The Archibull Prize Stampedes into Schools

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, tasking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun

The Archibull Prize was officially launched in 2010 with this magnificent display by Wendy and Craig Taylor of  Red Blue Architecture + Design   

 

Now its its ninth year The Archibull Prize will see life-size fibreglass cows stampede into over 30 schools across New South Wales and Queensland

Conceived by the team at Picture You in Agriculture, The Archibull Prize is an annual program designed to give young people the skills to connect farmers and the community and to co-create a bright future for Australian agriculture. Armed with a life-sized fibreglass cow (or calf) and a paint kit, students will have the opportunity to research a specific agricultural industry and present their findings in art form. Multiple cash prizes, up to $1,000, are up for grabs as well as the coveted title of Grand Champion Archibull. Learn more on The Archibull Prize website.

Schools will be studying either  the wool, dairy, cotton, beef, eggs, horticulture or pork industry and along with their creative Archie students will develop multi-media presentations and explore issues such as biosecurity, climate change, water use and renewable energy. Assisting them on their journey will be a Young Farming Champion who works  in their allocated farming industry

The Archibull Prize continues to influence how Australian agriculture is perceived.

“As consumers, understanding where our, food, clothing and power comes from will inform decision-making and encourage leadership that benefits the community and the producers when providing sustainable agriculture and resource management for our future needs,” said a teacher from the 2017 competition. “The Archibull Prize allows students to demonstrate decision making and leadership skills by planning, organising and making a visually exciting object and digital media project and presenting it to the school and wider community.”

The theme for the 2018 Archibull Prize is ‘Feeding, Clothing and Powering a Hungry Nation is a Shared Responsibility’. Archies  must be completed by September 20 and the Awards Ceremony will be held in Sydney on November 20.

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Parramatta Public School super excited to be participating in The Archibull Prize 2018 for the first time

The 2018 Archibull Prize is proud to have supporting partners in Aussie Farmers Foundation, Cotton Australia, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC), NSW Department of Primary Industries, NSW Local Land Services, Royal Agricultural Society of NSW and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.

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Growing excitement about STEM careers in agriculture

One of the things that excites us about careers in agriculture is the opportunities available for young people to learn and grow and travel and travel to help others learn and grow

A great example is Young Farming Champion and Youth Voices Leadership Team member Laura Phelps who is currently a policy officer with the Department of Agriculture in Canberra has landed herself a job working with the British government on their BREXIT strategy. We look forward to Laura sharing her UK sojourn highlights with us.

Laura’s departure to the other end of the globe meant an early visit to her Archibull Prize school and she was wax lyrical about her visit to The Henry Lawson High School who are studying the pork industry in 2018

You don’t need to have an agricultural science degree to be excited about agriculture – that was the message Young Farming Champion Laura Phelps took to Years 9 and 10 students at Grenfell’s Henry Lawson High School recently. Laura was at the school as part of the 2018 Archibull Prize, where she introduced students and staff to the pork industry and the plethora of STEM careers available in agriculture.

“There are so many opportunities for STEM-based careers within the pork industry,” Laura said. “Ag-engineering, mechanical engineering, nutrition, biology, medicine etc. and it was great to see the kids already had a good appreciation of this. But what they were really interested in was bacteria and antibiotics and the role farmers play as antibiotic stewards and how pigs can create new antibiotics for us.”

Laura was “blown away” by the teachers at Henry Lawson High School and their approach to The Archibull Prize, incorporating high-level biology and chemical technology. As the school is in an agricultural zone many of the students already had a good understanding of agriculture and how this technology can be applied, but Laura found most students thought a career in agriculture involved doing an ag-science degree.

“Agriculture is reliant on a cross-pollination of degrees using a diverse set of skills and knowledge,” Laura said. “I was able to show the students that many other degrees have applications in agriculture, for example, engineering and chemistry. You don’t need an agricultural science degree to get excited about agriculture.”

Many of the students had strong ideas about their future careers with some wishing to be agronomists and one hoping to develop agricultural apps. “He can see all the smart-farm technology that is happening in the United States and he wants to be able to build it himself,” Laura said.

Talking about agricultural careers to teenagers in conjunction with The Archibull Prize comes at an opportune time as students make crucial decisions on their educational future. To have a young farming professional such as Laura Phelps share her experiences only makes the decisions better informed, and raises excitement about STEM-based careers.

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2017 Picture You in Agriculture Highlights

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Young Farming Champions with Grand Champion Archie 2017 and Wendy Taylor our art judge 

On behalf of the Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) team it gives me great pleasure to share the PYiA annual report with our loyal supporters.

Ten years ago, we started with a vision to empower young people in the agriculture to share their stories and, in doing so, engage with the community to raise awareness and increase appreciation of the Australian agriculture sector.

Ten years down the track we are delighted and humbled to know this is now a reality. With our cornerstone programs, Young Farming Champions and The Archibull Prize, we are exceeding our initial goals and taking our expectations to new levels.

The 2017 Annual Report highlights these successes.

Young Farming Champions highlights include:

  • The creation of an events activation team, which sees YFC taking their stories to diverse audiences. A recent highlight is our partnership with industry and the RAS of NSW to provide primary school students with interactive workshops and a secondary school careers workshop at the Sydney Royal Easter Show
  • Establishing themselves beyond agriculture – speaking at events such as TED talks and being selected as finalists in national Young Achiever Awards
  • Leadership roles within the agricultural industry – including positions with Farmers for Climate Action, Future Farmers Network, RAS Youth Group, ASC Next Gen and NSW Farmers Young Farmer Council
  • Creation of a media presence as youth with high credentials and strong reputations as witnessed in recent ABC Rural YFC interview Series on Country Hour.
  • Establishment of a Youth Voices Leadership Team to mentor and support the Young Farming Champions and provide an agricultural youth leadership voice to community, media and industry.

The Archibull Prize highlights include:

  • Schools now see the connection of agriculture to many aspects of their community, extending beyond food and fibre
  • Post participating in the program all students had positive attitudes towards farmers’ environmental stewardship and water resource management. 73% of teachers reported having changed the way they now think about agriculture. In particular, understanding agricultural systems from farm to final product and the challenges facing farmers. There has been an increased respect for farmers, those supporting farmers, and appreciation of the high level of competence it takes to deliver food and fibre to the community. Much of this is due to two factors: contact with Young Farming Champions and other farming / agricultural professionals; and learning about sustainability challenges affecting Agriculture through topics such as Climate Change, Biosecurity, Food Security and Waste, Renewable Energy, Healthy Communities.
  • Teachers observed a significant increase in student interest in careers in Agriculture.  At the end of the program students were able to mention more than three different careers in Agriculture with a focus on STEM e.g. agronomist, engineer, scientist, geneticist.  Students also identified STEM related career pathways in agriculture they would like to follow.  See page 19 of The Archibull Prize report here. This is in complete contrast to The Archibull Prize student entry survey where students were only able to list farming related activities and unable to list a career in agriculture. Teachers attributed this change largely to meeting a Young Farming Champion (YFC). Students developed an appreciation of the physical aspects of farming; as well as admiration for the professionalism, knowledge, work skills and ethic and personal passion of each YFC. They gained insights into farm practices and potential career pathways through hearing the YFC’s story.

 

We look forward to sharing  our 2018 journey with you.

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An invitation for Primary School students to meet the Young Farming Champions at the Sydney Royal Easter Show

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A passion to link consumers with producers … to promote public understanding of farming, and the interconnectedness of health and well-being and the agricultural sector … is the driving force behind the role of the Young Farming Champions (YFC)

Our YFC help agriculture to build its fan base and encourage young people from all walks of life to join them and follow their career pathway into the agriculture sector. Since 2010 they have being doing this very successfully through The Archibull Prize.See our 2017 Annual Report here. The Archibull Prize is a world first. A competition that uses art and multimedia to engage school students in genuine farm experiences, and gain knowledge and skills about the production of the food they eat, the fibres they use and the environment they live in. Young Farming Champions (YFC) participate in The Archibull Prize by visiting and mentoring schools, sharing their stories and insights into contemporary farming practices and inspiring students to consider careers in agriculture.

Over the past three years the YFC have been spreading the agriculture love far and wide as keynote speakers at conferences, delivering TED talks and running events and workshops across the country.

In 2018 our YFC will be participating in a smorgasbord of events to hone their skills and deliver their unique style of engaging and inspiring future generations of agriculture ambassadors and the best and brightest to join the sector

I cant think of a better way to kickstart 2018 than a partnership with the agriculture education team at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. In the lead up to the show we will be inviting  Primary School students to sign up to meet the YFC team on Primary School Preview Day in The Food Farm. Students meeting the YFC will participate in hands on workshops for the Cotton, Wool, Horticulture and Egg Industries. They can also chat to YFC and farmer Tim Eyes who will be the star attraction at the Thank a Customer workshop.

Get a taste of Primary School Preview Day here

Secondary students will also get the opportunity to hear from  and meet the YFC at the Careers in Ag  workshop in Cattle and Horse Experience Arena

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We look forward to profiling our Event Activation Team over the next 10 days. Get a sneak peak and meet them here

#youthvoices18 #youthinag

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From Dagwood Dogs and Prize Dahlias, Sheep Shearing and cattle judging the local show movement is still at fever pitch in Crookwell

I have spent most of my time at local shows either showing cows or horses.

The upper Lachlan Catchment Landcare group was a great supporter of the 2014 Archibull Prize and Crookwell being part of this region their local show was a great opportunity to celebrate their local Archibull Prize 2014 entries, tell the great stories of our sheep, cattle, wool and dairy farmers and meet the locals

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So I jumped in the car last Saturday to join the wonderful Mary Bonet and the Upper Landcare Group in their tent at the Show

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 The delightful Mary Bonet

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Seeing these wonderful books at our stand created for the Cattle and Sheep industry by the Kondinin Group was blast from the past by showgoer Scott Boyle who help collate them whilst working at Kondinin in WA 

Having had quite a walk to get in the gate I was thrilled to meet Dr Rod Hoare who is the Chief Ground Steward and has access to this great little golf cart- the perfect vehicle to tour the show sites for this little black duck

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 Chief Ground Steward Rod Hoare enjoyed the traditional dagwood dog whilst touring the showground in this wonderful little buggy

First up was the local sheep shearing competition an iconic part of livestock agriculture in Australia. Competitors are judged by the quality of their shearing as well as the speed of the shear. Visit True Blue Australia to find out more

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I took this little time lapse video of the intermediate class won by the shearer at Stand 2

Next up was the pavilion. The photos share the kaleidoscope of colour of the arts and crafts and vegies, produce, flowers, cakes and everything that says the finest of rural Australian local show culture

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I caught up with some ladies working and supporting rural mental health through the Rural Adversity Mental Health program and we had our picture taken for the local paper.

Then Mary introduced me to local member for Goulburn the Hon. Pru Goward who was very impressed with the Archibull artworks of the local schools

Prue Goward and Lynne Strong

Pru was keen to see the 2014 Champion Archibull Prize Winner “Ni-Cow’ and I was only too happy to show here but we seemed to be in a Tony Abbott black spot

Then we had a little tour of the cattle sheds and the cattle judging

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Where we met Ernie Stevenson an early and influential member of the Murray Grey society.

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Back at the tent I met local cattle farmer Ken Wheelwright who is part of the KLR Mastermind Group.

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More about Rod, Ernie and Ken in my next post on Clover Hill Dairies Diary

Then it was time to catch up with local Young Farming Champions and former Crookwell Show girls Jasmine Nixon and Adele Offley

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Ah the local show so much to see so little time but thanks to Rob and all the wonderful locals I think managed to fit most of it in

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Then the two hour drive home in the fog and the rain but it was all worth it

Grain industry sponsors next crop of Young Farming Champions

We have some exciting news

Australia’s leading grains research organisation, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), is joining forces with Art4Agriculture as a sponsor for the 2014 Young Farming Champion program.

This also means schools participating in the Archibull Prize will have the opportunity to understand the interconnectedness of the landscape, their health and the Australian farmers who produce their food and fibre and showcase the grains industry on their artworks and through their blogs   

Our new partnership with GRDC and the next generation of grain growers will propel Wheat quoteAustralia’s grain industry towards a more innovative, rewarding and vibrant future as part of an exciting new partnership announced this week.

GRDC will join Australian Wool Innovation, MLA’s Target 100 campaign and Cotton Australia and Pauls and sponsor rising stars of the grain industry to become Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions (YFC)

Their YFC will tour schools across Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, sharing the story of agriculture and sustainable food and fibre production. Grain Young Farming Champions will become respected youth spokespeople for the grain industry, encouraging consumers to be proud of and support Australian farmers.

GRDC Program Manager Capacity Building Kathleen Allan says the GRDC is very pleased to be an industry partner in the Art4 Agriculture program in 2014. “Art4Agriculture is an exciting initiative that provides professional development opportunities for young people in the grains industry and increases awareness amongst school children of the importance of agriculture and the range of career opportunities in the sector,” Ms Allan says.

“The GRDC invests in a range of skills and capacity building activities that are aimed at supporting current and potential future members of the Australian grains industry to improve their capacity to lead, learn, change, innovate and advance the industry,” she says.

At Art4Agriculutre we believe agriculture’s young people are the future. Without them we lose a generation of leaders, innovators and workers who may seek opportunities elsewhere.

We would like to congratulate GRDC on being a leader in engaging, nurturing and building the capacity of young people in the grains industry.

For more information on the Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion program visit: http://www.art4agriculture.com.au/yfc

Clear as Mud

Today’s guest blog comes from the very talented Bessie Blore city girl and journalist and now wool producer and Australian Wool Innovation Young Farming Champion.
Bessie writes the very popular and often very funny blog  Bessie at Burragan. Bessie recently attended her first YFC workshop

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Whilst Bessie

anticipates many obstacles along the way: rain, muddy roads, missed flights, inflexible bus company policies… But in the immortal words of Unique II “Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride.”  I will take the motorbike cross-country through the mud, if it comes to that to share my farming stories with the world.

 IT IS EASY to feel isolated when you live 110 kilometres from the closest small town – or even if you live in those small towns. It’s true that things like phones and Facebook combat the loneliness, solitude and other mental aspects of isolation. But as one of the 11 percent of Australians who don’t live in “urban areas” – that’s cities and towns of more than 1,000 people, according to ABS – it’s still reality to sometimes feel as if you are out of sight, out of mind, and out of touch.

Of all the various issues surrounding living on a relatively remote sheep station, when Shannan (ST) and I first moved to Burragan I was most constantly anxious about the possibility of being “rained in.” There’s about 35 kilometres, give or take, of dirt road between the Burragan house and a bitumen highway, and although 35km isn’t much in the scheme of things, the thing about dirt is that when it rains it turns to mud. And the thing about mud is that it’s pretty much impenetrable by man… or woman. So when it rains you either get out quick (not always an option), or bunker down at home in preparation for a period of house and shed-bound jobs.

ST always alleviated my fear by telling me that if we ever simply had to get out after rain, we could take the motorbike cross-paddock to the highway. Over time my anxiety eased as I became used to this plan, and when people asked what happened when we were rained in, I simply answered, “We really could get out on the motorbike, across the paddock, if we needed to.”

In my mind this was acceptable. I would never be totally trapped. Obviously I hadn’t given it much further thought. You know, about, like, exactly what happens when we get to the highway and only have a motorbike to travel on and are still 80 kilometres from the closest town? Yeah, that bit… hmmm… interesting you bring that up… I hadn’t really thought about that bit.

So it was part traumatic and part wild adventure last month when we had 50 millimetres (that’s 2 inches for the oldies out there) of rain overnight and I was due to catch a flight out of Broken Hill. Then the true physical issues behind the motorbike-cross-country plan finally became clear… much clearer than mud – yet still with the exact same colour, consistency, and chemical structure. So yeah, pretty much as clear as mud – except actually clear. Are you with me?

I was due to catch this flight to Sydney because of my #3 Super Exciting Amazing News that I’ve been busting to tell you about for months now. I’ve been chosen as a 2013 Young Farming Champion to represent the wool industry as part of theArt4Agriculture and Archibull Prize programs! (Insert claps, cheers and wolf whistles here!!) If you haven’t heard of this, then let me explain…

Art4Agriculture is the brain child of Illawarra based dairy farmer Lynne Strong. At its heart Art4Ag aims to bridge the divides between food and fibre producers and consumers, through awareness and participation. Just one aspect of the program is the Archibull Prize, where participating schools are provided with a life-size fibreglass cow statue to decorate in the theme of a particular primary industry (think cotton, wool, beef, dairy etc). The Archibulls, along with blogs and video projects, are then entered in the annual Archibull Prize competition against all the other schools. Part of the program – and this is where I come in – is to train up young farmers as champions for their industry, and partner each school with its own Young Farming Champion to help inspire their themed Archibull entry, but also to teach students all about how fun, innovating and exciting Australian agriculture is as a whole. Doesn’t it sound great!!??

So, there I was, at home, due to catch this flight to Sydney for my very first meet and greet with this year’s fellow Young Farming Champions (there’s a few of us –check us out HERE) and our initial training workshop. We’d had a little bit of forecast rain the day before and the usual protocol here, when no more rain is forecast for the immediate future, is to hope for some warm and windy weather to dry out the roads. With 24 hours still to go before I was due to leave for my 4pm flight from Broken Hill, we decided to enact this kind of watch and wait plan. And while I went to bed hoping for a windy night to harden up the muddy track to the highway, ST, I’m sure, was secretly hoping for a heavy 5inch downpour to fill our drying dams.

As I lay in bed I heard the rains tumble down. In June.

Fifty-millimetres had fallen by the time we woke. And it wasn’t warm and windy and dry. It was cold and still and wet. ST was delighted. I was anxious… and a little bit peeved. And feeling extremely traitorous for not being delighted.

But everything would be OK, because we could just push out through the paddock on the motorbike, right? Right. Except, then what? Our bikes are only ever used on the property, so they’re not registered for use on main roads. It would be illegal, not to mention highly dangerous given the amount of fuel (and my luggage) we’d need to strap on for the trip, and too slow going anyway, to take the motorbike all the way to Town. And asking a friend for a casual old lift to the airport is just a fraction more than your average favour when the airport is 330km away.

Plan C? ST braved the freezing rain on his motorbike to check the state of all our roads, to see if there was any possible way of me making it out to the highway in the car. Now that is love; having one billion other things to do and dropping everything, to ride 70km through mud and slush, in awful weather, all to make his new wife hap… Hang on a minute – it has just come to me that all this time I thought he was doing something super-sweet, when really maybe that’s just how much he really, really wanted to get rid of me for a few days!? Hmmmm…

Anyway, ST returned two hours later bearing bad news. The road turned to soup closer to the highway and it was more than likely any attempt to escape by car would end with me stuck not only a long way from the airport, but also a long way from the house.

Plan D? Call all the neighbours for a road report on all possible access points through their properties – perhaps I could make it the back way? But as I rang around the neighbours, the time was a-ticking. With at least three and a half hours of travel between Burragan and Broken Hill I was going to have to leave soon, or risk missing the flight altogether. Of course, the neighbours were just was rained in as we were…

Plan E? Helicopter? Ours was still at the mechanic, being serviced. Damn! (Hahaha, I wish!)

Plan F? As it slipped passed midday and I lost my window of opportunity to reach the departure gate in time for take-off, I was left with no other option but to call the Art4Ag crew in Sydney and apologise in advance for missing my flight. I disappointedly began dialling.

Plan G? Plan H? Plan I, Plan J, PlanKPlanLPlanPlanPlanlanananannnnnnnnnaaaarrrggghhh!!! Plan Z?

There was ONE other option ST and I could come up with. Every night a bus stops at the local roadhouse on the highway about 50km away, journeying from Sydney to Broken Hill. If my flight could be changed to the following day, there was a possibility I could somehow catch that bus and make it to Broken Hill, stop over at a friend’s place for the night and be at the airport early the next morning.

It was going to be risky, first relying on the possibility of changing the flight at such late notice, then relying on the availability of seats on the bus, then being able to make it all the way to the highway on the quad bike – with my luggage – without being covered in mud by the end of it, and then the dilemma of making it a further 15km on the highway to the roadhouse, given the aforementioned dangers and illegalities of riding on the road. It would be a battle of determination and strength, a test of will and cross-country quad riding skills, a trial of friendship and mud-proof luggage wrapping abilities, a journey of epic proportions, a story of courage and undying lo… Oh, have I gone too far?

Following the all clear for the flight to be changed with the proof of road closures from the Road Traffic Authority (easy done!), I rang the bus company to see if they could make an exception for me and stop at our turn off on the highway. They said no. I didn’t argue the point. Instead, I calmly hung up and I may, or may not, (but most likely may) have cried at this point. It was beginning to look like the universe was trying to tell me something, and that I was not supposed to make it to Sydney.

But I had one final card up my sleeve, or more accurately, business card stuck to my fridge door. I phoned the owner of the local roadhouse and begged for a favour. If she wasn’t too busy, if it was not too much trouble, only if she had the time, would she please, pretty, pretty please be able to meet me at our turn off at sundown and take me back to the roadhouse in time to catch the bus? I’m fairly certain I heard angels singing in the background as she said yes.

And so ST and I prepared for battle, fuelling up the quad, donning 70 million layers of winter clothes, and wrapping my luggage in plastic bags, before setting off through the paddocks, highway headed.

True to her word, the lovely roadhouse owner ferried me to the warmth of the roadhouse, where she fed me delicious cappuccinos and hot chips as I waited for the bus for two hours.

And then I sat on the bus for three and a half hours while my feet numbed from the cold, arriving in Broken Hill around midnight.And then I sat in the airport for three hours the next morning while my flight was delayed and eventually diverted via a longer route.

Oh Sydney, you tried to avoid me, but ain’t nobody gonn’ stop me! You can attempt to delay me for approximately 24 hours, but you will never evade me completely! I showed you! So I eventually made it to Sydney, and loved my first training weekend alongside a fantastic group of fellow Young Farming Champions. I am really looking forward to my time with them and in schools across the country.

This is an opportunity I am embracing with both hands, not only to excite urban audiences about Australian agriculture, but also to break down the barriers between those who grow our nation’s food and fibre and those who eat and wear it…
To traverse that gulf, between you and I…

And to fade that feeling of isolation, for the 11percent. It can take us a little longer to make it to where the action’s at, but that doesn’t mean we’re not trying hard to get there.
I anticipate many obstacles along the way: rain, muddy roads, missed flights, inflexible bus company policies… But in the immortal words of Unique II (because I think we can all agree the original Matthew Wilder version is just a little too weird), “Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride.” And I warn you, I will take the motorbike cross-country through the mud, if it comes to that.

Are we clear?

Editor’s Note: Yes, I am aware the next line of the song is, “Nobody’s gonna slow me down,” and that that contradicts my previous statements about delays/interruptions/lags/minor hold ups etc… But for the sake of me really needing to end this blog, can we allow some poetic licence and let it slide?