Saturday, August 30, 2008

Don't believe your eyes

I spent a couple of interesting hours this week roaming the streets of North Melbourne. I found some great old sign pics for the 'top secret' project. There are three places opposite the North Melbourne Town Hall to have coffee. I chose the busiest one, the one where all the criminal looking types seem to get their caffeine fix, the ones who are yet to graduate to Lygon Street.

It had slipped my mind, but emblazoned on a kind of annex to the town hall was Hotham Free Library. North Melbourne used to be known as Hotham.

Opposite where I was sitting was this very elaborate drinking fountain. It was donated by a previous mayor of Hotham, a Scottish immigrant called Thomas Henderson, when his term ended.

Even back then we relied on imported goods, and the the fountain was cast in Glasgow. It was originally installed right in the middle of Queensberry and Errol Streets, and then moved a couple of times before ending up in its present location outside the modern post office within the old town hall.

The fountain was restored by the City of Melbourne in 2000.

Of course back in days of old, it would not have had chrome bubblers, but very hygienic cups suspended on chains. In fact what is there now is an absolute fake and not at all an original drinking fountain. It is the fine print.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Qantas stumps up

Remember before we took our trip to England via Singapore, how our flight left something like ten hours late? Instead of arriving in Singapore at the the hour of 9pm and having a nice night's sleep, we arrived at around 7am. We also forfeited our airport bus fare of around $30. Damn Qantas.

I felt I had moral justification on my side, and while it is so easy to say, oh well, say la vee, I was not having this.

I wrote a letter to Qantas and heard nothing back. I sent a reminder email, and heard nothing back. Time to use the hated telephone instrument and find a Sydney telephone number buried deep within their website. The telephone experience was not really unpleasant and the result is a $300 travel voucher.

If everyone on that flight complained as I did, I doubt that there would ever be such late flights. In Europe, compensation for such a late flight departure is automatic.

What fascinated me was the person at the end of the phone. She stated that if it was a technical or maintenance matter, it wasn't the fault of Qantas and no compensation was due. What? I would have thought if it was a problem with a Qantas plane, then that would be when it was their fault.

Before she could draw breath and me to say anything, she dived in with the $300 compensation. Hmm, I see how it works.

Just in case Qantas is going broke, R has cashed in all his points for a $350 Myer voucher.

I have had some bad days in my life, but hanging around at home when I was expecting to be flying to Singapore was among the worst. I was due the voucher and some.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

VCAT Strikes Again #91

How is your memory?

Remember the front page picture on The Sun newspaper showing a copper dancing on a table top in Greasy Joes?

Remember the original Greasy Joes right on the corner where the pros used to hang out. They would pop out, get picked up and be back for another coffee within the hour.

Remember Dog's Bar, where many a crime was plotted and it received a mention in the iconic Melbourne gay book, Holding the Man?

Remember the mounted black and white clock that pulled your senses together as you fell off the St Kilda tram?

Remember when the Milk Bar occupied the site that is now a take away chicken shop as well as it present premises?

Remember marvellously large breakfasts of bacon, eggs, toast and tomatoes with great coffee, before a big breakfast became fashionable and costs $10 plus?

Remember whiling aways a sunny Sunday afternoon while having a couple of glasses of wine and a laugh with friends and people watching?

They snuck this one past me while I was overseas. These between the wars building are to demolished against the wishes of the City of Port Phillip and many locals. Guess what will replace them? Yep, shops, apartments, offices. Who knows how many storeys.

VCAT, destroying local history, character, streetscapes and thriving businesses before your eyes.

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal if that helps with search engines. Their role is to always overule councils and local people in favour of developers. I don't know how the members sleep at night. See a list of the ******* ***** below the photo.

Picture courtesy William Pitt of Walking Melbourne.

Deputy President in charge of the Planning and Environment List: Helen Gibson - Lawyer
Senior Members:Margaret Baird - Town Planner
Russell Byard - Lawyer
Anthony Liston - Town Planner
Full Time Members:John Bennett - Town Planner
Sam Cimino - Town Planner
Laurie Hewet - Town Planner
Rachel Naylor - Town Planner
Ian Potts - Environmental Scientist
Tonia Komesaroff - Lawyer
Philip Martin - Lawyer & Town Planner
Peter O'Leary - Town Planner
Jeanette Rickards - Lawyer
Senior Sessional Members:Richard Horsfall - Lawyer
Gerard Sharkey - Engineer, Town Planner & Accountant
Sessional Members:David Alsop - Architect
Tracey Bilston-McGillen - Town Planner
Megan Carew - Town Planner
Gregory Chase - Town Planner
Dalia Cook - Lawyer
Graeme David - Environmental Science
Vicki Davies - Town Planner
Desmond Eccles - Town Planner
Robert Evans - Town Planner
Christina Fong - Town Planner
Struan Gilfillan - Architect
Alison Glynn - Town Planner
Nicholas Hadjigeorgiou - Town Planner & Engineer
Christopher Harty - Town Planner & Environmental Science
Jane Homewood - Architect, Planner and urban designer
John Keaney - Town Planner
Ann Keddie - Architect
Sylvia Mainwaring - Industrial Chemist
Kenneth McNamara - Town Planner & Engineer
Jane Osborn - Town Planner
Geoffrey Pizzey - Heritage & Tourism
Anthony Quirk - Engineer
David Rae - Town Planner
Michael Read - Town Planner & Architect
Mary-Anne Taranto - Town Planner
Richard Walter - Town Planner
Cynthea Wilson - Town Planner

Time to stop the crack

I have a mixed mind about the media barrage of negative public transport stories. While it is good that our media are keeping public transport on our front pages and focusing the attention of politicians, bureaucrats and operators, it would rather put off the casual or new traveller.

But there really is cause for complaint. So much talking about improvements, so many reports, so much research, so many proposals, yet nothing seems to happen.

I know Australia is not like China, but while we were dithering with reports, China went ahead and did this.

From ABC's Midday Report
In the run-up to the games Beijing constructed four new subway lines with 47 new stations; it rolled out thousands of buses, and replaced every taxi. It also built the world's biggest airport.

And totally unrelated, I was very sad to hear of the death of Mark Priestley who played Dan Goldman in the tv show All Saints. I don't say it lightly, but he was a great actor.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


My usual tasteful headline.

I don't much like the idea of killing an unborn child. Who would? Of course when it becomes a child is open to debate, but I don't hold that it is a child from the minute it was conceived.

I used to believe in abortion of the unwanted when I was younger, but like on many social matters, I see an awful lot of grey now, in fact life has gone from black and white to a very dull shade of grey. I certainly don't want woman to be bringing up a child when they don't want to though.

Of course, there is adoption, but it is not like that there is a shortage of babies in the world, they just need a bit of redistribution.

What greatly amuses me is how so many men have strong opinions on what women should do, from the Roman Catholic pope and the President of the United States down.

Uh, know, if you kept your.......yeah well, that will never happen.

Even now as abortion is about to be decriminalised in our fair state of Victoria, who decided this? Mostly men in parliament. (I hasten to add, although abortion is a criminal act, to my knowledge no one has been prosecuted for decades).

I think fellahs, there are now some areas where we have to cede control and let women do as they wish. Their bodies, their lives, their decision. As the past has proved, they will do it regardless anyway, which is rather where the arguments from passionate anti abortion botherers fall down.

Overnight drama

A bit of overnight drama with a tragic finale in the vicinity of the high rise last night. Local people will probably guess what I am talking about.

Unfortunately it was not the one in the same location who is a public nuisance and has threatened a similar action. Agreement was reached among some in our building, who are affected by her and her partner's shenanigans, to no longer call the police when she makes a threat, and hope that the problem will be self solving.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Recommended Blog Reading #37

Some interesting posts from a few of my favourite blog mates.

Jayne on the very interesting tale of the Murells of Mentone.

Miss Diarist on shaking hands with women.

Daniel on how to not follow the Ikea path around the store.

Reuben on straight men commenting on other straight men's appearance.

Ben on the joys and perils of living near an Army Base.

Jahteh on fat people being the new terrorists.

TDW on the ageing process for a 22 year old.

And who said blog writers are boring!

Out and About in Middle Park

No, they are not real people but mannequins. Clever hey. As usual, I chopped the top off the building.

This tree house is terribly inferior to the one my father built for us kids. Ours had lino on the floor, packing crates covered with fabrics and other accessories that a young gay boy would want in his house.
There are still quite a lot of these, the red building, around. I think it was a stable. Naturally it would not have had a roller door, but swinging wooden doors. I think the horse went in the doors and the hay up top. What flowed out into the drain was probably quite unpleasant. Given how expensive Middle Park housing is now, I expect there is a car lift in there to lift one car up and allow another to park underneath.