Saturday, January 25, 2014

Satire and our ABC

I may well have posted about this word before. It is my blog and I can cry if I want to.

It is a word I use rarely. I use it in moments of drama or for emphasis. I deplore the way the way it is used in every sentence by a certain demographic. Well, more than one demographic really.

I first heard the word publically broadcast on ABC radio in the eighties, spoken by an ex minister of religion Terry Lane, who now writes a camera column for The Age Green Guide, the local paper's tv and radio supplement.

Around the same time I heard the word on television, in a rather grim Aboriginal tv play. Think The Street and Redfern Now, and go even blacker (no pun intended) and grimmer than that. An Aboriginal in the show said fuck.

The word went on to be heard very often on our ABC. But now? Do you even hear the word fuck now on our ABC? I am too old to stay up for Rage. Maybe you hear it in music clips. Our ABC has even broadcast the c word, quite a long time ago.

More recently the c word was used by a comedian on ABC 2, and premier ABC radio broadcaster Jon Faine gave him a very hard time about using the word. Personally I think it was quite an appropriate word to describe Nigella's ex  husband and Faine was being a little too prima donna like for my liking.

Our ABC has become a very tame beast now. Satire using irony has almost disappeared. You won't hear the word the derogatory word for Aborigines, boong, on our ABC anymore. You won't see satirical racism used to make a point.

The list of shows through the 70s, 80s and 90s presented by our ABC that challenged mores, society and especially politicians is long. Where are they now? Gruen is challenging and clever, but too clever at times. I am not sure that the Chaser has any more wind in it. There was a great and perhaps too slick consumer show last year, but I have forgotten the name.

I'd be happy to see some shows from our ABC that are a little rough around the edges, but somewhat more challenging.

Friday, January 24, 2014

That is not a desk. This is a desk

I have sat on this for a few weeks, wondering if it is of much interest to you. I decided last weekend to show you the clip this Friday and began to prepare the post. In a truly amazing co-incidence, Hels wrote about the maker of this intriguing desk a few days ago, including photos of the same. Ok, it is not suitable for interior decoration of The Highrise, but what incredible workmanship. Do watch to the end as it just gets more and more amazing.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A little public Chopin

Two dozen people and organisations generously donated and painted (over French polishing, sob) upright pianos which are spread around the Arts Precinct and Swanston Street for people to...........what? Play of course. Tangle Talons did not embarrass myself by trying to remember any tune to play. I just say, I need the music to read. This is partly true, to learn a piece, slowly. I have forgotten all now. The pianos are regularly tuned. Imagine what last week's 40 degree plus heat did to the strings.

But isn't it just a wonderful idea? Our walking past co-coincided with the conclusion of an Angelina the Ballerina kids performance, so  there were lots of kids around.

Oh, they can actually play.

I think these may be the same kids, moved on to another piano.

He was playing Chopin, not because I recognised it. I just heard someone say Chopin. It was very pleasant piece of music.

'Piss off old gramps, we need to play Chopsticks.' While the girls' father protested, the man obliging said to the girls, please play for me, and they did.

She very sweetly played the music from It's a Mad World from the movie Donnie Darko. You may remember it being Tears for Fears first international hit or perhaps being used in a promotion for ABC TV News. I consider the sprinkling of pianos around the city as brilliant public art.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pleased I was ugly to start with

Don't do it Andrew, no don't. You know your mental image of them will be ruined forever, but I couldn't stop myself. James Dean had it right. No one can spoil his image. Elvis, oh dear.

Max Baer Jr. aka Jethro in The Beverley Hillbillies. He always was going to grow to be a large bloke. Face is a bit tight.

Tony Dow aka Wally Cleaver in Leave it to Beaver. Could be worse, I suppose. Another tight face. I think Victor may have liked Wally rather a lot.

David Cassidy aka Keith Partridge in the Partridge Family, the tightest face of all. Now, I am in tears. I can't do any more. It is too distressing.

I should have learnt when I posted about Luke Halpin, Sandy in Flipper. The comments were great, and then went rather crazy.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Too many people, a rant.

I would like a dollar for every time I have heard some say over the past month how pleasant Melbourne has been. That was of course before the heat melt down.

But they weren't really referring to the weather. They meant the ability to get around in a metropolis that was not crowded, where the roads flowed well and you could get a seat on public transport, and in the case of trams and buses, not blocked by cars all the time.

The theory of higher density living in inner areas appeals to me, but in practice it has become hideous. Why? Our infrastructure is inadequate and nor the State or Federal governments show any inclination of improving the situation. Labor or Liberal, it makes no difference.

As for greater Melbourne, it is no different. People are fed up with inadequate roads, inadequate public transport and inadequate infrastructure in general (except for massively expanding shopping centres).

Our standard of living is undoubtedly in decline and it is due to overpopulation of our large cities. From hospitals, emergency services, public transport, country roads, government services to our environment with a couple of exceptions, are in decline. Millions, or billions are wasted on consultants to tell the government what experienced staff could easily do. Outsourcing sees a much higher cost with an often a worse result.

But with such a decline, what does the government do? It listens to big business which tells to keep increasing the population with high immigration and a financial incentives to have a high birth rate.

Speaking of big business, I was disgusted to see that the big business lobby group, VECCI, is in court trying to claim tax exempt charitable status. Has it no shame!

Monday, January 20, 2014

A pleasant meal out

Sometimes when you dine out it can be ok, but Saturday night was a meal out with friends that worked really well. We began at dog Jack's owner's Mum's place in Carnegie for drinks and nibbles with her girlfriend and the Brighton Antique Dealer. A week's visit by Jack to the Highrise has been scheduled for March 11.

I don't know why, but our dyke friend insisted we park on eastern side of the railway line at Ormond and walk through the subway to Ormond Thai. I recommend the small restaurant. The food was good, the service very good and the prices were reasonable..........if only they had turned the air-con on. It was too hot for us foreigners. Unlike many most Thai restaurants, it is run by ethnic Thais and not Vietnamese.

Our Brother Friends sat at one end of the table and R at the other, so there was no friction or discomfort. The late Dame M's Boarder attended and amused us with phone photos of his alter ego Jasmine. On Dame M's deathbed, she wrote a cheque for the boarder for $25000 to buy a new car to replace his 1980 Ford Laser, and some seven years later, he finally has, with a very smart Ford Kuga. He retold us about his old Laser's five week holiday. It went missing and he reported it to the police. Five weeks later he received a call from the police to inform him that they had cleared out the people who were living in it and it was at the back of the National Theatre in St Kilda. 

Brighton Antique Dealer and myself were outside in the cooling breeze. I snapped this atrocious development. How could council possibly approve its construction, or was it the evil VCAT at work again.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Quiet Sunday Afternoon

Our lives are at the mercy of so many. One tiny mistake....

It began with a crash and a screech of tyres as the tram pushed the car along at an angle at 2.54pm.

In less than ten minutes all emergency services were present. Clearly someone is trapped in the car. It looks serious. A tweet from Yarra Trams at 3.09 informs subscribers of their Twitter feed of the the delay to St Kilda Road tram services.

The tram is moved back to give firemen access to the driver's door. An air compressor driven device wrenched the door open and firemen folded the door back. The car driver is removed and put in an ambulance at 3.30.

Two camera men capture footage, probably for tonight's tv news. Trams moving again at 3.45. Roads re-opened at 3.56. No tweet from Yarra Trams about the trams resuming as I publish at 4.02.

Later edit: Trying to work whether the tram driver or the motorist was at fault has preoccupied me. I recall what I heard, the collision and then the sound of of squealing rubber tyres. I did not hear the tram gong a warning, nor the tram electro magnetic brakes clamping down onto the track. Cars face a turn arrow where the cars turn into Toorak Road, either red or green of course. There is also a camera to snap motorists turning illegally against a red arrow. Channel 7 news confirmed the motorist was at fault, as I thought by what I heard. The middle aged woman turned against the red arrow as the tram proceeded through the intersection. Funny isn't it. People make mistakes and of course one feels sorry for the injured woman, but there was not an innocent person hurt.

Sunday Selections at Bourke Street

Check out what River, Elephant's Child and Jackie have posted this day for Sunday Selections.

The corner of Swanston Streeet and Bourke Street is known as the centre of town. The other key intersection in the city is Swanston and Flinders Street, where our main suburban railway station is located. Swanston Street is the main thoroughfare in the city of Melbourne and it is the spine of the city and once it crosses the Yarra River over Princes Bridge, it becomes the grand boulevard of St Kilda Road.

I could not shoo tourists away from these sculptures, so I took coffee outdoors opposite the Town Hall and came back. The front man used to often have a ciggie stuck in his mouth. I haven't seen that for a good while. It's called Three Business Men Who Brought Their Own Lunch: Batman, Swanston and Hoddle. They were all famous people in Melbourne's history.

Pigs can fly? Apparently so. These are Weathervanes, by an American born sculptor, Daniel Jenkins. Whoever looks up at this corner? People should. There is always stuffs to be seen on high.

The brightly coloured car to right is a tram operation vehicle. The driver gesticulated to the passing police car about the offending private motorist in a place he really should not be, that is driving on raised tram platform stop. Yes, it was a he. The police stopped and looked at the offending driver, but did nothing. The motorist then mounted the footpath to get past the tram passenger area and guilelessly proceeded down Swanston Street.

This same day Daniel tweeted about a busker's van parked on the platform of a tram stop. Our city seems lawless. I complained to the City of Melbourne about private cars parking between Little Bourke Street and Lonsdale Street and suddenly there was law enforcement, but now the illegal car parkers are back. Yes, driver of  ZTL949, you are quite a stupid person. The cyclist does not look happy at being forced from his space.

Melbourne's busiest tram thoroughfare was disrupted for an hour a week or so ago by an errant driver, who dropped her wheels over the edge of a tram stop. It just amazes me how motorists think they might possibly be allowed to drive along a street when they have to mount a kerb to get past a tram stop barrier. Photo was published on Twitter, but I am not sure by who. The car is well and truly stuck and it looks like being a tow truck job. Hundreds, if not more than a thousand people were inconvenienced. There are various signs to warn drivers to not enter.

While we are not nearly as good as New Zealand in decorating our street service boxes, this pair was done some time ago.

Yes, I was just snapping away to fill in time while waiting for a shiny new E Class tram to St Kilda. The tram is very long and the one in front was running late so this smart new one was nearly empty. I watched the driver operating the controls for a while through the glass panel behind him and then wandered down the length of the tram to see what was to be seen, and looked at the controls at the other end. Good tram.