Callum B. Downes

Month: April, 2014

“Nerds Will Rule The World Part I” (Author’s Note 9th edn)

Utterly captivated, the audience held their breathe in unison as the final crescendo soared high above the upper tiers of the theatre, a mighty eagle boasting its majesty. In perfect cadence, the famed musician skilfully concluded the concerto and gripped the neck of his violin with vice like force, revealing the whites of his knuckles in sickening anticipation of the uncertain applause. Deafening silence hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity. Gentle murmurs and conniving sniggers gradually emerged from the sonic void until suddenly, reality was reinstated in typically depressing style.

“Sometime before Christmas would be good Mozfart!” Cried one of the jocks from the back row of the mould infested school hall. A tremendous roar of laughter ensured young Henry Fredricks, violin prodigy, chess master and reining champion of the national Dungeons and Dragons league, would retain his position at the pooey end of the social caterpillar. It was a position he had grown painfully used to over the past 6 years of high school.

Most mornings, Henry struggled to find a space to park his Mum’s Toyota Yaris as Tom Armstrong, king pin of the school, would manoeuvre his brand new SS Holden ute to block any spot Henry chose. Captain of the football team, host of the loosest drug-fuelled parties and passionate lover of the angelic Rachael Hanson, Tom Armstrong seemed to have it all, and would do almost anything within his formidable schoolyard power to keep things that way.

Henry and Tom had fewer things in common than a Nun and a homosexual brothel owner. For one, Henry despised football and sports in general, accredited to his ‘red-arse’ debut in year 7, when his tailbone was shattered by virtue of an illegal follow through. Henry also hated parties. This was partly due to his total abhorrence of people, but owed largely to a bad trip he experienced after Tom spiked his soft drink with acid, sending him into a state of zealous worship, which reached its zenith when he poured dishwashing liquid over his naked body and cried, “master, cleanse me of my sins!”

Yet even though these schoolyard enemies embodied the definition of polar opposites, they did in fact share a single common desire. The claim to Rachael Hanson’s heart. Draped elegantly upon delicate shoulders, her jet-black hair glowed softly when sunlight hit at a certain angle, setting off the alluring lustre of deep green eyes and the spellbinding radiance of the sweetest smile, prompting Henry to occasionally carry his Star Trek binder folder over the crotch of his tatty school shorts. She was funny too. And smart. Top of the class in English. But, most importantly, she was the only girl to ever strike up a conversation with Henry Fredricks, who enjoyed this rare female contact even more than the Star Trek femme fatales who usually fuelled his boyish fantasies.

He knew he didn’t stand a chance of winning her over, even though deep down he was sure they were meant for each other. That’s how Henry Fredricks, super geek, found himself wallowing in a puddle of self-pity as the entire school laughed and jeered in response to the nervous breakdown he was currently experiencing centre stage. Fit like spasms possessed his limbs and, due to his engrossing numbness, he’d failed to notice the warm trickle of urine that meandered down the banks of his trousers, a reaction to the crippling anxiety that preluded his violin performance.

He’d composed an entire score in dedication to his beloved Rachael. Rehearsed it over and over, until his fingers cracked and bled. Now, in place of the bodily fluid he now scrubbed off his legs, it had all gone down the toilet.

With astonishing force, he hurled his precious instrument into the hysterical audience, whose laughter was cut short and replaced by blood curdling screams. The elegant projectile was on a direct coarse with a group of girls, who threw their arms above their heads and dove underneath their gum infested chairs as if the Germans were coming. The head of PE, Mr Mansfield, was impressed by Henry’s textbook javelin throw and was already pursuing the enraged student to invite him onto the athletics team.

But Henry was long gone, sprinting, with enough speed to cement his place in the Olympic team, towards the boys change rooms. He skidded around the penultimate corner, charge down the final straight, slammed through the doors with the force of a true athlete and came to an almighty halt upon hearing the agonising cry of an all too familiar voice. Unable to move, Mr McKay lay flat on his belly, bound by the trousers around his ankles, clutching at his nose, which now resembled the open floodgates of the Nile during the plagues, with a crinkled Playboy magazine.

“Sorry sir! I didn’t see you there sir!” He blubbered between great anxious breaths.

“Never mind young lad,” sympathised Mr McKay as he reached for the hem of his underpants in desperation. “Just help me up would you?”

Henry under hooked the shoulders of the obese man and heaved him up off the floor. “Turn around lad!” He shouted, before wiggling and giggling his gargantuan belly into his briefs and hoisting up his XXXL trousers. He dropped his voice to a growling murmur, “And don’t you dare tell a soul about this here lad,” holding up the now bloody adult magazine into the dull yellow light.

Henry jerked his head back in disgust, confirming all the rumours surrounding the hippo like woodwork teacher, who was said to be on parole for child molestation. He leaned back even further as the predator advanced right up into his grill.

“You been sobbing again boy?” He probed.

“No!” Rebutted Henry.

“No use lying lad, ya eyes are all red.” He sucked in a great lung full of the dank air, which was heavy with body odour and Lynx Africa. “You either have a bad case of pink eye, or that low life excuse for a human Tom Armstrong has been stirring ya up again, eh?”

“He doesn’t scare me anymore.”

“But he still has your girl.”

Henry shot a piercing glare towards the loathsome teacher before snarling and clenching his fists. With an empathetic chuckle Mr Mackay shook his head and, with refreshingly uncharacteristic compassion, offered a golden word of advice that would resonate like gospel for Henry Fredricks for the rest of his days.

“Don’t you worry lad, nerds will rule the world one day!”

To be continued…


Gig Review: Mitch & Mike Gordon @ Howlin’ Wolf Whiskey Bar

IMG_0866Set like manikin dolls behind the shopfront window of the Howlin’ Wolf, the bow-tied duo hoisted their acoustic guitars beneath the admiring gaze of a young Elvis, hanging upon the wall. The rowdy window shoppers, however, were not seeking a dose of retail therapy, rather a night of groovin’ to the unique sounds of Mitch & Mike Gordon’s latest EP.

Crammed in amongst a maze of lounges, stools and wine barrels, the expectant audience were duly treated to a grand feast of musical excellence, kicked off by the EP’s funk filled opening track, “Biochemisty”. Driven by unusual, jazz inspired chord progressions, the energetic rendition had the crowd up on their feet in an instant as they reacted to the effortlessly smooth vocals and feel good guitar hooks.

The stage was now set for the two brothers to display their well renowned concoction of soul pleasing harmonies, funky rhythms and awe-inspiring guitar solos. It’s a recipe that their fans have come to cherish during the Howlin’ Wolf’s infamous open mic nights, where Mitch & Mike have become the backbone of the resident band, which grace the makeshift stage every Thursday night. Their performance tonight raised that bar ever higher, as lead vocalist Mike exhibited incredibly skilful melodies that complimented the flicker of candlelight among the audience.

After busting out a few of their typically fun loving and seductive tunes, the pair instilled a sombre mood of reflection with their heartfelt performance of “Requiem For An Angel II”. Silhouetted against the lights of a projection screen, displaying a beautiful collection of family photographs (in tribute to their late Mother), the pair captivated the hearts and minds of the onlookers, fighting tears as they gave a spellbinding performance that I’m sure she would have been proud of.

The boys brightened things up again with a banging take on some Justin Timberlake tunes, which saw most of the crowd screaming the lyrics at the top of their lungs in fervent nostalgia, reminiscent of awkward high school discos. Minus the sloppy hook-ups and condemning parental supervision.

Following their final song, an encore was fittingly demanded and they eventually gave in to the whiskey-fuelled cries for more good times. With an extensive repertoire of covers up their now sweat drenched sleeves, the pair busted out a selection of Michael Jackson and other pop classics, much to the delight of the now frenzied audience, who almost took over the stage with their mediocre impressions of the moon walk and loose interpretations of the ‘sloshed’ robot.

Capped off by a blessing from God in the form of a free drink deal with the purchase of the EP, their show shall go down into the hallowed parchment of the Howlin’ Wolf history books. Check out for tour dates and download their brand new EP on ITunes if you like what you hear.

Messages From the Pigeon House

Surpassing the depths of infinite horizons, encompassing all that exists momentarily for all eternity, awe-inspiring, wondrous and sublime, the impregnable deluge of eucalypt suffocates rugged landscapes beneath its gnarled extremities. Dwarfed by the imposing cliff tops, so delicately fashioned over immeasurable episodes of climatic turbulence, attempts to comprehend the enormity of the immediate panorama remain ever fleeting. Further attempts to quantify the span of the Earth only serve to confiscate the breath from my lungs.


Meditating on such profound notions is inescapable once I perch atop the craggy outcrops of Pigeon House Mountain, a formidable beacon amongst the desolate, yet thriving wilderness of Morton National Park, located on the New South Wales south coast. My state of lucid reverie is accentuated as the scent of the endless gums greets my nostrils and the gentle rustle of their limbs soothes my soul. A just reward following the grinding accent upon this natural monument, which due to its box like summit, lends itself aptly to its title when viewed from below and afar. Limitless varieties of native Australian flora surround the unrelenting track that provides a steep challenge, capped off with a man made ladder system during the final climb to the summit.


Embracing the 360-degree views of ancient gorges immediately to the west, juxtaposed against the rolling green pastures bordering the glistening ocean far to the east, truly is an invigorating experience. Denying myself of further peaceful reflection, I’m eventually convinced to embark upon my decent and re-entrance into the hustle and bustle of everyday life once again.



Ironically, I leave the car park in a cloud of I dust and contemplate the importance of maintaining our beautiful environment, aching at the thought of how our existence only serves to destroy it.


4 Friends You Make During O-Week (Author’s Note 8th edn)

Throw a bunch of self-conscious, indescribably anxious teenagers, who literally haven’t the faintest clue as to what they’ve signed up for into a sterile room, force them to engage in wildly awkward small talk, cram a gazillion terabytes of university gibberish into their heads, rush them around the campus on an inadequate excuse for a tour, let them dunk the Dean of their faculty, who they’ll never see again, into a tub of water, invite them to get monumentally inebriated at a memory erasing party, and what do you have?

Orientation week!

Or as I like to call it, disorientation week, because most participants are left vomiting in a complete stranger’s bathroom without any friends, wondering how they ever thought four extra years of school and accumulating a massive HECS debt was a good idea. After all it’s true what they say, tradies do get the ladies, and the money.

Yet it’s not all regrettable hook ups and self-deprecating sumo-suit fights during O-Week. It has its cherished moments. One of which is meeting new, “life-long” friends, who will help you survive the living hell that is University. Here’s a short, yet accurate list of whom you will meet, but definitely will never talk to again.

  1. The Foreign Exchange Student

Alone and eager to make new Aussie friends, they are undoubtedly the friendliest person you’ll bump into. They often have an amusingly limited grasp of English and an entertaining accent, which seems fun at first, until the only subject you talk about is how you say words like tomato differently.

  1. The guy who shouts you a beer at O-Party

Striking up a conversation about their undying love for happy hour and their life-threatening degree of intoxication, these legends momentarily become more important to you than your own Mother, or God. You almost certainly share a passion for some sort of hobby, which is usually sinking bulk piss, resulting in a big hug and an even bigger splash of beer down your favourite top.

  1. The super attractive girl / guy

Is it just the beer goggles, or do they really look like Audrey Hepburn and George Clooney’s love child? After eyeing them off for the entire day, you finally muster the courage to talk to them at O-Party. Even though you were incoherent, more often then not you’ll manage to ascertain their number, which will result in a few short-lived, awkward text messages.

  1. The guy who organised the after party

The rowdiest specimen you’ve ever seen, this guy can’t wait to live out his frat-boy dreams. He instantly becomes your best friend and promises sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll at a classic house party. The reality is sloppy mouth rape, a heavily distorted IPod dock and a space upon the cold floorboards to rest your head.

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