Registration Fever (by Chris Knight)

I recently registered my car in SA for the first time, legitimising my automobile as a bona-fide pie-floater and/or crow-eating machine.

Registration of any kind is not fun. For example, try telling people you meet that you are ‘on a register’. They will back away, afraid of the mere mention of the word. No-one likes it.

One of the things creative people despise is being reduced to a number, a cog in a machine. At the EzyReg office, a machine gave me a number. As I waited for my number to flash in red lights on the screen, I filled out the applicable form with the correct phone number, house address number and driver’s license number. Then I was called up to a window and I exchanged my license plate numbers for brand new numbers.

As far as someone who has an aversion to being reduced to a number goes, it was not a good day.

This past Wednesday the 10th of October was the deadline for applications to the 2013 Adelaide Fringe. Like most comedians and performers planning to produce a show next year, I was not looking forward to this day. This was the day when I and the throng of creative acts all desiring some kind of limelight were not allowed to procrastinate any longer: the registration deadline.

At least one person who shall remain nameless (until they work it into their material) spent most of the day being violently ill, stomach-wise, having to cling for life to the porcelain bowl of salvation with one hand and type and click with the other.

The most taxing ordeal (apart from paying the registration fee) is writing the Title and 50-word description of a show that, until that morning, was simply called: ‘I Guess I’ll Do A Show Next Year, Probably, I Mean Hey Why Not, Right?’ There’s a kind of Zen trance feeling to staring at a blank screen trying to will the correct words into existence.

The title is difficult to write because, once written, that is what the show is named. If a joke doesn’t work on a given night, it can be dropped or changed for the next show. But the title and description becomes engraved into the Fringe Guide like the Ten Commandments or a home-made face-tattoo. It is there for all to see and judge you by.

And that is why you may see a kind of manic, weird look in the eyes of most of the Adelaide comedians in the next week or so. A look of form-filling-out fatigue; the kind of look that says, ‘I really hope I made the right decision with all those words and that dumb title I thought was clever but now I’m starting to regret.’

A look that, when translated to words, simply says, ‘Please see my show.’

(by Chris Knight)

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