welcomed like one of the flock. We’re the DUKES (Darwin Ukulele Kollective) and we’re closing the Darwin Festival at the Lighthouse … ACDC, Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, Village People, Dolly Parton, Beach Boys, Patsy Cline. Ah, the whimsy!
Names have been changed, and characters partly fictionalised … but thanks for the good times Darwin.