A Nice Girl Like You

Are you ready?

I guess so.

I mean, are you comfortable?

Sure. Besides I know your first question. How did I get here? The ‘nice girl like you’ will be implied. But it’ll be there. How did a nice girl like me end up here?

Thought crossed my mind. I’d probably phrase it less like a bad pick-up line.

People usually do. 

So you get that a lot? 

Of course. Less now I’m a bit older. But often enough. You know, there’s a better question. I guess, a more fundamental one. 

What’s that?

Where was I? When it happened? 

You mean…?

Of course. That’s the real beginning, isn’t it? Of everything. For all of us. You know, my Mum used to say that every generation has its thing. That moment that brings everybody together. Because everyone you ever meet will know it. And everyone will remember what they were doing when it happened.

My grandmother used to say the same thing. About the moon landing.

Lady Di’s death.

The Twin Towers.

Exactly. Where were you? When it happened?

Me? Well, we’re supposed to be talking about… but, ok. Well, it was…. a Sunday afternoon. Right? It was a Sunday? That sounds right. My Uni mates and I were hanging out at the Rocks having some fish and chips and a jug. It was a pretty normal Sunday for us. Lunch. A few beers and then we used to shoot some pool or go to a mate’s to play cards. That day we chose the pub. 


And I remember the place was busy. There was music playing in the background. Some kind of Aussie pub rock, probably Chisel or something. And then the whole place just got quiet. I didn’t notice at first but there was this TV in the corner that had been showing some footy match and I realised everyone was just staring at it. So I did too. We were all at film school, of course, so we just grabbed our phones and started documenting everything. Interviewing people. Filming the coverage. We went back to a mate’s to grab some proper gear and then hit the streets. We spent the rest of the day just vox popping everybody.

It changed your life.

Yeah. I guess it did. I wanted to make films obviously. But I was kinda… uninspired… for being in my final year. And then this thing happened. And it changed everything. I started filming and I just never stopped.

When I was little, my family went to London to visit some relatives. I think she was Mum’s cousin or something. She got up and went to work one morning and we were getting ready to go out. I was four so getting ready took longer than it should. Then Mum’s cousin, or whatever she was, phoned home and said, “Turn on the TV”. So we did. I was too young, but Mum said she’ll never forget that feeling. Watching the planes slam into those buildings. She said it was surreal. 

Surreal is the word. Although the documentary filmmaker in me wants to point out that’s hardly the world’s worst terrorist attack. It just had the highest profile.

Of course. But that’s not the point. That moment changes you. And everything around you. The recession cost Mum’s cousin her job in the City. My parents cancelled our trip to Egypt. Going through airports became a nightmare. I guess they were just ripples. Unimportant little ripples. But things changed. They are changed. And sometimes you don’t even realise how much until you look at the world you’re living in and it just feels different. 

So you think that’s the best place to start?

Don’t you?

I don’t know. I was going to ask how you first met the Gecko.

I’m not going to talk about that. That’s non-negotiable. What happened that day… there’s only two people who know about that. I’m sorry, but I don’t talk about it.

I thought…

I said I’d tell you how I got here. Who I am now. Not my whole story. Besides, what happened then was… well, it was a ripple. Hell, it was a tsunami. 

Ok. It’s your choice. So, where were you? When it happened? While I was standing in that bar with a pool cue and a beer, not yet realising I’d found my future career. 

Me? I was where a nice girl like me would be.

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