Sunday, June 16, 2019

A Brunswick Street Stroll

This should perhaps be called a Brunswick Street Memoir.

Although I am very much a south of the river person, I quite like Brunswick Street, Fitzroy to the north of the river and we have visited the street many times but not so much lately. It is the natural home of the bearded hipster and the more 'interesting' people in our society. Even now as it has become an expensive area to reside, it still had the alternative feel.

In the early nineties I used to go there for lunch with a former workmate who was then a 'receptionist' in a brothel. I believe the gay equivalent is 'towel boy'. It was called The Angel and the dyke who owned and ran it was very nice to us. My friend for a couple of years pretended she was a dyke and knew how to flirt with dykes.

We had an absolutely wonderful lunch once with our Brother Friends at a place called Red Tongue?, our outdoor table surrounded by tables of minimally dressed hot European and Middle Eastern men. We didn't know where to look as we were overwhelmed with air redolent of straight male testosterone. It too has long gone.

We took Hippie Niece at about the age of 16 to Madame Sousatzkas for lunch and she was most impressed with the staff in in frilly short black dresses with lacy white aprons, and she also liked that the female staff wore them too. It has also gone.

I can't remember why but a couple of times we went there at night with friends, perhaps the early nineties, and parked at a place called the Bullring. I really can't remember what that was about.

Another time we were invited to a party by a gay couple we knew who lived in the parallel Fitzroy Street. It was nice old modernised two storey Victorian period house. We hung and chatted to the guys we knew in the kitchen but none us of missed that there was nude male spa bathing happening within our view. That was fine. Eventually we decided to look around the house and went upstairs and my goodness, what was happening in a very large dark room full of men even made my hair curl. We were at a gay orgy party. We descended the stairs with alacrity, not that we disapproved, but it was just so unexpected. We had no idea. The song, You'll Always Find Me in the Kitchen at Parties comes to mind, and we returned to the kitchen.

Now after a writing break I remember them. One was called David, an incomprehensible Scot who worked as a geologist for overseas companies and hence was away from home for extended periods.  The other was John, an Australian born person I think. They opened a bar called Jocks in I think Peel Street off Smith Street in Collingwood that went on to become Gay Trade Bar. It was a good venue. I know I've done this before but I forget. The same premises was once a posh restaurant and former  conservative politician Andrew Peacock and American actor Shirley MaClaine had something to do with it. Glo Glos?

After we moved to The Highrise in the early 2000s, we still went to Brunswick Street to have a cheap hair cuts at GI Joe's. There was a modern post office opposite and to my surprise when I went in to buy stamps, a gay former workmate was behind the counter. We exchanged phone numbers and neither of us called each other. He was also known to our friend who died last year. Both GI Joe's and the post office have gone.

Well, as R says, I live in the past. Not quite true, as I recently visited Brunswick Street and it struck me that there are so many.....things on roofs above shops.

It was before Easter and in spite of the advertising in the shop, I couldn't find an Easter egg for R. I Guggled and found my secret new Easter egg place in Church Street, Richmond, which is where I went on to after Brunswick Street.

Don't lie to to me. You know very well that with these radios you had to wait for the valves to warm up before the radio would come on. Yes, transistors were around in your youth, but valve radios were part of your childhood.

How cool.

A naked baby above a shop that has closed down. One can only imagine.

Shifty people can be very nice, as the steal from your pocket.

Is it a Friesian cow?

A tasteful more modern building among all the old Victorian period falling down buildings.

It looks a bit like a clock.

Polyester was an iconic place. Looks like it has gone now.

Has to be something to do with hairdressing.

The Brunswick Street streetscape hasn't been attacked too badly, with plenty of nice old buildings remaining.

I couldn't decide which of these photos to use.

Not all businesses come and go, with the excellent and popular cafe Black Cat surviving for over three decades.

I chose to have coffee at Marios, almost unchanged for over three decades.

Later edit: Two other businesses that have been in Brunswick Street for a long time, Fitzroy Nursery, a plant nursery and Lucrezia & De Sade. While I've looked in the window, I didn't quite realise what the shop stocked. Oh my!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Corkman Hotel

I thought I wrote about it at the time, but it seems not. Two developers, Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski , illegally demolished the historic 1856 Corkman Hotel on the edge of the city in the inner suburb of Carlton. They left asbestos exposed to be blown around by the wind, and then illegally dumped asbestos in an outer western area at two sites. The covering over of the remaining debris was perfunctory.

The community was outraged. Our State Government thundered that the two would be severely punished, would have to rebuild the pub and would not profit from the illegal demolition. The 'contrite' developers promised to rebuild the hotel.

The developers have been fined $1.3 million but planning laws will allow them to build an up to 12 storey new apartment building by about 2021 after an ok by our State Planning Minister. 12 storeys is not going to sit well in the low rise area. To developers $1.3 million is a minor expense in making millions by building a twelve storey apartment building. If you don't think these two pieces of scum didn't know what they were doing, think again. They knew there would be consequences and were prepared to wear them to make a killing with a property development in a prime location. 

Shame on our State Government Planning Minister Richard Wyne, shame, shame, shame.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Getting Lucky (no, I didn't)

I haven't put up any Red Army Choir covering Daft Punk songs of late. Here they are in a radio studio which took a little tracking down. It is French Station NRJ, Nouvelle Radio Jeune, and usually referred to as Energy. Nyet. It is in Moscow and I suspect a branch of the Paris station. It is curious to me that a US? rapper is the DJ.

Aren't they impossibly clean cut and I reckon one of the lead singers is particularly cute. I don't think you will have any problem working out each one.

Fun and happy music, nice.

Thursday, June 13, 2019


A conversation overheard on a tram between two about 13 year old private schoolboys in Melbourne's salubrious and tree lined eastern suburbs.

"Your dad is a doctor. Have you ever seen a bad doctor?"

"I think my dad is a really good doctor. No, I haven't seen a bad doctor. I see a friend of my dad's."

"I saw a bad one once. He was totally lacking in interpersonal and communication skills."

I don't think I could stop my eyes from rolling.

Here is a photo of a couple of private school boys on a tram.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Note to self

Not too many extra tours to take during our UK tour. Dublin music and dancing sounds like fun and I expect drinks will be involved. Beatles tour in Liverpool might be interesting.

I don't want to catch anything, so I will watch others kiss the Blarney Stone.

WTF is Giant's Causeway in Northern Island. I guess we will find out. During our NZ cruise, this was highly recommended to us.

It will take only about four minutes longer using the Piccadilly Line to get to our hotel in London rather than the Heathrow Express, and much cheaper. It would take much longer in a taxi or Uber. We have no idea what credit we have on our Oyster Cards, but I expect very little. We will need to top them up before travelling. (Must check out foreign transaction fees for Uber) Buses from Greenwich North Station to our hotel are confusing but there are lots of them.

Ah, whiskey tasting in Scotland. Just the one thanks. Ok, if you insist.......

Money worked out. We will use our bank's travel card and take some notes. We are four days in Ireland and will need Euro. We haven't worked that out yet.

Phone data card worked out, Vodafone. Will buy at Heathrow. I think 40gb for £30. But it won't work in Ireland. We will worry about that at the time. Maybe hunt for free wifi or perhaps there is cheap data card to buy there.

We are taking a day trip to Brighton and will probably come back as gays. Great kudos to you if you know what that reference is about. Half an hour to London Bridge from our hotel to catch the train to Brighton. We will allow an hour and maybe have time for coffee.

R wants to see the changing of the Palace Guard. I have worked on that. Get there early.  I want to see the dropped aitches at Soho Square, and perhaps go to a sleazy Soho gay bar. Again, well done if you know the reference about dropped aitches. Perhaps easier than coming back from Brighton as gays.

Called in sick to work today and I am seeing my doctor tomorrow. In spite of a change of medication my blood pressure is through the roof. Such a shame that I should be on long service leave but am not,  and all these medical issues would be dealt with within my leave. Instead I am constantly having to use work paid sick leave to address my medical issues.

I have another medical appointment next week, another day sick leave from work.

Later edit: Also recommended to us in Northern Ireland is the Titanic Museum. We may have some free time there to see that.

Later edit: Actor Liz Smith played Nana in The Royle Family and she knew someone who went to Brighton and 'came back a gay'. From  a song sung by the Henry Higgins character in My Fair Lady, 'see  them all in Soho Square, dropping aitches everywhere', in reference to how they speak.