So an invite came in the mail:
You Are Here would like to invite you for a cup of tea and a chat about how things are going and such
Feb 3 (4 days ago)
to John, Julia, Yolande, hadley
Dear Julia (aka BMA Magazine) and Johnboy (aka the RiotACT),
So I guess it sometimes feels as if all we do here at You Are Here is take, and there is no giving. And we’re conscious of that, because you guys are crazy generous and we are a trio of scattered imbeciles*, and so with that in mind we would like to offer up just a little love. Just a little, in the form of:
Tea with You Are Here
3pm Tuesday 7 March
Gus’ Cafe, Garema Place, Civic
Let’s be clear here: this is us providing tea for you (being BMA and RiotACT), not some double-dutch-everyone-pays nonsense. You come, tea is provided, we say thanks for all your hard work, and then if we all feel inclined, we might talk through the festival program with you. That way, if you’re interested in an artist or an event or similar, we can give you the artists’ contacts and give you their details in one fell swoop.
You can bring your whole team! You can bring only yourselves! You can bring cameras and notepads! Or not! The point is, there’ll be cups of tea and god knows you need them on a Tuesday afternoon.
That’s all. Hope you’re listening to rainy day music where you are.
All our love,
You Are Here Inc.
*though to be fair Lande is beautiful and wise and Hadley at least has a sort of rogueish charm
Being a fair way off I went to put that in my calendar, which upset both me and the calendar as 7 March is a Wednesday.
It turned out that my presence was instead required on Tuesday 7 February. Today.
Getting down to Gus’s on the stroke of three Julia and I congratulated each other on our punctuality and wondered at where the scattered imbeciles had got to.
We’d just started talking shop when my phone rang, it was Finnigan.
“Hi John, you should be able to see a woman in a black dress wearing an animal mask”
“Ummm, yes, I can see her”
“I need you to go up and talk to her”
She was standing next to the pedestrian crossing of Bunda Street and an Asian man was trying to engage her in conversation.
Quite what he was hoping to gain talking to a shapely woman, in an evening gown, wearing an animal mask, standing on the curb of Bunda St, remains a mystery to me.
But he broke off contact just as I was approaching and no sooner had I said “Hi” than she derisively flung a folder onto the ground, turned on her heel, and stalked away.
“BMA and RIOTACT” was scrawled in marker pen on the folder.
I picked it up, it was lumpy.
Inside was a pair of scissors, a sheet of A4 with a key taped to it, and on the paper words to the effect of “follow the woman in the black dress until you find the black and yellow box”.
I returned to Julia and explained that we appeared to have been shanghaied into an elaborate theatrical installation.
“The buggers probably have cameras on us.”
Julia informed me that she’d just ordered a coffee, and didn’t plan to leave without it.
This presented a conundrum. Staying would ruin the intended effect, but so would splitting up, assuming a limited supply of women in black dresses wearing animal masks in Civic on a Tuesday afternoon.
The inertia of sticking together, combined with the fear of facing the weird alone, won.
A few minutes later the woman in the mask returned and made come hither gestures.
“I just need to get my coffee” Julia shouted.
The figure disappeared.
A few minutes later my phone rang, it was Finnigan again.
“You’re meant to follow the woman in the dress!”
“I’ll just put you onto Julia” I said handing my phone over.
After a brief negotiation it was agreed that the coffee could be transfered to a take-away cup and, sparing further awkwardness, it arrived.
Gus’s were very obliging about the whole thing.
We stepped out into Garema Place and found the mysterious woman in the black dress who set off, always staying twenty metres ahead, barely acknowledging our existence.
For once when the chuggers attacked we had a good excuse.
“Sorry but I have to follow that woman in the black dress wearing an animal mask”.
The only thing that beats a chugger in the Garema Place calculus of fear is a lunatic, so they backed off. Fast.
Similarly bumping into a friend I had to make a swift and apparently insane explanation about why I had to move on.
Around where Petrie Plaza meets City Walk the woman in the black dress passed under a black petty cash tin adorned with bright yellow post it notes and suspended from a plane tree by twine.
Deploying both scissors and key we looked inside to discover tea bags.
And a note saying “Bring the tea bags to The Newsroom”.
As previously reported The Newsroom is the old Centrepoint newsagency, now repurposed as the hub for this year’s You Are Here Festival.
We made our way around the corner, the door was unlocked and a tea party was laid out on a rug in the old storefront.
We sat down, started sneezing from the dust of long neglect, laptops were produced, and the program was explained to us.
Without wanting to give away spoilers it’s one hell of a show they’ve got planned for March.
Keep your eyes peeled to the You Are Here website, BMA if you like reading things printed with poison onto dead trees, and of course here for more details as they’re released.
There are some seriously fun things coming down the pipe and something for young, old, both the hip and un-hip, and whatever lurks in between.