A little roadtrip always explores the depth between two friends. Angus Burton invited me on a journey via his hometown and then onwards to Melbourne before he continued to Hobart where he's launched Spirit People- a boutique liquor import and distribution company.
We reflected on dinner dates in Delhi, saved a turtle and visited the saddlery store his dad's owned for forty years.
1/10 Where's home, does it change for you?
Home for me is that mythical place where you’re under no pressure to be anything but the best version of yourself whether under a mountain of work or on a complete break. Touch wood, I think I’ve just found that in Hobart.
2/10 You're super elusive- Does constantly traveling provide you with a sense of escapism?
That’s probably not necessarily a bad thing - I was just talking about this the other day, about getting into a new environment and reconceptualising those things that give you joy and anxiety. Definitely I think it’s really important for young Australians to travel and experience older versions of western societies but for sure in the past couple of years I’ve been alternately chasing some kind of joy, and running from some very destructive experiences.
3/10 Have your worldly interactions encouraged you to make the decisions you have in the past few months? (Importing, moving to Hobart...)
Absolutely. With time and attention I’ve found closure or at least greater awareness on some big topics - and it was time to come home. For sure no matter where you are it’s important to just keep doing your best work, but a part of me really wants to show some gratitude to the universe by sharing and reflecting some of what I’ve exposed myself to elsewhere.
3.1/10 Why didn't you join the family business? (Burton's Saddlery)
Great question. My brother and I have forever been completely in awe of our dad’s attention to detail in handcrafting leather goods. Everything he does is 100% functional and often extremely innovative. But whether he’s making a hobble belt for a ringer from the top end, or hand-stitching a prize bridle, it’s fair to say that everything he creates is an absolutely unique, functional piece of art. I think probably that things like university and city living are the biggest reasons we didn’t follow, though these days demand for handcrafted goods is pretty high...
4/10 Which international city do you attribute with influencing you the most? Was it that particular city or was it simply just that period of your life?
New York. I remember being told by a customer that my polite old-English service style was actually annoying and costing me tips - that gave me a huge wake-up call that expressing yourself without fear is really important for your own happiness and success. That lesson came when I was ready for it as well, of course. I try and be open as possible but retaining some sense of honesty...but a part of me loves the undercurrent of acceptable BS-levels in New York, it’s so much fun to be a part of.
5/10 What's the most magical journey an individual can make?
Two hours south of Hobart there’s a sign that says “You have reached the end of the road. The southernmost driveable point of Australia. You are now closer to Antarctica than to Cairns.” Take some water and walk two hours down to South Cape Bay and experience the waves and wind coming uninterrupted off the end of the earth - that gives you some pretty cool perspective on the world.
6/10 When we were in Delhi, you Adam and I ate a restaurant and you had a thing for the waitress. She was super cute. What restaurant was that and what hotel foyer was it in? (I legitimately can't remember haha...)
Wow! It was 2011 and you had just arrived in India to start six months work and I was en route to New York. I can remember these details: there was Taj in the name somewhere; she was wearing a purple satin kimono; I think she was Malaysian but we were eating Japanese? And she and Adam exchanged details and were going to go on holiday in Vietnam. That’s what I love about bars and restaurants - if you’re open you might meet absolutely anybody at any time.
6.1/10 What's your favourite cheese?
Holy Goat cheese from Victoria, hands-down.
7/10 Paris or Hong Kong?
7.1/10 Adam Brewer or Krystal Hart?
Tom Walker. Haha, no I actually hate herbs in drinks. Look, professionally Adam has the edge, but Krystal will always have a much stronger poker face...wait are they fighting to the death? Do I have to answer that?
7.2/10 The Baxter Inn or Cobbler?
I haven’t spent nearly enough time at The Baxter, but I remember when it first opened and being absolutely blown-away. It’s an amazing atmosphere in there. Cobbler nails it in Brisbane, there’s a really unique energy in there, probably something that Brisbane crew can only really appreciate.
7.3/10 Blood Diamond or Conair?
Nicolas Cage needs to die in more films if he wants history to look back fondly. On this count alone, Leo finding solace whilst bleeding out slowly on a hillside with bae by his side is pretty tough to beat.
8/10 Have you read Shantaram?If so, thoughts... If not, what's some other wildly cultural book you'd encourage others to read?
No I never did read it. I’ve just realised that I keep going back and reading WWII air fighter’s biographies. I don’t know why. Something about having zero chance of survival except for relying only on your own four-dimensional awareness, and chance. And the sense of freedom and wonder that these early aviators lived with day-to-day. I love the idea of exploration as escapism.
9/10 If someone were to turn your life into a movie, book or theatre production which would it be and why?
I’m going to avoid this question and say that it would be awesome if it were Space Jam.
10/10 Do you think you'll forever go with the flow, or is there a life strategy?
Go with the flow, don’t resist the universe. But I’ll always try to be mindful, and to have clear intent along the way. Maybe everything is predetermined, but I’d rather live according to my own fate than anyone else’s.