Review: Greg Fleet’s These Things Happen

29 March 2016

Fourteen minutes before he was due on stage, I watched Greg Fleet walk into the Imperial Hotel, surprise a fan reading one of his flyers who only had time to say ‘oh, wow’ before Fleet was buying a pint from the bar and strolling upstairs to get ready for the show.

This seemingly relaxed manner characterised the next hour of Fleet’s down to earth, but devastatingly honest show These Things Happen.

Fleet seemed to want to convince us of his sobriety and the aftermath of his heroin addiction rather than the much publicised and bumpy journey of lies and let-downs that if, as Fleet put it, was a Netflix show, would be called ‘Making a Maniac’.

It swung rapidly and often between his recognisable dry wit and dark, revealing reminiscing.

Pulling questions from fans on Twitter he was faced with the invasive queries of those safe behind the internet’s anonymity. Had he really hocked his daughter’s toys to feed the next hit? What were his reasons for this show: Pride? Embarrassment? 

He had to skip that last question, coming back to it at the end of the hour.

“Redemption,” he told the small audience after sitting down, thoughtfully.

There are few storytellers like Greg Fleet, his imagery is vividly dramatic, his accents come easily and his comedic asides are sharp and fleeting – making for gripping listening as he told us of his experiences on LSD in a Perth park and a brush with the mafia in Carlton, Melbourne. He told us of love being about choice, of those ‘perfect moments’, which we are lucky to have four or five of in a lifetime, and of his father faking his own death.

He told us of injecting heroin into his neck in Brixton to get a better rush.

“It’s a bit moreish, heroin,” he parried wretchedness with wit.

He told these stories with matter-of-factness, sure he’s had a strange and eventful path, but after all, these things happen.

Fleet’s book, These Things Happen, was released in July 2015 and is available in bookstores around Australia and can be bought here.

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