Monday, February 18, 2008
The "Top End" - Australia's Africa
(Warning, this post contains a good deal of shameless self promotion).
In fact, let me be quite honest about this, 2008 is going to be the year of shameless self-promotion, Legion of Fans (LOF), so suck it up and get used to it.
But don't complain too much, because soon I'll be releasing details of how you can get on board the Safari gravy train. Yes, you, LOF, and other readers of my books are in store for a big surprise later in the year... the chance to win a luxury safari in Africa. I am sworn to secrecy, however and can say no more for now.
But now to more immediate matters... my next speaking engagement is going to be in one of my favourite places in Australia and one of the very few that I have actually ever paid money to visit. I speak, of course of the Northern Territory, Australia's "Top End".
I first visited Darwin (capital of the Territory) as an impressionable young soldier in the early 1980s. Back in those olden days, before the influx of half of the army, Darwin was much less... how can I put this without offending my soon-to-be hosts... civilised than it is today.
There were strippers (exotic dancers as we say these days) in the pubs at lunch time, and a drunken free-for-all at the Nightcliff Hotel on Sundays called the 'Rage in the Cage' - so called because it was a big rage, with live music, in a big cage. What more can I say.
There was a sense in the Darwin of old that the rules that applied in the cooler (temperature-wise) southern states didn't all apply in the Northern Territory. In that respect it was rather similar to Africa.
Riding around in the back of utes (bakkies to the Africans among us) was, if not encouraged, tolerated, as was the practice of measuring road distances in cans of beer, rather than kilometres. Tut tut you say, and rightly so. Strippers, unsafe road practices and drink driving are not things to be encouraged (OK, strippers should be encouraged, but only in a non-exploitative forum). But, unlike much of the rest of my home country, it was FUN!
Of course, the Darwin of today is different to the Darwin of yesterday. The rule of law prevails and as far as I know there are no cages and (I presume) fewer naked ladies.
Best of all (and this segue has taken a very long time), there are libraries.
And I, LOF, have been kindly invited to speak at three of them. I will be speaking at lunch time on March 5 at Darwin City Library, at Casuarina Library in the evening, and then at Palmerston Library on the evening of the 6th.
This is the first time that a library has ever invited me to speak, though I give notice here that I will be harrassing many more public lenders around the country to suffer my presence in the coming months.
While I am fairly certain there will be no public nudity or drunkenness involved, there will be wine and nibblies on offer at Casuarina.