Interview with Professor Michelle Simmons

It was an absolute thrill and privilege to interview the 2018 Australian of the Year, quantum physicist Professor Michelle Simmons. Here’s my story and the video I co-produced with CBA TV.

Australian Of The Year Professor Michelle Simmons: Make It Your World

There’s a great thrill in defying expectations and carving out your own path, says the world-renowned quantum physicist and 2018 Australian of the Year. And when it comes to choosing a career, she adds, challenging yourself is vital.

2018 Australian of the Year Professor Michelle Simmons

Professor Michelle Simmons vividly remembers her first encounter with a computer.

Why LadyNerd 2?

It’s been six years since LadyNerd original flavour. My solo debut. And five years to the day-ish since its Edinburgh Fringe run.

LadyNerd in Edinburgh 2012

Look at us! So cold in midsummer Scotland! We were so young and full of hope!

I could say that time flies, but it feels like a century ago. Edinburgh feels like a century ago (though the PTSD makes it feel like yesterday, “LOL”).

The things that compelled me to write LadyNerd (nerdrage at a general dumbing-down in society) seem trivial in contrast to what the world’s become since (one in which “alternative facts” are part of the global political discourse). What do you even do with that?

My reaction to that, and many other things in life, frankly, was “bury myself in video games”. It sounds a bit sad (and I guess it kind of is?), but play the right game and you can get that rare feeling – the one I used to get before I “got older” – that you can achieve anything.

OMG Horizon Zero Dawn

Aloy knows what’s up.

There have been moments in games where I have punched the air in triumph. Moments that made me so very emotional, even the next day. Moments I chuckled at in glee at how bold and great the player character was. Moments that made me wish I could be as brave and extraordinary (or, like, fucking climb a cliff like a boss).

I started to wonder… what if I could bring even a hint of that feeling into a theatre? A show where some of the narrative ownership is in the audience’s hands. One where art and science smash together in real time. One with a true sense of adventure.

One where I’d have to do more research, dig deeper, and really, really put my burgeoning songwriting to the test.

One where we could all shout and throw things like kids at a panto for a little while.

If it was going to be a show about bravery and virtue and aspiration, for me it would have to be a show about LadyNerds.

And if it was going to capture the feeling of a game, why not just… make it a game?

Then I got muso Mark Chamberlain on board and another question arose: what if we built a virtual band to accompany us? You know, because all the other fucken shit wasn’t enough to do.

Bit by bit, mile by mile

LadyNerd 2: Game of Nerds is the result of six months of research and songwriting, but just six (mad and ridiculous) weeks of writing, orchestrating, audio production, and coding. Yes, I had to teach myself to baby-code on Twine in order to build a non-linear script. Of course, the tech operators refused to use the digital edition in favour of the print one and, suspecting this would happen, I also built a tabbed choose-your-own-adventure-style hardcopy version – lo-tech, but just as labour intensive.

Why only six weeks? Our schedules meant we had to start January 2, 2017, and get it together for Perth Fringe World by February 15. Sydneysiders may recall some of the hottest days in recent history happened in that time frame – which is, of course, the perfect time to be inside trying to record backing vocals with the fan off.

I don’t know how we did it. It was like cramming for an exam – you push yourself to the point of shaking gray husk, power through the test after moving feebly through everything else in life for weeks, then? You forget everything.

Spoiler: it took a toll. Definitely on my health – my bloodwork showed I had glandular fever, except that was over a decade ago (had I tripped into a time portal where I was back listening to Radiohead on repeat and walking out on my stuttering World History 3001 lecturer to go eat gelato at Coogee?). Once in the lead-up to this show, I even wound up in the ED.

Million points to anyone who knows what this T-shirt is from

Sure, it was for a mystery insect bite, but the fact remains. I say ‘fact’ here with no alternative, unless you can ask the insect for its account (unidentified arthropod claims: “I didn’t inhale”).

In cases like these, I normally ask “Why do I do this to myself?” but for this show, I didn’t think twice. Rightly or wrongly, I needed to do it. The excellent news now is, it’s done. I don’t need to build anything – just make it more betterer in time for the hometown crowd.

LadyNerd… fuck yeah!

LadyNerd 2 is fuelled by: rage, feminist rage, nerd rage, video game love, inept adulting, and OMG facts. Once I started researching again, like the good ol’ days of LadyNerd original flavour, I felt supercharged by the slew of amazing new stories I found.

Like Katherine Johnson – whose story I read up about before the amazing Hidden Figures movie was released (I have been asked) – a black woman who worked at NASA as a mathematician for 30 years, starting in the 1950s. Her brilliant mind could not be repressed despite society’s (and life’s) every attempt to do so. Hers is also a story about how a network of wonderful people can help you beat the odds. This includes her two wonderful, clever parents and several teachers who were gunning for her to succeed. One in particular was the (outrageously handsome… ahem, sorry, totes profesh) Dr WW Schieffelin Claytor, whose own story is well worth looking up.

Caroline Herschel is another whose life really struck me. The odds were against her from the start – she was a sickly child whose mother pretty much decided her fate for her. Caroline was to be her mother’s maid, end of story. Except it wasn’t. She went on to discover eight comets and catalogue the cosmos.

And at the request of several audients (that’s not a word, but custom nomenclature is all the rage now) along the original LadyNerd journey, I had to include Rosalind Franklin. Hers is a tricky story to unravel, but in the end her skill and contribution cannot be denied any more than the role misogyny played in trying to dampen it.

There are others, including many I couldn’t fit into the show. The point is, you don’t have to look to fantasy like video games to find heroines. There are plenty right here, doing hard shit every day and changing the world, bit by bit. Most go without fanfare. But they don’t have to. We can celebrate them. LadyNerd is my tiny dent in that universe – and LadyNerd 2: Game of Nerds lets us kick that dent in together.

And if you don’t like it, you still get to throw things at me. In this game, everyone’s a winner.

You can catch LadyNerd 2: Game of Nerds at 7pm September 13-16 at Old 505 Theatre (5 Eliza St Newtown) as part of Sydney Fringe. Visit the festival website to grab tickets or read more right here.

Travel writing for Woman’s Day

Here are some of the travel pieces I wrote for Woman’s Day magazine.

This first one was from a Tasmania trip that was all about high-octane adventure (plus wine!). I’ve included my full version here because I feel the terror is more palpable in it…


My hands are sweating as I look out across the treetops and over to my destination – a white speck amid softly swaying leaves. It’s a long way off. 371 metres, in fact.

I sit down on the edge, my feet dangling 50 metres above the forest floor, and suddenly I cannot contain my terror any longer.

“Oh dear God help me,” I say, my mouth wobbling around the words.

“Where you are right now,” the Hollybank Treetops Adventure guide explains, “I am God.”

The laughter from the other participants evaporates as I take off across the brush. I let out a yelp that comes from my toes and fingertips as my harness pulley zips along the cable above me.

Fear turns into exhilaration as I glide over the rich greenery and a bubbling creek, with a blur of majestic eucalypts rushing by. It’s nature at its finest, as seen by breathtaking canopy tour.

It’s all here, from the tall trees to the high seas – or even sky-high. Adventure sport thrills, emerald green mountains, fresh waterfalls and dramatic cliffs, delicious cold climate wines, world-class seafood and dairy, and a sense of humour drier than their riesling, are things you might expect to find in New Zealand. But Australia has its own answer to all these things in its very own Tassie.

Let it be known that the “Apple Isle” has other forbidden fruits on offer – perhaps “Adventure Isle” is a better nickname.

Seafaring folk can explore ocean caves, rock formations, and colonies of seals kicking back in the sun on a three-hour Tasman Island Cruises Eco-Cruise. The expert staff take you along the coast between Port Arthur and Eaglehawk Neck and, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot whales and dolphins along the way.

In Hobart, hikers of all experience levels are naturally catered for by Mount Wellington – all the better when guided by one of Adventure Planet’s nature experts. At 1271 metres, it’s worth at least driving to the top for the view – or even a bit of snow.

Or you could skip the details and jump out of a plane, catching a hearty portion of the Adventure Isle in one big eyeful.

But gliding in the forest canopy and cruising part-way to Antarctica is enough adrenaline for me this time around. I choose to end my Adventure Isle journey with a glass of delicious local pinot noir – keeping the thrills comfortably confined to my tastebuds.


This next piece is from a chilled-out few days on the NSW Central Coast at a shiny new resort…























This last one was originally written for Woman’s Day, but it got dropped at the last minute. I’m posting it here because 1) that trip was awesome, 2) I still stand by my food and wine recommendations, and 3) that trip sparked my genuine fascination with wine and winemaking, which has brought me so much joy on my travels since (including repeat visits to the Hunter). Note well that, while the Hunter is also known for chardonnay, I do not mention it – because chardonnay is the broth of Satan.

barrelIt takes endurance to spend time in Australia’s oldest and largest winemaking region. As well as having to sip on the expected supply of Shiraz and Semillon, you have to eat at cosy restaurants helmed by skilful chefs, breathe crisp, fresh air with just a puff of chimney smoke about it, undertake the arduous task of demolishing gourmet breakfasts, lunches and dinners, watch golden sunsets over the Brokenback Ranges… And did I mention there’s food?

If you’re a foodie who’s up for a ‘challenge’, here’s how our little group went about it.

We spent our first day in Pokolbin, stopping at Bistro Molines for lunch on the sun-flecked deck among white umbrellas and tables of people enjoying the finer things in life.

Next was Tintilla Estate, where we walked through the groves, learning about the olive preservation process and tasting the fruits along the way.

We also tasted a sample paddle of boutique beers at BlueTongue Brewery. And, just across the road, we savoured award-winning cheeses at Binnorie Dairy on a behind-the-cheese tour.

We checked in at Hermitage Lodge in time for dinner at the multi-award-winning Il Cacciatore Restaurant. Some deeply-content locals taught us all about some of the Hunter’s best wines and demystified wine-tasting for us!

On day two, despite the previous day’s indulgence, we stopped at beautiful Peppers Guesthouse’s Chez Pok for breakfast – French toast with a side-serve of morning sunlight through old-fashioned windows.

Next, we grabbed some Cheese & Wine Trail Cards – a go-at-your-own-pace tour where you’re given a cheese hamper and a list of matched wines to try at each winery on the trail. Travelling through Lovedale, we admired Capercaillie for its sparkling moscato and Adina for its light, bright whites, before arriving at Majors Lane Restaurant for lunch. Did I mention there was food? Majors Lane’s excellent fare is matched by its relaxed elegance.

That evening, we waddled to Mojo’s on Wilderness for dinner. Mojo’s is cosy and colourful and, again, there was more great food – especially the dessert platter! And wines from Allendale Winery were a treat.

In the end, we all had to leave the Hunter because, really, we’d never have stopped eating and drinking otherwise. Still, we stocked up on enough local supplies to keep the Hunter in a cushy corner of our minds.

Top 3 foodie things to do

1. Cheese & Wine Trails
For $55, this nifty little card takes you on a four-course picnic, matching cheeses to a wine at each cellar door. You also receive a bottle of wine of your choice to the value of $25. The card is valid in wine regions in NSW, Victoria and SA.

2. Pokolbin Village
The Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop sells all things cheesy, but the, er, coolest thing is the gelato, which tastes as good as it looks. Try a ‘gelato burger’ if you dare! And don’t miss the adorable Pokolbin Jam and Chocolate Company right next door.

3. Moorebank Private Vineyard Estate
As well as wine, Moorebank makes a variety of mighty tasty homemade products, including their famous Spicy Grape Sauce and the especially yummy Country Garden Pickle Paste.

Getting there

Hunter Valley Wine Country is two hours’ drive north of Sydney, one hour drive from Newcastle. You can also travel by coach, train or plane to Cessnock or Newcastle Airports. Visit for more info.

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Ada Lovelace: “enchantress of numbers”

This is a story I was asked to write for the3rdimagazine‘s women in technology special. I’ve decided to republish it here because Ada’s story is so cool and sad and interesting.


At every turn, we expect computers to be there to do our bidding. It’s hard to imagine life without mobile phones, let alone life without so much as a calculator. Yet in 1842, a 26-year-old mathematician named Augusta ‘Ada’ King, Countess of Lovelace (commonly known as Ada Lovelace), knew that computers would change the world.

And at this point they were only a concept.

Ada was the daughter of Annabella Milbanke and poet Lord Byron – who separated when Ada was just a month old, purportedly out of self-preservation in the face of his madness.  In contrast, ever-rational Annabella was nicknamed by Byron “princess of parallelograms”.

Annabella had her daughter trained in mathematics and sciences – with another lady of the sciences, Mary Somerville, among her tutors – far removed from her father’s unchecked artistic whims and manias.

Of course, Ada was an accomplished musician and at times torn between the arts and sciences.  But at 17, when she befriended inventor Charles Babbage, her trajectory became clear.

Charles Babbage conceptualised the Analytical Engine – a theoretical device that is arguably an ancestral template for the modern computer. Ada was so inspired by Babbage’s work that she wrote it an algorithm – which, in a way, was a mathematical love letter to a phenomenon she’d never live to experience.  The algorithm, widely regarded as the world’s first computer program, appeared as an appendix to Ada’s translation of an Italian paper about Babbage’s work.

Ada predicted that it was more than a giant number-crunching machine that Babbage had conceived – that it would have uses in everything from visual arts to her beloved music and, of course, the sciences.  She saw more potential in the analytical engine than perhaps even Babbage did himself.  The two were great friends, an intellectual match despite their age difference, and corresponded for many years.

Sadly, Babbage never had the chance to build his analytical engine.  Meanwhile, Ada grew increasingly ill, physically and mentally. Despite her mother’s staunchest efforts to save her from succumbing to the madness on her father’s side, Ada struggled with mental illness, alcoholism, and gambling.  She died at age 36 from the bloodletting used to treat her uterine cancer.  Ada never met Lord Byron, who died when she was age nine, but she was buried alongside him at her request.

In her short life, Ada made her “dent in the universe” as Steve Jobs would’ve put it. Charles Babbage found Ada’s intellect a thing of awe throughout their friendship – she was a mathematical muse he dubbed the “enchantress of numbers”.  And Ada continues to inspire, with a day named after her to celebrate the achievements of women in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology.  There’s a web comic about her and Babbage as a crime-fighting duo called 2D Goggles (complete with Ada-worthy footnotes).  And, of course, there’s a tribute to her in my cabaret, LadyNerd. Undoubtedly, her impact is lasting.

Somehow she predicted that too.

“That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal; as time will show” – Ada Lovelace

Originally published in the3rdimagazine

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Ultimate Science Guide

Here are a couple of pieces I wrote for RiAus’ Ultimate Science Guide at the award-winning science custom publisher Refraction Media. I was also chief sub-editor on this magazine, which is designed to help high schoolers work out what to study in upper secondary to pave their way to university and cool jobs in STEM.




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NST youth correspondent

I won a ‘voice of youth’ competition and scored my own column in The North Shore Times circa 2006. It was aptly called ‘Rave On’ and I got to write whatever I wanted – which worked well for someone who had no interest in being controversial. Questionable copyfitting aside (Widows! Orphans! Horrible hyphenation! And so many par breaks!), it was fun. Here are a couple of samples.



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Don’t Ever Say “The Scottish Play” – Theatre, History and Superstition

This is a legit blast from the past – published April 2000 in UNSW’s Tharunka Magazine. I wrote this as a verbose and pompous undergrad Features Editor (of course, now I’m impeccably succinct and affable). I share this piece about my community theatre days because the story itself is entirely true and utterly ridiculous.


Superstitious beliefs tend to be prevalent among those whose work is unpredictable or dangerous. Sailors and miners – people who face very real danger – are notoriously superstitious. So too are actors, though the danger they face is of quite a different variety – doing something poorly in front of an audience can have disastrous consequences for one’s self-esteem. Throughout time, the arts have been a breeding ground for the most advanced forms of superstition.

For starters, according to Greek mythology, wishing an actor good luck is bound to attract the attention of mischievous gods who will derive amusement from denying the players any such thing. Instead, the very opposite could ensue.

Never say, “good luck” – say instead, “break a leg”.

Why stop there? Why not tell someone to “disintegrate”? Yes, I was sceptical once. And so, in my second-ever play, I didn’t mind a multitude of people wishing me luck. After all, the way it was going, I figured we could use all the luck we could get, and certainly do without broken legs a-plenty.

Murder on the Nile was the name of the play. It was described, on yellow posters plastered all over the streets of the community in which it was held, as “a typically audacious Christie conspiracy”. Given the dubious circumstances surrounding the production, one could be forgiven for thinking that Agatha Christie – or someone, anyone – was indeed conspiring against us.



Enter: One Darned Thing After Another.

At the first audition for the play, despite there being five male roles, only one guy showed up. It was up to the director and the society to actively seek people to play the roles. Fine. It’s small-time community theatre and that’s a common problem. That’s how I thought of it, until I recalled my friends had wished me “good luck” for the audition. I ended up with one of those male roles. Coincidence? Well, yes. Right?

Either way, I was overjoyed to be cast. We were all excited about the production until suddenly it was bump-in, and we still hadn’t had a full run. And we all had colds! Panic. Since it was a murder-mystery, one of our props was a gun. We all eyed that prop gun as a suitably theatrical way out should we find ourselves on stage with a mind that’s gone tabula rasa.



Enter: Disaster.

Dress rehearsal arrived wretchedly soon and one of the preciously-acquired males fell sick and ended up in hospital. He was playing Smith – one of the more prominent characters. But have no fear – we found a very able actor, “Smith#2”, to come along and read the part. Opening night was to be our first full-and-uninterrupted run. It was heart-stopping, but we got through it relatively smoothly. It was set to only get better. The second night was testament to this. Alas, Smith#2 was only available for those first two shows. But never fear, again – our director found yet another person to do the job.

On a classic autumn day with flawless blue skies and a slightly chilly breeze that danced around the place gracefully, our dutiful stage manager took a long drive out to Smith#3’s house to give him the script. There she told him she would pick him up at 6:20 at the train station that night.



7:30 THAT Night. Enter: Smith#3.

The cast sits backstage busily putting on makeup and 1930s attire when the stage manager storms in.

Enter: Smith#3.

She tells us he didn’t show up. She asks us if he is at the theatre. We look at each other in sheer terror. We eye the gun again.

Enter: SMITH#3, damn it!

Panic, nervous laughter, expletives – Smith#3 has missed his cue.

What are we going to do? Can we cancel? No, the show, as they say, must go on. So what now? Has somebody been saying the name of “The Scottish Play” backstage?

Uh-oh. My gelatinous mind recalls mentioning a play called Living with Lady Macbe– uh-oh.

Shakespeare’s Macbeth is widely believed to be cursed. The mere utterance of its title near a theatre is enough wreak havoc, while actually performing it results in extreme adversities – even death.

Enter: Audience Participation.

Here’s the plan that ‘came together’ – we’d drag a theatre society member out of the audience to play the peripheral character of the Steward, and the person who’s usually the Steward would play Smith.

Our poor audience member came to the theatre for an evening of passive and benign entertainment, and instead received quite a bit more immersion than he could’ve expected. Meanwhile, our original Steward looked very ill indeed. He had done little acting before this play. He needed a cigarette, he remarked, and he needed it badly. He stood by the back door of that church hall and smoked with deep intensity.

The audience responded to the story with suitable amusement. This was version two of our production of Murder on the Nile.



One week later.

Illness was rife – coughing, nose-blowing, swelling, exhaustion, and swift trips to the bathroom formed a significant part of proceedings. Yet another actor could not make it to performances. For three nights we had three people on stage with scripts in their hands – version three of the show.

For all the superstitious rules we’d known and broken, there were scores more unbeknownst to us at the time – any of which could’ve caused this mess. You’re not supposed to whistle backstage. Never say the final line of the play until opening night. Peeking at the audience from the wings is also a no-no. We broke all these rules. Were we paying for it?

What we really needed was to be greeted with “chookas”. This stems from medieval times where chickens were considered lucky for actors. Like actors, chickens are seemingly able to change personalities within seconds. It’s little wonder they became theatrical mascots.




We were back to only two people holding scripts on stage by this point, thankfully. However, this didn’t stop more things going awry. People were still sick. The second last night brought wonders of its own – the lighting gear short-circuited, leaving us with regular fluorescent overhead lights and a clear view of the sea of faces watching us. But by this stage, we could do nothing but laugh – backstage, and even on stage. Giggles accompanied ad-libbing all too often.

Despite all the calamity, we survived – albeit with scars (and fresh superstitions) in tow. The show, as they say, must go on. And go on it did. Chookas darling!


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Aussie TV we want on DVD

This was published at on July 29, 2010, accompanied by some great YouTube clips. Damned if the TV landscape hasn’t totally changed since then!


When being an adult seems all too difficult, there’s nothing like the warm hug of nostalgia to shield you from the real world.

What better than some home-grown TV shows on DVD to take you back to the days of after-school slurpees, Saturday mornings in your jammies, or when your favourite stars were fresh-faced newbies?

These series haven’t been given the chance to fit the bill yet. Here’s why they should…

Heartbreak High

Leagues of diehard fans still argue over whether Rivers (Scott Major) and Sam (Kym Wilson), or Drazic (Callan Mulvey) and Anita (Lara Cox) were the best couple, and the truly dedicated fan will readily admit they cried for days when Nick (Alex Dimitriades) and Steve (Corey Page) died.

It’s hard to believe Heartbreak High isn’t on DVD!

Sure as Kris Kross pants were baggy and backwards, there’s a whole generation of people who, as tweens and teens of the ’90s, came home to watch the down-to-earth Aussie response to the unobtainable gloss of Beverly Hills 90210.

The storylines were woven around life and love in a school environment, examining teenage issues without being patronising.

And, of course, the authority figures were shallow and fickle enough for us to shake our fists and vent our frustrations at. We laughed at Drazic’s shenanigans in the lab, related to Jodie’s aspirations of fame and fortune and loved the burgeoning romances in the Hartley hallways.

Nowadays, there’s also the look-who-it-is factor with long-time Aussie screen favourites Alex Dimitriades, Ada Nicodemou, Abi Tucker, and Luke Jacobz.

Some Heartbreak High alumni even made it all the way to Hollywood.

Simon Baker (Thomas Jane in The Mentalist) was in eight episodes, while Rose Byrne (Ellen Parson in Damages) featured in three. Series regulars Callan Mulvey and Salvatore Coco are now stars of Underbelly.

Sure, Heartbreak High is replayed on ABC3, but a season-by-season DVD release would make for many a good Sunday arvo veg-out!

It’s a Knockout

Forget the try-hard lunatics of Wipeout Australia. Abandon the greased up ‘roid rage of Gladiators. Leave your postmodern irony at the stadium gate for the greatest game in town – and the craziest fun around – It’s a Knockout.

The series was a weekly spectacular, complete with cheer squads and occasional fireworks, tested agility, endurance, and the ability to remain upright while dressed as a giant peanut. An important skill for anyone living through the ’80s.

Many a child will remember waking up to the Saturday morning replay of the week’s showdown between the states of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland, which often featured your best friend’s neighbour’s cousin, your newsagent’s dog or your maths teacher. It was the best kind of innocent family fun, vibrant and action-packed to entertain the kids, and sublimely ridiculous enough to amuse adults.

Originally a UK format, the Australian version was hosted by Fiona McDonald and Billy J Smith – who would, without fail, arrive at each match on a golf buggy. They gave us two years of giant horses, water cannons, every imaginable kind of flotation device, and events with shameless pun names like “Assaulted Peanuts” (genius!).

Then there’s the era-centric budgie smugglers (eat your heart out, Tony Abbott), bad ‘staches, spiral-wave perms, and late great beloved singer Ricky May – priceless!

Please give us a comprehensive best-of DVD, just for nostalgia’s sake (with a few international and celebrity specials thrown in for good measure)! Another thought – a rebooted version of the show, fresh for the 21st century!

Mr Squiggle and Friends

He’s “The Man from the Moon” with a pencil for a nose. He draws upside-down on pink cardboard held by an impatient talking blackboard. There’s a snail with a TV for a shell. No, this is not my dream diary.

Can you believe there are millions of kids today who’ve never seen a single episode of this classic?

It might not be one you’ll want to sit and watch back-to-back (although under the right conditions it would be tempting), but its appeal is timeless.

Remember how cool it was when you were six years old and you watched some kid’s random squiggle turn into illustrated magic?

The fact that this show – which ran for 40 years on Australian television – is not on DVD for the littlies to enjoy today is completely upside-down, upside-down…

Huuuuurry uuuup and release it!

Hamish & Andy

The ever-popular madcap duo Hamish Blake and Andy Lee made their national TV debut in this off-the-wall sketch show.

Like comedy predecessor and Channel Seven sketch show, Big Girls’ Blouse, Hamish & Andy were granted a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it six episodes.

Nonetheless, the show put a fresh spin on sketch with a variety-show format. It’s celebrated on YouTube and surely there are enough Hamish Blake fans alone to warrant a DVD release with some quirky special features and out-takes.

The show also featured a solid supporting cast. Before Deal Or No Deal, Andrew O’Keefe would strut his satirical stuff in Hamish & Andy, alongside comedy chameleon Chaser’s Non Stop News Network‘s Rebecca de Unamuno, and outright genius, Summer Heights High‘s Chris Lilley.

A few more for your consideration

Once upon a time, we made a happy-go-lucky sitcom or two. Here’s the proof.

What’s better than a classic board game? A classic board game on TV, that’s what! Complete with wisecracking host and suitably ridiculous live-action characterisations.

Ship to Shore
These adventures on Circe Island were successful at home and abroad.

Kickin’ it old school

Cop Shop
A twice-weekly police drama which ran for five years and starred Aussie TV favourites Paula Duncan and Rowena Wallace.

The Restless Years
With racy and bizarre plotlines the likes of which we’d never seen before, it’s the soap that stopped a nation.

Titles you may not know are on DVD
  • The Aunty Jack Show
  • Blankety Blanks
  • Chances
  • The Comedy Company
  • A Country Practice
  • Doug Anthony All Stars
  • Kingswood Country
  • Let the Blood Run Free
  • Norman Gunston
  • Number 96
  • Round the Twist
  • Seachange
  • Sons and Daughters
  • Spellbinder
  • The Sullivans
  • Young Doctors


For a real nostalgia trip, check out all the clips at


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Original Flayvah!

I’ve been writing songs since I was a teenager. In high school, I wrote a (deeply embarrassing and delusions-of-grandeur-y) rock anthem called Lemmin Lighted Halls, which I performed with shameless gusto in my show Keira Daley Vs The 90s. Aside from that, my very worst stuff (that I needed to write in order to improve and/or not go insane) remains unheard.

I had a weird renaissance at age 18 where I was writing songs (and poems… barfapalooza) constantly. One of these songs is called A City Meditation, obviously because I was so freakin’ deep that I could find stillness in hustle-bustle. It’s in 6/8 and mentions “my soul” in the chorus… you get the idea. Mercifully, nobody has heard it or its compendium either.

About six years later, I co-wrote a short musical set in a market research testing facility. It was called On The Other Side and made the shortlist of a mini-musicals festival, but I had no hand in performing it. Some of it was okay. Serendipitously, the festival organisers had a young Mark Chamberlain – whom I only knew in passing at the time – play the songs because they were “too funky” for the main accompanist.

Finally, in 2013, I started performing my own, newer, slightly wiser, compositions with the help of wonderful musos bringing my clumsy demos to life. My biggest shout-out, of course, goes to Mark Chamberlain – piano nerd and everyone’s favourite anime body pillow – who patiently listened to my ham-fisted piano playing, as well as my insane sonic descriptions (“it’s like a whale swallowing a school of fish…”), and stitched the accompaniment together while I could sing out melodies.

Thanks also go to Peter Lead who’s managed to interpret my aforementioned keys-playing on guitar, and Ed Delos Reyes and Joey Pangilinan who endured my awkward beat-boxing, annoying analogies, or rusty drumming. Tinder Musical-related thanks go to Steven Kreamer, whom I’m certain I irritated thoroughly in the making of that show.

Slowly, but surely, I am getting hooked on writing things for me – and, eventually, my talented friends – to sing. And thanks to Slapdash Song Night! I have a collection of recordings.

You can find some of them here, and I’ll keep adding to the collection.

LadyNerd and Slapdash to appear at FRINGE WORLD 2015!

Fringe World 2015

Hurrah! I can finally tell you the awesome news that I’m heading back to the wild west! And piano nerd Mark Chamberlain is venturing with me, the ever-trusty musical sidekick/mandatory eye candy that he is.

We’re flying over to perform Keira Daley: LadyNerd and what I’m egomaniacally naming Keira Daley’s Slapdash Song Night! (so they appear side-by-side in the program – diabolical!).

If you’re in or near Perth in late January through to mid-February, or have friends or family who will be, why not treat yourself/them to tickets for Christmas? Entertainment is the gift that keeps on giving, which is a bargain for $25 (or $20 if you buy for a group)!


Cool stuff about LadyNerd in WA

We’re not only taking it to Perth, we’re also taking it to Mandurah!

5.15pm Jan 30-Feb 1, 2015
Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
As part of the inaugural HUBBUB Mini Festival By The Sea

7pm Feb 8-11, 2015
Casa Mondo, James St, Northbridge

Much of the show will be the same (call it “LadyNerd classic”) but there are a couple of changes in the mix, including a new LadyNerd with her very own song, written especially for her by me.

Oh, and our show on Monday February 9 will be our 50th! Isn’t that nuts?

You can book tickets to LadyNerd at either venue HERE.


Cool stuff about Slapdash in WA

It will be our first out-of-town season!

We have four nights, which means FOUR AWESOME THEMES.

10pm Feb 5-8, 2015
Casa Mondo, James St, Northbridge

You can book tickets to Slapdash HERE.



Stay tuned to Facebook for the very first updates on Slapdash guests and themes – we’ve got some super crazy-ass fun planned! And don’t forget…


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