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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: I Miss Fun

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Liz Levy, Suffolk Park I’d like to thank whoever decided to reprint John Donne’s beautiful poem ‘No Man is an Island’...

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Now you have to pitch a tent in the backyard in the middle of a downpour and listen to Patti Smith on Spotify. Alone.

COVID-19 is a killjoy. We’ve talked about the devastating health and economic impacts, but what about fun? Fun is so pre-2020. Fun has been either postponed or cancelled. If the virus doesn’t kill us first, the boredom just might.

People are so desperate for a live show they’ve taken to throwing tantrums in Bunnings about wearing masks. That’s a very boring show. Just wear a mask and eventually we might all be able to go to real shows like the Phantom of the opera. He would wear a mask in Bunnings. But then, he’s not a ‘living woman’.

All the fun stuff isn’t COVID Safe. Like standing up at the pub. Pre-COVID I didn’t realise how much I loved standing up. You got excited to get a seat. Now we are forced to sit I long for a standing chat. Standing has become dangerous. If we are not careful, post-COVID we will forget how to stand.

Then there’s dancing. That’s gone. Nothing like engaging with a hard-core band from your chair. Remember the mosh pit? Tightly packed sweaty bodies passing around a drunk fuckwit. I really miss that. I never thought I would. But passing-the-drunk-parcel is the signature of a pre-pandemic paradise. The world where you could go to a festival like Splendour or Bluesfest. Now you have to pitch a tent in the backyard in the middle of a downpour and listen to Patti Smith on Spotify. Alone.

I also loved having bacteria all over my hands. And touching handrails. Then I’d touch my face and go shake someone else’s hand. And nothing happened. No one looked at me like I was a super-spreader. Pre-COVID, a super spreader was a sitting position June Dalley Watkins advised young ladies against. I’ve washed my hands more in the last six months than I have in my entire life.

I miss hugging people I don’t know. You know – the people who know you, who you pretend to know, so you just go along with the hug. I even miss hugging people I love. Elbow greetings suck. It’s like being greeted by a big improvised arm tit. Can’t we smash bums together instead? A kind of tra la la boomsie day! version of a COVID Safe greeting?

You can’t bonk security guards anymore, or travel to Melbourne to steal handbags. We all know the best handbags are in Melbourne. And the best security guards apparently. You can’t have a one-night stand on Tinder – the closest COVID-compliant casual liaison is a 14-day quarantined love-in at the Travel Lodge using hand sanitiser as lube.

You can’t turn 50 and take your hundred best mates on The Ruby Princess, and get matching t-shirts that say ‘I’m here to get Shipfaced’ and get smashed for four days. You’re reduced to a sedate party at home with 20 people two metres apart on deck chairs listening to Barnesy on Spotify.

You can’t pass the joint. Remember when we never gave a thought to the health threat posed by the daisy chain of saliva on the filter? Now, it’s not the drugs that will kill us – it’s the spit. In the COVID Safe era, the previously maligned practice of bogarting the joint has transformed into an act of saintly selflessness.

And while we are on the subject of drugs, I wonder how the dealers are going? Without parties, and clubs, and doofs and festivals – (ostensibly drug trade shows) just how are they getting their goods to market? The government brought in JobKeeper and upped JobSeeker, but they forgot about our black market brothers and sisters. I have written to Scotty to ask him to implement ‘DrugKeeper’ with a corresponding DrugSeeker app.

So I will stand two metres behind you. I will wear a mask. I will wash my hands. I won’t go to work when I am sick. I won’t go to Queensland OR Victoria, or the Crossroads Hotel. It would be nice if EVERYONE did this, so we can move on from the stupid pandemic and get back to fun. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty! And pass that joint

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  1. Hugs, joints & booze. And proper safety for our
    aged who’ve been in lock-up all the time we
    were not. I’d like genuine caring as well as fun
    for the future of all. I spose it’s a big ask. Could
    a set of ‘worry beads’ work? I’m about to try


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Augmented Reality gives local art exhibition a high-tech twist

A Byron Bay art gallery is seeking to bring paintings to life in its new exhibition, by making Augmented Reality technology part of the experience.

Community land trust

Shane Sylvanspring, Mullumbimby I want to congratulate and applaud Cr Paul Spooner, Mayor Simon Richardson, and planning staff for supporting and pushing for Byron Shire to...

Cartoon of the week – 21 April, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Byron Drag Racers World Record

The local AAA Racing motorcycle team have set a new world record in 100cc class, as well as a top national speed in 50cc class at the recent Australian Speed Week held at Salt Lake Gairdner, South Australia.