26.9 C
Byron Shire
January 17, 2022

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Turn back time

Latest News

The earliest unequivocally modern human remains in Africa

There may be earlier remains of modern humans – but science is certain about these ones.

Other News

Forestry Corporation causing ‘serious and irreversible harm’ to burnt out State Forests

NEFA calls on State Government to implement recommended protection for State Forests devastated by the Black Summer Fires.

Northern NSW Local Health District COVID update for January 14

The Northern NSW Local Health District reports that to 8pm last night, January 13, there were 905 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the District – this figure does not include positive rapid antigen tests (RAT) for the reporting period.

Renew Fest hosts May vigil for grief

Renew Fest will host a weekend-long Vigil For Grief in May 2022, and will return with the festival itself in 2023.

An unexpected vote for two Rous representatives from Lismore Council

Last night the new Lismore City Council voted for two Councillors to represent Lismore on Rous County Council, even though the agenda was clear that Rous County Council voting had been excluded owing to the requirement for a minimum nomination period of 21 days.

Frontline health workers supported

It started, in classic Byron style, with a batch of bliss balls. The homemade treats were whipped up for the nurses at Byron Hospital by local, Sarah Armstrong, after she heard how challenging life had been for them during the Omicron outbreak.

Govt offer pandemic payments 

There is now financial support of up to $750 per week for individuals who have lost work because they have had to isolate – or if you are caring for someone who has to self-isolate or quarantine owing to COVID-19.

Image S Sorrensen

Canberra. Easter Sunday, 7.15am

I can’t find any coffee. Not one of the coffee stalls is open. It’s past 7am. Surely there is a law somewhere that says that coffee must be available from 7am. This is Canberra, for heaven’s sake, capital of Australia, land of laws.

I mean, you can’t smoke at this festival unless you’re in a designated smoking area, which is a fenced-in pen with a sign saying it is illegal to drink in the pen and illegal to smoke outside the pen. So, if you want to have a beer and a smoke, you have to lean out over the fence, sip your beer and pull back to have a drag on your fag.

I have wandered through the mist for half an hour. No-one has risen yet, not even Jesus. All the stalls are shut, their tent fronts pulled down like lids on sleeping eyes. Even the little coffee truck, which has the best coffee and the worst service of all the festival coffee joints, sits closed and unattended.

I stop my wandering and stand in front of it, anyway.

Hmm, the service is the same…

I recommence my circumnavigation of the National Folk Festival, passing the Bohemia bar, where, as I recall, I spent a few hours last night, hanging out with my good mate, with whom I have shared many festivals and many festival stages. Well, maybe it was about eight hours. We sat at a table under the full moon and drank Coopers beer from recyclable Sapporo beer cups. People came and went.

I chatted with a cool guitarist with a sad voice and a cowboy hat. He talked about his guitar and said at $6000 it was a bargain. He asked about my ukulele and I told him I paid $40 for it. Oh. I said it was a bargain.

I tried to keep up with the oblique references of a fiddle player. She kept mentioning really famous musos whom I didn’t know but I should have. Eventually, tired of being ignorant, I faked it and nodded as if I knew about that accordion player from Tennessee (nod) who wrote that great 6/8 tune (nod), covered by that banjo player from the Truckstop Heroes (nod) on his first album…

She left to follow a saxophone riff to its source and to talk with someone who knew the important stuff.

People came and went, but at the end, as the fat moon slid into Lake Ginninderra, it was just my mate and me, shooting the breeze and bending the elbow.

It was a great night. The festival had buzzed, hummed and squealed with people eating, drinking, laughing, playing, dancing, talking… people being people. I reckon, I said to him, this is close to how people would naturally live together if allowed to. This is tribal, medieval. Like turning back time. It’s human not corporate, relaxed not desperate, inclusive not divisive.

There are markets and music, communal living and personal talents. People ditch the lethal drabness of the suit, and dress to liberate their spirits. Children swap the iPad for the busking acrobat and the bubble man; adults, the demands of the screen for the crowd-surfing folk singer and the sexy flamenco dancer.

This festival lifestyle – where peaceful diversity is the norm, where the interaction is non-virtual (you clap or hug to show you like someone), where the social divisions are based on activity not wealth, where the smiles are genuine, where no national politician comes – reflects what humans really value.

A shape materialises from the mist. It’s the coffee man! (From the stall with the good service and ordinary coffee.)

‘Hey,’ I say. ‘How come you’re not open yet? It’s past seven.’

He smiles through his rainbow-coloured beard: ‘Did you wind your clock back last night?’

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

The Greens launch NurseKeeper for nurses and paramedics

The Greens have written to the Premier to ask him to immediately introduce ‘NurseKeeper’ to urgently introduce pandemic pay and bonuses for nurses and paramedics. 

Lung specialist ‘we’re doing the best we can’ and Hazzard lays it on the line for the unvaccinated

At this morning's COVID-19 update press conference, Concord and Nepean Hospitals lung specialist Dr Lucy Morgan gave an update on COVID-19. Dr Morgan says she works as part of a team of people looking after patients with COVID.

Lismore’s Australia Day Ambassadors

Ahead of the Australia Day celebrations Olympians Kaarle McCulloch and Kevin Chavez have been announced as Lismore’s 2022 Australia Day Ambassadors.

Northern Rivers Animal Services needs helpers

Ballina-based animal welfare organisation Northern Rivers Animal Services Inc is on the lookout for cat-lovers to help at their cat cottage, and foster carers for both dogs and cats.