Written by Anne Edmonds


Eavesdropping: Splendour in the Grass

Anne Edmonds spends her time lurking in cafes, airports, libraries, public spas (bit weird) listening for that magical drop from the eave – a few overheard words that tell you everything. These are the stories of the people you pass everyday in the street.

Illustration by Laura Swaddle

Splendour in the Grass Music Festival, Byron Bay, Australia, 11.55am, 27 July 2014

A security guard behind an inadequate barrier yells “Stay back!” at eight 19-year-old girls holding hands and wearing matching high-fanny denim shorts and tucked in singlet tops, as is the fashion.

The ring leader, the tallest girl whose shorts that are so high I fear for the safety of her anus, yells back, “We’re going to run! We’re firsties!” and then to everyone behind her, “Sorry guys, fan girls right here”.

Meanwhile a guy with dreadlocks has simply walked around the barrier and is heading off towards the stage. The security guard yells, “Go back” but he just says, “Oh fuck off mate, I’m going to the dunny” and keeps walking.

One of the eight girls catches my eye. While the others squeal she looks around, unsure. She’s been listening to this band for weeks, like a chore, but she just doesn’t get it. The lyrics don’t make sense. “I think it might be bad”, she thinks to herself but quickly suppresses the thought. It can’t be if everyone else loves it.

I hitch my jeans up at the front until I feel a burn followed by a worrying numbing, as is the fashion, and then conduct a number of leg stretches.

In any case she’s not letting on to tall Jenny who screams out, “Oh my god, I’m so excited. Think I’m going to cry.” She calls back, “Me toooooooo.”

Such is my commitment to the eavesdrop that I know when they run, I must run also. So I hitch my jeans up at the front until I feel a burn followed by a worrying numbing, as is the fashion, and then conduct a number of leg stretches.

At 11.59am the security guard moves the barrier aside and then we are all running. I’m screaming. I don’t know why. I’m 35. I look over at my uncertain friend, frowning and being dragged along by the girl next to her.

I want to grab her hand and say, “Run with me. Keep running and don’t stop. We will run away from here, beyond the stage and over the hills, for I am you and you are me and there is other music. There is country music. You will learn about it in five years time from your boyfriend who’ll leave you in the end to move to Berlin but don’t think about that now, just run. I AM THE FUTURE.”

But that’s the sort of thing that can get you trouble with the authorities. So instead we slam into the stage and an 18-year-old boy with pimples holding a guitar yells into the microphone, “Splendour! You are my people!” and then starts playing some dreadful song about his feelings while we all comfort Jenny as she sobs.

Illustration by Claire Jones

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Written by Anne Edmonds

Anne Edmonds is one of Australian's most exciting new stand up, character and banjo-playing comedians.