Monday, 26 September 2011

Best in show.

The annual Royal Melbourne Show is on.  It's easy to know this if you're catching a train from Flinders Street Station.  While I was waiting to catch a train home this afternoon, a train from the show ground arrived.  As the doors opened the people coming out could have been no where else.

There were kids carrying oversized, inflatable hammers! oversized stuffed animals with their own faces painted to match!  Teenagers laden with show bags from every conceivable brand and giant buckets of multi-coloured fairy floss.  Parents trying to round up and keep track of their kids and the kids were either over tired or over excited.  And probably pumped full of fast food and sugar.

I've lived in Melbourne since 2000 and have never been to the show.  Yet when I was at boarding school, the Toowoomba Show holiday was something to really look forward to.  It was a place to fraternise with boys from the Grammar School.  Fraternising meant screaming until they were deaf as they casually draped an arm across your shoulder on terrifying, dizzying rides.  It was very important to be cool and casual.

I can now understand my parents' dread at the prospect of the Show.  It seems to be an operation to suck the money right out of your pockets.  Although I do remember going to the Royal Easter Show in Sydney when I was a child. I can't remember how old I was - perhaps around 5.  I wanted three things:

1. a pair of those gigantic sunglasses, preferably in pink
2. a kewpee doll with a pink dress
3. a ride on the ferris wheel.

I got all three things.  Numbers one and two passed without incident.  Number three ended in tears.  And that was just my mother.  Perhaps my fear of heights stemmed from this early trauma, stranded at the very top of the wheel for hours while the skinny guy in charge of the rides loaded passengers and rolled himself a cigarette.

At the age of about 10, my brother and I spent hours on a ride called the Music Machine or Music Express at a rural show.  We laughed our heads off.  It was such fun.  It went really fast and up and down, but we were always attached to the ground.  "Knock on Wood" by Amii Stewart was the song that played over and over and over and over.  (Almost as much fun as when we put Billy Ray Cyrus singing "Achy Breaky Heart" on high rotation while we learned how to juggle.)

I don't think I'll be going this year. The other thing I remember is the weird looking chickens.  How can anything live up to those memories?

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