Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Drumming at The Loo With A View

I thought we were going out for dinner. Turns out we were also going to become part of the Mooloolaba street theatre scene.

It started with a magazine assignment: a dozen fun and unexpected things to do with kids this summer. A few months ago we had stumbled across a drum circle that meets on the beach in Mooloolaba, a town about half an hour south of here, so I decided to include that in the article. After tracking down the leader (which took a week, and involved speaking to every drummer on the Sunshine Coast before finally connecting with a guy named Krusey), I had the piece. Talking to him about the drumming made me want to go back and see it again, so we decided we'd go this Wednesday night.

Not far from where the drum circle meets, there's a fabulous hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant. It's one of these places that is jam-packed even on a Wednesday night, where people mill around on the street waiting for their takeaway orders while people inside sit at rickety tables and eat off mis-matched crockery. Sharon hadn't been there, so we decided to have dinner before the drumming. Jackie (Sharon's teaching partner) and her family joined us, so we made a little party of it.

Naturally we'd forgotten to book a table, so we ended up getting takeaway. Josh, Jackie's son, had brought his djembe drum along, so while we waited the kids took turns performing on the street. Josh even put his hat out, but nobody seemed to think their talents were worthy of a coin.

With bags of massaman curry, pad thai, fried cashews and vegetables, and prawn chips under our arms, we strolled over to the barbecue area to feast. The beach at Mooloolaba is a real gathering place, and a lot of fun at night. There are lights on the sand, so you can watch people playing beach volleyball and footy while the younger children play on the playgrounds. There's a large balcony beside the toilet block (a complex known as The Loo With A View), where the drummers meet, while below them on the sand the local fire-twirling group practice their skills. At another table, a parcour practitioner was doing handstands and other tricks.

Before long, everyone in our group was taking part in some element of the scene. Ana borrowed the camera and went to take photos of the fire twirlers. After chatting with them for a few minutes, she handed the camera back to me so she could learn how to toss firesticks around. Sharon, Jackie, Kadek and Josh joined the drum circle. Isaiah went to chat to the parcour runner, and soon he was trying his hand at that. Charlotte and Indi, meanwhile, ran back and forth between the playground and the beach, while I just wandered around photographing the whole thing.

It was a great evening -- casual, fun, spontaneous, unexpected. Photos here.

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