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459 Fitzgerald Street
North Perth, WA, 6006
Australia

Why I Relove Perth

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

Why I Relove Perth

Andrew Ryan

I’m back in Perth for the first time in twelve months. I moved away just over three years ago, and this is the first time since I left that I have had the urge to find a job here and stay. Before you go getting all excited (because every person in Perth gives a thousand damns that little Tahlia Palmer misses living here, obviously), I won’t be doing anything like that- I have a flight booked for the end of the month, I’ll be getting on that Tiger aircraft (ergh), and hopefully will have a new job to start as soon as I get back. It’s only been four days and already I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to find a different job, and that I have a whole lot of planning and goal setting to do… but for now, I have a few weeks to just relax and enjoy my birth city and all the things that come with it.

Friday night was an impromptu wine party at my oldest, bestest friend in the world’s house. His housemate painted most of my finger nails this horrible sickly green colour (which I love), and a few of them were painted blue with sparkles over the top, which is apparently vaguely Nicki Minaj (I have to trust the nail artist on this one, I don’t know about these things), and I watched America’s Next Top Model and drank red wine very quickly, and then Abdul arrived with his karaoke machine and I drank more red wine then SANG. And it turned out their neighbours were old buddies of mine too so they hung out for a bit, and more wine was drunk, and I gave a haircut in there somewhere too, and sang more and even got complimented on my voice a few times, and then I decided to sing “Confide in Me” by Kylie Minogue and then I started getting the comparisons to Kylie Minogue because we’re both small and blonde and have huge weird smiles sometimes. My last memory from the night is sitting alone on the lounge room floor, slumped against the couch with my huge wine glass nearly empty, passionately singing Space Oddity to myself. I must have fallen asleep with a smile on my face, and I definitely woke up with one, despite the fuzzy brain and the nagging dehydration headache.

Good friends! Old friends! I felt warm and loved and home, and I didn’t quite realised how much I missed these people until I was there with them. They’re working hard at their chosen artistic pathways, and it’s exciting and lovely to be around them. One friend took me antiquing with him on the Saturday to help find the perfect table for his next sculpture project. Driving around all over the suburbs in his ute, eating Chicken Treat on the ute tray in a carpark with the sun shining on us so hard that we didn’t need to wear our jackets anymore, seeing how the city I used to know so well has moved and grown according to mining money, getting told stories about the little bits and pieces I’d missed… I was giddy and chirpy all day.

I went along to my first ever gig at The Bird that night for The Flower Drums’ album launch (http://theflowerdrums.bandcamp.com/ ). The place was packed, and I was pleased as punch because I’ve been watching this group since it’s inception (http://www.coolperthnights.com/articles/steadyeye/359 ), and here they were all settled back into Perth, playing as a full band, with Aden on guitar and Leigh bouncing around on stage belting that beautiful voice out over the crowd. The support acts were great too. I took an especial fancy to Leure; man, that woman sure knows how to make a tune. Calm melancholia, layered electronic prettiness… I’m no music reviewer, especially not when it comes to electronica, so I’ll have to settle with “ I LOVE HER” and leave it at that.

After the gig was a house party at Leigh’s abode (“The White House” is what I’ve seen it described as in the street press), with a bon fire and tunes and punch and loads of people I’d never met before and a bunch of people I’d encountered years and years ago when I was photographing Perth music constantly. The attitude was so nice, so different to what I remember this town being like. Maybe it was the circles I ran in back then, maybe it was my own perception of people and art and music at the time that made things appear distorted, cold, boring, desperate…but those two days out and about being with Perthians in their own environments made me long to live here again, and do it better this time, and I got this sense that I would not feel absolutely trapped and frustrated like I used to, which is rather enticing.

The last two nights have been spent in the hills at my mother’s house, playing with her dog, eating all the food in the cupboard, burning off branches, hanging out with my 15 year old brother, trying to convince him to learn to love vegetables, and teaching him how to take photos and use photoshop. I have a bed set up in ma’s studio, with stacks of tapestry wool and boxes of material looming over me as I sleep on the fold out couch thing, and while it’s not the most physically comfortable thing in the world, my brain is so fucking relaxed, because I wake up to beautiful sunlight coming through the trees and the magpies chatter not too loudly, but loudly enough to slowly bring me back to consciousness and I can’t help but smile because it’s a fucking nice holiday I’m having so far.

Some of my family members (and a few of my friends) have asked me to move back to Perth, or have straight out told me to. My brother wants a hairdresser. My friend wants his friend back. Another friend wants a lover. My mum wants her daughter. My cousin wants a baby sitter. My grandma wants her whole family together. And I don’t really know what I want. I think I want to study film. I think I want to stop working at the bar. I think want a pet. I think I want it to be in Melbourne but I’m not sure anymore.

Perth, your inhabitants are fucking beautiful and I thank you for that. I have my introverted moments, but I definitely need good people around me to function normally, and so many of them are here. But there are good people all over the world. I suppose I’m just going to have to resign myself to a life of traveling around to see all the good people, and take photos of them and write stories about them and make films out of the stories… or something. I don’t know. And I’m glad being here has put me in a little spin, a confused tizzy about what to do next, because challenge and change is good for the mind, and being comfortable in situations you don’t actually like is bad.