BYRON BAY, INDUSTRIAL ZONE – 7:20am
Where you at?
I’m at my work in the industrial area of Byron Bay. The sun is just starting to come up, coffee in hand.
What is your work?
Artisan concrete works. That’s pretty much concreting, but the jobs are for high-end clients. Kitchen benches, basins. It’s definitely not normal concreting though I can tell ya that. I’m far from out in the sun pouring slabs and sweating my ring off. I’m in a nice little warehouse, got the fans going, its kind of luxury.
So a far cry from skatepark building?
Definitely. I reckon I put my hand on a trowel maybe once a week. It’s all form work and pouring. Those guys are really out there workin’ their ass off and I’m in here havin’ a little laugh.
How long have you been living in that neck of the woods?
Well, I don’t live in Byron, as of yet. I’m in Farrants Hill, which is about 40 minutes north.
Be tough going to get a place right in Byron these days wouldn’t it?
Yeah, it’s become so busy up here and kind of ritzy. You get people from Sydney and Melbourne who have a lot of money and they buy holiday houses up here and then maybe only stay in them once a year. There’s so much tourism up here now too, so it’s literally packed. If you’re out surfing, you have to battle to get a wave, if you go in to town it takes so long to get a feed, or even drive through it. For people my age it’s nearly impossible to buy a place here, let alone find one that you can afford to rent.
Has it lost its hippie vibes at all?
I don’t think this place will ever lose its hippie vibe, I think that’s forever. It’s just this whole area, the Northern Rivers area. It just has that laid back vibe that you feel the second you come over the border from Queensland to New South Wales. You can see the change, it’s just greener and you automatically relax and feel the change in the air.
Smell the patchouli oil…
Exactly! Breath in all that burning sage! [Laughs] I love it here though, it’s beautiful, but I’m glad I’m up in the bush and not right in Byron.
“I’ve still got the tooth. I planned on fixing it MYSELF with super glue but the missus wouldn’t let me….”
It seems to be a bit of a hot spot for A-listers too these days. Do you have many sightings?
Big name sightings? Well, just through work we have a lot of contact with some big names doing jobs but there are always rumours of big names in town. I think one of the biggest I’ve come across would be Gary The Goat. He came through here one time, which was hilarious. He just strolled in to the warehouse and started staunching the dogs. Had em all bailed up in the corner.
He only passed away recently ole Gary, right?
Yeah, he did, which is a damn shame, but I’m glad I got the chance to meet him before he left us. But yeah, there’s always some big names floating around but they keep pretty low key and I don’t know if it can really get better than Gary The Goat.
You’ve had a bit of a bad run of luck recently. A broken leg?
Yeah, that was on that Afends trip to Melbourne for the NZ movie premiere. I’d like to say I could blame the people who encouraged me, but I think I can only blame the fact I like beer too much. So when there was a box of beer up for grabs for ‘one last go’ I went for it and ended up breaking my fibula about 10cm above my ankle. Snapped it clean, so didn’t need surgery which was pretty lucky. But now I feel like I probably should have had surgery, because my ankle has kind of splayed out at the bottom and it looks like I’m gonna need a lot more rehab. That was just the start of the start of the bad luck.
What else have you clocked up?
Lost my license, someone crashed in to my car, went riding and got my phone wet, so need a new phone, cracked my tooth…
I heard your teeth have been copping a flogging…
Oh mate: Rocky Road! The chocolate! Me and my missus have a bit of a sweet tooth; so every week we treat ourselves. We always look at the Rocky Road and go ‘Alright, but it’s not on special’ and you only ever buy chocolate that’s on special. So finally the Rocky Road is on special, we buy it, I crack it in half and pretty much first bite I snapped about quarter of my tooth off. That’s only the half of it. I got my tooth cracked off on the front too. I’m pretty much losing teeth as we speak [Laughs]
How did the front tooth come to grief?
Would you believe a dog did it? A Jug! A cross between a Pug and a Jack Russell, which belongs to, my girlfriend’s parents and it was at Christmas time. He got a bit excited and jumped straight in to my face, head-butted my tooth and snapped off a cap that was already on it from, let’s say a previous drunken accident with a mate. I’ve still got the tooth. I planned on fixing it myself with super glue but the missus wouldn’t let me. So now I’ve been left with a Mashy looking face. That’s all good, we’ll get it fixed eventually. What do they say? It ads character…
You wear it well.
Mate, I’ve got massive teeth, so my head is one hell of an eyesore!