Monday, 17 October 2011


Henery Hawk: Hey, he called you a chicken.
Foghorn Leghorn: That's what I've been - I say, that's what I've been telling you, boy! I am a chicken!

When did you last spend quality time with a chicken?
I don't mean a visit to Chargrill Charcoal Chicken or a 12 pack of McNuggets or even an afternoon watching Foghorn Leghorn cartoons - I refer instead to a clucking, unplucked, head bobbing, living chook.
If you're like most urban dwellers, it's probably been a while since you ran your fingers through some feathers because it's tough work to cohabit with a chicken in a flat, let alone find room for a coop.
This is a great shame because I reckon if we all had chooks, there'd be a little less aggression in the world, a little less sadness and a greater understanding of the circle of life beyond Lion King songs.
Any kid who grows up on a farm or in the bush knows this cycle: from egg to chick to hen to the dinner table to the soup pot to the scraps bin, back to the chicken coop - and it teaches most a respect for the realities of food production and a distaste for waste: ie - you won't find any of the above children becoming vegetarians.
However, not all chickens end up in an oven; some live out their lives pecking peacefully at the dirt, pooping where they will and nattering to owners like my wonderful Mum.
My parents are a little immobile at the moment due to knee surgery and an impending hip replacement, but I know they manage to derive moments of joy from their three ISA Brown chooks regardless. Both my Mother and Father grew up in the country but have somewhat different mindsets when it comes to their chooks – Mum wants to bring them in when it’s cold and raining and Dad would never entertain such an idea so instead builds them a beautiful big coop and a backyard to boot!
Now I have come to think, after much observation of these great creatures, that these fowl are smarter than we give them credit for. Now I’m not saying that they are about to hatch a plan to escape and open an omelet cafe in Paris...geniuses they are not, however, they still have something approaching intellect.
If you drop your guard, you'll find them on the roof of your neighbours house, looking very pleased with themselves and you're the idiot, waiving a broom and yelling foulness at fowl.
There are many other great aspects to chickens including that once they get to know you they'll follow you around, children derive immeasurable pleasure from them, and it's a great thing knowing your chooks are treated well, feed well & well loved.
However, perhaps their greatest gift is how they make you appreciate the here & now.Like most domestic pets, when you watch a chicken you see a creature totally unconcerned with the past or the future, simply the worm you've unearthed for them while digging a veggie bed in the backyard. I find this simplicity calming and so refreshing.
For my money, however, chickens are one step ahead because, as well as depositing glistening poop for you to clean up, they also leave you beautiful, fresh eggs for breakfast. And they don’t chew up your favourite shoes or go ape-shit when you turn on the vacuum cleaner to clean up all the hair they’ve shed.
And lest you need more convincing, stop to think of the dozens of chicken sayings - from "counting your chickens" and “not putting all your eggs in one basket”, to the old "chicken and egg" story, to "rooster one day, feather duster the next".
Chickens have always had a profound effect on humans and have been at the epicentre of life's teachings for thousands of years, which is why I strongly recommend you spend some time with one next time you get a chance - but don't get too attached...the oven awaits!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

australian girls are the coolest girls

She's been to the races
She's slept on a beach
And blown all her wages

Done her Bridesmaids duty
Had New Years in Byron
People say she's hot
She says: "They're lyin'"

Puts her make-up on driving
Once had her drink spiked
Had sex with some muso
She never even liked

She looks like her Grandma
Those freckles on her nose                    
She goes to the RSL                           
and can repeat the Ode

The honourable poet, Adam Gibson, has penned an incredibly honest, unbiased and acutely accurate poem about Australian girls.
Gibson's band, the Ariel Maps, has taken this well researched and startlingly true poem and turned it into a song - 'Australian Girls Are The Coolest Girls' and made it, well, a real celebration of cool, Australian girls and it's got me thinking about just why us local lasses are fair dinkum special.

"The idea for the song came after I'd been living overseas for some time. I met two Aussie girls who were passing through the town I was living in and it really struck me that most of the Australian girls I knew were very switched on.

They could hold their own in most situations and were very capable in their dealings with the world. They can tell stories, they will have a go at most sports, they have an earthiness about them that is unpretentious and, generally speaking, they will sit you on your arse if you say or do something stupid or out of line" says Gibson.
Gibson explains that it is “a song for my ex girlfriends, for my cousins, for the girls I go to the football with or go camping up the coast with. It's a celebration of my mates, many of whom happen to be Australian Girls. And many of whom are pretty damn cool ... "
See the incredible wisdom in Gibson's words, and being one of the stupendous specimens he speaks of, I made a list of why exactly it is that Australian girls really are the coolest girls.


The Australian girl knows blokes are full of crap but she won't pull out the "men are bastards" speech unless she's talking about her boyfriend losing all their rent money on the horses. 
If she's single she can spend a Saturday night at home with a DVD without thinking her life is miserable. She knows if her guy wants to spend a night out with the boys it doesn't mean he doesn't love her and will lovingly make up the couch for him to pass out on and snore as loud as he likes when he gets home.
Enthusiastic participation at the pub, shows the Australian girl isn’t afraid to knock back a few with mates or whoever is sitting at the bar at knock off time. She will lead Saturdays pub crawl with stamina and determination too.
The Aussie girl also understands a quaint drinking tradition called The Shout.


The Australian girl will join in any water/mud/snow/sand/food fight going and will do her team mates proud with accuracy and her ‘fight to the death’ commitment and courage.


She has a solid group of friends she's had guy-pashing contests with, embarassing but memorable secrets with and occasionally has to slap sense into. She understands only a sociopath would utter the words “I prefer the company of men”.
She may sound crass to the uneducated ear, but really she is just being honest and once you get used to the lingo you’ll realise she is far more genuine and approachable than any girl overseas who you might hear squealing “O.M.G* Nicole, you look totes pritz* - mew*...I wish I was as skinny as you” (yes, there really are girls who speak like that...non-Australian ones of course).

* if you, like me, abhor such inane acronyms you may not know that O.M.G. = ‘oh my god’

* translation = ‘totally pretty’
* apparently this is an expression of sadness/disappointment/regret


She can stop traffic in jeans and a t-shirt but has been known to drop half a week's wages on a pair of heels if they show off her calves. Although, she understands that thongs are all-terrain footwear and will be found in a well loved pair of havianas...if she's wearing shoes at all.


‘Pull my finger’ is not only endlessly funny but a competitive sport for her.


The Australian girl is an optimist. She believes in love, loyalty, laughter and derives enormous happiness from the simple pleasures in life. She adores dogs and kids and the beach and her grandmother's old tea cosies.
In the end she's not a list of attributes, she's a wonderful soul who is only found down under.