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I love finding out where people come from, their history, how they got started in life. Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery is pretty good for this, where she takes comedians back to where they grew up and talks about what they were like in their youth, places they loved, their schools. This season I’ve particularly enjoyed watching her chats with Bill Bailey and Ross Noble.

I guess the thing that I love about it is recognising that so many people I like started off the same way. Just nerdy kids at school, trying to work out where they fit in, having one or two special teachers or a wonderful parent who recognised something unique in them and encouraged them to pursue it. And as they go on, it’s not that they set out to forge these incredible careers, it’s more them delighting in the silliness and weirdness of life and taking interesting opportunities as they come up.

It’s so easy to buy into the lie that people only succeed only because of their connections (like a famous parent, or a rich family or whatever); of course, being well connected make life easier in some situations. But it’s so great hearing about Bill Bailey and his mates just starting up a comedy club because they thought it might be fun and having no idea what they were doing. Reminds me of uni days and the open mic night we used to run at Blackwattle Canteen down the end of Glebe Point Road, where performers would stand on the huge common table and we’d all hope that guy who just went on and on wouldn’t turn up because he was a bit painful, and I’d make giant pots of minestrone soup and Heath would make coffee. I think my favourite performance was Matt G and his quiet guitarist singing Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah, with the lights glinting off the black water behind him, and the room completely hushed. It was magic.

Man, I miss that place. I just went and looked through my photo albums (old school!) for a pic and can’t believe I have hardly any photos of the place. If smartphones had existed then, I would have heaps. But when you had to pay to process the photos, I was much more sparing! Rats.

Heath, I hope you don’t mind I used this photo, but it’s kind of perfectly sums up my memory of the place, sitting watching people making coffee and food while I sat with my notebook and camera, dreaming big dreams. 🙂