Kevin and Phillip spent Christmas 2008 at home, which is now known as Chatsworth. Chatsworth is the ancestral seat of the Cavendish family and currently home to Deborah the dowager duchess (formerly Mitford). It is a rather long saga but suffice it to say that Kevin is frequently referred to as Andrew.
As soon as the New Year fireworks had been viewed from the roof (wot larks,eh Pip?) Phillip flew off to Wagga Wagga to partake in the International Millinery Forum and teach eager beavers the painstaking traditions and secrets of creative millinery in a series of super-short, mini crash-courses. Kevin stayed home refusing to paint anything in Phillip’s absence (who can forget that upstairs bedroom wall). Instead he read Tsiolkas’ The Slap and strangely enough empathized with the slapper; conclusive evidence that a return to class room teaching is not on the cards after all as well as going some way to explain Kevin’s resistance to Phillip’s persistent nagging for him to get some singing students. Who would have guessed the gentle giant might have a mean streak?
Of course Kevin’s singing career continues to go on as his golden instrument shows no sign of wear and tear (knock on wood) and started his performing calendar with Carmina Burana for the Victorian Opera in February. This was closely followed by a stint of music preparation for an amateur production of Fiddler on the Roof (mamma mia!!) and then after this, preparation of the chorus as well as and appearing in a terribly modern production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Yeomen of the Guard.
Meanwhile Phillip made a bridal gown for a friend, She was willing and nonchalantly confident, whilst he was naively curious as it was on his ‘bucket list’. Now that that little item has been crossed off, Phillip has footnoted it is a never to be repeated experience. He wants everyone to know that a $5000 wedding gown should be considered a BARGAIN and is convinced that if the long term unemployed were put to work by the government to produce a wedding gown per month at home in order to receive full benefits, there would no one left claiming unemployment benefits within the year.
Kevin rapidly tired of walking on dressmaking pins and became rather adamant that it was time for Phillip to take the millinery equipment out of storage, find a new workroom space and commence creating a wholesale range with a view to making some money. Phillip procrastinated as he was still traumatized by the rather bitter rebuke he had received from his last rental agent, ‘Little guys like you need to get real about the true value of commercial property.’ Phillip had always thought that agent was gay and even worse, ugly, as well as having smoker’s breath. Anyhow, Phillip did get real about the true value of commercial property and found a less expensive studio one block from the South Melbourne Market and a four-minute walk from his other job at the Melbourne Theatre Company. Seems that corporate-lackey, fag-dragging, plug-ugly homo was right after all.
In July Kevin disappeared back to the USA on the pretext of visiting his elderly parents (Ruth and Leroy remain well and independent) but Phillip followed him two weeks later, just to make sure that Kevin really did have a return ticket and meant to come back. Together they toured the Black Hills of South Dakota and stayed over in Deadwood in the Guy Madison suite (Google it!). They also visited the eerie Devil’s Tower in Wyoming as well as Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota. Not a foreigner is sight; pure Americana.
Kevin wants everyone to know that he purchased a packet of artificial snow at The Mistletoe Ranch in Hill City South Dakota. It's really like snow. It's even cold. Apparently he can make a whole gallon of it up in a bucket by just adding water.
Unfortunately September brought some unhappy news. Kevin’s career as a rock singer was foreshortened when he was unceremoniously sacked from a production of Jesus Christ Superstar (Jesus Christ!!) Kevin was disgruntled and insisted that the company was inflexible, overreacting as they did to his news that he had been offered a far superior and paying gig for the Melbourne Arts Festival. After all, Kevin argued, ‘I am only missing ONE show, sheesh!’ Phillip on the other hand wondered whether the sacking might be in response to Kevin having dobbed the company in to APRA for unauthorized changes to the musical score. Phillip gets so frustrated with the puritanical American (Yes Dad, I chopped that cherry tree down!)and explained once again that dobbing is un-Australian; even in matters of life and death.
The Melbourne Cup has long been run and for Phillip the race hat rush has been replaced with Geoffrey Rush and the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of The Drowsy Chaperone, which is due to go into the theatre in mid-January (ready of not!). Kevin allowed his new best friend, Caroline O’Connor to weep on his shoulder on Cup Day as they tearily sipped French champagne in the Myer Marquee. She had so desperately wanted the role and missed out. Kevin proved to be so very empathetic and understanding about her theatrical disappointment (see comments regarding JC Superstar). She did invite him to go the New York City to see her one night stand at Birdland in her show ‘The Girl from Oz’.
On the home front Kevin and Phillip received such a nice letter from the Government thanking them for reducing their water consumption to less than 48 litres per person per day. “Aren’t people nice?’ Phillip remarked to Kevin, who of course readily agreed.