23 April 2007


I'd officially like to invite readers to comment whenever they feel so inclined over here. There's even a couple of ladies who can post, who are most welcome to still, although I know these things can get a bit mono-loguey. Don't feel it has to be on topic. Here's some helpful examples:

"Hey B, did you ever get to the hairdresser to have those foils?" A: no, I really need a haircut now, can anyone recommend someone who can do it for less that the price of an opera ticket?

"Aunty B, what do you think of the relationship between Jean Paul Sartre and Simone DeBeauviour?" Well it seemed little fucked up with the sexual competition, and the way they used young women almost as intermediaries, but living in hotels to avoid domestic labor divisions by gender was classy. Way classy.

"Sharpie, we've heard rumours about your beau and some overseas job, and what the hell is going on over there?"
Oh, yeah , did I not mention that? I'm moving to Amsterdam. In a couple of months. More on that later, dear reader. Brace your selves for a lengthy angsty account of the packing, preparing, moving, and living in a city that is slowing sinking into the sea. And perhaps the start of the clog blog. Ah-hahahaaha.

22 April 2007

Stormy weather

There is the most awesome storm thundering over my place at the moment. I walked into the kitchen as there was an impressive lightning flash that lit up the whole room like a horror film, and then a magnificent clap of thunder. The rain is now lashing the windows and it's just like being inside the captain's cabin on a pirate ship .. .well that's what I like to imagine anyway (erhem). And just now I put on a self-heating wild peach and cranberry and face mask which is making for a very strange mix of sensations let me tell you. Oh yeah, I've been home alone all afternoon working, how did you guess?

But really the lightning is like something else, it's making the room go white even though the lights are on. Sadly from the weather radar it looks like all the action is on the coast, and none out at our very dry drinking-water-gathering areas.

Happiness in Black Town

Another thing I'm doing at the moment is catching the train out a long way from the Sydney CBD a couple of days a week to do work in a really big office. It's okay actually. Nice long ride for a bit of editing or reading or sleeping.

Yesterday I went into a giant mega-mall, to visit the chemist. I'd just had lunch on my own at a cafe (paid too much) and was looking for shoe inserts, also really needed to cash a cheque and get back to the office to look like a good worker, and worth the expense. So I went to pay and the young woman says "Hi how are you today?" and I say in my usual distracted monotone "good thanks". And she replies "You don't look too happy". My mouth just about dropped open in surprise at this statement. I must have had my steely determined city /eastern suburbs face on, and looked kind of miserable. I wasn't I was just concentrating, honest!

Maybe you cross an invisible border between cultures on the western line where people are that much more blunt and honest, like when Argentinians say "hey there skinny" when they want to get your attention and it doesn't occur to anyone to take offense.

Reality bites

Last week I helped to organise a bit of PR for The Big Issue magazine. The promotions team in Sydney are all volunteers, and I've been going to meetings and helping out on the organisational side, (like circulating notes from meetings, etc) but I've feared I've been one of those lame volunteers who talk a lot about what we all could do - and then doesn't actually do any of the things.

So we're trying to get this program of celebrity vendors together, right, except we have a slight problem in the lack of celebrities. One team member hooked up a dinky-di Aussie actress who used to be on the telly a lot and now does plays. So in a flurry of excitement I was super happy to do a fairly standard bit of promotion, and not be about as useless as tits on a bull on the team. Basically we get the celeb to sell with the vendor for an hour at lunch and at the least gain a bit of visibility on the street for the mag, hopefully a bit of media coverage, and boosted sales for one guy that day who was having a crap week. I also spruiked for our vendor(s) for an hour at lunch wearing a terrible red t-shirt, so I'm feeling pretty righteous about that.

But what I wanted to talk about here was going into The Sydney office on a weekday to do a bit of press stuff. See , normally the meeting are at night and its just us keen-o PR types trying to salve our souls from the banality we deal in during the day (well me, anyway, not everyone on the team does spin for a living, one is in the Australian Federal Police). So during the day the office is where the vendors go to pick up their mags and have a sit down and an instant coffee and read the paper.

It was a bit of stark reminder that these dudes, are, well, . . . homeless.

I know that sounds stupid because, der, that's why I'm volunteering right. Just, I'm not proud to admit, the experience did raise a bit of middle class fear in me. One guy came in to buy one magazine and one on credit and 3 cigarettes. Another guy was scouring the accommodation pages for a cheap one-bedroom place for him and his girlfriend and was ringing up social services to get a delivery of canned food to his place, and another had a big bundle of forms to submit for emergency housing. I became pretty aware of the nice digital camera in my bag, my wallet and phone, and so on - the fear of the 'haves' of one day 'not having'.

So I got a little anxious for a few minutes, but it went away, because everyone in that office is pretty focussed on working for themselves or for the mag. It's their daily reality to get their mags and sell and they couldn't really give a shit about some prissy volunteer who's in once a month or so.

Not surprisingly, the dailies didn't pick up the story, but we may have something in the City Weekly, keep an eye out. Oh and if you haven't done so, buy The Big Issue. I'm sure you all do anyway.

16 April 2007

You tube monday

Lyrics by Michael Hutchence, Visuals by Captain Jack Sparrow. One for the ladies.

11 April 2007

Travel and transport

In Melbourne, one can glide through the city on rails. I absolutely love that you can toddle on to the number 96 tram and go from the inner north (Fitzroy, Brunswick street) that is full of funky bars, street art and woo woo clothes stores and be in St Kilda Beach about 25 minutes later, strolling along the picturesque if somewhat stinky waterfront.Yes, their inner city is set out in a grid pattern on a plain and I realise some people who have grown up with Sydney's crooked street plan set out by crooked officials and crooked landowners may find that a little dull. But the surrounds are offset at about 45 degrees to the city and it makes for a pleasing transition and keeps the visitor happy with a new view as the tram swings around in a graceful arc. Buenos Aires and Havana are also set out in a strict grid and they are buzzy exciting cities with lots of laneways and intersections were art and music breed.
Consider how over here in the Emerald City to get from Newtown (equivalent inner city suburb to Ftizroy that has street art and people who wear ropes in their hair) to the beach, you have to get on a train to central, change at the underground platform to take the spur that only goes halfway to the beach, and then get off and get a bus down the hill, usually standing up by this stage and jammed under the armpit of some 6ft swede with a surfboard, at least 1.5 hours later. Your other choice is a bus to the city, then walk about 3 blocks near Hyde Park and get a second bus that goes all the way to the beach but is pre-paid only. Anyway you do the whole trip, without multi-trip tickets or concessions you can't get away with less that about $5.40 one way. Melbourne's version is about $4.00 for a 2-hour transfer.

And don't even get me started on my trip back to the flat from Sydney airport. Deciding to try to use the state services* I ended up home after about 100 minutes, travel sick and confused after a journey that is only about 20 km direct, having passed through Mascot, Eastgardens, Maroubra, and Randwick on the only ordinary, non-shuttle bus service that goes via the airport.

* I could say this was a choice to avoid a cab, for my emissions footprint but that would be a bit rich after just burning all that airline fuel to get back**. Really it was to do with feeling a little skint after lots of shows, meals and the odd bit of shoe shopping.
**Offset, by the way, offset!

9 April 2007


Greetings from Melbourne! Just a quick post as internet cafe prices here are a little extortionate...

Me and the indomitable mjs have seen a record of 9 comedians over three nights! The first night added up to 7 because we went to the festival club and saw a showcase.

Highlights were Geraldine Quinn, Puppet Up by Jim Henson's company (basically theatre sports with puppets) and a Welsh guy called Mark Watson. Dave's show is a cracker too - really formed up into a smooth story with lots of smart laughs. I'll add links later when I'm back home.

2 April 2007

Gig review- V Festival

A few impressions from my Saturday.

V festival (i.e. Virgin festival) officially started at 1 pm but I didn't get there till 4pm. Partly due to a pretty late night the night before, and partly that doing anything in a coordinated fashion with my friends is actually impossible. But that's okay because I didn't even know the names of any of the acts playing before 5pm.

It finished at 10 (finally a festival I can actually manage, without collapsing like a crispy fried chip at the end). Just incidentally - that makes it $20 per hour for 6 hours.

It was heavily branded. Those big visual spaces covering the speakers at the side of the stage were slathered with Virgin mobile advertising. There were people carrying things that looked like those little paddles people have at art auctions with "eclipse" written on them - for spotting your mates in the crowd. I think this was brand of minty chewy thing. I think there was a generic "bar" but more obviously there was a Jagermeister tent, a Coopers tent and smirnoff cocktail bar. It was a tad depressing.

Many women dress like they are going to the disco. Strapless boob-tube dresses, footwear I can only describe as "pumps", elastic belts, the lot. Just as well it stayed not raining till ten pm or there would have been a few ruined precious little shoesies in the mud let me tell you. What ever happened to shorts and docs, is what I want to know.

The highlights for me were hearing Jarvis Cocker sing "the c_nts are still ruling the world" as his closing song, the whole of the Pixies set (oh my god Kim Deal you look like you have just come off tuck shop duty but those are some kick arse riffs), and finding out the New York dolls do a fine line in blues harmonica.

I've actually officially given up festivals, so these was like a little re-lapse, based on pure pixies love. So that might be why I felt a little detached from the whole thing - onlt caught a couple of Groove Armada tracks from the very very back. Also it was a bit of a shit, because Pet Shop Boys were on 10 minutes before pixies and at entirely the same time as 2 Many DJs who are meant to do a really fun set - so I missed both. I guess this was because they has a limit on the closing time. Also Beck did a really crap set, even though he had the best visuals, with a puppet show going on and beamed onto the big screens.