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Gertrude’s Post-Christmas Message

Here is my christmas message, late but heartfelt:

Please don’t buy any more stuff:   cheap stuff, expensive stuff –  just any kind of unnecessary stuff, really. If you don’t believe me, go and look at this.  But you should probably do it on a borrowed computer.

I’ll allow that this particular impulse is related to the relentless tide of new things that washes into the house at this time of year.   I tend to give homemade gifts, so I get a lot of new mess at this time of year, too.    I’m a rather untidy cook, so when I turn out 2.5 litres of fresh fruit cordial and 50 hand-made truffles (decorated with piped white chocolate to resemble mini christmas puddings) it’s only a matter of time before small pets stick to the floor.  Last year I also tried to manufacture my own body-weight in shortbread.  After a couple of days of scorching temperatures inside and out it smelled as if I’d rinsed the kitchen in ghee. [Read more →]

Vietnam Letters #61

Postmark 29th June, 1970

James Street, Berridale

N.S.W. 2628

(Sun) 28-6-70

My Dearest Jock, Well I guess you are out bush again now, but I hope it isn’t for too long, & I hope you are able to receive some mail while you are out. There was 8AM Mass on here to-day, but I went back to sleep after the alarm went off & miss it, so we went into 6 o’clock Mass in Cooma to-night, & the boys played up all the time during Mass & especially while I was at Holy Communion, I could hear them laughing & talking at the top of their voices, & when I got home to-night I took them into the bedroom & pulled down their pants & made them bend over the bed & I went along & gave each of them 2 smacks each on the bear bottom, & then stood them in the corner. I think there will have to be a lot more of it too as they just won’t take any notice of anything I say to them & even a good hard spanking with my hand doesn’t make any difference either. The treatment they got to-night seems to be the only thing that takes effect. They just seem to be becoming completely out of hand lately. [Read more →]

Chiffon #115. Christmas Oh Nein


I have noticed that there is a red and white theme again this year. A bullshit time of peace, love, joy and happiness which is always dressed up in wrapping paper. And what happiness it brings? (sarcasm).

This year is a good time to exercise gluttony, sloth, envy and lust, which accompany any spirited Yule tidy thingy under the mistletoe, half pissed, trying to compensate for any shortcomings (or not) with Chrissie cheer, dribble, tinsel or whatever else you need. My favourite has to be the paper hats inside le bon bon, the western equivalent to the Chinese fortune cookie.

Whilst speaking of shortcomings, I have got to tell you also how much I am enjoying the conclusion to the Australian open golfing tourno that starred the Tigger with a lot of bounce, one Tiger Woods, billionaire sports star voted America’s best player, golfing worlds top athlete. Apparently it was discovered that he, Tigger, had picked up a few birdies more than the card showed and he is presently being savaged by his best friend, Pooh Bear, who is not happy because Ee Aw is also implicated and other forest creatures are coming out of the woods work and admitting fraternising with the till now immortal Woods. I must say it will make for a good bedtime read, the poor bastard.

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Vietnam Letters #60

Postmark 26th June, 1970

James Street
N.S.W. 2628

(Wed) 24-6-70

My Darling Jock,

How are you my Dearest? I love you so very much Darling & I always will, my love grows stronger for you all the time. I hope you enjoyed yourself & made the most of your day & night at the R&C centre.

I called in at Barbara’s this morning to see if she would be going to town this week, & if she could pick up John’s shoes at the Bootmaker. Her mother s going in on Friday & she may even go with her, but anyway she will ask her mother to get them for me, if she doesn’t go herself. Both she & Sandy have been pretty sick with a cold this week, Sandy hasn’t been to work this week. Sandy sold his old truck at Bert’s sale the other day & got $300 for it.

I called up to see how your mother was this morning & her leg is still paining a lot & she is still in bed. Bert turned up there last night for tea, & Father asked him where he had been & he said he was down at Allawah doing some work, but I had seen him in Cooma on Monday, then this morning he went up there for breakfast & then left to go to Dalgety.

I bought the Cooma paper yesterday with the bit in it about you being home on R&R, but I forgot to put it in the letter I wrote last night, but I will put it in this one.

Well I must close now Darling as it s now 25 to 12, as I have been doing some mending to-night & I’d better finish up & get to bed. You have all my love forever my love.

May God Bless & Protect you,

Your Everloving Wife,



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Woohoo Revue Tonight

Tonight the CMC presents the Woohoo Revue at the charming (if somewhat smelly) MacGregor Hall. Bring your dancing shoes, your prancing pants, your fancy underwear and your choice of mood enhancer (except alcohol, it’s licensed).

Also appearing: Clankenstein, for those that like more clank in their stein.

Costs: $12/10
Doors: 7.30pm

Fibby Mikelangelo

Mikelangelo and the Tin Star, Mr Fibby @ The Merry Muse, Friday 4th Dec, 2009
by Potato Pete

Ist ACT support Mr Fibby, what a performance !

ZAVI (aka Sam King ) on guitar, Rusalka SERAPHINA (aka Emma Jasmine King ) on violin, refugee BORRACIO (aka Spike Thompson ) on cello, and the story teller, NO IMPORTANT
(aka Adam Hadley). This was incredible music theatre at it’s best, Yo Brother! Your Son’s she says ! we will teach you a lesson. The story teller is really out there, controlling the mood,
decreasing the pace! The violin which has this enchanting waltz behind the story tellers soliloquy. The story goes on and on! ‘Brother to earth’  he certainly gets our attention! The grin!


This Melbourne based group with the Elvis lookalike with originals with real twang! the whistle of ‘the ghost riders’ was awesome, with that big band sound with only 4 instruments and that echoing guitar. Ho HO !with that echoing whistle reminds me of surfing and also western tunes/ballads of the 60’s. AS a combo cowboy, does a partial send-off of Johnny Cash!! Great singing voice, they thanked Mr. Fibby for their support. The clarinet a key instrument of the late 50’s and 60’s popular music. ‘Like an angel, watching over me!!’ ‘Like an angel, watching over me!’ I love that 60’s steel guitar sound. A must see for the future !

Gertrude’s Diary #136 – Media Madness

Hello world. What a weird old place you are!

Reading last weekend’s paper I came across quite a long article about the rising popularity of labial surgery. All across the world, women are deciding that they need to cut off bits of themselves in order to maintain a pre-pubescent neatness in their private parts. One expert said that women are aiming to achieve a look not unlike that attained by women in sub-saharan Africa who are subject to genital mutilation. I guess everyone has to have a hobby.

Discussing this story with a colleague I was informed that a friend of her’s had the operation. Apparently it made her happy and confident. I can’t help thinking that this level of self-obsession should not be encouraged. That, unless you are planning a long and lucrative career in pornography, there is really little point in spending many thousands of dollars on surgery to a part of the body that in all likelihood will only ever be seen by a handful of people, many of whom will be health professionals who probably wouldn’t turn a hair even if you had labia the size of lounge cushions. [Read more →]

Vietnam Letters #59

Postmark 24th June, 1970

James St
N.S.W. 2628

(Tues) 23-6-70

My Darling Jock,

It was wonderful to receive a letter from you to-day Darling, & was pleased to hear that you were going to the R&C centre, I can’t say they were very generous with the time they are giving you there, just one day & night. But still I guess that that’s better that nothing isn’t it! I hope you made the most of it & enjoyed yourself.

I sent our second last car payment to-day. This time next month the car will be ours. It’ll be the first car that we have ever owned.

I went up to see your Mother this morning to see how she got on at the doctor’s yesterday & she is in bed, he gave her some tablets & some ointment to rub into her leg & she is to stay in bed for 2 days. I cooked a big pot of stew this afternoon & took half of it up there, as it will save Father cooking & it may also keep Mother in bed as she may decide to get up to cook a meal.

Bert is on a spree again (or still) his life is just one big spree, but he is on one of his extra big ones lately. On Monday morning Mrs. Johnny Melham rang your mother to see how he was, because on Sunday night Johnny found him lying on the road & apparently he had been hurt as he had blood on him & then he brought him home. I guess he probably got into a fight or something, but Sandy had seen him walking down the road that morning before Mrs. Melham rang & they haven’t seen him since. But I saw him getting into a taxi in Cooma yesterday (full as a boot) at about 3 PM. We are just guessing but he was probably going to the Railway Station to go off to Sydney again. I just don’t know what’s going to become of that fellow, & he’s such a worry to Mother & Father too. Gee we had a woping big frost this morning, but it turned out to be a lovely day after it. It is supposed to have been one of the coldest mornings on record in Canberra & it probably was here too.

Well, I must finish up for now Dear, hoping this finds you well & not too lonely, but keep you chin up Honey & keep smiling, & just think that you have got more than half your time done over there, & it won’t be long & you’ll be home, & remember that I am always thinking of you & I shall be loving you forever.

Yours always,

Sandra. xxxxxx.

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Paris, Masters Exhibition. National Gallery, Parkes. December to April
Bic Parker, Special Correspondent

I attended the National Art Gallery, paid my sixteen dollars entry and went in to  see what the fuss was all about. Initially one is confronted with the daunting and large works by the flag bearer for the post impressionist movement, Claude Monet, who provides us with an insight into this exhibition, in as much, as this collection contains private, personal and what I consider to be the essence of the relationship between artist and subject the application of paint, brush strokes, basically the construction.

Not having taken advantage of the guided tour (a volunteer service), I twoed and froed between Vincent’s starry night and Monet’s ballet dancers. Just quietly, I am  an avid lover of art, especially of this period and these particularly tormented souls. Tears welled within, tears of joy, appreciation, as I beheld these insights into these artists. Another thing that strikes me about these paintings is their casualness, in as much as they could be a random page ripped out of the artist’s personal  diary.

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Chiffon #114. Walled Street


Well what the fuck? I laugh at life. I am and can and do and will do whatever the fuck I want to do about whatever I want, whenever I want. You might think this is an arrogant thing. I rationalise this by suggesting that it is pretty groovy being me. I am being more for everyone by me being me, so why change it?

I had an incident where one of my poorer neighbors came to me in the morning and said he had no money and could I lend him twenty dollars. I told him I had to go and get it later from my friend who owed me money and I suggested I would be able to help him in the afternoon.

At one o clock I ventured out the back where my neighbor appeared and enquired as to my ability to give him the twenty dollars. I told him I had not gone anywhere as my friend was not home and my neighbor suddenly unleashed a tirade upon me as if I was Gordon Gecko. He attacked me verbally with hand gestures about my insensitivity towards his plight given my obvious delight about having my own life which he obviously resented as it is very groovy, groovy enough for him to schmaltz over. [Read more →]

Stu Larsen

Brisbane singer songwriter Stu Larsen comes to town for a single show at MacGregor Hall, Acton, supported by brilliant local singer songwriters Cathy Petocz and Julia (Johnson) and the Deep Sea Sirens. Friday 11th Dec, kicks off at 8pm, costs $10/8, it’s licensed and it’s brought to you by the Canberra Musicians Club (click link for map for MacGregor Hall).


The Wizard and OZ at the Folkus Room, Wed 2nd Dec
by Jim Williams

Andrew Farrell (piano/vocals) and David McMilan (guitar/vocals) are the Wizard and Oz. On Wednesday the 2 December a small but appreciative audience was taken on a musical journey from boogie to classical to jazz and back again.

Andrew’s piano playing is certainly a wonder to behold with his mastery of many styles and the intermingling of those styles to produce a unique experience. David lends his gravel voice to give extra spice to the songs that they play together.

Our journey started with a Bo Diddley blues classic (Before you accuse me) and the talents of both were on display with a high energy start to the evening. Moving on we visited Chris Rea (Road to Hell) and Clapton (Wonderful Tonight).

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Gertrude’s Diary #135 – I Will Never Surrender

The ACT Government is investigating possibilities for an improved sustainable transport network. At present they are proposing new cycle and pedestrian routes through the major centres, as well as upgrades to existing facilities. If you want to have a say about what they’re planning to do, then you better be quick, because submissions close today. Here’s the link if you’re interested.

In case you don’t ride yourself, here’s a little explanation of just one of the daily dilemmas that I face as a cyclist.

Footpath vs Road: I like footpaths, they’re well away from cars, and I’m always happy to get out of the way for pedestrians. Dogs on leads can be a bit of problem if they’re an annoying, bounce-in-front-of-you breed, but generally pedestrians are relaxed people, not averse to smiling and saying hello. The problem with footpaths is that they often lead to pedestrian crossings, and that’s where things get tricky. I know that technically I am supposed to dismount and walk across every time, and as a rule I always do this when I’m riding with Wildflower, same as I always wear a helmet when I’m with her. (Just trying to be a good, hypocritical parent.)

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Vietnam Letters #58

Postmark 21st July, 1970

18th June 70.

My Dearest One, Sandra,

Well dear another few days have passed and we are still sitting on this rocky hill. Haven’t seen or heard a thing since we have been here. We were suppose to go in on the 15th but we were extended untill the 19th (my birthday) but we won’t be going in untill the 20th now, and we are suppose to go on R&C on the 21st. Just what dose happen no one will really know untill it happens. I don’t think we will be going home in August now either, I think it was a lot of bull started off by the news papers in Australia, but you never know, with a bit of luck we may get home early.

Darling I received five letters from you on the 15th, it’s just wonderfull to here from you, yet quite sad, as I read your letters I can feel your sadeness in them, but darling it will only be a few more months and I will be home with you for good, all we can do is prey to God to pass the time quickly and protect both of us for each other, Sandra I miss you, as you miss me, this will never happen again, I love you dear, and want to be with you, only God knows how much I want to be with you my love. I love you.

I’m not to sure what to think about the old car yet, I think if you can battle along with it untill I get home then we shall decide, as for the tape recorder, we will also decide on it and how the money is going to work out for us. It’s been verry hot here lately and getting a hell of a lot of rain, sometimes we manage to keep dry, but mostely we get wet, and it gets verry cold of a night once you are wet. It’s verry boreing just sitting around with nothing to do, we have been here for twelve days now, what a waste of time, what would we do if we had twelve days and nothng to do but love each other. Well my love I have to go and do another shift on the gun so I shall have to finish for now, it always happens when I start to write a letter, or when I feel like writing. So long or now my dear. You are always with me in my heart. I shall love you forever. xxxxxx

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The Felons

Monday night Bootleg Sessions @ the Phoenix Bar, 30th November 2009
Bic Parker, Special Correspondent

A sizable crowd was assembled as I pushed through the crowd towards the stage. I had taken a friend to listen to some music; we were there for some local content. There was a little guy on stage, strangely familiar with his witty and satirical lyrics. As I settled I could see it was Rafe. This man has to be seen to be believed. He has an album, but you have to see him. His sound conjures big images. He has a voice with a timbre not dissimilar to the dude from the Whitlams and I would like to think he has the depth and range to be able to accommodate singers such as Neil Diamond, Mick Bubble and hey, even Rupert Holmes, and indeed his style and abilities indicate a far off star eager to shine. Sorry I knocked over your beer Rafe.

Rafe introduced the next act called Amber Nichols, a duo, and I could not fault this performance. Very piano bar or cocktail bar, the sort of singing and playing you don’t notice till it is done and dusted and then you wish you had of been paying more attention. But no matter. I think we will encounter these two (at least the vocalist) in a major music comp. I can’t see any way around it, it is just a matter of time.

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