Punk Rockers Loose in Central Queensland.

Have you ever wondered what happens when you take a mildly successful punk band (plus one groupie/roadie/girlfriend) and set them loose on what is essentially a quiet country town? A lot of things come to mind; lynch mobs, riots, fire and brimstone raining from the sky... Whatever you think of, it's a safe bet that it all ends with a police escort to the town limits, shouts of 'and stay out!' echoing through the mountains surrounding the normally peaceful area.

For our stay in quiet city Gympie, nothing could have been further from the truth.

The morning of the show was nothing out of the ordinary. Chris; freaking out about everything, losing his shit over the most minor of setbacks. Ben; cool, calm, collected. Ready to strangle the rest of us, although I'm pretty sure that's just a permanent state of being for our lovely drummer. Red; fuck only knows. He bitches a lot. So yeah, that. Quinny... Just being Quinny. And then me, trying to placate Chris and just generally keep the peace between all parties involved.

Our train departed Elimbah station at 10:27am, so the car was packed up and ready to go at ten. We set off for the station at about ten past; Chris riding shotgun with his dad at the wheel; me sandwiched in the backseat between Red and Quinny, Ben lying across our laps squealing like a piggie with every pothole we hit. Fun ride. Thank fuck it only last about five minutes. We got to the station, unloaded and bade Chris's dad farewell. While sitting on the platform waiting for our train, several cigarettes were smoked (by myself, Chris and occasionally Quinny), and we began a lively discussion about the many ways we might die at the hands of rednecks in Gympie, and why the hell did we agree to this show in the first place. I mean, come on. It's in fucking Gympie!

Our train arrived on time, and we loaded the gear in without a hitch. (Never, ever travel on public transport with a full drum kit. Just don't, okay?) Just over two hours in transit almost saw Quinny's death at the hands of some pissed off bogans, but we overcame that hurdle and finally arrived at our destination. Let me just say, whoever the fuck decided it would be a good idea to put the Gympie North train station about a half-hour out of the town proper is just a logistical fucking genius(!). No matter, though! We boarded the courtesy bus and away we went!

Main street offered nothing overly impressive. First on our agenda was to source some food. We still had five hours before the show started, so plenty of time. It was about that time that we discovered that the good citizens of Gympie seem to have some kind of moral opposition to takeaway shops. (For a woman craving nothing but fried dim sims, this state of affairs is just completely and utterly unacceptable, and I made sure everyone knew it.) Red and Ben found themselves some kebabs and Quinny managed to source some Subway while Chris and I sat by the side of the road with the gear. (An exercise in frustration when Quinny's determination to yell inappropriate things at innocent passersby is equal to Chris's determination to not be lynched by a mob of angry locals).

Finally, we called a cab to take us down to the venue; the Gympie Civic Centre. We were the first band there, so we took it upon ourselves to make ourselves comfortable outside the building, smoke cigarettes and tell horribly offensive jokes until the boys from DMS showed up. We helped them load in and then took our show on the road to find more food. In the end, we settled at a cafe for sandwiches and chocolate milk. Punk as fuck up in here.

Anyway, all that boring shit aside, we made it back to the venue and the boys got set up. Quick soundcheck, and then the set started at about 6:40pm. Not gonna lie just to stroke my boyfriend's ego here; the first two songs were a little dodgy. In the same breath, however, Chris and Red both had the flu, and there was some issues with the foldbacks. Becasue, in my experience, foldbacks only exist to present issues. Whatever. I'm no longer a manager, therefore it is not my problem. I'm just there to enjoy the show. Which I did, after the act picked up a little. The crowd pretty much consisted of the bands playing and their friends and significant others. They were still a pretty rad bunch, though. Very complimentary of my boys after their set, which makes me smile as if I'm somehow partially responsible for their brilliance. After being showered with praise by his fellow musicians, Chris felt kind of awful about having to bail early to catch the last train out of Gympie. (I feel now would be an appropriate time to mention that there are only four trains in and out of Gympie each day and, according the wonderfully reliable Translink website, ours was due to leave at 8:45pm.)

So gear was collected, farewells were said and cabs were called. We waited down the street from the venue, Chris disappearing briefly to find something to sooth his throat after all that wonderfully yelly punk music, and finally the cab arrived. We loaded the gear for what felt like the millionth time that day and directed the cabbie to the train station. When we arrived, however, we discovered that the internet had lied to us. We had missed the last train to Brisbane that day by a long shot, and the next one wasn't departing until 5:45 the next morning.

Well fuck.

After some initial confusion, we made the decision to settle in at the station. After all, it offered us everything we needed; an address to order pizza to, a water fountain tucked away in a corner and some public toilets clean enough to provide warmth and maybe a place for my lovely guitarist and I to get our rocks off later.

The pizza took it's sweet time getting to us. In that time, as Chris, Quinny and I had a cigarette outside the station with Red there for the extra company, an old aboriginal man took issue with Red's hair. Not the fact that it was braided (quite beautifully by yours truly) or that it was up in a ponytail or cut into a really dodgy mohawk. No, this wonderful drunken specimen of the human race seemed to take offence to the fact that our bassist's hair is bright fucking green. Trust me, ladies and gentlemen, you have not lived until you have heard the phrase 'are ya a man or a fuckin' pussy!?' slurred out by a man almost too drunk to stand up under his own steam. The guy was also pretty insistent on the fact that we supply him with marijuana, too. I'm still not sure whether or not it's a good thing that we had none. I think I was too busy stifling laughter over the stunned look on Red's face.

Anyway, that situation soon diffused itself and our pizza arrived in the arms of a wonderfully understanding pizza-boy who, if I ever see again, I will be handing a crisp hundred and a fifty bag. (Don't tell me he might not be interested. He delivers pizzas for a living.) We sat on the ground at the station and divided the pizzas somewhat equally. Dinner was something of a blur, as I was too busy enjoying the first actual meal I had eaten all fucking day, but I distinctly remember Chris getting confused as to what half a slice of pizza meant and tearing it into thirds to be shared between myself and Quinny. You can imagine how fairly that clusterfuck turned out.

After dinner, Quinny took the foil wrapping from the garlic bread and rolled it up, attempting to sell us all weed we knew didn't exist. He also went and took a shit at some point, with all of us standing outside the door (at his behest) playing a tune we now know as 'the birthing chant'. I'm pretty sure Chris tried to trap him in there, but that didn't go so well, because Quinny is Quinny, and that is the only explanation I have to offer. If he's not the luckiest sonofabitch on the face of this earth, I don't want to know who is.

It was at about this time when the cunt of a station master turned up with a security guard in tow. He was actually a pretty okay guy once you get past the fact that it was his job to boot us out for the night. You could see in his face that he felt genuinely bad for us after we explained our situation, and he even took it upon himself to call and pay for a cab to get us back into town so we could try our best to find a cheap room for the night. I'm fairly certain his name was Mick, and it is now my life's mission to repay this man in some way, shape or form. So, Mick, if you ever read this give me a call and we can work something out. We hire our bassist's body out for $50 a night and, if that's the way you swing, we'll give you one for free.

So, yet another cab arrived and we loaded up again, all of us never wanting to ever see any of the gear ever again by this point. We arrived back in town a few minutes later to discover that every security guard in a hundred metre radius wanted to help us out. They all called around to the local hotels, trying to find us a place to crash. Just our luck that apparently Gympie is a very popular place on a Friday night, and all the fucking hotels were booked out. We were just about to give up hope and go find some comfortable grass to spend the night on when we ran into a cabbie who had given us a lift earlier that day. By this time, the words 'jump in, you can crash at my place' were like sweet music to my ears.

The cabbie (Bob) took us to his house and let us in. He had to go back to work, so he was trusting a bunch of skint-broke musicians around what were presumably all of his most prized possessions. Ballsy move, I know. Still though, I think the five of us also had to be pretty trusting of the fact that we were not going to end up as lampshades in this guy's bedroom, so it was a little give and take on both sides.

We ended up watching TV and smoking cigarettes until about midnight when we all decided we should probably at least try to get some sleep before we had to be up at buttfuck o'clock the next morning to catch the train home. Red took the couch, Ben and Quinny spooned on a single mattress and Chris and I got left on the floor, although we ended up using Ben's arse as a pillow, so no harm done I suppose. Before anyone could fall asleep, though, there was much arguing about who was The Table. (Don't fucking ask. Seriously. If you do, I may just rip your face off and feed it to you.) I don't remember what kind of resolution we reached, but I'm fairly sure it was established that Ben is The Table, Red is the chair and Quinny is the table cloth. And I am one pissed off woman who just wants to get some fucking sleep.

What little sleep I got was fractured by Chris complaining that his feet were sticking out of the blanket and getting cold, but it's not my fault that he's ten fucking feet tall, so I didn't pay it too much mind. What I did mind, though, was when I woke up just before 5am feeling like somebody had taken sandpaper to my fucking throat. Huzzah, the flu! Thanks a bunch Chris, I totally felt like being sick this week. Although I couldn't bitch at him too much as he was in just as bad (if not worse) shape than I was, and Red wasn't feeling so hot either.

Bob the Friendly Cabbie, having not murdered us in our sleep, roused us out of bed and down to his cab so he could get us to the station, which he did. In record fucking time. So kids, let that be a lesson to you; always get in a van with a stranger. We had ten minutes before our train left, which we spent smoking and generally just feeling like shit and hating everything and everyone around us. When we finally boarded the train, one thought was singular in all our minds: Gympie may be out in the middle of Bumfuck Nowhere, but it's a lovely place filled with lovely people. And, while we definitely do not plan on visiting again anytime soon, God bless those motherfucking cabbies.
October 8th, 2013 at 09:21am