Everybody Needs Good…

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Looking back, I actually used to enjoy watching Neighbours as a kid. At 6.30pm I’d be sitting close enough to the tube to warrant the ‘square eyes’ warning from mum which was as familiar as the meat and three vege dinner she would inevitably be preparing.

The 10-year-old me could never have comprehended the strange realities of 2011 – a world where beans and cauliflower are enjoyable and watching Neighbours is socially unacceptable behaviour for a 20-something Melbournite — unless you’re ironically mocking the show of course.

So it was with apprehension that I penned my name onto the attendance list of the weekly Neighbours night at the Elephant and Wheelbarrow. Before you cast judgement, work organised this function. I was attracted by the possibility of free booze and the opportunity to engage in more ironic mocking.

I was told to expect the chance to write questions to the cast, some trivia, dancing and entertainment by none other than Dr. Karl Kennedy and his cover band Waiting Room. In other words, I was told to expect the most tragic night since I went to underage Metro. I invited a friend of mine — a veteran viewer who knows all the actors names and marital statuses.

Walking in, I did not foresee that within hours I would be dancing to Robbie Williams and Beatles covers, making ‘Libby’ pose for a photo doing the Peace sign, nor be blushing wildly as ‘Dr. Karl’ whispered into my ear after he read the very explicit question my table submitted with my name on it. We were told ‘the funnier the question, the better’ so we really ran with it.

At the beginning of the night everyone looked nervous and shy, however this wore off as the drinks flowed and everyone really geeked out. I danced with strangers, Neighbours style, and cheered for the dancing competition. I even laughed at the lame jokes aimed at the various nationalities in the crowd. Sure, it was corny but the excitement among the predominantly UK backpacker crowd was palpable.

My favourite part of the night was inevitably Dr. Karl (Alan Fletcher — or ‘Fletch’ as the fans call him) and his stage antics. He sported a vest over t-shirt combo and stomped around the stage bent over his microphone, belting out some old Brit-punk covers and a rendition of ‘Living Next Door to Alice’ — complete with swearing and replacing Alice with Susan and other Neighbours-like lyrics. A true entertainer, Fletch had the crowd jumping and screaming. He successfully earned my respect as well as fanning the little Neighbours flame still alive deep within.

If you’d like to tap into your inner child or know of someone who loves Neighbours but has nobody to go with- go along. It will be a night you won’t soon forget, and seeing Dr. Karl on stage is a story you can tell for years!

Elephant and Wheelbarrow
169 Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda
Every Monday @ 7pm
Entry: $40-$45



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