I love living in the North. Last night we went to something in the Edinburgh Gardens called ‘The Village’ – enough food, fun and puppetry to last you the rest of your days.
Shouldering our way past the clumps of hippies and their bikes (for those not in the Wick, it is de rigeur to meet one’s pals in the Edinburgh Gardens, dump the bikes in a circle on the grass and lounge about aesthetically going ‘yar’ and checking everyone out, as though you were extras in a John Butler Trio video. Anyway), we found the entrance to The Village. Like the entrance to a mini-kingdom made of cardboard and gaffer tape, or the fairytale monarchy in Desperate Living.
Some – I can’t describe them any other way – travelling minstrels had scored some incredible grant from Yarra Council, and were hawking their wares and talents around the countryside. In other words, VCA graduates.
They had made these beautiful little tasselled tents, scattered pillows and rugs about, had a wee band, sold coffee, dumplings and even pofferjies. Around the outside of this charmed area were theatrical venues: a tent for a puppet show called ‘The Shitt Family’, ‘The Silent Box’ (a silent movie, with band), a silhouette show, and some tent that we couldn’t figure out the purpose. An MC in a velvet suit (is there a shop at VCA where you can buy those things?) would boom out coming events, a snap at $2-$6, and other wandering players would make with the funny.
Of course I wanted to leap in and spend all my money, but we were having too much fun commentating on the hippie parents doing that special dance with their kids to the gypsy band (you know the one – where the kid’s too young to coordinate arms and legs, so they grab their hands and bop around like it’s the greatest thing. Newborns too). Finally we bought tickets to ‘The Barina of Mystery’. Someone had parked their shitty Barina next to the silhouette tent, emblazoned it with lights and were charging two bucks to hop inside.
As we approached, a passing girl was heard to comment; “I could WIPE my ARSE on a bit of paper and hand it into the council, and they’d give me a grant!!”
What more encouragement did we need?
It took a while to squeeze 4 high-spirited lassies into the back, but when we did, the young thesps gave us two tape choices – with or without director’s commentary, so we chose the one with. Then it was 3 minutes of modern interpretive dance: pretending to watch trees whip by, having fights, annoying each other, getting cosy, fighting, chewing gum etc while we gazed at each other GOGGLE–EYED. There wasn’t even enough time to heckle, as we’d planned. Words fail me here. Marvellous. Two bucks well spent. Oh, and I got a Mintie.
After that we revisited cabaret band The Night Sky – the band that entertained us hugely at the Northcote Fest. And get this – the same freaks were dancing and gyrating around in front of them, as though someone had just uncorked the keg marked ‘gay abandon’ and they all came fizzing out – a closer discussion of their antics is found thither. They were wearing the sort of mismatched, asymmetrical dun-coloured androgynous shite you’d only get away with in the North, and for that I say hurrah. We nodded at each other sagely and said ‘dance like no-one’s watching, man.’
It sounds a trifle crap now that I’ve got it down, but The Village was bizarrely good, I recommend it, it’s only on till Sunday, so git!