We claim him... Tim Ferguson belongs to us.

We claim him... Tim Ferguson belongs to us. Photo: James Penlidis

Well, it’s been a long time between drinks, hasn’t it? My very first post for this blog contained a veiled complaint about how damn quiet the start of the year was. Never mind, I wrote, that’s just one of Canberra’s quirks, the fact that it takes weeks and weeks for the year to really kick off.

Ha! Now there’s so much happening that I’ve had no time to post all the tidbits about the centenary I had planned. Because I’m busy trying to make sure everything is covered.

Look, in some ways it’s no different to any other year, what with all the shows and exhibitions and events. It’s just that, usually, they’re spread across the year. But this year, no. Every institution has something happening for the centenary, and - bless their little cotton socks – they’ve helpfully clustered them all around the same two week period, so that you’d be forgiven for thinking that life after the birthday weekend will simply fizzle out.

Why? Why? I scream as I frantically move the schedule around the make sure all the big shows get a guernsey.

Anyway, one cool thing this week is CANberra of WORMS (ha!), a panel at the National Film and Sound Archive hosted by one of Canberra’s own prodigal sons, Tim Ferguson. Well, prodigal teenager, anyway. He went to high school and uni here, and was one third of that unforgettable trio of debauched lads, the Doug Anthony All Stars. I have absolutely no shame in admitting at this point that I was, in their heyday, the most rabid DAAS fan ever. When I was 14. So…20 years ago. I put this to Tim over the phone a few hours ago when we were chatting about the event, and even he was surprised that so much time has passed since those days when he and Paul McDermott and Richard Fidler used to busk in Garema Place.

Anyway, CANberra of WORMS looks to be a pretty fascinating event, given how heated people get about all things Canberra. Yes, I’m looking at you, all you lively commenters. The panel, made up of journalist Paul Daley, ScreenACT manager Monica Pender, managing director of BMA Allan Sko and editor of the Riot Act John Griffiths, will be tackling the big questions. Like, why does the rest of Australia hate Canberra so much? And, on a related note, why is it somehow okay to openly malign a place where people actually choose to live? (actually, I just added that sub-question myself). Also, does Canberra have an underbelly? Tim Ferguson thinks so. And, thanks to my court reporting days, I, for one, am quite aware of Canberra’s underbelly. Don’t believe me? Just head on over to the ACT Magistrates Court on any given weekday morning and sit in the A List in Court 1. You’ll get the drift.

But isn’t a seamy side a vital part of any city? And don’t we celebrate it as just part of the fabric of life? What experience do you have of Canberra’s dark side? Come on, let’s get warmed up for Friday night at the Film and Sound Archive…

The event there is free, by the way, and starts at 5.30pm. Bookings at 6248 2000.