Once upon a time, there lived three young men. Each had a talent - one was a good drawer, one was a good organiser and the other was a good photographer. One thing they all shared in common was a love of hot rods and people who loved hot rods. So one day, they decided to produce a magazine for those people about the thing they all loved, and Chopped - the magazine - was born.
Right from the very first issue it was well regarded by those who got their hands on a copy, and it wasn't long before those people were asking the three young men when they were going to have a actual hot rod show.
This last weekend - the first weekend in October - the three young men hosted their fourth Chopped Rod & Custom Show at the Newstead Racecourse which just happened to coincide with the seventh edition of their magazine.
The rain swept across the event for most of Friday. It was wet, but far from miserable. Plenty of shelter in the Tiki Palace and then in the band tent where the musicians didn't let the inclement weather dampen their spirits. In between times, the hot rods took to the drag strip while distinctly less dirt and more mud, they exploded down the back straight and skidded and splattered their around the bottom bend to come up the front. If only I could've captured the size of those mud splattered grins and the "Yehas!" you would understand that this event was never going to be cancelled due to rain!
It didn't last long though, by early evening the wet had passed on by and Saturday dawned to an overcast but fine day. Enough mud left to still get a good run on the drags and, I have to mention, as beautiful as those cars look polished up to the nines, their true charm is revealed with the addition of mud splatter because then, the cars are revealed for what they were intended - a shit load of fun!
Last year, I went hard on the Friday night. I hooked into the Voodoo Brew - the special cocktail made for the show - and had a tremendously fun evening, but a shockingly mournful following day. Nursing a hangover while camping is a tough call so, at the time, vowed I would not do it again.
This year: I did it again.
Oops I did it again
I was very lucky to have a tent erected for me earlier on Friday night, but very unlucky to try and enter the tent by way of a direction without an entrance. In my VooDoo Brew intoxicated state, I gave up trying to burrow through into the unburrowable side of the tent and decided to go sleep in my car. Which, on the surface is a great idea, don't you think? Do you remember what kind of car I have?
A Mini Clubman isn't really the best car to sleep in unless you're a four year old child, and a short one at that. For anyone older and taller it's a bit cramped. But it was warm, and it was dry and, more to the point: I could get into it!
Waking with the sun there was no sleep-in for me. There was no way I was going to get caught sleeping in the Mini - I'd never hear the end of it! So up and out I got and staggered around to the front of the Tiki Palace just before 7am, thinking I felt pretty good for someone who had abused her liver for hours on end the night before.
Kyle was up too and picking up after the crowd from the night before. Daylight revealed many bottles, cans and other things that deserved a bin so I got stuck in as well, working our way across the racecourse, filling bins and getting ready for another day of it. Kyle's lovely girl Karla brought us both over a bacon and egg sandwich from the Footy Club's kitchen and we sat down and ate our breakfast in the sunshine.
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there'll be sun
The sun can be mighty bright at 8am, in case you haven't noticed.
After we'd cleared the debris and devoured our breakfast, a coffee was in order. Hobojo coffee had set up their portable cafe by the Tiki Palace. Paul Dodd was pulling espressos all weekend and let me sit in the shade of his cafe container while I had mine. Looking at him work, I had a vague but nagging memory of telling him that I loved him the night before. I cupped the coffee glass in my hand and sipped quietly until I'd finished it all. From time to time Paul would look at me and chuckle. Maybe I wasn't doing quite as well as I thought I was.
More and more people were arriving - emerging from tents and cars - the day was hotting up and I was starting to shiver and feel cold right to my bones. Someone wasn't managing her body temperature very well so decided to get back into the Mini, this time to go home. Last year I lived in Melbourne, an hour and a half away so I had to battle through this stage, this year I lived 5 kilometres down the road so that's where I was heading.
Saturday was pretty much a right-off for me. It took me a hot shower, a hot water bottle, one dog and two hours to stop feeling frozen, then I slept. Slept and slept until mid-afternoon. From about 2pm I was on a slow journey from my bed back to Chopped. I eventually got back to the Tiki Palace at 6pm to yelps of laughter and well-meaning derision.
The bands were in full swing with so many more people than the couple of hundred of Friday night. Everyone was having a good time - including me - but I stuck to the cans of Coke and Fanta and left the booze to those who could handle it better than me.