Saturday, July 26, 2008

All the fun of the carnival

Yesterday was Show day in Darwin, so what better place to be than the Royal Darwin Agricultural Show? Well I could think of plenty of places actually but we went just the same.

whip fighting Darwin Show
Whip Fighting

My Show day experience was kind of... well... Odd. Kind of an assault on the senses. Bizarre!
We drove in and found a car park about a kilometer away from the gate, then stood in the slowest line in the sun for about 20 minutes. As we stood in line, thirsty and cranky, the Red dust rose like a putrid fog from the over trodden ground. It mingled with fowl smelling cigarette smoke and caused the muscles in back of my throat to seize and refuse the fetid air to pass! My nostrils clamped involuntarily and I had to force myself to breath. (The kids seemed fine)

Inside the gate the scene felt hostile, but I knew it must just be me. I'm not used to being amongst so many people for such little reason. Mothers with prams laden to overflowing with show bags, stuffed with sugar and plastic. They are unfazed by the hustle and bustle. Accustomed to the angst, the hype and the constant demand to buy more, delighted by the spectacle. Turn the music up! Louder! "It's great mate, so much fun! It is clear. You can see them attempt to satisfied the insatiable desires of their overstimulated and excited kids. Is it possible? (So many bags so little worth carrying.)

The show is a special place. So many people flock together to blow their money on nothing. High on the carnival atmosphere. The corruption and the decadence, the freedom and the madness.

We enjoyed watching the horses and visiting the baby animal display. I have to admit the whip fighting was pretty cool! It's nice sitting out near the main arena but generally the Show is kind of weird to me... It is freaky actually and it's intoxicating.

What did I notice most of all?
  • This year it was the carnival atmosphere! I saw some of the same faces running stalls as last year. There were a few travelers in the mix but also a bunch of long time show people. The bloke at The Jolly Giant blew me away! he didn't miss a beat! Watching all the goings on, spotting every potential player, providing commentary of everything that caught his eye on his patch and singing karaoke style to Johny Cash songs (without missing a beat). The man was an artist!
Jolly Giant
Jolly Giant
  • Parents blowing smoke directly into the faces of their children
  • Toy Guns - Imitations of weapons designed solely for the killing and maiming of people. Replica's of AK47s, the kind of gun that are actually used by kids, no older than the ones these toys are being sold to, to kill their neighbors.
The most common of the toys
Assault weapon fun

Early training
Checking sights... It's OK they're suitable for kids 3 and above
  • The volume of the sound system at the dancing hall will always be to loud
  • You can always expect to find an uninstalled phone booth whenever you're in desperate need
Where's the phone?
  • Portable toilets always have more piss on the floor than in the tray
  • Once you step through the gates no matter how much money you take in you can usually guarantee there'll be none on the way out
  • Within one week of having been there you won't have a clue what you spent your money on at the show
  • People are actually still allowed to breed pigeons... And let them loose in the wild (they don't all come home!)
  • Mutant birds are not cool! Playing god with animal genetics is more than weird... It's kind of obscene.
I had quite a few intense feelings while at the show but by the time we got home I couldn't remember much at all. My nose and lungs slowly became accustomed to the smoke and dust, the smell of popcorn and burned sugar started to feel a bit more natural to me. Luckily for me we left when we did... My Wowserdom has been long fought for and defended... I would hate to have given it all away for the lure and charm of one traveling carnival.

Whip it!


Groover said...

I went to EKKA, the Brisbane Royal Show, only once. It's a few yars ago and I had the same impressions as you. Didn't like it at all. Except maybe the Dog Show.

Cookiemouse said...

Looks like fun!