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INSATIABLE BANALITIES #75. Hashemoto with Randall Blair

Present: Jim Boots, Gertrude, Nick the Pig


Hashemoto return to the podcast with Randall Blair of Wedded Bliss fame in an as yet un-named combination.

Click Play Audio to play podcast. Click here to download

If you’d like to download the podcast, you can do so from RiotACT by clicking here.

This link is for people who have podcasting software which you can find here.

Recorded on Tuesday 12th June, 2007

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Santa’s Work (Choices) Shop

It’s like a jungle out there…

I had an interesting conversation with a client the other day, a youngish man of mixed provenance, who advised he was quitting his job at a local toy emporium. Porquoi? Surely working in a toy store is a dream come true for a young man, a happy happy place full of the smiling faces of children whose dreams are being made flesh, or plastic as the case may be.

As Client X outlined his reasons for moving on, visions of an antidopean Santa’s workshop quietly fled, replaced by a scenario straight from the ACTU’s ‘Fabulous Book of Employment Horror Stories’.

Our hero has been managing the floor of this ‘warehouse style’ toy store, working a rostered 52 hours a week supervising up to 15 teenagers, for the princely sum of $37,000 p.a. But his work, and that of his elves, is never done, and his weekly hours at work averaged closer to 60, with no overtime loading. His contract states that he will work overtime at his employer’s discretion.

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Into the Light @ The Front

The Front

Vintage beads. Opened Thursday, 21st June (whoops), but continues till 5th July. The Front, Wattle St, Lyneham.

Local Music News

Garry Peadon Goes to Uni

Fans of live music, Northsiders and University of Canberra students will be interested in the latest news from The Greenroom’s Garry Peadon. He advises that the venue, which was touted to quit its Phillip premises in August, has now made a deal with UC and will be opening up there in July.

Everyone should win out of this arrangement for, while having its own shortcomings, the UC Bar is by far a better live music room for both bands and punters, and UC students will have a first class live venue on campus. The Phillip site will close on 7th July, with Spoil, Tonk and Variodivers doing the honours.

Pot Belly Sold

Mark A Smith, former booking slave of the Pot Belly Bar, has confirmed reports that the much-beloved venue has been sold. The Pot’s proprietress, known universally only as Joan, has probably decided to concentrate her efforts on The Basement. Joan took over the former Pete’s Bar and Tavern space some time ago and is shrewdly putting all her eggs in the better basket.

The intentions of the Pot’s new owners are not yet known, and it would be a shame if one of Canberra’s most venerable music venues ceased to be, but with the Greenroom moving northwards and the Basement hopefully able to meet it’s potential, Northsiders should not be overly concerned.

UPDATE: Joan has apparently succumbed to public pressure and reneged on the sale. Long live the Pot Belly.

On-line CD Store opens

It may look a little hand-made, and have a long way to go before it functions as it should (ie. as a comprehensive source for local CD’s), but it’s worth noting that the Cardboard Charlie CD Store is open for business.


This year’s Australian Idol series kicks off soon, and word has it that two local singer-songwriters have entered the comp and made it through the initial auditions into the top 100. Nick Delatovic of The Missing Lincolns and One Way Fare’s Anthony Avis are both fine musicians and could handle a bit of recognition from the wider public, though whether Idol is the recommended path to such is arguable. I understand Nick didn’t proceed further than the 100, no word yet on Anthony’s progress.

Gertrude #36 – The Party Part 2

Gertrude's Diary

I have had an angry email from an avid fan”(okay, it was really from my sister).” One day late and my public are baying for a post.

So the party.” The party… “there were lots of things to do that day.” I’d ended the previous evening by spilling Guiness all over my keyboard and then flooding the laundry, both events in rapid succession.” I seem to recall packing things and loading things into cars and utes and setting things up in the hall and talking to many, many people, but none of them”for very long, and listening to the wonderful music and enjoying the sight of my friends and family all together under one roof and there was a cake and a little speech that made me cry a bit, and then packing everything up again and cleaning the hall, and issuing instructions and then going out and drinking at loadedoggy’s house and then getting to bed about 23 and a half hours after I’d last slept and then getting up two hours later to unpack the car and cook breakfast for”9 people.” There may have been some whimpering after that.”

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For Rent: Kirribilli Landmark, Modest Palace Fit for a Minor Tyrant

I couldn’t help having a go at our dear Prime Minister following revelations that he had used Kirribilli House (and The Lodge) for Liberal Party fundraising (oh no they weren’t) events. Labor has also been niggling away at the issue in Parliament, without making much ground. But it was Rod Chalmers ‘Inside Canberra’ that pointed out the ridiculous nature of our trifling complaints.

Worried about what John Howard does at Kirribilli on any given night? What the hell is he doing there at all? Howard has no ‘executive authority’ to requisition government property, at great cost to the Australian taxpayer, for any purposes, let alone grubby Liberal Party fundraisers. The Lodge is provided for the PM to reside in and if he doesn’t want it, he ought to provide his own digs, short and simple.

This is the sort of ‘sense of entitlement’ Bob McMullan was referring to (in the context of the breaking BCA-ACCI scandal) as plaguing governments that have been in power for too long, however eschewing the Lodge was one of Howard’s first acts. I say the Australian people ought to storm Kirribilli House, eject the tyrant, and calculate 11 years of back rent on a harbour-view property.

Howard Cites Butterfly Effect

Watching Order in the House, Australia’s weekly parliamentary roundup, last night, I was surprised to learn that the minerals boom Australia is currently wallowing in was/is the product of the Government’s industrial relations policies. Nothing to do with exploding world demand for coal, iron ore and so on, nor with terms of trade cruising at record highs. Nup, AWA’s, that’s what did it.

Can one draw any other conclusion from John Howard’s statement that Labor’s industrial relations policies would bring about the end of the boom? Mr Howard must be referring to the butterfly effect. Can things be so precariously balanced that changing the contractual arrangements under which a handful of Australian miners get paid will bring down the Chinese economic miracle? Does John Howard’s reliance on such dubious scare-mongering point to some vulnerability on productivity?

Howard and Costello swear that the productivity slowdown this decade, which didn’t really happen anyway (depending on whose stats you read) was due to so many new people getting jobs. Productivity per employee dropped because all those unskilled workers inevitably produced less than skilled ones. But the business lobby says the only way to improve productivity is to ‘make the workforce more flexible’, ie. work longer for less pay and conditions. The other possibility, ie. actually skilling these people up, doesn’t get a look in.

Strangely, given the opportunity to engage the Opposition in an extended debate on the topic, the Government took the extraordinary measure of inserting their own Matter of Public Interest, over-riding decades of Parliamentary convention. Vulnerable indeed.

The Wedded Bliss @ The Merry Muse

Wedded Bliss poster

Chiffon #40, Saving Dick and Jane

With the recent announcement regarding child abuse amongst indigenous populations, the Howard government has unleashed their misconstrued assessment of abuse in Australia by once again targeting (abusing) the traditional custodians of the dreaming. They accuse indigenous communities in the Northern Territory of abusing their children, and Howard looks like officially resorting” to the good ole days of ‘white bugger administration’ (there must be a reason why they are referred to as buggers… buggery perhaps?) and a revamped voucher system for purchasing provisions such as tea, potatoes, flour as well as salt.

I think it is high time to realise that indigenous communities such as the ones Johnny is highlighting are suffering the very same disease that is currently running rampant in white communities (cities) everywhere. It is just they have been abused more blatantly. A few more doors on the front of houses would create a more aesthetic view of the problem

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For Your Listening Pleasure: The Songs of Insatiable Banalities

It has taken a while, about six months to be inexact, but we have finally restored the Songs of Insatiable Banalities page, and the good news is there are plenty of extra tracks.

Songs of Insatiable Banalities

Make Love (with your Penis), not Dinner

A friend, who on this site goes by the name of The Big Knobber, sent me in this little tidbit from 2003, for ‘the archive’ as he put it.

A Malaysian man sliced off his own penis, then fried and ate it after taking hallucinatory pills that caused him to hear voices urging him to mutilate himself, police said.

There seems to be a bit of this sort of thing going on, well… five cases in 3 billion is a bit isn’t it, though most of them probably were made up. I suppose the stories of women cutting off men’s penises were becoming a bit passe. It does make you think though, and strange thoughts at that…

But it is vile to laugh at this man’s misery. If he exists, he is clearly profoundly mentally ill, a graphic but not actually that unusual example of the extent to which mental illness drives many to self-mutilate. Cutters, according to the anti-Emo crowd, are also passe, our society passing judgement on those who use physical pain to quell their emotional turmoil as being needy attention seekers. ‘Get over it’. Must they go to the Malaysian man’s lengths to receive some attention?

Coffee Bitch #18. Cremadiction, Fyswick

Coffee Bitch

9 beans


One minute eight seconds folks. Four people in front of me, and I was sitting outside.

The coffee is “correct”, but absolutely no surprises. Tipping it’s cap more to the Sth American than the Mediterranean school of blending.

Low acid content, the hint of caramel disappears quickly, second sip and you’re into cardboard flavours that speak of large volume roasting and storage. A terrible shame, given this cafe ‘has a life’. Fyswick loves it’s business day, and the custom is fierce and loyal.

There are a number of cafe’s supporting Fyswick’s day, I’ll be back. I’m looking for a cup of joy. Fresh coffee, roasted very recently and ground on the spot.

Ms Fits: It’s Only Canberra…

…the number one urban experience in Australia?

A while back we mentioned that Lonely Planet had sent a team to Canberra to film an episode of ‘Bluelist Australia’. It screened a few weeks ago and Johnboy posted it up on YouTube and RiotACT, not bothering to conceal his seething rage at presenter, Marieke (Ms Fits) Hardy’s, many apparent shortcomings. Scroll down to the bottom if you’d like to see the show.

Surprisingly, Canberra’s ‘urban experience’ was voted number one in the country. If the other contenders are towns like Goulburn and Boorowa that might make sense but, anyway… woohoo!

Big winners from the editing process were The Cashews, largely Alison Procter, who took the lion’s share of the show. The Rat Patrol also featured prominently, although having to do a staged advert for local dining spots took some of the gloss off.

Big losers were Dahahoo who missed out entirely despite co-ordinating the whole visit and appearing briefly in the promo spot. They do get a little postscript, however, in the form of a mention in an email, apparently written by Ms Hardy after the shoot, which mysteriously and anonymously appeared in my inbox one day.

1. What to do when told you’ll be getting onstage with a seven-piece ska band and playing tambourine to a song you’ve never heard before in your life:
a) Smile. Be brave (in an attractive fashion)
b) Remind yourself it’s ‘only Canberra’
c) Privately practice keeping time by banging your palm against your leg
d) Duck outside and SMS others in a mild state of panic.

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Suffer (all) the Little Children

Any semblance of maintaining the innocence of childhood is a myth in so many of these communities and we feel very strongly that action of this kind is needed.

So said our Prime Minister yesterday as he announced the Federal Government’s response to the Little Children are Sacred report. Were the Northern Territory a dysfunctional family, Howard would be the stern, conservative, ‘firm but fair’ old grandpa, sweeping up the kids in his arms and removing them to safety, three meals a day and a firm moral grounding in Christian piety. Good old Grandpa, though ironically, most child abuse is done by older male relatives.

Howard’s cunning is to take advantage of every opportunity to advance his perverse, ‘blame the victim’, carrot and stick approach to the under-privileged while wilfully ignoring if not exacerbating the underlying causes.

The real tragedy of this report and Howard’s response is that it casts child sexual abuse in Australia as an Aboriginal problem as if, on the one hand, every Aboriginal community is similarly afflicted (and must be punished) and, on the other, that the rest of the Australian community has it under control. It’s our big national secret, so I’m sorry for being a dobber, but the fact is we don’t (we’re better at keeping it behind closed doors however).

Howard’s remedy for the ‘Aboriginal problem’ ought to be applied to us all or, better still, to no-one. Otherwise it is paternalism, punitive punishment and racism, a potent brew that is bound to produce a nasty hangover for us all.

Ocean Moses @ The Phoenix

Ocean Moses @ The Phoenix