Saturday, April 02, 2011

Mardi Gras

Photo from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Some activists lobby governments, companies, whatever, for change in a sensible and measured manner. I admire them. But I have extra admiration for those who get their hands dirty, so to speak.

Peter Tatchell is one such activist. He visited Sydney and attended the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. As usual, provocative, but then the christians started this with their figurehead Reverend Nile protesting against their parade, however ineffectively. You really would think that Rome in the twenty first century would have rid itself of extreme hypocrisy.

One of Tatchell's best stunts was the attempted arrest of Zimbabwe's President Mugabe.

The attempted seizure of President Mugabe took place as his motorcade left the St James's Court Hotel in Buckingham Gate, London SW1, where he had been staying during a "private" shopping visit to Britain.

Running out into the road in front of the Presidential motorcade, Tatchell's three OutRage! colleagues - John Hunt, Alistair Williams and Chris Morris - forced the President's car to stop.

Peter Tatchell ran from behind the President's halted limousine, opened the rear door and grabbed the President by the arm: "President Mugabe, you are under arrest for torture", Tatchell told the startled President. "Torture is a crime under international law".

Turning to the President's bodyguards, Tatchell said: "Call the police. The President is under arrest on charges of torture".

Mugabe and his bodyguards reacted with stunned disbelief: "They looked confused, shocked and uncertain what to do next", recalls Tatchell.

Tatchell remonstrated with the President, citing the torture of the Zimbabwean journalists Ray Choto and Mark Chavunduka of The Standard newspaper in Harare. Read more here if you wish.

Here is also a link to what he says about our queen, no his queen, both of usses queen, oh and Canada's too. Boy she must be a busy woman with so many countries to look after. The piece is partly about why the queen never uses the word gay.


I am somewhat preoccupied about the dad who threw his daughter to her death off our Westgate Bridge. He has been found guilty of the crime. I mentioned about how finally the mother broke down in court to R, and he said, too horrible to talk about.

R is right. There is nothing to say. It is just too awful.

Today I read of Spanish police charging the parents of committing a crime because their daughter died from a lack of nutrition. Good that they were charged.

If you have a dog, you know how they implicitly trust you. Gawd, you can even beat them and they will still love you. The human, the pack leader, is never wrong.

And so it goes for the parents of a young child. The parents are never wrong in the child's eyes. As Darcy looked into her father's eyes for the last time, she could have never imagine what he was about to do. She did not cry out on the way down. There was no reason to. As she sailed downwards, she still trusted her father. Maybe it is a good thing that she never learnt anything different.

Friday, April 01, 2011

More Ruth

I wouldn't have posted another Ruth Wallis clip, except after I posted the first one, I received an email from her son. I really get a kick from emails out of the blue like this.

Read your blog (re"Ruth Wallis"). My mother has received more airplay since her death than during her 30 year career. She was really considered quite taboo during the Eisenhower era. Here is a video that was done with her "Ugly Man with Money" track. Hope you get a laugh. Best,

So here it is.

April Fool, haha

I have had a wee bit of success with April fool posts in the past. Last year's went over like a lead balloon. I am not going to bother this year. Truly, in case you think I am disarming your scepticism.

I'll just review ones of the past. I wonder if I will surprise myself with ones I have forgotten. I don't think so.

2004, I did not start my blog until later that year.

2005, nothing, but I mentioned something about earthquakes? Where was that then? I had to check, Pakistan. Only 75,000 killed.

2006, nothing, but omg, an old Italian guy groped me in his car. I had completely forgotten about that.

2007, ah, the township of Maltby, bypassed by the Maltby Bypass. My favourite. I enjoyed doing that one. I thought saying that the town had the highest incidence of incest in the world would have given it away.

2008, it was downright cruel piece of work by moi. We were broke and had to sell the highrise and move into our investment flat. The sympathy flowed in but then later so did scepticism.

2009, yes this is the one I forgot about. The demolition of the synagogue opposite our place and seen clearly in my header photo. It was quite good and even after comments indicated it was an April fool joke, still there were concerns, prompting to write another post.

2010, fell flat. Nearly everyone must have taken their cynism pills that day. The hill below the Shrine was being levelled for car parking and tourist bus parking. It was actually a water collection system being installed but I thought my photos gave it credibility.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Non affectionate nicknames

Funny how ex Prime Ministers become revered figures. One of you at least will remember a derogatory term for God Gough. I can't.

But I do remember ex PM Malcolm Fraser being called the Easter Island Statue. Now that he has turned into a rabid lefty, he is honoured among the thinking classes who would never have voted for him.

And what happened to the Silver Bodgie? Ex PM Bob Hawke is now very respectable in spite of his leaving poor Hazel and marrying his floozy.

Bobby Menzies is remembered by me as Pig Iron Bob, the PM who sold iron ore to Japan who sent it back to us as bullets, bayonets and other war paraphernalia in a most unkind manner.

What what Howard's nickname apart from the unprintable? I don't recall that he had one. Oh yeah, Little Johnny was one.

Are you the type to have been to Brighton

We and our brother friends have very similar senses of humour and perhaps very politically incorrect words and phrases flow back and forth at times. We have picked up a few phrases from tv shows over the years, such as 'This is a local shop for local people. You are not welcome here'. Or 'children' in a high pitched voice. Both are from League of Gentlemen.

Many years ago 'friends of Dorothy' was euphemism for being gay. 'He's a friend of Dorothy's'.

I expect it is on You Chube somewhere, but I don't have the time to find it. From the the BBC show The Royle Family, Nanna (the marvellous Liz Smith) sat on a kitchen bench swinging her legs and said 'He went to Brighton and came back as a gay'. Her delivery of the line was superb. Our Brother Friends found the scene as amusing as we did.

Brighton in England has a large number of gay residents and visitors. Brighton quickly slipped into our gay vocabulary. 'Do you think he's been to Brighton?' 'He's been to Brighton.' 'Touch of the Brightons about him'.

Like Friend of Dorothy was, been to Brighton is a very useful phrase to use when not among those who have been to Brighton.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dandenongs Pt 1

A couple of weeks ago. Our ex NT politician/policeman friend was on his own for three days while his partner was away with his boyfriend (do not ask. It works for them) Anything planned, he asked us. Hoping to not to have to visit his place for dinner, I suggested he take us for a drive in the Dandenongs, as he does for his many visitors from overseas. I meant this as an alternative to dinner at place but that invitation came too. He knows to ring R on his mobile number as R is nicer about such things and less likely to say no. Anyway, the following day we drove to his place and we then picked up our brother friends. We stopped off at Cardinia Dam which I had not seen. Normally there are kangaroos basking in the sun or lazily hopping around but the feed in from the new desalination plant has just been built and the works disturbance must have driven them away. Pretty spot while there is heaps of parking, it receives few visitors. This is the overflow spillway. It is very rare that it has operated, certainly not for many years. A lone tree on a hilltop. Cedar? Spruces? We then travelled up hill and down dale through bushland with houses and came out at Menzies Creek. Most of the houses along the way were modest and many very vulnerable to a bushfire. We checked the timetable for Puffing Billy, but it was not due for ages. We were going to have lunch at Pie in the Sky in Olinda, but there was not a vacant car space to be found. We went on a bit further to the outskirts and there were more shops and cafes. We had a wonderful lunch at a place called Relish, I think. Not expensive and very nice food and service. We looked at a few shops. I am not sure what is more interesting in the window, the tin robot or the Doctor Who police box.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Anonymous Traveller

I never know if the photos I take are much good, but I like this one. She was on a number 59 tram heading for Airport West. I surreptitiously took a snap of her. I felt as if I was invading her privacy. Would she be sixty? Her clothing was fine, but not expensive. She was texting away to someone. Her husband? Her children? A friend? A lover?

A few still hold against mobile phones, but you can tell that they are all pervasive when you see older people quite competently using them.

I can easily tell that she feels the cold. I was in a short sleeved shirt. I wonder what her life story is?

Size matters?

That most wicked Cazzie posted this link in a comment on my blog. It's quite interesting to compare different countries. Our straight female hairdresser friend and our brother friends were interested to have a look at the stats, so I emailed them the link. I haven't heard back from them yet. Below is what I sent to them. Oh lookie, I found a map too.

Some stats seem a bit iffy, eg Ecuador in South America having the highest figure, although I guess such figures could be influenced by the intermingling of black slaves in the 19th century.

Thailand smaller the Japan, China or Vietnam? I don't think so.

India so much smaller than Pakistan?

Colombia has a very high figure.

Poor old Australia is on the low side. We need more black men.

Note, no figure for Kenya.

Anyway, I really can't stand size queens who obsess about size.

I'll email you next from Ecuador.


Monday, March 28, 2011

I not like

The horrible Grand Pricks has finished again for the year. The disruption to traffic as stands etc are disassembled will continue for some weeks yet. My oldest niece's partner tells me the noise should be less now as they no longer race cars with such large engines! Not by my reckoning. You have a listen in the video.

Chairman of the Grand Pricks Corp is one Ron Walker. He has a son. His son is a partner of a firm that tenders for a contract to supply a service to the GP. For about fifteen years this company has won the tender every year. Do I hear a duck quacking? As I often say, it is all about perception.

Now no one can help their looks. If you are plain of face, that is they way you are, unless you spend mega dollars on treatments. But if a male has hair, he can do plenty with it to look half decent. All the money Ron Walker and the repulsive Bernie Ecclestone have and they can't even get a decent haircut. Pathetic old men. And I am not the only one who thinks so.

R's Birfday Pt 3 Finis

Ex NT politician/policemen friend, his Indian/Fijian partner and a visiting doctor from Fiji helped R celebrate R's final birthday event, a meal on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. We could have done the late five course dinner, but even with a discount voucher, it would have cost about $120 each. I figured it was a bit too long as well for the non drinking company we were keeping. So, we did the early three course dinner for $77 each. It was R's birthday present from me.

Due to the hideous Grand Pricks motor car race, the departure point had been altered and we were not going south to St Kilda. We met at the old City via William Street tram terminus, now just a siding, at the northern end of the city. We hovered for a bit and took some snaps standing in front of the trams. As soon as we were on board, champers was served and our first course, dips and dry biscuits was on the table, along with a bread roll.

Chicken or beef? Chocolate or sticky date? I chose beef steak, very nice, and sticky date pudding, great. The staff, Joe mostly, were attentive, especially with the drinks. Our tram driver's name was Andrew and R fell in love with his bare legs. I have a vague memory of Andrew from a warehouse dance party many years ago. He must be one of those homosexual types. While staff introduced themselves, the tram drivers did not. It would be nice if they did.

Unlike when we sailed down the Seine, I really tried this time to pay attention to where we were.

I did not even know trams could turn right into Latrobe Street from the northern part of William Street. We changed direction once in Latrobe Street and headed west. We turned right into Spring Street, then left into Wellington Parade and along Bridge Road. We are in Church Street, someone commented. Nonsense, I said, we crossed Church Street already. Apparently there is another Church Street I never knew about. You following our trip ok Peter? I still knew where I was, but I need to look at a map now. Church Street becomes High Street. Yes, I know High Street in Kew. We had passed the Kew tram depot. The tram turned back and we then turned into Barkers Road, past the front of the tram depot, and then the road changes to Victoria Street, and Victoria Parade. Along Latrobe Street, change direction and turn left into William Street and we were back where we started.

Apparently the step up to tram from ground is quite high. A removable step was added as we boarded. Quite unnecessary, I judged. I welcomed the supplementary step when we left. I had taken my money's worth of supplied booze.

Funny, I noticed this coat of arms straight away in the photo. I never really saw it at the time in spite of R gesturing in the direction.

Orient Express?

Or bordello? I took the photo before everyone boarded, just to annoy Victor who is convinced there are no people in Melbourne.

Steak, meat for a man.

So I may have had champagne, four glasses of red wine, cognac with my coffee, Drambuie and port in an hour and a half. I got me monies worf.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

R's birfdy Pt 2 of 3

Brighton Antique Dealer, her female friend, German born and for some reason a VIP in Indonesian Australian relations, our brother friends, our dyke friend and our hairdresser friend all met at the Dick Whittington hotel for dinner. Restaurants are ok for dinner, but a well organised pub is better for a birthday dinner, as it was proved. We had a good night.

The Dick has poker machines, everybody got greedy and lost money. But me with my $5, lose it or double it and take it and who knows what might happen along the way won $12, $7 profit. But even with a two for one voucher, dinner $12.50, my four reds, $22, the pub still won.

Hey, the waitress said, haven't seen you lot for a while. No, it may have been a month or two or more, but we have been coming here since 1992.

Whose birthday is it, the dyke waiter asked me. It is R's, the old bloke dude in the blue checked shirt. The hairdresser friend has already written 'happy birthday R' on the butchers paper table cloths with the supplied crayons. I went for the tapas menu, 3 selections for $25. Very nice. A couple of people ordered deserts and when they were delivered, out came a chocolate mousse for R with a sparkler in it. We sang a really fast happy birthday to him. I later thanked the dyke waiter for the gesture from the hotel.

Forest at the Domain

Domain Interchange, where many trams meet and pass by, is disgraceful. It is not that old, about twenty years, and I am sure it would have been rebuilt by now if not for the proposed train tunnel and station that may appear here.

Behind the Interchange is a forest of buildings. On your far left is an old consulate converted to apartments. R has an ex workmate who lives there. She and her husband are seriously rich, but you would never know it by their appearance.

The tall building partly behind the tree is an apartment building called Hallmark. It too was a residential conversion. It was originally a hotel and while it had a couple of names, it was best known as the St Kilda Road Travelodge.

Around the middle of the photo sits the late Floyd Podgornick's building. He was a restaurateur who owned Florentinos and a property developer. I seem to recall his empire was crashing at the time of his death. He committed suicide in this building not too long after it was completed. It sits on the site where the former Casa de Manana hotel watered local workers, or Case of Bananas as we used to call it at times. In earlier times it called the Royal Domain Hotel and the Royal Domain name is used for the present building.

The very very tall building is quite new and I suggest some shonkiness went on somewhere to get this building approved. Yes, there were protests. I inspected an apartment in there not too long after we moved here. Can I say it was very nice, but of course very expensive.

The last building on the right is another conversion to residential I believe. I think it was where the top secret Defence Signals Directorate worked from after the ASIO building off St Kilda Road was demolished. I have heard there are huge decommissioned generators under the building and a tunnel linking it to the Shrine.