When the current Mr Baxter was nominated for a Walkley there was only one thing on Your Girl Reporter’s mind: A pesky kilo which would need to be banished if I was ever going to fit into the perfect frock for the occasion, a frock that just happened to be hanging accusingly in my wardrobe.
I’d joked with the saleswoman – at a market stall in Byron Bay – that she might see it at the Walkleys one day. “You never know,” I said.
And then I took it home and left it hanging at the non-business end of the Baxter Collection, just waiting for that perfect occasion which turned up, as it happened, in August.
That’s when the current Mr Baxter won a Clarion award at a ceremony here in Brisbane. Like so many of the momentous events covered by your Girl Reporter on this blog, unfortunately I wasn’t there.
You see, I had a prior engagement among the fleshpots of Fortitude Valley. That’s right, he was in a room full of monkey-suited journalists and I was at a titty show. I am nothing if not intrepid.
When I say titty show I obviously mean the Curves and Claws Variety Burlesque, which was hosted in the best possible taste by my daughter the beautiful Lady Severine Sinful.
But somewhere between that night and the 60th Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism I gained a kilo, right on the zipline, as it were. And it wouldn’t shift.
With two weeks of 5:2 fasting to go I managed to get into the dress – couldn’t move, couldn’t eat, couldn’t really breathe in, if we’re honest – but I was inside the vehicle and secured.
A week later and the vanquished kilo was back for another round and the deadline was getting tight. I needed backup and the Band of Girlfriends recommended what were variously described as ‘slimming intimates’ and ‘suck-em-ins.’
It took half a fitting room wrestle for me to make my concession and develop a cunning Plan B. I would take a back-up frock just in case. With two days to go, it was looking good but I didn’t trust that damn kilo.
Now regular viewers will know that Your Girl Reporter also files the occasional Ankylosing Spondylitis update so it will come as no surprise that all this excitement had prompted a bit of an inflammatory episode.
Because, after all, what’s life without that added frisson of will she/won’t she be able to wear shoes or even stand up straight?
We practised our reactions on the way down during the flight. He: disappointed but generous in defeat/humble but glowing with pride. Me: supportive, leaning in to tell him he’s winner of my heart which is the only prize that counts/going apeshit all over him.
It was eerie, when it came, how calmly I approached the challenge after the weeks of preparation. But, I knew, I just knew that I was going to make it into the dress and into the shoes and into the night.
The hip was sorely tested (and I mean that most literally) by James Packer’s slot-machine filled shopping mall that stretched on and ever on between glittering ceremony and sparkling after-party but by that stage I was married to a Walkley winner and didn’t care.
My fantasy of being Annabel Crabb’s frock buddy didn’t eventuate but Lee Lin Chin passed within a few metres of me and I thought I detected a certain envy in her eye, just quietly.
And then there was Waleed Aly, with his band Robot Child, giving us Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb just at the very moment codeine met alcohol and Your Girl Reporter was feeling exactly that.
Luckily for the current Mr Baxter (and also Waleed), I’d just been bedazzled with a Walkley and wasn’t about to fall for a handsome guy with a mean guitar.
Luckily for the assembly, I wasn’t quite comfortably numb enough to board the table for a quick rendition of Suspicious Minds as a bit of a follow-up act, just to show that I might not be a working Girl Reporter right at the moment but I keep myself up to date with current affairs.
For those playing across the seas, our esteemed former prime minister – you know, the one who used to embarrass us each time he’d visit – is fond of breaking out into the occasional Elvis tribute.
But it did cross my mind – for who knows when next Your Girl Reporter will be quite so close to the national spotlight?
Another thing that crossed my mind was how delighted my father would have been about it all. He never met his son-in-law but he would have been very proud of his achievements, not least among them this latest one.
The Walkleys accord with the Big Baxter’s conviction that good journalism of integrity is a public good and plays an essential part in a democracy. That’s why we have to do everything we can to try and preserve it.
As Michael Ware, who won the Best Documentary Walkley for his film Only the Dead, put it in his acceptance speech, “We either rage against the dying of the light or bear witness to its passing.”
I say we rage.
© Sally Baxter 2015
Sally Baxter’s Hair by Nina Bryant, hairdresser to the stars, at Redbank Hair, 59 Brisbane Road, Redbank. Tel: 07 3818 7196.
Wardrobe by Siren & Sailor
Gratuitous plug for:
Santa Baby – A little bit of festive filth by Lady Severine Sinful, in the best possible taste, as long as you’re not at work!
Michael Ware walks a fine line on the frontline – by Sally Baxter, filing from a Brisbane screening of Michael Ware’s documentary Only the Dead
Early in the evening, when we were just ordinary folk like the rest of you. Your Girl Reporter was having a secret fangirl moment, it can now be revealed, when this picture was being taken by the Courier-Mail’s Paul Syvret. He has been one of my fave Boy Reporters since I read his work on the GFC.
Clever fellas: Sports Walkley winner Chris Garry and Best Headline Walkley winner Sean Keeley bring it on home for the Courier-Mail. Ain’t they a handsome pair? Picture by your Girl Reporter using Chris’ phone because mine was overwhelmed by the occasion or something.
The current Mr Baxter’s Walkley citation. Picture by your multi-talented and ever humble Girl Reporter, natch!
He let me hold his Walkley! It’s bigger and heavier than expected and yes, back to front – because I’ve never been up so close to one before, how would I know?
The morning after the night before… that’s when I let myself go.