RACHEL VALENTYNE - GET OUTTA TOWN/ THE BOON COMPANIONS
I grew up in the fancy suburb of South Yarra in the 80s with my mum, two cats and a dog. The only information I had of my dad at the time was that he was a biker, did some time in jail and wore women's blouses and blue eye shadow. I was a big fat show off. My mum recalls me doing little performances for diners at a Thai restaurant in Collingwood, I would skull her port and sing a very loud rendition of ‘Skippy the Bush Kangaroo'.
I had a young mum, the majority of other mums at my primary school treated her like dirt because she didn’t have a pole up her ass and she was cooler than them. I attended a public all- girl school in Richmond from years 7 to 10, mixed with the wrong crowd and ended up changing schools for V.C.E; I finished up at a co-ed senior school in Sandringham where everyone was a misfit (go figure).
Looking back I reckon my childhood was an equal measure of great happiness and deep sadness.
I think my mum enrolled me in ballet school when I was three. I remember an overweight teacher who couldn’t walk; she would dictate the lessons from her chair. Then I attended The Johnny Young Talent School. I studied jazz ballet and singing and was lucky enough to appear on one episode of Young Talent Time at the tender age of six. My time at this school was short- lived. A boy in my class and I were kicked out. Apparently we were quite the disruption. My mum likes to remind me of this time. She likes to remind me of how incredibly embarrassed she was when told that I had to leave. This would be a continuing occurrence in the years to come- ha!
After high school I was accepted into full time dance school at the Dance Factory in Richmond. I wagged a lot. I was way more interested in hanging out with my boyfriend. One day I was called into the office and asked if I actually intended to continue my studies. I was so offended…I was a brat.
My first job was at Brumby’s Bakery on Toorak Road. I didn’t last long there. Bad attitude got me fazed out no doubt. I’ve worked mainly in cafes and restaurants, event management, but have had stints in a solarium, a cattery and I even had a small baking business for a while. I lived in London with my partner Paul in my early 30s. I managed a cafe and coffee roastery called Ozone Coffee Roasters in Shoreditch. We travelled a lot. I stopped eating meat. I became very interested in baking and worked for Lily Jones AKA Lily Vanilli. I currently work as a freelance performer and at The Castlemaine Artists Market.
I studied acting at The National Theatre in St. Kilda when I was 21 then went on to study contemporary dance at Deakin University. This is where I made some life-long creative friendships. I've played in a few bands and was a member of The Diamond Dolls burlesque troupe. I spent most of my spare time getting up to no good at The Tote. I then had a change of heart in my 30s and went back to study vet nursing but ended up preggo. My dreams of becoming the next Dr Dolittle were over.
The Boon Companions is the most incredible little family I could be a part of; a collective of writers, musicians, dancers, actors. It is an immersive theatre group created by Marieke Hardy and Katherine Robertson. We do incredible shows all over Melbourne, each with a different theme. We've put on fake wedding receptions, cast parties, surprise birthday parties, third wave femme parties, you name it, it’s probably been done. We are currently working on some events for The Melbourne Writers Festival in August.
Paul and I went to Chopped in 2013. When we fell pregnant with our first daughter we decided to make the move from Brunswick to Newstead. I guess it was a matter of right place right time. We moved into our new house the day I was discharged from the maternity ward. Nothing like keeping life interesting.
-What a pretty town
-Why did we buy a house on a busy main road?
-This is a HUGE mistake
-Lets move to Bellingen!
Obviously life here is very different. In Melbourne I had no children, no mortgage, no bloody worries. I drank a lot more and enjoyed un-interrupted eating. My life here seems more 'real'. Less bullshit, cleaner air and loads more daggy clothes. My biggest accomplishments since moving: raising 2 girls, starting a business and making incredible friends. I haven't managed to overcome any fears since moving here: I’m still scared of mice,spiders, snakes and winter. My worst day since moving here was the day I had to put my cat Charlie Choo down. I’ve never experienced that kind of grief for a human, let alone a pet.
Get Outta Town started when Yasmine and I were struggling to find meaning in our lives post-baby. We were bored housewives wanting to make a buck. We were at the pool eating hot chips in the summer of 2016. We thought we should create a festival celebrating all things in the area. Perhaps our dreams were a little outlandish at the time? Highlights since starting Get Outta Town have been all the events we’ve put on. We’ve met so many incredible humans along the way. Starting our radio program on MainFM has been pretty excellent too.
Future plans: We have an event coming up in July called ‘Ladies Who Launch’, a networking lunch for women in the region who have started or who want to start their own business. I have a little character called Ricca-Donna that I’ve developed for hens nights and other parties. Please book me. I hope to acquire a really excellent job that isn’t waiting tables. If you know of anything, please, don’t leave a girl hanging. Get in touch NOW!
Favourite things to do in the area: I don’t get to go out much. Tuesday Mum Catch Up is always a chaotic pleasure. Having a good yarn with the ladies at Corner Store Merchants. Sunday lunches/dinners with pals. Summer at the Newstead Pool. Newstead is better than everywhere else because all the cool, hip, young parents have moved here. That’s how we will raise property prices, one cool family at a time.
Tips for people thinking of moving out here: If you have kids, make sure your parents move nearby. Make friends. Don’t gossip. Listen to Get Outta Town on MainFM every Friday 4-5pm.