See ya same time next year Parkes

8.41am, Sunday 13th January, Back in the Barossa, SA, Australia

Morning folks, just a bit stiff recovering from a 13 hour express ‘no stopovers’ drive back to the Barossa from Parkes. 44degrees C is far too hot to be outside watching a parade and buskers in the streets, even if every second person you see is either an Elvis or Priscilla tribute artist! But we had a magic time! And folks, we did have a bit of a secret mission up at this years Elvis Birthday Festival in Parkes. There’s a top event which has been part of the official Festival program for 5 years now called The Elvis Poets Breakfast – started by local Bush Poetry fan Bob Steel. Spoken word and particularly Bush Poetry has had a real comeback in Australia over recent years, and it’s not unusual now to see these competitions and reading events as part of a lot of larger festivals. For this years Festival, last Thursday it was a 7am egg and bacon roll start at the Parkes Bowling and Sports Club, and to our great surprise, all of the tables and chairs set up in the club dining room and lounge area – looking straight out on to the gorgeous manicured bowling greens – were claimed within 30 minutes! A huge turnout! Eventually about 200 people were happily seated and ready to be entertained by the nothing short of fabulous “Two Short Sheilas” – the MCs for the event, Melanie Hall and Susan Carcary. This is them!Sue on the left, Mel on the right.

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Now before I go any further, I have to let you know that we had Australian entertaining spoken word royalty on deck with these two gals! Sue has the 2009 Champion Australian Bush Poet and 2008 Australian Yarnspinner of the year under her belt, and Mel won the Qantas Waltzing Matilda Bush Poetry Championship – and as part of that prize – has just come back from representing Australia at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, USA. So it was worth the admission just to see the girls do their stuff before and after this Elvis themed competition.

**check the girls out at their website http://www.melandsusieontour.com.au and keep an eye out for them, they’re off to be part of the massively popular Edinburgh Fringe Festival next year.

Now to the competition itself. To enter, you had to write a poem with any Elvis or Priscilla or Parkes Elvis Festival theme, and there were two sections….’Novice’ for the folks who hadn’t competed before, and the ‘Open’ section for old hands. I’ll spare you the tension laden moments of both the competition and the judging deliberations, and go straight to the winner of the ‘Novice’ section……..and that would be me! Yes folks, my first ever poem written for competition….ever. Here it is, you can’t buy it, you have to write your poem, send it off in the post, drive 500 miles each way, get up and read it in front of the packed breakfast time house at the Bowling Club – quaking with public performance nerves – and if you get lucky and the planets align……you win the prize! I think it looks magic mounted on the bull bar of my ute! See what you think….

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It’s Bull Bar Bling folks! Seriously though, a top event, and we shall be heading back next year to have a crack at the ‘Open’ section of the Elvis Poets Breakfast. See ya there. And to the organizers of this years competition, the whole Elvis Festival and everyone we met in Parkes – especially the boys at The Star Hotel – “thank ya very much”

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PS Best souveneir T Shirt of the Festival goes to the Star Hotel….front…and back

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