Making A Difference By Being Bloody Determined

21 March 2016 | 3:57 pm | Staff Writer

"Shampoo is black, the Bee Gees are still cool, and you do not mess with Habibunessa The Mango Queen."

While his claim that he would be "playing left wing for Eureka FC" if he weren't a comedian seems a little dubious, the rest of Mark "I run like a gazelle" Swivel's tale has a very 'couldn't make it up if you tried' kind of vibe to it.

See, Swivel has a story, it's "about a man [Swivel] who falls in love in Bangladesh ... with a bank". Uh..."Honestly, it's great — once you get past the banking stuff. Ok? It's complicated." You're telling me.

Swivel explains that the reason for the journey to Bangladesh, and subsequent love for a building was because, "I wanted to 'make a difference' — and what can you do, rejoin the Labor Party? So I went to study micro-finance with Grameen Bank — they won a Nobel Prize for lifting peeps out of poverty." "I learnt many things: shampoo is black, the Bee Gees are still cool, and you do not mess with Habibunessa The Mango Queen."

Swivel says the rest of the story started with a song. “A bloke came up to me in a village near the Ganges, asked me if I like music. I said, 'Who doesn't?' He asked if I liked the Bee Gees. I mumbled 'When I was a kid' (didn't mention the John Travolta poster on my bedroom wall). Then he sang How Deep Is Your Love?, right there in the street. An absurd moment. That was the spring board. I love rambling yarns, comedy that's not just straight jokes.”

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It's not all fruity royalty and '80s icons though. Underneath the strange yarn, as with most good stories, is a lesson, a "glimpse of another world," says Swivel. "A dead honest tale of how hard it is to make a difference. But you can make an impact if you're bloody determined. How 'third world problems' are actually 'first world problems'. Places like Bangladesh are still in recovery — from colonisation. Globalisation is a con, wealth doesn't actually trickle down! If we start listening to 'the poor', we might get somewhere. One day. I'm an optimistic realist. Or brutal idealist. I dunno, you be the judge!"