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North Perth, WA, 6006
Australia

Using what as a paintbrush?

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

Using what as a paintbrush?

Andrew Ryan

I am writing this week’s article in a hotel room, at a golf resort, just outside of Surfer’s Paradise. The last time I was in Queensland, I must have been about ten years old? Maybe? So when I was invited to accompany my filmmaker friend with my camera, I jumped at the chance. Most expenses paid? Yes please. The only problem is that this place has proven to be incredibly average. It’s only been about twenty-four hours, but so far Surfer’s Paradise is a total non-event.

First of all, the flight was delayed for just over an hour. We weren’t told this was going to happen until fifteen minutes of waiting for take off. And the reason for delay? First they said it was a non-specific technical problem. Then, after engineers started stomping up and down the aisle, they decided to let us in on the fact that the technical problem was a toilet-based one. To make things worse in the boredom stakes, my friend and I were seated ten rows away from each other, he with a book, me with nothing but a thin issue of Vice magazine, which I had already read in the airport (I was extremely hungover when I packed my bags, four hours before the flight, and I didn’t think about anything except the swimming pool at the hotel).

For the majority of my giant-metal-tube-with-wings enclosure, I was seated next to a woman in her 50’s with a cough worse than mine, one of those phlegmy numbers, choc-full of germs and viruses and everything. I couldn’t handle the boredom anymore, so I went up and sat in the free seat next to my buddy and read over his shoulder for an hour or so. When the time came for descent, I went back to my seat, and my flight neighbour decided to tell me all about her sickness, and how she hasn’t been able to shake it for three weeks. Nothing works, she said. The medicine doesn’t really help, she said. It just won’t go away, she said. Fuck you lady, because this morning I woke up with a sore throat and too much mucus in my nose. I blame her for my sick, as well as the rain I had to walk through across the tarmac when we finally arrived at the Gold Coast airport.

So we got to the hotel after a half hour taxi ride (I think cabs here are more expensive than Melbourne or Perth), tired and hungry, but because the flight was delayed, by the time we got to our room, the room service was no longer available. All that was available was cup-a-soup and crisps from the overpriced little snack shop near reception. Freaking assholes. Still, I do have a love for cup-a-soups, so it seemed all right, until I opened it and found I wasn’t supplied with a tiny fork. We didn’t have forks in the room either, so I had to use a teaspoon. As we all know, metal is the best thing ever at conducting heat, so every fucking time I tried to put those delicious noodles in my mouth, not only was it an unsatisfying amount due to lack of prongs, but the fucker burnt mouth lips and tongue.

I had a terrible night’s sleep, woke up at 6:30am, couldn’t get back to sleep for two hours, woke up at a decent time (midday) and the sun was nowhere to be seen. I was disappointed. No beach action today. And when we went into town, I saw only one ridiculous surfer boy walking through the main strip dressed in a wetsuit and carrying a surfboard. I was led to believe there were more. And I only saw four girls with fake tans, tiny shorts and heels walking down the street, and two of them were dressed that way for promotional purposes. Again, I was led to believe there were more. Maybe it’s because it’s a Tuesday, or maybe because it’s nearly June, but I wasn’t laughing at the local wildlife nearly as much as I was expecting to.

Walking around Surfer’s Paradise, I was struck by a complete lack of anything to do beside shopping and eating. It’s a fucking capitalist nightmare. Tourist trap bullshit, skyscraper hotels and holiday apartments, Irish pubs on every corner, ice-cream shops nearly as often, women in their 30’s with tight ponytails walking around in maxi-dresses, their arms full of bags with more maxi-dresses. The only thing vaguely interesting on the street was the ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ museum, but the price for entry wasn’t displayed anywhere. When we asked the girl at the desk for the price, she informed us it was only $21 each. When we asked why it wasn’t displayed anywhere in brochures or posters, she was very honest about the management’s sales techniques. As a result, I know it won’t be worth the price, but we’re totally going to go in and have a look on Thursday anywhere, because as my friend pointed out: “It’s got real life weird shit, like dinosaur eggs and shit.” Word. Everyone likes dinosaurs.

I believe my time here will become more exciting as we actually fulfill our purpose for being here; that is, meeting, interviewing, film and taking photos of a man who has chosen to spend his life painting portraits of people using his penis as a paintbrush. Rad, right? Yeah. Friends on facebook will be duly to directed to the outcome as soon as it’s ready, so keep any eye out kids, it should be much more interesting than the complaints I have about my Gold Coast experience so far.