Tuesday, August 29, 2006

foul yet compelling

There is something about the clock at Melbourne Central that really intrigues me. The intriguingness is nothing to do with the fact that it's repulsively banal - unless it is. I mean, it is about as stupid as the Cat and Fiddle in Hobart, which was probably the idea.

For the uninitiated/forgetful: there is a large fob watch above the main vestibule (I am not sure what a vestibule is but it seems appropriate - you could also call it a space) of this notorious shopping centre which is not, like all things called 'central', central to Melbourne though it is in Melbourne. Every hour, the bottom part of the fob watch gently falls out to reveal some pipers a la Tove Jansson's Toffle or that other more ruggedly sexual Jansson feller whose name eludes me, playing trumpets alongside some singing cockatoos. The tune is 'Waltzing Matilda'.

I can't help but look. Many others feel the same (children aren't that interested).

Monday, August 28, 2006

saturday of crap; sunday of OK

Friday night we went out to celebrate Ali's 26th birthday at a Jamaican restaurant in yep, you didn't guess it, Punt Road South Yarra, and I drank too much (1) daiquaris beforehand, (2) red wine during, (3) whiskey after. The next day I was of course completely written off. Ridiculous. I did not feel even slightly bearable until about 5 pm. I went and got some videos. We watched Match Point (Crime and Misdemeanours with younger English people and a vague tennis theme) and the Wallace and Gromit film (ditto but no tennis theme).

The next day was to be the first rehearsal for the Pip Proud support to Aerial Pink at the Corner or wherever. I spoke to Pip in the morning and he sounded a bit grim but up for it, but his bravery was not enough as one of the people where he lives called about an hour later and said he was too ill. So Marney, Karl, Mia and I assembled anyway to try and make some music for him, which we did, about six tunes. I played bass on one song which I haven't done since 1988 and it was as one might expect. Then we watched Friday's Neighbours and I went to bed and couldn't sleep despite reading three episodes of the not-terribly-funny Fearless Fosdick.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

kerryn hughes' exhibition

It was really good.

new house

I don't know if you know but I have pretty much the smartest spouse on the planet. She created such a radical scape for our kitchen I practically thought it was a whole new house. It looks like a new house. If you have ever been to our house, I'm telling you you wouldn't recognise it. Last weekend, tired understandably of my offhand comments about things I might one day do, she pulled up the lino in the kitchen and found underneath it - this'll be hard to believe if you saw the former top layer - even more repulsive lino glued to boards of masonite which had been nailed to the floor. This was the kind of kitchen arrangement you couldn't have got away with in Sydney because cockroaches would have moved in the day it was nailed down and set up a kind of city in there. It makes me wonder what kind of insanity the former owners were dealing with. Anyway, we got the masonite out of there (Peta found it tres amusant when I told her last nigth that we stacked some of it under the house) and Mia basically sanded the most gruesome bits and stained the rest with a stain/varnish. It looks stupendous. I love it. I wish I was there right now. Now all we have to do is ritually burn the horrendous norsca cupboard doors (which former owner was so proud of, it was in fact the only thing she actually cited as being good about the house) and I would also like to have them seared from my memory, and voila! A kitchen that... well, it'd still need work. Maybe I'll win lotto.

I never enter lotto, and nor do I believe in probability, but I'm guessing the chances of me winning lotto if I entered every week are just a little more than the chances of someone buying a lotto ticket for me and it winning. So I'll wait for that to happen. And then... a new kitchen! The floor stays though.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


These dogs like to sleep on things that are actually meant for humans. Uglily, they sleep with their eyes somewhat open. Charlie in particularly is not very trusting, especially when conversation turns to Millie's exceptional beauty and pristine behaviour. Can behaviour be pristine? I doubt it, says Charlie.

There are two crazy white cats in our area. One is an old sow of a cat, that meanders around without any idea of life's purpose. A few days ago I heard him/her meowing like a cow that wanted milking and I looked over the back fence. He (feels like a he) was powering across a yard making this relentlessly awful mooing noise. He is largely white but he has bits of orange on him like someone started to colour him in but got sick of it, or, it was mainly washed off. Charlie was into seeing what was going on so I picked her up so she could see over the fence. When he saw Charlie he stopped, even his tail stopped in mid-wag. She was pretty into him but was also just excited about anything that could possibly be seen over the back fence, like you saw heaven.

The other cat is a petite little pretty thing. I see it sometimes sitting up the back part of the garden. Also saw it on another house's roof this morning. Gets around. Doesn't have a yellow ribbon but looks like it should.

The dogs are getting on alright with Bela these days. The most intimate contact is the occasional moment when they will bury their noses in his fur and sniff him aggressively - deep breaths, more an inhale than a sniff, a 'stealing your soul' kind of procedure. I am sure it's gross for him. But he has a pretty good life.

any minute now I'm going to stop...

watching Neighbours. Alright I've threatened this before, and it never really comes good. But the pros and cons are seriously overbalanced at the moment in the con category. Sure, ongoing Karl and Susan, you know the only way those two can stay interesting is if there is always turmoil. And I agree that Paul and Lyn has been handled very well; all Lyn's stuff about Paul being a good man deep down inside, which is absurd (interestingly, I don't really feel like Lyn's own inherent decency and grace is being trampled on when Paul does dirty deeds; I wonder why not?). And I have already praised the work of ETC and Janae world. And I do really like weird blind Ann and her mysterious secret, even if I and everyone else has already figured out what the mysterious secret in question actually is. But Steph and her practical jokes is the most unconvincing nonsense I've come across in a long time. The set up with the $20 note on a string - which was repeated yesterday before the opening credits - I mean, geez louise. Max and Katya - wtf?! Although I liked Katya's naive explanation of why she though Max felt the same way - a good bit of writing and acting. Ned and the unfaithful wives - jesus the Scar Bar (I'll remember what it's really called in a second) is a hotbed of vice, and considering there's only ever about four people in it, that's a lot of concentrated sin. Toadie and the exercise regime - wtp? (that's 'what's the point'?) and Elle and her mysterious illness fabricated by Paul bribing a doctor who'd racked up major debts from, it would appear, combining gambling and marriage in the Lassiter's Casino Wedding Complex, to fake test results... I admit I did like Lou perving on Janelle when she was washing the car, though I will have to suspend judgement on that whole storyline until I see where it's going. But I see I have kind of talked myself around. I guess a few more years won't hurt (which is probably what Channel 10 are saying too).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Fran was in touch to agitate for more news on our dogs and what they've been up to. Interestingly, I did spend a very enjoyable weekend with them and have some news. The best time was on Sunday afternoon when Mia told me not to bother 'helping' her varnish the kitchen floor because there wasn't enough masking tape to go around. I went up the back of the garden where it was exceptionally pleasant and sunny at that moment and of course the dogs came and did their usual dog things up there, looking through the fence to the neighbours on the east side, with their tails at half mast as if to say (actually, probably 100% genuinely saying) 'there's something incredible there' but when I looked I couldn't see anything except a recent deposit of smashed up chair. Perhaps there had been a dove walking around or something. And then the guy over the back fence lifted up a big sheet of fence wire, which was of course cause for barking uproariously.

Later that day we went to the park and climbed the steepest hill, to where the Alsatian lives who sticks its head over the fence (assiduous long-time readers will recall). This time the Alsatian was pretty interesting but more remarkable was the guy who wandered out of a gate in his back fence to meander over (I gather) to the football game that was happening down on Jacana oval. Millie and Charlie were beyond non-plussed that a man could just emerge from a fence. They were shocked and horrified and chased him to bark at him (he ignored them). They looked to me for guidance and perhaps even an explanation on how a person could just appear out of nowhere like that. I didn't have the language to explain gates to them. And I figured if I hadn't done extensive urban studies I might have been just as upset as they.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

democracy inaction

When I was a kid at school people always seemed to be telling me to get into computers because that was where the jobs explosion seemed to be. I didn't give a loose root about computers, or jobs explosions for that matter. I suppose I expected the world to end or at very least society to crumble and I thought it was a smart move to stay as close to the centre of the city as possible so as to be cleanly vapourised by the a-bomb rather than hang on to useless painful life as you would if you were only on the edge of a nuclear hit. If this didn't happen - though I was pretty sure it was gonna - society would just crumble because what would hold it together? It was all bullshit! So, I didn't get into computers.

Therefore I didn't get into lots of things until I was dragged kicking and screaming, but I did of course get into publishing and I wrote a lot and had it read by a lot of people of various callings and walks of life. And I enjoyed, naturally, the play of broadcasting my opinions (or even just opinions I held for that second in time, as long as it was me speaking and I could imagine them reading) and while I probably would have paid lip service to the idea of everyone having the opportunity to talk back or publish themselves or be published themselves etc, even without the requirements of market forces, I nevertheless loved the power.

That's where blogging trips me up. I don't mind that only 5-10 people read this stuff, I could only ever imagine 5-10 people reading even when I was writing for magazines that claimed monster readership figures (of a million, or whatever). But the instantaneous unmediated feedback still sometimes (very occasionally) sticks in my craw. It's weird isn't it? And now wilting flower has become sufficiently sensitive to institute a block on any comment that hasn't been approved by me. I will probably think better of this and take it off in a couple of days but at the moment I feel happier with it as it is because I really didn't like the tone of some of the comments in recent weeks, particularly those from anonymous (who I imagine is not always the same person).

I don't know. I don't know whether to be democratic. I mean I know the price of vigilance is eternal... you know what I mean, but I also know that people don't have time to read everything here, they read a little bit and then, apparently a la ticking a box to say they've read it, send in some snide comment which ends up making me feel I can never be understood (I am thinking particularly of the comment I deleted last week from anonymous that said I was cynical and had jewish parents. Neither of those things are true. What do you do when there are ten dags of commentary on your blog entry's arse and one of them is just absurd, irrelevant, has missed your point (or assumed erroneously that you had one)?

I'll deal with it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

should I have third coffee?

I made that my title just because I figured that would be something I'd click on if I saw it on the first page of the Onion site. And of course it's typical bad bloggery isn't it.

I got my Red Krayola live in Paris 1978 CD in the mail... finally... I was worried that it wouldn't come, see, because I sent euros. But my envelope must have looked innocent enough. I haven't listened to the record all the way through I just put it on my MP3 player so I have listened to about half of the songs.

Condolences to Wayne and Tony whose dog Robbie died yesterday. I hadn't seen Robbie for a long time but I remember him as a charming and interesting dog who clearly had a very good life. That kind of knowledge is a consolation for me. I mean we always assume we are going to outlive our pets. There is nothing pleasant about it though. As I said to Wayne, I still haven't really got over Silver. I only tell Charlie about this though (because she reminds me a lot of Silver).

Saturday, August 12, 2006

a walk, etc

I took the dogs for a walk round the lake and this time we came back atop the plateau ridge that skirts the edge of Gladstone Park. I was listening to Radio National, an All in the Mind about the psychological condition of child soldiers in Liberia, Colombo etc. I was also thinking about how 'they' should sell off one small piece of land at the edge which would fit about four house lots , they could put in a road alongside the sports ground, and then they could use the money to put the electricity pylons underground. It would be way cool. Of course this would also entail 'them' giving up the ludicrous idea of using that park space, which has been park space effectively for 52 years now, as a feeder road to the Western Ring Road. I imagine that kind of a dream would be hard to abandon, 'kids there's not gonna be a road after all'.

Someone has been distributing a lot of bread rolls around on the grass, I assume for the birds or something, but luckily the dogs were too excited by being on a walk to notice. Otherwise they'd still be gorging themselves now like cows in a pumpkin patch.

Friday, August 11, 2006

everything about this achewood episode is great

I know it moves on like the lands atop the faraway tree so I will elaborate - the 9 August 2006 episode where Ray and Pat's father leave a long message for Pat to get him to come to Ray's place to find out the secret of the legendary curse on Pat and his father's family. I don't understand the donkey milk joke but I imagine it's something crass, then again maybe I've been reading too many histories of Preston.

i have officially found my mobile

Or rather, Mia found it while adjusting the back seat in the car. No, we did not have any wild times in the back seat. Anyway, that lost it/found it period was an exciting instalment in my existence.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


How gross is this. Some time between 1967 (when Harley W. Forster's Preston: Lands and People 1838-1967 was published) and this morning (when I borrowed it from the library) some dirty little cesspit-minded grub revealed the inherent truth about this gathering of fine Prestonites. Or perhaps they really are nude, I'm not quite sure.

There are two kinds of book graffitists, the type responsible for this hilarious image, and the type who need to write on books so they know they're really reading. For instance, the person who wrote all over Bruce R. Davidson's European Farming in Australia, which I also borrowed today. 'Merchants, their existence - on the espansion of new industry' they write at the bottom of page 97, and 'enemy of success' they write on page 84 (thus summarising to their satisfaction the phrase 'Next to the dingo, the periodic droughts which ravaged Australia were the grazier's greatest enemy.')Interestingly they stop doing it around page 190 (dealing with a period ending in 1910) unless that's them doing the pencil underlining later on, but I bet it's not. Unless they got laryngitis.


I don't wish to come over all William Hurt-Jason Priestley but I thought Eliza Taylor-Cotter really put in a stirling effort as Janae on yesterday's Neighbours. The sexy young married stuff that she and Boyd are always pulling is gross, but ETC (oops, what an acronym they lumbered her with) was marvellously annoying teasing Harold about his ingrown hair and telling off a nurse because 'My husband will be a doctor here one day'.

Looking for an ETC image I noticed that someone has recently started a discussion forum regarding Rebecca Ritters, who used to play Hannah in Neighbours many years ago, with the words 'RebbecaRittersmasturbation' in the URL. I know what you're thinking but I actually think these are just the early days of Sodom II.

isn't that ironic?

It takes half an hour to get from Broadmeadows station to Melbourne Central station, and then half an hour to get from Melbourne Central station to Melbourne University if you count it from the moment you get on the platform at MC and then battle your way to the surface and then battle your way on to a tram which then has to battle a ludicrous procession of traffic lights including that rubbish outside the City Baths. I mean, I'm not one to complain - it's not in my nature - but when are they going to move everything closer together for my convenience? It's not as though there is anything of the slightest value between where I live and where I work, and I really think someone should consider a nip and tuck to make it all quicker. I remember a taxi driver once told me that the old Ansett building at the Swanston - Victoria corner was originally planned to have a helipad on the roof for Reg Ansett's convenience (I suppose so he could fly up from Mount Eliza) I wouldn't mind that kind of thing, there is plenty of space in the Jacana Reserve for my local helipad and then I could land on the roof of what is no longer an Ansett building but seems to be a combo apartments/indoor abseiling bullshit. The addition of the abseiling nonsense as an attraction (yo! team! live in the CBD and abseil whenever you damn well please, rain or shine, 3 am or 3 pm! Hey abseiling is my choice!!!) are obviously open to new ideas there, e.g. my helipad - well, it's an old idea but writ new by its application to me.

By the way, I have all but finished the second instalment of my graphic novel. I just have to white out and replace a couple of textual repetitions and write some text for the last two pages and there we are, all done. I think this one will be more of a success than the last one - I predict a street parade and film rights.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

i have officially lost my mobile

It's official. A week after the last time I saw it I have to concede, I have officially lost my mobile. It may take me a few days to get another. In the meantime I was sadly unable to take a picture of the car I saw on my way to work parked in a neighbour's driveway a small black suzuki with the legend 'P.H.A.T. Caucasion' on the rear window. That spelling by the way is [sic]. I am not sure if it's a way of taking the 'asian' out of 'caucasian' like 'wimmin' does with 'men'.

Friday, August 04, 2006

sleepy jackson and the reels

Every so often I go off the deep end over some musical artiste or another. I don't quit know how to categorise this type of deep end item, but it's not the same as the artistes I really adore and always will, or perhaps it's a transitory filtering stage - ? Anyway right now I am right into the Sleepy Jackson. It happened in Canberra. Mia and I were apprehensive of them because they were from Perth and seemed to have coined their name from a melding of Mia's former band Sleepy Township and either the Jackson Code or Michael Jackson (come to think of it maybe the Jackson Code took their name from Michael Jackson anyway, or was it Janet). Marc Reguiero-McKelvie was very pro-Sleepy Jackson but I was antipathetic because I suppose they seemed to have sprung from nowhere and taken their name from Mia's band. Well, Marc won because he was so darn pro-SJ and when I was in Canberra I just suddenly thought, why the hell not? So I went to the second hand record shop in Civic and bought their new album second hand. And it is absolutely incredible. My favourite song is track 9, which is the song that starts out like a total disco number and then goes a little weird. I love 'em. Sleepy Jackson. Then I bought their first album and played that quite a bit as well. Then Marc told me he hated the new album (the one I think is amazing). But I think it's amazing nonetheless.

At the moment I am also enjoying on my MP3 player:

Tamam Shud
The Twilights
New Estate

Today a very generous person sent me some discs. DVDs of the Reels on tv and an audio only live show. Wayne had generously given me a DVD of old Countdown stuff and I was unable to play it on my computer. I had been particularly keen to see Karen Ansell's clip for 'No Commotion'. It's on this DVD and it's immense. I can't believe what a great song it is!!! I should always have known, having owned it on a single since it came out. But there you go. Also there is a lot of excellent Reels clips, interview stuff with Dave Mason. The Reels were one of the most remarkable, truly original groups of the 20th century - no doubt about it. Always innovative and always extraordinary.

Don't ask me to make a copy of this DVD. I don't know how. You'll just have to come round and watch it with me and we can talk Reels stuff.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

aches and pains

Everywhere I look someone seems to be telling someone else (me, probably) what blogs should and shouldn't be. The best blogs are..., the worst blogs are... and the worst blogs are invariably where people just whinge about themselves in ways that could not possibly be at all interesting to anyone ever. Yes.

I have been having a run of bad health luck in the last few months which is getting absurd. I had my neck injury the weekend before last, which incidentally seemed to be threatening to return this morning but which has now apparently gone (for good! I cast thee out!). But this hasn't stopped me having a slightly sore - I won't say it even really bothers me - right foot. I mean if I had to run two miles it might slow me down. Now I don't know if the fact that I have ignored this foot has something to do with the fact that my lower back at the left is now slightly uncomfortable? What is this all about? Am I riddled with tumours? Am I slowly developing something else degenerative? Am I... I don't understand it.

On top of this, the cold I had two weeks ago was apparently on tour, and came back for a repeat performance on Monday and Tuesday, though today it is not around at all - must be taking a day off - but why?