Saturday, February 28, 2009

click to enlarge if you dare to/ can be bothered

another crack at the same gem

I am intrigued by this version of 'This time' from Countdown, mainly because they're clearly not singing the same stuff as on the actual record, yet they (or Marc in particular) is plainly miming - badly, as usual. Still completely majestic. Poor Kerry Jacobson - pretending to play a dead man's beat. You will note by about 0:55 someone has given Marc a spectral icon to bandy.
Look I know it's been 32 years now, so I really should get over it myself, but I am still amazed that this group could lose their drummer to accidental death from heroin and just shrug and get on with it; I sort of admire it, but I sort of feel freaked out by it too. I suppose it was the times...? But no-one seemed to condemn them at all...?!

walker hutchence speed kills

I have been greatly enjoying Don Walker's book Shots. Some of it is pretty grisly. But that's Don Walker. I like this track too. The last time I saw it on YouTube some bright spark had cut the Walker half of the song out, thus creating bad art. Much of DW's solo work and the work he released under the name Catfish is very fine.

when life gives you lemons...

You are lucky, because they are expensive. Our lemon tree is always on the verge of giving us lemons but never quite comes across. It doesn't help that I am never quite sure which is the lemon tree and which is the lime. And you know, I have another question, are chilis baby capsicums? I have a video about Carthage, watched a bit of it, no good, then later I appreciated why I always felt a bit uneasy when I saw its title, it's because I confused it with carnage. So like Evie part 1, got my 'puter on the table, got the books to write the lecture, got the coffee on the stovie... for some reason it's not entirely coming together. There's no urgency I guess because it's almost all done really it just has to coalesce. What's coalesce again? Control+F5? Or is that the ejector seat?

Friday, February 27, 2009

old man

Yesterday there I was at the checkout at West Brunswick Coles, trying to swipe my medicare card in the swipe, er, thing. Finally I realised it was my medicare card. 'Oh christ,' I said, 'that's my medicare card.' The woman serving (ostensibly) said, 'I didn't want to say anything...' My only response was 'It's not a test!' Then I managed to find my real ATM card. 'See,' I said to the other customers and the woman, 'same green'. That must have reassured them.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

seventh uncle

Just a belated acknowledgment that my fourth niece of seven nepheices was born on Monday. Her name is Florence and for the first day of her life she had a pointed head. I met her on Tuesday, at which time she yawned and shrieked. No pictures yet.

mike mead

No he isn't dead (as far as I know). Something rather special might happen to me quite soon when I get hold of the Mike Mead album. Here is Mead in a short segment from Flashez which is on YouTube as a blooper but isn't, it is in fact a perfectly sensible comment to which Mead (on the right) and his cohost Ray Burgess (on the phone) overreact for some unknown reason.

Mead made a privately pressed album in the mid-70s and showed it on Flashez in '75 or thereabouts. I always wanted it. I may soon have it. The fear is (1) it's crappy (2) it's an album by a different Mike Mead (3): (1)+(2). We will see.

graffiti crimes

I have bloggated in the past about the amazing habit people have of drawing on library books. I won't say this takes the cake, but it certainly has the slice with a lot of icing and one of those sugary candle holding things:

There is a most interesting idiot at work here, drawing a stereotype Japanese cartoon girl onto an image of 'Part of a lineal city at Madrid' on p. 11 of C B Purdom's The Building of Satellite Towns (1925 republished 1949). The artist has used the suburb of Canillejas as the girl's chin. Is it kind of 'I've read ten pages of this book... time for a break... ooh, hello baby!'? Don't know, will never know. Theories?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

monte video video

A while ago I was musing on Monte Video and the Cassettes but I don't remember whether I even tried to find the song on YouTube but now it's there. It is a lot more verily like a 'Lola' for the 80s than even I realised.

evening report

This evening I walked from the Airport West tram home through Gowanbrae. I didn't realise it has started to get dark earlier (this is getting near my favourite time of year - the time when summer is furthest away) so half way through the walk it was actually too dark to take photographs. Anyway, the first thing was I can't take the route I used to take, which was to cross the railway track on foot. Because they (the GUVENMENT) have erected a big black fence. Instead, I had to deviate significantly (that hurt) and cross the road bridge. I had never done this before and it alerted me to the existence of the remnants of the former road bridge.

It also alerted me to this ancient homestead, which must be about 160 years old, and presumably was once on the main road, since it now stands on a sidestreet perpendicular to the main road, but facing at a right-angle to it. Nifty looking place.

Another grouse house. Big and run down. About two minutes away from the above. Not old.

Once at Gowanbrae proper I observed the new retirement home, very secure and isolated from the rest of the suburb. Oddly enough this... I can only call it a laneway, though Gowanbrae doesn't have laneways... runs alongside it. I don't know why; some kind of drainage easement? Even that seems unlikely. Anyway, I decided to follow it. Imagine my surprise...

When I discovered the other end of it was blocked. I thought I would have to scale the fence (you know my philosophy - as relevant to walking through Gowanbrae as it is to retro rock festivals: 'You can't go back').

However I was lucky enough to discover a hole in another fence nearby so I squeezed through into a vacant lot. A bulldog did not chase me and take a bite out of my pants revealing red underwear with white spots.

I know this is a disgraceful photograph, however it is the only known visual evidence of community activity in Gowanbrae so it is very valuable. Some dads and kids playing a ball game near the creek. By the time I got near them someone had kicked it in (to the creek).

The railway bridge and a puffing jogger.

Sorry but it was too dark after this. A pity, as I could have got some quality shots of a bloated boy teasing a hideously irritating squealing skinny girl (they were like 1930s pen and ink caricatures) and stealing her plastic bicycle. It wasn't a serious crime.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

human league are coming to town

I have seen the Human League twice - once in 1982 or 3 just after Dare became a monster success, and once about three or four years ago when they were part of an 80s package. Both times they were gloriously naff. They're coming again. I still reckon Travelogue is the best album but that's me. Hope to see them this time. When I was in the final year of high school someone of my cohort* wrote 'Phil Oakey has pierced nipples' on the wall of the 'common room' and the whole year level was berated for what a teacher took to be a slight on some acquaintance rather than a statement of fact about a cool alternative new wave pop singer from Sheffield.

*It could have been me but it's hard to imagine I would even know what this meant at the time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I wonder if you remember the remarkable book Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr, I believe it was later made into a scary film called Paperhouse or something. The book had a huge affect on me in my younger days particularly the notion of the rocks with eyes that move imperceptibly but undeniably towards the house where Marianne and Mark are sheltering.
Millie has also read this book and, while she doesn't quite have the attention span to be grimly motionlessly menacing, she does have tenacity when she wants something, in this case, to get in. I couldn't work out why, but since it is Millie we're talking about, probably something to do with food.
My old (staggeringly ancient might be a better way of putting it) friend Gilmore might like to know that, when she does finally make good on her threat to travel here and stay chez lorraine, this is the friendly prospect that greets visitors from the guest bedroom. It has little eyes.

nissen hut in hadfield

Just an amazing thing, a building adjoining the methodist church in North Road. Bill Meyer told me nissen huts were known in the US as quonsets. As so often happens I marvelled at this new word I had never seen before and then when I got the program for a conference I am attending/presenting at, at the end of the week noted that one of my fellow speakers was talking on the subject of 1940s quonsets.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

dry as a dead dingo's donger

That's what Charlie, Millie and I were all thinking as we traversed Jacana 'wet'lands this morning. I wouldn't say it was the first piss stop for them but an important one - the posts holding up the orange plastic netting around the latest instalment on the new bike path on-ramp near our place.

I had the heel of an old loaf of bread for the ducks but it, too, was dry as a dead dingo's donger (which is pretty dry) so I didn't bother trying to break it up - just threw it in the creek for the ducks. It caused some interest (this is a picture of a duck in a creek sniffing round a big bit of bread, not a picture of a dead pigeon on concrete with a rock) but the jury was out. I imagine it has been eaten by now however.

I may have said this to you before but I am sure there must once have been a house or some kind of building here, at the edge of the lake. There seems to be earthworks and just the tree configuration suggests it. By the same token the grass is quite green here suggesting some dampness so maybe it's just a natural depression/ quirk.

There are a lot of larger birds around, including on this array of stones which currently serve as stepping stones right across the lake but which are normally invisible. I don't know what bird this is. A python?

Parts of the lake bed are, as you can see, very dry. It is in an unusual state with some patches of soft, damp soil but mainly crusted mud.

I suppose the grass growing in it is kind of hopeful (not for the grass in question, if the water ever comes back which presumably it will in winter).

Until the recent dry, this concrete structure tended to be submerged to the grille on top. Which should give you a good indication of how depleted the water is. I think that bird is just trying to look like a vulture.

This is how dirty Charlie got in the mud. About 1/3 dirty. Good result, in her opinion.

Some comparisons can be made with the same region 18+ months ago, here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

smokey day

Healesville, 52km away from here, is all but burning down and Melbourne is covered in smoke. The sun was an amazing pink through the haze, it looked like Jupiter actually, anyway I tried to photograph it but it just didn't come out properly in the camera (too light: the reality was a very vivid hot pink) I suppose because the camera was adjusting in a 'man, you want me to photograph the sun?!?' kind of way.

Meanwhile, I review Todd's newest record here

new mum smokes

I knew there was a Mum Smokes album lying around but I thought we would never hear it. Now there is this video for a track for it - great song and video. Exciting.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

the rot sets in

Our area is about the only one in Melbourne to have increased in value over the last six months, where everything else is in decline (this means little in real terms - it had a lot of catching up to do). Anyway, this is the kind of crap we have to look forward to as land values rise. These are big blocks. If these horrors get built, the vendor will do well (financially) but will go to hell.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


This is usually such a self-obsessed and flippant place I feel silly even bringing up the subject of the fires, or even discussing them as a phenomenon, since it's all a bit real and raw at the moment. The few discussions I've had with people today about this suggests that generally it hasn't sunk in at all. There are presumably about 50 people dead* because of the fires, dying in horrible ways, suffering and terrified.

A couple of times in the last 24 hours I've heard about fires in places I know or where I know people - and have made enquiries - it doesn't seem like the fires are going to touch me directly, but who knows. That's hardly the point anyway. And, to paraphrase what David Furler said on Facebook, we all thought we'd been very stoic to just get through the hottest day in Melbourne's recorded history. And then we discover quite a few people in the same state didn't get through it at all. It appears there are people wandering around various towns in the state wrapped in blankets and with terrible burns in some cases having lost family members - hundreds (or more) slept in the streets last night.

*Next day note - over a hundred now.
*Day after note - 173 apparently.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

three yesterday's heroes

I was happy to come across this in aimless youtubing this morning. As it happens I don't remember the clip at all, and I have a good memory for unconvincing assemblages intended to suggest mass hysteria in visual media. Though I still love the song (and Peter Hogg's version from the same epoch, 'Yesterday's Breakfast') I was also interested to see the scenes from Melbourne in the mid-seventies, starting with Bourke Street before it became a mall. There is a continuity error in the 0:20s where JPY is walking south past the town hall then, suddenly, on the other side of the street northwards (where you see the town hall a second time, on the right). Then he's walking past the town hall (clock) again, going south once more. I don't know if the people responsible want to recall all copies and redo this. But perhaps it's supposed to represent his inner turmoil.

At 1:30ish, you see JPY hanging out at the very unconvincing public space above Princes Bridge Station, where Federation Square is now. It was a most unloved space, presumably because (if I recall rightly) it was not a thoroughfare to anything or anywhere, just a platform you had to ascend to and eat your sandwiches and watch those two women go past. Even seagulls weren't that into it (the one you see to the left at 1:37 is animatronic).

As mentioned previously, I am reading Les McKeown's not that exciting (but then, I was only ever a fan of 'Rock 'n' roll love letter') autobiography, and I was reminded while checking out this JPY one that the Rollers did a 'Yesterday's Hero' too (though I haven't got to that bit in the book yet)* but on listening to it I discover it's a most unusual construction in which it's sung in the plural (except as far as the title is concerned). Odd song for the Rollers to be singing anyway, and the dance they do in the clip is very peculiar too, considering the song's content. Quite a good version but basically a copy of the original.

Check out the weird Japanese (?) celeb at the beginning of the clip, looks a bit like the turtle from Kung Fu Panda.

*Later. I got to that bit. He says he liked singing the song but felt uncomfortable with the sentiment.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

craps and claps

Craps to - it's going to be 43 degrees on Saturday
Claps to - the norwegian rye I got at the Victoria Market on Saturday
Craps to - the fact that the facebook group opposing the term 'at the end of the day' has not stamped out use of the term 'at the end of the day'
Claps to - broccolini
Craps to - I feel a bit fluey but it can't be
Claps to - Lewis Mumford
Craps to - Julie Bishop. What a creep.
Claps to - the magpies outside the kitchen window this morning
Craps to - conference paper I never seem to have time to work on
Claps to - you for sharing my pain thus far. Have a grouse day.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

props and plops

Props to - the Hume Learning Centre library, whereby I came into temporary possession of the autobiography of Les McKeown (of the Bay City Rollers): he uses 'couldnae' and 'didnae' throughout!
Plops to - whatever is making the middle finger of my left hand hurt. I'm sure it's not the chili from last week.
Props to - The New York Review of Books! It's tremendous!
Plops to - Bela, who is a stupid and annoying cat (as is clear from the picture above)
Props to - the other pets who are delightful except for
Plops to - Millie's habit of barking at the back door when she thinks she hasn't had sufficient morning attention
Props to - soda water. Who invented it!? Love 'em!
Plops to - this ill feeling in my stomach
Props to - Christos Tsiolkas
Plops to - the hole in my shoe. You can't see it? I have black socks on.
Props to - Elizabeth McCarthy.
Plops to - sleepiness
Props to - Michael K. Williams
Plops to - the church
Props to - the car heating up, having to drive to work.