Every year, in Perth, there is an event that gets more fireworks dedicated to it than New Year.
Families rub shoulders with bogans who fill the gaps along the foreshore which aren’t already commandeered by sponsored, corporate marquees.
People who live in the nearby high rise apartments suddenly have to deal with their new-found popularity.
All day they come, usually in the blistering heat, to find the perfect vantage spot for when dark falls.
For what? Twenty minutes of fireworks?
Yes and no.
I haven’t been to the Skyworks in years. Two reasons: the chaos in getting home that follows makes it hard to justify and, well, sadly, it’s become a bit too heavily sanctioned.
In 1996, I remember meeting my boyfriend there and spending all day by the river with him and his friends, we’d take beer, blow-up couches, have the Triple J Hottest 100 playing in the background and someone would have the good sense to cook up some snags. These were the days when you could still mount kerbs to park where you pretty much liked.
We’d watch the fireworks and to avoid the traffic, we’d hang out by the car until way past my curfew to let it die down.
I was facing a stack of pancakes as big as my head in a Manhattan diner, when, inexplicably, INXS’ New Sensation came on the radio. It wasn’t loud, but it was enough to take me straight back to that hot summer night, interlacing my fingers with my boyfriend’s, watching the sky explode while listening to the 96FM simulcast.
I was interrupted by a poorly-timed coffee top up.
When I was in Atlanta, I was at the most bullshit museum I’ve ever been to: The World of Coca-Cola. Now I work in news, at one point, the ABC, so Im aware of the difference between news and advertorial. This joint was one big, fat glossy ad. It was surreal. The only controversial material was a small acknowledgment of when they changed the recipe and, after the public went bananas, reinstated it.
However, I was walking past the theatre showing commercials from around the world (of course) when I stopped dead in my tracks.
In the corner of my eye, I saw sunshine, surfing and white teeth.
And Boom Crash Opera’s Dancing In The Storm.
Just quietly, I watched the entire commercial and it took getting through half of another from India to let the lump in my throat subside.
You can tell I’m getting twitchy to come home.
Yesterday, I was trying on my new cowboy boots in my bedroom in Texas when I put my huge headphones on and switched Spotify to shuffle.
Great Southern Land by Icehouse was where the dart landed.
I stopped and looked at myself.
I was wearing the boots, a ‘Heck Yeah Texas’ T-shirt and a John Deere cap.
I cocked one eyebrow at myself.
It’s time to go home.