TOPICS: VIDEO - X Factor auditions 

‘‘I’VE always been scared of being one of those people who think they sound awesome but really don’t,’’ said Danni-elle McCudden, 18, from Eleebana.

Danni-elle had just been knocked back in the X Factor auditions at Hunter Stadium, and was waiting for her mum to pick her up. She was OK. They’d told her she could sing but she needed more experience.

As we spoke, guys in trendy T-shirts and girls in rock’n’roll jeans trickled through the gate. This audition was with the show’s producers. Those who make it will perform in front of the judges later.

Danni-elle sang for us while she waited – her audition song, Ed Sheeran’s Lego House. She’s not one of those people she was worried about being.

James West, 22, from Stockton, shook the hand of the wary security guard. ‘‘I’m James and I’m here to audition.’’

This was his second crack at X Factor. He’d auditioned previously for Idol, and took momentum into yesterday’s try-outs.

James recently won a talent quest on a cruise ship. He performed Pump It by the Black Eyed Peas, and basked in his fellow passengers’ cries of ‘‘louder’’. ‘‘I’ve always been an entertainer,’’ said James, before breaking into beatboxing.

Denise Fernandez, 41, came from Denman to audition. She’d brought her son Noah and daughter Bella, who helped make up her mind to audition after years of thinking about it.

‘‘The kids take away my nerves,’’ she said.

What else did we see at the auditions? Chainsmoking, proud parents and a lot of pacing back and forth.

We’ll find out how they all went when the show returns to Prime7 in the second half of the year.

School screamers 

YOU get only one first day at school and Tom Robinson’s ended in tears.

He landed in trouble for ‘‘running around a corner and displacing Mrs Pinksteren’s caffeinated beverage’’. Perhaps that’s why he grew up to be a chef, and not a barista.

Stephan started at a new primary school after moving from Holland.

‘‘Couldn’t speak a word of English – and mum just left me there!’’ he recalls, in horror.

Leah from Scone is the youngest of four siblings whose ages span 17 years, and remembers the spring in her mother’s step as she walked out the school gate.

Walking out the gate wasn’t an option for this Topics writer’s mother in January 1993 when a certain sibling erupted into a tantrum on his first day of kindergarten.

Despite a soothing pep talk from his older brother, the raging child locked himself in the family sedan. He was eventually prised from the car.

The deputy principal’s glasses didn’t survive the ordeal intact.

Saurav’s first day of education in Australia was one he won’t forget.

‘‘Couldn’t speak English and had my pants pulled down [by another kid],’’ he says. 

‘‘I thought this was a regular custom in an Australian school.’’

Sadly, a command of English is no defence against having your pants pulled down. Or up. Until they tear.

Do you remember your first day of school? Tell us about it.

Ticket trick

YESTERDAY, a few passers-by witnessed a miracle on Newcomen Street.

One of the street’s parking ticket machines – the ones that chew up $2 coins and deny it – had a change of heart.

The machine gave something back to the community from whom it has taken so much; we, the people who work in the Newcastle CBD. 

It spat out tickets for free, or that’s how it seemed at first glance.

Figuring the ream wouldn’t actually comprise parking tickets, we hoped it would read, over and over, ‘‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’’.

Alas, on closer inspection, the roll was blank. It was exciting for a while.

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