Saturday, December 03, 2011

Making Up

Something light to start your weekend?

I looked for a particular track from the eighties on You Tube. I found it, Kim Wilde's Cambodia if you are interested. It led me to another. Before I knew it, an hour had passed listening to eighties music. I had forgotten how good it was, well some of it.

Ah, the good old days, when men were real men, and wore makeup.

Pete Burns from Dead or Alive. Search for his photo now. He is a tragedy.

The less said about the present day Gary Glitter the better, but he epitomised glam rock. His look now is very different.

Melbourne's own Red Symons, back then from the marvellous band Skyhooks, now a breakfast radio announcer on ABC Melbourne. How did he become an old man?

Holly Johnston from Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Age may not weary them, but it doesn't do much for their desirability.

Adam Ant. He disappeared in the nineties. If you search for his present day photo, you may guess what he did for his lost decade.

Phillip Oakey from Human League. Balding, grey haired and just old, albeit trim looking.

Later thought. This is a boring post and I just know you won't bother searching for their present day photos, because you probably don't really care. So, I will do the job for you.

Pete Burns

Gary Glitter

Red Symons

Holly Johnston

Adam Ant

Phillip Oakey

Friday, December 02, 2011

Nice Thing

Among the photos of the Bolter (my paternal grandmother), I found one of a house in Devonport, Tasmania which she had some connection with. The Bolter had written the exact address in white ink, as was the habit then. I checked on a couple of sites and the house is still there and I could see it with Street View. I scanned and printed out the photo and sent a copy to owner with a note, including my email address.

Our neighbour back in the eighties gave us a photo of our old house in East Malvern taken just after it was built, 1934 I think. I scanned that and printed it out and sent a copy with a note to the present occupants, including my email address.

R said it was a nice thing to do. I thought so. I realise not everyone is interested in history or buildings as much as I am, not everyone has email, though I did include my name and where I live, so I could be found in the phone book, but there was no response from either.

People have been very kind and helpful to me on the internet over the years. I hope I have always thanked them. I think I have.

Sending the photos cost less than a dollar, nothing, and a little time. A lack of response will not stop me doing such thing again, but I am slightly disappointed. Perhaps I am just being silly and expecting too much. They didn't ask for the photos. I just thought they might find them interesting.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Penang Railway

The Penang Hill railway opened in 1923 and is a funicular railway on the island of Penang, Malaysia. It closed for renovations in 2010 and reopened a bit more than twelve months later, with a very different system, including new aircon, and I must say rather characterless, trains made in Switzerland.

In the old train, you were quite aware of the temperature drop as you rose into the Penang Hill, about five degrees C, from below in George Town.

Our friend who sent the pictured brochure, remarked that the trip is now incredibly quick compared to the old train. I expect you can't hang out the window anymore and take in the smells and sounds of the jungle. It is still a funicular train though, being one going up is connected to one going down, both assisting each other.

For your pleasure and education, I have found mercifully short You Tube clips to show you both the old and new trains.

The new one looks terribly sleek.

This one is of the older train, so of course the video must be a bit longer as the train is slower. You can see a train passing, the train controls, meaningless as they are, the driver exercising his hands and the George Town skyline as the train nears the bottom.

And what is to see on Penang Hill? Quite a lot really. A few of the attractions are featured in this video without very much of the train. You can also look at the website too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wearing the carpet out

I sit at the computer desk with my computer screen reading glasses on, glasses a little weaker than reading glasses. I stand up, walk through to my bedroom and often on to my bathroom. I remove my glasses and put them on the vanity bench, do what I have do and return to the computer desk.

I realise I have left my glasses in my bathroom. I get up again and go to my bathroom and retrieve them and return to the computer desk. Or, I will get to my bathroom and forget why I am there or get distracted by something and for the second time return to the computer desk without my glasses.

It also happens with reading glasses. All of my glasses end up on my vanity unit.

What am I to do? Contact lenses? A house with a staircase between the computer desk and bathroom? At least I would get good exercise. A chain around my neck to hang my glasses from? But which pair? Buy more glasses?

I'll do nothing. I quite like my little walks back and forth.

Crossing the river

The Age newspaper had a very interesting feature in its monthly glossy magazine last week. It rated suburbs according to liveability judged by various factors.

I can only make an educated guess about Adelaide, but I think the suburbs west of the city are probably the more desirable areas. Actually Adelaide does not seem to have the extreme suburb divides that Melbourne and Sydney have. I'd suggest the northern suburbs are not so desirable.

Sydney is easy. North shore not too far from the harbour, eastern and south eastern suburbs good. West, bad.

Melbourne is quite simple too. North or west of the River Yarra, bad, south or east of the river good. Well, it really was a bit like that in days past, but the world has changed and so has Melbourne. You are no longer particularly judged by which side of the river you live in our city of four million people. Can't say I like it much. I'd much rather have an easy criteria to judge people by, but it just no longer works.

What I am interested to know from Melbourne readers, or even other cities really, have you made a permanent change from one side of the proverbial railway tracks to another? That is, you were born and bred on one side, but have moved permanently to the other side?

While I like visiting other parts of Melbourne, my comfort zone roughly matches map 58 of our Melways street directory. It is where I work, shop, socialise, like and know like the back of my hand. I am not for crossing the river.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Noise Walls

I haven't lived in a flat since 1982, two actually for very brief times. Apparently we live in an apartment and not a flat. Apparently there is a difference. In one flat I lived in, (Glenhuntly) I remember hearing the bloke neighbour using the toilet late at night. In the other, I remember the noise of the high heels on a timber floor as the lady of the house prepared to leave to go to work (Elwood).

But in East Malvern, Glen Iris, Burwood and Balaclava, the noise from neighbours was minimal. I expect we caused more with our renovations and dogs.

Here, I could complain about tram noise, car noise, illegally loud motor bikes but as you can see in the photo, there is no reason for complaining about noise from neighbours. It just doesn't happen with 300mm (12 inch) thick walls. Pity the internal walls aren't the same. At times you might feel you are on a film set.

Blogmate Brunch

Rather than give you a blow by blow descriptions of our meet with blog mates, hey, it was just brunch at Fed Square and we chatted and then checked out the glass shop with Copperwitch before seeing her out of the city lest she steal the mayoral chains, better to read Ann's post here. Perhaps now more than blogmates.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Close the Gates

Oh looky. Can't use get through the gates anymore. Fortunately the pedestrian gates still work and I was able to pop through to the other side with great safety. Safe, because there is person in the little hut to lock the gates closed when a train is coming. That is I assume from first train at around 5 am to the last at perhaps 1am. That would be three staff per day I guess, with more to cover for days off, holidays, sickness etc. What an astonishing waste of money and it has been like this for years.

Two hundred metres closer to the city is an pedestrian crossing without anyone to lock gates. Admittedly it is a modern and safe design, but there is still the onus on the person to check for approaching trains.

Something went wrong with the railway gates and or signalling one day in 2007 and a train hit the manually operated railway gates. They were then temporarily closed, now permanently. As wonderful as the old gates are, and with someone manually opening and closing them, they really are an anachronism.

New Street is a quiet street, quieter perhaps because of the closed gates. It was easy to take a photo standing on the road. The crossing would have surely have been one of the quietest in Melbourne. It is only ranked as number 223 in the level crossing upgrade ranking in Victoria. Yet, it has jumped to already having a $2 million budget allocation for a car underpass to be built.

The residents of Brighton tend to be very wealthy and influential and their local politician clever and experienced. Even so, the decision doesn't follow the usual rule of largess for marginal electorates, but more like payback, perhaps for a supporter or a job well done.

The crossing from the beach side.

Standing in the middle of the ultra quiet New Street. The pedestrian gates where the sign is are looked by a lever mechanism in the lean to next to the gate keeper's hut.

Two hundred metres closer to the city is an uncontrolled crossing. My word, that must be dangerous, even though I can't find any statistics of numbers of people killed while crossing.

Garage Sale

Andrew, I need money. I am having a garage sale before christmas. For some reason Mother managed to gee up Tradie Brother and get him onside. He brought tables and erected shelter, as shelter was well needed as the chosen Saturday was the wettest Saturday in history.

R and I arose at six to bolt down coffee and cereal, and half dead, drive to Mother's town, a mere hour away. A 9AM garage sale means people arrive at eight, one arriving at seven.

There were plenty of viewers, but not too many buyers. A grand total of $180. There was significant competition on the day. The best stuff has already gone and there is not much left of any value. R was amazed at what rubbish they bought. I was amazed at what they didn't buy. It was actually $160 Mother earned for all our efforts, as R slipped in $20 to the kitty, never mind the $500 he recently gave her, from a very disapproving me. R hardly has money to throw away.

I was in the kitchen when I heard a crash. Dreaded Nephew was playing on his laptop on the outside steps. I was inside trying to set up strings over the fireplace for Mother to hang her christmas cards. A the crash happened, I saw Dreaded Nephew's laptop fly high into the air as tried to grab his Nan as she fell. She misplaced her footing on steps and fell into her potted plants behind a sale table. There was a customer there at that point and she was trying to insist getting Mother up and inside. No one took notice of her and we let Mother get up in her own time. Well, helped up by R and Dreaded Newphew. There is rarely a rush to get people up off the ground if they have fallen. Let them gather their senses.

Fortunately the rain started seriously at midday, so we packed up and we were home by two.

We did come across late Step Father's slide projector, screen and assorted slides. Many slides were of budgerigars, which he used to breed, but there were a few family shots too. Sister is Law is to marry her new beau next weekend. We came across slides of her first wedding to Tradie Brother, some twenty five years ago.

Would you like to come around for a slide night?