ASFB student communication competition 2017 Albany Colour

Too busy to go somewhere small?

Ebb, June 2017


Ever meet those people that are too busy? Maybe you’re her. Maybe you’re him. We are all them occasionally. I guess living in the sticks, I’ve at times assumed city dwellers are the busy ones. Not that those of us in the country aren’t, but these stereotypes are worth perpetuating in my quest to be remembered as both lazy and ignorant.

The Australian Society for Fish Biology (ASFB) conference is to be hosted in Albany this year. Albany-Wodonga it ain’t, Eastcoasters! This is Albany, Western Australia. Should be as chilly as Albury, and similarly rural. It’ll take some getting to, and will cost you. It’s not in Sydney, Brisbane or Perth. The rich will be on planes, the poor will be on a bus or thumbing it for some of the way. The ASFB beanie will be compulsory.

Now I’ll admit to having been proactive in lobbying for this conference to be held in a country town rather than a big city setting. In the modern era, city venues almost always win out for cost, venue size and swish cafes. I’ve not been to Albany. Not sure what to expect really. And that is half of the thrill. I’ve listened to a number of fish people excited at the prospect of this adventure. I’ve also encountered a handful of sceptics. Hope most of the sceptics are giving it a miss, to be frank. The way I see it you can bundle all these things up and be as negative as you want. Or you can show up and talk fish stuff, science, network and have a great time.

Yep, a great time. I first met some of my favourite people on the planet at ASFB conferences in years gone by. And yes, some of them have even been Western Australians. Political correctness has its merits, if adhered to in moderation.

So if you are coming this year and you are in a positive frame of mind, I hope we cross paths for a chat. As a disclaimer, I can be an opinionative bugger. But my wife loves me. I’m occasionally wrong (no need to check the stats on that my love), however, I’d prefer that none of you point out inconsistencies in my logic at the conference in front of our friends and colleagues. I also request that you refrain from mentioning how busy you are this year.

I can get stressed thinking about milestones and deliverables. They are debilitating those pair. Of late, I find deliverables and milestones are showing up in my life far too regularly. They are at work during the day, and unfortunately they have been showing up out of hours including on weekends. No doubt this is familiar to many of you. And that is my point. At this conference, is there any chance we could all at least pretend that we aren’t busy? Country town rules. Downplay your importance, and downplay your busy, busy working life. At least until we have had a few pints of Little Creatures. Then we can all proclaim how our little fish papers are cutting edge.

In uncharacteristically bold fashion may I suggest that if you are scratching around for material during morning tea and lunch breaks, topics might include: fish, fish science, football of any code, the emergence of netball as a legitimate national code for viewing during prime time in this country, and how cold climates are fine to visit for up to ten days at a time. Later at night, the bigger topics could include Brownlow contention, best student presentation of the day, and why Gary Jackson never seems to age. Being July, the small town v. big city debate should have been left behind in favour of the idea of having a conference in the tropics. Really, where are you southerners coming from? Single digit temperatures.

Anyways, the don’t to say is: “I’ve been so busy”, and the do’s are show up and have a good time. Albany, not sure what to expect, and I can’t wait.