Adelaide is famous for two things. It’s called, alternately, the city of churches and the bizarre murder capital of the world. Both titles are well-deserved, as both seem to have made an impact on parents of the 70s and 80s, at least, who spent too much time being equally concerned with higher-powers and serial-killers.
Whenever I tell anyone I’m from Adelaide (and I’m usually fairly coy about it), they say something along the lines of: Oh, it’s actually quite nice there. We had a really great time. Except the day we arrived a couple of girls chopped a man’s arms off and put the rest of him in their neighbour’s wheely bin. Even Stephen King apparently recognised the creepiness that comes from a quiet, regional centre with a very seedy underbelly.
Anyways, I’m back home in god and killer’s country for a week. I use the word home loosely, as my girlfriend (also an ex-Adelaidean) and I stay in a nice hotel every time we come here. It’s not that our families are uniformly insane -“ it’s just the prospect of bunk beds at her parent’s house or two giant, crazy Alsatians at mine. Our friends offer, but their dirty, ecstasy-strewn floors don’t fit for us now we’re in the family way.
But there is a sense of home here nonetheless. Everything is so familiar. Our first morning in our favourite cafe, Lucia’s -“ which is, incidentally, the inspiration for the name of our stupid dog -“ we had two seriously Adelaide celebrity sightings. The first was Amanda Vanstone, and the second was Quentin, that little dude in the electric wheelchair that used to be on Young Talent Time.
Unfortunately there’s been no sign of the other famous Adelaide identity, a massive black guy who walks the length of Rundle Mall in the most incredible outfits. One day, he’s kicking back in a white Speedo and knee-high gumboots. The next, a pair of tiny football shorts and a crisp white shirt, tied off in a Spanish style. He’s famous enough to have a cult following, and he’s almost become an urban legend: everyone knows someone who’s actually spoken to him, but nobody has done it themselves.
When he gets to the end of the mall, he sighs, does a little catwalk turn, and heads back. It’s a hard life, but at least he’s adding a bit of flair. Personally, I think he’s getting paid by the government to distract people from killin’ and churchin’.