23.7 C
Byron Shire
March 8, 2021

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Turn back time

Latest News

Seapeace: the late Tony Maxwell’s wetland legacy

Many curious minds have pondered the purpose of the rice paddy-like waterbodies that scallop the contour lines out into the Ewingsdale coastal plain that can be viewed from St Helena Road.

Other News

Byron’s rail reactivation saga continues

Byron Council will consider funding further investigations into getting trains back on the tracks in the Shire, despite strong criticisms of the reports on the matter that have been prepared to date.

Byron Wildlife Hospital’s DA up for public comment

A development application for the mobile Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital is now before the public.

Rape, the law, and naming the man responsible

David Heilpern tackles key questions relating to the allegation of rape by a cabinet minister.

Magic mushrooms

David Gilet, Byron Bay As noted in David Heilpern’s article (24 February), with drugs, whether medicinal or recreational, dosage is a...

Helping Our Kids, help our kids

The Lismore Samson Fitness Challenge kicks off tonight in Lismore with the express aim of raising much-needed funds for the Our Kids charity.

Byron’s new road: the good and not so

After more than 30 years of talk, debate, disagreements, tears and political gridlock, Byron Bay has a new road to divert traffic from the CBD to the southern end of town.

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

Caravan park to pay $2.3mil plus to consumers

The NSW Court of Appeal has upheld the Supreme Court’s decision arising from the sale of the movable dwellings located on waterfront sites along the Tweed River.

Government modelling fails to reflect women’s interrupted careers

New research to be released this week analyses two decades of Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to estimate the actual labour force experience of women over their life and accounts for working when super is not paid.

Ballina cleans up!

Clean Up Australia Day was a great success in Ballina, with the beach clean up event organised by Ballina Coastcare yesterday attracting twenty volunteers.

Lismore future councillor information sessions

With the delayed Local Government elections being held in September, several councils, including Lismore City Council, are holding information sessions for community members who are thinking about running for Council.