28 November 2015, Arc One Gallery at Cumulus Inc, Melbourne, Australia
Amy appeared through the Minimax automatic doors like a vision, in Scanlan & Theodore and Patrick Cox, and in her ponytail was a flower from the garden at Tregenna Court. Somewhere between the Portmeirion soup tureens and Reidel claret glasses we became fast friends.
We gigged our way through Saturdays in those pre-mobile phone, still living at home halcyon days, where I got to know to Ames’ adoring parents Ann & Michael, and enjoyed a chin wag with Phil, Jake or Macca - whoever happened to answer the phone.
I was in awe of my new friend … she had a full week of lectures (I had 5 contact hours, but watching films was on top of that). YET Amy had time to be at Minimax, was comprehensively across local and international issues, swam laps without stopping at the end of the lane, could tell you her picks for the weekend given Hocking’s recent hamstring, was rapidly adding vocab to her strengthening Italian, and was half-way through reading ‘A Suitable Boy’. She was unlike anyone I’d met, and it wasn’t long after meeting Amy that I rushed into the Piercing Urge to get a matching belly-button ring, and took stroke correction classes at Nth Fitzoy pool.
I wondered if Amy was perfect. I’m ashamed to say it gave me a small, tiny pleasure to learn - for instance - that Amy has one leg an inch shorter than the other. It’s true! I’ve borrowed her pants before and it was like ‘am I wearing capris or bell-bottoms here?’ She also has a bladder the size of a small birds.
Amy introduced me to Triple J, tofu, the power nap, eating tomato on toast with vegemite, shabbat, and g-strings. I wouldn’t say most of those are still in my life, but I do think of her still when I have vegemite on toast with tomato.
Amy is the kind of uber-girl, who is as comfortable meeting the Thai Royal Family, as she is in a pride of Cats supporters at Kardinia Park. Or shmoozing with A-listers like Geoffrey Rush who demanded that she be his proctologist. Which is just disgusting. But an indication on the effect this woman has.
Once we were mistaken for a lesbian couple, and I remember feeling incredibly proud that they thought I could pull someone like Amy.
Delightfully full of contractions, Amy is the scientist who loves going to the theatre, the home-body who loves to live overseas, and is the fashionista who was wearing Ugg boots long long before they were on trend.
In those early days, I also learnt that Amy has a passport and she wasn’t afraid to use it. My very first trip to America was joining Amy & Leila half-way through their drive across the country. Since then, we have walked arm in arm through the cobbled streets of Bath, and been dumped buy surf in more than one ocean. I have seen that smile on the back of a vespa in Paris at midnight, watched those toes dancing on a window sill in Manhattan, and marveled as those shoulders butterflied across Lake Como. (We have also shared some beautiful moments in Launceston and Albury, but it doesn't quite sound the same.)
I just always assumed that Amy would go on to be a complete star ophthalmologist, study at the best eye hospital in the world, marry a dashingly handsome man, and become a wonderful mum to 3 beautiful children, but that’s not to say that it wasn't hard hard yakka, and that there weren’t setbacks along the way, which she overcame with determination and grace. (One setback was when aged 13 it dawned on Amy that she would never compete at an Olympics.)
She's a star, that's for sure. And to conclude, aren't we the lucky ones to be sharing tonight with our beautiful friend.
Happy Birthday Amy!