By Dan Pullinger
As the ten year anniversary of Bellbottom is upon us next month I would like to dedicate this article to Maggie Quirk, Bellbottom founder and Fairy Godmother to all things cultural on our beloved Banana Coast. You’re reading this thanks to her encouragement all those years ago.
Quirks. We all have them and they are what make us endearing, likeable and occasionally infuriating.
We have them individually and we have them collectively. My father-in-law will only eat a meat pie with cutlery whist eschewing any form of sauce. I have a friend who only speaks in song lyrics. When I asked him to submit a quote for this article he declined and claimed “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”. Apparently, I avoid friends in shopping centres yet will talk incessantly to strangers and shopkeepers. I can’t mention the word “string” to my neighbour without them immediately bursting into the “String, string, string, string, everybody loves string” song. Fair enough. What’s more, nobody has seen my feet for over a decade.
A recent weekend in Port Macquarie confirmed a hitherto suspected collective quirk whereby the locals dislike all things to do with Coffs Harbour. I was surprised and a little offended by their hostility towards us and was busy having an imaginary argument with an ornery shopkeeper when I was reminded we are not immune to quirks of our own here in BaNarnia. “Is that so?” I mused whilst smacking down (in my mind) my opponent with “until such time as a giant fibreglass fruit speaks for your region your argument is invalid”. I huffily snatched my anti-fungal cream and stormed out as everyone stood up and clapped.
Later when celebrating this memorable imaginary victory with my partner, I enquired what our collective oddities are. As someone relatively recently arrived to this area she replied without hesitation: “Whenever returning to the Coffs Coast on a Qantas Dash-8 flight from Sydney all locals will be accompanied by a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Furthermore, during the Christmas holidays and around August each year, coinciding with the State of Origin, there will be a noticeable increase in animosity towards Queenslanders.” This much is true, and rightly so. They come here with their questionable driving ability and superior sporting teams and then bang on about how much better it is there. Stay right where you are Queensland, we’re doing fine without you.
Speaking of… Is there a more offensive sight than Clive Palmer and his seismic wobbling jowls whining about being denied an opportunity to face-rape the Pilbara? This grotesque personification of gluttony is not content to merely gouge the landscape of its brown coal and poison the air in the name of industry. No. He now wants every man, woman and child in West Australia to pay him $11,587 compensation for his thwarted ambition to dispossess Indigenous peoples, spread Covid-19 and exploit local and foreign workers all whilst raising global temperatures a degree or two. Let’s not forget that this is the man who promised to “Make Australia Great Again” at the last election whilst singing “Australia’s not gonna cop it”- easily the worst entry in that year’s Twisted Sister karaoke comp. He managed to convince enough Queenslanders to deliver us the Morrison government and was promptly rewarded with the Galilee Basin in the shadiest of backroom deals for his trouble.
Never have I wished an atherosclerotic plaque on anyone more.
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