Thursday, March 31, 2011

short memory lane

I had an hour of me time in Newtown etc this morning so I tried to remember some places I once knew better. For instance I have lived in both of these houses (unless it was the white one and the one to its right, but I don't think so):I have also lived here in the white house (no fond memories of this abode though I did get to meet my wonderful friend Fiona by dint of her living next door in the pink house):

and here (as I was taking this picture a man went past telling me that there were plenty of nicer spots for tourists to photograph).

I recall this mural when in its better days,

and this one too.

This is not a mural, I know. It is however new to me and I loved it:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

i hope no-one ever hears me talking to the dogs

It is pretty embarrassing when I think about what I say to them, my only excuse is it's just drivel concocted to keep up a connection. I don't know if they like it or not, I don't even get a strong sense they like hearing their names. They know their names. For all I know it's stressful hearing your name when you're a dog and there's no clear action you can take to actually respond.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

punk rock

It's a call to arms. Forget your old tropes and superstitions, use the existing structure (the 'sunday school') to broadcast the new youth-oriented music. And don't forget the Russian Francophiles.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

lonely hearts

I am really enjoying The Lonely Hearts Club, which airs on Saturday nights on Radio National. If it is as improvised as it seems, it's a testament to the great talents of those involved (Tony Martin, Angus Sampson, Stephen Curry, Sam Pang apparently, though they do it anonymously and 'straight'). I enjoy it 95% and the only two things I can say against it are: (1) that 'hmm'ing is too Mike Moore/Frontline and (2) it's all very well for Tony Martin, who I have the greatest respect for (with the caveat that he was incredibly rude to my sister) to joke about 80s music, but he has worked in commercial radio for decades - including in the 80s, when people were seemingly unable to produce anything except 80s music for an entire decade. 80s music is not per se funny anyway, but when you are a commercial radio dj/announcer providing the padding around that kind of thing normally, dub tf?
Fortunately in the podcasts the music can't be included so you just get a snippet of the beginning and ending; sometimes it makes a nice little sting in itself. Check the whole thing out here, I highly recommend it.

Later: I have now listened to all 5 extant episodes, and continue to enjoy it. One of the most impressive things about it is that though I gather it is mostly improvised, probably with some kind of rough structure, no-one laughs. How on earth can anyone be so professional, and stay in character? Even if it was heavily scripted, the fact that it's live (some of it definitely is - the talkback stuff) surely would generate a bit of nervous energy. But no-one does laugh. They must be on some kind of awful drug.
Duncan Jardine's whole spiel about John Wood solving genuine crimes during the making of
Blue Heelers was just extraordinary (episode 3 I think).

Sunday, March 13, 2011

two great songs that should be turned into one amazing song that would be so good it would kill the world

Except one has 'embedding disabled by request', so you'll have to open it in a separate browser then PLAY THEM TOGETHER. The other one is here.

rain (heavy)

pip proud 1949-2010

I just realised it has been a year and a week since Pip Proud died. My memory had him dying late in March. It was not a shock when he died particularly since the last time I saw him he looked like he was already dead (he was asleep/unconscious, and clearly in a terrible state).

I had actually cut Pip off somewhat up until the last year or so of his life because I had come to feel he used me as a way to get cigarettes and alcohol, which he couldn't get in the normal course of a day, or not as much as he wanted. He was occasionally manipulative about it too, playing me off against his sons in various ways which I didn't appreciate. Even though I am aware alcoholism is an illness. But I miss him very much. A conversation with Pip was always a surprise, almost to the end of his life he stayed connected to the news - he had a much better handle on world events than on things in his own life - and had a whole wry commentary of his own on the world.

He is most certainly going to be the subject of a future book. He had a tragic life in so many ways, starting with a horrendous family life - Pip casually related episodes of family violence like it was a film he'd seen. So for all that it was amazing he had such a poetic soul, and not at all surprising he was so angry at the same time. I feel (and so did he probably) that his life ended entirely unresolved. Along with Alastair Galbraith, Nic Dalton and Craig Stewart I played a little part in helping him find a new audience for his music late in life, and I think that was a good thing for his life narrative, even if it also gave him completely unrealistic expectations about his future. I had a lot of contact with death last year and it was terrible each time, I suppose Pip's has been the hardest one because he was not ready to be philosophical about it, except in the occasional expression of bravado, which is not the same - in fact, probably the opposite.*

*The opposite of bravado is not cowardice and I don't mean to imply that.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

walking tour

I took students (and anyone they wished to invite along - even a couple of former students showed up!) to a walking tour of Coburg this afternoon. It was informal. I had worked out the route in advance the week before but I was still doing research up to an hour before it started. I stopped them every 10 mins or so at key spots and gave them a spiel - combination of site-specifics and general tie-ins to the planning scene. I thought it went pretty well, the only real bummer was I had planned for us to all have coffee at the Victoria St Mall in Coburg at the end and when we got there it was not the thriving place it had been the previous week - it was mainly closed and empty. But the students didn't mind much, I gather they all went off to the pub en masse. I think on the whole it went well.

Another good thing was my right foot, which has been giving me gyp for the last couple of weeks seems finally on the mend. It got a bit tetchy late in the walk but it feels fine now.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

living death

I thought I would try to avoid the monster queue at N Melbourne so today I played it smart and got off at Kensington to take the bus from there. As a transport interchange, that place offers neither of the things it promises (i.e. no transport and no interchanging). The level crossing of the railway line means that traffic is often backed up right out of Kensington but at the same time it might well be doing that anyway without the railway line, as the street is ludicrously narrow (it has actually been narrowed; it doesn't need to be; and there is a doubly wide section of footpath that could be a bus stop but this would presumably limit the village atmosphere of three blocks of backed up stinking traffic trying to find a sneaky way into the city and impeded by a stopped bus and train boom gates). The bus spends so long at the stop waiting for people to get on, that more people keep coming along; it's absurd. And then once it sets off of course it takes a freakin' age to get there. A youngish woman and a child of 3-4 were in the seat in front of me having an argument about who was more cranky. It was at least a friendly argument.

I could have spent the time working on my laptop except I had nowhere to put my umbrella and was very distracted by the men at the back complaining about the stupid government and myki and the woman up the front who was coughing half her body weight in phlegm into a handkerchief. She was a magician because whatever she was coughing up it was constant, but the handkerchief remained - at least in her mind - functional. The man next to her had one of those trolleys with an oxygen bottle on it, but he was stoic and silent.

Hell is other people, I know, but the bus from Footscray to E Melbourne via Kensington traverses a particular ring you don't want to pass through that often.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

where was i?

I don't know, I've been working on difficult documents in a work scenario, and they're still not finished. Tried to mow the lawn but it wasn't very good, I'll have to try again. Vacuumed behind the bathroom door. I hurt my ankle somehow - it's been a curious time I just don't know how it started but it is quite painful now and then - but you know so what right.