David ‘Christo’ Christopher is one of the Gold Coast’s best-known radio personalities and one third of the much-loved 102.9 Hot Tomato breakfast team.
Not only that though, Christo recently opened up about his struggle with depression and the platform he created, www.dadswithdepression.com, a space where men can find information and actually talk to one another about their experiences. Which is admirable to say the least.
We sat down for a chat with Christo about his advice for other Dads who might be dealing with depression and the lighter stuff, like celebrity interviews… including Keanu Reeves!
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
My parents moved us all up here from Melbourne when I was 11. Beside a stint of time spent chasing the radio dream, including three years in Townsville and seven years in Sydney, the Gold Coast has been my home for a loooooong time!
What do you love most about living here?
What’s not to love? In my younger days it was brilliant because the nightlife was all on your doorstep and now as a semi-functioning adult, the restaurants and kids events are all so close too. There are loads of new bars and cafés popping up that are kid-friendly and take advantage of the outdoorsy lifestyle, which makes it perfect for raising a family.
Tell us about what you do at 102.9 Hot Tomato.
I’m what they call the “anchor” on the breakfast show. It’s my job to keep the show running smoothly and on time – which is not always easy, Flan and Emily Jade are big talkers! I do all of the “services”, so tell the time and share the temps so people can plan their day. I also do all of the button pushing.
Seems like a pretty good time, what’s a normal day like for you?
Breakfast radio is anything but normal! I’m generally up at 3:40am and then again at 4:00am, after I’ve hit snooze. I’m at the station by about 4:30 to read newspapers and get ready and we go live from 5:00am ‘til 9am. After the show, we generally have meetings to plan for the next day or to discuss events coming up or sometimes we might pre-record an interview. We’re out of there most days by about 11:00am. I try to go to the gym and then depending on whether it’s a kindy day or not, I go home and either spend time with my 3-year-old or try to relax a little until it’s time to do school pick-up. Then, it’s time for my second shift – work of another kind!
How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always loved the radio; my parents bought me my first radio when I was five and I used to sit and make my own radio shows with a tape recorder. I started my radio life here on the Gold Coast at Radio Metro (it was called Hott FM back then). I just walked in and asked if I could do a show and they said yes! I volunteered for about five years, doing a range of shifts and shows around my full-time job. Eventually I was picked up by Sea FM and I moved to Townsville with my co-host, where I stayed for about three years before landing a job in Sydney. I hosted the breakfast show on The Edge 96ONE for six years and did a bunch of work on their sister stations WSFM and Mix over that time too, before taking a job at Nova, where I hosted a national night show and a national weekend countdown. Those jobs were amazing – I don’t think there was a concert that came to Sydney that I didn’t go to. I interviewed all the biggest celebrities including Rihanna, Elton John and Keanu Reeves. But once we had our first child, Sydney was too much – too busy, too expensive. We wanted to come back home where our family is on the GC. I was lucky enough to score a job at Hot Tomato doing nights before they asked me to switch over to breakfast, where I’ve been with Flan and Emily Jade ever since!
You’ve recently begun speaking about your experience with depression, how did you know something wasn’t right?
It runs in my family, which was my first clue. I was first diagnosed around the time my first child was born. I noticed that I was constantly irritable and irrationally angry for no reason whatsoever, along with the general feeling of not wanting to get out of bed in the morning; I knew something wasn’t right. This coincided with a fight I tried to start with a guy over a carpark in a Sydney shopping centre (I’m so not a fighter), with my then heavily pregnant wife in the car, who said, ‘Um, perhaps it’s time to go and get some help?”
Why do you think Dads experiencing depression is so rarely spoken about?
There’s always this stigma that guys don’t talk about their emotions or feelings. When guys get together you don’t really sit there and say, “Hey mate, how’s your depresh going bud?”. We chat about more surface level stuff. Whereas with women, they generally have a great network of friends who they can unleash to and help work through problems. As men, we just bottle it up with a “she’ll be right mate” attitude. It’s this attitude that’s got to change.
Tell us about the platform you’ve created…
It’s www.dadswithdepression.com. I wanted to create a space where dads – well, really all men, but Dads with Depression has such a great ring to it – can go to find articles and stories about depression. It’s a place where they can go to make comments and talk to other men about their experiences. To help them make informed choices on what they need to do next and what steps to take. I also wanted them to be able to speak freely, so if they’re not keen on posting comments on the site, I set up a Facebook page and a private Facebook Group where we can all go and talk openly about what we’re experiencing and talk to others who are going through the exact same thing. There’s an amazing group of guys already on the site and in the private group who are helping each other out.
What’s your advice for other dads who think they might be experiencing depression?
Go and see a doctor. If you’re not happy with the answer they give you, go and see another one! Call the government’s mental health hotline and talk to someone. Come and join the FB group and take a look at the site. Just do something! There’s plenty out there to help you, so please take advantage of it. Suffering in silence is so exhausting, isolating and lonely. Do something so that you’re not going through this alone.
What’s in store for the rest of 2019 for you and the family?
I have set myself some challenges this year to help with my depression and that is to take myself out of my comfort zone. To do some things I wouldn’t normally do. So far, I’ve climbed Mt Warning and I have a few other ideas up my sleeve. My wife is a writer, so I’m hoping she’ll have some time to finish her first great novel and I want the kids to have a happy, healthy and fun year on the Gold Coast!
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Café for breakfast: Because of my work hours, I can’t go past Randy Wallhole in. Their after-work coffee and cinnamon bagel combo is a winner every time for me.
Coffee spot: I recently discovered Café Hedges that I’ve enjoyed and they make great coffee; The Henchman in Miami also make a brilliant coffee. I’m a coffee lover so wherever there’s a coffee to be had, I’m there trying it out! On a bad day, I have five coffees – not great, but it could be worse right?
Restaurant for dinner: On the Gold Coast we are truly spoilt for choice. I’m a big fan of Cucina Vivo at The Star; I love my pasta and pizza so any excuse to go there is a good one. Hideaway Kitchen & Bar in Broadbeach is perfect for a night out with mates. Hellenika in Nobbys is delicious. And I love places like Burleigh Pavillion and Driftwood Social; they are perfect for taking advantage of the Gold Coast weather and enjoying a Sunday session.
Spots to visit on the weekend: Having three kids, my weekends are pretty full of kids parties, activities and errands so we try and go to different spots and places the kids can play all over the coast. The kids (and the kidults!) are always partial to a visit to Movie World or Sea World as they’re some of the best theme parks in the world, right here on our doorstep – so why not take advantage of them.
One of your favourites has come through with the goods again, this time in the form of a sleek, breezy rooftop bar that brings all your European summer holiday dreams to life.
Bar Hellenika is the long-awaited venue perched on top of the Nobby’s institution of the same name (but without the bar part). It’s a fresh, colour-filled space decked out with an abundance of white, grey tiled floors, a marble bar perched right in the middle and yellow umbrellas to give it a very laze-by-the-beach-with-mimosa-in-hand kind of vibe.
Bright, eye-catching art adorns the walls depicting well-known Greek folk and a HUGE wine cellar boasts hundreds of bottles that we will certainly enjoy sipping over the next few years. Maybe months, depending on how 2018 pans out.
A big old olive tree takes pride of place in the front reminding us all how very lucky we are that olives are a thing and that we can now eat as many as we like while gazing out over Nobby’s at our new fave spot.
So, the rooftop bar part. Quite obviously the idea is to be roofless but as we all know, the Gold Coast is going through a (quite annoying) wet season right now. But, because he’s a man of the people, owner Simon Gloftis has that sorted. The roof is retractable and it’s quite the sight to behold so, no matter the weather, you can enjoy a tasty tipple in a semi-outdoor space without a care in the world.
Not only can you drink up there though, you can eat and hooray for that because everybody knows Hellenika’s food is the goods.
The menu, known as a mezze menu, is a share plate style scenario filled with delicious eats along the lines of Tiganito Kalamari (flash fried calamari), Gavros (cured white anchovies) and Arni Sti Schara (grilled lamb ribs) to name a few.
Wash those down with an Ari Onassis made up of Tanqueray gin, elderflower, lemon and cucumber (among other things) or a Pimms Cup and your life may just be complete.
As you’d expect from the man with a slew of the Coast’s best restaurants under his belt, Bar Hellenika is a beautiful space oozing good vibes and promising plenty of fun times. It’s casual chic (sans thongs and singlets thank you) at it’s very best and the perfect spot to spend some time with your crew sipping tipples and thinking yourself lucky you live in this increasingly epic city.
You’ll be seeing us there A LOT.
LOCATION: 2235 Gold Coast Hwy, Nobby Beach
HOURS: 5pm until midnight every day throughout the Commonwealth Games and 5pm until midnight Wednesday to Sunday after that.
Words and photos by Kirra Smith.
We would venture to say Burleigh Heads is one of the most-loved places on Earth and for (very) good reason. A stunning coastline, world-class surf break, a breathtaking national park and, to top it all off, five star eateries. Plus, every single person there is wandering around with a big old smile on their face at all times – obviously.
And just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any better, up pops a brand new venue to take the Gold Coast dining scene to a whole new level. Yes friends, Burleigh Pavilion is open and it is even more delightful than we could have imagined.
As of late December, the much-anticipated venue threw open their doors to hordes of absolutely thrilled locals (and many visitors) who it seems have been waiting for this moment their entire lives and same to be honest.
You can find the Pavilion at the base of Burleigh Hill, right on the sand and overlooking not only Burleigh beach but also the entire northern Gold Coast coastline. It’s the epitome of beachfront good times and perfectly at home in our beloved Burleigh.
You’ll enter up a set of stairs and, once inside, come face to face with the Chefs doing their thing for the good of hungry people everywhere. To your left is The Tropic, the sit down dining section of the establishment and, to your right, The Terrace, a more casual, walk-in-off-the-beach-with-sandy-feet style of venue. What a treat.
The Tropic is all pastel pinks, mustards and greens with stunning stone tables with plants popping out of rattan baskets a pink tiled bar that’ll see you taking Insta-snaps for days. Of course, a deck juts out over the ocean and, with fairy lights strung overhead and the calming lull of the ocean right below; you probably won’t ever want to leave.
Across the way, another open-air section backs onto the kitchen so you can either watch the Chefs at work or gaze out over the ocean through the big old windows while occasionally popping over to the Pavilion Bar for a refreshing tipple.
To the right, The Terrace is exactly that, an outdoor area (yes you can still go there if it’s raining) with big white umbrellas, stunning stone high tables and striped seating yep, all overlooking the ocean and with the Beach Bar at your back.
Each section boasts its own unique vibe but they all come together to create a vintage look that is also modern and sophisticated but relaxed and understated and pretty much pure perfection if you ask us. Big love.
Food-wise The Tropic is where you want to be for an à la carte, Mediterranean style feast with standouts like the Seafood Platter, Giant Octopus and Wood Fired Pig Doughnut (just try it) the absolute must-trys. In terms of cocktails, The Tropic are the masters of creative concoctions and we recommend The Palms and The Pineapple Plantation.
At The Terrace, you’ll indulge in more of a casual eating situation with burgers, wood-fired pizzas, nachos, fish and chips and the like the name of the game. Perfect for a feast after a day of salt water and sunshine, washed down with an icy cold beer of course. Oh and you can also get to The Terrace via a set of stairs on the Burleigh Hill side of the building so that’s useful if you can’t wait a second longer for said feast and icy cold beer. That’ll be us.
So there you have it, Burleigh Pavilion has graced us with its’ presence and we are absolutely here for it.
Long live summer on the Gold Coast, what a time to be alive.
The Tropic is taking bookings now so get on in there.
LOCATION: Goodwin Tce, Burleigh Heads (you won’t miss it)
HOURS: 12pm to 12am daily
Words and photos by Kirra Smith