A month of buddies

With lockdown continuing and very little news of buddy outings to share, we’ve reached out to our established community south of the Hawkesbury.

Throughout the month of September you’re going to hear from a number of paired Sydney buddies, all of whom will share their own unique Gig Buddies’ story.

From a Central Coast perspective, we want to showcase the ways in which established buddies connected pre-lockdown and how - amidst the ongoing restrictions - they’re continuing to engage with the Gig Buddies community.

Our ‘month of buddies’ series begins with Simon and Ricky (above, L - R).

Matthew: How long have you been paired together?

Ricky: just over two years now.

Simon: Yeah, about two and a bit years now. And we celebrated our two year anniversary on our first year, because we thought it was two years - and not the first year.

Matthew: You were having such a good time you lost count?

Simon: Yes! Time flies when you’re having so much fun.

Matthew: Tell us about some of your gig buddying experiences

Simon: The silent disco (at Centre Point Tower) was a cool thing. I’ve never been to a silent disco, so that was an eye-opener.

Ricky: Yes, that was great. We’ve also done ‘drive-thru’ movies. We’ve done loads of quizzes together.

Simon: We also did a quiz with Gig Buddies (80's Trivia at The Juniors Kingsford in June) before we went into lockdown.

Matthew: What’s the best thing you’ve done together?

Ricky: I’d probably say (when) we went to Holy Moley with a whole bunch of people - that was really great. As was the tenpin bowling (we did as a group).

Simon: That was cool. We’ve done Holey Moley twice. We organised both events with ‘the gang’. For me I liked the silent disco because I hadn’t done it before. The bowling was also good. I need to put in a disclaimer that Ricky is a semi-professional bowler and I beat him! (However) the Hallowe’en party (picture below) was my funnest night out…

Matthew: So ‘the gang’ is a group of fellow gig buddies?

Ricky: Yes, it's just us organising outings ourselves.

Simon: We had 10 or 12 join us for the first trip and about three or four pairs for the second (outing to Holey Moley). And tenpin bowling was a big group, there were about 10 people there.


"Having those common interests really helps”

Matthew: So you’ve made new friends from your involvement with Gig Buddies?

Ricky: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve met so many people. Whenever we want to plan something there’s a connection and we think “let’s all get together”.

Simon: Yes (I’ve also made new friends). I mean Ricky has so many friends - and I am one of many. We like to do the group events. For me it’s nice to mix in with the other volunteers and hang out with different people. I’ve got two friends who have now become buddies (volunteers), which is good.

Ricky: Some people might think that just because you’re paired with this buddy it means you can’t go out and reach out to other buddies, and expand your group (of friends).

Simon: I totally agree. I spoke to some volunteers who I would say are a bit more introverted and they’ve used Gig Buddies as a way for them to connect with likeminded people as well.

Matthew: So Ricky, why did you become part of Gig Buddies?

Ricky: I guess I wanted to expand my friendship circle and have some ‘guy time’. (I wanted to) hangout and do a whole bunch of things that sometimes you might be able to do. Having those common interests really helps.

Simon: Yes, even though you’re a Manchester United fan, which disgusts me!

Ricky: Excuse me, Mr Liverpool supporter! When you interviewed Simon did you check these credentials?

Matthew: We’ve never made a pairing based on English football teams. A few years ago we had a buddy say ‘I don’t want a volunteer who’s a Manly (Sea Eagles) fan’ though.

Simon: Most people put that, don’t they?!

Matthew: And what about you Simon, why do you volunteer with Gig Buddies?

Simon: Similar to Rick, I just wanted to broaden my network. I also wanted to give back more to Sydney and people in the community who might benefit. I had time and energy…. mine was a ‘bit of a purpose thing’, I wanted to add more purpose.

And I had experience while at university of working with people with disabilities, and I never stopped thinking about it - so this was obvious to me to do something like this.


"Once you join you’ll meet people”

Matthew: We’re new on the Central Coast, what would you say to people based in the area who were thinking of joining Gig Buddies?

Ricky: I would say definitely join. Once you join you’ll meet people, then one will become two and two becomes ten and your social group expands so much. If you’re finding it really hard to meet new people (Gig Buddies) is such a great idea.

Simon: Why wouldn’t you join, really?! If you want to have a bit of fun and grow your (social) circle it’s an obvious thing to do….

Matthew: Do you think you two would have crossed paths if it wasn’t for Gig Buddies?

Ricky: Probably not, because (we have) different lifestyles. I feel that Gig Buddies brings together a whole range of people and that’s just based on your interests. At the end of the day you feel like once your’re sitting down and doing things together there’s no longer this thing of ‘you have the disability, I don’t have the disability’. It’s just people hanging out.

Simon: Yes, 100%. It gives people with different backgrounds a common ground - and you’re all equal.

Matthew: How have you been communicating during the lockdown period?

Ricky: Mainly through Facebook or we’ve done a few Kahoot! quizzes - they’ve been really good. Every so often we’ll pop a message to each other and we’ll say hello.

Simon: We do chat on Messenger, but I’ll be transparent: I do get busy with video calls at the moment so there is a little bit of ‘video fatigue’. But we’ve both done a few Kahoots! together. When we’re allowed to meet up (possibly in September) we’ll probably do so in Centennial Park.

Matthew: Have you discussed the first gig after lockdown?

Simon: This is probably the first time we’ve thought about it - it’s hard to keep up to speed with all the changes! The positive is that we’re close (to meeting vaccination targets).

Ricky: It’s nice to know there’s an opportunity (coming up) to have a bit of freedom.

Our ‘month of buddies’ series returns next Monday. Thanks to Ricky and Simon for sharing their story.


Virtual insanity

We continue to offer buddies the opportunity to connect with us and others online. This week, in addition to our two weekly chats, we bring you the following gigs:

It all starts tonight for our father’s day catch up, after which we host an online art class on Wednesday.

We then take on a British flavour, providing buddies the chance to join us for a virtual tour of London’s National Gallery on Thursday night. We then round off the working week with a Rollin’ Stones tribute show on Friday.

If you would like to come along to one of our weekly chats, get in touch via text: 0422 061 990

And to find out more about this week’s online offerings (and to sign up), load up the links below:

Monday 6/9

- Father’s Day Zoom @ 8pm

Wednesday 8/9

- Gig Buddies art class @ 4pm

Thursday 9/9

- Gig Buddies virtual art tour of National Gallery, London @ 7.30pm

Friday 10/9

- Rollin’ Stones tribute night @ 7.30pm

All online games will take place via Zoom. For information on how to use Z