Friday, February 29, 2008

oh well

Embedding was disabled on the Marc video below but you can see it here if you want, and now in the reloaded version there's a split-second shot of him lighting a fag - Marc gold - then throwing it away immediately as he prepares to get into his vehicle - double gold. 

Thursday, February 28, 2008

as is this

I always thought it was the silly throwaway line, 'there's no such thing as a friend at night', in fact it's 'friendly fight', which makes about as much sense in context. I think the photographer is played by Mr. Meggs. This is one of the greatest songs ever.I wonder where those ladies are now. I like it when Marc goes to the cross.

This week (changing the subject here) has been a complete write-off because of illness. I may even have to cancel tomorrow (haven't yet decided). I am just feeling worse every day. I suppose you will say that's just big (insert something clever here) talk. Go on I can handle it.

this is excellent in a different way

I'm up at a 1/4 to 3 because I am genuinely sick and can't sleep. But I am glad I found this.

nutty squirrels

Once upon a time you had to die before your life passed before your eyes, now we have YouTube, at least for those of us whose life has mainly taken place in front of a television. This program, screened on the ABC 35 years plus ago was a favourite of mine when I was young and of course the theme tune and the zany wiliam tell routine bring it all back, though the most evocative moment for me was the Flamingo Telefilm logo at the very end. Funny that. The cartoon is quite funny too but don't worry I don't expect you to watch it, though if you did you'd have to admit the sleeping elephant's body movements are very inspired.

I found this link that explains more than anyone needs to know about the Nutty Squirrels, from the person who put the cartoon on YouTube.

it gets even more interesting

If you click on the images, they come up screen-size.

So Sol's father, typically for the jewish stereotype of the time, owns a pawnshop. I imagine that how the character might be regarded by the reader (particularly the reader in a small town like Maitland, South Australia, where there were surely very few, if any, jewish people) is entirely in the eye of the beholder in this case. Certainly the joke is not a hostile one towards Sol here unless you feel all stereotypes are inherently potentially hostile, which I suppose they really are (later thought: I suppose someone could make something of the way Sol's father profits from the sacrifices of sporting heroes - since I only have contempt for sporting heroes that doesn't wash too well with me).

There are a few jokes over time about Sol's interest in money, and I've singled out most of them here. By contrast I didn't come across any jokes about Bluey being interested in money, except the last of these three. I suppose once again this second strip could pretty safely be said to fall into the stereotype mode, though in this case it's probably also the double stereotype of the foolish foreigner as well. That said, I like what Sol says as he goes into the post office - that's quite funny and additionally suggests the character is stepping outside the routine to comment on it. Bluey's statement in the last frame makes no sense to me at all, as regards a punchline.

The last of these three kind of upsets the whole stereotype, I would say. Or does it?

I suppose Sol is pretty strident in knowing where is money is, etc and that Bluey still owes it to him, but he's hardly put out when he's told that they're even.

I am just trying to sift through this material to find what's inherently racist and what's just kid humour. If it was Ginger Meggs going through any of these routines, I daresay it wouldn't strike us as some kind of jewish stereotype, though if you recall, Ginge's dad - in one of those bizarre, bizarre, bizarre twists of our culture - was made up like Roy Rene, a caricature of some Faginesque type. The rationale for this must have seemed immensely obtuse even when the Meggses first appeared in 1921.

If you don't know who I'm talking about look them up. I've been trying to find an online image of Mr. Meggs for quite some time now (you know, minutes) and I've got nowhere, so... (peters out)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


This strip is a gem. It is unsigned but I wonder if it has any connection to the WWII strip Bluey and Curly by Alex Gurney? Style is similar. I followed it to the end of '37 by which time Sol (whose yiddishness was surely a great rarity in Australia in the late 30s but we can guess why he might be lucky enough to be amongst us at that time) has lost almost all of his accent and seems to be becoming something of a bit player.

Most of the strip art is basic (as are the jokes in general) but occasionally the artist goes to town, as in the bike accident frame which is beautifully rendered.

everything is interconnected to everything else's connectables

So having discovered I am a replicant of Clinton Edwards, I then see Clintons everywhere, notably in the issues of the Maitland Watch newspaper I was reading yesterday afternoon in which a neighbouring town or shire or something was called Clinton. Also there is some famous American (Oscar winner or something?) called Hillary Clinton.

I woke up at 4.20 and it is now clear to me that purely and simply I have a cold. If it was brought on by a reaction to something in the curry well and good, but that's what it is. It may also have been connected to travelling for hours in a car with my father who had a cold, last Friday, to Ballarat and back, I was having one of my many books launched you know. So I took a pill.

I woke up and became very interested in Marty Feldman. Looking at a photograph I appreciated his eyes looked quite unusual. I think I was a little unclear on this as a child because I was so used to him on TV. Perhaps he was ubiquitous. According to wikipedia he had Grave's Disease (or Graves'?) which was supposedly the affliction that killed Ern Malley. Feldman began writing comedy for radio when he was twenty.

Anyway it's nearly 6 now so the paper will be here I won't keep you.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

basil edwards

I searched for Basil Edwards on yahoo and found him. His son Clinton is the spitting image of me.

two dreams I had last night, the common feature being (titter) herbal

Dream # 1. The body of a Canadian gangster named Basil Edwards, described by Kings Cross police during the peak of his career in the 1950s as 'sexy', is found disfigured (armless) standing upright in the desert near Birdsville. The body had last officially been seen in Newcastle in the 70s where police there took official possession of it.

Dream # 2. I am walking through a suburban landscape of spanish bungalows with Rene Schaefer, who tells me that Connal Parsley, once a member of JJJ faves Your Wedding Night, has moved to upstate New York with his young daughter, to live with members of the group True Love Always. 'He was always a step ahead of the rest of us', says Rene, a statement I find profoundly irritating. (At least he doesn't say anything about Connal doing a thang).

Interpretations please.

Oh, I just realised one connection - Basil Edwards, Connal Parsley. That can't be a coincidence, though it is pretty stupid. The Basil Edwards (made-up name, as far as I know) dream came first.

Later: As I went through some notes I had made on Worsley's book on the J C Nichols Estates of Kansas City, I realised I had also suggested to self that I investigate two books by an author called Connell. This puts a spin on the possible interpretation of the Your Wedding Night-True Love Always connection, which superficially would be kind of obvious. Especially taken along with the fact that the 'Basil' dream came before the 'Parsley' dream.

Monday, February 25, 2008

more sunday

Soon after writing the above I made a stunningly good curry containing a squash, four or five potatoes, broccoli, chili, garlic, ginger, coconut milk, etc the usual, and soon after eating it felt extremely strange and rather unpleasant, and had to lie down. I then slept pretty much straight through until this morning at 5, waking up only to realise I still felt terrible. It was a combination of the way one feels at the onset of a cold, but more nauseous. The first part of that condition, I would say, is a little like I feel when I consume MSG (but I didn't), and in fact I am pretty sure that we were partaking of all natural ingredients, indeed the only pre-prepared ingredient was from a very specifically all-natural company the name of which I shall not use here because the product was good and I'm pretty sure they were not to blame. Also some delightful lime pickle. Anyway, Mia had as much of all of this as I did, and felt fine. So what's this all about? Advice please.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Drove Mia to Bunnings to get D rings (you hang pictures via them) and then we each had a pretzel from the great pretzel place at Broady. If I had a month to live I would just sit in there all day eating their pretzels and occasionally going to the gelo bar (30 seconds away) but sadly I do not.

One week till teaching begins. It is no doubt only a matter of time before my students uncover this blog, if they give a loose root about anything I do outside lecturing/ seminaring them. Well, that is fine, I don't do anything here I'm ashamed of particularly unless you count revealing my appallingly boring behaviour. (A colleague I respect said the other day he was impressed by my ability to write 60 000 words on a relatively obscure subject, I told him my specialty was to find boring things interesting.)

Applecore yesterday was pretty great, what I saw of it (I got sick of it after a while, particularly when the drink started to kick in amongst those around me and they got all talky about totally nothing). Unfortunately the great fig trees in the garden where it was being held were not offering anything of edible standard, either too unripe or too ripe. Sad as I was quite into the figs all day thang which incidentally leads me to momentarily go off onto another tangent of things I find staggeringly irritating in 2008:

1. People who say thang
2. Discussions about vegetarianism
3. People who, in seeking to convey how annoying they find a particular sound, way of talking, etc, replicate it really loudly
4. People who might be accusing me of being a revisionist historian (if it's me they mean)
5. People who titter
6. Boys who utter obscenities on the train.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

do i get a prize

...for blogging Applecore before it's even over?

Well actually it's just a picture (der freddy, as we used to say when we wanted to particularly emphasise the der factor). I think it's from when Flying Scribble were playing.

Friday, February 22, 2008

well, actually...

I think he has been made aware that he is, in fact a dog not my mother's youngest baby, so that's probably a good thing, in the sense that disillusionment is probably when all's said and done at the end of the day, a good thing. No amount of rehabilitation/ surgery/ skilled lying by those around will make him less of a dog and more of a person.

I do note an interesting degree of factionalism. As I mentioned, yesterday it was Kenzie and Charlie on patrol. Last night it was Kenzie and Millie guarding the house (from us) when we came home. This morning it was also Kenzie and Millie at the back door, with Charlie in her crows' nest position at Mia's alpine yert (stop me if I am being ridiculously obtuse with this detail). I am not sure whether these divides are real or whether it's just Kenzie does what he does, Millie doesn't care what he does, and Charlie does, so when she gets pissed off she pisses off; or whether perhaps Kenzie is up to some politicking.

Whatever, as you can see, it fascinates me like so many things with no possible solution.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

or maybe

it was a 'let me in, i'm not a dog like them' dance, but he does it every morning anyway.

bizarre resolution (dogs)

I am so used to dogs being unmanageable in a barely bearable way, that I am astonished to report that it has all more or less resolved nicely. Kenzie has become Charlie's lieutenant in patrolling the grounds. Millie has become some kind of Queen Victoria figure, only occasionally (and I reckon tokenistically) expressing dominance over Charlie who will in turn express it over Kenzie (in a 'naughty dolly' way). Yesterday morning the sight of Charlie and Millie's silly sleepy heads watching from their beds as Kenzie did a morning dance was nothing short of hilarious. They looked like the archetypal exhausted parents.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

nightmare on lorraine crescent

... although it had some nice stuff too. Well, Kenzie came to stay for his first night away from Maman, and no-one liked it. He is sooky, and Charlie, who would never normally sook nuffink, was in this case appalled by the very thought of his existence (as she has been at previous encounters). Look all this would be manageable except when it came to the sleeping arrangements, which as you probably know matters a lot in dog world. Kenzie stayed inside for a time and Charlie could not come at this. Mia and I took turns hanging around with Charlie in the outside cabin hoping that she would eventually calm down and go to sleep. Worst bit was when I thought Charlie really had curled up and gone to sleep and then just like some Steve Martin family movie, something (I'm still unsure what) slid off the top of the kennel and hit the ground, giving both Millie and Charlie a huge fright and causing them to bark up a rumpus. The barking was the bad thing, if Charlie had just been unhappy I could have slept through that. So we had Kenzie inside not really promising to be good in the house, and Charlie promising to keep up a bark vigil all night. It was bad. In the end I got a couple of hours' sleep altogether, trying to placate dogs (I know how this sounds but I was wide awake, for some reason). In the end I just chucked Kenzie out the back door, which he didn't like, but no-one barked nothing.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008

people's dog

Back to the daily humdrum round of common toil and inane observations on irrelevant and mundane activities eg some dog show somewhere who cares except this time a beagle won instead of a poodle!
"He's the people's dog," handler Aaron Wilkerson said. "He's exactly what a beagle is supposed to be, a merry little hound." Besides, he's awfully cute.
Like most things on the internet, the best thing about this USA Today news report is the panoply of comments associated with the report ranging from the completely insane to the relatively insane. People R insane!!! Why can't the world be populated only by beagles?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


The year after high school finished for me, 1982, one of my friends Scott Verity died of a heroin overdose. I was not much in contact with him by this time, and I didn't hear about his death until after the funeral. And in fact I know very little about his death at all; perhaps it wasn't heroin though it was described that way to me at the time and also suggested it was the first time he'd tried it. This was about 25 years ago, and he would have been 18 or so.

Most of my dreams I can trace back to some casual remark someone made or something I read. But in this case I have absolutely no idea at all - perhaps it'll come back to me - why I should dream that I was asked to attend a memorial service for Scott, in a special room at an airport, at which forty or fifty others attended, some of whom were vaguely familiar (one introduced himself to me as Ralph and said he now worked in the NSW Department of... but was cut off), and most who weren't. There was no-one in charge of the event, and no agitation for leadership. One of the people there wondered why it was being held at an airport (don't know what city it was) and was told that it was a place where many people could come together conveniently from various parts of the country.

Actually I have wondered whether this dream was in some way connected to this brilliant apology to the Stolen Generations which is taking place today. I can't quite see how except a lot of people are going to Canberra today to participate in a ritual commemorating a past tragedy. How Scott Verity fits in I cannot imagine however.

(Later: Now looking at the dream thing from earlier this morning I am worried it seems a bit glib, smug or glub. Not meant to be - it was very early - I was really thinking about the strangeness of the dream, and as I wrote it occurred to me a similarity with something auspicious that was happening later in the day. I was certainly not suggesting that anything in my experience or poor Scott Verity's was similar to that of the Stolen Generations'. By the way it was an incredible moment, I saw it live, in a lecture theatre of those similarly affected I think. Lovely.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Then this morning in Kensington I had a coffee that was as strong as piss.
I threw it out half full.

Monday, February 11, 2008

self-justification and dog update

Reviewing the posts below, I appreciate there seems to be a slight obsession with coffee and urine comparisons, I would like to think this is less of a matter of obsession with urine and more of a matter of worrying at the base meaning of the strange term 'weak as piss'. That's my excuse anyway and I plan to stick with it.

Meanwhile, dog status: Millie still has her bucket, though her leg is, very slowly despite her most ardent efforts to chew that thing off and thus eliminate a slight nuisance, healing (do I win some sort of award for this sentence's awkwardness, considering especially it's not even finished yet?). She is also starting to smell pretty rank.

Charlie is utterly liberated by this whole thing. She has become more independent, friendlier and buoyant. Here she is with her new look, 'jaunty colt'.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

then i was good

I came back stricken with remorse over my lack of attention to the domestic sphere (particularly the injured animal Millie) and I wiped down the front of our refrigerator and put all the magnets on it in a more ordered configuration. As you can see Bela was dazzled.

my sunshine coast gallery of memories 3

In Maroochydore I had a crappy breakfast in a crappy cafe, I am always a sucker for a first floor eating experience though, you might say it is my achilles heel. Here I am waiting for my food (hollandaise is the new tomato sauce there) reading Tribes of Palos Verdes.

my sunshine coast gallery of memories 2

Talk about decadent. There was a cafe on the ground floor of the hotel and one time (despite having already been warned not to eat there), I went down and got a coffee and some carrot cake for breakfast. The coffee, like all SC coffee, tasted like the piss of someone who'd been drinking coffee. The cake was the size of a dice and as if to accentuate this, came in a huge carrying case made of polystyrene foam. I later recycled it by renting it out to an elderly couple as a holiday unit.

my sunshine coast gallery of memories 1

This is the view from my hotel room on one of the many rainy days we had last week. The room was pretty good. It was certainly pretty cheap ($99, a standby rate). I was happy enough in there. Two tvs, a stereo, cooking facilities, washer and dryer, etc. It was about the size of a small house.


I suppose to many my life of jetsetting across the country and hanging out with interesting people and looking things up on maps and going and looking at them and taking photographs and other notes, might seem intensely glamorous. I suppose it does to me, too, though it does get to be hard work. I have been at a conference all week and it has been tremendous, but at the same time, it has been tough and I have probably slept about 4 hours a night (I imagine people tend to exaggerate how little sleep they get as anything over 6 hours looks like not much of a problem, until you do it). I am not quite sure of that 4 hour figure as I was in a hotel room in Caloundra where my mobile and laptop had one (Melbourne) time, my watch another (local) time, and the clock by my bedside had another (one hour in advance of Melbourne time, which is one hour in advance of Caloundra time). Phew. It gets dark earlier in Caloundra, and it gets light earlier too, and that is also confusing, to the parts of my brain (most of it) I can’t reason with. So you see my problem.

I am now in Maroochydore, in a motel called Wun Palm. I think it might just be the rain/humidity/blah blah factors, but at the moment I don’t feel extremely favourably inclined towards the Sunshine Coast, which is unusual for me, as you might have noticed I generally find multiple things to love about every part of my lovely nation. Leaving Caloundra this afternoon – shortly after the above posting – I meandered around the hinterland and ended up in Nambour, which I don’t have much to say about though I liked its civic offices and its cane railroad, so maybe I did find positive things there, but on the whole, don’t like it much. Thence to Maroochydore, where as I said I am right now, except by the time I put this on my blog it’ll be around 24 hours later.

What else can I say. Every cup of coffee I had in Caloundra was shit, shit, shit, it was either weak as piss (what is the derivation of that term? I’ve never tasted piss, but I bet it has a strong taste – any comments?) or stale and bitter. I know coffee is meant to be bitter, but its bitterness is supposed to have a richer erm I don’t know what you’d call it, and this Caloundra coffee just basically sucked shit I can’t explain. It just tasted like you’d imagine coffee would taste like if you read about it.

I have to give up coffee (never will).

The other D-U-M-B thing about conferences is you get fed every two hours and you start getting grumpy if you aren’t fed. By the end we were all milling round like zombies wanting our nourishment. It is disturbing when you realise what you’ve become.

What I like about the Sunshine Coast is the old Sunshine Coast, of which there are a very few vestiges. As I said to someone on the first day, however, I was walking round wishing it was like it was thirty years ago, then realised that thirty years ago I wouldn’t have appreciated it at all – tacky.

But there was a way cool place across the road from the Caloundra Civic and Cultural Centre, a supposed resort called Kronk’s, which I have some pictures of.

The above was deftly composed a few days ago maybe Thursday. The next day was a bit of a debacle as I was rung by Virgin about an hour before I was due to depart Sunshine Coast Airport (I was driving down a backstreet in Coolum, wasn’t that a Peter Sarstedt song or was it Ralph McTell), and told that my flight had been cancelled ‘due to engineering’. Or the lack thereof presumably. This caused a dragout from two hours to seven hours in transit, as we all had to be bused to Brisbane and cool our various heels there for an age, then be flown to Melbourne. Total nuisance, though I did manage to read two books (Tribes of Palos Verdes by Joy Nicholson and The Boys in the Island by Christopher Koch – two books about gangs and hangs, basically). Virgin ridiculously gave out vouchers for treats for people who had been inconvenienced by their fuckup, and this was redeemable for $6 at airport cafes, basically bringing the overpricing down to something slightly reasonable for a scenario you wouldn’t be paying for anyway if you weren’t stuck at the freaking airport. Also I got to sit next to a guy who really needed two seats, and who held onto the seat in front of him contorting himself towards the aisle, so he didn’t touch me.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

greetings from a watery grave

Can you believe this weather I say to myself and no-one else because one minute I am just on the sunshine coast saying goodbye to my colleagues as we drift back mainly southwards, next thing I know the mongoose is upon us (to quote Pete n Dud), and it is absolutely pouring so much so that me, still so unused to like rain, drive the car to the library and get out and run in and by the time I get there (20 seconds max) it is like I bathed in my clothes, no-one here in the Caloundra library is particularly impressed or interested by the deluge however so I am keeping my panic under wraps.

It's a good library, the Caloundra Library, built in 1986. Known as the John L. Beausang Library. I have also spent time in the Stan Tutt Heritage Room.

See you again soon, or on the other side if I am washed away.

Monday, February 04, 2008

what relation is your cousin's child to you?

Because I met my cousin Noah's baby yesterday, and I suspect I am something pathetic like second cousin to her, and virtually anyone can be your second cousin can't they. But there was nothing to suggest she is anything but a very nice baby, and that's a wonderful thing and he and Emily are to be congratulated. Martha looks a lot like Noah looked when he was a child - rather a shock because you expect babies to just look kind of doughy. But wow, you know. Fortunately she doesn't look like he does now as he has quite a mane, tatts and a spider bite.

This meeting transpired when I went to my aunt's house yesterday with Michael, Nicola and Laurie. Laurie at 2 yrs 1 month has 2500% more vocabulary than he did three months ago, which means he knows pretty much every word in English and I guess he will soon be branching out into other languages. He took me through every toy in a box he had and named its species (there were a lot of elephants) except one doll with wings (an angel or a fairy I would have said), which he declared a teddy bear. I remarked on its wings and he said it was a butterfly.

Maybe you had to be there. Anyway he said a lot more wonderful things but I shan't go on.

Friday, February 01, 2008

a building soon to be absent

This is the second time this week I have walked to Glenroy. I save three dollars off my ticket and get to see interesting things.