As I swim in the lukewarm discontent that is the existence of my early thirties, I have begun to dwell in suspended nostalgia for my former youth. Not teenage years, mind you, I am talking about my eight-year-old self. Dreams I had at this age were as follows; marry Robert Smith, design medieval costumes, become a Ghostbuster, get locked in a shopping center or zoo after hours. So far life has dispensed none of these wishes, until now.
Some genius has created the world’s first adults-only interactive multimedia animal encounter at Melbourne Zoo. 'I, Animal' is simultaneously a ‘choose your own adventure’ type tour and an existential exploration of your inner animal. Think Enid Blyton meets Camus meets David Shrigley meets Wilfred.
Handed an iPod at dusk by zoo staff, I found myself standing at the gates with a hundred or so other folk. Directed by the voice of “Zöe” (my personal audio guide) we embarked on a hour of audio, animals, theatrics, drawing, and emotional reflection - at the end of which I found myself standing in front of a carousel, mentally skewed/elated, beer in hand, as Happy Mondays played over the PA. Handy hint for the charmers of the world: this would be a killer date.