Mawson station says thanks to the Antarctic slushy plus interviews celebrity rock star and chef, Rocket.

Thank you to all the Mawson slushies

As the Mawson Chef I know one thing, I couldn’t do the job without you guys, the slushy (kitchen hand/assistant). Or could I? Haha? You just have to love them because they come in all shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life.

Each day brings a new slushy, and each day a new character. Some are musicians, some are comedians, some are cleaners and some are a little dodgy. Some aren’t in to the kitchen world at all, some know it all, some will give you all the culinary advice you need, some come with worldly knowledge of culinary delights from their homeland or vast worldly travels. And of course Mum always gets a mention: “My Mum used to…” or “My Mum does it this way…”. Some work their own hours, some come to have a rostered day off and some are here in body only as they are still thinking about their trade. “Hey Rocket, I've just got to go and sort this job out. I'll be back in a minute.” And then there is the MP3 player. The slushy chooses the music for the day and it can take up to half an hour to sort their shuffle! Some like to pace themselves as they do in their own trade, and others work to the bone.

Hey, but it wouldn’t be kitchen living Antarctic style if this didn’t happen. It’s their home and if they were at home it would be the same. They all say they love their slushy duties but I’m not so sure? Do I believe this? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Either way, it doesn’t matter and you've just got to love this Antarctic life and kitchen living.

All in all, at the end of the day, we get the job done with a five o'clock beer or wine.


Rodney ‘Rocket’ Charles, Mawson Chef 2014

Interview with an Antarctic muso

Exclusive interview with superstar ‘Rocket’ as he reminisces about life in the Antarctic limelight.

How did you get into the Antarctic music scene?

It all started back in 2004 playing the spoons — you know, as a percussion musician and doing some backing vocals at the same time. Then in 2008 at Davis I was spotted in the corner playing five chords by ‘Shark The Mark’ and ‘K-Dog’. I sang one song and saw stars. Ice-elated was born. We practised three times a week with plenty of home brew and ended up writing ‘Red Shed Rumble’ and ‘Lap Top Baby’. We hit the recording studio and ‘Lap top Baby’ went straight to number one in Antarctica, across all the international stations. It went to JJJ too. Though we never actually heard it played there.

I understand you did a bit of touring back in the day?

[A little glimmer of nostalgia shines in Rocket’s eyes as he processes the question.]

Yeah Ice-elated toured to McMurdo that season. It took us three months to get there. We stopped off at Dumont d’Urville and then to the Kiwi station for an acoustic set. They only had three people there: Heidi, Aidan and someone else, I can’t remember their name. We stopped off at the North Pole too, then on to McMurdo for the big gig. There were thousands of groupies, a mixed bag of chinstraps, Adelies and emperors (penguins). They loved it. They were a great audience, but of course they were foreigners, so we couldn’t understand them.

Wow, you seem amazingly grounded for someone who has experienced that kind of fame.

Well, after that year I went back to Hobart and did a bit of busking in the mall. I returned to the simple life for a while.

And then back down south?

Yeah, in 2011 I did some solo stuff before joining up with The Hägg Tracks, or was it KCDC? Elmo was up front. I did backing vocals and played five chords. I should write a song about ‘Five chords’ [he ponders to himself]. Dougie played piano and we did a few duets, like ‘Piano Man’. It was a great success, but we didn't tour that year.”

So, what is the real reason behind your Antarctic Medal?

[The’Roche’ is generally pretty humble, but I've managed to loosen him up by this stage of the interview…]

Well, when Tony (Director of the Australian Antarctic Division) came to Davis he said: “You’re a great cook, but when you’re on stage, man!”

That’s an amazing story. So what is there left for you to do now?

Well, it looks like The Tide Crack could be going our separate ways later this year. I’d really like to play our last gig on the roof of the red shed.

He smiles and lets out an infectious burst of laughter. It’s clear that there is plenty of get up and go left in this rock star yet! I sit back and ponder the influence that Antarctica has had on this musician’s ‘creativity’.