Tuesday, November 29, 2005

do i have a complex?

Ever since my brother and sister discovered they could get a reaction out of me by swooshing jelly in their mouths, I have been aware of a certain middle-class squeamishness in my otherwise very earthy and centred personality when it comes to mouth noises and eating, or rather, failing to eat. I am not squeamish about vomit, particularly, though I can't say I'm a fan. I am not even that squeamish about spit, although I don't love that either. What freaks me out is (1) excessive slurpy eating noises and (2) food on the face, particularly when promoted as evidence of deliciousness. (1) came home to me yesterday when I was spending what looks like it's going to be a lo-o-o-o-o-ong time reading microfilm in the library; a woman who has also been there for the last two days really went to town on an apple (in the library, that is, if you please) and I wanted to scream and kill her. I could not imagine worse hell than sitting there having to listen to this apple being masticated and sucked down her horrible waste-disposal gullet. I guess this is a phobia. Even writing it down I can't really remember how bad it was, I just know it was. Of course spending a lot of time with microfilm does put you into a bit of a trance.

(2) comes up on tv a lot. The Dolmio grin, for instance, which is to say, this is a spaghetti sauce out of a jar that you will enjoy so much you will pour it in a trough and stick your head in. More recently there's been some milk flavouring that explores all the possibilities of how you might form shapes on your face with it. I want to die and be sick at the same time. Mia will attest, I have to leave the room when this ad comes on television. There's another one that's all about how frothy some stupid instant coffee is so you get it all over your face.

The true tragedy of my existence is that I can't really explain to you how repulsed I am by these things in the way that would best explain it - by coming up with some similarly disgusting hypotheticals which I know you would find disgusting and then saying 'that's how I feel about food-on-the-face advertising'. Because you would just think I was so foul for bringing up the comparison concepts. Damn it!

Been rereading Clinton Walker's book on Bon Scott. Probably my third time. I really like the book, though I was never that much of an AC/DC fan. I have a couple of their albums, and they're OK. I always liked the singles. This time around I noticed that Clinton seems to be hinting at a lot of things, he's being simultaneously diplomatic and veiled, I kind of admire it but I'll have to ask him sometime outright about these things. I'm not going to say what they are because (1) they might be common knowledge, in which case I'd seem dumb (2) they might not be true, in which case I'll seem dumb.

I've also been reading David Lodge, Peter Mathers, Renee Geyer and Germaine Greer. Yep, the big four.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

banyule bloggers

This is one of the most consistently funny blogs - who am I kidding, it is by far the most hilarious blog I have seen in my short and sad life. It's not just hilarious either it's also very interesting in all kinds of ways but done with a very intelligent humour that I wish I had the nous for. http://banyulebloggers.blogspot.com/
It reminds me of a number of great things that have passed by me in my long and interesting existence. For instance some (by no means all) of the kids who used to write me letters when I was a DJ on RRR, and really a kid myself. A British comic called The Kilt - I've still got that somewhere, I wonder where it is? - which was all done with barbie dolls and a picture of a dog's head, on a stick, called 'Arsa'. That still makes me laugh, and I still don't understand it, it was all the private humour of two girls on the dole in some shitty town. That's a bit different but reminds me of the same kind of closed but fascinating universe. So, Banyule Bloggers is highly recommended. Phew, now I know what to write about in the next Big Issue.

i can't think of anything to write as a heading except 'this is about daddy cool who we saw last night'

I even took a photo. I know how terrible it is, you should have seen the ones I discarded. Mia took some good ones I think.
It just occurred to me that in the Daddy Cool DVD Ed Nimmervoll says how peculiar it was in the era of Johnny Farnham etc that here was Ross Wilson a hippie with a baby. Well, that occurred to me when I watched the DVD last week. But it occurred to me that Ross Wilson must have been the cool daddy in question. They played last night at the Hard Rock Cafe and Gary Young is such a great drummer. They were all really good actually. They must have done about six songs, just to lauch the DVD. Presumably they haven't really got back together, so maybe this will be the last thing they do ever. There were a lot of busty women in their fifties there with plunging necklines and a lot of old men with grey stubble on their heads. A guy had a Robert Pearce RRR t-shirt I used to have, from about 1985 or earlier I suppose. I only really appreciate Robert Pearce now. Also, Greg Macainsh was there - I thought, how strange, here is someone who queued up to buy the first Daddy Cool single the day it came out, in 1971 or whenever, and now he's watching them play. And of course I only know that because he's immensely famous himself. And Pat Wilson was there too. She is in the 1971 film on the DVD, doing a song with Rock Granite and the Profiles, and it and she are both amazing. I am rather keen on Pat Wilson it has to be said. She comes out pretty amazing in that Rock Granite clip.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

cleaned the shower

Actually I shouldn't put that in the past tense as I still have to do the sliding door, which is rank and teeming with toxic scum. But I went over the shower with a hard bristle brush and plenty of Gumption and it felt pretty good to do it.

'Thats me kid' is on the bus stop outside the Jacana primary school, and represents to me the epitome of Jacana humour - understated, wry and no dicks drawn on (yet). Speaking of which I had a long discussion with Mia about the graffiti on the fences facing the park near the Rotary barbecue that says 'Meadow Heights Suck Dick'. I believe that the writer has written 'suck' not 'sucks' because s/he is trying to agree with a plural (Heights). Mia says that there is an implied [the people of] Meadow Heights' . Either way it's troublesome.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

one of those things I love about australia

I saw this over the intersection from Greg's house when I was there last week. It's funny whether it's meant to be funny or not. That's one of the things I love about Australia. If you can't read the sign it says 'chair for sale'.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

more scenes from the campus over the creek

It is slowly but surely being demolished, but this was a delightful place. The way you'd think a university campus ought to be - no students, no staff (well, the occasional grim-faced trudger who might have been staff, you never really knew). I can't remember what this area used to be - some other kind of teaching facility - but plainly it did once have a more vibrant existence, there is even a strange piece of smoked glass at the foot of a stairwell with 'cafeteria' written on it, although very obviously it's not a cafeteria, it's a stairwell. I suppose I should go up those stairs sometime. None of this will be here much longer. The covered walkway, for instance, now takes you to chicken wire surrounding an impressive building site.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

the most amazing toilet on earth

Where I work most of the time during the year is comprised of two campuses, divided by a creek. One side has been a bit of a poor relation in the past, though much to everyone's great relief I am sure, there's been an amazing amount of building going on there in the last few months, huge concrete structures etc replacing the demure 1 and 2-storey brick buildings. Basically the problem is the local council won't let the university build a road bridge over the creek between the two campuses (and nor should they). This has left the other side a bit of a backwater. Anyway, I am not entirely sure what the situation is now but I do know that there is a hell of a lot of building over the other side, which is mainly occupied by admin people and one or two weird schools like 'dance'. What they do have over there, however, though how long it will last with all this building going on is anyone's guess, is the most amazing men's toilet. It's staggeringly civillised, with ornaments, books, pictures, etc and though old, concretey and smelly (in a water-on-concrete way) it's very clean, too. I can't really do it pictorial justice but this might give you an idea. The books are airport novels, Laurence Durrell, one book on diseases of the urinary tract and another on viruses. I have never seen anyone in there and of course hope I never do.

the single most exciting thing in charlie's life

... is when she is on the higher level of the backyard and she sees a person in the lower part. Mia says this is because it is a challenge to her understanding of the natural order of things; as she is the lowest in the pecking order, she should always be the closest to the ground. Instead she is practically at head level with a person. I suppose it has Tower of Babel ramifications for her. Last time I saw her up there she ran towards me and licked my eye very passionately.

by the time we got to the carlton gardens we were 210 000 strong

Well, you may have seen (you certainly have access to) aerial pictures that capture the sensationally epic nature of yesterday's Day of Action march... this was how it looked if you were in the middle of it. I got to Fed Square just after 8.30 am (the rally was advertised to start at 9) so I got all the speeches, most of which were great - Combet in particular although Bracksy was very rousing. Chris Haywood, Tim Ferguson, Deborah Conway - you sort of wonder why they were there, in one sense, but in another I suppose they had a right. If not a duty. We saw a pre-recorded John Clarke and Bryan Dawe piece that was immensely strident. It was funny how we got to see a bit of anti-IR advertising on the big screen that showed a number of people who'd be adversely affected by the IR changes in their home environments, then suddenly there they were, on stage - in both cases we saw it all on the big screen, but for some reason their presence made a huge difference, 'oh my god it's those people I just saw on the big screen two minutes ago... and they're on the big screen!'

The march was a sedate affair, very quiet, thank god no John Lennon songs although someone did try to start a 'Power to the People' early on.

However what it was overall was a massively impressive enterprise. By the time we got to Carlton Gardens people were saying 245 000 but this has apparently now been cut back to 210 000. I am disgusted by the people that didn't show up - or perhaps I am disgusted by the fact that they didn't feel they could, because they might lose their jobs - I bet a lot are regretting it now. Of course there wasn't one person there who voted for Howard (actually I did hear a woman interviewed at the rally on the radio last night claiming that she had, but 'now I've lost the plot' - so maybe one did). But the mere fact that many people are sufficiently motivated to march is, I feel, marvellous. Biggest activist rally in Melbourne's history (I don't know how it would rate in terms of head of population). A classic.

Monday, November 14, 2005

if it's going to rain, just let it rain for god's sake

I mean, whoever controls these things... we've had this stupid hot day all day and then rain clouds and then three (I counted) drops of rain, which let's face it might have been bird drool, and then nothing. So aggravating.

On Saturday we went to Gellibrand Hill, which I had actually always thought was a Mount, not because it's particularly grand or anything, but some mounts are tiny, anyway, it's not it's a hill. It's about 5 minutes' drive from our house and has some fancy looking aircraft control stuff on top of it, but also some snazzy rocks and a ruin, of an 1851 homestead. It's only been a ruin since 1965 when it passed into the hands of private developers who must have been very upset when it burnt down. Anyway, it's great up there, I recommend it. It's only about five minutes from here.

The next thing I want to do is follow Moonee Ponds Creek to its source. It looks like it'd be about an hour and a half's walk. I was told last year that it springs forth from a rubbish tip, but looking at the map I think that's actually a tributary - the real creek just seems to pop out of the ground. I wonder how the people at Melways arrive at that decision. I wonder if it really does come out of the ground, that would be way cool, or whether it sort of comes together in a marshy terrain. I can't wait to find out. Later.

Went to Shane's birthday barbecue on Saturday, it had everything: frisbee injuries, salad with pine nuts, awkward silences. Shane took his trousers off and ran twice clock-wise, twice anti-clockwise round the oval, and then later claimed not to remember.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

went to Greenvale reservoir

Last night Mia and I went out to briefly celebrate her last real day at VCA, and we went to Di Caprio's, a restaurant over the car park at Tullamarine from the restaurant I always thought was called Di Caprio's but it is actually called Fieste. That's where they make you wait near the toilets and the Elvis pictures (the two most revolting things in the establishment) if you want a takeaway pizza. Di Caprio's, like most of the restaurants in that strip, is absolutely colossal; it must seat 50 000, alright, a thousand. Alright, five hundred, I don't know. Anyway we went there and I had risotto and two bottles of mineral water (I know, two! Grown up) then we went for a scenic drive in the country, or the illusion of the country created by the aircraft noise zone to our immediate north, and we went to the Greenvale Reservoir, which is a pretty incredible place, it has an extinct volcano feel and there is a suburb (Greenvale, for all I know) on its northern shore, although while they are on the shore of this rather extraordinary body of water, they have no access to it, of course, lest they render it unclean. We stayed in the Reservoir park too long and got locked in but fortunately there's an after hours exit. Then we came back and watched the Martin Scorcese Bob Dylan documentary. Having read Chronicles I was not too shocked by a lot of what was there; I think some stories you can kind of predict by now anyway (and I am sure I am not alone in feeling that I know so much about American pop culture history of the 60s that I'm almost a voyeur into that time). Dylan looks so weird these days - when you see his fresh-faced version in the early 60s you can't imagine how he ended up looking like that old gypsy woman, though I guess we all do eventually.

Judy still has her cough but she also seems to have become quite philosophical as well.

I have been listening to Oliver Mann Sings. What an extraordinary record. I accept that some people have the opinion that these days are kind of like the low ebb of music comparable to the mid-1970s - and like a lot of old people I reckon that without the boundaries that used to exist, therefore nothing to kick against, there is probably less outrageously good music being made than there was in, say, the late 70s/very early 80s. But on the other hand, a lot of people seem to be revelling in the chance to do absolutely anything. Oliver Mann is an extraordinary person, judging by this record. I think along with Mum Smokes it might be my pick of the year (thus far) in the category of Incredibly good debut.

a little sleeping angel

Monday, November 07, 2005

Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)

Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) is quite a curiosity, isn't it. I have come into the great riches of the complete box set - 21 hours of television, I am not sure how many episodes, let's just say A LOT. I have watched the first two 'eps' and part of one of the commentaries, with Annette Andre who played Jean Hopkirk. Someone is kind of interviewing her and she keeps saying 'I don't really know', or 'I don't remember', or 'Oh yes, he was a really nice man'. Well why would she remember, it was 35 years ago or more. They are all pretty good actors though, putting on quite a music-hall romp really, without music but with slapstick and the whole silliness of Randall always talking to Hopkirk while other people are in the room who, of course, can't see or hear him. 'Will you be quiet!' 'I didn't say anything' 'Um, er... see you later' etc. It reminds me a bit of Mr. Ed and Wilbur's relationship, not that fulfilling, though obviously Hopkirk is a better detective as a ghost than he was as a live human. I imagine that by the end of the series Randall is a millionaire, if not they should go to a casino and Hopkirk can just tell Randall what's on people's cards. I'd do that for a friend if I was a ghost.


Golden Circle making lemonade!? I know, it's crazy isn't it. But also crazy is the fact that here, only twenty minutes away from the famous Beverage Drive (I really should go and hang around at the gates or something like a groupie) the delightful Tarax brand of drinks are still manufactured, including the never-bettered Black Label. However, you can't buy Tarax drinks at our local Safeway, only Golden Circle lemonade, and the hideous Schweppes range of, ugh, lolly water. No wonder there's so much pain, suffering, war on terror, etc in the world.

Mind you the GC brand is alright I have almost but not quite forgiven them for the yellow triangle advertisements in the 80s.

spiderbait show

I got freebies to the Spiderbait show but Mia was out of VCA by 6 so we had to fill in some time particularly if we wanted to avoid the Spazzys so we had dinner at that excellent Vietnamese restaurant in Lygon St then a glass of wine at Jimmy Watson's then went to see Little Fish, which was a terriffic film frankly, and then we took the tram to Flinders Street and the Forum was closed - we'd missed everything.

I am planning on trying for freebies to Stevie Nicks later in the month and hopefully we can replicate this type of scenario.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

mia's birthday

Today and I got her an mp3 player which does practically everything any recording device ever did except be smaller than a matchbox. We now have 2, 431 recording devices (a figure obviously fake for a number of reasons but of course in manufacturing it I only used my left hand - couldn't be bothered getting righty involved in such a flimsy fraud he's too important).

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

that'll be me one day, and you

Judy has this pathetic old dog's cough that will not go away. She breaks out in it every couple of hours. It is rather revolting and very irritating but how can you get angry about it? The only really annoying thing is when she scratches herself aggressively at the same time. It's kind of like 'well, I'm awake with this coughing thing, I may as well make the most of it'. She sleeps about 23 hours a day.

I am intrigued by her vision. Even though she is clearly almost completely blind, she also obviously has quite good spatial perception. I don't know if she's got peripheral vision or a very very good memory. She does have a good memory, I know that from past instances (I have long thought it would be very interesting to take her to Sydney, where she hasn't been for ten years, and see if she still has her old prejudices against certain places - in particular, certain vets - but of course there's no chance of doing that now).

She smells awful, like some kind of rotten liniment. But apart from the silvery eyes she looks terriffic, and her personality is absolutely serene - she is in many respects the charming dog I was hoping for when I originally got her, with no violent outbursts or wilful ways. However, she stinks and can't go anywhere and makes this revolting coughing noise. I hope people are as nice to me as I am to her when I'm at her stage of life.

Speaking of people, and stages of life, and niceness my sister Nicola had her baby on Saturday. I heard this information third hand from someone at the party on the weekend and was quite pissed off that Nicola hadn't told me about it. So I took a rather offhand view of the whole thing. Last night I missed a phone call on my mobile and listened to my messages, and discovered there was one from Nicola on Saturday to tell me about it. Now I feel awful but at least I have Telstra to blame. Oh who am I kidding. I'm off to a bad start with this kid, and the other two nieces and nephew. I'll just try and catch the next one. Due December.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

a personal best

I'm already sick of hot weather.

first really hot day of late 05

I don't actually mind the first few hot days, they have a certain novelty about them, in a few weeks I will totally deny having written this sentence, as the relentlessness of summer really gets to me after a while. I always take it personally. It is particularly irritating to me that it seems every time I go to the Northern Hemisphere I end up in some kind of heatwave, but ditto Tasmania for that matter.

We have Judy staying with us while Jane is overseas in Singapore and NY. She has a bad cough which could be anything, thought the vet has apparently said kennel cough, notwithstanding J. hasn't been near a kennel in her life. She must be about 14 now and still has a bit of life in her but none of the piss and vinegar of the old days. I take her outside for toily about every 4 hours and today she got a bit carried away in the sunshine on the concrete, lay down and looked almost content. Then I got bored and brought her inside and read The New Yorker, not aloud, but she's deaf anyway and pretty blind.