Ballarat Begonia Festival
Here at the revamped offices of nattysolo.com, we love to entertain ourselves with lists of What’s Hot and What’s Not. Now that we’ve relaunched our web presence (with new-look logos for our online and concrete brands; a newly renovated office wing and conference centre by architectural maverick Howard Roark with whom we enjoy a longstanding relationship), we are free to return to the job we do best: helping art lovers move the culture forward. Like shovelling shit uphill, we help our readers to navigate their ways through the latest new thinking within our new and very exciting creative economy. Except for contemporary dance.
Sadly (and despite our very best intentions), we missed the Dance Massive this year. We heard though (luckily) that it lived up to its grandiose pretensions and was massive. It should be noted that what one viewer finds massive, another may find moderately well endowed, size is amongst the most relational of aesthetics. Ballet Lab miscued though, a case of too many choreographers, not enough spirit fingers, hitting the white ball into the side pocket, so to speak, (according to the twins’ mother at Maxine’s school fete). It just wasn’t that good. She hadn’t seen it either, but she had logged on and read the disparaging remarks of some rhythmically challenged troll who’s never put a show on anywhere, not even their bedroom. The twins’ mum promptly passed this on to me, because I’m an Arts Journalist. Anna (not her real name) is one of my sources. So is Rhian (not his real name) and Franske, an alias who keeps we at nattysolo.com abreast of the very latest developments within the precocious new arena of sound art.
All my sources are keen to be protected (not from me), but from the tyrannies of Compliance Capitalism! It’s a new world out there people and the policy amendments that protect journalistic sources from metadata miners, don’t extend to bloggers! Whom of course (we know) are the new arts journalists anyways, but our government don’t like the idea of any old blogger finding their voice. Anyways, another huge infrastructure job we at nattysolo.com have had to contend with, is getting ourselves a VPN quicksmart, so our metadata can’t be mined by strangers I don’t trust. Hence my well-placed sources can leak like their inner sieves. From the comfort of their own iPhones.
Aside from the laborious daily tasks of running a hugely influential art blog, greedily inhaled by a record 4 thousand happy readers last month, we managed to squeeze in a regional jaunt.
Over the March long weekend we caught the V-Line up to the Ballarat Begonia Festival. Over this incredibly entertaining weekend, our thinking turned to major events. More to the point, we’ve decided major events are over, dead, done for. Minor Meaningful Events are setting a new benchmark on the cultural happiness index from a plethora of angles. Minor Meaningful Events are cheaper, they don’t waste their budgets on barricade rental and employing a team of highly skilled security to save us from taking the wrong path.
Maxine is always telling me and Morgi off for sending her mixed messages. Like when we tell her not to swear but laugh our heads off when she drops a well-timed f-bomb, just like a wharfie. I contend that Governments too are sending mixed messages: on and on they talk of money, framing all experiences in purely fiscal terms, but then each New Years Eve the fireworks displays just keep getting bigger.
The Ballarat Begonia Festival is better than Moomba, more fun than White Night, more serene than the Grand Prix, more regional than Melbourne Festival, more historic than a museum and less commercial than the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. Who knew the Begonia could be so beautiful, Ballarat’s Botanical Gardens a premier venue in which to stroll round the lake with family and friends and dogs and celebrate community spirit in a proud regional centre. We also highly recommend the Ballarat Uniting Care Book Fair. Incredible titles at incredible prices. We’ll be returning next year for sure.