every wednesday night especially on warm nights, edinburough gardens in fitzoy at around 9pm sees a congregation of fire-twirlers. it’s the usual collection of hippies, inner-city raver types, performance artists and the occasional converted juggling nerd. but it’s not a bad collection. and as they say, it’s very chill. even if fitzroy dwellers might disagree when drummers come in force and bring a dundun.

it’s been going for three or four years and i’ve known about it for a couple of years or so seeing as it was on my bike commute home. but i’d never stopped to actually see what was going on until last night. too many evenings at confest attempting to dance to the same monotonous drumbeats while avoiding twirlers had quite turned me off the whole fire-twirling scene. sure, some of the fire-twirlers are talented but many, to my jaded eyes, seemed to be attention-seekers with more exhibitionist impulses than skill.

last night, i did stop and found that the secret to this, as in much of everything else, is to join in as opposed to sit on the sidelines and sneer. now, i’ve done a bit of the fire-twirl thing before. I even made my own practice staff eight or so years ago and practiced assiduously by myself in the backyard until i picked up the basics. after experimenting with learning a few new moves, i stopped and juggled instead. Fortunately, my body remembered some of those rotations and interchanges while I twiddled with a borrowed staff. I didnt hit myself much more than once every 10 revolutions. But it was ok as I’d decided that flame was probably not the way to go yet.

anyway, i’m thinking of getting back into it.

so there you go:

dreadlocks (check)
battered old station wagon (check)
juggling (check)
assorted vests, sarongs, beads, feathers and hats (check)
fire-twirling wannabe (check)
some ability in reading the tarot and the iching (check)
occasional ingestion of natural substances (check)
shamans are like really cool (check)
chai is not only good for you, it tastes good too (check)
reasonably informed belief in the efficacy of free markets in a small government democracy as a means of maximising productivity, increasing overall wealth while protecting individual liberty if strategic regulatory mechanisms are in place (check)

Well, I guess 9 out of 10 aint bad.

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