Chatting with Brooke Tunbridge, by Kian / by Kian West

AT THE END OF EVERY YEAR RYAN AND I TRY TO PUT A SPECIAL EMPHASIS ON HIGHLIGHTING SOME INCREDIBLE PEOPLE WHO HAVE PERSONALLY HELPED US. LAST YEAR WE INTERVIEWED THE PHOTOGRAPHERS FOR OUR CALENDAR ISSUE IN JANUARY (YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY ORDER ONE, CAUSE WE DON’T PUT THEM OUT FOR FREE), BUT THIS YEAR WE DECIDED TO CHAT WITH TWO INCREDIBLE WOMEN WHO HAVE HELPED SHAPE MIRAGE IN 2016: BROOKE TUNBRIDGE AND LAURA KEBBY. WE EXPECT (HOPE) THAT THEY WILL CONTINUE TO ELEVATE OUR LITTLE ZINE IN THE NEW YEAR.

It was a pretty windy afternoon when I sat down out the front of Civic Digest (no they don’t stock Mirage, so you should probably pester them, or boycott?) with Brooke Tunbridge, a pretty gosh darn special young woman who first appeared some months ago with an article on Crave Newcastle (look ‘em up on Instagram) and has consistently wowed us since then! As it turns out, she’s still perfecting her craft at university, so we had a chat about that and what she loves…

The first question I ask everybody is: if you were at a party, how would you describe yourself?

Brooke: Oh god, I don’t know! I guess the question is really ‘What do I do with my life’, and I’m like, I’m a uni student, I like to write, and I love music, so that’s kind of in short what I’d say.

What are you studying at uni?

Communications. Majoring in journalism. 

So is that the game plan?

I don’t know. I really like writing and I guess the game plan is to involve writing, music and photography all in a job. So I just wanted to do that at uni and I thought it would be helpful, and it has been.

When you get asked that question in a few years, the answer might just be ‘journalist’?

Maybe.

Are writing and photography intertwined to you?

Yeah, I think so. I started writing first and I think I enjoy writing more – I feel like I know what I’m doing more. I feel like I’m still learning a lot more with photography, so I feel more comfortable with writing. But both of those things started with music. I just really wanted to be involved with the music industry. I have this journal where I listen to an album and just write down what I thought about it. Then I was like ‘maybe I should show people this?’ so I started writing online things, and then it just went from there. I picked up photography through taking photos at a festival, and then – I don’t know when it all started, it just all seemed to happen at once.

Where did the love of music begin?

I’m not even really sure, because the people around me really like music, but I don’t know [when it started for me]. I have an older brother and sister, and a younger brother, but the older two always influence my music choices. My first festival was Groovin The Moo in 2012 and my favourite band at the time, San Cisco, were there. When I saw them I was mind-blown – it was such a cool experience and I couldn’t then go home and just listen to music and feel the same. I feel like I have to go see these bands.

Then I guess I tried to involve myself in as many music-related things as possible. I was volunteering at The Loft before it closed down, sadly. I was doing whatever I could, being under 18, which wasn’t a lot. I’d always go to Sydney to go to shows and things. I was just trying to involve myself as much as possible.

 Are you still doing that?

Yeah. It’s a lot easier now that I can go to more venues. I love music and it’s all I talk about. Pretty much influences everything I do.

Are you musical?

Not at all. I sing at home when no one is around. My family can all play guitar –I’ve tried to learn, can’t do it. So I just appreciate everyone else’s talents!

How do you discover new music?

Radio and SoundCloud [but] I haven’t listened to it for ages. [Triple J] Unearthed is really good. Going to shows and seeing support acts. Or early slots at a festival.

Why Mirage? Your first article with us was Jess from Crave Newcastle. Was that the plan all along with interviewing her?

No. So it was an assignment for a journalism course at uni and I got my mark back and I did really well, so I thought, ‘Maybe this is worth doing’. Actually, one of the comments from the tutor was ‘You should really get this published somewhere’, and previously I’d had stuff published online, which is awesome, but [I thought] I really would like to see something in print – it’s just a completely different feeling. I read Newcastle Mirage in cafes and stuff and thought it was the perfect publication for something like this, so I thought I may as well try. No harm in trying – and it worked! It worked out awesome.      

If someone came from out of town, where would you need to take them?

Probably where they took me on the Native Newcastle tour – it’s just a really good view of Glenrock and, I forget the beach… There’s a water tower that you drive up to and then walk down; there’s an opening and a really nice view. Not many houses around there, so it’s really peaceful.

I suggest finding Brooke on Instagram @brooketunbridge and keeping an eye out for more Brooke pieces in Mirage in 2017. Have you read her amazing article on Lazy Bones yet? It’s in this issue…