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Gertrude’s Diary #134 – Preaching to the Converted

The CPRS is a big load of Ruddish.  I think it stands for Crappy Pretend Reduction Scheme.  I can’t believe that anyone who bothers to read this blog would be naive enough to think that it would be otherwise, so I’m not sure why I bother to mention it.  It’s just that I’m a little bit surprised by how terribly wrong it all is.  The scheme itself is a farce.  And what’s more, the coverage has all been about who’s sticking it to Malcolm Turnbull in the party room, not the very real crisis of climate change.  I have some deeply ingrained prejudices towards people like Turnbull, but at least he’s had the courage to stand up and say something needs to be done, even if that thing he says needs to be done is futile, painful and ultimately disastrous.

I watched Rob Hopkins this morning give a brief talk about the possibilities for a post-oil world.  Such reason and gentle courage are an inspiration.  You should all go watch it now – it only takes 15 minutes or so and it could save your life.  Or, another life similar to yours.  A life could definitely be saved somewhere.

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Vietnam Letters #57

Postmark 17th July, 1970

Dear Jock,

Hope all is well as possible with you.

I have moved to town for a while untill I see what is happening & then will move to where something suits me.

Very hard to leave down at the old place.

Your boys have grown & seem very bright & lively.

Sandy has another truck, the Bedford from Leck’s at Dalgety.

All the best,


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Speedy Gonzales

The Last Wednesday @ Hippo Bar, Wednesday 25th Nov, 2009
Bic Parker, Special Correspondent

It was a warm night and Garema Place expressed its cosmopolitan quality with its outdoor settings for patrons taking advantage of the balmy night. I went to the Hippo Bar. I arrived a bit after eight where I was met by the sound guy (Dr Jim Boots). I followed him into the depths of the Hippo which already had a female guitarist launched into a set. Her name, Beth Monzo, a graduate of the Canberra School of Music, a doctor of jazz guitar. Finally I have found what I believe to be the mentor for so many of our female guitarists. Clear and precise finger work that needed no tweaking whatsoever.  Her presence and delivery combined with the quality of ehr voice solidified her as a unique, sensitive and necessary inclusion to the local underground music scene. Very enjoyable.

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Gertrude’s Diary #133 – Take Two

I just wrote this blog and then somehow managed to delete it which I’ve done before and I’ll probably do again but I can’t quite work out how I did it. Something to do with hitting control and backspace I think. But I didn’t mean to do that on purpose so I’m not sure.

The version I just wrote was nearly completed and was actually quite funny. Now I’m having a Groundhog Day moment and no longer feel I can keep the material fresh and vivacious. Instead of delicately describing a sequence of events that led to a moment of downfall, pain, and ultimate salvation I could just write: I fell off my bike. Again. But this time I wasn’t pissed. Oh all right, I’ll elaborate.

Hot. Very hot. Decide to go for swim at sister-in-law’s house where we have a standing invitation to use the pool. (Except, as Bertrude and I aren’t married, she’s more properly an out-law than in in-law.)

Dress in cossy, place towel in string bag lying handily near the front door, ride up the hill to Duffy Street.

Mmm. Ah. Very refreshing.
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Vietnam Letters #56

Postmark 09 Jun 1970

James Street
N.S.W. 2628

(Mon) 8-6-70

My Darling Jock,

I was so thrilled to receive your letter to-day Darling, it’s just great to hear from you. It’s a shame that you will have to wait for 10 days before you receive any of my letters.

I was reading in the Army paper which I received to-day that next month, you will get a new tropical combat dress. It is designed to give Infantry men added coolness, more comfort, protection against insects and thorns, & ready access to essential items without hampering combat efficiency. But I guess you will read about it yourself when you get back in from your ten day ambush.

I love you very much Darling, & I pray that God will protect you & help you through your lonliness & hard times over there.

Well I must close now Honey as I want to get a bit of ironing done before I  go to bed tonight.

Your everloving & faithful wife,



P.S. I posted that film away to-day.

I love you.

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The CMC presents: Pedestrian Orchestra Showcase

The Pedestrian Orchestra, a delightful informal open mic night held in shed in an O’Conner back yard each Wednesday night, has put together a showcase of the many performers who have graced their humble stage. Come along and see the likes of:

Fun Machine, James Fahy Trio, Joe Oppenheimer, Bec Taylor and The Tec Baylors, Lady Grey, Beth Monzo, Cuddlefish, Sam Floyd, Adam Cook, Wim Glen, Gemma Norse, Tom Piano and possibly more…

It’s at MacGregor Hall which is not in godforsaken MacGregor, but in Acton, a few blocks from Northbourne Ave at the corner of Marcus Clarke and Barry Drive. There’s a map on the web page (click the image above).

Vietnam Letters #55

Postmark 06 Jun 1970

James Street
N.S.W. 2628

(Fri) 5-6-70

My Dearest Jock,

How are you Darling? I hope you didn’t get into any strife when you arrived over there for missing your plane on Saturday. Gee it was great to have those few extra days to-gether, even though it cost us a lot of money. It made such a lot of difference, for when you left the first time it seemed as though we had only been to-gether for about one day but, now I feel as though we did have about a week to-gether. Oh, Darling it was really wonderful being with you again, & I just hope that the time doesn’t go too slowly until we are to-gether again my love.

Your mother called down this evening & she told me that Joan had rang her, & Kerrod is to go to Vietnam in November.

There is a Postal Strike on to-morrow so there may be some delay in this letter getting to you.

Well I must close for now Darling, just remember that I love you very much Dear & I always will.

Yours Forever,


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Rafe Returns

The Think Tank @ UC Refectory


Salacious Sundays @ Old Canberra Inn,  Sunday 8th Oct, 2009
Bic Parker, Special Correspondent

A sunny afternoon and Owen Campbell and his slide guitars who have just returned from a stint in Ireland, and why not? Where I am sure he was appreciated by the little people. Arriving at the start of the afternoon I had time to sit and watch the other patrons enjoying themselves. It was going to be an entertaining afternoon.

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The Backyard Backanalia, Upper Downer, Saturday Nov 7, 2009
Bic Parker, Special Correspondent

It was a beaut evening as I entered the inner sanctum of the Canberra Musicians Club hub, being the residence of one Nigel McRae, President of the Club as well as Miss Beth Tully recently returned from a sabbatical in the North West of the continent.

Almost single handedly this phenomenon of suburban backyard performance has been caressed, chiselled, sculpted and polished. Over the years it has been conducted on a monthly basis in the inner north of Canberra.

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Jo Telfer

Present: Jim Boots, John Griffiths, Sharkie, Diver Dianne

Our guest is Jo Telfer

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/pod121.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 Tuesday 15th September, 2009. Track list and more pics after the jump

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Gertrude’s Diary #132 – Wednesday And I’m Still Talking About The Weekend

How do you know you’ve had a good weekend? When you wake up on Monday with pash rash, boozers blush, a notebook full of indecipherable scribble, and a blog deadline you’ve failed to meet.

A very busy weekend. My introductory lines aside, I also participated in other more wholesome activities, such as gardening, bottling home-made cordials, and volunteering for a local grass-roots organisation. To be exact, I spent a few hours at El Presidente’s, engaged in some desultory chair washing and a bit of decoration in preparation for the Backyard Backanalia. Then I manned the gate for a while, bravely fighting off a bombardment from the next door neighbours, who are apparently not lovers of music.

They showed their lack of appreciation by throwing things over the fence at me. It is hard to greet visitors, take membership monies, and ask for donations when tubes of busted sunscreen and other flotsam are being pelted in your direction. I managed to bravely smile and keep the front desk sailing along smoothly until a metal rod caught me squarely in the head.

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