Yesterday a collection of Canberrans assembled in the National Film and Sound Archive to do what Canberrans do best – talk about Canberra.
The event was called CANberra of WORMS. It’s a good thing they used so many strategically placed capital letters or I may have missed what they were trying to do there.
Taking the format from a television show of a similar name, CANberra of WORMS featured a small panel of Canberran personalities talking their way through a series of preset questions and inviting the audience to join in. The panel consisted of Monica Penders, Paul Daley, Allan Sko, and our very own John Griffiths. In an obvious attempt to intimidate the other panelists Johnboy brought me along as an assistant, knowing he would be the only attendant with an entourage.
Canberra ex-pat Tim Ferguson lead the panel through several topics which sit close to the heart of the Canberran population:
“If Canberra were a person, would you date them?”
“If you could rename Canberra anything, what would it be?”
“Is it part of Canberra’s identity to talk about Canberra’s identity?”
In case you were curious the answers that our representatives came up with to those questions were “Yes” (thanks to a rather passionate audience member taking over the discussion), “Cleavage” (which is apparently Canberra’s traditional name anyway) and “Yes, but that’s ok.” Phew, I’m glad it’s ok.
If the whole event sounds a little pointless, that’s because it was. There were no hard issues discussed, the ‘debates’ generally consisted of everyone agreeing with each other, and it kind of felt like Canberra getting together to pat itself on the back. However don’t take that as me saying it wasn’t fun, it absolutely was fun. The panelists were obviously having a great time and offering some genuinely funny and interesting stories and opinions, and the audience came ready to engage and to weigh in with their own thoughts. There was a lot of laughter, a small amount of passion, and no evidence of anyone taking anything too seriously.
It may have felt at points like Canberra was high-fiving itself, but it was a good time nonetheless. At any rate we should probably get used to the idea of self-congratulatory events, as I get the feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of them this year.