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Gertrude’s Diary #80 – Intermission

I’ve been taking in a bit of cinematic goodness this week. First, to the Dendy Cinema in the sprawling and tastelessly appointed Canberra Centre for The Counterfeiters. A simple tale of funding the Nazi war effort through the exploitation of technologically sophisticated Jewish printers.” What fun they had!” Making British pounds that fooled the Bank of England.” Resisting making American dollars in an effort to slow down the fascist war machine.” Listening to the poor unfortunates beyond the wall being tortured and killed.” Defending themselves against the poor wretches who eventually broke down the plywood walls once the captors had fled.” Proving their status as prisoners by displaying their tatooed numbers from Auschwitz.”

Not a lot of climactic moments in that movie experience.” A movie that leaves one saying, “hmmm” rather than “wow”.” Still, I like a bit of thought provocation.” It’s good for me.” And I can see correlations between the Jewish counterfeiters and my own role as a cog in the wheel of the capitalist monster.” I mean, I’m a class traitor as well!” (The working class can kiss my arse I’ve got the foreman’s job at last.)” And because I work for a company that sells software, I am indirectly encouraging people to spend time in front of a computer screen when I think that we all spend far too much time in a virtual cul-de-sac and not enough time on the”meaningful path of”human interaction.” I know it hardly compares with the horror that was the holocaust, but still.” People who spend their whole lives bathed in the glow of their computer screen get overweight and undersocialised and if that isn’t a blow to universal human rights, then I don’t know what is.” Plus, a lot of the gadgetry that supports our software is made by exploiting low paid people in developing countries.” Or something.

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Liz Frencham, Robbie Long and a Horde of Special Guests

20/6/08, Merry Muse

by Dan Watters

The White Eagle Polish Club was literally packed to the rafters in anticipation of Liz Frencham and Robbie Long”s dual CD launch with tables and chairs cramming all available spaces, including the raised stage at the side of the room.

Canberra”s rarely seen Rodeo Clowns opened the evening with songs off their 2007 EP Postcards from Iraq. Their bluegrass infused country was at its best in Monsters with four part harmonies, nimble banjo work from John Taylor and a fast paced mandolin solo by Dave O”Neil. Despite claiming they are rarely out and about, The Rodeo Clowns will grace the stage at Rose Cottage this Sunday and are well worth a look.

The Rodeo Clowns

The Rodeo Clowns

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Frockin “ell

Frockanalia, Backyard Backanalia, Sat 21st Jun, 2007.

by Charlie

Well my my…. it”s amazing the things that can happen when you put on a dress…strange gestures…accentuated S”s…. the words “Sweety” and “Darling” instantly take up %50 of your vocabulary and you start using words like “ensemble” in order to describe an outfit.

Last Saturday was indeed a Grande Affair at Loadedog Headquarters for the first winter backyard gig… Frockanalia!!! Many of the menfolk scared the punters at the North Ainslie Primary fete as they decided to frock up instead of paying the $5 penalty and it was quite a sight when they all lined up at the front of the stage for photo ops. Such a sight we had to attach a pic. I think you”ll find a clear winner in the purple ensemble.

There were some stella performances with Tabatha Omaji, Ashley Walsh, Cathy Petocz and the Glaciers springing out. The wine flowed, the food may or may not have done the same and once the official music was done with there was much singing around the campfire. To think the Gods almost ruined it with bad weather, then pulled glorious sun and blue skies out of the bag at the last minute.

Good Things Going @ The Street

Liz Frencham and Robbie Long gig

Friday 20/6, Merry Muse

by Tess McDonald

Friday night saw the Muse pack with folkies and others, lapping Polish beer to the sounds of the delightful Liz Frencham and Robbie Long, who are on their double CD-launch “Snapshots of You and Me” tour.

The stage was warmed by the enthusiastic Acoustic Rodeo Clowns.” The Clowns put out a mixed bag of bluegrass originals and covers that had one couple up and dancing, until the need for more chairs put an end to the dance floor.

The main act was Liz Frencham and Robbie Long, who performed together, separately and with a string of guests including the well-loved Andrew Clermont and Fred Smith, Steve Vella and PJ Wolf.

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Frockanalia is go

I tell ya I can’t believe our luck . It’s one of those beautiful, crisp, sunny, Canberra winter days! Perfect for sitting around in a back yard listening to music.

Get thee to the Frock! In a Frock. And have a frocking good time!

Gertrude’s Diary #79 – Smoking

Gertrude's Diary

When I was sixteen I went to a disco at Marist Brother’s school in Parramatta.” It was a simple, elegant affair:” A small auditorium with ugly chairs stacked around the edges, a dee-jay playing Radiators, Angels, and a bit of Bonnie Tyler for the slow dance at the end of the night.

But it’s not the greatest hits of the eighties that I recall most about this evening.”No, what”I recall”most clearly about that night is that it was the”first time that I smoked a cigarette.”

Oh, the disgusting taste!” The head spins!” The nausea!” How could I not be enticed?

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Frockanalia Weather Watch

The Frockanalia, previously rated a 50/50 chance of going ahead, has much brighter prospects following a revision of the Bureau of Meteorology’s forecast:

Forecast for Saturday
A fine, mainly sunny day with light to moderate southwest to westerly winds.
Precis: Fine, mostly sunny.
City: Min 2 Max 14
Tuggeranong: Min 2 Max 14

Chance of rainfall: 10%.
Winds on Lake: Southwest to westerly winds 10 to 20km/hr

A final announcement will appear here by 9am or so.

AFP Capers

We moved in to our new house here in January. A few weeks later an AFP officer arrived at the door looking for a bloke. We’d received a letter misaddressed to the fellow, but otherwise had no knowledge of his existence. No worries, off he goes, saying he’ll make a note on the file. I’ve a guilty disposition around cops and it took a little while for the old pumper to return to normal.

A few weeks later, a different AFP officer arrives looking for the same bloke. We already told you guys he doesn’t live here we say. No worries says he, he’ll make a note of it on the file. Off he goes and some time later I’m back down to 70 bpm.

AFP officers three and four came in successive months. Funny, but despite the uniform they all look like thuggish petty crims. By number four paranoia was really kicking in. Had they got wind of my plans to assassinate Karl Stefanovic? Or was it, I wondered (my unflappable cynical self rekindling), merely a case of pedestrian administrative blundering? Did each grunt go back to the office at the end of the day and simply forget to update the file? Is this the sort of thing the cops are up to all day long? When do they find time for dealing, protection and capsicumming drunks? Next time they come I’m considering telling them I found out the bloke lives at the house of someone I hate, besides Stefanovic.

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Car Hoons Endangered Species

With the coming end of the petrol car age, much has been said about how we’re going to continue gadding about the country in what sort of personal transports that don’t cost the earth (literally) and there are many interesting developments in that regard, amongst them the compressed-air powered car. Much doom and gloom about the effect of higher oil prices on the wider economy has also been gnashed and there’s no doubt we’re heading for a serious economic downturn with the cost of oil a major factor. Few have explored the effect the demise of gas guzzlers will have on those who will suffer most.

As I understand it from snoozing through conversations about carbies, fuel injectors and the like, as well as from observing the strange behaviour on Lonsdale St on Friday nights and the hideous annual Summernats invasion, there are people out there who have a relationship to cars other than a purely utilitarian one. Cars apparently represent freedom, masculinity, style, wealth and power. They are penile enhancements. Sometimes they are objets d’art. Sometimes objets d’amour.

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Queen Juanita and the Zydeco Cowboys

June 6 at The Folkus Room

by Shelley Clarke

People who seek out live music do so for a multitude of reasons. When that reason is for the sheer fun of it, I know just the band to provide it and provide it in spades. Queen Juanita and the Zydeco Cowboys is a four-piece zydeco and western swing dance band that features Queen Juanita on vocals and piano accordion, Dr Zot on guitar, Mr “Murv” Cowell on drums and ‘Bull fiddle’ Brian Taylor on upright bass. As a bonus, Dave O’Neill joined in on the night with some brilliant fiddle. Their music, which is just great for dancing, includes an amazing variety of fun music from the Louisiana Basin ” including Cajun, Zydeco, Western Swing, Blues and Jazz. And didn”t they look the part, Juanita”s new red cowboy shirt with white fringes matched her beautiful red accordion, Ian “Dr Zot” Stehlik wore a red and black cowboy shirt, Brian was resplendent in a pin-striped jacket and string tie and all except Dave sported cowboy hats.

The Folkus Room was set up for dancing, with the tables arranged to surround a nice-sized dance floor, and at eight on the dot Queen Juanita and the Zydeco Cowboys started the night off with Fats Domino”s classic, My Girl.

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The Folkus Room. Sunday, 8 June.

By Jewels Rickwood

Folkus Room host Billy recalled introducing Harry Manx for his Merry Muse Concert back in 2001, not long after the release of his first CD, Dog My Cat. Some seven CD releases and numerous awards later, Billy was eager to instill a warm folkie ambience for Harry”s concert with Yeshe Reiners which focused on promoting Harry”s latest CD, Harry Manx and Friends Live at the Glenn Gould Studio. Many of the 300 odd audience members first heard Harry at that 2001 concert and had been committed fans ever since.

I hadn”t been part of that 2001 audience but I had been introduced to Harry Manx in 2003 through his CDs Dog My Cat and West Eats Meet.” I later received a copy of Wise and Otherwise and saw him in concert at the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival in 2006. I was keen to see him in a smaller, more intimate venue.

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Bleeding Heart @ The Street Theatre

Bleeding Heart @ The Street Theatre

Gertrude’s Diary #78 – Interview

Gertrude's Diary

I was recently approached by a major daily to do a small interview for their weekend addition.” You know the sort of thing: glossy two page colour spread with a big photo of me looking pensive; that slightly constipated expression”I get when someone points a camera at me.” For some reason they didn’t go ahead with the thing.” I put on my best leotard and everything.” Anyway, I thought regular readers might enjoy the transcript.” It’s clear that you guys will read any old crap.


Okay, we’re on.” Gertrude it’s a great honour to meet you here in” your tree house on Mount Ainslie.” Have you lived here very long”?

Not sure, don’t own a watch.””Have a scone?

Mmm, thanks.” You obviously enjoy cooking.” Do you do much entertaining here?

Not really.” Most of my friends are alcoholics and they just can’t handle the ladders.” Sometimes, on warm afternoons, we might sprawl beneath the trees for a few sun-filled hours.” I have to be home before dark though, otherwise possums come and play Karaoke DVDs on my wide-screen television.” Not one of them can hold a note.

I see.” Coming back to more.. mundane matters; what does Gertrude have for breakfast?

Like all the greatest teachers, I answer your question with my own question:” what is green and goes backwards?

[the reporter takes a moment to recover from this before moving on]

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Jeff Lang ” Half Seas Over Tour

The Street Theatre, 01/06/08

by Manas Blackman

Jeff Lang was in town, and though I had been happily oblivious the day before, I had become filled with anticipatory delight, having received news about a ticket to his show. I was fortunate enough to get myself to the Street Theatre to see someone I had heard great things about, but had never seen play.

Waiting to go in to the show I approached the groupie accoutrements table, with Jeff Lang things to wear and listen to, including 7-inches of vinyl ” “Disturbed Folk Music” ” which I picked up for ten bucks but am yet to play. It was here that I found out that he was to be supported by Kara Grainger. Someone who I had seen as much of as the man himself. Her cd was also up for grabs.

Sitting in the corridor that leads to the entrance I watched some people come striding through with a purpose. I was wondering if it was Jeff, his bass player and Kara checking out the scene. All I really saw was a not-so-tall guy with a beard followed by two others, and the nature of their gait, which made them stick out like proverbials.

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