Thursday, 29 September 2016

Tall Story: The Biography (Part 1)

I’m going to start this by saying that I generally hate writing a biography for myself.  I’m only doing it now because I was asked to write something about myself for a project I’m working on.  The reason I hate it is because the fundamental problem with writing a bio for yourself is you either end up writing in the first-person and sounding like what the Italians would call a ‘baggadouche’ or you have to write in the third-person and it just seems like you’ve enlisted the services of an imaginary friend most people should stop listening to the voice of during child therapy sessions their terrified parents make them attend.  Or best case scenario, despite your use of the third-person approach, everyone reading it knows you wrote it yourself and you just look stupid, like you sent yourself a Valentine’s Day card from “A Secret Admirer”.

Ideally the way I (or anyone for that matter) would want my bio to come about is for it to actually be written by someone influential who’s met me, just to give it a bit more credibility.  However, Novak Djokovic isn’t replying to my emails and apparently Jennifer Hawkins doesn’t have phone signal in Myer, so here we are.  That’s why I’ve decided to do something a little different.  I’ve done brief re-cap of my life so far, with dot points of the important bits... but I’ve done it in three parts because it seems more digestible that way and, well… let’s face it, we friggin’ love trilogies.  That being said, I plan to live at least another 30 years so this could turn into a ‘Rocky’/’Police Academy’ scenario in years to come.  Nevertheless, have a read, have a laugh and checkout some of my “greatest hits” (that you may never have heard) from the 80s, 90s and today!


  • Born in Baxter House, Geelong Hospital on June 29th at some time in the early hours of the morning.  The entire experience must have been awfully traumatic and difficult because I’ve blocked all memory of it out of my head.

  • Photos later confirm that I in fact ‘came out’ butt-first, thus the reason in photos soon after, my rear looks like the face of an intensely sunburnt cyclops.

  • Meet my Mum, Dad, Grandma and other family… enjoy their company so much, I continue to live with them for a number of years.

Already getting centrefold poses organised.  Incidentally, this image would appear in the Geelong Advertiser as an 18th birthday greeting from my parents.  True story.


  • Enter ‘Bay City Plaza Geelong’ and upon being asked by an MC hosting a performance event, “What do you want to be when you grow-up?”, in front of 500 parents and children I proudly proclaim, “I want to be the first frog in space!”

  • We move out of our unit in Bell Park and into a new house in Highton.  Fortunately, due to my still tiny frame, I am excused from assisting with the moving process.

  • My sister is born – I mostly quietly but occasionally vocally, object to the introduction of a new housemate without my authority.

  • My godmother buys me my first ‘outfit’ – a crisp white sailor suit, with navy embroidery, shoulder cuffs and gold trim on the sleeves.  A sailor’s hat and navy sandals are also included.  Only years later will I realise just how cute I really am at this moment.

You may need to adjust your screens to deal with all this cuteness.


  • I Begin Sub-Prep at St. Andrew’s Primary School in Newtown, Geelong.  Play ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ with twins, Evan and James McDonald at recess on my first day.  We become best friends.

  • Develop a deep affinity for eating ‘Play-doh’ and ‘Klag’.  Hence the reason I start referring to ‘art time’ as ‘tea time’.

  • Like the rest of the boys, and some of the girls, I have a bowl cut hairstyle.  It seems like an incredibly easy time to be a hairdresser.

Bowl cut on point and some pics with the twins throughout primary school.


  • Continue to fight the urge to suck my thumb when I sleep.  Parents buy me a product called ‘Ban-suck’, which is rubbed on the thumb and causes burning when put in the mouth.  I continue to suck my thumb and become accustomed to the pain.  This is possibly the first documented example of the term ‘thug life’.

  • I learn that we are not all on the same ‘toilet clock’.  I realise that none of my other ‘non-ethnic’ classmates have to go to the toilet as often as me… I'm 4-years old and it is my first encounter with the phrase “when in Rome”.  1 hour later, I poo my pants.  Mum picks me up and drives me home, while I lay face down in the back seat of the car, apologising profusely.

"Shout-out to all the people out there who ain't grow-up to be suckas just because they was little thumb-suckas" - Anonymous rapper.


  • Perform my first creative piece at ‘Show & Tell’; a collection of poems and humorous song covers including a rendition of Right Said Fred’s ‘I’m Too Sexy’, which includes the lyrics “I’m too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt…. that’s why I wear a jumper.”

  • Give mum a letter to send, with illustrations and stickers, to ‘Agro’s Cartoon Connection’.  She promises she will give it to her “good friend” and host of the show Anne-Maree Biggar.  I win no toys… I meet no puppet.  Years later, I learn that my mother never sent the letter.  Nor does she, nor did she ever, know Miss Biggar.

  • During a visit to the Geelong Show, mum and dad tell me that this is ‘Disneyland’.  The first true test of my limitless imagination.

Post-'Show & Tell' class photo: This is what bad-asses look like in the private primary school system.


  • I get lost at Canberra Serbian Festival while waiting for mum and sister to come out of the toilets.  I assume that after 15 minutes they must have come out without me seeing them so I go walking to find them.  I am sad, until a nice lady with a floral dress helps me find my “mama”.  My mum finds me and she is happy.  Then she smacks me for walking off alone.  I am sad again.

  • Realise I have a knack for maths timetables after winning several timetable competitions in class.  It begins a long run of amusing but mostly useless skills.

  • Have first artistic tantrum when my first published piece of work, (a poem called ‘The Follow Dog’) is printed in the school year book, in the bottom corner of the page.  I protest that it should be centre-top.

  • Dad lets me get my hair cut ‘number one’ all over.  My mum blames him for years that this is the reason my hair is no longer straight… or blonde.  The bowl cut soon makes a return.

The shaved head look slowly growing through on a trip to Fiji.  Don't know whether to address the fact that my head looks like an egg with three-day growth or that I would've made an awesome addition to the 'Lion King' Broadway show.


  • For two months, I’m convinced that ‘finger’ is in fact pronounced ‘thinger’ and proceed to inform and gradually convince my Grade 3 class of this fact.

  • Mum enrols me in gymnastics for coordination purposes.  It seems I am walking into too many walls and injuring myself a great deal, and in a variety of ways – possibly due to my head, which at present, is still too large for my body.  She buys me a pair of pink and black spandex shorts for the activity.  I comment that she needs help with her colour-coordination.

  • Start playing basketball with the Knicks at Geelong’s ‘Life Be In It Centre’.  In my first season I sprain my ankle and dislocate my little finger.  For the remainder of my life, this will leave me almost completely unable to perform an adequate ‘pinky promise’.

  • Start learning to play guitar; mostly Elvis songs, which I proceed to play at every opportunity for my classmates, particularly at ‘Show & Tell’.  Unrequested/unwanted encore performances become a trademark.

  • Come runner-up in a school camp ‘talent’ competition by performing an impersonation of Elvis as an elderly woman, along with my Indian friend Sujain.  This, coupled with my ‘Elvis guitar serenades’, lead to me having the nickname ‘Elvis’ for the remainder of primary school.

Girls love a guitarist... except when his guitar has Disney stickers on it and he wears his grandma's vest while playing it. 


  • Buy first ever CDs (all singles); ‘Spice Girls – Wannabe’, ‘Los Del Rio – Macarena’, and ‘Seal – Kiss From a Rose’.  The last of which, I’m ashamed to say, I will go on to request at OzSkate Rollerblading Centre, during a weekend visit.  I also get my mum to write on each CD cover ‘Stefan Popovic’ so that (unfortunately) there’s no doubt whatsoever about who they belong too.

  • Start learning Taekwondo.  My training includes 2 hours of martial arts training each week, as well as renting every Bruce Lee movie ever made.

When you really want to be Bruce Lee, but instead you're the only kid who forgot his Taekwondo uniform for the photo day.


  • Go on a world trip with parents and sister for two and a half months.  See the real Disneyland.  Dad tries to joke that this is the ‘Geelong Show’.

  • Perform in my first school play.  There isn’t enough room left in the cast for the main production, so I am left to perform in a separate play to the rest of the class, with the nose-picking, asthmatic British kid, Johnny Joseph.  He plays a giraffe and I’m dressed-up as a bear.

  • Later that year, I perform in another class play about ‘Waltzing Maltida’.  I play the ‘Coolabah Tree’, due to my freakishly tall frame.  It literally involves me just standing with one arm outstretched over the rest of the cast holding an empty box of ‘Coolabah’ cask wine… in school uniform.

  • Soon after, St Andrew’s Primary School closes down.

Disneyland.  Some have gone so far as to refer to it as "the 'Geelong Show' of the northern hemisphere".


  • Finish Primary Schooling, and begin Secondary schooling, at Kardinia International College.  I bring the bowl cut with me.

  • I keep playing basketball, and after playing and training 4 times a week, combined with watching ‘NBA Action’ and ‘NBL Highlights’ every Saturday morning, I am convinced I will be the next Michael Jordan… only more pale.

I only realise now that we had essentially the same hairstyle, except my sister's was 'salad bowl' while mine was still at the 'soup bowl' stage.


  • I audition for ‘Hey Hey It’s Saturday’ in the same room that the Keno lotto draw is filmed.  The routine consists entirely of me impersonating Scottish, American, Indian and English people.  I don’t make it onto ‘Red Faces’ and the show is cancelled soon after.  I begin to notice a trend with the effect my performances have on the fate of the venues at which I am performing them.

  • Decide to stop wearing Speedos, just in time for my first end-of-semester beach trip.  Am happy that certain things have been left to the imagination, out of sight and out of mind.

  • Learn how to make highly realistic fart sounds with my hands, providing my classmates with endless amusement during excursions and class movies in the auditorium.  I also become the bane of my teachers’ existence.


  • I go to Japan for one month on study exchange.  My Japanese improves significantly while living with my host family and going to a Japanese school, but I seem to get more out of walking around the city kicking buildings whilst shouting, “Aaargh GODZILLA!”

  • Start to get the reputation as the ‘class clown’.  Girls think I’m hilarious, but just want to be my friends.  Begin to feel like puberty has been wasted on me.

Japan trip 1999:  No knives and forks, no shoes, no problem.

The End of Part One.

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