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Live Music Outside in the Afternoon

Around 100 people turned up at the top of Mt Stromlo yesterday afternoon to see Hashemoto and the Ellis Collective play in the burnt-out hull of the Yale-Columbia Telescope. Click a thumbnail to enter the image browser.

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Backyard Backanalia, 27th March, 2010

A few shots of Saturday’s Backanalia. Click a thumbnail to open the image browser gallery.

Update: More pics added by David Howe.

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Loadedog Returns

Some of you may have noticed I haven’t really been contributing to the site in the last year or two. The gig guide has been updated weekly, the Culturazi email has gone out and the odd event poster has been posted, but articles of any substance have been few and far between. I’d apologise if I thought anyone really gave a damn. I’d say that those who know me know that I’ve been busy doing a lot of other things and that, after four years of constant proselytising, the well had run dry.

Instead I’ll just say that, having allowed myself to not write for a significant period, I feel the well is replenished. Coincidentally Gertrude has announced her retirement, Chiffon is absent, Bic Parker is in protective custody and a blog consisting entirely of Letters from Vietnam is hardly riveting, so I have chosen this moment to end my hiatus. In the last two days, I’ve updated my version of wordpress and installed a new photo gallery plugin which you can see in action here (caution – World Naked Bike Pics, may be NSFW).

Also, we’ll soon be reviving Insatiable Banalities – The Podcast, possibly with the original crew of moi, Johnboy, Gertrude (she hasn’t entirely forsaken me) and Kandy Pants. And there’ll be lots of photos, by me, and by Qedqed who’s been hassling me to post his fantastic gig pics for ages. Unfortunately many of the shots he’s taken in the last six months were deleted yesterday in an unfortunate hard disk formatting incident, but there’ll be plenty more to come I’m sure.

So there you go. I’m back. And I’m promising to write regularly so, if you see me around and I haven’t been posting much, you are entitled to harass me.

RIP Qirkz

Don’t it always seem to go…

I heard about Qirkz (pronounced quirks) from my daughter, who was taken there recently for a show by her grandfather and loved it, though falling for the violinist may have contributed. An underground venue in Sydney’s inner west, it began as a rehearsal space for Monsieur Camenbert and evolved into an informal performance space running 3-4 nights a week. Housed in an old warehouse and decorated with an eclectic collection of bric-a-brac, Qirkz sounded right up my alley so I hounded my ex-father-in-law for a contact. An email address was provided but an enquiry produced no result, however it allowed a google search on the idiosyncratic spelling leading me to this myspace page which advised:

QIRKZ has just been CLOSED DOWN by council, effective immediately. But…the show must go on! So…thanks to the friendly folk at the Macedonian Club on the corner of our street, FOR NOW we will be moving many of our shows there! Introducing… QIRKZ @ 103! 103 Railway Pde, Marrickville

Fuck! Fuck, Shit, Fuckin Shit Fucker!

Check the myspace page for a 2CN interview, James Valentine (apparently an habitue of Qirkz) chatting to the aggrieved and the Mayor of Marrickville. The similarity to our own situation here in Canberra, where the pollies express all sorts of supportive platitudes while allowing the bureaucracy to stifle any grassroots culture, is depressing.

World Naked Bike Ride Canberra 2010 – Pics

click ‘Read more’ below for more pics.

On Sunday past, around a hundred brave individuals, yours truly included, took part in Canberra’s World Naked Bike Ride. Beginning with a mass body-painting session in a marquee down by the paddle-boat hire place, the ride meandered over Commonwealth Bridge, up to Parliament House, through the vintage car show near OPH, past some wedding photos at Commonwealth Place, over Kings Ave Bridge and thence through Commonwealth Park back to the starting point.

It was two hours of gentle cycling for most. Personally, my choice of vehicle and passenger was a tad ambitious and having to ride the damn Johnny Loco home to Downer straight after for another engagement was torture indeed. Halfway home, however, the Johnny Loco partially redeemed itself when I, having totally exhausted the last stringy muscle fibres in my spindly legs, could pause in the shade for a little nap in the caboose.

The police, also on bicycles, accompanied us the whole way, partly to ensure we obeyed the pre-arranged rules regarding exposure of genitals etc. and partly to escort us through intersections. In general they were a benign if not helpful presence. Despite fielding a number of complaints from members of the public, they did no more than hurry us away from the offendees.

There’s a video posted by Nic Welbourn on Facebook if you’re interested, and a gallery of photos below, some taken by me, some by my passenger. [Read more →]

Vietnam Letters #74

Postmark 29th July, 1970

25 Blacket Street,
Downer ACT
, 2602
(Tues) 28-7-70

My Dearest Jock,

So sorry for not writing these last few days but I have been fairly busy. I did go to the social on Saturday night at the Golf Club with Wally, Betty, Kerrod & Maureen. Barbara & Sandy & Pat & Margaret were with us too. I can’t say that I enjoyed myself, but it did me a lot of good just to get out. While I was there I felt so lonely for you & at times I had to stop my self from crying, for I kept remembering the wonderful time we ad to-gether up there before you left, and there was the same band there & they played mostly the same tunes that they played the night we were there which made it worse. I tried hard to look happy & to seem as though I was enjoying myself as the others were all trying there best to make me enjoy myself. Wally, Sandy, Kerrod & Pat all took turns in dancing with me. By midnight I was very tired & would have loved to have gone home, but it was about 2 AM before we left. Julie baby sat for me and she also stayed with the boys the next morning while I went to Mass. It was 8AM Mass & I must say I didn’t feel much like getting out of bed, but I made it, luckily. Mum & Dad arrived in Berridale at about 1PM that day, & Jeanette & Chris & Jim came over that afternoon & Vernon & Neil came about tea time. Then it was late when they left & even though I wanted to write to you I was so tired that I could hardly keep my eyes open. Then the next morning (Mon) after I got packed up we left Berridale at about 11.45 & we stopped in Cooma for a while, Dad put his watch in to be fixed & I hope you don’t mind but I lent him yours to wear until he gets his back.It is really best for it to be worn as if a watch or clock is not going the oil dries up in it, and being automatic you can’t wind it to keep it going. I used to give it a shake every day, but it would only go for about 10 to 15 mins. We arrived here about 3PM on Mon & then by the time we got settled in I was just to tired last night to write too.

Aunty Zerephy  has been sick with the flu for a while & Mum had been trying to get her  to see a Dr. but she wouldn’t. But this morning at 6 AM we got a phone call from a friend of hers in Bungendore to say that the Ambulance had just taken her to hospital. Mum rang the Dr. at lunch time to-day to see how she was, & he said that she has been improving with the treatment they are giving her, & he is not sure whether it is the Hong Kong flu that she has or not.

Dads brother Leo & his son Evan are staying here to-night they had been around at Ron’s, but Rosemary’s parents came to-day, & as they haven’t got enough room or all of them, Uncle Leo & Evan came around here to sleep.

I must close for now Darling as it’s 11.40PM. You have all my love forever my Dearest,

Yours always,


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Gertrude’s Diary #144 – The Meaning of Life

I figured that in the run-down to #150 I would really pull out all stops and tackle the big one.  Do I care that philosophers, poets, and saints have failed through the ages to agree on the answer to this question?  Am I intimidated by the scores of books, both sacred and secular, that have attempted to distil an answer?  No!  I scoff at their laboured efforts, their wordy replies to this simple and timeless question.  Instead, I reckon a 450 word blog is going to sort it out.

First, let me introduce some parameters; an insight into how I arrived at my answer.  I think anyone would agree that an answer to the question of the meaning of life that cannot be condensed into a 10 second sound-bite is barely worth repeating.  Further, the correct answer would be applicable anywhere, to anyone, at anytime; it’s no good telling someone that the meaning of life is to be found in long hours of quiet meditation if they’ve got 2 jobs, 3 kids, a lazy husband and a bad back.

Also, it would have some relevance to the question of what we are going to do about THE TERRIBLE CATASTROPHES THAT AWAIT US IF WE DON’T STOP BURNING FOSSIL FUELS.  Oh, wait.  Getting too specific there.  Silly girl.  I mean, it’s not like climate change is a global issue or anything.   And it’s really not something you’d choose to talk about in polite company – imagine how uncomfortable people might get.   Why, it doesn’t bear thinking about!

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Truckstop 23

Truckstop Honeymoon @ McGregor Hall, 10 March
by Amy

Truckstop Honeymoon, an American husband (banjo/acoustic guitar) wife (double bass) duo, could be dismissed as a band best left to the true believers – and by that I mean loyal adherents to hillbilly music – if not for two things.  The first is that they reek of authenticity.  Somehow genre music is so much more digestible to the average punter when it feels like the style is natural rather than an affectation.  Truckstop Honeymoon not only look the part but have the back story to match: even the band’s name is drawn from life.  Secondly, they inject a decent dose of gentle humour both within and between songs.  Songs such as Nobody Asks Me (if I’m Married no More) and (White Collar Worker With) Blue Collar Blues – the latter particularly poignant in this city – are just a couple examples of the understated humour that peppers their show.

The merits of McGregor Hall have been sung elsewhere on this website and so I will only second those sentiments here and add that a more suitable location for this gig could not be found this side of Lafayette.  The audience too was extremely healthy, both in terms of quantity – nearly 200 on a Wednesday night – and diversity, and all in a demonstrably good mood.

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Vietnam Letters #73

Postmark 25th July, 1970

James Street,

(Fri) 24-7-70

My Darling Jock,

How are you Honey? I hope they haven’t sent you out bush again yet. Margaret called up again this morning to say that Mum had rang her last night to say that they will be coming up here on Sun & will take us back with them on Mon. So I have only got about 2 days to get ready to go now.

I received a parcel & a letter from Mel to-day she sent me up a very nice dress & a blouse, that someone had given her  but were too big for her. The dress & blouse are both Navy blue with white trimmings & are very nice. They said that they had received your card and they had a good laugh from it, & they said to give you their love & thanks.

This afternoon at about 4 I brought some wood in & got the clothes off the line, & I decided that while I was out there I would put the car in the shed & lock the doors, & then I left the boys watching TV while I went & had a shower & washed my hair, & I had only just started my shower when someone knocked on the door, & I heard Michael tell them that I was in the shower, & so they had to wait outside until I got out of the shower to let them in, and it was Kerrod & Maureen & they had Elizabeth & James with them. It’s funny but any time that I do lock the doors early someone always calls. They came up on Wed. & are going back on Sun, they are staying up at Wally’s & guess what, they are engaged. They got engaged about 10 days ago.

Just a minute ago Wally & Kerrod called & asked if I would like to go up to the social at the Golf Club to-morrow night, & I said that I didn’t know whether I would go or not, as I don’t feel well & I have a lot of packing to do, to go to Canberra & Dubbo. But they are going to call around again to-morrow to see if I will go or not. I don’t really feel up to going, but I guess that it would probably do me some good to get out. I have a lot of washing & mending of the boys clothes to do, that I want to take with me, but I guess if I don’t get it all done before I leave here I can take it with me & do it in Canberra. It never rains but it pours, everything seems to happen at once.

Well I guess I had better close now Darling & force these poor old wiery bones to do some work, before I go to bed.

I shall be loving you forever Darling,

Yours Always,

Sandra. xxxxxx

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Gertrude’s Diary #143 – Ideas and Observations

This week, for your amusement, I offer you a random collection of things that all occured to me during the last week.  Enjoy.

1.  Canberra Musicians Club – of which I am a proud member – is hoping one day in the not too distant future to have its very own club house.  I would like to any members who might be reading to consider this idea, which I believe would also be a useful way to exploit the club’s secondary purpose which is,  as you all know, to drink beer.

2.  When you are riding your bike along, and you’ve just gone pretty fast up a hill, and you mouth gets a little moist with saliva, it’s not a good idea to try to say a cheery hello to passersby in case a little bubble of spit pops out.

3.  When you’re painting something, don’t use too much paint.  It dribbles.  And it’s wasteful.  (- sob -) I’m so ashamed.

4.  When you’re cleaning your house, take a bucket around with you that contains; window cleaner, diluted sugar soap in a spray bottle, furniture polish, and at least three clean cloths, one for each kind of cleaning substance, and a spare for buffing.  You may also like to strap an extendable cobweb brush to your back, so you can whip it out Ninja style when necessary.  Divide [Read more →]

Vietnam Letters #72

Postmark 23rd July, 1970

James Street,
N.S.W. 2628

(Wed) 22-7-70

My Dearest Jock,

It was great to receive another one of your letters to-day, Honey. I also received one from Shirley thanking me for the steak knives I sent her & to say that she won’t be needing my gloves o your suite for Ken. She has bought her dress & veil. The dress id worth $89 & the veil $10 but Ken’s mother is a good friend of the lady who owns the shop & she got the dress & veil for $51, & she has already borrowed a pair of gloves, & the boys are hireing their suits for the day. They have got a house which they are renting for $15 a week & it is fully furnished.

She also sent me a list of things that she has already got in her box & some things which she is being given for wedding presents (in case I was wondering what to get her) & she is being given an iron & a frypan a toaster & a dinner set. So there goes the idea of the frypan. I have got a set of steak forks to match the knives I sent her. After I sent the knives I was thinking that I should have sent the forks too. So I have decided to give them the forks & a cheque for $30, & they can buy whatever they need with it. For I remember how handy those cheques that we got for our wedding were. She said that Mum & Dad had asked what she wants & she is going to tell them a set of double bed blankets.

I have felt a bit better to-day & so I got in & did some work for a change, but by tea time to-night I had just had it & after the boys went to bed I just sat & watched the movie & then did the washing up after it was over. I haven’t received a group certificate or tax stamps from the army yet, have you?

I haven’t seen Wally about the flash for the camera yet, as I think I will take it with me and take some photos of the wedding. If I can work it that is. I think I will come home from Dubbo on the Wednesday after the wedding by train, or I may even be able to get a lift back with someone, who is going up for the wedding from down this way. It may be best if you don’t address any of my letters up there, as they may not get there until after I leave, as the mail has been pretty iregular lately, & besides it will be an excuse for me to come home. For if they try to talk me into staying longer I can say that I am busting to get home to get your letters.

Well as usual it is getting late, so I must close now Honey just remember that you have all my love & thoughts always.

Your everloving & faithful wife,

Sandra. xxxxx.

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Who let the dogs in?

The Wedded Bliss, Space Party, Mikelangelo & the Tin Star. MacGregor Hall, Friday 5 March 2010
by Zeke

The endearing and dishevelled surroundings of MacGregor Hall provided the perfect venue for a wonderfully coherent mix of country, blues, and surf and western music on a rainy March night.

The Wedded Bliss were first up with a short and lovely warm-up set that showed, once again, why they are one of Canberra’s finest outfits. Their effortless charm is a real joy and for this brief show they performed as a drummer-less trio – a combination that made it easy for them to eventually vacate the confines of the small, but unreliable, stage.

When Randall Blair announced that the stage had holes in it they simply moved to the vacant dance floor and finished their set there. In a small hall with a timber floor and lots of bare surfaces this was no problem, and we could all hear them without any trouble. All too soon, it seemed, they were done.

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Gertrude’s Diary #142 – Domestic Cleansing

Greetings ‘netlings, and apologies for neglecting you the last fortnight.  I returned from Corinbank exhausted and physically ruined and was singularly lacking in inspiration.  Also, there was a letter waiting, informing me that my house is to be inspected by the property manager who handles my lease.  Oh happy day!

That little bubble of resentment rises up whenever I’m informed that a stranger is going to come to my home and check for  dust on the skirting boards.  Perhaps I’m just strange, but I don’t really pay much attention to the skirting boards, and I’m pretty sure my friends and family don’t, either.

Wildflower certainly doesn’t care; she’d wade through half a metre of dust and detritus without batting an eyelid, if her bedroom is anything to go by.  I tackled her cave of horrors on Sunday; I started tentatively on the edges, but in the end I got a broom and just swept the tide of plastic Sino-crap into the middle of the room.   I like to do things methodically, which requires an intimate knowledge of children’s playthings.  It’s no good trying to sift through the mountain of brightly-coloured plastic unless you can tell a My Little Pony’s shoe from a Littlest Pet Shop’s hat. “No Mother, that is Polly Pocket’s wardrobe, not Brights Brightly’s water trough.”

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Vietnam Letters #71

Postmark 20th July, 1970

My Dearest Sandra,

Well I don’t know if you are getting my mail or not, but I am not getting any thanks to all the strikes back in Australia. It’s six thirty < and raining like mad, water everywhere, has been raining heavy all night. Saturday was a compleately a day off for us, the first day we have ever had off since I have been over here. There was a show on that day too, it wasn’t to bad but not as good as some that come over. Had to work half day Sunday but we had most of it off also. Got to the P.X. yesterday and got watches for the Cassilles, but there wasn’t much there as they are waiting on a new shipment of stores. The kids watches cost $9 each and are ok for kids. I guess I will get them posted sooner or later at one at a time as to avoide duty. The fry pans were only a few dollars cheaper than they are at home so I decided not to get one as it would cost quite a bit to post it home and may even be dearer than what it would cost you. Hell I wish I were home with you Sandra, I love you and am missing you more and more every day, I am just longing for the day when we will be to-gether  again my love. Well Sandra I shall finish up  for now. I love you and you are allway with me dear in my heart.

Loveing you always,

I love you.

Jock. xxx.

10th Apr 70

Hi Darling,

Just a few lines to tell you, if you ask Pat, Ron’s wife for a film reel of his movie projector to run this tape on to play it as I don’t think you will have the other one before you get this tape. I love you and will always love you Sandra.

Loveing you forever. Jock. xxxx.

PS You might have to change the speed on the tape recorder, if you don’t know how to do this ask Sandy. I love you always. Jock. xxxx.

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