Saturday, December 02, 2017

Bye bye Red

Just before the major ABC news bulletin at 7.45 yesterday morning, I thought I was hearing a joke, or something that had happened earlier in the programme that I missed. Did my ears deceive me?

Breakfast broadcaster Red Symons announced his retirement from radio. I would guess he was on a annual contract and it was simply not renewed. To quote him about the non renewal, "I did not ask and they did not tell me" (why).

The Age newspaper called it, ABC broadcaster Red Symons has announced he is hanging up his headphones, after he was sacked from his breakfast show.

His broadcasting style was unique. Not since the late Peter Evans has there been such a broadcaster. He endeared himself to many listeners, and while I haven't looked at radio ratings of late, I believe he was the second highest rated Melbourne breakfast broadcaster, but I am not sure if that includes FM stations. Young people don't generally listen to AM radio. (Later: generally third highest rated breakfast broadcaster across AM and FM in Melbourne, and once winning a survey period)

I suppose our ABC Radio knows what it is doing. R could not bear Symons when he began, but has become a similarly devoted listener as I am. R suggested that our ABC want  a national local radio breakfast programme, but I doubt that. I think the real reason behind Symons non contract renewal sacking is his age. At 68, he is getting on. He did blot his copybook earlier this year when interviewing a fellow ABC broadcaster, using his normal style of humour and had to apologise for what was perceived as racism. That was fair enough. But you have to understand his sense of humour to see where he was going. By playing the racist comment, he brings strongly held prejudices into the open and up for discussion. But, the person was offended and he probably went too far, hence the apology.

There is plenty of talent within our ABC who could replace him, but I suspect it will take me a long time to get used to anyone new. Because I am a shift worker, I have listened to all ABC Melbourne broadcasters until a few years ago. I have ceased to be such a fan, now only listening to Red in the breakfast slot, Jon Faine in the morning, AM, The World Today and PM at times.

I was less than impressed with the boss of Our ABC Ms Guthrie's announcement of a shake up. I am even more than concerned at what may happen at RN, where they make expensive radio programmes of very high quality. Most are podcast and the numbers of downloads, mine included, are extraordinary.

Back to Red. As he said, he had five years as a (mega) pop star, ten years in tv and fifteen years on the radio. Do not worry. I have other irons in the fire, so to speak. He was full of optimism as he spoke of his departure. This coming week will be his last on air. I think ABC Radio has treated him badly and made a mistake, but time will tell. Perhaps it has a cracker broadcaster set up to take over. If you are not in Melbourne, you can listen to him online next week, AEDT 5:30 to 7:45.

Pop star Red, of the band Skyhooks.

TV Red, Red Faces on Hey, Hey, It's Saturday.

Radio broadcaster Red, on ABC Melbourne.

I will really miss Red on the radio. Thank you Red for the laughs and the education over so many years.

The bitchy old queen, John Michael Howson, was also sacked today from a commercial radio station after suggesting greenies should hang themselves. No loss at all. I could add something personal about him, but I shan't.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Mary Schneider

I first heard of Mary Schneider on our local Melbourne gay radio station Joy Melbourne, 94.9 on the FM dial. She was interviewed by the late Adam Stobbs, with whom she seemed to form a rapport, as she made a return visit to the station, or a phone interview at least.

I thought she was brilliant. Her daughter Malinda walks in her mother's footsteps and she is pretty cool too.

Ah, you are wondering. What does this Mary do? Well, she yodels. She does so very well, and her daughter does too.

I was reminded of her when she had a chat with execrable Macca a couple of weeks ago on our ABC Radio, and she sounded just lovely. I heard a piece that she recorded in America, but I cannot find it on YouTube. Make do with this.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Block

The tv programme The Block has contestants renovating various types of properties. One such property was an old 60s motel in Park Street South Melbourne, renovated and made into apartments by the contestants in 2013. The series was called Sky High. The vertical gardens are rather attractive.

So how are the vertical gardens faring some four years later? Not terribly well, I'm afraid. The building looks terrible.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Place names

Chelsea in London is a very expensive, if not the most expensive part of London. Read Marie's latest most interesting post on Sloane Square and Chelsea in London as she continues her Tube line investigations. Chelsea in greater Melbourne was once known as a rough outer seaside suburb. Maybe it is not so rough now, but not too many social climbers aspire to live in Melbourne's Chelsea.

Camberwell is not a highly desirable London suburb, yet our Camberwell in our bible belt is ever so desirable. Pubs are illegal in our Camberwell. If a restaurant wants to serve alcohol, it must go to a council vote of local residents. (this may have changed recently).

I have struggled for years to get the locations of local towns Winchelsea and Whittlesea correct. We drove through Winchelsea on the way to our nephew's wedding, so that is finally sorted in my head. Not so Braybrook and Braeside. Without confidence I say, Braybrook is south and Braeside is north. No, it must be the other way around. Dunno, really.

Then there are our tongue twisting Aboriginal place names and it took me years to get the pronunciation of Wurundjeri Way (say it as it is spelt) correct, and of course I misspell it too and had to Google to get that right.

Oh well, at least we never adopted difficult Welsh place names and don't have to get our tongues around such weird place names such as our found in Wales. John Gray of Wales has twice had local people pronounce the name of the village where he lives, and I am really none the wiser. This is the latest effort for Trelawnyd.

To think, the Welsh language was dying out and some fool government has resurrected it!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Elwood Village

We had to head south for some reason I have now forgotten. Where to brunch was the question on our minds. I suggested Elwood Village, a lovely residential part of the City of Port Phillip (St Kilda). Elwood Village is based along Ormond Road. It is a strange area as it is considered an inner suburb, yet it doesn't have trams, which is very odd. There are a couple of bus routes that pass through and Elsternwick Railway Station is about 1 kilometre away, and so it is an unusually highly car dependant inner area.

However, Elwood was not always so public transport poor. For reasons I have forgotten, rather than by private companies and local councils, Victorian Railways built a tram line from St Kilda Station to Brighton Beach Station. It differed from the rest of Melbourne's tram system in that it used broad gauge tracks, the same as Victoria's trains, and not standard gauge as is Melbourne's normal tram system. Unfortunately the line was closed down about 1960, a very bad period of time for tram systems around the world.

About ten years ago I took this photo that says 'Cars Stop Here', meaning it was a tram stop. Amazing that it was still visible four and a half decades later after the system closed.

It would have been nice if it was preserved in some way, but no. As you can see, it has now been painted over. What a shame.

Just a few snaps I took after we had a  bite to eat at the bakery. This is some variety of bottlebrush.

This is famous cafe on the corner, so famous I cannot recall its name. Turtle comes to mind.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Comeuppance comes crashing down upon him

I was thinking of writing something along the lines of this Fairfax newspaper piece. My grandmother could not abide anyone showing off, putting on side, being flashy or being a skite. I am sure she would have disliked Salim Mehajer with a passion. I reckon I would have agreed with what I am sure would have been her opinion of Mehajer. Photo from the Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Read the story at this link with pictures or just the text down below. The German language has such a terrific word, schadenfreude, translated to English as pleasure in another person's discomfort. If smart arse Mehajer doesn't end up in gaol for a good time, I will be very disappointed.

There was a time when Salim Mehajer, controversy magnet and one-time local councillor, could fly under the radar in Sydney.
That golden era drew to a close in January 2012 when the property developer and aspiring politician lost control of his $300,000 Ferrari and injured two women in the city's west.
It is the first documented instance of car trouble for a man now famous for his bad luck behind the wheel.
Mehajer, then 25, was eyeing a spot on the now-defunct Auburn Council after an unsuccessful tilt at the state seat of Auburn at the 2011 election when he hit a 68-year-old woman and her daughter-in-law at The Boulevarde in Lidcombe.
He blamed the crash on a "car admirer" who ran out to take a snap of his luxury wheels.
"I get a lot of attention in that car, as you can understand," he said at the time.
Months later, in September 2012, Mehajer was elected to Auburn Council – a victory now at the centre of an electoral fraud trial – and the Local Court convicted him in October of negligent driving.
The conviction was overturned on appeal to the District Court – but Mehajer's car troubles appeared to kick up a gear in 2017. 
Here are the highlights of Mehajer's horror year, on and off the road.
Pundits pondered whether Mehajer would have been better off getting an Uber after a series of unfortunate incidents vis-a-vis taxis.
The former councillor was handcuffed and frisked by police in Ibiza in the weeks before Christmas 2016 after an altercation with a Spanish taxi driver. No charges were laid.
Back on home soil, Mehajer was charged with assaulting a cabbie outside The Star casino in the early hours of April 2 by throwing an eftpos machine at the driver's face.
Mehajer was charged with a second assault later that day as he was being whisked away from Sydney City police station on Day Street in a Porsche, after a taxi driver aborted the fare.
Channel Seven journalist Laura Banks was caught between the car door and the Porsche as Mehajer attempted to flee a media scrum outside the police station. He was charged with assaulting Banks.
If things were subpar in the passenger seat, Mehajer fared no better behind the wheel.
He was due to face two back-to-back assault trials over the April incidents, starting on October 16, when he was allegedly involved in a car crash in his white Mercedes SUV in Delhi Street, Lidcombe. The trials were delayed until next year.
A spokesman for Mehajer told Fairfax Media any suggestion the crash was staged was "ludicrous", "evil" and "irrational".
NSW Police subsequently raided Mehajer's luxury Lidcombe home in connection with an "ongoing investigation". It is believed to be related to the car crash.
Mehajer's courtroom dramas were legion in 2017 and he faced a string of civil and criminal trials.
After months maintaining his innocence he pleaded guilty in November to failing to disclose his political donations by the September deadline last year, when he was still deputy mayor of Auburn.
He was fined $3300 and ordered to pay the prosecution's legal costs, which exceeded the fine.
The former councillor is still at the centre of a long-running electoral fraud trial and has pleaded not guilty to more than 100 offences related to his alleged rigging of the 2012 Auburn Council election.
His sister Fatima, who also stood for election but missed out on a spot, was to stand trial alongside him but pleaded guilty on the first day of the trial to 77 counts of giving false or misleading information to the Australian Electoral Commission.
The offences attract a potential prison sentence.
Mehajer was also ordered to cough up almost $700,000 plus legal costs after the District Court found he failed to pay for elaborate stonework at his palatial home in Lidcombe, dubbed a "marble palace" by Judge Judith Gibson.
To cap it off, the property developer boasts the distinction of being involved in one of the shortest Court of Appeal hearings in history.
In August Justice Anthony Meagher cut short an appeal by Mehajer against a Supreme Court ruling that administrators were validly appointed to two of his financially ailing companies by asking bluntly: "What are we doing here?"
Mehajer's lawyer conceded the appeal could not succeed and the three-judge bench dismissed the appeal in minutes.
Outside the courtroom, the colourful developer had the odd tussle with his own lawyers. Two of Mehajer's solicitors asked the court for permission to stop acting for him in unrelated cases over financial disputes.
In June one lawyer was forced to continue acting for him, despite expressing fears he would not be paid, after the Supreme Court found he made the application to cease acting for Mehajer too close to the hearing date.
Where he goes, the media hounds follow. The social media-savvy Mehajer appears at times to revel in the limelight but the negative publicity clearly hit a nerve in October.
Mehajer took the unusual step of issuing a 2am press release – via his solicitor sister Zenah Osman – on October 28, threatening to launch "Australia's Largest Case of Defamation" against a host of media outlets.
"I let the media throw in all the punches for the past 20 months and watched my case build just like a business deal," Mehajer said in the letter, addressed to Fairfax Media and styled an "exclusive story".
"I think now though, it has reached its peak and its [sic] time I commenced legal proceedings. All proceeds will be donated to charity."
Damages were calculated at $103 million, far in excess of Rebel Wilson's historic $4.56 million defamation damages payout earlier this year.
Fairfax Media was told the claim would be filed on November 2. It was not.
It was a lavish wedding and an elaborate pre-ceremony video that catapulted Mehajer into the national spotlight in August 2015 – before the relationship soured and police applied for an apprehended violence order to protect his estranged wife, Aysha, in July 2016.
Undeterred, Mehajer exhibited the kind of bullishness for which he is famous by announcing a new wedding and events planning businessin October this year.
A small roadblock emerged in November when the sole director of his wedding venture, Ahmed Jaghbir, was charged over his alleged role in the murder of bikie associate and underworld figure Kemel "Blackie" Barakat in March.
Less than a fortnight later, the wedding preparations of Mehajer's sister Aisha and her groom Sam Sayour – the nephew of nightclub boss John Ibrahim – were interrupted, but not halted, by the shooting of Ibrahim's bodyguard Semi "Tongan Sam" Ngata.
It was, perhaps, the most Mehajer of moments.
Hours after he was arrested in the early hours of November 20 for dangerous driving and breaching an AVO by allegedly stalking his estranged wife, Aysha, his lawyer sought bail for Mehajer and promised the court his client would stay off Instagram.
The social media account, which boasts 194,000 followers, features hundreds of photos of Mehajer posing in luxury cars and sporting designer jewellery and accessories.
Shortly before his arrest, Mehajer had published a cryptic post on Instagram that included a photo of himself and Aysha along with a claim his account had been hacked. The post was deleted by the time he was conveyed to Burwood Local Court in a police van, dressed in a hoodie and thongs.
Magistrate Joy Boulos said she would impose "very stringent" bail conditions on the 31-year-old, which would ensure he was kept "virtually under house arrest" at a residence in Vaucluse.
He was also ordered not to contact his estranged wife via Instagram and to stay out of her suburb of Kingsgrove.
The unrelated dangerous driving charge involved a collision between his white Audi and a Toyota Corolla.
"The crash didn't wake me, he did," one local resident said of the profanities allegedly hurled by Mehajer after the crash.
The good burghers of Vaucluse may be in for quite a summer.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

A little rant on young people and their first home

I thought the arguments and reasoning in this Fairfax Press article, on high property prices and how young people are struggling to buy a home, quite sound until I reached almost the end and this single sentence caused some steam to emit from my ears.

Older generations who joined the housing party were able to take out large mortgages, safe in the knowledge that inflation would erode the real value of the loan, while wage gains would boost their ability to repay.

Believe me, when I managed to cobble together $5,000 in 1982, a couple of thousand first home buyers government grant, a few thousand borrowed on my credit card that I had to fudge figures for as it would not have been acceptable to the lender, a couple of thousand borrowed from R and a $30,000 loan from a building society (higher interest rate than a bank) to buy a $42,000 house, I was not safe with any knowledge that inflation would erode the value of the loan or wage gains would boost my ability to pay off the loan. I worked six days a week for a number of years before dropping back to six days every second week. I never felt any sort of financial security until about 1993. In a decade we had one modest holiday to New Zealand, the cost lessened by us having a third person with us, after which we vowed we would never travel so closely with a third person again.

The house had barely any hot water, clogged and rusted old pipes, non functioning Holland blinds, moth eaten carpet, a semi outside lav that was filthy in the worst possible way, broken sheets of fibro cement on the garage with heavy wooden doors that were nearly falling off, no roof insulation, a broken concrete driveway, a tiny fanless gas heater in the lounge room ....the list is very long. Over the years we worked very hard to turn it into a comfortable home, and we did.

Young people have my full sympathy and I do think it is harder than ever to get that start with the first property, but don't ever think it was easy for most of us and we certainly went without to make that start.

Tram Works 2

OMG. The concrete breakers are at work. I think there were a total of six, to break up the old tram track set in concrete.

The noise was only for one day, I think, but so loud. It was the day the fragile Hippie Niece, her sister Oldest Niece and all four younguns visited, along with the nieces' mother. What a nightmare, including parking.

Ah, trenching to connect up the new tram tracks.

A big trench, I think for stormwater.

Trees are protected from being bumped my machinery.

We've got new track down below.

Remember, the sleepers sit on a layer of compacted fill, a layer of concrete goes around the sleepers, then compacted gravel, followed by asphalt.

The machinery used for laying track is so high tech.

Coming into shape.

Very neat.

It is dark? No reason to stop working.

Look, connection of tracks.

Am I the only person who remembers the tv show, The Rag Trade? when I was in utero? "Everybody out!"

This is good. The asphalt is going in. Things are nearing completion.

Tram stop patforms are being formed.