At some point in the future, or maybe it is the past, the Australian mining tycoon Clive Palmer will melt Antarctica. The specifics are a bit unclear, but I have a suspicion it’s because he wants to be extra cautious with his new ship the Titanic II.
Shortly after the destruction of Antarctica, entire flocks of penguins swam to Australia. The good news is that they quickly adapted to the desert heat, the bad news is that their passports did not withstand the rigors of a long distance ocean swim. This is to say, all of the penguins arrived undocumented and were immediately sent to an offshore processing center until someone realized they actually make excellent tour guides.
I was lucky enough to learn all this future history thanks to an independent arts festival called Sydney Fringe. For two weeks the most famous penguin guide from 2113, Xavier Toby, came back to 2013 to transport tour groups to 2113 to be able to objectively look back on 2013. Still following?
During our stay in 2113, Xavier hired ‘actors’ to accurately recreate 2013. So as we walked down King Street in Newtown, we were assured that anyone around us was an actor and that we should engage them, photograph them, and even give them hugs (especially the actors playing police officers).
Sometimes we guessed these actors ATM numbers (did you know it was a very popular game in 2013? If you guessed correctly you won money!) and while most actors were friendly, there were some real nasties in 2013. The angry, tattooed guys eating fast food at Oporto’s deserve an Oscar- I thought they were going to stab our penguin guide!
Aside from the cultural commentary, we also learned a little about the history of Newtown and how it received its original name. *Spoiler alert*- it was named after a grocery store called New Town Stores. Before colonization, Newtown was a large field in which the Aborigines used to plant kangaroo grass. Not that they ate the grass, but as you can imagine it did attract a certain tasty herbivore.
Ninety minutes later, 2013: When We Were Idiots wrapped up at a local watering hole where the drinks were as refreshing as the walk. I had enjoyed experiencing a comedy show outside of a traditional venue; it allowed for more spontaneity and more encounters with road vomit. And correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that in 2013 vomit was traditionally seen as an indicator of a good time.
About: Sydney Fringe