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The Last Wednesday @ Hippo

Woodstock 40th

Guy the Sound Guy Presents: A Tribute to Woodstock @ Polish Club. 15th Aug, 2009
by Jay Busch

Better than three hours of peace, love & reminiscing were experienced at the ‘Back to Woodstock’ 40th anniversary celebration at the White Eagle on August 15. As at the original ’69 Love Fest, the 2009 mob, albeit aged or ageing, were white, middle class ‘collegiate’ types in jeans & t-shirts with a smattering in hippy drippy rags. Cushions & rugs to recline on may have been out of the question as the creaking of knees & the groaning of backs in attempts to refresh drinks would have drowned out the music but caberet style seating rather than seried rows could have induced more of a love in cammaraderie amongst the audience.

Julia Johnson, kicked off with some Joan Baez & Hendrix, and was at her best later in the evening with the sing-a-long ditty of Melanie (Safka), Brand New Key. There were people there who supposedly couldn’t remember the ‘60s but were word perfect on verse and chorus of a 38 year-old song which none had thought about since it dropped off the charts in 1971.  Could be the chemicals — prozac, botox, antioxidants.

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Happy Birthday

The weekend saw the occasion of the first anniversary of the Canberra Musicians Club, a club committed to obtaining a permanent home for local and visiting acts that is specifically designed for performance. I would imagine it would be Canberra’s equivalent to the Ole Oprey in Nashville.

I attended the night which had a line up of bands, twelve acts that ranged from great to better than great. The night got under way at Macgregor Hall, the old Pensioners Club, in town (Civic) at about seven o’clock and immediately the benefits of a roof, walls and a sound guy was obvious as Ukeleus, a three piece magic ukulele band, had everyone under a spell of muso mastery, playing such wonderful covers (Talking Heads on uke does sound wonderful).

They did magic to boot leaving me rather impressed, and the acts kept coming. The M.C. cracked a few jokes in between, the bar kept beverages and coffees flowing, there was a lovely concoction of wine available specially made for cold whether and Canberra helped out with a sudden late September cold snap, which was predicted by David Suzuki way back in the nineties apparently.

There were the fire bins burning red gum. The crowd was primarily comprised of the members who number in their hundreds and all of them were inviting the five or six punch-drunk alcoholics who insisted on helping themselves to assaulting one of the volunteers of the club who was working on the door at the time as well as the President of the Club to come to another of their music events, you fucking dogs.

Vietnam Letters #48

Postmark 30th Apr, 1970

25 Blackett St,
A.C.T. 2602

(Wed) 29-4-70

My Dearest Jock,

I don’t seem to have been able to get much time to write since I’ve been in Canberra. I bet you’ll be pleased when I get back to Berridale when I’ll be able to write more often.

Yesterday Mum went to bowls & Aunty Jean, the boys & I went out to Molly’s for lunch & then out to Bungendore to see Joan & Zerephy, & I was planning to write to you last night but when we got back Mum & Dad told us that Maggie was coming for tea, & then after tea we played cards. We played 31 to start with, we played 3 games of 31 & I won 2 games & then we played poker & we played til about 12.15 & I lost about 60c or 70c.

We watched the re-enactment of Cook’s landing at Kernell on TV to-day. It was quite good & well acted. The Aboriginals acted their part very well.

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Gertrude’s Diary #128 – Fire Bugged

Our new neighbour is a neatness freak. He picked up a pile of sticks that were decomposing nicely at the front fence and put them in his bin. I didn’t actually notice this, but it was brought to my attention by Bertrude. The next day, in what I can only suppose was a kind of male territorial thing, Bertrude put another pile of sticks back in the original spot. He claims he was just moving them because he had to whipper-snip the garden, but I think it was a deliberate taunt. Then the neighbour escalated by putting the second pile of sticks in our driveway.

Eager to avert a situation that would lead to having enraged neighbours on both sides, I decided to nip the matter in the bud (so to speak), and burn the contentious pile of pruning. I suppose I could have chopped the sticks up, put them in my biggest backpack and taken them one load at a time on my bicycle to the nearest green recycler, but that didn’t occur to me at the time and, to be quite honest, even if I had thought of it I wouldn’t seriously consider it as an option. And that’s how I came to irritate at least another 20 neighbours and significantly add to my annual carbon footprint with a cloud of acrid smoke simply to avoid provoking the anal retentive guy next door.

It was about this time that I learned of Bertrude’s pyromania.

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Chiffon #108. So Sorry Uncle Albert


Is not the weather strangely strangely? Just when I am thinking it is getting warmer and I have packed away my winter clothes and blow up dolls, it is so cold my blow ups have no balls and I have visitors and the flower show is on and it is a shit when it is cold and you have to be nice.

The Electricity bills are now going to feature once again as there is not much one can do about freezing when there is an electric heater on the wall except turn the little bugger on.

Then of course she gets the little bit on the warm side and the clothes start coming off. Now if your going to be nude it is so much of the nicer to have some company. So then you have to organise nibbles (this may require a meal) and drinkies. Of course if you are like me you definitely need service people involved  and so our little cold snap is and has been evolving into something else.

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The Pedestrian Orchestra

Pedestrian Orchestra Open Mic Night, 18 Pedder St, O’Conner, Wednesday nights, 8pm
by SH

Bingo. Found a good night out for all you budding local musicians out there on a Wednesday night at the new location of Pedder St. This is the 12th night with a bigger interest across the community. Easy parking and  a short walk around to the back; there boasting a large double door garage, atmosphere to strut ya stuff.

A huge flag covers the roof, paintings, insulations of all types around the hollows of the garage edges, egg cartons helping, a couple of large mirrors,  a quiet little fridge in the corner  all sparely set out with couches, cushioned crates, large square patched carpet flooring, doona, pillows, comfy chairs. Oh, and one  red Pilates ball with hanging shimmering blue Chrissie lights that sparkle with the sound of the music.

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Wednesday Open Mic Nights

Acoustic Soup @ The Food Co-op, Pedestrian Orchestra @ 18 Pedder St, O’Connor
Bic Parker, Special Correspondent

The University Food Co-op, Wednesday night at six o clock. Canberra has a knack of making it bloody uncomfortably cold just when you think summer’s coming and you go out with that optimistic attitude in order to feel and promote the love that has been stored up over those chilly months. Today was one of those days. After experiencing the spectacle of the great Australian topsoil migration of yesterday I arrived at the Co-op, where I  met Mark, one of the two cooks and promoters of this event.

The deal is that music and food are integrally connected and so the Food Co-op has made dinner, and provided a stage area fully miked up, ready to go and if for instance you were hungry and could play, sing, dance, recite for twenty minutes or so you got to eat for free.

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Kristina Olsen

Kristina Olsen, Karizmakats @ Merry Muse, Friday 18 September 2009
by Zeke

The first (and second, and third) time I saw Kristina Olsen was at the National Folk Festival a few years ago. She gave several wonderful performances with the remarkably talented cellist Peter Grayling.

At the Merry Muse recently she performed alone, but once again amply filled the room with her beautiful songs, and marvelous stories. She opened with “Good In Bed”, played on her eye-catching red resophonic guitar, and quickly moved into the short a capella song “Love, Kristina” and the achingly poignant “Dangerous”, about the tragic twist of fate that strikes a young couple.

Katrina is a consummate storyteller, and effortlessly related tales ranging from her conversation about Barack Obama with an Ethiopian taxi driver she met in Melbourne, to an oddly naughty joke Chet Atkins once told her. [Read more →]

INSATIABLE BANALITIES #120. The Ellis Collective

The Ellis Collective

Present: Jim Boots, John Griffiths, Sharkie

Our guests are The Ellis Collective in one of the filthiest, fightingest and possibly stupidest podcasts eva.

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/pod120.mp3 into iTunes or your media player or whatever.

There is a facebook fan page for people to marvel at here.

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

Recorded on Sunday 13th September, 2009. Track list and more pics after the jump

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Gertrude’s Diary #127 – Gertrude Revealed

The last time I posted something I was drunk. Oh wow. I’m getting deja vu.

This week I tried to scan a page that contained a handwritten entry, but it didn’t work. I thought my readers might be able to get a better sense of who I am by sampling my handwriting, but it was not to be. The fact that I had written it as a conceptual poem in the shape of an eroded river bank will now be lost, but you’ll just have to imagine it. I have transcribed the text below.



Fora while I thought that my frailties could prevent me from making a positive contribution to ‘society’, ie; my community, the country that I live in, the natural world that I love.

But then I realised that despite my persistent impulse to obliterate my better intentions with the ceaseless needs of my own psycho-dramas, I was actually making a difference to the world. And that in turn led to the discovery that I could make positive contributions even while I was in the midst of self-obsession.

Therefore I urge you – sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins. I urge you all. Stand together, speak respectfully, hold trute to a belief in the goodness of each other, listen carefully, act purposefully, play regularly, and use these last few years of comparative luxury, ease, and a working energy grid to shape a world in which we can all live with dignity.

Chiffon #107. Can’t Touch This


I really can’t get over the reactions and the way peoples choose to express themselves. I wonder whether the gentlemen in Ryde who insisted on advertising to the general population on national television the locations and movements of their little children (such as attending the local schools ) was aware of how he appeared?

I wonder how many paedophiles watch television? I noticed Mister Ferguson had one in his flat. I saw this from a news vision the other night, also in this same article the camera panned over a crowd of about one hundred residents who protested outside this gentleman’s flat. All night they reported there were no children in sight, after all why would you bring fodder to tease the pig? [Read more →]

Zoned in and Out

Coolio Desgracias @ Trinity, JW Sparrow @ The Front, Friday 18th Sep, 2009
Bic Parker, Special Correspondent

I have never ventured to this part of town to taste and experience a night out but this night I gave it a go. The Trinity Bar itself seems equipped to handle a live performance. The curved walls give the place a solid sound shell, which gives the sound a lift. The band; two guitars and two drummers, one drum kit, two congas a jembe/percussionist, a number of different clunkers and a tambourine were pumping out that continual rhythm and beat that were once strictly owned by select indigenous populations.

Tones of George Benson to Osibisa delivered with a soul reggae jazzy feel permeated this quartet. The wah wah or distort pedals employed by Coolio, utter brilliance, producing a full sound that played up to the mainly younger set. The band, which according to Coolio was just thrown together, seemed well suited to this venue.

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Vietnam Letters #47

Postmark 27th, Apr 1970

25 Blacket Street,
ACT, 2602

(Fri) 24-4-70

My Darling Jock,

Well here I am in Canberra again, I had a good trip down except that the boys didn’t sleep as they usually do, & they fought & screamed all the way, & I was forever pulling up & giving them a spanking, or yelling at them to behave themselves.

It was raining all day yesterday, & I didn’t hear the mail come & I was busy getting things ready to come down here. Usually I am watching for the mail every day & I keep going out to the box to see if there is any mail, but yesterday I forgot about it until about 5P.M. & I went out & was so pleased to find your tape there. It was wonderful to hear your voice darling & you did very well considering that you were so tired, you did well to get the tape finished. It will be good when you get home & can have a good sleep & a good rest, as you must get very tired. I took the tape up to let your mother & father hear it last night & of course they were very pleased to hear it.

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The Fortunes of Nigel

While we’re on the subject of strange items bearing my name, I thought I may as well post this piece of strangeness found in a local bookshop and given to me by a friend a couple of years ago. Nice enough to have a book title bearing my name (to go with the XTC song, ‘We’re only Making Plans for…), but hit the jump to see the kicker of an inscription (which will make more sense to you if you know my partner’s name). Spooky no?

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