Greg Barila

Journalist. Editor. Social Media specialist.

Breaking Bad in suburban Adelaide

Plotlines from your TV may be closer than they appear. A scene from Breaking Bad. Source: AP
BIG blue. Blue sky. Blue Magic. Fring's Blue.
Fans of the hit show Breaking Bad will get the reference.
For the rest, Big Blue was the most tangible example of the exacting standards of Walter White; a high school chemistry teacher who decides to pursue a life less ordinary by making drugs.
But not just any drug; the purest drug money can buy, advertising itself by its unique blueness, hence those funny names.
Breaking Bad was a superlative bit of television and I devoured every tense and shocking episode, just like I did The Wire and Sopranos.
But it was just television right? Things like that don't happen in real life. Or so I thought until a recent, strange encounter.
The scene: a near-deserted car park. Suburban Adelaide. Saturday morning.
Open with me, carrying a box of groceries from my local Italian delicatessen to the boot of my car.
Suddenly, a voice behind. "Pssst".
Turning, I see an Italian bloke on a push bike. He's wearing a tracksuit, helmet and an inquisitive look on his face.
"Did you just buy some olive oil in there?"
Me: Yeah, why?
"How much did they charge you?"
Me: Thirty bucks.
"Mate, that's not the pure stuff," he ventures in hushed tones. "If you want the pure stuff, I've got it. I make it myself".
I shoot a glance left and right to make sure the coast is clear. I've never done this before - bought olive products in a car park.
Me: Good is it, the stuff you make?
"Mate, it doesn't even compare. The stuff I've got is in a class of its own," he says.
Politely, I decline, explaining "I've already just bought my supply, thanks. But maybe I'll give you a call sometime."
Which was perfectly true, of course. I had enough cooking lubricant to last six months.
But my reasons for turning him down ran deeper.
Like, that a man could never really know where a spur-of-the-moment decision in a quiet car park on a Saturday morning might lead.
When it comes to olive oil, it's a slippery slope.
You start with a small sample on a piece of crusty bread and before you know it you're buying cold pressed, garlic infused and chili oil in some back lane in Campbelltown or Findon.
And then, one night, while you're eating garlic and olive oil pasta in some outside kitchen in Newton, with some Italian you just met, someone will bring out a bottle of homemade pasta sauce and it'll all be over.
"C'mon just a little taste. No-one gets addicted to this stuff". Yeah, sure.
Nah, if I want that kind of trip, I'll watch Antonio Carluccio on SBS. Or maybe I'll write a show myself.
Breaking Bread has a nice ring to it.
This column was first published in The City Messenger and on