From her days twirling her taffeta across the sprung dance floor of long-gone Cloudland Ballroom, to hot tubbing with the boys after a hard game at what we used to call Lang Park, Ann Brunswick draws on her inner-Brisbane roots to bring you her provocative but thoughtful views on contemporary events and issues. Of all the phone calls that flood into the Indie office between the publication of the Indie's hardcopy versions each fortnight, both usually want to talk to Ann about the latest provocative social, lifestyle or political issue she's raised.
Your Ann made her way out to the showgrounds on the final day of the Ekka last Saturday - and, boy or girl, was I far from impressed! My high heels were killing me after wandering around the artwork display - where, by the way, I just love to shake my pretty little head in disagreement with whatever has won each section - so about 5.15pm I decided to hobble up to the main show ring and take in the entertainment for an hour or so.
Well, halfway across the oval towards Machinery Hill, some kids were having a game of cricket. The couple of blokes in charge of this rivetting spectacle looked like they hadn't chased down a well-struck cover drive for a decade or three. The kids tried their hardest but no-one appeared capable of sending a ball anywhere near the batter.
Now don't get me wrong here. Your Ann is the nation's second worst cricket tragic, a title I hold only because John Howard is unfortunately still alive. I was a well-performed member of both my high school's boys and girls teams and I love the game to bits. So much so that my trusty RangeRover will instinctively lurch sideways on a Saturday morning to find a park and take in a half-hour of any cricket match being played at any level on one of our city's suburban parks.
But that doesn't cost me anything, When I've paid $27 or so to get into the Ekka, I'd like to think something of interest is always going on in the main ring. Or at least that's the way I remembered it when my foster parents and I used to take to the hard seats in the aforementioned machinery hill about mid-afternoon and stayed there until after the crackers.
To sit there last Saturday and watch these handful of kids in an almost silent, slow-motion pantomime was not my idea of money well spent.
And here's where the problem lay. The only other thing going on in the main ring was a promotion for some new-fangled cricket organisation called cricket legends or some such thing. I guess it must be the flannelled fools answer to rugby league's Origin Legends, and way across the oval to my left, some famous former Aussie cricketers were in a marquee signing autographs for kids.
Very exciting, I'm sure, for the kids that got the likes of Glenn McGrath and Ian Healy and someone called Adam (Gilchrist, I guessed) to sign something for them but here's a tip for Ekka organisers - watching a line of kids snake their way into a tent for a half-hour is not top-shelf entertainment by any stretch of the imagination,
The ringside announcer did ask that children be moved off the outside dirt track in case something exciting was to take place there – but it never did.
The PA prattled on about how Suncorp was the main sponsor for this new venture but we in the crowd already had that one figured out: the entire signage available to Suncorp from the greater Brisbane area had been set up around the marquee.
Maybe the bank demanded that this boring and lengthy process take place on the main ring? But it should have been held on the second oval or somewhere else. Oh, that's right ... I forgot. When you start slicing off the best part of a third of the Ekka grounds for private residential development, there's probably nowhere else for it to go!
Anyway, after about 40 minutes of non-activity, the PA did declare that the teams were starting to set up for the Queensland/NSW woodchop competition. After watching a marquee doing nothing for half an hour, a few tractors driving around with hardwood poles was rather mentally stimulating, I must admit.
I left when the announcer explained that the woodchop would take place after the national anthem at 6pm. The strains of Advance Australia Fair reached my pretty little ears as I hobbled past the old poultry sheds on my way out. I guess they'll be on their way out soon as well.
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