Saturday, November 17, 2012

Matters of the Aborigine

I heard that the television show Redfern Now was pretty well a fully aboriginal effort, from the actors to writers, producers to all  those who you don't see on camera. I especially enjoyed the first one, the third was ok and I have yet to see the second.

I found this at Hoopla. They are a few tweets from Australian Aborigines under the hashtag 'I tried to be authentic but'. They made me laugh. I expect you have to be Australian to get them all.


@LukeLPearson every year at Corroboree I just end up line-dancing by myself in a corner somewhere singing “Achy-Breaky heart”
@AnitaHeiss I’ve thrown more parties than boomerangs!
@Ebswearspink I thought the song “from little things big things grow” had to do with superannuation
@Shannondod the only culture I know is Culture Club
@nathblackmagic writing stories in books is a lot easier than writing stories in caves:)
@Morris11Donna the only tracking I do is with gps
@Utopiana  my parents named me “Celeste”, rather than giving me a traditional blackfella name like “Alison” or “Bess”
@PeteDawson law school wouldn’t accept my essays in dot form
 @anitaheiss the only stars I want to sleep under is five stars. *****
@Nareenyoung I actually have no artistic talent. Whatsoever
@Morris11Donna I buy my speared meat on kebabs at the supermarket
@Tahjee_Moar the only time I stand on one leg is when I do the tree pose in yoga
@Ebswearspink my totem animal was a tamagotchi

Jews moving to England

Hels is today's guest poster and this is her response to me asking about Jewish settlement in England.

The official total number of Jews in the Russian Empire towards the end of the 19th century was 5.2 million. Of these, a quarter were in Poland (especially  Warsaw), and three quarters were in the Russian Pale of Settlement. (especially Lodz and Odessa)

Throughout the later 19th century, Jews could be summarily evicted from their cities.In 1891, 20,000 Jews from Moscow were forced to give up their homes and livelihood, and were deported to the already over-crowded Pale. After the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881, a wave of pogroms spread throughout the South West that lasted until 1906 - Jews in Odessa, Kishenev, Simferopol, Melitopol, Zhitomir, Lodz and Minsk were murdered.

The authorities did nothing to protect the Jews. In fact in May 1882, a new period of anti-Jewish persecution began. Jews were prohibited from living in villages, from obtaining property outside their prescribed residences, denied jobs in the civil service and forbidden to trade on Sunday and Christian holidays.

Soup kitchen for the Jewish poor in London.

Two million Jews left Eastern  Europe in the 30 years before WW1 broke out in 1914. The Jewish immigrants who settled in the north of England, especially in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, came mostly from Lithuania. Their trip started with travel by train to a Baltic port, and then transport by steamship to Britain. Eastern Europeans who were in "transit" in Britain, waiting for a visa to the USA or for a ship ticket, remained in Liverpool.

With the huge influx of Yiddish-speaking Jews from Poland, the Ukraine and Belarus flooding into London, the Jews' Temporary Shelter in London was their first port of call. People lived by whatever skills they brought with them, as artisans or in trade. Many were tailors, occasionally metal workers, cobblers and carpenters. Some worked in the food trade, as butchers or bakers, preparing food in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. They settled in suburbs like Spitalfields, Stepney, Whitechapel, Aldgate, Bethnal Green, Hackney and Shoreditch.

The Jews Temporary Shelter was founded in London in 1886.

Some 175 synagogues were built in the East End, from the gorgeous to the minuscule. An old chapel was converted into the The Spitalfields Great Synagogue in 1897. Brick Lane was the heart of London's Jewish community and this was the principal synagogue of the area. School rooms were provided for the children of the masses of impoverished, hard working refugees. At the rear of another of the handsome Georgian houses in Spitalfields that dated back to 1722, we see the Princelet St Synagogue, built in 1862. The Sandys Row Synagogue site had originally been bought by Huguenots as a church. Note that this synagogue was established in 1870 by a society of Dutch Jews, not Russians, Ukrainians and Lithuanians. This may be the only synagogue that still operates in the East End today.

Before WW2 the Jewish population of Britain was 350,000, only 0.7% of the nation's population. However since half of the nations Jews lived in London's East End, their impact in that tiny cluster of suburbs was greatly intensified.

Only from the 1960s was the Jewish community of the East End much reduced, many moving into the greener north of London suburbs. East End synagogues and schools closed one at a time; kosher butcher shops and restaurants soon followed.

Note: Any typos are probably mine and not Hels.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Corruption in NSW

 Quentin Dempster, host of 7.30 NSW.

The Friday night state based editions of the ABC's current affairs show are rebroadcast at various times. I have the digital recorder set to permanently record the NSW edition. Given the astonishing corruption allegations in NSW this week, I think this week's edition of  7.30 NSW will be a cracker.

ABC News 24, Saturday morning, 6.00 o'clock Eastern Australian Summer Time. Set your recorder and if the matter is covered, prepared to be left with your jaw hanging low by the sheer amounts of money. If the allegations are true, the people concerned should spend long stretches in gaol.

More M. Hulot's Holiday

M. Hulot goes boating.

M. Hulot's Holiday

M Hulot arrives at his seaside accommodation.

Another one this afternoon.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jones, the vile

Mr Tate also attacked the accountability of people behind the social media campaign against 2GB.
"The difference between 2GB and some catchy URL is that we operate our radio stations in a regulated media environment," he said.
"As far as I can see, social media is accountable to no one."
Macquarie said it has asked for more information from campaign organisers but received no response.
"We requested face-to-face meetings with organisers, but I've still not met one," Mr Tate said.

Quite so. Social media is accountable to no one because it is nothing but individual people with one or more people facilitating individuals opinions. 2GB can sue individuals under Australian law if it thinks it has defamed. Anyway, there was no campaign against 2GB. It was campaign against the vile Alan Jones.

But social media may well be a hydra that catches all. So far, I have only seen it used responsibly, but you never know what the future may hold.

Tea or coffee

Photo from News Limited.

If you had to guess what our Prime Minister and the US Secretary of State would drink, I would have put my money on our Julia, born in Wales, having tea and US born Hillary having coffee. Not so. Nice scene, isn't it.

Off on a tangent. What's new

I asked of Hels why did Jewish people leave Russia. Actually, I might have asked why so many Jewish people ended up in London. Who really knows what I asked. I am hopeless. Hels kindly offered to guest post, by way of explanation. I liked the idea.

I have an interest in matters Jewish, and I don't know why. Jewish people were not in my life until I was about 21. R had a Jewish friend back then, Miriam. She was the best fag hag a gay guy could ever want. She was so glam and lived in the same apartment block he lived in. Melrose Place comes to mind. Later, he had another Jewish friend, Eva. Absolutely everything she said, I laughed at. She did army service in Israel and the tales she told....

Not long after, I saw a couple of American Jewish movies. They were very good and entertaining movies. I have looked a good bit, but I cannot find one particular song on You Tube that amused me. I have posted the lyrics before. Can I find them now? Got it.

Life could we wonderful, in Amsterdam
Life could be beautiful, in Amsterdam.

When Moses led the Israelites, across the desert sands
He told them there was job for Jews, in the Netherlands
The job was diamond polishing, but what he didn't tell
Only twice a year they're out of work, but in two six monthly spells.

Life could be wonderful, in Amsterdam
Life could be beautiful, in Amsterdam.

If Missus Schicklegruber, Mr Schicklegruber's missus
Had one night said 'Nein, mein heir', to Schicklegruber's kisses
He might have fallen fast asleep, and Adolph, the crazy nut
Would have stayed where he belonged
In his father's you know what.

Then life would be wonderful, in Amsterdam
Life would be beautiful, in Amsterdam.

I think it was from a movie called The Lucky Star.

To me, Jewish people have always been terribly normal, from the wealthy married Elsternwick guy who wanted very basic interactions, to the young Jewish lad who no sooner started his gay life and wanted to experience double penetration. Who am I to deny a young lad's coming out experience?

But there are the extremes of the religion, like the two guys who are often at the corner of Hotham Street and Balaclava Road. One is dressed like a court jester and the other bounces around on springs. I really have no idea of the point they are trying to make, but I expect it is not directed at me anyway. I feel a bit sad for the young lads who have to wear weird clothes, have long curls at the side of their heads and bits of string hanging out at their waistes. It seems to me that their parents have very firmly set their paths for life and no deviation or options will be allowed. God forbid should one of them turn out to be gay.

Gee, I have issues with all religions. Even the one closest to the way I was raised is mired in a terrible mess that has now brought about a Royal Commission.

I meant to write a brief intro to Hel's piece and instead, I have blathered on, so I won't sully her work by including it here. Possibly Saturday. I recently listened to a BBC podcast about the clash in Israel between the ultra orthodox and average citizens. It was quite alarming to learn how quickly the number of ultra orthodox is growing and the friction between them and non ultra orthodox. The podcast is about half an hour and you can find it here if you want to listen to it. The link is about two thirds down the page. It's a good listen.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Coffee on the high seas

I don't really know, but I don't think I would be type to enjoy a ship cruise. A European river cruise would be more to my taste, I think. They are very popular with Australians at the moment. A neighbouring couple recently took a Euro river cruise and said most of the passengers were Australian. But they enjoy sea cruises too. If I did take a sea cruise, I think each morning you would find me taking coffee and croissant in this faux street on board the Voyager of the Seas, as featured in The Age.

Fed Square

Melbourne's Federation Square recently turned ten years old. Its architecture still divides opinions. I quite like it and 'the people' seem to like gathering there.

It was quite early in the morning, so not too many were about.

This small area often looks pretty dead.

People were seated while listening to an outside radio station broadcast in celebration of the anniversary.

The foot of yours truly. Don't step on my black suede shoes.

A construction by an apparently well known overseas weaving artist.

Needless to say there is a lot of work in it.

There are wedding cakes and then there are wedding cakes, and The Forum is a wedding cake.

Table numbers on these cute 'thingies'.

No Tardis though.

I think it would be a fair call to label John Faine Melbourne's as Melbourne's premier broadcaster and also ABC Local Radio's premier morning host. He is learned and has a wide range of interests and is, as used to be said, sharp as a tack. He is chatting with Jill Singer and her husband. Jill was a presenter of a current affairs tv show on Channel 7, among many other things, and is memorable as she had a fainting fit and left her desk while on air when management apparently spiked a story at the last minute about the controversial Kennett government in 1990s. I can't believe it is not on You Tube, well I can't find it. Her husband, Peter Davidson, was the principle? architect of Fed Square. He suffered a very serious stroke and has not fully recovered. When he did speak, he seemed ok, but watching him trying to begin to get the words out was sad to watch. He often looked to Jill to give him a lead. I like Jill.

I've stepped down to the terrace about the river bank now. After our severe drought, I never fail to see beauty in green grass.

Looking up from the terrace.

 Federation Walk. I have no idea what this was all about.

I was partaking of a delicious cup of coffee at Riverland in cool but ok weather.

A gust of wind arrived carrying a brief light shower and a plastic blind slowly lowered. It gave me a bit of as start.

I did not know Australian Aborigines used rocks when constructing shelters. It occurred to me that any open sided shelter would not face the direction this one is, into the cold prevailing south westerly winds.

As I was writing this, the wind has just changed from a northerly, bringing hot air from inland Australia, to a southerly coming in from Bass Strait. The temperature dropped from 27(80, just for you Rubye and Dina) to 19(66) in fifteen minutes. I love Melbourne's weather.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Back here I warned you of what you face if you buy a digital tv recorder sub branded Freeview.

It seems the Freeview group, made up of commercial and government broadcasters, is working on a system to send television shows over the internet. Be afraid, I should think.

Last week I missed a show on SBS TV and I thought I would use their internet catch up system to watch it. It came with ads. It was unwatchable on a computer. While the ads were shorter, they had far more impact than normal tv ads, but not in they way advertisers would hope. I just gave up watching after a bit. Of course a government broadcaster carrying commercial advertising is a matter I feel rather strongly about.

Beauty and the Brains

I am in love with a person who's job description is Particle Physicist. He has grey hair. His thesis was 'Double Diffraction Dissociation at Large Momentum Transfer'. You with me? Don't worry, these loves of mine are fleeting and I haven't suddenly changed to being excited by old men. Well, there are old men and old men. The Particle Physicist is not really that old even though his hair has gone grey.

Here is the Particle Physicist when he was young and a musician in D:Ream's band. Things only got better.

I am such a child of the eighties. Quiet in the galleries, if you please. What beautiful eyes. What luscious lips. How I would like to see his lips....ok, enough.

Brian Cox is no longer a lust object of prepubescent teens, but he is one of mine. His lips now seem even fuller, but what I really like about him is that when he talks, he smiles. He seems to never stop smiling. He comes across as being the nicest bloke and explains things to the less educated, like moi, in an easy manner, always smiling but never condescending.

I can only conclude he must be a lousy root. No one can be so handsome and clever and good at everything else as well.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Nanna Bridge

No Victor, it is not related to your night time recreational activities.

"Nanna," I asked excitedly, "do you use the (Sydney Harbour) bridge?"

"No, there are other bridges we use".

I was so disappointed in my Nanna, The Bolter. Why didn't she use the Sydney Harbour Bridge?

Well, time for some research. Why didn't she use the Bridge? For a start, it did not take her where she wanted to go.

She lived in Balmain and so had no need to use the bridge. I vaguely recall her saying if they went to northern side of the harbour, they used other bridges.

I need a map. An old map. I have an old Sydney map. It has all the tram routes marked on it. Now that might have been a question I should have asked. Nanna, did you use the trams? Or even do you use the ferries. Later thought, of course she would have. She bolted with one of her music students when Father was a young teenager, so that would have been the early fifties.

Right, for the City, she would have travelled by car south and then turned in to what was then Commercial Road, now roughly Victoria Road, across the Glebe Island Bridge and then Pyrmont Bridge to land in Market Street, obviously before the monorail took over the bridge.

To go north, she would have used the Iron Cove Bridge, then the Gladesville Bridge. Just from memory, she might have had wait for at least two of the bridges while they swung or rose to let ships pass.

I suppose I ought not be hard on her to have not used the bridge.

As an aside, today I clicked on a link I had saved and not investigated, The Ryerson Index. Off and on, over the last couple of years I have looked at NSW cemetery sites online to find out where she was buried, without luck. But today I found a starting point, with at least a date of her death. Early investigations indicated that the Sydney Morning Herald that day has not been digitised for that day. Oops, I just realised I tried to look at the 29th of June, not the date of publication, 1st of July. Still no good. One day....

*******DorothyDeath notice29JUN1969Deathat Balmain Hospital, late of BalmainSydney Morning Herald01JUL1969

Sunday, November 11, 2012


To begin with the important stuff, didn't Camilla look generally boringly beigely dressed while she was here in Australia. Even our ruler, the Battenberg woman, is not afraid to wear strong colours. Yet I just saw Camilla in New Zealand and she looked ok, in black and white. I kind of like seeing Chas and Cam together. They are such a suitable couple and I will have no truck with R saying, 'it is a pity he had to bump off his first wife to find true love'.

Last night before slumber I noticed a tweet from the Minister for Public Transport, Daniel Bowen. The tweet suggested the Queenscliff Blues Train had crashed. Naturally when I woke this morning, I expected to hear about it on the radio news. No, not at six, nor seven, but eventually on the 7.45 news. Nothing in electric newspapers either, early in the morning. It was simply a stupid car driver at a level crossing getting in the way of the train.

Last night we dined at Tandoori Cottage in East Malvern, as we have many times, always having the minimum priced banquet. The staff are usually male, but last night they were female. One who served us was of Indian origin but very Australian and it made such a difference being able to easily communicate with the staff. I actually heard the names of the dishes when they were served. Good tucker, as always. I recommend the joint.

R's Garmin sat nav froze last Friday. I/we spent much time trying to get it to boot up, without success. I googled, I read FAQs, I did everything. We returned it to Harvey Norman in town but it has to be sent away and R would be without it for at least a few days. He needs it. He is not a map reader person and might go to five different address in a day while working. He enters the addresses the night before. So, he just bought another one, a NavMan this time. The cost was outweighed against the stress of having to try to find his way around by the Melways. No, google maps on the phone won't do, even though we have the car bracket. The second sat nave does some things better than the other one, but other things not as well, which is exactly what you would expect for similar level machines.

What on earth did the BBC do? Without knowing the details, a current affairs show accused someone mistakenly? It was so serious, the boss of the BBC has resigned. Gee, given the Jimmy Saville business, you would think staff would be extra careful.  As for Saville and the BBC perhaps overlooking the blunt instrument it was being hit on head with, they were perhaps different times. What is now judged as a serious crime, perhaps in the past was a bit of a nudge nudge, wink wink matter. I don't recall any mention of him having sex with anyone prepubescent but the law states a certain age. Without doubt, he was wrong. But I wonder should I have older guys who I hit on when I was young charged? Of course not. There is young and there is young and it is an absolute minefield. It is often suggested that it is about power, but in Saville's case, I doubt it. He was just there for what he could get, some instant sexual gratification. While he was a serious sleaze bag, was he really a pedo in the non legally defined manner?

After three weeks of 7.30 rises, today it was a 6 o'clock rise. The sunrise was stunning. Seven balloons landed in Fawkner Park. Best of all, a huge cruise liner arrived, apparently the biggest by passenger numbers to ever dock at Station Pier. I wonder if my new camera captures the ship any better than my old one could snap an arrived ship. You be the judge. I think it is better. Click on it to see a bigger Voyager of the Seas.

The sun is setting at the Highrise. R cleaned the place from top to bottom today. It is sparkling. Outside on the balcony, the traffic has died off, as had the wind, and only the white noise from Kingsway remains. It is pleasantly warm this evening, at 24 degrees but in no time at all, I will be complaining about the heat.

I suppose I should say life is good.

Doing a Hawkey

In February 1983 Bob Hawke became leader of the Labor Party, overthrowing the then opposition leader Bill Hayden. That evening Hawke appeared on ABC TV's Nationwide and in a classic tv moment, interviewer, the late Richard Carlton, asked Hawke if he had blood on his hands.

Meanwhile, in a moment of great synchronicity, the very same day, Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, oblivious to the change of Labor Party leadership, visited Government House,Yarralumla in Canberra, sought and was granted leave from the Governor General to call a Federal Election.

Hawke and the Labor Party went on to win the election in a landslide and he became Australia's most popular Prime Minister ever.

Sorry, was it the price of fish you were asking about?

Well, with the nasty opposition leader Abbott's personal poll rating so low, one can't help but think a certain member of parliament from Sydney's salubrious eastern  suburbs might just "do a Hawkey" come close to election time.

The only reason I am not actually forecasting this, is that issues between the Liberal Party and the Honourable Member have not been resolved. But if the timing was spot on the mark, I would forecast that it would be a very comfortable win for the Liberal Party.