Friday, December 23, 2011

The Doust Files - Albany Advertiser 20/12/2011

You want my view of the change of route for the annual Christmas Pageant? Here it is.
I was one of sock creatures walking alongside the giant Christmas stocking in the Albany Comedy Club’s ground breaking float last Saturday.  Well, hardly a float, more a stack of recycled socks carried along by feet.
We don’t reckon Flinders Parade is the place for a pageant. At least half of it runs alongside the caravan park and nobody stood there and only a few took advantage of the CWA lawn.
Our vote goes to York Street and most who hung around for a chat at the end said the same thing: York is the king. The Ellen Cove grassy verge did, however, seem very jolly all decked out in stalls and frippery and a number suggested it would be an ideal venue for the next boat load of baby boomers with more cash than sense.
And now let me respond to the suggestion that the change was about refocussing the event to make it a “less commercial, more family oriented affair.”
Hang on, there is no more commercial time of the year than Christmas. It’s all about commerce. When it’s over economic statisticians will reveal how well the economy is doing by disclosing the amount of dosh spent in the lead up and aftermath.
Christmas is no longer about the birth of that great bloke Jesus, it’s full of pagan symbols and mainly about consumption - eating, drinking and wrapping paper.
The mighty York is designed for a pageant - it’s our Main Street, provides perfect viewing both sides, up, down and middle, plus plenty of places for a coffee and milkshake. Middleton - a magnificent beach – might once have been an entertainment hub, but until Calamari’s gets back on the boil, it’s a dead dud. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Doust Files - Albany Advertiser 6/12/2011

Sorry, it's a bit late this one. too much on my mind. Too much to do. Enjoy your festive season.

As always at this time of the year you will find me in Manjimup working on the Cherry Harmony Festival.
It’s not easy, eating plump ripe cherries for a solid week. You have to train yourself, take a couple here and a couple there, then, finally, plunge headlong, mouth open.
 What’s it all about, people often ask, assuming that it’s about cherries? Nothing is all about cherries, not even a cherry festival. But it is all about food and the ability of this rich and fertile south western corner to provide an abundance of delicacies for those who live in the northern wastelands.
It started 10 years ago when Manjimup was in the grip of despair following the dismantling of the timber industry. A couple of local groups and Paul Omodei, ex-MLA for the region, decided to hold a public meeting.
What a day it was and all day I spruiked: “What this town needs is a cherry festival!” and all day tired old men came up to me and said: “You’re an idiot.”
Then, when all seemed lost, four women stormed my personal space and yelled: “You’re right. You’re a genius! We’re having a cherry festival.”
I shook their hands, congratulated them and wished them well. They refused to let me go and said: “You don’t get out of it that easy, matey. You are on the committee, you’re part of the team, stacking chairs, consoling lost children and calling the Australasian Cherry Pip Spitting Championships.”
This year is the 10th, all in a row, and each year bigger and better than the previous and even though a number of festivals have threatened to be cherryless, they always magically appear, ripe and plump enough to send folk away in much the same condition.