Festival of Voices: Nicolette Minster at Voicebox

The below was written for and published by Aphra Magazine:

I’m sitting on the couch in my trackies and the tshirt I went out in last night, my only form of sustenance is the post-mix coke that I half-finished at 4:30am this morning.  I take out my phone and go to message my mate to see how his night turned out.  The last I remember he was engaged in some questionable dance moves with what I think he would consider to be a questionable dance partner.

That’s when I see the message.

Headig home now. Ai if you wanted to come over. 😉 😉 ;;

That’s really the type of message my boss is going to appreciate at 4am in the morning.  Of all the misdirected messages I could ever send this has got to be the worst.  This is possibly worse than sending a compromising photo to your mother by mistake.  At the end of the day she is still going to love you, my boss… my boss is not likely to be impressed.

This. This right here is further affirmation that I am just not built to function in this world.  This is the type of thing that happens to me all the time.  I relay these stories to my friends who are always of the opinion that this type of thing only ever happens to me.  Well friends, you are mistaken.  If I learnt anything about the world during Nicolette Minster’s performance at Voicebox on Saturday night, I learnt this:  I am not alone.

Minster’s voice echoes through the cabaret lounge, asking her pianist to play something fitting.  My eyes go to the stage, she is not there.  I look around trying to find the source of her voice and that’s when I see her, left of stage fiddling with something on the ground.  It’s a Phillips robotic vacuum cleaner.  Minster proceeds to guide the creatively named ‘Philip’ through the crowd with the heel of her foot.

“Maybe you shouldn’t be spending so much money on the arts”, she exclaims, well aware of the ridiculousness of this imagery.  From where I sit I hear a member of the audience deliver a jibe back to her from one of the front tables.  “Don’t echo me, I’m here to shine”, Minster returns with a note of desperation – this is her moment, her chance, the only chance she has ever had – don’t take this away from her.

Minster’s comedy encapsulates the 20-30 somethings condition of life in a time of short attention spans, digital communication and misplaced affections.  Minster, who self-diagnoses as being somewhere on the autism spectrum, explains to the audience the concept of objectum sexuality; the romantic or emotional desire felt towards inanimate objects.  This is where we meet “Blue Blankey”, the object of Nicolette’s affection.

I laugh along at Nicolette’s anecdotes (not as much as the man incessantly giggling right behind me) as she attempts to rationalise the irrational, imagining a life of happiness and a future together for her and her satin edged blanket.  We glimpse their future, a wedding, where Blankey and Nicolette exchange vows before friends and family.

Nicolette runs out into the crowd, singing a solo version of I’ve Had the Time of My Life to come to the crushing realisation that things aren’t going to work between her and Blue Blankey, because Blankey isn’t Patrick Swayze.  Blankey can’t perform the pivotal romantic move that Nicolette (and 89.5% of Australia’s female population) have dreamed of since they were little girls.  Blankey can’t do “the lift”.  Blankey has left Nicolette high and dry and thus Blankey is dumped.

Status updates and tweets about how things are so much better without Blankey, and how ‘Nicolette is so awesome at being alone’, this right here is the natural progression for the ever socially connected person going through a relationship break down.  C’mon, we’ve all been there.

Nicolette continues to lead us through her somewhat awkward experience of life.  What has seemingly been an unconnected mish-mash of stories and ‘facepalm’ moments culminating with a bruised and battered Nicolette, crying into Blue Blankey in a pile of pickle juice on the kitchen floor.  We’ve all been there too.  Maybe not literally, but I can identify with Nicolette’s realisation that at some point, whilst trying to prove that she’s not a child, she’s become less of an adult.

The lights go down and Nicolette is left hugging Philip, her robotic vacuum cleaner –  the new improved “Blue Blankey”.  I think to myself that the next time I send that misdirected text, or a tweet that was probably better left unsent, I should just remember that things could be worse.  I could be in love with my kettle.


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