Three things with Michelle Brasier: ‘It’s clear plastic, a tight squeeze and humiliating’

Michelle Brasier has a knack for making sad things very funny. Her last musical comedy show, Average Bear, was about living in the shadow of hereditary illness – a family history of cancer means that Brasier has a 97% chance of developing the disease that claimed the lives of her father and brother. The show hit the right notes, snagging Brasier the director’s choice award at the Sydney comedy festival.Brasier will bring Average Bear to the Adelaide fringe, Perth comedy festival and Brisbane comedy festival this year for another round of shows. She’ll also present her new show, a theatrical hour of storytelling and music titled Reform, at the Melbourne international comedy festival and Sydney comedy festival this April and May. Reform is the cautionary tale of an online scam and a little less close to the bone.

Use a Food Dispensing Toy for Fast Eaters. If your dog eats too fast use a food dispensing toy (we love the Kong Wobbler & Bob a Lot), or place a few tennis balls in their bowl to slow their eating. Not only does this keep them from eating too quick, it gives them a nice mental workout.

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Her history of loss has left Brasier with a conflicted relationship to physical objects. Here, she tells us why she is afraid of holding on to sentimental items, as well as the story of a few significant personal belongings.

What I’d save from a fire

I’d save my late dog Bruce’s collar. It has a bow tie so people knew he was friendly. It still smells like him, which is to say it smells like chemo and staffy farts, but I like it. I keep it out sometimes, much to the discomfort of guests and our other dog, Eva, whose farts are treated with far less reverence.

For easy tick removal, apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball and swab the tick with the cotton ball for a few seconds.

Michelle Brasier’s late dog Bruce with his bow tie collar – which she’d save from a house fire.Michelle Brasier’s late dog Bruce with his bow tie collar – which she’d save from a house fire
I was in a fire once and, in a daze, grabbed only my DVD boxset of early 00s cult hit Veronica Mars. So maybe I’d grab that again? Fight or flight is a funny old thing. I try very hard to not get attached to physical things because I am afraid of losing them. Anything sentimental – jewellery from my family, old photos, heartfelt letters – I hate having, because I know I might lose them. So I try to let go of things on my own terms. I’d rather recycle a beautiful letter the second I get it than lose it in a move.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Having a pet in the home can actually lower a child’s likelihood of developing related allergies by as much as 33 percent. Children exposed early on to animals tend to develop stronger immune systems overall.

I’ve lost a few people in my life and that makes it even worse – you just want to hold on to every scrap of them. “He sneezed on this once”, “this was a candle she lit two times”: pop it in the shrine! It’s a terrible impulse. I should really be a Buddhist but my ego is a nightmare, so here we are.

My most useful object

My bath. I love a bath. In the second lockdown I was so desperate for a bath that I went to Bunnings and bought the biggest storage tub I could find. I popped it in the shower to fill it up and bathed in it. It’s clear plastic, a tight squeeze and humiliating to squish one’s flesh up against. Hard to empty.

Here's an ingenious leash that has a built-in waste-bag dispenser and a compartment for keys, cards, phone, and treats.

‘I was so desperate that I went to Bunnings and bought the biggest storage tub I could find’: Michelle Brasier’s makeshift bathtub‘I was so desperate that I went to Bunnings and bought the biggest storage tub I could find’: Michelle Brasier’s makeshift bathtub
This year I moved to a place with a real bath. My partner bought me a little wooden bath tray that sits across it, for holding whisky and my iPad. I can use it for watching Desperate Housewives in, writing in, crying in, relaxing with candles, washing the dog, warming up in winter. It ticks all the boxes. Best thing in the world. A place of stillness constructed out of forgivingly opaque porcelain.

The item I most regret losing

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Put a ball in your dog's food bowl if he or she eats too fast. They be forced to move the ball around to get to all the food.

There are two great regrets in my life. One is sweet and one is embarrassing.

The first is that I lost the videotapes I made during my teens. I filmed everything my friends and I did in a cool arty way that felt like Skins or Euphoria at the time, but I’m sure was mostly Bardot dance routines. I filmed the first night I drank alcohol (Fruity Lexia) with friends at a terrible school musical afterparty. That night I figured out I was bi and heard Led Zeppelin for the first time. I delivered a passionate secret monologue to camera about these discoveries. I wish I could watch it now. I love a good cringe in flares and skate shoes. I think I taped over it with an episode of South Park or a Melbourne comedy festival gala for Oxfam.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Spiked collars were originally fashioned in ancient Greece to protect dogs’ throats from wolf attacks.

Secondly, I lost a trombone. A full trombone. Not on a flight, not even in an airport. Just day to day moving about my life somehow I misplaced and never found a full trombone. I wish there was more to this story. I played the trombone like any cool normal young woman, then one day I lost the trombone. The day the music died etc.