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Category: Down And Under

Down & Under pt14 – Mirrors on the ceiling & pink champagne on ice

I’ve been called to the highest office in the land. Well…thirty of us have to be precise. We’re to be drinks robots: smooth, shiny, non-speaking – unless spoken to – refreshment providers to upper-class types. Correction: I keep forgetting that Australia is a classless society. They keep telling me but it slips my mind. So […]

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Down & Under Pt13 – Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby

Ruby says West Melbourne is all she knows and talks of East Melbourne like an unknown country. “They drive funny up there. They even show different films, like, ones I’ve never even heard of before.” Ruby is extremely short sighted and says that we’re all just a blur with her glasses off. She removes them […]

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Down & Under Pt12 – Pro celebrity cheese

It’s 35 degrees in the shade and here we are on the 11th hole, keeping cool in the relative shade of a small marquee. Every fifteen minutes or so the pros and the celebs pass through and pepper the small lake in front of us with golf balls before giving up and consuming more cheese […]

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Down & Under Pt11 – Stuck in the middle of nowhere.

I’m woken by the faintest noise of feet on carpet and spring to life. I’m recuperating from my week of Airshow kitchen by grabbing forty winks in a storeroom with the lights off. The cool change has come to Melbourne and I’m back out in the middle of nowhere, taking it easy in the relative […]

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Down & Under Pt10 – The screaming jets

I’m just staggering up to the kitchen compound when the voice of head chef Bob rises above all else. Even the jets. “I’ll tear his fucking head off when I see him!” Oh christ what have I done now. I mentally go through the last things I prepared. Did I poison someone? Leave one of […]

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Down & Under Pt9 – The air show must go on

GOOD MORNING MELBOURNE!! It’s 4.30am. I need someone to drag me out of bed. Where’s Forest Whitaker when you need him. There’s a light rain falling and the street’s empty except for a couple walking a small dog. The dog looks happy but the couple look startled. I think their alarm clock malfunctioned. An hour […]

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Down & Under Pt8 – The Savoy truffle.

“Be happy in your work” Old Japanese proverb. A large sweaty man is stirring a metal vat with a spoon the size of a prosthetic hip for a Tyrannosaurus rex. Occasionally the contents of the vat spill out onto the floor and steam gathers round his ankles. The trolleys behind him are piled high with dirty […]

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Down & Under Pt7 – And wouldn’t you love to love her

I’ve noticed that once I get people talking they tend to veer towards the darkness. It’s like I’ve hung a sign round my neck saying “Psychologist in training. First session free.” It’s the disappointments they want to exhume; the heartbreak and hard luck stories. The good times they tend to keep for themselves. They’re not giving […]

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Down & Under Pt6ii – Back on the road

“Lions.” Says Charlie. “What about lions?” But he doesn’t reply. He puts his magazine down and stares out the window. He looks sad. The giggling late teens who were so chatty and rambunctious on the way to the festival have all passed out, mouths gaping. We’re heading back into Melbourne, work shifts over. I’m about […]

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Down & Under Pt6i – The washed up blues

A tiny piece of finger is lying on the chopping board amongst the tomatoes. It belongs to me. I’ve been on the job approximately 12 minutes and the fact that I was given a proper chef’s outfit duped me into believing I could slice and dice as speedily as the bona fide chef working opposite me. […]

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Down & Under Pt5 – A day at the races.

“Don’t expect too much darling, because believe me, it’ll be as boring as batshit.” Bret hasn’t looked up from his phone for ten minutes. He’s keeping up on world news and doing his best to deflate my excitement. We lucked-out on this bar shift: a grandstand view at the races from an air-conditioned corporate box […]

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Down & Under Pt4 – Cricket ground coffee

Melman is Lebanese. If you like you can picture the animated, hypochondriac giraffe from Madagascar, but this Melman is short, dark and has no spots. Perhaps the only similarity is that like his cartoon namesake, he’s far from home and is no longer sure where home is, having moved around from America to Syria to […]

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Down & Under Pt3 – The Greek crisis

Four of us. Car share. Middle of nowhere. Until the large modern conference centre rises up out of the bush landscape we think we’ve missed a turn. It’s plush, air conditioned and has a swimming pool odour about it. We change into our uniforms for the day. Collarless shirts should make us look like the […]

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Down & under Pt2 – Get busy frying.

It’s come to this: I’m cleaning out deep fat fryers with a dish cloth and window cleaner spray. My supervisor is a small weasel of a man and as we talk we hold onto available surfaces for support as the floors are slippery with oil. I know George Orwell had to deal with things like […]

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Down & under Pt1 – Chefs just wanna have fun.

“Do I look like a cunt?” Head chefs can be bad tempered bastards with a prima donna streak a mile wide. Bernie was no exception. “Err No.” I reply. “Well then don’t insult me with piss-poor presentation. If Salmon was meant to have that much fuckin’ dill on it we’d call it dill with fuckin’ […]

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Down & under – Explanations and excuses

“Never apologise, never explain”. Or so they say…but I’m sorry, I feel that without a small introduction, what follows may read like the rantings of a man slowly going mad on the other side of the world. Actually maybe that’s a better title for this whole saga. Let me at least set the scene… I […]

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