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The red man of Dickson

Kerces 8 November 2008 11

Last Sunday I headed to the Hall markets and on the way spotted what appeared to be a street performer at the Dickson intersection of Northbourne and Antill – in the middle of Northbourne next to where the southbound traffic stops at the lights.

He was wearing red stockings on his legs, arms and head (giving the impression of being an animated shop dummy) and tailored shorts, shirt, suspenders and bowler hat. He held an old suitcase in one hand and a tea cup and saucer in the other. I think there was something written on the suitcase but I was travelling in the wrong direction to see it.

When I returned from Hall it was a few hours later and he was gone and I did not think any more of it.

However, he was there again this morning; this time much earlier in the day. Same spot, same get up, same gesturing and playing up to the traffic stopped at the lights. I had hoped to get a photo but on returning less than an hour after first seeing him, he was gone again.

It didn’t appear he was advertising anything, just being entertaining, but I think it shows some commitment to whatever the cause is to be there two different weekends, at different times. Does anyone know the story of the red man of Dickson?

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11 Responses to The red man of Dickson
FiddlerOnTheRoof FiddlerOnTheRoof 9:23 pm 14 Nov 08

I saw the Red Man last weekend when I was stopped at the lights. It was so entertaining I missed the green and got beeped at!
I went to the cafe yesterday to check it out and to be honest it’s not as funky as I thought it would be based on their cool advertising. But they do a decent coffee and an amazing frappuccino. Haven’t sampled the brunch yet, so I can’t say whether Red Man speaks the truth.

I’m in marketing myself, and I reckon they’ve hit on a killer idea in terms of awareness raising. The only similar thing I can remember was Casino Canberra’s jester handing out flyers in Civic years ago, but Spill the Beans seems to have taken a novel approach which is less annoying and far more entertaining.

I wonder if it will catch on and we’ll start seeing company mascots all the way down Northbourne…

RedMan RedMan 11:47 pm 10 Nov 08

I am the red man of Dickson. Sometimes. The role of Red is shared between multiple performers. Their identities are secret.

It is a collaboration between local performers and a very creative cafe manager. The manager of Spill The Beans cafe wanted some roadside advertising that was also entertaining.

So rather than have a kid standing there with a sandwich board, we created a unique character with advertising on it’s suitcase, and used pro performers trained in body isolation moves.

It’s been really popular. Lots of positive comments from passing cars; and drivers getting out of their cars to take photos or to check if it’s real!

Red will be changing outfits from time to time, to keep it interesting. The red stockings Kerces mentioned are actually a full-body lycra suit under the other clothes, so there is plenty of potential for skimpy summer outfits (maybe we’ll see Red in a mankini!?)

If you want to see Red, he/she is at the Northbourne/Antill intersection from 8:30am – 11:30am every Saturday and Sunday.

(P.S. If you ever go to the cafe, try the banana and peanut butter smoothie!)

ant ant 10:01 am 09 Nov 08

they have you fooled, clowns are evil.

astrojax astrojax 9:57 am 09 Nov 08

what was with that ‘back-to-the-future- professor-alike’ mr rudd sign dude at nthbourne and wakefield?? did he expect mr rudd to drive by and notice his sign and go, ‘ok, i won’t spend all the money, then..’?? wouldn’t he have been more strategically placed by the lodge, mebbe?

clowns are funny ant, that’s the point. funny. not evil. funny. hahaha… ‘cept when they cry.

ant ant 9:08 am 09 Nov 08

Me too. Don’t like clowns, in fact clowns are evil.

CHW CHW 6:03 am 09 Nov 08


He scared me. I was looking at the clothing dummy in the rather smart oufit when waiting at the lights opposite to him.

Then he moved. I nearly had a heart attack.

He is as bad as a clown…. I don’t like clowns.

Felix the Cat Felix the Cat 8:20 pm 08 Nov 08

fabforty said :

I saw him too. He was advertising a cafe in Dickson but, given that I can’t remember which one, the concept seems to have failed.

It’s called Spill The Beans.

fabforty fabforty 6:31 pm 08 Nov 08

I saw him too. He was advertising a cafe in Dickson but, given that I can’t remember which one, the concept seems to have failed.

At least the all singing-all dancing “Mr Rudd sign guy” further up Northboune gets his point across and gives us all something to smile about on our way to work.

astrojax astrojax 4:18 pm 08 Nov 08

he lives in one of the drums outside the health building…

he was there as i cycled past from nth lyneham – went across and looked as what he was up to; a cafe in challis street apparently has the ‘best brunch in town’. tea cup on saucer was balanced on the suitcase as he pointed the direction to this establishment. cute.

very odd sight; interesting marketing concept – owner’s son?

ant ant 3:32 pm 08 Nov 08

New government art installation?

taco taco 2:27 pm 08 Nov 08

He was advertising a cafe that supposedly has the best brunch in canberra or something similar according to the sign he was holding (the suitcase)

Can’t recall the name of the place but it either had Challis in the name or was on Challis St (or both)

Interesting advertisement idea, but rapidly gets weird when you are stopped right next to him in the right hand turn lane.

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