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The Andi and George Band (The Holy Grail, Sat 15 Nov 2008)

by Zeke

The Andi and George Band’s recent gig at The Holy Grail was a fundraiser for their bus, and featured the full, thirteen-member line-up appearing locally for the first time in some months.

Andi and George Band

The evening opened with a belly dancer who wriggled, writhed, and generally entertained a healthy, and slightly bemused, crowd. The sound of drums and assorted percussion announced the arrival of a conga line, led by George, which made its way from Bunda Street into the venue itself. It quickly gained energy and enthusiasm as it snaked its way through the crowd, before ascending the stage and reassembling as the Andi and George Band.

Andi and George Band
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Made in Canberra

Last night I went with my friend to a performance of a play and it was a hoot. For the first time in a long time I enjoyed myself. I was captivated by the delivery and stunned by the fact that it was written about Canberra. I want to tell you about the doo but I don’t want to give it away. I did speak with the director after the production about the production and she agreed, well she didn’t seem to disagree with my assessment so I will tell you.

One first walks into a sixties type speakeasy, lounging around at tables, on lounges and on the floor. Five mics on stage, simple, five characters, one human, the others afflictions of the machinations of that individual. All in all this play deals with a very serious issue of mental illness and its reality and society’s reactions to it which, as you will discover, is to laugh at and be entertained by it. That is a good question. Why do we laugh at disfunctions? A most enjoyable and thought provoking play.



The Dunhill Blues @ The Phoenix

I seldom post verbatim from the mouths of bands, but these guys have a certain special je ne sais quoi…

Hello Culturazi,

We are the stinkest punk country trash band this side of the petticote.
We play loud and we play anywhere, anytime.
We drink, smoke and rarely exercise.
We don’t have cool hair, we don’t wear girl’s jeans and we love our mums.

We are playing The Phoenix on Saturday, December 6th.
We are fresh from gigs in Brissieland and are working our way to Melbourne for a Xmas smashfest. Can you please post our flyer and get along to the gig little doggies.

Giddy up!

Dunhill Blues @ The Phoenix

Oceans All Boiling into Foot Odour

I jest.

For a moment last night, in my panic at finding myself in a warm theatre, with no decent means of escape, as I felt the combined pressures of a beer-bloated bladder, hot feet, a dizzy spleen, sleep deprivation (only diverted from crankiness by the afore-mentioned beer consumption) and the strange sense that I had stumbled upon a joke that I would never get and of which I might be the butt, for a moment, I say, I thought I might pass out.

It was made worse because, at about minute 65, I distinctly remembered the conversation I enjoyed before the bell with the sound guy (the very enjoyable David O’Rourke) who assured me there was an interval during which we could continue our surprise reunion. This in contradiction to the advice I received from someone who attended opening night. If this is just the first half, how long can this thing go on I thought. And is that the smell of my own feet?

Luckily there were quite a few unshod feet in evidence (there being a carpeted and pillow-bedecked space at the front of the packed house where I was ensconsed), not quite enough to eradicate my concerns about people smelling mine and actually take off my shoes (which I was dying to do, and to lie down on the pillow which was mostly occupied by a lovely lady to my right) and I don’t even have particularly smelly feet…

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Casual Projects: Time

Local band Casual Projects sent me a little note advising they’ve released a video for their song, Time. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it’s good.

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The Human Touch @ Belco Theatre

The Human Touch @ Belco Theatre

Gertrude’s Diary #91 – Books I Have Loved

Reading is such an intensely personal experience, it seems crazy to try and recommend books to anyone.  But what I hope to convey here is that stories are like long-lasting psychoactive drugs: they alter the make-up of our imagination and give us access to unexpected insights.  Or they can make us completely self-absorbed and unsuited to any kind of useful employment.  Jackie Collins fans I mean you.

  1. Ursula le Guin:  A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, Tales from Earthsea, The Other Wind.
    I hate to top this list with titles that are often regarded as “teen-fiction” and “fantasy”.  I mean, people might stop taking me seriously.  But in my defence: I’ve read fantasy books and they tend to be overblown and tedious.  I’ve read teen-fiction and it is generally distinguished by superficial plot and predictable narrative.  In contrast, the Earthsea series is compassionate and delicately wrought, effortlessly unpacking dense philosophical concepts into the vivid and utterly memorable language of story.  The elements of fantasy are not belaboured, but rather are so skillfully incorporated that magic is simply a natural and unremarkable tool with which to examine the workings of power and the nature of good and evil, identity and difference.  Five stars.
  2. Richard Adams, Watership Down.
    Skillful writing and the author’s obvious love for and knowledge of natural history makes this work a pleasure to read.  Remarkably fast-paced and absorbing, Watership Down also conveys to the reader some very important lessons:  good leadership requires above all things, humility;  the qualities of every individual – no matter how diverse or difficult to deal with – are required for the success of the whole; the exercise of Might will never equal Right, and often leads to Wrong; and finally, rabbits have their own mythology and they can talk!
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Vietnam Letters #11

Postmark 15th January, 1970

25 Blacket St
ACT, 2602

(Wed) 14-1-70

My Dearest Jock,

How are you my Darling? Well I hope. Gee I miss you Honey and need you very much. It’s just awful being apart like this, but I guess I will just have to learn to except it, although it is very hard, and I don’t think I will ever get used to being apart from you, as you are all I live for. [Read more →]

Messenger @ C Block, Gorman House

Messenger @ C Block, Gorman House

Locked Inside @ Belconnen Library

Locked Inside @ Belconnen Library

A new touring exhibition ……..  Locked Inside
An installation by Ibtihal Samarayi at the Belconnen Library and an exhibition of artworks by asylum seeker artists and children in the Belconnen Gallery

Monday 1 – Friday 19 December 2008

Locked Inside will be opened by Professor Lyndall Ryan, University of Newcastle at Belconnen Library, 6:00pm on Tuesday 2nd December 2008. This exhibition is dedicated to Jan Wawrzynczak.

Artist Ibtihal Samarayi explores detention and freedom through a series of huge padlocks which will be installed in the Belconnen Library.  Ibitihal’s work comes from her experiences as an Iraqi artist who lived in refugee camps in Iran and Turkey before gaining a permanent visa in Australia.  She would like the detainees’ experiences to be communicated to the public and feels a deep responsibility as an Iraqi refugee to support them.

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Exile on Childers St @ The Street Theatre

Exile on Childers St @ The Street Theatre

Ladies of Pleasure

The women in my life are breathtakingly marvellous. Beautiful, accomplished, independent, opinionated, fiesty, fashionable, sweet natured but strong, and with a hedonistic streak of mischief. And, quite deliciously, there’s not a bitchy bone among us. Of course, this doesn’t preclude the odd piss-taking audible mutter or practical joke. To be a truly good girl you need to allow yourself a few small evils.

With the advent of summer we’re all starting to dust off our frocks, deciding a few weeks back that we’d go for a pleasure ride one weekend. It’s a simple premise: girls with tousled hair, pretty sundresses and adorable high heels, cycling blithley around the lakeside, ringing bells and waving to all and sundry. Thus, the Pleasure Society was born.

Until recently I’ve had an ambivalent relationship with the word ‘pleasure’ and I blame Jean M Auel, she of the “Clan of The Cave Bear” series of novels. As a euphemism for sex, ‘pleasure’ is at once a bit gross (it’s the lingering ‘l’ and ‘zh’ sounds, I think) and also completely lame and bland.

I’ve also felt a bit guilty about the induglence of partaking in pleasureable, luxurious activities, as if the fact that most of the world’s population is struggling to get by means I should suffer as much as possible, too, in solidarity. As I grow into being a woman, however, I’ve come to realise that making time for pleasure is not only necessary – it’s sensible!

One is much more able to deal calmly and rationally with the demands of others if one has taken the time to revel in the delights of being alive.

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Frances Emily Sorrelle: 1931-2008

Frances Emily Sorrelle

I first met Frances in nineteen fifty-eight when she established her home in Majura Avenue, below Mount Ainslie, with her husband Norm. Born to the daughter of a forestry worker, she grew up in Doonkuna Street, Reid, in time to watch the infant national capital develop. She was a devoted home maker, wife and mother. Not long after I met her she had a daughter and then had to face life without her husband. She  rose to the challenge of providing a life for her children as well as herself.

Frances was a member of the St Brigids Roman Catholic parish where she attended church regularly. She was a member of the girl guides as well as a leader for the cub scouts.  She worked in the commonwealth public service as a humble clerical assistant and rose within those ranks. After her retirement from the public service she traveled to Africa and to the Middle East. She maintained an active interest in the city she knew and loved, developing a passion for its history and being involved in restoration projects of bush farmhouses around Tidbinbilla and the Brindabella ranges.

My own relationship with Fran, as she was popularly called, tempered in the last few years as she settled into old age and, although we did not necessarily see eye to eye on everything, I can say confidently that I will never be able to thank her enough for her kindness and dogged persistence. She died last week and I will miss her. I loved her. She was my mother.

Graham Benedict Raymond Sorrelle


Present: Jim Boots, John Griffiths, Sharkie, Grace

Chanel Cole

Our guest is Chanel Cole. She recorded five tracks sitting out in the windy driveway, with but cars, birds and the wind to accompany her surprisingly sprightly geriatric Casio keyboard and lubricious vocals.

Click Play Audio to play podcast. Click here to download

If you’d like to download the podcast, tap this URL: http://the-riotact.com/~john/insban/pod99.mp3 into iTunes or your media player or whatever.

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

Recorded on Monday 17th Nov, 2008. More pics after the jump

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The Ellis Collective, The Understudy and A Disappointing Fireworks Display

The Phoenix – Saturday 22 November

by Andrew Galan

The Phoenix and The Lass O’Gowrie Hotel continue their passively collaborative ways; The Lass fostering bands, those bands then arriving at the Phoenix to wow us. This Saturday night it was courtesy of Canberra’s The Ellis Collective. Twice now I have seen the Ellis Collective perform alongside amazing bands from Newcastle – earlier in the year with Mojo Juju & the Snake Oil Merchants, now with The Understudy and A Disappointing Fireworks Display.

The Understudy

Canberra’s temperature had dropped substantially over the nights preceding the Phoenix shindig – it felt cold enough to snow as a small rugged up crowd warmed to the thunder of strings and the beer tuned voice of Matty Ellis. Outside the air made you feel bare-boned. Inside the Ellis Collective shifted you somewhere else in time to cry. Storytelling is the focus of the band, and Matty Ellis conveyed that you had better be listening. Then it was over too soon, the crowd returned to the cold with the strong smell of spilled beer and disinfectant lingering in the air.

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