|Me on the left, Kelsey on the right. Has anyone seen Romper Stomper?|
|Here's Mitch pushing me down a ramp in a trolley. We're not always that responsible.|
That photo was taken during the Adelaide Fringe Festival that year. We went to the Garden of Unearthly Delights and Kelsey brought some friends he knew from school. Their names were Sarah, Brooke and Jason. Kelsey told us he was interested in Sarah. Turned out there was this whole back-story between them that even now I have trouble recalling. I liked Brooke straight away, because as soon as she found out that I was trying to fill a memory card with photos, she grabbed my camera and took about a billion of them. She mentioned her boyfriend at one point, which made me reevaluate my chances with her to almost zero.. Jason... well, I could tell straight away that he was filled with talent. He told us a bit about the vocal coaching he does and half way through the night he picked up a gum leaf and started playing a song on it. He could play piano and speak a bunch of languages. He was also very snappily dressed.
|Sarah's on the left. That makes Brooke the other one.|
|Sorry, I couldn't find a more flattering photo of Jason from the night.|
We didn't see Brooke or Jason again for a long time, but a short while after that night, Kelsey announced that he'd asked Sarah out and that they were a couple. He brought her bowling at Marion with us and that's where she became the fourth member of our group. We remained a group of four, having all sorts of fun adventures until one night in August when we went for some bowling and laser skirmish at Cross Rd. Sarah brought her best friend Jerida. Mitch brought a girl he'd been seeing called Jasmine and a Spanish-speaking KFC co-worker called Juan. I didn't know it at the time, but Jerida had been brought there to set me up with her. Sarah thought we'd make a really good couple. I couldn't stand the idea of being set up, so when I realized what was happening, I didn't play along. I wasn't rude to her of course, I just tried not to say or do anything that would encourage her. After that night, the seven of us kept in contact over a group message on Facebook. That's where this whole gang idea started to develop. I don't remember where or when it was, but I remember that we were going up an escalator when I said the words 'We're like the "Buttercup Gang". We're the most g-rated, giggly, sunny, happy group of people I know.' Looking back on it, I'd like to completely take back the g-rated part of that analysis. We've had many conversations that I wouldn't feel comfortable repeating to my mum. But the rest is true - whenever we're together, we're always making each other laugh and making friends with people around us. Strangers tend to smile more when we're around.
|Jerida. A happy individual.|
|Juan's a bit of a bad boy.|
|Jasmine doesn't usually like photos, so this is a rare gem.|
Much to everyone's dismay the name "Buttercup Gang" stuck like glue. We renamed that Facebook thread to "Buttercup Gang" and over a year later it's rarely ever fallen out of my top five most recently used threads. The relationship between the group had it's first real test when we all (except Jasmine) went on a trip to the Gold Coast in December 2012. Some stuff went on there that made us come home giving each other dark looks. But eventually, it ended up cementing our friendship more than anything else yet. A short time later, Brooke reappeared and started hanging out with us again on a regular basis. Jason turned up too, and our group nearly became complete. Brooke and Jason must have had a very different experience to the rest of us when it came to our group. It's like when new writers would come on to The Simpsons or Seinfeld long after the shows were already famous. As a group, we'd created a history and identity that we loved dearly. The group was already a thing when Brooke and Jason joined. I wonder how they both felt, being invited into this "What's it called? Buttercup Gang?" as Jason inquired.
The tenth and (so far) final member of this group is a lovely, sweet girl called Wendy whom Juan met at university. We'd been getting excited over girls he'd been meeting and couldn't wait to meet one. Juan is a very innocent, sweet, funny guy. So to us, the thought of him with a girlfriend was adorable. Wendy was the first one of these girls who actually stuck around long enough to meet us. That in itself was a big reason we liked her. She turned out to be hilarious and interesting and we instantly accepted her as one of us.
|That's her on the right... being a puffer fish.|
In time I'll write individual posts about each of the members and link this page to them. They each have very strong characters and contribute something unique to the group. One last thing... Jerida and I ended up talking to each other A LOT. She supported me through one of the harder periods of my life, and eventually, while I was on a work trip to Perth, I ended calling her and asking her out. At the time of this post we've been together one year, two months and twenty-eight days. At last, the group is complete.