A most Flattering visit.

The end of February marked the arrival of exuberance, unruliness and mischief. I’m talking about none other than Miss Esther Flatters. All the way from London via an exotic Indonesian jungle trip she came to visit me down under and run the usual impulsive muck. Upon arrival to Sydney I met her at Il Baretto for a much overdue catch-up. We barely had time to catch our breath amongst the unstoppable chatter between us over dinner; what we’d been up to, what we were doing now and what the future held. Needless to say she had a plethora of entertaining stories to amuse me with from her exhaustive trip through Asia and was most pleased to hear that I’d be rejoining her in London in the summer. We spent the evening barhopping through Surry Hills; particularly at The Winery, Low 302 and Shady Pines.

The next day we went to Newtown (a.k.a Camden) for a thai lunch which inevitably could never surmount to the delicious and authentic meals she would have indulged in whilst in the land of Thai herself. What she wouldn’t have found whilst trekking through Thailand though, was a fully equipped circus society. We happened to stumble across one when we accidentally found ourselves at Sydney University orientation fair and I certainly couldn’t have prepared myself for what happened there. As soon as Esther set eyes upon some unicycles, juggling balls and multicoloured ribbons she ran off to join the circus so fast that I didn’t even notice her departure.

I was happy laying on the green grass underneath the glistening hot sun whilst Esther refined her circus skills. Some people are just born with it.

On Thursday night Kelly, Brennalisa, Auntie Gabz, Domenico and I headed over to Shady Pines to support our spine-chillingly talented friend Steve Smyth who was putting on a gig in there. As always he blew us all away with his astounding voice. It’s always a pleasure to watch Mr Smyth perform! True to form he was bare foot, had his face covered in bountiful hair and a mammoth smile from cheek to cheek.

After work on Friday Sophie, Rodney and I met Kara, Dean and Antonella at a random photography exhibition beind held at District 01 on Crown St. Funnily enough an old uni friend of my mine had his photographic work on display there. Not really my cup of tea this whole art thing but there was free champagne and canapés so I wasn’t complaining!!

Later on we met Esther at an Italian restaurant in Surry Hills for pizza and more cheap wine. We felt very much in our natural surroundings in this painfully ethnic, loud and family-run eatery. Esther in particular felt so comfortable that she decided to kick the pianist off the stage and took helm of the microphone to serenade us with some of her self-penned songs. It was the first and probably the last time someone would dedicate a song to me in a public space! Thanks Esther  ♥

Once we’d stuffed our faces and successfully made the staff loathe us for taking control of the entertainment facilities, Esther and I headed over to Flinders. I thought we’d just have some quiet drinks and call it a night. I should have known better, it’s Esther we’re talking about after all! I let her out of my sight for not even 30secs and when I turned around she was chatting up some geeky bankers at the bar who were lining up double vodka cranberries and shots on the bar. That saucy temptress haha! And so the whirlwind began…

A barful of drinks later, the next thing I remember is jumping vigorously on the couches with my untamed hair flying all over the joint, dancing with a bearded boy that looked and moved like Jamiroquai and befriending some crazy New Zealanders, one of which I tried to steal his afro?

The highlight of the night however, was undoubtedly the part when I was sitting lonesomly on a couch and in the corner of my eye noticed a mysterious, thin figure to my right who was staring at me with a look of deep concentration and scribbling vehemently in his notepad. First of all who carries a sketchpad and pen in a bar? Anyways, I kindly asked him what the fuck he was doing. He handed over the sketchpad and there it was; a haunting portrait of myself that he’d penned in no more than 20 seconds.

I was simultaneously frightened and flattered. Amused by his eccentricity I asked him to sketch a guy walking past with a black hat. He fervently flicked through the pages and low and behold he’d already drawn him! Same as the blonde girl I suggested he sketch AND the bartender with a nose piercing. He was on fiiiiire! He’d successfully identified and drawn each and every patron of the bar. Was he an undercover cop or something I thought to myself?!!?!? Bizarre little bar this was.

Waking up sweating like a rapist, Saturday morning demanded that we head to the beach to cool down so I rounded up Esther, her sister Naomi and Sophie to spend the day at North Bondi. Funnily enough we bumped into Marie, Vanessa and friends so located our towels next to theirs.

That night I thought I’d show Esther how we Inner Westerners party in the burbs and took her to Nick’s 21st birthday party in Earlwood. The pressure was on him now with an international guest! Pressure was also on me to find her an outfit to wear for it was a ‘Through The Ages’ theme. I already had my costume mentally prepared for weeks; a 60s hippie! Finally my chance to metamorphosis into my dream persona. Luckily with Esther’s immaculate make-up and hair skills and my random possession of a feather boa, we were able to transform her into a 50s burlesque dancer in no time!

Sophie the 70s groupie, Dom my male hippie counterpart and Jarryd the Cheech & Chong replica came to my house for some pre-drinks before we made our way to the party in a cab which took its sweet arse time to arrive.

With all the typical drama that ensued that evening, I was glad Esther came out of it ranting about the amazing greek cuisine that was on offer. Phew! Mission successful, she had a good evening.

On Sunday morning I farewelled my dear friend, whom I’d had an absolute blast with as per usual ( ♥ you to bits girlie!!!), and prepared myself for the days next adventure; SOUNDWAVE FESTIVAL! From 60s hippie to goth metal rocker, it wasn’t the easiest of tasks to transform my mindframe and dress sense in such a short space of time. But Kara and I had one hell of a day regardless! Iron Maiden, Queens Of The Stone Age, One Day As A Lion and Slash – how could we not!?

So Ghoul.

It’s great having friends in conveniently high places. Even 10,562 miles away, our trusty London friend Adam was able to hook Kelly, Brendan, Annalisa and I with passes to the highly anticipated Laneways Festival; a celebration of all things indie, rock and pop. How you may ask? Well, it helps that he’s spent the last year tour managing Two Door Cinema Club who just happened to be on the bill. Alas we had another British friend to play with on our grounds!

I was looking forward to watching a multitude of live acts that day but since Mother Nature decided to thrust a mini cyclone our way, I opted for the warmth of the indoor VIP area and the sweet taste of vodka washing around in my stomach. Kelly brushed shoulders with destiny when she lost her beloved Acne shirt amongst the hurricane and then miraculously stumbled upon it on the other side of the field; it was just laying on a windowsill staring her in the face! Sydneysiders are honest people after all; most people woulda snatched up the trendily valuable top without question.

I managed to catch a bit of Warpaint, Ariel Pink, Local Natives and Two Door Cinema Club (after all they did sort my guest list so the least I could do was support their set) I was astonished to see what an impressive turn up these young Irish lads garnered, I hadn’t quite realised how popular they were on our shores.

Surely you all know this song?

After the show Adam came to hang out and sabotage our impromptu photoshoot before we farewelled Brennalisa who’d simply had enough of the miserable weather and then made a spontaneous decision to head home ourselves in preparation of the night ahead!

After guzzling down more wine and hosting a reunion with blast from the past Ben Pantano, we met Adam and the Two Door crew over at their hotel, which was expediently around the corner. We accompanied our international visitors over to Good God for the official festival after party. We cacked ourselves when we tricked the ‘rockstars’ into thinking the afterparty was at the painfully bogan and local Scruffy Murphys pub and their faces turned pale. Their artist’s passes did gain us entry into the party then again so I really should play nice.

We seized one of the Flintstone-esque booths in the bar, made it our own and began the rollercoaster ride of shots, vodkas and beers into the early morning. The boys were an absolute pleasure to party with!

The world’s longest collar!

On Monday evening the awesome foursome headed to The Metro to check out Brendan’s dj set at the Yeasayer gig.We decided to reserve a seat in the stands, soon regretting it due to the outlandishly cold temperature inside the theatre. We also regretted it because the opening band Ghoul were absolutely horrible. Possibly the worst music I’ve ever heard. Kelly and I found solace and amusement in facebooking each other from centimetres away, writing hateful comments about the band who were simply just.. SO.. Un-Ghoul!

Yeasayer on the other hand were fucking brilliant and easily one of the best gigs I’ve seen in recent months. We were blown away by their ecclectic jungle fever tunes and geometric neon lights. Check out my full review on Music Feeds here.

On Tuesday night Nick and I unleashed our lesbians within when we went to catch Warpaint playing at Oxford Art Factory. What complete and utter babes they are!!! I was absolutely enthralled by the web of ethereal sounds they spun with their sultry, succulent vocals and entangling guitar lines.

Can’t say the same for the support band Richard In Your Mind though (translates to Dick In The Mind by the way) who looked and sounded as though they’d been tripping on potent magic mushrooms for weeks on end. Their cringeworthy performance put us in fits of laughter. Check out their video below and you’ll see why!

So Un-Ghoul man!

On Saturday Patrick kindly invited me to the Good Vibrations festival in Centennial Park for which he has free media passes. Headlined by the likes of Faithless, Ludacris and Damian Marley, no bands really managed to retain my attention and arouse the senses. Except, of course, for Phoenix who never fail me in the live arena. The French indie rockers are always a pleasure to watch on stage and were without doubt the highlight of my day.

Patrick had a photo pass but ironically no camera in tow so he posed as an iPhone representative and simply snapped some images on his phone from the official photography pit. Unfortunately the heavy rain put a dampening on my day but all was redeemed when we headed to Golden Century for a hot midnight Chinese feast after the festival. So Ghoul.

On Thursday I made my broadcasting debut by guest appearing on Patrick’s weekly radio program ‘The Late Late Breakfast Show’. We went over to the studio in Sutherland at around 9pm and hooked ourselves up to microphones and headphones.

He asked me to choose 10 songs from my favourite artists of all-time (much to my delight!) which he played inbetween interviewing me about my music journalism experiences, my ‘rockstar’ lifestyle in London and my passion for live gigs. It was quite a petrifying 90mins but the wine I guzzled previously at dinner certainly helped to calm the nerves brooding inside of me. It’s relieving to know that I don’t have any recorded evidence of my shockingly manly radio voice and my einsteen interview answers but was also glad that I conquered my fear and subsequently had a Ghoul time with it. Besides, for once I got the ultimate free reign to control the radio’s typically agonising playlist, select whatever fucking music I like for a solid hour and have NOBODY complain about it! That was a dream come true.

Saturday was spent lazing by Dom’s pool and soaking up the rays of sunshine before heading to Michael’s 21st birthday party in Earlwood. [V] Festival it was called. And hence all the guests had to adorn themselves in something that began with the letter V (or M for Michael if you were struggling with ideas). As per usual I didn’t participate. However, since I was wearing an off white dress I figured I’d label myself a ‘virgin’ just for the hell of it. No one baught it though. Bastards. Apart from it being an absolute sauna that night, everyone had a Ghoul time and was highly amused by the comically endearing slideshow presentation and the plethora of inventive costumes that included; Venus Williams, Ace Ventura, a Minties wrapper, Madhatter and THE Vengabus.

And to wrap up the Ghoulish weekend, on Sunday we had a much-dreaded family reunion with our long lost outcasts from greater western Sydney. What a bunch of bloody bogans! Couldn’t believe I was actually related to this circus of clowns. Horrified and humiliated, Kelly and I made sure to steer clear from the Fedeli retards and gravitated towards the TV set and the table of food (which was devastaningly disappointing since our guests provided most of the food and can’t cook for shit) instead. Such social butterflies we are.

Our ideal family reunion is one, which just involves our immediate family, mouthwatering food and the freedom to be ourselves without having to uphold a certain façade to impress others. That’s why the next evening, which was Marina’s 50th birthday celebration, we all came alive as we had an intimate dinner in the city, copious amounts of champagne, heard touchingly daggy speeches and took Ghoultastic ‘family portrait’ shots.

Now that’s more like it!!!

Jou Ma Se Poes in a Fish Paste Jar.

I shagged Jethro Cave on the weekend and stole a lock of his untamed hair. Jealous?

Well unfortunately, I’m only kiddin’. Just making sure I still have your attention after what seems weeks and weeks of blog silence. Apologies for the hiatus! Four Weeks With The Queen is alive again and whilst there’s no overt sexual ventures in this particular post, there are certainly plenty of rock stars, live music and good times.

Here are the latest scribblings from my cyber diary..

Today was a scorcher, especially in the dire Inner West, so I took pleasure in heading to Kara’s lair for a midday dip in the pool before catching up with the exquisite miss Danielle.

Following that, I wined and dined Sophie and Dom at Il Baretto as a thank you treat for always splurging on their destitute, overly dependent friend (me of course).

As predicted, dinner was delicious! And I’m not just saying that because it’s my aunties restaurant. Actually now that I mention it head here to check out Il Baretto’s blog and let your mouth water over the lip-smacking gastronomic images HERE.

Here’s what we each devoured:

After our meals we headed to the discreet Fico wine bar where kind Domenico served us chilled white wine until our hearts were content.


I conducted another interview for Lip Magazine, this time with up-and-coming disco synth act Catcall. You can check out the finished product by clicking here.

Kara and I cured our hangovers/hashovers by heading to Nathan’s birthday BBQ in Balmain with a few neighbourhood friends. We spent the day with our grimy fingers in the potato salad, guzzling new-fangled strawberry ciders, playing tennis cluelessly and lazing around in the fervent sun.

That night I attended Marco’s 21st party in Leichardt and as expected got utterly legless with the girls. Nothing too spectacular to report unfortunately, the string of 21st birthdays are all becoming quite predicatable; incriminating slideshows, mortifying speeches, a sea of homemade Italian/Greek food and illegally unlimited amounts of alcohol. In other words, the perfect concoction for disaster.

This evening Patrick and I attended the Crystal Castles gig. I’m not a huge fan of their sonically devastating music but I had to tip my hat to Alice Glass who single-leggedly blew the roof off the Enmore even with a broken ankle harnessed by a crutch. The Black Keys cancelled their Australian tour because of exhaustion and Kings Of Leon because of the backline drummer’s busted arm but Crystal Castles soldiered on even with a severely injured frontwoman.

I’d been anticipating this day for months; a rock’n’roll/indie pop/folk acoustic-based festival featuring superb international acts as well as blossoming homegrown candidates. It was of course time for the BIG DAY OUT Festival! I’d managed to get my paws on a media pass saving myself well over $100 and even though it was predicted to be over 40 degrees that day, I battled the apocalyptic weather and had an unforgettable day.

The highlight of the day was undoubtedly DIE ANTWOORD. What a great performance by the South African zef-side trio. That was some next level shit man, BOOS! I fell in love with Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek all over again, even though they had me chanting “jou ma se poes in a fish paste jar” a.k.a your mother’s private parts in a fish paste jar incessantly, at an absurd volume and to complete strangers. They were highly entertaining with their myriad of costume changes, fierce attitude and willingness to crowd surf. Check out the video below!!

Our bohemian beauties – Angus & Julia Stone!

Now presenting.. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes.

All bow down to the modern-aged Jesus Alex Ebert.

Wouldn’t be an Aussie festival without John Butler Trio. Lame.

Motherfuckin’ Iggy Pop.. not a bad physique for an old timer. And that luscious long blonde hair?!

Psychedelic Primal Scream. Those neon lights almost lunged me into a full-blown seizure.

Grinderman.. Perfect way to end a perfect day!


I conducted some interviews for Music Feeds whilst in the stock room of my work on my lunch break. I spoke to Dylan Baldi, from Cloud Nothings who was at the time residing in America and melted my heart with his gorgeous accent and then the everso bubbly Guineafowl from Sydney.

Tonight Tara, Sophie, Carrina, Daniel and I went to The Gaelic to check out the new venue for Purple Sneakers where one of Hannah’s friends from Brisbane was playing a gig amongst some other indie rock artists on the bill. I was reviewing the night for Music Feeds and met up with Dan their TV/Video producer who just happened to live in London at the same time as me. The bands on the bill were quite enjoyable to watch, especially the headliners Ghostwood – I’m obsessed with their latest offering called ‘Sunset Mirage’. Check it out below:

We got down and dirty (literally – my pink gown came home with dust and debris all over it from dancing feverishly all night long!) at Diana’s 21st bash. It was a pleasure catching up with all the Domremy girls, reminiscing over nostalgic photos from our high school days and erupting with laughter over the fireman stripper that was hired for the night.

What a laugh! All the mothers were drooling and pining for a go with the not-so-sexy stripper. Naturally, I spent most of my time beside the unlimited bar sucking down strawberry vodka slushies and sambuca shots.

I spent the day at Redleaf Sea Pool with Kara and Dean who were taunting me about not letting them listen to the interview I conducted with infamously mischievous American comedian Eddie Ifft. You can read the transcript here!

Carrina accompanied me to the Sia gig at the Enmore Theatre; what a fantastically wacky performance the soulful singer/songwriter put on! She entered the stage lathered in black body paint and was attached to a textile-based sheet of cardboard and bubble machine. And on top of that it was a sauna in there so to sport that kind of costume for a good 90mins is pure commitment to entertainment! You can read my full Music Feeds review of the show here.

‘Til next time. Laters!

x x

Turning Over A New Leaf.

2011 has been relatively kind to me so far; beautiful summer weather, a myriad of touring muscians and 21st birthday parties galore. For once I have nothing to complain about, I’m turning over a new leaf and can give you my word that this blog will be nothing but positive and buoyant. I suggest you take advantage of it however, before the bipolar cynic inevitably returns to advocate doom and gloom.

On the very same night that Fedeli and I returned from our 10 hour journey home from Byron Bay, we were back in the metropolitan scene dining and drinking at Thainesia with some friends before heading to Oxford Art Factory for the highly anticipated Born Ruffians gig.

We’ve been obsessed with this Canadian trio (particularly the ever so handsome lead singet) since we first laid eyes on them at a gig in East London. As expected, they did not disappoint in the slightest and had us stumbling out on the street feeling weak at the knees with adoration. Check out my Music Feeds review here!

I was desperately seeking some lonesome down time on Tuesday night but another gig was calling – this time it was New York based melancholy weavers Interpol. How could I say no to them? And I’m glad Kelly and I didn’t say no because they put on a fantastic performance. I brought my photographic kit and kaboodle along and briefly stepped into the pit to get these shots:

The string of consecutively fantastic shows plateaud there when I went to catch the Cold War Kids at the Enmore Theatre. They were quite uninspiring. My new gig buddy and fellow Lost addict Patrick accompanied me and after enduring an hour or so of intense heat, we saught shelter and water at the local bar and exchanged CWK criticisms.

I attended the Enmore for the 3rd time that week on Friday night and regretfully so after being utterly disappointed by the totally overrated American quintet That National. I promised you that this blog post would be negativity free so if you want to read my condescending rant about The National’s gig click here.

After the show, my fellow music enthusiast Daniel and I had a refreshing cocktail at The Green Room before calling it a night.

On Saturday evening Carrina, Sophie and I went to the Ashfeld Hotel for Steve’s 21st. My inevitable downward spiral into inebriation began the minute we discovered there was a bartab and began consuming alcohol at an unimaginable rate. Thankfully I managed to conceal and behave myself however can’t remember much from the evening apart from the highly amusing speeches and nostalgic slideshow.

Rarely does my whole family unite for an evening out together completely out of the blue, but when we do it’s always an absolute laugh. On Monday evening we rounded up the Fedeli clan and went to one of our fave Chinese restaurants in the city. As usual, my family was on time and the first to arrive at Golden Century but the rest of the gang soon arrived after us. Before I knew it there were dumplings, crunchy crab legs, chilli squids and duck rolls flying to and around our table. We had to con Karina into thinking the duck dishes were chicken because she refused to consume anything with a beak, webbed feet an efficient swimming abilities.

I promise the mood was much more buoyant and lively than these pictures depict!

We stared around us and quickly noticed we were the only Italians, and for that matter the only non-asians, in the entire restaurant. My mum was trying to impose her theory upon us that the reason the Golden Century is open way past 1am is because it’s the local mafia hangout. Meanwhile, Auntie Gabby was trying to teach us kids and the whole family for that matter a lesson by pointing out one of the tables who were paying such attention and respect to the eldest family member as he softly spoke. They listened and obeyed him like he was above God. I suppose Gabby, being the eldest member of our family was hoping she’d garner that kind of honour and reverence from us too. Dreaming!

You ugly mother fuckers taste so damn good when deceased and fried..!

After a delicious, perhaps overindulgent dinner, we all stumbled out feeling heavily pregnant and decided to walk it off on our way to Kelly’s pad for some wine tasting courtesy of their wine bar Fico. When we arrived to Fedeli’s lair there were bottles upon bottles of wine of all different shades and textures. Shit was getting serious. Kelly decided to whip out the Wii for us kids, but it wasn’t long before the adults took over the console and tried to relive their youth. It was like unleashing a child in a candy store for the first time; they were absolutely amazed by this innovative piece of technology, especially my dad whom we couldn’t tear away from the Wii board for hours!! He had us all in stitches as he cursed the screen in Italian. Now he’s convinced he needs a Wii in his life to feel complete.

Meanwhile my mum almost broke her pelvis doing the hoola hoop exercise and Fabiola proved that her pilates classes were indeed paying off with her flexibility. The rest of us shook our heads and erupted in laughter at the pure sight of these geriatrics. Bless ‘em!

On Wednesday I interviewed international house DJ Anna Lunoe for Lip Magazine. Check out the interview piece here!

On Wednesday night it was time to catch up with the Jbirds who had rejoined us in Sydney after our Byron Bay getaway. Sophie, Tenaya, Kelly and I went over to Shady Pines to meet them and indulge in delectable apple vodkas. Damn they are good!

Once we’d overloaded on apple vodka goodness and fell it was time to retreat we made our French exit and excitedly ran home for we knew what awaited us; the original Super Mario Bros game for Nintendo Wii! Yes folks we were reliving our childhood; the one where we stayed up all night at our nonnas house glued to the TV and remotes trying to beat the almighty Bowser! We were surprisingly flying through all the lands, playing better whilst drunk as skunks as opposed to earlier that afternoon when we were totally sober.

On Thursday night Kelly, Juanita, Jeremy and I had dinner at The Winery. Just a tip for future patrons it’s called The Winery for a reason; yes, it’s well equipped with a beautiful selection of wine and provides a succulent, dim-lit and romantic atmosphere catered for wine afficionados – but they cannot cook for shit! Alright fuck it, I’m breaking my promise and putting a negative dent into this post. Do not, I repeat do not waste your money on the overpriced, tasteless and excessively complicated dishes on their menue! I feel slightly nauseous just thinking about my duck ravioli blended with the incongruent ingredients of turnips, crispy potato chips and dog urine.

Who is considered an idol, a lifesaver or an inspiration? And who on the other hand is inherently evil, malicious and utterly despised? These were the questions I was asking myself in the lead up to Dom’s “Heroes & Villains” 21st Birthday party. All my idols and inspirations are male musicians and I didn’t really feel like growing a beard or a penis for the night so due to my incredible laziness, increativity and general hate for themes I decided not to really participate at all. Actually no, that’s a lie, at the very last inute I whacked on a floppy black hat, Lennon-inspired glasses and branded myself with the words “War Is Over” across my chest to emulate Yoko Ono. She is a hero; not only for her comitmemnt to peace and protest but in her marital commitment to the ingenious John Lennon! Now that I think about it though, I actually looked more like Stevie Nicks – or atleast the bartender seemed to think so!

For the sake of keeping my dignity and relatively spotless reputation I’m going to tell you the extremely censored verson of the nights events. We drank sensibly, reveled in everyone’s exciting costumes, had a little dance, went to our own beds very early and woke up feeling absolutely splendid. Okay okay okay… so there MAY have been a hotel afterparty, jumping on a bed whilst cranking Nirvana and The Doors with vodka in hand and an incident involving the bathroom sink. But it’s deep in the past and erased from my immediate memory.

Oh and one last name and shame that I promised Kurt to round off the blog; here’s Mr Muller sporting my “Yokohamma” glasses (Think he meant Yoko Ono – but whether that’s his inevitable ignorance or mere drunkness I do not know?) and attempting to relive his fairytale youth in a semi-naked Peter Pan ensemble that looks more like a homosexual Adam & Eve costume  than a character from Neverland. What a douche bag, right? Over and out!!!!!! x x

Byron Bay: Unleash Your Inner Hippie! ♥ ☮ x

It’s not too far-fetched to say that most Sydney-siders dread the annual New Years Eve countdown. This is partly because they’ve finally come to their senses about how overrated it is, and partially due to the fact that celebratory options are both scarce and unappetizing. Who wants to pay $200 for entry into a seedy metropolitan nightclub only to be bumping and grinding amongst smashed, shirtless, cocaine-sniffing hooligans and end up vomiting in a gutter before midnight strikes, waking up in bed with an absolute stranger that in the light of sobriety doesn’t look as much like R-Patz as you’d thought and the only recollection of your NYE experience being an excruciating hangover?!?!

You may or may not have picked up on it by now – but I don’t look forward to NYE, at all. So to save me the strife and regret of yet another failed one, I decided to escape the city, the festivals and the house parties altogether. I eloped to beachy, laid-back Byron Bay for 4 days in the company of some loved ones who had the same idea; Kelly, my brother Lucas and our special visitors from London town Jeremy and Juanita (The JBirds!) We entrenched ourselves deep in the Arakwal national park, away from the bumpkin chaos ensuing at the main town and immersed ourselves in a world of hamocs, red wine, vintage vinyl records, waterfalls, secluded beaches, bush walks and friendly pythons.

But before I get to the details of our splendid getaway, I suppose I should start with the journey there a.k.a. our ambitious 10hr drive through the dark, lonely night. Why my stubborn brother subjected us to such a torturously long drive and a night of little to no sleep only God knows. Luckily we found a few ways to amuse ourselves though;

  • Frequent pit stops in dark, secluded car parks with syringe disposal units and undrinkable water taps where we thought Ivan Milat was going to come after us
  • Having conversations with our best feline friend “Talking Tom”
  • Reciting Trent From Punchy and Alf Stewart youtube clips
  • A random and painful selection of my uncles CD’s including; Alicia Keys, Michael Jackson and Jamiroquai. Thankfully there was some RHCP in there too!!!!
  • Being flashed, beeped at and screamed at by angry, insomniac truck drivers driving at a rapid speed towards us who were trying to inform us about our high beams that were permanently and unintentionally on.
  • Witnessing the not so “Big Banana” and “Big Prawn” on the highway… what disappointments!
  • McDonald’s breakfast (Kelly’s one condition when agreeing to endure the midnight drive)

When we finally arrived to our destination looking disheveled, clammy and homeless, we greeted our much loved parent figures Jgirl and Jboy before battling each other for the first shower. The house was amazing! Spacious, artistic and very relaxing, we couldn’t haved asked for anything more. All we could have asked for was for tenants that weren’t such strange, stoned airheads.

We spent the day at the foamy, quiet beach with a determined dog called Bella who was digging for crabs and spraying sand all over us, got burgers from Beloporto (best burgers in Oz Lucas claims) and finished up with a boozy dinner in town amongst the unruly crowds and peverted old men that were stroking the faces of young innocent boys. I also suffered my first animal attack that day, at first mistaking the insect bite for a splinter and hopping on one foot for a good half hour like an imbecile.

That was just one of the many creaturely run-ins we had during our stay. We witnessed everything from diamond shaped pythons and tree frogs to bush turkeys and huge huntsman spiders crawling in and around our house, each time sending Jeremy into a fit of excitement or fear. That’s what you get for living in the Aussie bush mate!

We embarked on a little daytip to Minyon Falls on Friday in search of a fresh waterhole to wade in but regardless of our attempts all we found was a huge cliff with a cascading waterfall that we couldn’t swim down or in.

So instead we headed to Clarks Beach and got ourselves a tan – or in sensitive, pale Jbirds’ case a sunburnt back and a heat-triggered headache.

It was Friday night, the one we’d all been trepidating – NYE. We all wanted to rebel against the convention and pressure of it so what did we do? We cooked us up a scrumptious BBQ on our terrace, chilled in the hamoc, shared past memories and future hopes as well as beliefs of the supernatural  and watched funny youtube clips. There was nothing wild or drunken about it! Just a smooth transition into the New Year and one we would definitely remember thanks to our sobriety, heartwarming company and gorgeous surroundings.


Admittedly Kelly, Lucas and I did fall into the NYE trap temporarily and quickly jetted off to a hippie-inspired shindig on a farm to meet Milla and co for the official countdown, but again nothing too riotous happened there anyway! By 1am Kel and I were snuggled up in bed and watching Seinfield and as lame as that sounds it was a much more gratifying NYE than past ones. If I recall correctly, the last NYE I spent with Fedeli I came home to bed inebriated and totally dysfunctional even before the clock had struck 12 and I snuggled up with my vomit stricken pillow in my fancy dress and woke up with no memory at all. Need I say anymore?

We were blessed with perfect weather during out getaway but on Day 3 (NY Day) some light drizzle showered over Byron. So on this off day we took the opportunity to make a little roadtrip to Nimbin; the ultimate dope-growing, eccentric hippie town of Australia.

Kelly and I couldn’t have possibly mentally prepared ourselves for the kooky oddballs and overall alternative vibe of this vibrant place if we had tried. Lucas insisted it was a must-see place, but why we followed his advice I really do not know. This is the guy who wore 2 pairs of socks, 2 shirts, jeans and sneakers to the beach on a 30 degree day! I can’t really explain the hallucinogenic vibe of Nimbin, so I’ll have to let the following images do all the talking…

With drug addicts, drug dealers and drug seekers alike parading their true colours all over the joint (no pun intended), Kelly and I felt really uncomfortable and anxious. We cringingly watched Lucas devour a breakfast meal at a squalid, decrepit café sure to be brimming with Occupational Health & Safety defects, waiting for him to spontaneously combust.The aromatic incense, crystal balls, horoscopes, rainbow skirts and therapeutic music in the strip of shops were the only things that kept us calm, cool and collected.

That evening we decided to have an elegant, upmarket dinner where we could expect good gourmet food, commendable service and a pleasant atmosphere. St Elmos was the restaurant of choice – it looked pretty trendy and professional.

Well, let’s just say the food was great but we’ll have to draw the line right there. Not only did we have to wait half an hour to be properly seated, but just as we lifted our forks to savour our meals for the first time, an army of cockroaches came spilling out of the crevices of the brick wall. They took a particular liking to Juanita, whose shoulder was a diving platform for one of the six-legged pests. Naturally, we all leaped out of our seats screaming.

For some extremely odd reason we were the only patrons who seemed to be concerned about the possibility of these disgusting creepy-crawlys having a field day in our food and scampering up our legs. Most of the bogan Aussies stared and laughed at us as though we were being though with the impression we were being overly dramatic and prudent. One obnoxious fellow even had the nerve to taunt Juanita by jokingly yelling, “watch out, there’s one on your back!”

Obviously mortified at the sight of the gang of roaches and offended by our fellow customers’ insensitivity, we turned to the restaurant staff hoping for some sympathy and compensation. But d’you know what we got instead? Not the best seat in the house, not a complimentary bottle of wine and certainly not a discount. Just a clueseslly crude blonde waitress who relocated us back to the “waiting table” by the front door and said, “It’s all part of the al fresco dining experience” with a million dollar smile. Hold up a fucking second. Did she REALLY just say that!? Did she try and market the whole “cockroach + outdoor dinner” as a viable, appealing package?! This brainless goose turned it around to seem as though it was OUR fault for selecting to eat at a restaurant that was partially open-air on a rainy night.

You can imagine how gobsmacked and disturbed we felt by this. We contemplated leaving abruptly, reprimanding the manager, enlisting services of a lawyer or dropping a bomb on St Elmos altogether – but instead we bit our tongues and ate our meals.

Jeremy brightened up the situation by stealing Kelly’s phone and hacking her Facebook (a favourite past time and/or addiction he developed in London). Having only recently discovered the “Check In” feature on FB, he found out which other people were currently dining at St Elmo and carefully selected two victims – one male and one female. To the girl he wrote something along the lines of “Hey babe, It’s Kelz here let’s totes be besties xoxo” and to the guy he wrote “You’re so hot! Meet me in the bathroom in 10mins for a good time”. Poor Kelly was mortified, even more so when no one replied to her eager requests.

The next morning – our last day in Byron – we had a healthy breakfast at Twisted Sister, followed by a spell of shopping and then headed over to the foam and freak free Belongil beach.

Despite having detected the school of bluebottles that began drifting to shore, I decided it was simply too hot to let these little stingers ruin my emancipation in the refreshing water. So I continued swimming anyway. 10 mins later I was stung by one of these fuckers and in hindsight I thank the heavens that it was only tiny. As I limped out of the water and declared my injury, one guy offered to urinate on my leg (apparently it eases the pain). I shot a demonic, disgusted glare at him and he slowly backed away.

At first I didn’t think the aftermath was that unbearable, it just felt like a small sharp pain that lasted no more than 15mins. I even remember thinking to myself “Gee, it’s not as bad as I always thought it would be. I’m going to swim in bluebottle infested waters more often from now on”. Boy I was so, so wrong about that. But I’ll elaborate on that when we get to it…

That afternoon we joined our lovely friend Hayley (whom we met in London and who recently just returned home to Byron Bay) at Soul Bowl for lunch. What a spin out to see her in her natural habitat – chilling in flip flops and a multi-coloured sarong by the Aussie beachside! We headed down to the sand again with Hayley, her sister and some of her friends.

Here’s what they’d been up to earlier in the day..

Again I foolishly braved the bluebottle-ridden waters, coming out again as a victim. This time one of the stingers managed to wrap its tentacles around my leg – which I had to quickly flick off me – so the sharp pain was more widespread. I was convinced though that it wouldn’t hurt too much… wrong, wrong, wrong again!!

For our last dinner together we tried our luck with another “al fresco” restaurant. This time though we weren’t subject to an invasion of bugs nor a ditzy waitress. In fact we were served by a very beautiful, very polite foreign waitress and got to eat our Japanese meals in peace.

In celebration of this we ordered a round of sake – but I put the shot glass down the moment it touched my lips, for to me it tastes like acidic vodka. After dinner we made our way to the iconic “Railways Bar” that hosts a lot of live music.

On tonight’s music menu was a dread-locked, beatboxing, didgerido-playing extraordinaire and his band of neanderthiles. They were definitely not superstar material, but at least it was amusing watching them entertain the drunken derelict crowd with beat boxing remixes of Michael Jackson and U2.

That night I’d planned to get a long, solid slumber in preparation for the long drive home in the morning. Well, that idea went straight out the window when my dormant blue bottle sting decided to awaken, swell up, blister and make me frantically scratch myself through the endless, dark hours of the night. I was in hell. I felt like I was on fire/had chicken pox all over again. This extreme irritation didn’t cease for a good 3-4 days and no amounts of antiseptic/numbing cream could bring the bluebottle’s revengeful reign to a halt. NEVER again will I underestimate the power of a bluebottle. And I certainly will never purposely swim in blue bottled infested waters again either!

Have A Cherry Christmas Everybody!

This weekend was a darn miracle. Something very unexpected and pleasantly atypical occurred; I actually had a wonderful Christmas. The Grinch, the ultimate hater of all things jolly and traditional, indeed had herself a Merry Christmas after all.

The past 5 years of Christmas have been identical and equally lackluster in my family; a typical wog lunch at my nonna’s house in the burbs, sitting around the TV for hours watching the Rai Italia channel whilst twiddling our thumbs and then us “kids” unexcitedly opening a few uninspiring presents. But this year the Andreucci/Fedeli family decided to spice things up a bit. We all packed our bags, farewelled the Inner West and ventured into the countryside for a cherry-picking Christmas extravaganza weekend!

My aunties Marina and Patrizia live in a vibrant little cottage up in Orange and run a much-loved Italian restaurant called ‘Fiorini’ on their largely vegetated property. They live the simple life; cooking, gardening, breathing in the fresh country air, painting and nurturing their playful pet dog Sam and endearing blonde horse Patricia. This weekend they invited us up to have a little taste of their tranquil world.

One by one the members of our tightknit family began to arrive in Orange and unloaded all their belongings into the cabins we’d arranged for our accommodation. Our cabin was titled “The Barnyard” and adhering to the whole country theme it had farm animal figurines and wallpaper everywhere that made me feel really uncomfortable. I felt like I was reverting back to my infant years and sleeping in a nursery. Not only that but I would be sharing this “Barnyard” with my brother, my parents and my estranged uncle. Thankfully there were separate beds for us all, but nevertheless this was going to be a rather in-ter-est-ing experience.

As soon as my partner in crime – Kelly Fedeli – arrived into town we cracked open a bottle of red and sat in the pleasant sunny paddock drinking and harassing the innocent animals. Being drunk was the only way we could envision ourselves getting through this weekend.

We spent the rest of the afternoon catching up with family, feeding on fresh seafood appetisers and keeping the wine flowing deep into the night. By the time dinner rolled around we were prettayyyy tipsy and beginning to embarrass the family. Thankfully everyone else was beginning to reach our wavelength of inebriation and loosen up a bit too. It ended up being one hilariously fun evening.

When the time was right we introduced the famiglia to CRANIUM; the top selling trivia boardgame that requires teamwork, commonsense, creativity and intellect. These are four things our family seems to lack, especially when under the influence of potent alcohol. Cranium had our whole family in stitches of laughter, fits of controversial rage and a whirlwind of mayhem; just how an Italian Christmas eve should be!


The oldies started to freak out when they realized it was midnight and way past their bedtime. Too much excitement for one night I guess! We packed up the corruptive Cranium game and called it a night. The next morning everyone woke up pretty cranky in my cabin because a mystery snorer kept everyone tossing and turning in their sleep. We spent the first 20mins of the early morning pointing the finger of blame at each other. I decided to get some fresh air and have a stroll through the beautiful rose garden with my camera in hand.

Once everyone had crawled out of bed with their mild hangovers and systemized themselves we made our way over to the ranch for a light breakfast; coffee, panettone cake and leftovers of course!

It was Christmas day and instead of watching Rai Italia like deadbeats as done in the past, our auntie Marina decided to break the vicious cycle with something more lively and exciting that she had planned; a morning frolic through the cherry fields and a lifetime supply of wild, juicy crimson fruit.

Everyone spread out through the cherry tree-lined forest with their plastic bags and boxes and began dedicatedly handpicking the scrumptious fruits. Kelly and I however quickly gave up on cherry-picking and instead began eating them, spitting the seeds at each other, skipping through the crops and inciting airbourne photoshoots with our cousins Ray, Karina & Lucas. Meanwhile Domenico and Uncle Kick were launching rotten cherries at us, I suppose they too quickly got over the novely of fruit picking.

Cherry Christmas everybody!

New MGMT album cover, perhaps?

Yes, I’m related to this. No, I’m not proud of it.

When we got back to the ranch we watched Kick sneakily trying to mount the horse whilst the devoted women of the family began cooking up a storm for lunch, which as per usual was divine.

Balding Human Vs. Bountiful Hairy Horse

Patrizia the hungry horse having a cheeky nibble out of mum.

Patrizia strikes again!

But no horse will go near this feral, smelly creature above…

After stuffing ourselves for the fourth and regretfully not the last time that weekend, the Fab Five decided to explore a bit of the countryside and go for a cruise. We discovered a picturesque lake nearby but unfortunately it had also been discovered by a horde of rampant feral families too. With naked fat kids wading in the water, dreadlocked beasts cavorting in the sandboxes and barefoot neanderthiles guarding the barbeque areas we felt cornered and unwanted so we promptly left and headed back to the safety of within the ranch gates.

To erase that distasteful visual memory we declared it “Present Timeeeee!” Everyone gathered around the gift table, which was looking quite bountiful this year thanks to our Kris Kringle initiative that required every family member to participate.

I curiously opened up the little card to my KK present, which began with; “Hello brother”. I knew exactly who it had come from. I shot a highly amused glance at none other than my vampiric brother Kelly. She’d thoughtfully bestowed me with a studded knuckle-duster, some hippie bracelets and those bohemian “worry dolls” we used to put under our pillows as kids to eliminate our concerns and fears throughout the dark night.

The Three Sisters (OPSM advertisers eat your heart out!)

Twas nice to see that everybody participated in this KK gift exchange, even Uncle Kick who finally renounced his tendencies to jokingly buy people bananas, blow up sex dolls and illegally daggy underwear for Christmas, instead buying my auntie some beautiful perfume this year.

We spent the rest of the evening dabbling with Cranium, chilling in the sunshine, chasing the dog around the paddock, witnessing “DOUBLE RAINBOWS!”, dressing up as holy priests, eating our last supper, having a fiery debate about Facebook and playing Italian bingo. I managed to get through Christmas this year without having a breakdown, watching trashy Italian TV shows or falling asleep under the dinner table… and that folks, is quite a fucking feat for grinchy old me!

WOAHHHHHH! A double rainbow! What does this mmeeeaaaaannnnnnn?!?!?!?

The Chris-A-Palooza.

If there’s one person renowned for throwing one of, if not, the best annual summer house parties in the Inner West it’s definitely Chris Romeo (I can already sense his ego growing). Usually such a momentous event is thrown to celebrate his birthday, educational graduation or loss of virginity, but this year it marked his farewell to Sweden. The lucky bastard is jetsetting to Europe for a 6 months of exchange – I might just have to sneak myself into his suitcase somehow!

Christopher’s party was also different this year in that there was a dress-up theme; “Bikinis, Sarongs & Thongs”. I’m not a big fan of themed parties (especially when it involves revealing your body to such extents) so in order to be able to stomach 7 hours of bulky beach bods, tacky leopard cut-out costumes from Hot Line and the general uncomfortability that a fully fledged hot tub party induces, I knew what I had to do; get totally inebriated. And that my friends, is precisely what I did.

After one too many drinks at mine, Sophie and I stumbled into the Romeo gates at 11pm where we found several people throwing shapes on the dancefloor, guzzling booze from Americanised plastic cups, faux sheep rapists, Jacuzzi Junkies and as expected, a horde of half-naked, testosterone-fuelled partygoers. Through my drunken eyes it appeared everyone was having an awesome time.

I’m the ONLY one with demonic cat eyes in EVERY photo… is the camera trying to tell me something?

Unfortunately there’s not much I can recall and recount to you from the evening except for two more things that occurred throughout the night’s course; meeting my archenemy and my soul mate simultaneously. My ultimate nemesis came in the form of an obnoxious infant whose name we must not mention.

He wasted more or less his entire evening warning me of the foul, negative side effects of females drinking beer, crowning me a satanic emo bitch and wishing premature death upon me. I’ve never been so amused by another humans hostility towards me.

Moving on to the love of my life, standing tall at 12.5 inches, with a handsomely chiseled jawline, an irresistible black and white fur coat and a million dollar smile, this very special four-legged friend stole my heart within seconds of me laying eyes upon him. I’m talking about none other than Mr Mittens!

Before I knew it, it was 3am and most of the patrons had left, I was still wide awake though and fairly tipsy. I began harassing Chris’ poor mother – who was starting to sort through and sterilize the ruins and rubble of the party’s aftermath – to please find my shoe harness that had fallen off my fave pair of shoes and a silver leaf ring I’d lost. With the way I was carrying on, I’m positive I firmly etched it into her mind that finding these 2 beloved items was a matter of life or death for me. I’m pretty sure I also implanted this into the minds of a lot of other people at the party who I was half-jokingly whinging to for a solid 5 hours. Anyways a long walk down a dark road and a cab later I finally made it into bed and let my concerned brain go to rest.

Naturally I woke up to a pulsating, unmerciful hangover the next morning. But that’s not the only thing I woke up to. As my eyelids struggled to separate from each other and my cranium began to make sense of what I was seeing in my peripheral vision,  I cranked my head to the bedside table and guess what I found staring me in the face? My god damn shoe harness!! Yep, that’s right, I didn’t even wear the freaking thing to the party, I left it at home all along (oh and my ring ended up being in the car so I didn’t wear that to the party either!!!) Boy did I feel stupid and terribly bad knowing that Chris’ mum was turning the house upside down in search of them… I don’t however, feel guilty for complaining to the rest of the party, because that was quite pleasurable actually!

No one really socializes with or appreciates their neighbours that much anymore. I remember the days where nextdoor neighbours were like family members; you’d have sleepovers, mind each other’s pets, invite them over for lavish birthday banquets and buy them thoughtful Christmas presents. Nowadays you’ll go to extreme lengths to avoid and ignore them. I for instance don’t tend to go outdoors between the hours of 3pm and 4pm because I know that’s when my annoying, highly talkative neighbours are hosing down the driveway, scooping dead leaves into the drains and seeking companionship. It took my new batch of psychotic nextdoor neighbours who’ve managed to crash their car into our wall not once, but twice, for me to realize I’d taken my lovely ex-neighbours for granted. So on Saturday night Mum and I organized a little reunion with them at a local pizzeria. Gifts were exchanged, old memories shared and new memories made – just the way neighbourly relationships should be!

Wow I don’t know where that overly positive outburst came from..

Anyway back to my true cynical, sarcastic self… After things finally wrapped up at dinner I headed to Surry Hills for a 21st birthday that I was simply WAY too late for and hence the action-packed, fun-filled night I’d anticipated quickly vanished from any future possibilities and instead spiraled into epic failure. Why I even bothered to go out I do not know. Since when do birthday parties finish at midnight? I obviously missed the memo and by the time I arrived unfashionably late after 11pm everyone was sloshed and beginning to vacate the premises. I ended up following the herd back to… wait for it… Five Dock pub (kill me), followed by Bianca’s residence which was renamed “Bar 2046”, watched everyone crawl around on the floor screaming “Gale!” and then walked home in the dark. Really eventful.

Mitch brushing his teeth with a handy dandy mini toothbrush he just happened to pull out of his pocket.

Dale rummaging through the Bar 2046 cabinets for any signs of alcohol.

Moving onto another pet hate of mine (apart from pointless nights out) is none other than Christmas. Oh yes, Jesus’ birthday, the day/s everyone gets overexcited, recklessly spendthrifty and unexplainably conventional. So much unnecessary fuss over one day, one day that besides is usually a let down. I already despise having to buy a single present each time someone’s birthday rolls around, and Christmas just tips me over the edge with the obligation to buy MULTIPLE presents; mum, dad, brother… oh and this year my family decided to throw in a Kris Kringle activity so I had to buy my “Secret Santa” victim something too! So basically on Sunday instead of doing something productive and exciting with life, I had to endure the first round of Christmas shopping pandemonium in Westfields. Yes, I’m totally and utterly a self-confessed Grinch.

Flower Power.

Lurking in the graveyard..

Back to Grinchyness, my dear friend Sophie miraculously lured me out of my cave and into my local park for the annual Christmas Carols. I lasted literally 3 seconds in the illuminated park before I turned around and walked back home (partly because the earsplitting sounds of happy children were driving me insane and partly because in the end I couldn’t manage to find Sophie amongst all the confusion anyway).

And to finish up what was quite an uneventful week in my life was our Tuesday night drinks in Halliday Park. Beer, mysterious jumping fish and magnums are what filled our delightful evening by the water…