In 1989 I would have challenged you to have found a school yard in this country that wasn’t a-buzz wit the zeitgeist phenomenon of ‘Double Dare’. It was globally syndicated children’s game show that no amount of insurance and promises of ‘your kids won’t get hurt’ would see it on our screens in these modern times.
The basic premise of it was that two teams were pitted against each other and challenged to a series of questions. If your team couldn’t answer the question you had dishonoured your family and would only know a life of shame from that moment on, or you could “dare” the other team to answer it. If they didn’t know the answer they could “double dare” you back and finally if no one could answer the question the original team would declare a ‘physical challenge’ and the contestants would find themselves with a helmet strapped to their head and being crushed through a giant sized pasta maker and then forced have to swim through a river of lard – this game rose to much greater popularity years later when it was re-appropriated for use in the live-sex entertainment industry in Mexico and lesser known parts of yet to be liberated Eastern Europe.
Of course I wanted desperately to be on the show, for no other reason then it was the only way I knew how to get a Sony Discman. Sure I could’ve asked Santa but I was pretty sure he might not actually exist after recently having come downstairs early one Christmas morning to find my father in nothing but his underpants, a chorizo sausage in one hand, a glass of bourbon in the other, a Santa cap on some part of his body and my mother underneath what I was pretty sure was my new Casio Keyboard, being a naughty elf who was tiring of this life and couldn’t understand why Santa could take a holiday at this time of year as well – just like everyone else.
The problem for me was how did I go about getting on the show? I rang Channel 10 and they told me my school had to apply. I went to my Head Mistress and she told me that Channel 10 had to let her know that it was ok for her to ask them. I got Channel to send out a letter telling my Head Mistress that she could call them. She told me she’d get around to it. I suggested I write back on her behalf and sure call me optimistic but I got dad to drive me to JB Hi-Fi and I bought a CD. Channel 10 wrote back saying they needed a representative of the school to organise a regional audition, and so at 10 years old I coordinated the entire South Eastern Melbourne states Double Dare auditions with only the help of the Australian postal service, the Yellowpages and my parents trusty landline (yes, I’m that old I just got sexy didn’t I boys…).
What we did at the auditions or who we did at the auditions is probably less important but it was decided I should be on the show. I was going to be on TV.
I’m not going to go into details (there is footage available of the episode if anyone really needs a visual) but I didn’t win a Sony Discman – no I was lucky enough to win a Phantom Glow in the Dark Bed Lamp. To this day I’ve never felt such disappointment and I’ve dated a street performer.
I never did get that Sony Discman and never did get to play my CD on it.
Sometimes I find myself wandering down Chapel St trying to relive my glory days on Double Dare by stumbling into a bar and having some guy who wears collars approach me and ask me if he can tempt me to a physical challenge, but without the helmet and equipment it’s never really the same.
I really don’t want to talk about this anymore…