Pole dancing, embroidery and cake decorating — these Queensland blokes do them all

Rockhampton 4700

If you’re set to be stuck inside for the foreseeable future, these stereotype-smashing central Queensland blokes might have the inspiration you need.

Rockhampton resident Allan Reinikka is probably not the type of person who springs to mind when you think of pole dancing.

But the 60-year-old, who has been hooked since he first took a lesson eight years ago, says there is really no reason men shouldn’t participate in the sport.

“You don’t have to be a skinny female to this — anyone, any shape, age, whatever — can actually do this stuff,” Mr Reinikka said.

“I probably shouldn’t be flipping upside down on poles, but it’s good fun.”

Mr Reinikka says he gets a few stares when he does public demonstrations, but mostly because people don’t think of his body as being able to do the moves on the pole.

As for the perception that pole dancing is just for women, Mr Reinikka has a theory.

“It’s because it’s a vertical pole,” he said.

“If it was horizontal, everyone would treat it like it was gymnastics and it’d be completely different.

“And yes, it has its origins with strip clubs and it has been sexualised.”


Allan Reinikka has done a couple of performances to show you don’t have to be any specific body type, gender or age. (Supplied: Tamara MacKenzie)

‘A lot of stillness’

The artwork hanging on Brady Neher’s wall looks like a painting, featuring a skull on a colourful backdrop.

On closer inspection, you see it has been painstakingly embroidered and is made up of several thousand tiny stitches.

“One thing I really love about this is the flow of the stitch,” says Mr Neher, whose surname means tailor in German.


Brady Neher says embroidery takes a lot of stillness and is a meditation of sorts. (ABC Capricornia: Inga Stunzner)

“A lot of people say you must be really patient to be able to do something like this because it is time consuming and everything is very small.

“But it’s not really patience because it’s something I love to do.

“It also helps me maintain a stillness in my head and clears my mind — a meditation of sorts.”

Mr Neher fell in love with cross-stitch through his parents.

“My mother first got me into cross-stitch, because I was a crafty kid and she got me to do a little cross-stitch design when I was about eight,” he said.


This skull is made up of several thousand tiny stitches and takes Brady Neher about three days to complete. (ABC Capricornia: Inga Stunzner)

Mr Neher’s work is so unusual and intricate that it has been displayed in an exhibition at the local art gallery.

“The art is not so much the finished product — it’s the actual human being sitting down, taking the time to create,” he said.

“In my opinion, it’s creating something pretty to add a little more beauty to the world.”


Brady Neher’s father was a folk singer who had an embroidered denim jacket, which inspired Brady to take up cross-stitch as a child. (ABC Capricornia: Inga Stunzner)

A cake wizard

Drew Wickerson’s cake decorating prowess has come a long way since he made a Thomas the Tank Engine cake for his son’s fifth birthday nearly 30 years ago.

Now his work is in such high demand that he has to carefully manage his time — by day he is a councillor in local government, and by night he is a cake wizard.

One of the secrets to Cr Wickerson’s success is the fact that he comes from an architectural and model background.


Councillor Drew Wickerson says cake decorating is a great way to lose yourself after a busy day at work. (Supplied: Drew Wickerson)

“Because you always do drawings at a scale or build architectural models to scale, the design process is sort of the same,” he said.

“Being a councillor is quite busy, so sometimes it’s really nice to have a hobby that distracts you from the that.

“So just for a moment you lose yourself in making something that takes a fair bit of concentration and manual skill.

“And when you’re doing that, you can block out your day at work.”

The added bonus is that no-one is unhappy getting a cake, Cr Wickerson says.

“Whether it’s something quite elaborate or even something quite basic, everyone smiles and I’ve never had an unhappy friend receive a cake,” he said.

As for Cr Wickerson’s favourite cake, he says it’s hard because once you finish one cake you move on to the next.

He’s created dragons, trucks, tanks, peacocks, and miniature buildings to commemorate anniversaries.


Drew Wickerson says he loves the smiles his creations bring, but he has to put a cap on the number he does because his day job is important. (Supplied: Drew Wickerson)

“I did one that was huge, and it was for a commercial gardens opening,” Cr Wickerson said.

“This thing took two grown men to pick it up, and I think it was something like 60 kilos, and that’s a lot of weight for cake. It was massive.”

One of his cakes, R2-D2 from Star Wars, even won a prize at the local agricultural show.

“It’s nice to make people smile,” he said.

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news