At 43 years old, I started my first full time ‘real’ job in 2013, with superannuation, holiday pay and the whole nine yards. I am the editor of a regional newspaper in the Torres Strait, just north of Australia’s Cape York and just south of Papua New Guinea. This blog is my account of my time in the ‘Strait’. So far the experience has got me a Clarion Journalism award, the opportunity to travel to remote tropical islands and witness a culture that most of metropolitan Australia will never know.
Prior to the Strait, I have done just about everything under the sun to get by, including playing in bands in the gritty Melbourne Grunge scene in the 90’s and working as a sound engineer. After music I worked as an actor in the early Noughties (I was a copper on Blue Heelers for two episodes). I then moved into writing screenplays and theatre and performed in Fringe, Comedy and Arts festivals.
But I have also worked as a dish pig in Melbourne, card shark in India, barman in Barcelona, English Teacher in Brazil, driven trucks, picked fruit, weeded gardens, painted houses and even worked briefly as a telemarketer until I couldn’t take it any more (which wasn’t long). I once had a job interviewing gay men about their condom use, I was young and nubile, straight out of university’ still wet behind the ears. My very camp boss suggested I hit the sauna clubs to find likely subjects. I went to the gay clubs instead and persisted till I got the job done. I am straight but some of my friends are gay (i don’t know why I mentioned that).
I also partied very hard in the extended puberty of my 20’s – first in the grunge/metal scene then the rave scene, until it became mind-numbingly boring. I then spent half of my thirties on the road traipsing around the globe until I fell into travel writing and journalism. I returned to Australia in 2009 with my Brazilian fiancée and three maxed out credit cards, so we crashed out at Mum and Dad’s place… for 18 months.
I figured it was time to leave home (again) once my wife got pregnant.
Now a father and a husband, my wife decided it was time I got my act together, she was probably right. I thought I could just write the great Australian novel and swan around in a silk robe and drink single malts whilst the royalties came in. But the book publishing world ain’t what it used to be, so despite my Hunteresque T tendencies, as described in my two books which are published in four countries, I decided to give the real world a crack.
In an era when the newspaper is dying, when redundant journos scramble for whatever soul-destroying PR jobs they can find, like rats fleeing a sinking ship, I decide to become a newspaper man. Or more to the point my employer decides to throw an old dog a bone.
So I took a job in one of Australia’s most remote and wild places (with internet and a supermarket). I’m a bit of a Luddite and I know in life its a little late,
But look out world coz’ I’m finally going strait…