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Ze Peeg Ees Blind

The Blind Pig. Sat June 26, QL2 Theatre, Gorman House
by Claudia Caton

The Blind Pig immediately had two things going for it – the timing, that of the partial lunar eclipse, which put on a good show, and the setting of that particular venue.  I’ve always loved the feel of that approach from the “gate keepers” down the stairs, looking down to the foyer, which in this case was almost the main stage of the event.  Here were sets of lounges where people milled; Min Mae had a peep booth where volunteers were encouraged to be ‘victims’ of sumptuous fondling while other audience members peeped through holes cut in the surrounding draped cloth.  Various beverages were being sold, but none as sumptuously as the absinthe.  This was served by a well-moustached gentleman – almost a circus director – armed with a lavish antique water fountain which mixed the liquor.  At $8 a pop, I was sad to have a fresh one knocked over into a plant while watching the lunar entertainment outside, until the door folk pointed out one that had been abandoned on their bench and would I like it?… That’s probably how I achieved a sudden skill in speaking hieroglyphics later on… but not before enjoying the dancing girls assimilating with the crowd, including Fifi Noir and her very adept belly dancing isolations. [Read more →]

Chiffon #125. Alas Poor Kevin


I am like a lot of your politically vague average Joes reeling from the events that took place in Parliament House the other day. Australia got another taste of the political solution to waywardness which, according to a lot of commentators on the machine, was where the Labor Party was. I should explain my reeling is the same sort of reeling you get when you witness precision in execution of anything, such as a goal scored in soccer or anything else like that. It is refreshing to know that there exist solutions to what could have become a more embarrassing situation.

The thing that really I found disturbing and hard to watch was the outgoing speech by our outgoing captain. You could tell, or I thought I could, the nature of his (Kevin Rudds) pain. It must be difficult to give up the Lodge, school life in Canberra etcetera. I have trouble coming to terms with occasions such as this, watching Mr. Rudd trying to get a cheer out of the day by painfully stating what was not necessary to say. Of course the majority of Australia is proud, proud that we have a system of government that allows for taking steps backwards as well as forwards and not taking steps if needed. Not since Mr. Whitlam’s dismissal have we witnessed people acting independently to save the country from impending disaster, in their opinions.

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Best School Band Concert Eva

So the story goes something like this. Lenny Kravitz is wandering through New Orleans and hears a school band playing one of his songs. Then this happens…

Gertrude’s Diary #150 – It’s not you, it’s me.

When we met, Joe Oppenheimer asked me “So, what’s your story?”

To which I answered, “Once upon a time there was a girl from the western suburbs of Sydney who grew through shame and grief into a self-destructive, unexamined and unhappy adulthood, but by dint of a liberal arts degree, lots of music, appreciation of the natural world, a beautiful daughter and the friendship of some truly wonderful people, was able to attain self-knowledge and happiness of an unexpected measure.”

Trite, isn’t it? If only it were that simple. As you’ll know if you’ve read a few of these entries, I walk on a knife’s edge, a beautiful but treacherous precipice that might crumble beneath me and tip me into a river of despair. Or, it might broaden out and climb into an airy plateau, whereupon I can pluck amusing thoughts and delightful distractions like wildflowers in a meadow.

Gertrude has been a great solace to me on this journey, but her weekly creation channels my thoughts along the most frivolous lines, and she isn’t really me.  Friends scoff at this, but I feel I have some case for saying so.  Yes, sometimes I have been ruthlessly honest here about the circumstances of my life, but at most other times I’ve embellished for comic effect. For instance, I’ve never woken up with my head in a cupboard.  Nor was I born in 1908, and I don’t live in a treehouse.  More importantly, the really deep rhythms of my life are not translatable here.  The point – rammed home to me by my collaboration on this script – is that stories hide the truth.  Sometimes purely fictional, and at all times just a tiny selection of the feelings and thoughts that I have deemed fit for public consumption, this little blog is written for amusement, not revelation.

I have been told by one of my more intelligent and sophisticated readers that he doesn’t read my blog “for information”, he reads it “for entertainment”.  And there’s my problem.  Because the information I have is that we have a tiny window, the next 10 years perhaps, to save the world from the perilous consequences of fossil-fuel driven greed, and entertainment just seems a little insignificant in comparison.

My truth, the one I cannot escape, is that there is a lot of work to be done, and I think we all need to do it.  Even the people reading this, who have continued to read GD over the years, and have given me the encouragement to keep writing it.  Thank you.

Please visit here for the last word on Gertrude’s Diary.

I done it for youse all.

Chiffon #124. Kewell Runnings

Oh Dear!

Do you wake up to hear the day fall apart? This happened to me the other morning, but I quickly got over it. The cause for my hopeless optimism is simple. That movie with the late John Candy. I wonder how many Aussies have seen this movie and what is their attraction to it ? Are they addicted to banging their heads against a brick wall? Apparently it was a true story and some clever entrepreneurial type made a movie about the Jamaican bobsled team competing in Calgary, Canada at the Winter Olympics.

Well I would like to run a script by you. I call it Kewell Running. It is about an island nation who, due to their location and isolation, loneliness and nationality, are insecure and have been excluded from the European Football League but, due to the mother country, England, having a large and energetic soccer league (or so it is reported in this colonial nation), the seed is planted and soon desire to participate  in the Wembley phenomenon reaches fever pitch. A campaign is launched, money is spent and now the taxpayer wants to know what they got for their time and money.

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Gertrude’s Diary #149 – Awkward and Uncomfortable

A small list of things that make me awkward and uncomfortable.

Last week I was a passenger in a taxi and English was not the first language of the driver and I told him to take the next left and when he said “Left here?” I said, “That’s right”.  Then I thought to myself, “that’s kind of confusing isn’t it, when you think about it.”  So I decided not to say it next time he asked, “Left here?” and then when he did ask again I said “That’s right”, exactly the same way.  That made me feel awkward.

When I am in the presence of musical or artistic genius (except all the musical and artistic genius who I already know and am friends with – phew! close save there), I get all tongue-tied and babble incoherently, which is awkward, uncomfortable and embarrassing for everyone involved – kind of a natural disaster of social unease.  That is what happened when I pod-casted recently; curse you Fun Machine.  You shattered my fragile facade of urbane sophistication and left behind a starry-eyed automaton whose only purpose is to spread news of your talents to the wider public.  Anonymously.

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Chiffon #123. Biennial Bash


I ‘ave ‘ad one of my shit weeks and I of course will tell you why and you will think it is my fault and I will of course point out the errors that are evident that will make you be on my side a bit but you will no doubt stare at me and say when am I going to take responsibility and I will ‘ate you for not being more gentle with me, and for being right. I wonder when wrong will be the new right?

It all started (my shit week) not on any particular day like the working week starts on Monday or the weekend starts on Saturday, no mine started last Thursday morning. And in order to grasp my state of mind on that particular day it is necessary to introduce you to the intrusions which have been availing themselves in the last few months.

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James Fahy/Joe Oppenheimer CD Launch Pics

Pics by qedqed

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James Fahy

Present: Jim Boots, John Griffiths, Sharkie, Feline, Ben, Dani

Our guests are James Fahy and Joe Oppenheimer

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/pod125.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 25th May.

Click read more (if it’s working) for the track list and more pics.

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INSATIABLE BANALITIES #124. Readable Graffiti

Readable Graffiti

Present: Jim Boots, John Griffiths, Sharkie

Our guest Chris Readable, Christian Graffiti and Buttons Machiavelly of Readable Graffiti (and Betty)

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/pod124.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 11th May.

Click read more (if it’s working) for the track list and more pics.

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I Viaggiatori – Review

I Viaggiatori and Dante Musica Viva Choir @ The Merry Muse. Saturday 5 June, 2010
By ComedyGoatee

Arriving at the Merry Muse a little late, the Bistro cum auditorium of the Turner Bowling Club was already at capacity. Organisers seemed pleasantly surprised by the turnout and with a little moving of tables and adding chairs squeezed everyone in the room.

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The Dante Musica Choir, backed by three members of the Canberra Mandolin Orchestra, was in full voice as I arrived –clearly enjoying the performance as much as the audience was. Well executed songs were interspersed with potted translations and invitations to dance or join the choir.

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Gertrude’s Diary #148 – Life After Blog. Does It Exist?

My last blog should have ended with the words – “I’m just stepping outside for a moment and may be some time.”   Except that rather than perishing in the frozen waste like Captain Oates,  I’ve merely lost the will to blog… well, that might be a bit melodramatic.  I still haven’t decided whether this entry is evidence that I had just temporarily misplaced my creative urge, or is in fact the last gasp of a dying muse.  Not to be melodramatic.

I have to admit that I do yell at the television a lot more when I’m not writing this thing, so perhaps I should continue for therapeutic reasons.  As previous entries will attest, I like the ephemerality of television, a pleasure that is being eroded by these new-fangled contraptions like TiVo, Iview and YouTube.  Clearly no one is going to be bothered watching Weekend Sunrise when they have a week’s worth of Neighbours to get through.  The studios know this and adjust their budgets accordingly by not having any production standards.  This can be the only explanation for the bloke whose contribution to a light-hearted discussion of one of the day’s news stories was that all the girls who won the US National Spelling Bee in the last 15 years “are still virgins.”  This feeds into the trend of audience attrition by driving them away with redundant content – if people wanted to watch that sort of stuff, they would simply Google, “boorish, Neanderthal, sexist, moron, scrotehead.”

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Jude Kohn

Present: Jim Boots, John Griffiths, Sharkie, Gertrude, Feline

Our guest is Jude Kohn

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/pod123.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 13th April.

Track List:

History. 7:13
Love Her Only. 16:11
If You Can Hear Me. 25:46
In My Pocket. 36:07
Top Shelf. 45:32

Anonymous Smiles

Songs to Make you Smile: Rafe and the well dressed with cabaret shenanigans directed by Hadley. Tuggeranong Arts Centre, Thurs 27 May, 2010
by Anon

The location was the Tuggeranong Arts Centre, in a small top-floor bar with tables, chairs and a cosy stage. I attended the opening night Thursday performance. The setting was intimate, and as the audience entered, there were strange characters roving the room – all decked out with whacky costumes sporting new york accents. The format mostly consisted of song-skit-song, but occasionally there was hilarity from the non-musician-performers who acted out skits during the songs themselves.

The “well dressed” band (trumpet, clarinet, double-bass, drums and keys) were highly accomplished, with Bec Taylor stunningly keeping everyone together even when Rafe’s characteristically charming looseness revealed his opening night nerves. The songs were a mixture of Rafe’s new and old material (I think) including a guest cameo from the one and only Drew Walky for a spot of Soctor Deuss – this was the first time I’ve heard Rafe perform a set since his return from overseas, and his new material was a happy addition to his existing catalogue – more light and amusing, tuneful observations on people and places. Tops.

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