Tuesday, August 30, 2005

the burning question

The burning question - were The Beatles less universally adored by the masses in Australia in 1964 than everyone thinks - continues apace, pushing John Brogden's suicide attempt off the front page of this blog.

This is from Oz no. 9 May 1964 p. 9. In the July issue on p. 5, an apparently entirely serious interview called 'The Beatles and Agnosticism', the assertion that the Beatles' Sydney concert had 3,000 unsold seats is repeated by an interviewer.

It is interesting in itself that Oz was so down on The Beatles because of course later in life both R. Neville and M. Sharp were slobbering over 'em, particularly Lennon. But of course they were seen by many in the early to mid 60s as just another insane teen fetish constructed by the media to distract kids from the real issues (which judging by other pages of Oz from this time is: why don't nuns go topless).

Sunday, August 28, 2005

sydney scene

While we were staying at Annabel's I kept looking out the window into the yard next to the one next door to hers (which you can see more easily than the one next to hers) and there was a small white dog in it just doing nothing. Just sitting and looking off to the right, or whatever. On Sunday morning it was joined by a green parrot. The parrot was a deliberate introduction because its cage was also there, for a while. The other strange thing was a guy pasting some kind of solution all over a big board. Anyway, I tried to take a picture of this scenario but this is the best I could do with the mobile phone. The small white item to the left of the white square is the dog. The bottom third of the image is Annabel's bathroom window ledge.

for fuckin lease

There is a sign outside Annabel's block of flats which says so much with so few words. Sydney's pretty iconoclastic at the best of times so I'm not surprised that Ray White real estate has gone with this approach but I imagine it's a hectic world, Sydney real estate, and they need to get attention any way they can. Mind you Jeff Fuckin' Rocks didn't have the effect Jeff wanted.

swell party

Pic shows Annabel and Mia as we were walking down Liberty Street en route to Annabel's birthday party in Sydney yesterday evening. Behind them was a boy on a bicycle who found it hilarious to refer to his bicycle as his sausage. See I leave Sydney for a few years and the general tenor goes way down.

The party had its ups and downs. Most definitely the down for me was the part where I gave a truly terrible 'speech' in Annabel's honour. In my memory it was actually totally bereft of content, I am not sure what I said (and don't want to be reminded). It didn't help that I came on after various others who were bound to blow me off the stage, notably (but by no means exclusively) Jim Betts who had prepared a poem which was one of the funniest things I'd heard in some time. My role was to sum up but I was too drunk and panic-stricken to do even that. Anyway, I'm not going to wallow, and it's not like I expected my 'speech' to be any good; I had absolutely no idea what I was going to say, and that is probably one reason why I was unable to say anything (others later informed me that it was horrendous, so it's not just me). Luckily for my reputation Annabel did a proper summing up saying very kindly that meeting Michelle and, a year or so later, me had saved her from marrying a paedophile judge and living in Castlecrag. Later quizzing revealed she had no particular paedophile judge in mind.

I hope my problem is that I can't sum people up. Especially someone as important to me as Annabel. Anyway, I am not going to give the speech here. It was never conceived. However admittedly that would have been a good way to start. I know I'm not alone in this but I don't find alcohol conducive to great energetic flights of fancy. Some people do. It really stops me being creative. I can't type if I'm drunk and I can't play drums even after one beer. Anyway, I'm not complaining. Much.

Otherwise, it mostly went pretty well. It was at Alice's house which is a staggeringly good-looking place and there was a lot of food and conversation. We were there from 6 or was it 7? till 4 and so I really should remember more but the things I do remember are not for public repeating (not that they're scandalous or anything but you know...) Oh, I did hear that the INXS Rock Star show is outrageously terrible (as indeed are INXS these days) but nevertheless compelling. I had a brief discussion about whether Howard would ever redeem himself in retirement like Fraser ostensibly has (the answer is no; I finished reading God Under Howard on the way up on the plane so I was full of bile over his underhand tactics but I was unable really to express it). Mia and I were mainly drinking vodka, and I guess I did get pretty drunk because I went for a short walk with Stephen and about 3 am and when we got back I couldn't make any sense of the layout of the backyard, where I'd been for the previous 6 hours or so. By that time I hadn't had any alcohol for a couple of hours.

We stayed at Annabel's sumptuous flat, about which more later.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

got in early

I managed to see a curious natural phenomenon this morning - the very beginnings of the daily congestion where at the majestic meeting of the Calder and Tullamarine Freeways - whereas you're supposed to slow down to 75km to make that turn, we all had to slow to about 60 to negotiate the junction. It was a fascinating, and somewhat mystical, event and it happens every weekday for reasons still unknown.

Last night I watched Afterlife, a British psychic thriller which I actually feel is pretty much trash dressed up as class but I kind of enjoy it anyway. There's a welsh police show on late at night on Channel 7 on Tuesdays which Chrissie G wouldn't stop talking about last weekend so I taped that too.

I was able to borrow a bound volume of various issues of Oz from the library at Melbourne Uni yesterday. Very interesting material. They were really down on the Beatles, which I respect, and published information that there was severe underattendance at the Beatles' Sydney concert. If this is so, it's certainly not part of the Beatles-in-Australia myth, and I find it very interesting. But in fact I can't believe it was so.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


I was intrigued by the prospect of seeing Catwoman solely because Adrian Martin thought it was brilliant and the entire remaining population of the world hated it. Not having Martin's review to hand (except the short extract blurbed on the dvd box) I didn't really make full use of my Catwoman experience, in fact I was drawing for most of the time I was watching it (yes, I am still on that 'graphic novel' - how I hate that term - 2 hours of Catwoman earned me three frames, I spent an hour or so on a restaurant scene but it doesn't look it).

Anyway on its own terms it's a pretty straightforward, uninteresing piece of work. It's sad that the last few minutes are so set up for a sequel, which plainly would never happen even if all the actors and filmmakers in the world died except for the ones that worked on Catwoman. Well, maybe then, but only then.

Monday, August 22, 2005

sons of beaches

Sons of Beaches was the third Australian Crawl album. James Reyne was made to sing in a way that meant you could decipher every third and fourth word, rather than just every second one. I listened to a bit of it on the way to work this morning and wasn't that knocked out by it. Mind you, it took me a while to get into Sirocco, and I appreciate your being so patient with me on that one.

Yesterday I washed Millie and Charlie. Millie used to get very excited about being washed but now she just sits there and lets it happen - clearly enjoying herself very much. However, she took a long time to dry. Charlie is easy to dry. They stayed more or less clean for a while though I noticed Charlie had mud splashes on her chest this morning.

I borrowed A. A. Holman's Memoirs of a Premier's Wife from the library. Sure to be saucy.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

not an atypical saturday

The dogs hadn't been for a walk for a few days, so we went round the lake. Actually we went round the creek, as the creek and lake are divided by a small stretch of land (I will not call it an isthmus) and we crossed the creek and walked the track to the end of the lake and then came back. There are literally tonnes of ducks in both creek and lake. You can tell from the pictures that Millie and Charlie haven't been out in the daytime much, they look like goths. Charlie has very pronounced bags, kind of Marilyn Manson-ish; Millie is I think a little more Bowie. They had a prancey kind of tussle too which I was glad to capture for edification of my billions of readers.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

oh for the olden days

I just pitched another book over the phone. Admittedly in this case they came to me. A history of a discrete planned beachside suburb of the 1920s. But I already have a bunch of unwritten books hanging around me and they are starting to stink. Then I sat down and wrote out my pitch and probably radically underestimated how long it would take. So I added a month. It still didn't seem enough. So I wrote this is not an official quote and put it in italics and put an exclamation mark at the end and it seemed authoritative enough.

Oh for the olden days when people just wrote books all the time and no-one said, you know publishing is in decline with parrallel importing and nobody reads from pages anymore. Instead they said like your book is the talk of the town and everyone thinks you're wondrous. I miss the 90s.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

student exhibition

Last night there was an exhibition opening at the student gallery at VCA Mia had two large pictures in it they were both above doorways. You can't actually see the detail in this pic but it looked amazing close up. Part of the Gowanbrae series. The painting on the far wall with the person in front of it is A. Grey's Abstract View. The video is about ritually destroying some pottery. After the opening we went to Misty, a bar on Hosier Lane.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

aussie crawl update re my feelings regarding

I listened to Sirocco a couple of times yesterday while on the Geelong road and really started to enjoy it, particularly the boofy drum sound (programmed?). There is a line in one song that makes me want to spew: 'Unlike Chrissie she's no pretender'. There's another line about NME. How cool were these guys! (Answer: not a bit). It's their second album. I like 'Oh No Not You Again' the best, I note that it's the only one of the three singles from the album that didn't chart. Produced by Peter Dawkins, the album was named after Erroll Flynn's yacht and made number one in the charts in July 1981.

Monday, August 15, 2005

bernie briquette

He often captured my imagination as a child, I saw him on a wall in Fawkner yesterday. Still looking good.


Michelle Cannane gave me Starstruck for my birthday and Mia and I watched it last night. What a great film. I particularly loved the part where Angus and the Wombats do the big musical number in the corridors of the tv studio (to a Bill Miller song!) - I think this is the first time a song is sung in the film that's not in a performance situation (though Jo Kennedy never uses a microphone whatever her mode, so there's an established unreality already) - but when they do their dancing sometimes things get in the way, so you can't see all of what they're doing, and you end up thinking: (1) they are just doing this for themselves (2) things aren't always easy and straightforward. I like things that make me think (2). It's a real wake up call for me.

Mental as Anything are supposed to be in it but I didn't notice them at all. Where were they?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

a nice night's entertainment

Ashtray Boy, Muddy Spurs and Flywheel last night. The official debut of myself and Nicole in Ashtray Boy. I think I played better than I had hoped to, although there were problems with not being able to hear other instruments on stage (on the most difficult song of all, all I could hear was white noise and Randall's vocals - bizarre). But no-one amongst the general public was unhappy (or at least those who were kept it to themselves). People were very complimentary about Nicole's contribution, which (I agree) give the songs an extra je ne sais quoi. Actually I do sais quoi. Extra trombone and farfisa. Flywheel did an old Gavin Butler song 'King of Lilliput' and an old Reguiero-McKelvie/Gorman number 'Out of Control' as sung by Greg Wadley, with a whole lot of their usual great tunes. The Muddy Spurs were as usual a lot of fun.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

architecture in helsinki

Last night Mia and I went to have dinner with Shane and Olivia in the course of the week-long farewell that seems to have recently kicked off, though if there was a launch for it we weren't invited. We went to Mexicali Rose in Swan St and it was really good, huge stuff and and I had two mexican bloody marys which I think just means they use tequila instead of tomato juice and tequila instead of lemon juice. Shane had a long story about the weirdest idea of Lewis and Clark going to Portland to make salt out of water, or was it water out of salt - either way it was a process I was unaware of but find fascinating. Portland is about an hour's drive west of Port Fairy.

Anyway S&O were going to the Architecture in Helsinki show at the Corner and we weren't because basically we are skint at least until next Wednesday and probably beyond. And so as we went towards Richmond Station we ran into Monica who was en route to AIH as Guy's plus one, and we told her we weren't going, but would have liked to. By chance and her kindness and consideration for others, she ran into Kellie as soon as she go there and told her she had seen us and Kellie called me on my mobile as we were travelling by train between Richmond and Flinders St. And said she'd put us on the door. Which was exceptionally nice of her too I feel. I had a short talk with her before they started playing and told her how pleased I was for their massive success, which in this case is really true (why 'in this case'? It's not like I know heaps of people who have gone on to become massively successful, or even indie successful... anyway, I'm greatly impressed by AIH's ability and the hard work they put into making their shows shows rather than grim-faced badly dressed turkeys staring out above the heads of the three paying customers and singing songs of woe. And they sound great and have great songs. That's really enough to congratulate someone heartily - but more amazing, they have actually found an audience in various parts of the western world). The first time I saw AIH, Mia occasionally reminds me, I didn't like them at all and was quite vocal about it (not abusive). But I have since come to regard them highly.

The show was great although I couldn't actually see much. However from the pics you can tell that it was a great show. There was someone not far in front of me with a head very much like a freak pineapple. You know how sometimes you just wish people had never been born? I felt like that about her, or at least that she had been born with a head I could look through (or had chosen a hairstyle people could look through. This would not have looked more ridiculous than what she had).

We walked into the city and got the nightbus home. The nightbus gets a bad rap but it's great - it only took 30 minutes to get to the end of our street and it goes a really interesting way (if you like Niddrie - who doesn't?)

Shane has never heard the Young Marble Giants.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

get scum like me off the streets

When I kill someone I will have half an hour to establish an alibi via Blogger, as it consistently insists it's half an hour earlier than it is. 'I couldn't have killed old man Downer' I will snort, slackly, 'though he sure lived up to his name - we all wanted him dead in the compound. But look - I was posting to my blog at exactly the time that the person who matched my description stabbed him in the eye with an icicle. ' The posting will be called 'Life sux'.

My story will check out.

As I leave the prison cell I will make a comic remark about the 'i' part of 'icicle' and the fact that it sounds the same as 'eye', but I haven't quite figured that out yet (it also contains the word 'sick'). They will arrest manic amphetamine user street musician Jon Michell instead.

Later, I will be caught when some detective's nerdy kid complains that Blogger makes everyone half an hour sooner than they really are. As they strap me into the electric chair a detective will make a pun using the word 'blog' - you know, 'my car got caught in a blog', or 'throw another blog on the fire', or whatever dude.

hard time killing floor

I am looking at a book about the South Australian rock industry called SA Great It's Our Music and on page 19 there is a blues outfit called Hard Time Killing Floor. Their drummer looks a bit like Richard Clapton and he has two kick drums, one with Hard Time written on it and the other with Killing Floor written on it. John Swan says on page 174 that Hard Time Killing Floor's 'harp player's' playing 'will never go outside my heart.'

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

every day is sorry day

I have noticed in the last year or so people (younger people particularly) saying sorry to me a lot, if they walk in front of me or hold me up or whatever. Is it because I have started finally to look old? And the young have started finally to respect old people? Surely not. Maybe I flounce about like I own the place, so it's really my aggressive nature that people are responding to. If so, why don't I get more punches in the face?

Speaking of sorry someone should say sorry for Parkville Gardens, which I accidentally drove past this afternoon. Only a few years ago we were walking dogs through this place - it was a mental health facility that closed in around 1999 - and space was one thing it had plenty of. Now it is unbelievably densely packed with ugly two-storey houses. Picture shows site from north-east corner, so you can also see the Kensington housing commission high rise and the notorious cheese stick just for added atmos. Publishing pictures of it is probably an offense under international law anyway as our invaluable Commonwealth athletes are going to be living there next year praise god.

Monday, August 08, 2005

other blogs and aussie crawl and chis(el)

Scientists one day will certainly declare me the most interesting person of my kind. On the rare occasions I click on the things I apparently like in my profile I get a list of other people who apparently like these things too, and they are also (1) staggeringly boring (2) bible bashers and (3) only posted once on their blog, in 2003. I suppose I should take heart from this palaver. I might as well, what else could I take from it?

The two blogs I regularly enjoy are booker street and tooly bird. I have absolutely no idea who these people are but by gum they seem decent.

All other blogs are stupid as far as I can tell. Also it's an ugly word.

Speaking of ugly I have been listening to a bit of Aussie Crawl and Chis in the car. AC singles were really good - at present I have Sons of Beaches on high rotation and 'Downhearted' is a great song - but the band are just arses. They totally overplay everything (no wonder 'Reckless' was such a breath of fresh air, it doesn't have 25 bad guitar solos going at once) and the songs have no dynamics. Also, James Reyne's affectedness starts to sound really perverse after a while. Chis pretty much suck. The album I have in the car is Circus Animals. It has 'When the War is Over' (I used to work with someone who sang this at the top of his voice often) and 'You Got Nothing I Want', another piece of a-grade misogyny masquerading as working class (sacrilege! the working class have never been misogynistic).

it's going to be a weary day

I am already starting on the wrong foot having had only five hours' sleep. I was working on today's lecture last night while watching Jacob's Ladder (which I saw when it came out) with the other eye. The lecture is a comparison of indigenous people's experience of settler societies in Canada, NZ and Australia. Luckily I found an essay I wrote as an undergraduate ten years ago where I cover a lot of these topics very well. Me at 30 is my own research assistant. The essay was one of the few that got an HD.

enormous article on jim betts in today's age

Apparently, he comes from Reading originally.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

a very judy weekend

Judy came to stay this weekend when Jane and other Judy went to Canberra. She is blind, deaf but has not let this stop her intransigence in most things. Charlie would not stop barking at her on Friday night. Last night, aside from a moment at about 1:30 when all three dogs started growling spontaneously, there was relative peace. I think one of the things that incites Charlie is Judy's white, blank eyes - she doesn't know what she's looking at so she probably comes across quite provocative. Not that Charlie needs that much incentive to work up a lather. Picture shows Charlie very 'on' in the awareness that Judy is just behind her ready to strike any moment.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

went for a walk

Around what I call in my mind, but would never confess to anyone, anyone, the 'loop' because it involves walking along Yuroke Creek to the reserve with the pylons and ending up in roughly the same place after walking roughly in a loop. I saw no-one. Well, I saw two people on bicycles, numerous times because they were just meandering around, and I saw some kids playing with a surely illegal motorised vehicle. Otherwise, no-one. I suppose I would be pissed off if the park was full of people, as it is I am pissed off that they are presumably sitting around in their houses enjoying home entertainment centres and plasma screens, whatever they are.

Friday, August 05, 2005

jumpers and sunbury

I was boasting to Mia the other day that while she was away I had washed ALL THE JUMPERS. This morning as she was getting ready to go to work (and I was getting ready to sleep another hour) she challenged me to show her where they were. There were none. I had washed ALL THE JUMPERS then apparently worn ALL THE JUMPERS and they were back in the bathroom basket. Cue canned laughter or more appropriately 'wah-woh' trumpet.

This afternoon I took my mother and Judy Hogg to the airport and afterwards saw a sign that said, Sunbury. Sunbury is the other real conurbation in the City of Hume and I don't remember ever going there. It is only 18 km away. So I drove there just at 2 o'clock, and just on 3 o'clock I was driving back, thinking, well, I could have done a lot of things in that hour, but at least now I know. Admittedly while in Sunbury I did achieve the major goal of the day (other than taking Jane and Judy to the airport) which was to buy a pumpkin.

Whew! Achievement. Feels so fine.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


the building is, I think, actually still there. But the dome part is gone.

Monday, August 01, 2005

mia is back in 6 hours 15 mins

Of course that's when she touches down, no doubt there will be hours spent while she goes through customs etc. I don't mind, I'll just drop into the Astroject space centre for a while. I hope it's open that time of the morning. And DON'T tell me it closed in 1972. I go there all the time dude. I've got a special key.