Byron Bay, where people have names like downupandunda and the rocks are called Julian!

Personally, I’ve always thought the words “dolphin” and “doleform” are way too similar for the cosmic capital. It leads to mass confusion. Every two weeks I get my dolphin stamped and I’ve had some amazing nude swims with doleforms. A local international celeb even made a film about it, titled, “My Friend Flopper.”

Mandy Nolan
Authoress Mandy Nolan at the
“Nude Ain’t Rude Rally”

Seriously though, this is a unique and wonderful part of the universe, its colourful people, its pristine coastal location, basically, its a great place to drink coffee. That’s what most of us have been doing for the past 10 years – sitting in coffee shops gossiping over cappuccinos.

The coffee shop is a Byron institution. This is the place where you can spot the famous north coast cuddle. This is an embrace which can last up to 20 minutes between 2 people who only met an hour ago. The hug also serves as an informal casting for the up and coming tantric sex videos.

The coffee shop is the place where we talk about all the exciting people we were in past lives to make up for how dull we are now. This is where we read the tarot to discover the exciting people we are about to become. The coffee shop is where we talk about the terrible scarring after the pelvic fire workshop, which bit of flesh we are going to pierce next, if goddesses really wear cheesecloth, is it ideologically sound to tie dye your underwear and if burying yourself up to your neck in the earth after eating a bucket of goldtops is spiritually awakening or just plain crazy! The coffee shop is where we network, and plan revolution (as long as the moon is in Scorpio).

We are a political people here on the north coast. We are the poor living in Paradise. If you are going to be poor, then why not live somewhere pleasant? Down and out in Byron is a lot more glamorous than destitute and desperate in Dubbo. We’re poor, but we’re not stupid.

As a small, funky community we are an ageless anomoly left over from the peace love and brown rice of the Aquarius Festival some 20 years ago. In the past 8 years of my residence here (still not local status, although I did give birth looking out over Mt. Chincogan) I have been witness and party to grassroots political action to protect and conserve the integrity of our seaside village and surrounds from the greedy hands of the everpresent bogeyman – the developer. We took the lighthouse hostage in a mock auction to highlight the dangers of imminent sale for government revenue raising, we pushed the goats off the cliff, in an effort to protect fragile fauna (I’m a Capricorn, this was beyond the call of duty!), we told the French to F*** off and clubbed med on the head, we marched to save the whales (I hope they were watching), we saved the Paterson Street hilltop from a nasty townhouse rash, we got naked and cartwheeled up Belongil Beach to prove that nude ain’t rude, it’s just damn funny! It was a good excuse to show the world our beautiful Byron yoga bodies, and illustrated that down face dog can be down right confronting.

We are a small community, the last bastion of true believers waiting for that spaceship to take us to that big hippy commune in the sky!

The truth is out there, and so are we!

Author Mandy Nolan is a 6ft blonde, multi-faceted artist who combines visual arts with stand-up comedy and has a penchant for baring body and soul.

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