what happened when a perth taxi refused to drive me home

So if you haven’t heard my story yet then this is what happened to me last Saturday after the Paspaley Polo at Langley Park in the city. I was on Terrace Road near the Crown Plaza around 7pm trying to hail down a taxi. It was pretty busy but after about 15 mins and a lot of waving…success! The driver had his window down and with a motion of his hand he beckoned me over signaling his taxi was available. I crossed the road, got into the taxi and said to the driver that I’d like to go to Bayswater so it’d be best to do a U-turn up ahead and go down Plain Street. He looked in the rear vision mirror and said, “No. I don’t want to go in that direction. You’ll have to get out”.

WHAT??!! I was gobsmacked. And then pissed off. Since when can taxi drivers NOT take reasonable paying passengers… ummm…home???!! Not only is it their JOB (no really, I’m not being facetious. It is) but it’s also dangerous and unacceptable to leave people out on the street, at night, without any other mode of transport to get home. Now I catch a lot of taxi’s and I know there are great taxi drivers in Perth who would never do this (I’ve met heaps) so I don’t want to condemn an entire industry BUT seriously…I had to ask the question.

How many people have been told to get out of a taxi because their suburb is too far away or the taxi driver doesn’t want to travel in their direction? Well, lots apparently. Here are just a few of the many responses I received on twitter:

Ben O’Shea from The West’s Inside Cover followed my incident up by asking on twitter if mine was a rare occurrence or if others in Perth had similar experiences with taxis.

And when The West Australian covered the story on Monday with the headline, “Cabbie boots radio jock out for short trip” the floodgates opened.

Channel 9 asked me to tell my story and I did so ONLY because it seems to be a really big problem in Perth. I shouldn’t need to defend myself. But (not surprisingly) I’ve had a lot of abuse on twitter from people who think I’m being a bitch to taxi drivers. Well for the record I’M BLOODY NOT! People in Perth are being refused taxi’s regularly. It’s a fact. For no other reason than they live in an outer suburb (Kalamunda, Scarborough) or the driver doesn’t want to take a short fare.

 

 

I also had a chat to Paul Murray’s on 6PR during his Drive show. You can take a listen here:

 

And Channel 7 covered the story as well. You can see it here.

The feedback I’ve received through social media has been overwhelming and although I’m copping the usual criticism and abuse for speaking out (the haters will hate) I’m glad I did speak out. If young men and women are doing the right thing by not drinking and driving home after a night out then there MUST be a safe and reliable alternative mode of transport available to get them home safely.

And to everyone who has offered their support for speaking out I’d just like to say a big thank you.

Lise xxx

it’s sad to say goodbye

I started working at 92.9 when my daughter Isabella was just 9 weeks old. I recall those post-pregnancy days on the radio only in terms of breast size. When my boobs were enormous my focus was on finding somewhere to pump milk immediately. Nothing bonds radio hosts more than a couple of leaking breasts I reckon. When my boobs were empty it was an absolute relief and I could focus all my short attention span on Lady Gaga being in Perth OH MY GOD she’s in Perth let’s FIND HER!!! And when my boobs felt like rocks I regretted not pumping in the 8.15am ad-break because I would be in a goddamn world of pain when I got home.

Ahhhh. Breakfast radio on 92.9. I remember those really, really early mornings. My alarm would go off and I would creep quietly in the darkness to Bella’s cot and softly lift her out for a 3.15am feed. I loved that time with Bella. She was so warm and tiny cradled in my arms and I could have sat on my bed and looked at her for hours. But I had a job. And I loved my job. So I would tuck her back into her cot, whisper goodbye, leave the door ajar in case she woke up and I’d get into my car armed with a breast pump, a spare bottle for milk, a pink feather boa and a hoola hoop (the last two are standard brekky radio paraphernalia) and I’d head off to the radio station.

Because of the hours I work I’ve never dropped Bella to daycare in the morning and waved her goodbye. I’ve never been there Monday through Friday to give her a cuddle when she first wakes up. For the last four years I’ve hosted events or attended functions mid-week, every week and on those nights I’ve missed feeding her dinner. I’ve missed bath time. Many times. I’ve missed reading her bedtime stories. On the nights I am home, I’m tweeting and X-Factoring and Facebooking and she’s missing out on Dora the Explorer. The person who has been there most for Bella is my glorious, hates-to-be-celebrated-Dad.

‘Rog’ as he is fondly known, has provided us with a saintly amount of love and support. He has been there for me solely and purposefully to enable me to achieve all that I have in my radio career. I don’t have words for how grateful I am to my Dad. But there comes a time when everyone needs a break.

So I have made the decision to take some time off from radio.

Bella starts school in just over a year. I want to enjoy quality time with her before she stops being my baby, and she grows into a proper little girl.

Of course I feel sad. I LOVE my job. I love radio. This decision cooked in the oven for a very long time before it was ready to come out. I miss it already. I may even cry. But seriously, how can I possibly garner sympathy when I also want to reflect upon a stellar four years and all the totes awesome fun I’ve had??? Some of my highlights? God there are so many but these are just some that stand out and make me smile.

Flying all the way to Los Angeles to raise money for Telethon and interviewing both Keith Urban and Will Ferrell, launching the inaugural 92.9 Kids Appeal with Telethon alongside Basil Zempilas and Sam Mac which has raised a total of $1,023,491 for the kids at PMH, the Tree party with Perth’s Tree-Man, hosting Perth’s Biggest Wedding which married 60 couples at Mosman’s, celebrating Baz commentating his first AFL game, riding 90kms from Perth to Mandurah on a mountain bike with Paul Hogan to raise money for Kids Appeal, abseiling 80 metres down the WACA lights, participating in Warrior Dash 2013 and not coming last or losing a limb, Isabella’s First Birthday party on the 92.9 rooftop, meeting Mel B in the flesh, Long Lunch in Bali with 20 listeners, following the journey of Amy’s pregnancy and the birth of beautiful Ava Zempilas, Dog Park Dating, meeting HRH the Queen (well…I came pretty close!) and getting to the Grand Final of RAW comedy this year.

And then there’s my 92.9 listeners. Oh how I love you all! It’s because of you that I’ve gotten out of bed at 3.50am even when I’ve felt like absolute crap. We’ve long lunched together, we’ve partied at the Paramount together, we’ve made each other laugh every single morning for four years and yes, I can’t lie, some of your stories have brought me to tears. Little two year old Xavier who died of cancer not long after I held him in my arms, I think of you every day buddy.

Thank you. Thank you for listening. Thank you for sharing your lives with me. Thank you for sharing your hearts with me. And thank you for allowing me to share mine with you. I will miss you all. Every morning.

Lise

xxx

92.9

Leaving 92.9 our last morning on-air as Lisa, Paul & Baz. A sad day.

the barbie experience

My name is Lisa Fernandez. I work full-time and I am a single mother to a delightful three and a half year old daughter by the name of Isabella. This week, I executed a social experiment that had been many weeks in the making. Literally. With the help of WA Fashion Designer Jonte, I re-created perfect replicas of three Barbie outfits to fit my exact size and for one afternoon I dressed exactly like my daughter’s Barbie Doll.

I understand that a woman choosing to become Barbie may seem a little wacko. Hey I don’t mind if you say it, ridiculous even. You might look at the photos of me, a 5”2 blonde chick squeezed into garments only a small plastic figurine with a 1” waist could wear with any dignity and then roll your eyes thinking ‘what’s her point’ or ‘here we go, another raving feminist’. You may even assume I did this purely as an attention seeking venture but let me assure you this is far from the truth. The motivation for my social experiment has a very simple explanation.  Two very simple explanations actually. Number one: My kid asked me to do it and Number two: I thought it would be bloody hilarious to dress up like Barbie.

So it all started here. During a one way conversation with my three and a half year old daughter about her beloved Barbie, right in the middle of me trying to cook dinner AND check out if the plumber who ripped me off last week had been busted on Today Tonight.

“Mummy” she said, “Look at how beautiful Barbie is. You should dress JUST like her mummy. And mummy, you’d look beautiful too. Just like Barbie”.  Now I’m a single mother and as a consequence of my social isolation, dialogue between Bella and I has always been very adult and honest. So my initial reaction as I stood in front of my Barbie loving offspring was to laugh in her sweet little face and say, “Honey, Barbie looks so incredibly trashy even the garbage man wouldn’t pick her up and secondly, decent Mummy’s wouldn’t dress like Barbie unless they were in a hostage situation and forced to do so. Now here’s a dictionary kiddo, best look up “skank” and we’ll discuss it later. But not wanting to crush the hope in a 3 year olds eyes, all that came out of my mouth was, “Sure Bella. Mummy can dress like Barbie. I’m sure I’ll look beautiful too.” And that is why an intelligent, grown woman spent an afternoon walking around Perth dressed up like an actual Barbie doll.

We hit the streets to get some reactions from the general public. Let's just say Lisa's outfit wasn't received in the most positive light.

We hit the streets to get some reactions from the general public. Let’s just say Lisa’s outfit wasn’t received in the most positive light.

“The Barbie Experience” is how I’m referring to my 5 hours spent in a daze of candy pink make-up and barely there clothing which shimmered and slithered far too much for a freezing Perth afternoon. Being Barbie wasn’t fun or, to my surprise, even remotely entertaining. Being Barbie was downright humiliating and degrading. I’m not the type of chick who whinges about carrying a few extra kilo’s. I am what I am and I’m pretty happy with my body after pushing out a kid and living on 5 hours of sleep a day for over 10 years. But holy hell people! Wearing Barbie’s shiny short skirts and too tight tops made me feel dirty and cheap. I felt exposed as I walked the streets and I lost all confidence to look people in the eye because I felt so ashamed of the trashy clothing I was wearing. I cringed at the thought of bumping into anyone I knew and the disgusted looks on people’s faces as I teetered past them in hot pants and electric pink stilettos reflected how I was feeling about myself. I felt disgusting.

The Barbie Experience set out to be a lighthearted social experiment but like my transformation into Barbie, it morphed into something ugly and very tragic.

Lisa all dressed up at the Channel 7 studios in Perth ready for her appearance on Sunrise live across Australia

Lisa all dressed up at the Channel 7 studios in Perth ready for her appearance on Sunrise live across Australia

I’ve got to be honest and admit that I was pretty ambivalent about Bella thinking Barbie is beautiful. I was unconcerned by the trashiness of this plastic little doll and her long term effects on my 3 year old. But after the humiliation of being Barbie I involuntarily formed an opinion. And Barbie ‘aint no role model for my kid. Will I throw the blonde strumpets out? Probably not. But I’m on the hunt for a nice nanna who might sew me up some of my own Barbie outfits. Like Computer Geek Barbie. Or Veterinary Barbie or even Journalist Barbie. Any other suggestions are more than welcome.

being a little diva is ok with me

I’m ashamed to admit this now, but before I had my daughter Isabella, I was judgemental and smug towards other parents. I was one of those carefree, childless people who would watch, horrified as a toddler threw a massive tantrum in a shopping centre whilst in my head I would be saying, ‘That’ll never be MY kid’. If ignorance is bliss then I was right off the Richter scale of stupidity in thinking that an out of control toddler is the result of bad parenting. At the time though, it’s what I honestly believed. I was also very anti young-children-participating-in-singing-and-dancing-competitions. Ballet classes I deemed to be conforming and overly regimented. And as for the parents who dressed their kids up to perform like circus animals in front of audiences or talent scouts? Disgusting was the word I used. My opinion was that children should be free to express themselves and not be forced to live out the sad-sop fantasies of their pushy parents. Having endured years of hated ballet classes I wanted my child enjoy his or her childhood and not be forced into sweaty Saturday afternoons of torturous singing lessons. And end up thinking they could win the X-Factor. Wow. What a judgemental bitch I was. My opinions then were all the more arrogant because I had NO IDEA about kids…none. I hadn’t even babysat a small person in my entire life.

But don’t fear. The universe, in her infinite wisdom, realised I needed the karmic equivalent of a good slap around the head…so I fell pregnant, gave birth and was presented with an absolute firecracker of a kid. Which could be a nice way of saying she is 100% hard work. Or just a massive pain in the rear. Ironically, she throws spectacular supermarket tantrums, on her stomach smashing the floor with both fists undeterred when I walk away, right out the automatic doors. She knows how to humiliate me in public and does it often. I’m telling you people, Karma really does exist. Want more proof? Ok. How about this. If Bette Midler, the ultimate showgirl were dead I would swear that she had been reincarnated into my child’s body. Isabella is like Beaches on crack. She is a one child minstrel show who loves performing on any raised platform while simultaneously critiquing her facial expressions on any reflective surface. I’ve yelled at her to ‘Get away from the mirror!’ so many times I’m scared she’ll have a lifelong complex about her own image. On the other hand…maybe not. I saw toddlers like her on performing on TV and I remember thinking….I hate that little kid. And now I’ve given birth to that little kid. Oh Karma, revenge must taste sweet! My lounge room is centre stage for this singing, dancing, acrobatic diva…and she’s only just gone two.

What can I say? The kid is a natural. Natural show off.

What can I say? The kid is a natural. Natural show off.

But here’s the kicker. Having a real life child of my own has completely changed my opinion about showbiz kids. I now believe it would be a parenting crime of the highest order if I didn’t encourage her love of performing. Because Isabella honestly loves it. And just to be clear, there is not, nor has there EVER been any excessive push from me to show her off or get her to sing and dance on-cue. And my Dad [her grandpa] is an accountant. Enough said about that. So if she’s happy singing and dancing then I say sod what anyone else thinks. I’ll enrol her in every class she enjoys and not because I want to become rich off her future earnings as the next Lady Gaga. [Although let’s be honest…that’d be awesome!] If Isabella has a natural talent then as her mother I have an obligation to explore the depth of that talent and nurture it as best I can. I have become the unofficial champion of child entertainers.

Just this week in fact, I was asked by Channel 7’s Today Tonight to be on their judging panel for a segment asking, “Do WA Kids have the X-Factor?”. I sat alongside fellow judges The Lord Major Lisa Scaffidi and renowned Perth entertainer Jamie Mercanti debating the calibre of talent we would see in such youthful performers. They started with 11 year old Hamish who sang, danced and tapped his way through a flawless performance of “The Boy from Oz” followed by 9 year old Savannah performing a gymnastic/acrobatic routine so energetic we were left breathless just watching her. Next was 13 year old Harry from Bunbury who performed with all the class of Hugh Jackman but with a better smile and then young Chloe tapped her way through the same number as Hamish, with the added confidence of someone who had previously made it to our screens on Australia’s Got Talent…and she was only 9 years old! The last act of the day was Sophia the beautiful 5 year old ballerina. She was so adorable I instantly reconsidered enrolling Isabella into ballet. They were all amazing, talented kids but most importantly, each one of them loved every minute of being onstage. And passion like that you just can’t fake

You can check out the link to the Today Tonight story here Today Tonight X-Factor Kids

The entertainment industry is tough and it’s ruthless and kids who want to be part of that industry need all the love and support they can get. I speak from experience when I say that the applause and adulation do wonders for your ego, but there’s honestly no greater feeling in the world than hearing your mum or dad tell you they’re proud of you.

Thanks for reading!

Lise
xxx