MasterChef Aus S11E06 – Recap

The losers from yesterday, Dee, Nicole, and Yossra, are back again for a pressure test where one of them will go home.

Nicole tells us about her backstory, and beware, it’s a tear jerker. Her family are all academics, and she has two degrees. She’s about to start her honours in psychology, but she can’t shake the feeling that she’s got to follow her cooking passion.

As someone with an honours, I have a LOT of opinions on this. I will spare you today, but just know that there is a lot happening for me right now.

Now back to MasterChef.

Today, Gaz is wearing a blue suit with a light blue shirt. He’s also wearing his glasses again, which suit him.

George is wearing a black vest and a white shirt. He’s keeping it chill, but classy.

Finally, Matt is wearing a pink suit with a white shirt. Today, his cravat and pocket square are black with pink flowers on them.

Darren Purchese comes in. He’s wearing his work uniform, which looks like it’s made of blue denim.

He reveals his dessert. Basically, it’s a meringue with a lot of stuff inside. Then, he sets it on fire. They all get a slice, but because they used alcohol to light it, they gave Yossra a sober meringue.

Yossra tells us how she’s a pharmacist, so she’s like, “I’ve pretty much got a food up on the others, because I’m used to measuring and looking at small details.”

They start cooking.

Dee fucks up her ice-cream and has to start over. Both Darren and Matt don’t really believe in her.

Dee is super stressed, everyone is yelling at her. It’s advice and trying to motivate her, but she’s just feeling too overwhelmed. Big mood, Dee.

Yossra is all over this, as is Nicole, but Dee is doing her best to give a go.

Dee so far has only really successfully done curries. Not to throw shade because I love her, but maybe home cooking is more her forte, and she might be a bit out of her depth here.

Finally, the drama is over, and the women are all on track at this stage.


Dee tells us about her goals. She wants a cooking school to teach her home cooking. Her husband is super supportive and behind her, which is awesome.

George, in a very George fashion, yells supportive, inspirational stuff again. He probably spends time between yelling to find good inspirational things to yell at them.

Nicole is really starting to annoy me. She wants everything to be perfect. Like, someone needs to tell her that she just needs to be better than everyone else. There are no winners – just one loser.

Blah blah blah, montage montage montage.

Time is up, and it’s time for tasting.

Nicole comes in, talking about how her family are all academics but she doesn’t, “want to do my master for the sake of doing it.” I think that’s all well and good, but psychology is literally useless when it’s just a bachelors degree, but go off I guess.

Nonetheless, the judges like her stuff, but she lacked chocolate in her ice-cream.

Yossra’s next. She’s a bit worried by what she’s done so far, but I think she’ll be fine. They talk about how she’s a pharmacist and how they could see her meticulous measuring.

Overall, they love her dish.

Dee’s next. She’s worried, but generally relieved that she got everything up.

Gaz tells her that they thought she’d chuck the towel in. But Dee tells her that her husband tells her to never give up. Aww I love her.

When the judges taste, they find a fault in every single element.

Dee had too many issues to overlook, so she’s out. The other women give her a hug and George says some kind words.

He tells her to follow her dreams and one day open her cooking school, because her cooking is amazing and she nails the flavours.

We get a little looks at what she’s done since. Dee has done wok experience at a kitchen and has a YouTube channel called Dee-licious. I can’t find it though…

MasterChef Aus S11E05 – Recap

Everyone gets out of the black cars, and yet again, they can’t believe they’re here.

Steph says, “I’ve dreamed about doing a mystery box challenge for years.”

The whole group come inside and stand in front of the whole lot of benches with mystery boxes.

The trio of judges are standing in front of them.

Matt is wearing a blue suit with a floral looking cravat and pocket square.

George is wearing a grey suit with a white shirt that looks like it’s got a bit of a floral thing going on.

Gaz is wearing a black suit with a nice blue shirt.

They start to talk about the mystery box and reveal the ingredients. Each of them chose three ingredients.

For the challenge, they have only the mystery box and their staples under their benches. The judges will be trying 5. Of that, one will be chosen to compete for immunity tomorrow, everyone else will be going through to the next round. George warns them that they do not want to be in the next round.

As the cooking commences, and the trio go around to talk to people, a few of them apologise to Matt for not making any brussels sprouts and instead going with George’s ingredients. I was confused because I didn’t think they had to chose one of the judges choices.

When they were talking about the ins and outs of the challenge, my partner was picking off the beans from her burrito, and she was getting pretty passionate about it, because the shop had loaded the beans on. I think she would’ve been alright with it if she hadn’t specified that she didn’t want beans on her burrito. Also, the shop didn’t advertise what was on the burritos. I was a bit confused the whole time and I was just grateful that I’m pretty open to eating anything. No matter what they put on the burrito, I’d eat it. So I was like, “Oh, there’s beans, that’s all good, kinda expecting it.”

So you can see how I would be confused when I’m back in focus of what’s happening. I figured they’d tell me later if there was any constraints on the box, but they didn’t.

Long story short, they didn’t have to choose only three ingredients.

Montage, montage, montage.

Then, we hear about Abbey and get her sad flashback. Her mum was a single mum and they often lived in poverty. She learnt to cook with what she’s got and not going out to get an ingredient but just utilising what’s already there.

More montage.

Gaz embraces the Gazza life.

Anushka is looking cute today. She’s wearing like cream glasses with a blue shirt. It’s not really matching today, but I can’t see her pants, so maybe it’s actually matching something, I’m not sure.

There’s a lot more cooking and Matt running around looking at dishes going, “Ooh!”

Montage, montage, montage.

Then the time is up.

Gaz reminds them that they’ll only be eating five dishes, and the best will be going straight into the immunity challenge and not doing the next part.

First is Steph. She’s so excited to get chosen, and everyone’s clapping for her.

“George,” George says. “Put the chicken down.”

They ended up cleaning the plate.

They say that they love the flavours.

Matt and Gaz are frothing for the fish sauce caramel.

Next is Tessa. She’s arranged the plate in a way that looks really 70’s. The boys do not like the way she’s plated up. But the food is really good, so it’s kinda forgiven.

Tim, of course, is next. Gaz loves the presentation. George wishes the skin wasn’t done as shards. Probably no immunity pin for him today.

Despite concerns for the strong flavours, Anushka is next. Gaz likes it a lot, as does George. Matt tells her the use of fish sauce and caramel was genius.

Finally, Abbey. Gaz called it a chicken dinner dreams are made of.

She says, “So many amazing comments from the three judges and it makes me feel really confident.”

Matt tells them Steph, Anushka and Abbey were the stand out. It was not unanimous, though, because they all were delicious.

Abbey won because of how complex it was and the technique was used. She’s in the immunity challenge, and she’s alone at the top watching the next challenge. I’m really happy for her.

“We said this challenge is somewhere you don’t want to be,” George says.

23 black boxes come in.

“When you see black in the MasterChef kitchen,” Dee starts, “danger.”

They’re allowed to lift the lid of the black box challenge.

And then they see something that’s not meant to be there…

This isn’t just a mystery box, there are black aprons in there, too – this is an elimination!

Tim decides to use his pin and not risk it. He’s sent up with Abbey.

The black box challenge means everything is black. Even the big chunk of meat is black angus.

Everyone’s thrown off because it’s an elimination.

“It’s the first time you’re wearing black aprons, but it won’t be the last. You shouldn’t be scared of the aprons. They should be scared of you.”

Look, I’ve heard that before about spiders, and it still sounds like bullshit, but go off.

Matt tells them they had just done a mystery box – the apron has only added to the pressure.

They must use at least one of the ingredients, and they have the pantry staples.

Matt keeps talking, but I get bored, so I stop paying attention, and we get straight into montages.

Finally, there’s a count down, and then time to eat.

Tessa is chosen first. They really like it, and it’s cooked perfectly.

Derek right after, and he’s terrified, but they seem to like it.

Montage of tasting. Everything looks pretty good.

Dee’s next.

Gaz hates the presentation. The trio have maybe one or two bites and that’s it. They have nothing positive to say, but also don’t say a lot of bad stuff about the dish.

More montages. A few not good, mostly good, though.

Nicole is next. Gaz hates it. He tells her that he hates steak and blackberries together. With a burning passion. Almost as much as my partner and beans in her burritos.

After her is Huda, who gets a lot of critique as well. It’s not looking good for her.

Time for the verdict.

Tessa, Kyle, and Derek are the top three today.

The four least successful will be called up, and one of them will leave.

The biggest losers today are:

  1. Yossura.
  2. Huda.
  3. Nicole.
  4. Dee.

“It’s not a good day in the kitchen for any of you,” Gaz says, before telling them who leaves.

Huda is out.

I’m pretty sad about that, I liked her enough. There are tears in the background.

And then we find out what she’s up to – a dairy free ice-cream range called Sassi ice-cream.


And that’s the episode!

The Bar – short story

This is another piece I wrote at uni. I’m planning on rewriting and expanding this piece. MasterChef is back tomorrow night, and with it, a recap.


I parked my car and walked into the bar. My favourite bartender was there, a friendly smile on her face as I approached.

She had blonde hair, pulled up in a bun. She wore a contagious smile, the black work uniform, and blue nail polish. I looked at her name tag that sat prominently on her shirt.

Beth.

“Hi, what can I get you?”

I wanted to say ‘my usual’, but I knew she wouldn’t know.

“Vodka and coke, thanks,” I said with a wink.

Beth grabbed a glass and put some ice in it.

“Where are you from?” she asked.

I paused. “Just this small town, you wouldn’t know it.” I waved a hand around, shaking it off.

“Oh?”

“Yeah, it’s in the middle of nowhere.”

She turned around as she nodded and grabbed the vodka from the shelf behind her. I watched her in the mirror as she bit her lip and grasped the bottle. Beth turned around and looked at the glass.

As she poured the vodka, she asked, “What brings you here?”

“Staying here for a while. I’m planning on moving here for my girlfriend.” I smiled again and she smiled before turning around to put the bottle back. She turned back.

“That’s nice.”

I nodded and watched as she poured the coke.

Beth put it on the counter, and told me how much my drink was. I handed over the money and bit my bottom lip.

“I’ve never really left Sydney,” she told me and I nodded.

“Yeah. Born and raised,” I said.

She seemed to take this as a question and nodded. “Yep. I’ll probably die here,” she said before her eyes widened. “Oh, sorry! That sounds so morbid.”

“No, it’s fine. I love morbid.”

I took my drink and sat at a table, watching the bar as she served a few more people and talked to the other patrons.

I watched for a few more minutes as a couple of men came up, flirted with her, and got their drink. I frowned as they did so, and her willingness to let them.

I downed my drink and came up to the bar as she poured a beer for the man next to me.

Beth frowned and sighed.

“Mike, I’m sorry to say this, but the keg has just run out.” She looked up at him and gave a small smile. “I’m gonna change it, and I’ll bring you the beer when I’m done.”

The man beside me nodded and she smiled before walking away from the bar.

I cleared my throat and leaned on the counter, my arms resting on the fluffy bar mats.

“I saw you flirting with her,” I said, nodding in the direction she had left.

Mike shrugged. “And?”

I looked him up and down. He had messy brown hair and narrowed brown eyes. His shirt was creased, as though he had worn it all day, and his jeans had dirt on them. I looked at his boots and scrunched my nose. They were unpolished and scuffed.

I made eye contact with him and he raised an eyebrow.

“Beth’s my girlfriend,” I told him.

He scoffed. “Yeah, sure.”

“I’m serious. I know nearly everything about her. Ask me anything.” He shook his head and rolled his eyes, taking a step away from the bar. “Seriously.”

“Alright,” he said, crossing his arms. “What are her parent’s names?”

I shook my head and sighed. “Easy. Tina and Markus.”

He turned around and returned to his table, shaking his head as he left.

I looked back at the bar, and admired my face in the mirror behind it. Beth still hadn’t returned and I was getting a little nervous. I hoped she was alright.

I smiled in relief as she returned, her face calm. Beth looked up at me and gave me a smile before grabbing a glass and pouring the beer.

“I’ll be with you in a sec,” she said.

I nodded and said, “No rush.”

MasterChef Aus S11E04 – Recap

Tonight is the immunity challenge feat. Curtis Stone.

Mandy, Dee, Tim and Joe step out of the black cars. Once again, they’re oohing and ahhing about being the first to ever compete for an immunity pin in the first week.

They walk in and everyone’s standing up the top, clapping.  The cooking benches are set up for the cook along.

Facing the doors is Matt, George, and Gaz, the trio of judges.

Gaz is wearing a blue suit with a pink shirt and matching pocket square. He’s also wearing glasses again today.

George is wearing a slightly plaid looking suit jacket with a white shirt, and I’m pretty sure they’re navy pants. I think he’s also wearing a navy vest under his jacket?

And Matt is trying to quirk his outfit up again. He’s wearing a purple suit with a black shirt. His cravat and pocket square match – mostly white and black, but it looks like there’s also some purple in it. Overall, I’m a fan of Matt’s look.

Unfortunately, we don’t really see Anushka this episode, so I can’t comment on her glasses.

Blah blah blah, they’re talking, and then Curtis walks in, wearing white and an apron.

Everyone’s so excited to see him, Tim lets a tear slip, Dee starts to get a bit thirsty, and Mandy is star struck.

Curtis tells them it’s a cook along. They’ll have no recipe and no dish to use as reference, just looking at Curtis as he cooks. Dee looks like she’ll have no trouble keeping an eye on him.

I’m too gay to comment on his appearance.

The four vying for the immunity pin all comment on how they’re feeling about this.

Tim is scared, and Mandy’s not sure if she can keep up.

Curtis tells a story of a swimming teacher, Mr Gavin, who used to yeet kids into the pool to see if they’d sink or swim. I guess the link is that he’s yeeting them in now?

“It’s going to be simple,” Curtis tells them, before going on to say it’ll be steak, chips, and sauce.

Everyone’s like, ruh roh.

Then, without warning, he just goes, “First, you need to get your pans,” and goes over to get what he needs.

Mandy just kinda freezes and Gaz says, “Go, Mandy. Hurry up.”

Curtis is just talking and I am not getting any of it. Like, none of these words mean anything to me.

They’re all cooking, Curtis is going full steam.

At one point, Tim pours the sugar into one pot when everyone else poured it in the second one.

Overall, it looks like Dee and Mandy are able to keep up, but Joe and Tim keep falling behind and seem to be struggling.

Curtis talks about the beef like he’s on a Coles ad.

Just as Tim thinks he’s catching up, Curtis comes over and looks at the sauce.

“Start again,” Curtis says.

Tim stops what he’s doing and starts the sauce again.

A few of the other contestants are like, “What are you doing?”

Luckily he’s still got some stuff left over to do the sauce.

Anyway, that was the highlight of the entire cook, I’m not going to lie to you.


Finally, there’s the countdown and everyone has to finish plating.

When time’s up, Joe is happy he managed to keep up.

Dee and Mandy are nervous but happy.

Tim’s just excited to have cooked for Curtis.

Now we’re at the judging table with the trio and Curtis. As usual, they’re sitting Gaz, George, Curtis, and Matt.

First, they all eat Curtis’ dish and discuss where the bar is set.

Tim comes in first and talks to them about how he had a good time and how proud he is of Timself. He said it gave a good idea of what the rest of the season will be like, and it was an amazing opportunity.

He leaves so they can judge.

Overall, they like it, but they can taste the sugar in the sauce. Ruh roh.

Dee’s next. She’s pretty thirsty for Curtis.

She said the sauce was the hardest for her, and then she leaves.

The judges said the presentation was great and she cooked everything well. Generally they seem to like it, but George alludes to some issues in the dish.

Joe is next.

He tells the judges that this was the hardest thing he’s ever done.

That makes me a bit nervous for him for the rest of the season, because that’s pretty much a staple of MasterChef.

When he leaves, feeling like he’s got not hope, the judges say the beef is glaringly undercooked. The rest of the presentation is good, and possibly the best overall.

It’s agreed that nothing on the plate really screams, ‘Yay!’

Mandy is next, and I really want her to get this, I just like her.

She’s really proud of what she’s done, and I’m proud of her too.

Gaz comments on how big of a plate it is.

Overall, Mandy thinks she’s done ok, but she said when it started, everything went out the window.

“It was very stressful, and exciting. Curtis being here made it quite overwhelming,” she more or less said.

Curtis is like, “I’m shocked to hear that, because you were occasionally asking questions, and you looked very cool, calm, and collected.”

I’m like, “Give her the pin already!”

She leaves, and they start the critique.

“It looks like it was a stressful plateup,” one of the boys says.

Gaz starts frothing for the sauce, and everyone’s like, “Yeah, this sauce is the best.”

Curtis is like, “Actually, this sauce might be better than mine…”

I’m like, fuck yes she’s got this in the bag.

Across the board, they all worked really hard, and Curtis is proud of them, and says they should be proud.

Winner winner, chicken dinner

The winner of the immunity pin is Coles.

Oh no, that’s not right.

Sorry, I’ve just been inundated with ads for Coles and I got confused.

Actually, maybe that’s why I wasn’t really feeling the cooking bit – I kept hearing Curtis through the break talking about fresh food and Coles, and then he’s there in the program doing the same thing.

Winner is Tim, which is amazing because he really struggled to keep up and had to remake his sauce.

He kisses his immunity pin and says that today is the second best day of his life, after his wedding.

Curtis ends with words of inspiration to the contestants and everyone goes home happy.

Except me. Because I didn’t get to see Anushka’s glasses today.

Joey – short story

This is another piece that I wrote for uni. I’m not sure if I would re-write this, but I do have a few ideas to make this a bigger piece. Let me know what you think.


We followed Joey behind the sports shed and towards the oval.

“Are you sure there’s a good spot here?” Samantha asked.

Joey looked over her shoulder and rolled her eyes. “Of course I’m sure.”

She continued to march on, and I took a muesli bar out of my lunch box.

“Don’t eat!” Joey looked over at me. “We’re almost there.”

We arrived at a large tree, the branches stooping low and providing a lot of shade.

“Is this it?” Samantha asked.

“Is this it?! This is the best spot to have lunch! It’s close to the classroom for the end of lunch, but it’s also away from the boys, so it’s not noisy,” she told us, before sitting down against the trunk.

I sat down beside her and took out my muesli bar. “It is a pretty good spot.”

Samantha rolled her eyes and sat down as well.

Joanne “Joey” Miller was my best friend in year three. The last night I saw Joey, she was pulling on her faded green socks. They were a bit smelly, but she always wore them to bed.

“Ew!” Samantha shrieked, pointing at the monstrous socks. “What are those?!”

“They’re my socks. I have to wear them,” Joey told us.

“No, you don’t!” Samantha exclaimed as she scrunched up her nose.

“Yes, I do!” Joey slithered into her sleeping bag. “My dad gave them to me to keep the monsters away,” she muttered.

Samantha pinched her nose and battered at the air in front of her. “They stink!”

My mum came in and told us it was time to sleep, and she turned off the lights.

The next morning, Joey was cramming her sleeping bag away when her mum’s, Rosie and Christy, came to pick her up.

My mum talked to them both in hushed tones.

“I thought we talked about the socks, Joanne,” Joey’s mum Christy said.

Joey’s mama Rosie picked up her backpack. “We’ll talk about it at home. Come on, it’s time to go.”

Christy turned back to my mum. “Thanks for having her. And I’m sorry about that.”

“It’s no problem,” my mum said. “I just thought I’d let you know.”

Joey tucked her sleeping bag under her arm. “Bye, guys! See ya on Monday!”

But when Monday came, Joey wasn’t at school. Samantha and I thought it was weird. She liked to be at school early, so we decided she must have been sick.

Mum was waiting for me outside the classroom at the end of the day. She peered into the emptying room and looked down at me.

“Did Joey come to school today?” she asked me.

“No.”

“Have you seen or heard from her since Saturday?”

“I don’t think so. Why?”

Mum paused for a second, and she bowed down to me and looked me in the eye. “Jemima, I’ve got some bad news. Joey’s mums think that she’s run away.”

That night, as I was finishing my homework in the lounge room, dad watched the news. A lady started to cry and I looked up. It was Joey’s mums, Christy and Rosie. Cutting across them was a yellow banner on the screen that said, ‘Breaking news: ten-year-old girl missing’.

“We just want to find her,” Christy said.

Rosie held a photograph in her shaking hands. “We last saw her in these pyjamas.”

Christy looked at the photo. “She wasn’t wearing the green socks, though.”

Joey was wearing blue pyjamas with pink spots, and bright neon green socks. She stood like a starfish, her arms and legs spread wide, and she had a large smile on her face.

I frowned at the screen. She always wore the green socks. It didn’t make sense to me that she would be in her pyjamas without her socks.

A police officer started to talk, and I returned to my homework.

A few days later, mum took me to Joey’s house after school. She brought along a casserole. We sat in the lounge room with Christy. Joey’s grandparents were here, and Rosie was talking to them. A couple of my friends were here as well, with their parents. Most of them had brought along containers that looked like our casserole dish.

When I came back from the bathroom, I saw Rosie and she smiled at me.

“How are you, Jemima?”

I shrugged. “Alright, I guess.”

She nodded and I gave her a small smile.

“I bet you miss her,” she said and I nodded.

After a pause, I asked, “Why wasn’t she wearing her green socks?”

Her eyes widened at the question. “Oh. Well, er, they weren’t in very good condition, so we decided to throw them away. And she’s a big girl; she doesn’t need to wear socks to bed. There aren’t any monsters to keep away.”

I frowned back at her. “But she always wears them. She says she has to.”

Rosie’s eyes started to well with tears. “Really?”

I nodded. “Is that why she ran away? Because she didn’t have her socks?”

“Uh, I don’t know.” She paused and forced a smile. “Why don’t you try some of the sponge cake?”

She pointed at the table with food on it before leaving me. I saw her go to Christy, and put a hand on her arm. They seemed to whisper to each other, and I think Christy started to cry.

MasterChef Aus S11E03 – Recap

Once again, not edited as written right after the episode.


The famous black cars pull up outside the kitchen around the big M. Everyone’s super excited to be here and realising that they’re actually on MasterChef.

Steph says she doesn’t have butterflies, she has big bird wings flapping around. Once, one of the cats brought in a moth into the shower, and I thought it was a bird, so I was disgusted.Then, mum told me it was a moth, and I was like so grossed out for a long time, because it was fucking huge. It dead set looked like a bird. It was truly disgusting, and that’s what Steph’s description reminded me of. Like, I want to vomit.

The trio of judges are waiting at the front as everyone files in. Gaz is wearing glasses today. George is trying to emulate Matt and wears a floral shirt with a matching pocket square. Matt has really toned it down today? He’s wearing a blue suit and floral cravat.

Look, Matt really shouldn’t have started the season with those pants, because that’s the standard for him now. Every episode, I’ll be relating it back to the first one.

Gaz is like, “It’s like we’re the teachers!” and everyone laughs.

The camera passes by Anushka. Today, she’s wearing a yellow shirt, and matching is her yellow glasses with black legs.

Blah blah blah banter, asking people how they’re feeling etc.

Then, Matt sets the scene.

“Imagine you’re cast away on a desert island and you can only cook one thing for the rest of your life.”

This is today’s challenge. With 75 minutes, and an open pantry, the contestants are welcome to cook whatever they’d like, as long as it fits the brief.

George delivers some important information. They’ll choose four winners today. They’ll play off for an immunity pin in the next episode.

“No-one has ever won an immunity pin in the first week of MasterChef ever!” George tells them, before going on to say that it would feel very validating for the winner.

There will be no elimination from this challenge, but don’t take that for granted.

All the talking is done, and the time starts.

Everyone runs into the pantry, oohing and aahing as they look at all their choices.

Tim talks about how if he were to eat one thing for the rest of his life, he’d choose lamb cutlets. He also wants to keep the bone on so he can gnaw at it. Honestly, big mood, and same.

Everyone’s trying to find stuff to use.

The trio of judges start talking to each other. George and Gaz are talking about how it’s about finding their identity and putting that in the food. Matt makes note that it’s cooking something that you want to sit down and eat for the rest of your life.

Mandy goes, “I’m not going to hold back.”

She starts to cook and I’m like, I want to eat dumplings now.

“There’s so much love in this food, it’s full of love!”

Aww, I want to eat dumplings full of love!

Steph says that she thinks they want to know a bit about who she is through the dish, so she chooses her sons favourite dish – spag bol.

Her flashback starts, and she talks about her relationship with her 10 year old, how they’re great friends and cook together. She’s got a really cute aesthetic though.

Then, she says she has a vision board. And then we look at the monstrosity.

I use monstrosity, because they didn’t warn me enough for what I was going to see.

Steph has badly photoshopped her face onto past winners. Literally got a headshot and stuck it on top of the winners face. It is honestly too much for me to handle I just can’t.

One hour left.

George and Gaz give Tim a bit of a look when he tells them the bone is staying on. They’re confused by the goats cheese mousse. Nonetheless, Tim decides to follow his instincts.

Derek makes an egg tart. He’s got my interest and I’d probably eat it. He thinks he’ll have enough time.

Abbey Rose is doing a homemade noodle. She tells us that she likes to cook authentic food.

Tessa is making a curry.

Larissa is making a dessert with a panna cotta. She’s pretty stressed.

Forty-five minutes left.

Montage of people saying they’re nervous and they need to win. Some also say what they’re making and we get a flash of them cooking.

Dee is making a curry that normally takes 2 hours, so I’m nervous for her.

Someone spilt milk and left the container on the ground. George and Gaz are shook that its so messy.

Joe talks about how he loves making food. He gets a flashback. Four years ago, he decided that he needed to learn how to cook, and often spends a whole weekend perfecting a recipe. My partner nudged me because I can’t cook, but she’s Italian and her nonna taught her to cook, so really, do I need to?

Steph is making spag bol. My partner is very judgemental about it. Matt tells her that making a spag bol is a tough one to do, and not a great idea. Her sauce is wet and her dough is dry.

“She’s an idiot for trying,” my partner says. “I’d never do pasta on a show like this where it’s all about flavours.”

She prefers to simmer her sauce for several hours to get the flavours ot.

“To make it from scratch, the pasta alone will take over 25 minutes. If I were to do a pasta, it’d be a pesto.”

That’s the only hot tip I can ever provide on food here.

Steph is freaking out, because it’s overwhelming her. She gets a small portion of sauce and puts it in a smaller pot.

Tessa calls Gaz, ‘Gazza’. I’m like, uh that’s my thing, please. It’s the first time anyone’s ever called him that, which sounds fake.

She’s excited about her curry.

Montage again.

I want to eat the dumplings Mandy’s making.

Sandeep get’s a quick pass over with the camera for the first time this episode. Good to see he’s still here.

Larissa puts her spare panna cotta into the blast freezer. They’re not set yet.

Montage.

I’m getting done with the cooking, I want to see the judging.

One minute to go.

Larissa gets her panna cotta, but it’s mostly a puddle.

The trio of judges count down from 10, and at the end, there are a few cheers and clapping.

Larissa calls her dish a disaster. And looks upset through the rest of the montage.

Steph is disappointed in herself for her mess of a dish.

Matt takes his lamb out to the judges and I want to gnaw on the bone I’m wanting that lamb omg.

Matt says he nailed the brief. George and Gaz say it all works well together and it’s great.

Montage of food.

Steph is homesick for her kid and cries because she made his favourite dish. The judges try the pasta. Matt tells her it’s a great improvement from where she was. No-one actually said it was good, just that she improved it from the dry, wet mess that it was.

Mandy’s looks great and I would sell my soul for her plate of dumplings.

More montage, a few deserts come by.

Dee comes up, and they judges tell her to leave the plate.

Montage.

Larissa comes up and they start to eat. George gives her advice and agree it all tastes good.

The trio of judges keep their distance from the contestants as they deliver the verdict. The winners, in order of them being called:

  1. Dee (called dish of the day)
  2. Mandy
  3. Joe (retro done right)
  4. Tim.

One of them will win an immunity pin tomorrow.

George tells them that it means immunity, and says, “I’m here, I mean business.” Then, he ends the episode by saying, “Boom boom, leave the room.”


Tomorrow is the immunity challenge feat. Curtis Stone.

MasterChef Aus S11E02 – Recap

Again, not edited. Enjoy x


The episode starts with the group of grey aprons walking towards the kitchen. And of course, they’re all talking about how they need this, and how they need to do good, all that sort of stuff.

When they walk in, the white aprons applaude. I had actually forgotten about how they stand on the side and heckle and applauded a lot when they’re not cooking.

Gaz starts talking about what’s happening today – how they’ve given away most of the aprons but there’s six left. Then, he singles out Monica and asks her what it would mean to get an apron.

Monica starts to tear up and she’s like, “It’d prove that I’m the same as everyone else and that I deserve to be here, that I’m great, etc, blah blah blah.”

Matt starts to talk, but all I can think about is how he’s wearing a normal (for Matt) outfit. No weird pants, no pocket square, even his cravat is quite normal looking. It looks a bit like brown and orange static to be honest.

Anyway, he introduces the idea of having mentors, not just for today, but forever within this season.

All the aprons ooh and aah.

“Please welcome your mentors for 2019,” Matt says, and the door opens.

The first one is Poh, the runner up from season one.

Then Billie the winner of season seven, who got a job from Heston at the end.

And then Matt, who was runner up of season eight.

Everyone claps and freaks out, Larissa is like crushing hard on Matt.

The trio of judges interview the mentors a bit.

Poh talks about what she’s been doing since running up and how it opened so many doors.

Billie talks about working at the Fat Duck and realising that she wants to do home cooking.

Matt talks about how everything’s changed, blah blah blah, I stopped paying attention to be honest.

Oh, and Poh called the trio of judges her Food Dads, and I was like big mood honestly I’m here for it. That would be me.

The trio start talking again about the mentors and how one of them will be there for immunity challenges.

Then, they talk about the challenge.

Behind the judges and mentors are three large displays. They’re the pantries for the challenge. Each chosen by one of the mentors.

Poh has stuff for desserts; Matt’s is described as things you’d find in a market in Bangkok or Bali; Billie is farm style foods.

Gaz, George and Matt tell them they will have 75 minutes, and it’s a blind tasting, so they head away to chill, drink some wine, and talk about why Gaz wearing a cravat would be impending on Matt’s fashion niche.

Poh tells the grey aprons when time starts and they all get going.

Sandeep goes for Matt’s pantry, and we get a sad flashback. He talks about his family in India, the sad drama, and how he learnt to cook to help his family.

He doesn’t have all the spices he needs for his curry though, so he’s freaking out a bit.

In the background, Anushka starts to heckle, and I’m like, “Ok, Anushka, I love you, but also I hate your heckles.”

Sandeep starts talking about how his cooking is a metaphor and I’m not really feeling that.

Ugh, honestly, It’s mostly montages, Poh and Matt, and Billie are walking around looking at food.

Then the Koala guy. That’s Matt, but in the audition he made eucalyptus ice-cream or something and the judges couldn’t taste the flavour, and I’m like why are you making them eat eucalyptus?? So he’s the koala guy now.

Anyway, he really wants to knock them out with his flavour and has like three or more flavours. Poh and Matt are like, you sure?? And he’s like yeah it all goes together. They remind him to taste it and leave.

Leah (not Lia or Leaha) starts talking about how there’s no tequila from Poh.

I’m getting bored, I’ve got a headache, and I don’t really care about the cooking at this stage.

Billie is walking on her own, but she doesn’t actually look like she wants to be there. I think maybe someone pulled out last minute and she had some spare time so she’s like, “Sure, I’ll be on for a bit.”

Matt is trying to emulate George, and yells out stuff like, “We’re on the home stretch of it guys, let’s go!”

There’s more cooking, and I’m getting done with it.

Matt is REALLY gunning for George’s job at this stage.

Finally, they start to count down, and then cheer.

Sandeep stats to cry about how it’s been a long journey and he wants everyone to be proud of him.

Larissa, the one who’s foundation is a bit too dark for her face, hasn’t made three pancakes, just one. Ruh roh!

The trio of judges arrive again and Gaz starts talking.

Blah blah blah.

Then, it’s time for the blind tasting, so Billie, Matt and Poh take turns getting a food and bringing it to the trio.

They keep a poker face and don’t give feedback.

They get to Dee’s, they scoff it down, and then give her an apron straight away, they absolutely love it and they’re so here for it.

I’m happy for her, she’s a cutie, and I love her smile.

Anushka gets a little bit of screen time (seconds), and she has matched her glasses today. It’s a clear frame. It doesn’t matter, but I will be keeping an eye on her glasses lmao.

So everyone hugs Dee and congratulate her.

George wants to go in for seconds, even though it’s practically raining for him – the amount of sweat on his head gets a pretty decent close up.

It’s just a montage of eating again until the last one.

Here’s the long of the short of it:

Larissa is in.

Sandeep is in.

Christina is in.

Monica is in.

And then there’s one apron left.

There’s a few grey aprons that we’ve heard from a bit already, so it’s like, oh who will get in? it could be any of these bad bitches.

Finally, Leah gets it.

Koala guy is disappointed as he stands with the losers.

It’s noted that her food went from being wanky to being homely.

The losers are clapped out, and Koala says that the experience has confirmed he wants to do this for the rest of his life.

MasterChef Aus S11E01 – Recap

No editing, publishing as soon as it’s been written.


MasterChef Australia season eleven starts – a montage of the season, promising an interesting and exciting season.

The voiceover man says, “Extraordinary food.”

Guest judges say things like, “It’s a tummy hug.”

Nigella Lawson announces that every year the food gets more amazing.

Then, silence, as we slowly pan over the pantry. Vaguely, the ghosts of MasterChef past whisper. ‘You’re in’, the voices say. ‘It’s a yes.’

Snapping away from the almost spooky theme, a bunch of people stream outside the kitchen into the herb garden. They express disbelief that they’re here, and touch everything.

Someone sees the big MasterChef logo made out of, I don’t know, herbs maybe? Who’s to say? And they’re like, “Oh, wow, that’s the ‘M’!” as if they weren’t really sure that the herb M actually existed before this moment.

Everyone goes around and decides it’s a really good idea to just eat from the herb garden, someone puts their kids on the red Vespa, and generally milling around the front door.

Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan come out of the front doors and stand at the top of the steps, waving down at those who won the chance to prepare them food.

A man picks up a child, behind him, a blonde woman with big eyes looks like she’s going to cry from seeing them.

Or maybe it’s Matt’s pants, bright stripy colours, making him look taller than he probably is.

It all feels quite Wonka-esque. These people are winners already – only a small amount get to meet the judges in the first place. They enter with their family, but only one will remain at the end of the competition. And Matt is wearing wild stripy pants with a black and white polka dot cravat and pocket square.

Look, it is a Look, and Matt really should have a segment at the beginning where he models the look of the day.

They announce the winner of last year is here, Sashi Cheliah, and he arrives brandishing his plate. Confetti rains down on everyone. People look like they’re going to cry any second. They clap and cheer, and call out that they love him.

Sashi talks about how he was where they were last year, and vaguely points out a spot. You can tell they’re hoping to be standing in the exact spot the last winner stood.

“What advice do you have?”

Sashi doesn’t heasitate. “Flavour, flavour, flavour. These guys love flavour.”

Everyone laughs, making mental notes.

Gaz, George, and Matt talk about the mentorship, what’ll be happening over the next couple of days.

My oven dinged to let me know my frozen party pies were ready, so I missed that, but figured she’d be right.

George reminded them that someone will win, and everyone cheered.

And then a child grabbed a fistful of confetti from the ground.

It’s time to get cooking.

The first person is Tim. While he cooks pork belly, he tells us about Timself. He’s been practicing for years, excited to get his chance to be on MasterChef.

Cue his video.

Honestly, I don’t really know what he does? He works at a school doing cooking, and he looks after the school community garden. He teaches kids to cook and wants to be a role model for them.

Back to Tim as he cooks. He wants to cook good honest food, and let the flavours speak for themselves. He also loves toasted sammies. A lady wearing white glasses yells support. I do not care for her at all.

Everyone counts down to the final seconds, and cheer as it reaches zero.

As Tim wheels his cart to the judges, he monologues about the same stuff as everyone usually does – wanting to prove they can cook.

Gaz, George and Matt are sitting on stools away from the cooking bench. They’re just chatting, looking forward to eating, and it feels like they’ve been waiting there for a bit. You can imagine they’re talking about Matt getting a little teacup pig to store in his cravat.

Tim comes in, walking past big posters of the previous winners.

George basically runs over to Tim and says hello. Then, he asks why Tim is familiar.

Of course, Tim is like, “I have no idea, GC, I’m just a humble teacher…”

George is like, “OMG, you look like Prince Harry!”

Meanwhile, Matt and Gaz are sitting on their stools. Gaz tells George he doesn’t see it, and Matt gives a small little nod. Maybe Matt just needs to eat a bit and warm up first before he’s going to get excited about something other than the food.

There’s talk about dreams and passions, and the trio fall in love with the pork belly.

Tim wins an apron.

The next person is Jess, a travel agent. She’s brought her mum along. Her mum really wants to be included. Jess is making scallops.

Jess has her sad flashback. She had a tumour and thyroid removed when she was 28. It was scary for her, and she, “made stock of everything.” She was always close with her mum, now even more so. Her mum talks a lot through the flashback and in the kitchen.

Jess has to walk a kilometre to get to the judges, walking through the herb garden where everyone ate to finally get to Gaz, George and Matt.

George has decided to be the welcoming committee, and while the others are sitting at their stools, he’s run over to Jess.

He asks her what the dream is, and she tells him it would be to make things at home and sell it at her own market stall.

Really, this comes up every so often on MasterChef – you don’t need training to make things and sell them at a market. Just slap a little sticker on it with your website or something, print yourself some business cards, and get a stall at your local farmers market. Dream come true babe.

They’re all getting excited to eat her dish, and Jess starts to cry as she talks about how much getting an apron would mean to her.

The trio eat in silence. They don’t make eye contact.

Gaz starts. He loves it. It’s, “beautiful. It’s like a professional made it.”

He says everything about her and the dish is a yes.

George says yes, as does Matt, and she is given an apron.

Gaz keeps eating.

George has decided that this year he’s the friendliest. He welcomes them in, and he gives them a motivational talk before they head off.

Once all is said and done, Jess leaves. Gary continues to eat.

When Jess comes out, everyone cheers. Her mum is still really annoying.

A lot of people hug her, probably trying to get some luck from her and to touch the apron – possibly their only chance to touch one.

There’s a quick montage of people cooking, but we don’t get any sad flashbacks. There are some losers, a couple of winners, and we can only imagine how long they’ll actually last, as we only get the first name of most of them.

Finally, we get someone of substance. Gina is 61, and I love her. She’s a mother and a grandmother, her greatest achievement. She starts rolling some dough. The lady I hate with glasses is back again.

Anyway, Gina is cooking by hand. She’s Greek, loves Italian food, and loves to make it by hand.

Her sad flashback starts, mostly a montage of her with food and family. Gina tells us about how she did the paperwork to be a chef, but her husband didn’t support it so she never did anything with it. This is her chance to do something for herself.

I’m upset on her behalf. Like, not to throw shade on her husband, but I couldn’t morally let my partner not follow their dreams like that that. She had been cooking for YEARS and her husband wasn’t supportive of her perusing it.

Anyway, her pasta looks good, and she finishes up. Everyone cheers when the count down ends.

“I didn’t taste it,” she says.

Sashi looks concerned when she says this, but it’s too late – it’s time for Gina to make her 1km walk to the judging trio.

She walks down to the bench. Like before, George is the welcoming committee while Gaz and Matt wait.

I really want her to do well, but I also want to see someone cry sad tears.

My partner is sitting next to me and looks at the pasta.

“It’s overcooked,” she says.

“How do you know?”

She paused. “It looks off. If it’s not overcooked, its not seasoned enough.”

Then, Gina tells Gaz, George and Matt that she didn’t do it properly, she missed something, didn’t drizzle oil, didn’t taste it, and they’re not here for the confession, especially the lack of tasting.

It’s a no from Matt.

Gaz says it needs seasoning, so it’s a no.

George likes it, he loves her, but there’s a raw tomato flavour. He says no, but he also tells Gina that it’s great that she came in, and he gets motivational on her.

Gina leaves, and I’m disappointed because fuck her husband, I want her to be successful.

When she walks out, there are sympathetic cheers, claps, and whistles. Gina doesn’t look upset – she’s smiling. Really, it’s probably just that she gave it a go and they tasted her food. I think she could’ve gotten in on maybe season one, but at this stage of the game, just cooking home cooking doesn’t really cut it anymore.

There’s another montage of people cooking. The lady with the glasses starts talking about how they’re all here for the same reasons.

There’s a few no’s. A girl makes dumplings, she tells Gaz she love shim. He’s a bit shook and says, “Oh.” They didn’t like her dumplings.

Another guy makes snags, but only makes one, so it’s a banger and mash. George doesn’t hate it, but also doesn’t love it. He’s out.

The girl with the ‘H’ made something. The trio are like, “This is pretty mediocre.” George tells her not to give up. She’s sad and is determined to come back again. She cries.

Derrick is 26 and from Perth. He’s a financial analyst, because he wanted to make mum and dad proud. He wants to be creative like he is with food, so he’s scared to leave finance, but this is what he needs to do.

Honestly the dream is to quit everything and just do my creative stuff, so I feel you, D.

D talks about how his friends kind of make fun of him for baking, but on the same hand, they love his baking, so they don’t give him too much shit.

When he gets to the trio of judges, they ask him why he wants to be doing cooking and get out of finance. He tells them he wants to work for himself, doing what he wants to be doing.

Gaz loves the food, and talks about how good it looks. It’s a yes from all three.

While the next montage starts, Sashi talks about how he’s excited to be involved, and talks about his memories.

The next girl is Abby, who loves seafood, but hates waste. I think she made her thing with prawn heads ????? Matt loves it tho.

Simon is a cocktail bartender who wants to open a smokehouse – but vegetables only. He gets an apron. He annoys me.

Next guy is Joe. He does a good pasta and gets in.

Nicole comes in wearing gloves because she kept cutting herself to make a rib on the bone, cooked perfectly. They love it. Gaz gives her an apron.

The trio talk about how they’ve given away 11 aprons so far.

The next girl is Lia/Leaha. I don’t know, they need to give them little nametags, I have no idea how to spell their names. She’s making a glass ravioli. It looks pretty lit. I also hate her mum too.

“Sometimes it’s a bit too wanky for me,” her mum says.

Like, shut the fuck up? There are a lot of annoying mums today.

And I mean, I identify as a dad, but I love mums, but honestly, these mums… too annoying.

“Just calm down and focus,” Lia’s mum says while Lia carefully pours her glass stuff onto a tray. Once it dries that’s that, and it’s hard work. “Calm down, sweetheart. Keep breaking.”

Really? Your daughter’s busy right now for that shit, luv. If that were my mum, I’d tell her to hush.

She starts to cry as she puts the final touches on it.

Lia walks into the room with the trio with a big smile, and I start to warm up to her. She does annoy me though, but less so now.

Matt’s the first to come over to examine her food.

“I really want thing to look pretty and to have a bit of theatre,” she says. I love it. As a dramatic gay, I’m here for t. “My mum says it’s a bit wanky.”

“Well, it is,” Gaz says.

“Can we eat? George asks, and they all go in for it.

We didn’t actually get a flashback from her, so I’m a bit nervous.

Matt starts the critique – it’s not that geat, and it’s a no from him. He’s worried she’s a bit too far away in terms of basic techniques.

She looks like she wants to cry.

George reckons he’s got an inkling that she’s very capable. Gaz and George tell her they’re impressed, but they want more home-style. They tell her to come back tomorrow.

“Very clver, very brave. She’s got some energy. I’m interested to see how she goes tomorrow,” Gaz says.

Two more people go, and they’re told to come back tomorrow.

Kyle works in a brewery, and says he’s used to people yelling at him, so he’s able to be calm while everyone cheers him on. He loves beer and his job, but craves food. He feels at peace when he’s cooking.

His fiancé is preggers again. They’ve already got a kid, and now they’ve got twins on the way.

Kyle wants to be his own boss and follow his dreams to set a life up for his family. He needs an apron.

But also his wife might give birth while he’s away and I’m !!

He made a scallop dish, but no, there’s actually no scallops in this dish.

Gaz is interested in a scallop dish, it’s only when they actually get to the food that they realise there’s no scallops. They seem disappointed.

But it’s ok, don’t worry, Kyle isn’t a vegetarian, he’s pescatarian. He just wants to show that vegetables can stand on their own.

He’s in.

Two more people come by, both cooking an Egyptian dish, both getting in.

Next is Mandy, a stay at home mum, creating a middle east feast.

“It’s my time now,” she says.

They like it. Matt’s a bit concerned by the harsh dry spicing, but it’s a yes.

Next is Anushka from Melbourne. She’s the glasses lady I don’t like. Anushka is Armanian but I’m pretty sure she said she was born in the Soviet Union.

It’s only during her sad flashback that I realise that she actually uses her glasses as accessories. She wears a yellow shirt and wears yellow glasses, pink shirt, and pink glasses. And here she is, white shirt, white glasses.

Seventeen years ago she moved to Australia to get a better future for her kids after the war. Which war? That’s a surprise for later.

I’m actually looking forward to seeing her glasses over the course of the season, if she gets in.

She has a worry with her honeycomb. She doesn’t have time to redo it, but it’s also not quite right…

Ah, she runs her own optical business, which I guess is how she has a pair of glasses for each outfit.

The honeycomb is good, she’s not too sure about it.

My partner is freaking out, really wanting to eat it.

I’ve decided, I love Anushka, even if I can’t spell her name, probably.

The ads start, and I wanna snack on some honeycomb.

When she gets into the lair, the boys are excited to see her. Matt is quick to identify that it’s a honey cake. They ask if she takes photos of them, and she says she does.

“Do you post them?” Matt asks, before pulling up her Instagram.

Gaz and George come over to look at her Instagram. They’re all excited, and she ends up getting two photos – one with Matt, one with Gaz.

She tells them that she’s disappointed with her honeycomb, but they love it anyway.

She’s got an apron, she cries, and tells them she loves them before leaving.

The boys look over the photos with Anushka and laugh a bit at how giant Matt is. Gaz calls Matt’s pants lollypop pants and I love it!

Matt does look like a giant compared to her. He also looks a bit uncomy too…

And that’s episode one!

Storm – Poem

This is another piece I wrote during university, but I won’t be updating or re-writing it. ‘Storm’ is the first long poem I’ve ever written. Let me know what you think.


At night when the sky is screaming,

I wrap myself tightly away.

A warm burrito safe from the storm,

I imagine the stars that sparkle.

Furious clouds shield them from me.

Does someone admire the shine?

Imagine a storm on a planet so far,

it’s sun a speck among stars,

and a being like me, safe from their sky

listens to cries from black clouds.

As lightning peers through the cracks of the curtain,

I curl deeper into the comfort

and sleep in the captured warmth it provides.

The sun is a craved desire.

During the day, I’m huddled at work,

The clouds are sill for now

so umbrella ad raincoat forgotten.

As my shift ends, a bang like a gun,

The thunder signals the start

of a rapture of rain. My stomach drops.

I’m trapped in my office, no warmth for me here.

Should I accept it, or run?

I wait by the door for my moment to strike.

My car is lost in the haze.

I step outside, greeted by

the deafening downpour of pain.

My steps splash my pants and my makeup melts down..

But I get to the comforting cave.

When I get home, I am a burrito

and snuggled up in my bed,

embracing the encumbering warmth.

My soul and my bones sigh in content

as the sky screams, yet again.

The Day the Music Died – short story

This is a piece I wrote during my first year of uni. I remember receiving a mark of about 60% and feeling disappointed – I thought I had done such a good job, and my writing had improved drastically since the end of last year. Looking back, now with a degree under my belt and having completed honours, I can absolutely see how I received the mark I did.

In the future, I would like to go back and re-write most of my uni assignments to see the difference. I will start with this piece.


The day that the music was cancelled, I was working at the bar. The final message of the day was broadcasted at about seven that night. I had just finished pouring a beer and set it on the counter for a woman when I looked up and saw a face. This wouldn’t have alarmed me, had it not been on every screen in the bar. He was on the big screen, the KENO screens, and the racing screens. I stared at them with mild horror and fascination, and the woman in front of me stared up at the screen behind the bar. Everyone was silent as we watched the man talk, even though we had seen it several times prior.

The Government of your country, in association with the General Assembly of the United Nations, and with the co-operation of the United States of America, The European Union, The Republic of Russia, The Peoples Republic of China, The League of African Nations, the Association of South East Asian Nations, and the Federal Governments of Canada, Australia and New Zealand announces that, as of midnight, Friday March 6, 2015, music in all forms and expressions is henceforth illegal, and persons caught engaging in any form of musical activity or expression will be deemed seditious and dealt with accordingly. We thank you for your co-operation in this matter.’

My first thought was, ‘How will this affect business? What’ll happen if the bar closes?’

~*~

We were forced to close the bar at ten that night. Government officials came in and told us we had to close. They said they had to make some changes.

The manager, Aaron, sent me home.

“Janet,” he said, running his fingers through his hair. “Go home. I’ll look after it.”

~*~

The next night, I came to work to find Aaron standing behind the bar with a small, forced smile planted on his face. He glanced around at the patrons and looked down at his hands.

I put my bag away and signed in. As I walked over to Aaron, I cast a smile at a regular who glanced over at me.

The smile still stuck on my face, I spoke to Aaron.

“What are the changes?” I asked.

We both knew I needn’t have asked. The pokies were silent, the music wasn’t playing, and the jukebox in the corner was missing. Most of the screens were missing, save the betting screens which were on mute. The patrons sat, talking in hushed tones. He looked over at the cash register and pointed at a button under the till.

“If anyone so much as whistles or hums, we have to press that button.” His eyes swept the bar, watching the patrons, and he rubbed his chin. “They have microphones rigged up as well. If someone reports it and that we didn’t take action, they check it out.”

I heard what was happening around the world – musicians injured or killed. I knew it was happening to Australians as well. One of my friends had messaged me shortly after the announcements and told me he had decided to,“Fuck it, Janet, I’m busking tomorrow.” I haven’t heard from him since.

~*~

When I got into the car after my shift, the only noise from the radio was static. I flicked through the stations I knew and found they were all playing the same tune.

I got home and found my laptop and iPod both unresponsive. I walked into the lounge room and turned on the TV. The news was on so I watched clips of what was happening around the world. Most of it revolved around the Silence and how it was affecting people around the world. As it turns out, Apple had gone out of business. iTunes was deleted, their computers were wiped, and they had nothing left. It was also revealed that they had access to every device in the world. Every device was wiped and made unresponsive.

~*~

It had been nearly three weeks since the silence around the world. At work, less and less people were coming in. The patrons spoke in hushed voices – no-one wanted to break the silence.

There were one group of men that came in, though, with high spirits and a lot of money in their wallets. They ordered three bourbon and cokes and sat in a corner table near the pool room, where the jukebox used to be. One round turned to three, and three to six. Their laughter radiated through the bar, spreading some noise and breaking the uncomfortable silence that settled at every table. The several other patrons had started to make some noise as well.

“Nah, man. You can’t sing for shit!” one of the three laughed.

Grinning, a second stood up and came to get another round. He looked over at his friends and gave me a hesitant smile.

I made the drinks and set them on the counter. He glanced over his shoulder again and his smile started to slide off a bit.

“Wh… what happens if, ya know, they sing?” he asked as I rung him up.

I glanced over at Aaron who was counting the money in one of the tills. I looked back at the man and shrugged.

“I dunno,” I said with a sigh, “but it won’t end well.”

The man nodded, a small, forced smile on his face. “Alright.”

He turned around and began walking back to his friends who were still arguing.

“You’re so bad,” the first one said, “that they banned music.”

“Bullshit!” the accused laughed. He cleared his throat and smirked. Then, he stood and began to sing. Badly. “Carry on my wayward son! There’ll be peace when you are done!”

His friend sitting opposite jumped up, his eyes wide and his mouth dropped. “I was kidding. Shut up!”

The bar fell silent and all eyes fell on them.  The man with the tray dropped it and ran towards his friends, yelling, “No! Stop!”

I looked over at the manager and he slammed his hand against the red button under the till.

“Lay your weary head to rest!”

I looked down at the beer I was pouring and found it overflowing.

“Don’t you cry no more! Bow bah dum dah-”

His friends tackled him to the ground as he sang the instrumental and pressed their hands to his mouth.

“SHUT UP!” they yelled in unison.

The man wiggled free and stood up. He laughed and threw his arms in the air. I heard the sound of boots running up the stairs.

“It doesn’t matter! It’s just words! What’s it gonna do? What’s gonna happen? Nothin’!”

Four police officers burst into the bar and walked over to them. At first, I didn’t know how they knew it was him, but then I looked around and realised everyone was staring at the man. His friend took a few steps away from him. He looked at the newcomers with alarm and took a few hurried steps backwards.

Two of the officers grabbed the man and dragged him towards the door.

“Hey! Lemme go!” he cried, wiggling in their arms.

The other two officers watched the bar as the patrons ducked their heads and looked down at their drinks. The officers left with the man and I glanced at the guys near the pool room. They stood in silence, staring at the exit. We could still hear his screams as he was escorted away.

~*~

The two men came in again about a month later. They bought two bourbons and cokes and sat at the same table. This time, there was no laughter and fun. Other than myself, they were the only ones in the bar.

One of them came back to the bar after they finished the first round and he asked for two glasses of coke – no ice, no bourbon. I wanted to ask about the friend but I didn’t know how to without sounding insensitive.

As I swiped his member card and opened the till, the man sighed.

“We haven’t seen him since…” he trailed off, speaking as though he had read my mind.

I looked up at him and frowned. “I’m sorry to hear that. He seemed like a nice guy.”

The man nodded and pocketed the change before walking back to the table and handing over the drink.

~*~

Since the silence began, we lost most of our regulars. They could have better, more private conversations at their own home with the same beers at a cheaper price.

However, we had gotten some new regulars. They were not like the old regulars. They used to come in, sit with their mates, have a few drinks, and have a good time.

The new regulars were sexually creepy men who leered at the female bartenders and sat facing the bar. They called me sweetie, gorgeous, beautiful, and the new regular punters told me they’d jackpot one day and take me out to dinner.

They made me feel sick.

~*~

It was three months since music was banned. Since then, I’ve only changed one keg. One of the new regulars requested a beer.

I started to pour it when the line cut off. I groaned and forced an apologetic frown at the man.

“Looks like it’s out. I’ll go change the keg and it should be right in about five minutes.”

He nodded and walked away. Being the only one on the shift, I had to go down and be quick.

Kegs weren’t changed often these days. But let me tell you something about it: you knew it had to be changed when you were pouring a beer and the line just cut off.

When it cuts out mid drink, you let the customer know and tell another employee.

Then, I have to go to the basement.

While that doesn’t seem all that bad, it is. Behind the bar, behind the fridge with ‘Ready To Drink’ bottles, theres a small corridor. There’s a flight of stairs on the left. As soon as you go down, the paint cuts off and you’re stuck in a concrete corridor. A few meters from the bottom of the stairs is the first corner. Ten meters from that is another. Then, you enter the basement. Most of it is just a large room with a washer, dryer, and a few things being stored.

In the far corner on the right is a cool room filled with wine and spirits. Next to that is the fridge where all the kegs are kept, the drinks that need to be refrigerated, and the keg line. I have to go in there and do my thing.

Before music died, I would hum to myself. I hate the cold, quiet, disconnected basement and going down. I always feel that someone is going to be standing there, waiting with a weapon. In the basement, no-one can hear you scream.

I was already feeling a bit sick. There was a man waiting upstairs for me and I was in a creepy room. The cool basement added to my discomfort. I walked into the fridge, found the keg that had to be changed, and started to talk to myself.

Before the man appeared on every screen around the world, I would hum a classic song to myself, such as “What’s New, Pussycat?” by Tom Jones, to myself as I changed the keg, trying to take my mind of the creepy space.

“Just breathe, Janet. Take a deep breath in.” I paused and followed my instructions. “And breathe out.”

I continued this as a bit of a chant as I changed the keg and raced out of the room. When I got back to the bar, the man was waiting for me. I forced a smiled, poured the beer and rung him up. He grinned at me (more like ‘bared his teeth’) and his eyes raked my torso.

God, I missed the music.