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Folkus Room, Friday 29th August

by Viking Princess

Local Canberra artist Rita Marchant launched her debut album “Strong” to a packed house at the Folkus Room last night. The large crowd seemed suitably impressed with Rita’s stellar performance. She was ably supported by a five piece band which included her husband/drummer Peter Marchant. Kingsley Bruce added his keyboard talents in cameo appearances during the evening.

Rita’s music defies genre’s and crosses boundaries with joyful enthusiasm. Her performance last night was full of the colour of folk, blues, pop rock and jazz. She was thoroughly entertaining.

She surprised me with her versatile vocal range from sweet as honey to those deep earthy tones and everything in between. My favourite was “Have Mercy”, so full of life and energy!

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Email Vulnerabilities


Users of Facebook’s friend finder may have noticed a newish facility, pictured above, which allows Facebook to find friends of yours already on Facebook by riffling through your email account’s contact list. They say they won’t store your password or contact anyone without your permission. It is ‘the fastest and most effective way to find your friends on Facebook’. Awfully convenient what?

It reminded me that I recently received the following email from a friend’s Hotmail account:

Subject: Urgent Request
Date: 16 August 2008 2:02:42 PM

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Work: What is it good for?

I know. It’s a silly question. What work is good for is shutting up people who ask ‘and what do you do?’ Because here in Australia, not having a readily accessible answer to that question is tantamount to admitting you’re a good-for-nothing, dole-bludging drug dealer with low self-esteem, BPD, irregular sleeping habits and poor personal hygiene. ‘What do you do?’ people ask, and everyone with a job answers not ‘I slop sludge’ but rather ‘I’m an [insert job title].’ Their very identity is bound with their job. They aren’t a human being who sludges out slop for a crust, they are a Culinary Services Operator.

I made it to work early this morning. Since then I’ve answered a slew of personal emails, smoked five cigarettes, bought and eaten a vegemite roll and coffee, done a lengthy crap, handled negotiations for a wedding we’re playing on Saturday and, the only work related task so far, worked out how to login to the telephone. And it’s only 11.30am. Time for another ciggie.

Unemployment is thus identity death. One can be a husband, father, son, friend, mentor, lover, train enthusiast, but without a ‘job’ we are invalid, a non-person, a drain on the country’s resources, a waste of space, a loser baby so why don’t we kill them.

It’s ten years since I last held a ‘proper’ job, that being Customer Service Operator at the DSS/Centrelink, a job offering such immense and fathomless psychological pain and emptiness that, had they run out of large rocks and mountains, it would have made a suitable alternative punishment for poor Sisyphus. Let it roll, baby, let it roll!

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Coffee Bitch #51. Fuel, Manuka

Coffee Bitch

three beans

Fuel, Manuka

Ah, Manuka, still a style centre.

I haven’t counted the number of cafes in Manuka lately. Now, however, I was able to cruise and choose a sun-catching table on a late winter afternoon. Choice.

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Retroactive lll @ CCAS Manuka

Retroactive lll @ CCAS Manuka

Lookin Up @ CCAS, Gorman House

Lookin Up @ CCAS, Gorman House

The Cashews CD Launch – A Review

The Cashews CD Launch, Corroboree Park Hall,16th Aug, 2008

by Skip

The evening was crisp – fortunately, I had my scarf.

And so, four years after Pete Lyon and Alison Procter formed The Cashews duo to win a competition, I braved the weather to witness one of the longest-awaited album launches in the Canberra music scene. I certainly wasn’t the only one. In fact, a veritable swathe of forearms were already imprinted with smiling red cashews.

But, where were they? I had glimpsed a corner of piggy tail, but pink was not the colour I remembered. Then, a further glimpse of dimples and strangely perfect teeth. I tensed. Was it them? Were these mirages the very same acoustic nuts I expected? Perhaps they were, but I wanted no longer to dwell, and so chatted aimlessly with friends.

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Round John Virgin and The Strange Bedfellows @ The Phoenix… Tonight!

Round John Virgin and The Strange Bedfellows

Alex Asch: Now Showing

Canberra artist and curator, Jas Hugonnet, started a little internet gallery venture a while back. It’s rather on the minimalist side. Currently showing there is my good friend Alex Asch whose work below, a collage entitled ‘The Ocean Diviner’ represents a startling departure in medium.

Alex Asch: The Ocean Diver

Pasha’s Lounge

For whatever reason, only about 50 people turned up for the CMC’s second show (following the resounding success of the Cashews cd launch the week before it was bound to be an anti-climax), but Pasha’s was still a great evening (I reckon, and yes, I admit bias) and the CMC will be hiring the DNA Studio again in the future.

Lounge was the operative word for the evening, with the RiotACT crew going so far as to bring their own futon and bedding. That some of them took the opportunity to catch a few z’s was more a reflection of their drinking habits combined with soporific cosiness than any reflection on the music which was outstanding (out of modesty I exclude my own band from that comment). I took a few pictures, just a small selection because I was too busy unfortunately, but we do have (single camera fixed) video and a multi-track recording of the whole show which might see the light of day one day. Click the picture to see the gallery. And more pictures at RiotACT here.

Pasha's Lounge

Miss Kitka’s Searchlights and Sirens

Miss Kitka's Searchlights and Sirens

Ainslie Footy Club, Friday 29th Aug, 7pm

Mr Fibby and Crooked Fiddle – Review

Merry Muse  8th August 2008

by Giselle

The audience attending this night conversed loudly all the way through Matty Ellis’ lovely songs in his walk up spot and clearly weren’t there for a show, so when Mr Fibby forcibly arrested the attention of that crowd before the end of the first bow stroke – acoustic…. on the floor…, without the advantage of stage visibility, the surprise was like a good whack to the side of the head. They held us through 45 minutes of four original pieces on violin, cello, guitar and spoken word, (er, spoken is an understatement)… “Was it theatre or was it concert ?”, “Were we in awe or delight?”, these questions hooked us into engagement.

Mr Fibby

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Coffee Bitch #50. Guru, Canberra Centre

Coffee Bitch

two and a half beans

Guru, Canberra Centre

No one likes a franchise really. No one with a brain.

However there is no sign of complacency in the mix here. In some cases the individuality and efforts of the barista can wrangle something palatable from the provisions and standardisations of the corporate corrale. This particular cafe without walls is perched central to central in the Canberra Centre, street level. This, babe, is a filling station for passing, hovering, and occasionally sitting city workers.

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Tableaux Deux


Tableaux Vellum Sunday 24 August 6:30-7pm and 7:30-8pm. Smith’s Alternative Bookshop. $15 Please book – 62474459

Tableaux Attic Sunday 31st Aug 6:30pm. M16 Artspace 16 Mildura St Fyshwick. $5 entry

CSA Blues

Ahh, the Child Support Agency. You’ve got to love it.

Today I get rung up by the CSA asking me for the $80 or so that I apparently owe them for my dear loving ex-wife. I’m not averse to paying maintenance for my kids, though I’d have rathered we lived in the same city and I contributed by parenting (but that’s another story…), but at this delicate stage in my career as a dilettante artist, I don’t make much cash and up till this fin year I was only paying $28/mth, reasonable thought I.

But last March I apparently got a letter telling me I was to pay $180/month from July 1 due to a change of policy. If non-custodial parents are reporting income lower than the rate of Parenting Allowance, they are automatically assumed to be cheating and are charged that much. Now I understand you can dispute the charge of cheating and if you can prove a meagre income, they’ll accept that and put you back on minimum maintenance. Fair enough. But that would take actually reading the letters and doing something about it. Which I didn’t.

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