BAREFACED STORIES @ The Rechabite gets 8.5/10

Barefaced Stories’ Pics or it Didn’t Happen @ The Rechabite

w/ Kate Holmes, Matt Jackson, Andrew MacDonald, Eliza Smith, Craig Hollywood, Megan Meyers, MC Rob Pollard
Thursday, May 26, 2022


Barefaced Stories is a bona fide West Australian success story. Starting in 2010, it has grown to be Australia’s leading monthly storytelling event, attracting sell-out audiences and talent from all walks of life. Now a local institution, it has a reputation not just for laugh-out-loud anecdotes, but also for hitting audiences squarely in the feels.

MC Rob Pollard

Thursday marked something of a special occasion. For the first time storytellers were allowed to use photographs, projected onto a big screen, going against the usual no props rule. Hence the night’s title, Pics or it Didn’t Happen. This proved a win, and there are images from last Thursday night we can never unsee.

Kate Holmes

Kate Holmes opened the night, but not before charming guest MC Rob Pollard entertained with his own brush-with-fame story, about that time his foot appeared in a Hollywood feature film. He was a pleasure throughout.

Holmes, who described herself as growing up “in the middle of buttfuck nowhere,” was the first of two very emotional speakers to kick off the night. We’ve all been guilty of loving our cars and giving them names, but her “Bob” (named for her late grandfather) showed the dangers in letting that love linger too long. Ending in a near death experience in which a storm caused Bob’s cassette player, then headlights, and finally brakes to fail in an electrical meltdown to match the electrical storm overhead, Holmes’ investment in the story comfortably outweighed her nerves to make for a strong opening.

Matt Jackson

Matt Jackson’s sobering brush with fame was a heck of a gut punch. Recounting a backpacking trip through Peru gone horribly wrong, nine people tragically died in a mudslide and related incidents—like one backpacker who sought refuge at Machu Picchu, only to be crushed under a boulder in their sleep. Jackson’s pathos was eventually matched by the relief of a chopper flying in to rescue him and his partner. They returned home to learn Prime Minister Kevin Rudd personally had a hand in getting them back to Australia, and their pictures and names were all over newspapers—with clippings on the big screen to prove it.

With a comedy hit needed at this point, former The Worst of Perth editor Andrew MacDonald warned us of the dangers of using limestone for sculptures, particularly of naked people, noting the power of a simple set of keys to carve out holes in unwanted crevices. The photos really told the story here, but MacDonald set himself apart with natural comedic timing and smart attire, adding a touch of professionalism before an intermission arrived just in time for us to catch our breath.

Bookending the second act with two women destined for careers in stand up, the night’s highlight for this scribe came care of its youngest storyteller, Eliza Smith. The former St Hilda’s student’s out-of-the-closet tale was as hilarious as she was charismatic. We learned of important etiquette at golden triangle (GT) girls’ school St Hilda’s, from walking laps around the pool when you have your period, to the fact that in 2022 the progressive Anglicans have finally added pants to the school uniform.

We giggled at conventional GT wisdom (St Hilda’s had zero lesbians, obviously; PLC had a few; but MLC was the school of the gays and sluts… Smith’s first girlfriend was from MLC, of course). Her story peaked when she and said girlfriend were outed in front of the entire school (and parents), caught kissing on camera and beamed onto the big screen at a 500 person function—much as the same pic was at The Rechabite on Thursday. While her former girlfriend never spoke to her conservative parents (who were in attendance) about the incident, Smith has made the most of it and declared herself still out “flying the flag for lesbian sluts everywhere!” Mic drop.

Craig Hollywood

Known around town as a DJ, and for his tenure on local radio station RTRFM, Craig Hollywood has put his spare time to more altruistic uses in recent years. His Short Back & Sidewalks charity is now a national concern, providing haircuts for the homeless all over Australia; Hollywood had photos of he and his partner Jo meeting with ScoMo and Jenny in Canberra just in case we didn’t believe it.

A natural speaker with enough comedic moments to keep us laughing along, he recounted hitting the Westin Hotel’s free bar a little hard before winning Local Hero at the Australian of the Year awards (“the Scottish thing to do”), and getting stuck at “the naughty table” with Grace Tame in Canberra (they now count each other as friends). Nailing the balance of funny and feels that should be Barefaced policy, Hollywood noted that he may not know a lot about living on the streets, but he knows the universal power of a good haircut and how it can affect self-esteem.

Megan Meyers

Did we save the best for last? Certainly Megan Meyers was the most natural and assured performer on the night, and her story the most unforgettable. Yes, that’s partly because it included nudity on the screen (remember those images we will never unsee?) But what made her great was the divisiveness of the subject. Occasionally voyeurism gets the better of all of us, and for Meyers it came courtesy of a neighbouring Airbnb accidentally casting their private life via Wi-Fi to Meyers’ chrome cast and onto her television.

She relayed the story of “Person X,” ascertained to be a 48 year old female on the prowl, and not afraid to share photos of her privates to prove it. Enter swingers websites, and Mr Stallion, who was soon the object of Person X’s desire—little did she know her request for a dick pic would end up at Barefaced Stories. Meyers was sure to note she wasn’t one to kink-shame anybody, and there was some awkwardness in seeing so graphically into the private lives of the middle aged and horny, but damned if everyone in attendance’s cheekbones weren’t sore from laughter afterwards.

After all, let me remind you of the Barefaced motto: “You might not be proud of what you’ve done, but it sure as hell makes for a good story.” We got that and more on at Pics or it Didn’t Happen, which you can catch up on at their YouTube channel or on the all new season 3 of their Podcast series, dropping soon.


Photos by Lewis Martin


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