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HELLO INTERNET BOY #22: JAZZZZZZZZZ

In Columbia, the real world desperately needed Michelle’s attention again. This was a shame, because she had basically single-handedly organised our entire trip and driven us around and explained why high school kids took her on dates to gas stations (the answer is West Virginia, and it was a FANCY gas station) and why her shithead ex who also played the game might be wandering around her old college town still. But in Columbia she had to go to her partners graduation from medical school and get all dressed up and fancy. And while we were travelling around, while we were day drunk and sleepy in our cabin, she suddenly had to write an essay in order to get the job of her dreams. The real world has trouble letting Michelle go.

The rest of us went to the after party of the graduation after drinking some beers in the most quintessentially American bar I can imagine. It had plates all over the wall. I can’t explain it better than that. The graduation after party was in a fancy cocktail bar with a live jazz band, and for the first time since I’d become traveller Patrick, I felt like I wanted to be real world Patrick again. And the reason for that was very simple: clothes. There I was in my sneakers and stinky travel t-shirt, rubbing my tourist shoulders with well dressed, freshly minted doctors, and I felt off. I like clothes a lot, and I wanted to be wearing some nice shoes.

There was also the fact that we were Michelle’s weird internet friends, and they were her fancy doctor friends. We weren’t sure if we should even say that we are ancient nerd brethren, and instead lie, and say that we are a travelling tuba group or something more respectable. Steven spilt his drink all over the floor and the only topic of conversation I could think of was ‘when I get back to Australia I’m having a colonoscopy!’

But it was fine. Jazz is such a wanky thing.

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HELLO INTERNET BOY #21: Walmart

I wanted to buy some crazy American t-shirts where eagles are made out of flags and carry a wingful of guns and underneath it says ‘Freedom’, so they took me to Walmart. I’m not sure if Australia has an analogue to what Walmart is, but I vaguely knew its reputation through a thousand absorbed references via pop culture. Walmart didn’t disappoint. I walked into what I can only describe as a fluorescent aircraft hanger full of crap. Things spilled from the shelves into the aisles, and rat people pawed through the miscellanea in search of salvation. At one point we got stuck behind a slow moving behemoth who has absorbed their trolley into their body and took up the entire lane and glared balefully at anyone who tried to overtake. We made the mistake of asking an employee where the crazy t-shirt section was, and they gestured with one limp hand towards 3/4 of the shop, which could probably fit the entire population of small European nations, depending on how you stacked them. I went to look at the cookies and discovered that everything has peanut butter in them, everything in the entire world, and I’m ok with that. When I went to the cashier with my cookies and my shirts, I swiped my card and it made a weird beeping noise and she just wandered off, never to return.

It was everything I dreamed of, and more.

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HELLO INTERNET BOY #20: Duelling Piano Bar

When we drove out of Cincinnati, I saw a sign for something called a ‘duelling piano bar’ which I thought sounded hilarious, and I took a photo of it. Little did I know that duelling piano bars are a thing that are in lots of places. I was promised two things on this road trip, and one was that they would take me to a Walmart and show me what horror was, and one was that we’d have a night out at a duelling piano bar.

In Asheville, North Carolina, we stayed in a ridiculous suite with a giant two person (or potentially six person probably) bathroom, which is because you can get amazing deals when you’re travelling in the middle of the week. I was super excited about the shower, but in the end it was basically just a really big shower and not overly exciting.

We went to some beer garden and played giant jenga again, which also seems to be a thing, and we wrote Aelyrian slurs on the jenga blocks. It’s still endlessly funny to me that people in North Carolina are playing giant jenga and reading elvish insults. Michelle and my character’s are in the same elvish noble house, the once extended Al’lende clan. I was one of the many black sheep, while Michelle was the strict grandma. We wrote ‘House Al’lende RUNS this empire’ and laughed like only giant nerds on a giant nerd roadtrip playing giant jenga can laugh.

By the time we got to the duelling piano bar, I was well-beered and ready for whatever the hell a duelling piano bar was. Two men sat on a stage, with pianos facing each other, and one was singing. People in the crowd sang along. It turned out that you gave them suggestions along with some money for songs to sing, and then they sang them. I’m not sure exactly where the duel came into it, except that perhaps they were competing for tips?

One of the piano players was a vaguely ex-military looking guy with a buzzcut and a big gut and giant pouchy eyes, and he really led the night in the banter. A lot of the time he teased people into singing or made off-colour jokes. The other guy was handsome and had a jaunty show-tunes voice and he sometimes made jokes about boobs, but when he did, he stared blankly into the distance like he was dead inside.

It was a stupidly fun night. My friends requested Land Down Under in honour of me, and we started getting insane about requesting songs. A lot of songs about North Carolina were sung that I’d never heard before, so I just bopped my head along like an idiot in case I was singled out for not being enthusiastic enough.

And then some people in a wedding party were invited onto the stage after a song was requested for them. The military piano guy made them play a game where they sang a song and touched each other in different places when he sang, which heads up, basically meant he sang the word ‘boobs’ a million times, and it was excruciatingly uncomfortable. Then the future husband guy, who was wearing a polo shirt and cargo pants and had a mean, bored look, started trying to ‘join in’ on the fun and rib his future wife, which meant he kept saying things like ‘I’m not marrying her for her smarts’ and ‘she can’t do math, but she looks good’ and it was just the worst thing.

Sometime preceding this, Lyndsay, who can drink more than the rest of us combined, had tipped into slightly boisterous tipsy, and had ordered shots of something sweet and gross for everyone and started heckling the misogynist husband bro.

‘Boooooo’ she yelled, while everyone clapped and cheered.

‘You can do better!’ she yelled to the lady.
‘It’s not too late’.

It was clear the lady was pissed as well, an eventually she left the stage. Later on, we would see the dude leave the women’s bathrooms with a smirk on his face and it was just the grossest thing in the world.

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HELLO INTERNET BOY #19: Vertigone

A quarter of the way over the river, I forced myself to look over the edge of the railings at the water and trees so far below us. I immediately got that sense of vertigo, like my head was huge and heavy and my feet were tiny and couldn’t possibly support me. The railing came up to my hips, and it felt like I only needed to lean against it and I’d flip right over and cartwheel into the West Virginian forest below. We also had harnesses with basically a dog lead connecting us to some wires. The vertigo stopped, and despite the feeling that this entire bridge would break and I’d be falling any moment, the view was beautiful, showing us rafters going down rapids and long coal trains and abandoned mines and falcons soaring below us and diving for prey. Trucks rumbled over the top of us, causing the walkway to shake, and my hands to grip the rusty railing so tightly that flecks of iron started to gather in the creases.

We are on a bridge walk near Fayetteville, West Virginia. It’s apparently one of the longest continuous suspension bridge walks in the world, and it spans the entire underside of the bridge, walking through the girders and suspension beams. Our guide was a young local comes back from college to work in the summer. He liked to tell stories about dangerous things that his “friends” had done on the bridge during high school, about sneaking onto the walkway without harnesses during the night and drinking hooch and throwing traffic cones into the river. ‘My friends are pretty crazy’ he says, but everyone knows that he was there too. As we walk along, he is entertaining and professional and slick – too slick, I decide. He points out the falcon nests in the bridge – they’d been bought in especially to kill all the pigeons that had been corroding the bridge with their acid poop. He talks about a year event called ‘Bridge Day’ when apparently there are people jumping off the bridge every twenty seconds. I imagine jumping off the bridge, and immediately get dizzy again.

Halfway across the bridge, Michelle and Lyndsay noticed that me and Steven are walking weird. The entire time we’ve kind of been shuffling forward like old people, hands always on the rusty railing like we’re learning how to walk again, head relentlessly forward. Lyndsay and Michelle in comparison are skipping around, sitting down and taking selfies.
‘Are you guys OK?’ they ask.
Me and Steven are both like ‘fine, but you know, scared of heights’.
Everyone laughs.

It’s been a few days now, and I feel like I get Steven more. He doesn’t always say a lot, and when he does, it’s usually a killer pun. He affects a kind of weary, sarcastic cynicism of everything, and talks about how much he hates everyone on the trip. I never believed that he actually hated anyone – it’s not like he was forced to come on this trip, but I couldn’t quite work out why this was happening. In improv, we’re taught to find ‘the game’ in the scene, which is the point of difference, the funny thing that you can use to facilitate dialogue and up the energy. I understood that the sarcastic pose was the game with Steven, and it was easy to play along with. But the question remained – was he an asshole trying to be entertaining, or was he a nice guy being entertaining by pretending to be an asshole? In Cincinnati when I first met him, I discovered a dog and somehow ended up cuddling the dog and rolling around with it, and it was amazing, and during this Steven just kinda walked away. ‘Not a dog person’ I decided, which kinda leant credence to the asshole theorum. But later I discovered that only a day or two earlier, his dog had died suddenly, and he was standing away because it hurt him. I’ll break any tension here – it turned out he is a super nice guy, like one of those extremely rare nice people.

Michelle, who was the designated trip-mom, and had single-handedly organised everything we were doing, kept asking us why we hadn’t said we were scared of heights before we climbed over some really really tall bridge. Steven and I just shrugged a lot. For me, I don’t really have acrophobia, but being up high kinda fits in with my general anxiety. Honestly, the thing I worried about the most the entire walk was my phone. Everyone was waving their phones around to take photos, and it just gave me the hibblies. I have phone-horror. But I’ve also never said no to any height based related activity, unless it’s stupid like skydiving or bungee jumping. I will climb your monument or stand on the glass floor of your tower, because it feels good to know that I am not defined by this fear. It feels better than doing something which comes easily to me. It’s a very similar feeling I had when I got on the plane to come over here.

This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016

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HELLO INTERNET BOY #18: American Eagles on the road

The first day of our road trip was also our longest, a seemingly endless procession of wide roads and stretching legs numbly in parking lots at gas stations. The conversation ebbed and flowed from confidential to light banter and all the way into hysterical tiredness. It was also psychotically beautiful – we drove out of Ohio, into Kentucy and then into the green, misty hills of West Virginia. Dense, cold looking trees lined the highways, and even though it was hot and humid and summer when you exited the car, I could imagine these mountains in the winter. Birds of prey circled in the distance, and I asked if they were potentially eagles, knowing how obsessed ‘Murica is with eagles, but I was told they were falcons. Honestly falcons are also really cool. For a while every falcon I saw, I’d say ‘Hello Tobias’, but not everyone in the car had read animorphs.

Michelle got really excited as we passed into West Virginia, which is where she comes from. She told us that she would never want to live there again, would never raise a family there, and sometimes feels guilty about that, about not supporting the state and working to make it better, instead moving to somewhere else. But when she drives into it, and the vista suddenly plunges from smoothness into long ripples of small green mountains, she says it feels like home.

She drove us though the town she went to college, and we ate lunch. We also visited every gas station in search of diesel, trawling up and down the same main road. While we did this, we learnt about the town – about how it was a major drug distribution centre, and how for years and years the FBI had run one of the gas stations in town as a front in order to catch the heroin runners. We didn’t go to the FBI gas station. 

It was late at night when we finally pulled into the cabins we were staying at in Fayetteville. Fireflies sparked and the air felt clean and leafy and cicadas hummed in the distance, and I think even if we hadn’t been driving for a thousand hours, the place would have still felt enchanted. We decided immediately that we should stay another night here, as in the morning we were scheduled to be on the road again.

And while we were grateful to be out of the car, and to run around catching fireflies in our hands and eating a dinner of cheese and berries, we were still happy, which is how I knew this would be a successful road trip. I’d been on journeys two hours out of Sydney, where I already knew that I couldn’t spend a minute longer with my friends. This was hours and hours and while some of us knew each other really well, and some of us were strangers, the group dynamic was fresh and newborn and strange and could have simply refused to work, through no fault of our own. But when everyone decided to play a game where we pointed at things we saw off the road and explain them to me as different types of eagles – cows were beef eagles, horses were saddle eagles – I realised I was with some pretty stupid people, and I’d fit in just fine.


This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016


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HELLO INTERNET BOY #17: Sin-Sin-Atti


We began our roadtrip in Cincinnati, a city that didn’t look, but felt like Wollongong in Australia. There were just enough sketchy looking people in tracksuit pants, and just enough weirdly empty streets and youths congregated outside of a library, and the air was hot and thickly humid. But it wasn’t Wollongong, it was Ohio.

Michelle drove us to the hotel we were staying at, and the lady at the desk immediately started joking with us. The security guard, a weird man who proudly led the conversation with the statement that he’d lived in Cincinnati for twenty years, gravely and politely asked why Michelle had confirmed that we were in non-smoking rooms. 
‘Excuse me miss – may I enquire as to why you asked about the non-smoking rooms? Are smoking rooms a common occurrence where you are from?’

Michelle didn’t want to say that the reviews of this hotel generally claimed the rooms had a smoky smell. It turned out that the security guard had a scheme to create a smoking-only hotel. After New York, having anyone, even weird security guards be friendly and polite and crack jokes was so so lovely.

Our rooms were incredibly smoky.

We then followed directions down the street to a place called Barcade – a bar full of arcade machine – to meet up with the rest of our party, Lyndsay and Steven. Lyndsay bound out to meet us, vaguely annoying the bouncer behind her. After she hugged Michelle, she had what looked like a small seizure, but what I understand was actually excitement to meet me. Steven looked reserved, but that makes sense, I didn’t know him. Unlike Michelle and Lyndsay, I’d never interacted socially with him on Aelyria – when I played he’d been around twelve years old. I also never roleplayed with him. Him and Lyndsay are excellent friends now. There are so many good friendship stories from this game. There are so many bad relationship stories from this game. 

Lyndsay was always incredibly fun to chat with, and I remember in my first year of uni I’d come home to my parents place and immediately message her. I’m pretty sure I had a massive crush on her then, but she was dating another Aelyrian at the time, who was very sarcastic. I am not very sarcastic.

We all went to a rooftop bar and sat in the hot night and Lyndsay and her boyfriend recommended American beers for me, which was so exciting. When I asked a bartender in Brooklyn what beer he recommended, he sneered at me and said ‘what, have you never had a beer before?’ I had an IPA and a burger and we discussed the itinerary of the trip and I was so tired I felt like I might die, but I also couldn’t believe that we were actually starting the trip I’d been planning for so long. I kept thinking I should pay more attention, and maybe ask more questions, but I didn’t. 
This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016

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HELLO INTERNET BOY #16: Butter Jesus

I flew away from Washington and the plane dipped low over the big Washington phallus, and I thought ‘hey look it’s that thing from the disaster movies’. I then followed the line of sight up a long green lawn and thought ‘oh hello! It’s the Whitehouse. It’s Obama’s place!’

I hadn’t really realised that I’d be transferring through Washington airport, so I felt this was a surprise bit of touristing. It seemed the perfect amount. I sat back in my chair with complete relief, just so happy that I was finally out of airport hell. I texted my friend Michelle, who was picking me up from Dayton with the details of the flight I’d managed to wrangle. ‘See you soon!’ I wrote.

And then I realised that I really would see her soon. After over ten years of being friends, I would actually see her for the first time.

‘I can’t believe I’m actually going to see you soon!’ I wrote, but it wasn’t true. I could believe it, I could believe it 100%, it felt like I’ve been expecting to do this forever.

I’ve written about it elsewhere, but Michelle popped up on my AOL messenger to say hello because I’d written on my profile that I like elves and reading. A friendship was born. I like to imply that she immediately hit me with the hard-sell to play Aelyria, like she was out there trawling shitty chat services like a charismatic army recruiter, but I think it happened after we’d chatted for a while. In vampire terminology, she is my Aelyrian sire. She’s the reason for all of… this. 

At Dayton, OHIO, I walked on shit-brown small airport carpet and past incomprehensible ads for local businesses and out into the greeting area, and there she was, and I didn’t think ‘AHA! So that’s HER!’ I just thought ‘hey looks it’s Michelle’. I hugged her so hard that her sunglasses fell off, and that’s when I decided to believe her many claims that she is a child sized adult.


We did some requisite boggling, I did some bitching about cabs that don’t turn up and airports and then we walked to the car and by that point we were just chatting, chatting in that way that old friends do where nobody quite finishes exactly what they’re saying because so many tangents spin off. I wish I could say it was weird, or strange but I kept having to remind myself that this wasn’t super normal and we haven’t ever driven through Ohio together/ ever met before. Every time I did remind myself, it felt special though, like something that I’d been waiting for for a long time, a decade long pent up breath that I had no idea I was holding.


We drove on the long freeway chatting and chatting and saw a giant statue of Jesus outside a mega church and I basically screamed because it was so big and so weird, and Michelle practically drove off the side of the road so we could find a way back to it and take photos. She told me about another giant jesus statue near where she grew up which had been commonly nicknamed ‘butter Jesus’ because it’s yellow and our saviour looks soft and melty. 


This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016


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HELLO INTERNET BOY #15: road trip

We’ve driven through six US states, from the mid-west to the south. I’m sitting in a hot Holiday Inn in Columbia, South Carolina, with a room that looks out on a gorgeous, blasted parking lot. On the way here, we drove past the town hall, with its famous confederate flag hanging limply in front of it, like a tired racist bat. It’s nice to be somewhere that might be more racist than Australia.

Every day of this trip deserves a story, but it’s been busy. It’s been hours of delirious driving and grateful beers that turn into more and more beers. It’s been beautiful log cabins surrounded by fireflies in West Virginia, and duelling piano bars in North Carolina. There’s so much to unpack, but I can’t just yet, I’m still too busy being in the middle of it, and there are my old/new friends to talk to.

As of now, it feels like we’ve always been travelling together, that our entire life has been spent looking at Yelp for places to get breakfast, and playing card games over a dinner of cheese and berries. It’s not the same as talking to them in a chat room, but it’s similar. There’s the occasional tendency to tell a story or announce a personal fact as if we didn’t already know that, like we hadn’t been chatting online when that happened seven years ago – but I retell stories all the time, so it doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary. 

Sometimes we gossip about the game that we used to all play. Nowadays only Michelle and Steven still play, me and Lyndsay having drifted off, me because of laziness and busyness, and Lyndsay because of the people who made her time there become less a game and more a chore. There is always gossip to tell about the game. It’s always been that way – I like to bring up things that happened back when I played at the turn of the century, and to discover new shocking information about it, about power plays and cliques and coups. Every person I’ve ever spoken to about the game has something to relate to about this kind of thing, and every person seems generally embarrassed to talk about it.

At a brewery in Asheville, NC, we played a game of giant Jenga, and people wrote graffiti on the big wooden blocks, and we wrote a bunch of Allerian graffiti on them, laughing at the idea of regular Americans being baffled by our in-jokes. It feels strange every so often, this weird convoluted in-joke that has brought us together and led to us driving for so many hours through fierce sun-showers and over mist-wreathed mountains and through endless gas stations, strange but also perfect.


This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016


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HELLO INTERNET BOY #14: of rat kings and other things

I want to write about my last days in New York, the gorgeous slow summer nights and the feeling of momentum and excitement I had finally, of wandering around seeing dear friends and drinking and seeing shows with new friends. I also want to write about my first time performing improv on stage, how I sat in the green room of UCB Chelsea and suddenly realised ‘I know this place – I’ve seen this place ON YOUTUBE’. Or about wandering the city after our last class at UCB trying to find a place where we could have a drink, but not exclude our underage compatriots, and ending up at some bowling alley, competing with about five different 12th birthday parties. I will write about all these things, but first I have to write about today, about now, sitting in an airport in Washington DC, ‘old swampy’ as it’s known, where I feel shaky and overwhelmed.

This morning at 5.30am, I waited out the front of my AirBnB for a cab that I’d ordered days earlier. Fifteen minutes passed, and I felt a cold thrill. This is literally a recurring nightmare I have, that I’m waiting for a taxi to take me to the airport and it never comes and I miss my flight. I called the cab service, and the guy on the other end chewed gum loudly and said ‘Yeah buddy, no problem, he’s on his way.’ Another fifteen minutes passed. ‘Yeah look, he’s still coming, he went to the wrong address, it will be cool’. Another fifteen minutes. ‘He said he called you already, but he’s trying to find you’. I hadn’t spoken to anyone. I was very polite. Finally the guy started wincing whenever he repeatedly asked me what time my flight went. ‘Yeah look buddy, I don’t like your chances!’ He told me, as if I’d made some mistake somehow. Finally he gave me the number of a rival cab service, who after I called them showed up in five minutes. I now had half an hour before my flight went. 

As my cab crawled torturously through the traffic, I felt like I was the best version of calm I could be. I was on point, I was poised, I was an arrow nocked and ready to shoot across continental America. I honestly believe the worst part of any city is the route to the airport, and the sides of the road that we ambled past looked cartoonishly evil – dark clouds covered gritty tractors that clawed at the wet earth slowly and awfully. It looked like any moment Pink Floyd should start wanking on about a wall. I decided that this was the closest to a living nightmare I’d experienced. My two recurring nightmares have been about my grandma being held captive in the sewers by the king of the rats, and this, this breakdown of plans, this powerlessness. 

When I was a kid and thought I was a wizard, I invented a spell for good luck which I used to chant under my breath when things weren’t going my way, and which probably contributed to my ‘unpopular and crazy’ vibe. I found myself thinking about that spell for the first time in years, but not chanting it. We pulled into the airport and I tumbled out of the cab and I realised my plane was supposed to be leaving at this exact moment. I thought about the spell real hard. I thought ‘I wish things would explode and burn if it meant me making this flight’. I also thought about how in the scheme of things, it’s really fine, I wouldn’t die, things can be fixed. But I didn’t believe it.

Anyway, I ran and gibbered at people and got a boarding pass and then waited for the insane US screening procedures and then with shoes unlaced and passport in my mouth for some reason, I ran the entire length of the airport and reached my gate in the nick of time and caught the plane three hours later. Yep. There was a mechanical issue and we waited for three hours, and my connecting flight in Washington came and went. I decided I may have cast my spell slightly too hard. 

I’m at Washington now, and I’m on standby for a plane at 3pm. I am sitting across from a fast food joint called ‘Five Guys’ which judging from the oil soaked bags everyone carries away, is he model for Paunch Burger. If I can’t get on the next plane, I’ll have to wait until 7pm, but I can deal with inconvenience really well, I’m a master at waiting. I just hate being late or missing things, and I hate rat kings.


This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016


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HELLO INTERNET BOY #13: The Colony

Part of the format for learning level 1 improv at UCB is all about monologues. After we get a one word suggestion, such as ‘skeleton’ or ‘rebellion’ or if it’s an actual audience ‘dildo’, one of us goes on stage and thinks of a story from their life that might relate. And then we do three scenes inspired from the suggestion + monologue, which is a kind of very basic start to what is called a ‘Harold’ which is the improv format that UCB specialises in. But I’m over-explaining improv – I have been living and breathing it for the last week, I’m sorry.

Doing all these monologues is an amazing way to get to know your classmates in one intense, overwhelming week. There’s a guy who talked about his time in rehab, his experiences in the pretentious art dealing world, his apartment in SoHo – he didn’t say it out loud, but he’s super rich. There’s the slightly creepy older dude, Pensive Bob whose scenes are always about dicks and toilet humour and hammy ex-wife gags, who tells monologues about taxes and owning a business, and then about his wife dying and trying to recreate his life as an actor. I feel like I know more about these people than I do some of my close friends. 

The star of the monologues has to be an Irish chap named Declan, whose every story was not only super interesting and funny, but was told in a captivating and charming way. Perhaps a typical Irish gift of the gab, although his experiences are anything but typical. One of his monologues was about working at a summer camp in Germany, and having to rescue a small girl who fell down a tiny crack in the wall. Another was about being dressed as a giant dog and arguing with the police who were shutting down the party he had very legally organised. It’s funnier when he tells them.

But the story that got me, was when he talked about being on a reality TV show called ‘The Colony’ in Australia, where his family and a British family and an ‘Aussie’ family and an Indigenous family all lived in the outback in simulated conditions of the first days of the British colony in Australia, ie old timey clothes and bad food and farm work. He was eighteen years old at the time, and said ‘it was horrible and amazing’.

As he was telling the story, I suddenly said ‘oh my god’ because I remembered watching an episode of this. At first I assumed I must have captioned it, when I worked as a captioner, because otherwise I don’t really watch reality TV, but it was on back in 2005-6, and I remember watching it at university as part of a class about post-colonial Australia. 

Apparently one of the contestants, or participants, I’m not sure if there was a prize or even goal for the show, was acting strange and the producers pulled him out. They realised he was actually a criminal, a diagnosed sociopath, and they kicked him off the show. Then a few weeks later, they all realised that he’d trekked his way back out into the desert, and was living near their camp again.

 Anyway, it’s a great story. I goddamn love having the opportunity to fly across the world and hear these people’s weird stories.


This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016