Friday, February 28, 2020

A Mother Tale

They seem to amuse some, so here is a recent one from a couple of weeks ago. ABI Brother took Mother to visit the neighbours across the road from where she lived. She had a lovely time with them and they are the nicest couple. They have been very kind to her over a few years.

She arrived back to ABI Brother's place and undressed, removed her makeup and put on her oldest nightie and grippy comfy socks for her afternoon sleep. She went out the front door to have a cigarette before her afternoon sleep and ABI Brother left to go to his club. That sounds posh but it is a horse racing club pub.

She went to go back inside but ABI Brother had accidently locked the door. She had taken her alarm pendent off ready for her sleep and her walker was inside. While she knew the back door was unlocked and discovered the side gate was too, she didn't have the strength to force the side gate open.

It is a very quiet enclave and leads to nowhere and there is rarely people on the streets. While she has had a brief acquaintance with the five car family across the road, she was fearful of crossing the road. So in her oldest nightie, clutching an inverted broomstick to use as a walking stick she started very shakily up the rough ground to the next door neighbour who she doesn't know and may not have been home.

A miracle happened, and there was actually someone walking along the street and asked the madwoman looking Mother if she was ok and though she too was older she was a little more hale and asked the neighbours across the road for help. They helped and forced the side gate open and made sure Mother was ok before leaving her.

Mother has always engendered kindness from people, just not so much from her own children. However Sister asked Mother if she would like a change of scenery by staying with her, her wife and Jo, or perhaps at a holiday house on Phillip Island for a few days. Mother replied, what will happen if I am in screaming pain with bowel problems on the toilet. Sister replied, I will shut the door so I can't hear you. Mother becomes so annoyed by Sister's usual reply to her problems, You'll be fine.

Yet we do all care about about our mother, as do her grandchildren.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Amusing Myself

There was a story on last night's commercial tv news about 'spending the kids inheritance'. It hasn't gone to air as I type. It was a promotion.

I remarked to R what a trite saying it had become and it isn't the kids inheritance until they receive it. It is their parents money. The inheritance is what is left over.

R mentioned that he jokingly said the phrase to Sister, who sour faced turned around and said no, that's not what you do. After R told me about this, I stepped out onto the balcony and had a fit of the giggles.

I came back in and said to R, remember the old American tv shows where the family would sit around a large table in the solicitor's (lawyer) office and the will would be read. It is a bit topical as Ex Sis in Law sent a message asking if we, the apparently rich ex gay brothers' in law, could lend her $200. We did, as Hippie Niece spent money for shopping on rubbish and perhaps going out. Ex Sis in Law and her husband had been away for the weekend in their newly bought second hand caravan. Hippie Niece has now been admitted to a private psychiatric hospital for 'adjustment to her medications'. Do you see a systemic problem? Ex Sis in Law with no money. Her daughter Hippie Niece with no money, yet they live better than we do.

Anyway whoever dies first, thinking about this made me laugh and R did too when I reminded him about the old tv shows where the will was read out.

The solicitor speaks: 'While Andrew and R lived a good life and they weren't spendthrifts they did however travel a lot in their later years and at the points of their deaths, they were almost entirely reliant on the government pension. As you would imagine, their home is worth quite a lot of money and while I said they were mostly reliant on the government pension, I have discovered that their apartment has been reverse mortgaged to fund their lifestyles and once the bank takes it share and costs from the sale of the apartment, there may only be a few hundred dollars for each beneficiary of the will'.

I can just imagine the crestfallen looks around the table.

It would be almost worth trying to set things up that way, but the problem is, as we discussed with our friend from the country last Friday, like she, we really don't know how to spend money after a lifetime of working to get where we now are. If you say, you haven't had to wear the cost of bringing up children, it is a fair comment, and maybe we would swap out advantageous position if we had our time over and could have children, by whatever means. R would have. I don't think I would. It was not a choice we really had.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Buses, the poor cousins

Peter Parker has long written about public transport. His site now is It is mostly about buses and the mess that Melbourne's third tier of public transport, buses, has always been and is not being fixed. He often writes about easy solutions to complicated bus routes and at times about bus routes that could really be fixed by a minimal expenditure. At times he argues that money needs to be spent on bus route reform and improvement.

I think he should be a powerful head of a bus reform organisation within a government authority. However after praising him and what he does, you really need to be seriously interested in public transport or have a vested interest in a bus route to read his site. I normally skim read but pick up on bits and pieces.

Peter's recent post was about buses in the the area where Tradie Brother lives. While Peter didn't write about the routes Tradie Brother used when he lost his driving licence some time ago that runs from Frankston Station along Cranbourne Road either to Langwarrin or on to Cranbourne Station, he did stimulate me to look at the bus routes that Tradie Brother used and no doubt at times my nephew and nieces used when they were younger and lived at home.

The 790 runs from Frankston Station to Langwarrin. The 791 travels further to Cranbourne Station. While the aforesaid Peter can probably absorb a timetable in seconds, it takes me longer. I did look at the AM peak service and the Saturday service and both seemed just as messy as the daytime weekday service I really examined.

Both routes operate every forty minutes, so given one covers half the route of the other, it would be reasonable to expect a bus every twenty minutes from Frankston Station along Cranbourne Road.

Not so. They are spaced ten minutes apart and then thirty minutes apart. This goes on all day and so if anyone wants to travel as far as Langwarrin, it is either a ten minute wait or a thirty minute wait if I have my sums right. I wrote them down to be sure in my disbelief that such a thing could happen.

Oops. I just found another route, the 789 which makes it a nice ten minute service during the day.

Just one of  Melbourne's modern fleet of buses. Don't laugh too much. I remember these running in my adult years and they had conductors on board.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Town Hall Tuesday

Melbourne Town Hall was impressive but I think next on the list should be my own local council town hall in the City of Port Phillip, a divisive 1990s amalgamation of City of St Kilda, City of South Melbourne and City of Port Melbourne. All had town halls and I will feature the others in the future.

City of Port Phillip is a rich local council with a huge rate base and it shows in the services offered to the less fortunate, older people and support for the arts, along with a self sustainable public housing trust. Apart from the one suburb of Elwood, it has trams and buses and trains in all directions and you don't need a car to get about.

It is odd that it is called St Kilda City Hall, when we normally call them town halls. It has a large footprint at the corner of Carlisle Street and Brighton Road, with three tram routes passing by. The original building was finished in 1890 in the classic revival style, whatever that means.

As per the plaque, the portico was added in 1925.

In bronze for all to remember, the evil State Premier Jeff Kennett. The first mayor after democracy returned was the wonderful Art Deco aficionado  Liana Thompson. Also listed as a councillor is the zany Dick Gross, our current mayor.

I am unsure of the 1939 additions.

The ceiling of the portico. There is a modern addition at the rear of the town hall where most council administration happens.

I think this huge tree is a Moreton Bay Hill's Fig.

Don't worry. He is not really dead......well he could be, I suppose. The outlook to the very busy intersection of Brighton Road and Carlisle Street is broken by the trees.

I remember the fire and being extremely concerned that the town hall was lost.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Monday Mural

Two for the price of one on opposite sides of Barry Street near the corner of Chapel Street, South Yarra. Nothing too wonderful.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Crossing Lines

Our friend in the country, once a resident of Hackney in London, made the long journey to Melbourne to meet us for lunch and see the exhibition Crossing Lines, with the works of muralist Keith Haring and street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Haring died from AIDS at the age of 31 in 1990, Basquiat in 1988 from a drug overdose at the age of 27, joining the 27 Club, as our friend pointed out to us. I wasn't aware of the 27 Club, so this is quite interesting to me.

While statistics disprove the popular view that so many talented people died at the age 27, here is an incomplete list: Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Jonathan Brandis, Amy Winehouse and of course Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Both are really interesting characters, with Haring born in Reading, Pennsylvania and Basquiat in Brooklyn. At some point the gay Haring and the sexually ambiguous Basquiat, though his relationships were with women, met and became friends. Basquiat sold his first work to singer Deborah Harry for $200. A few months later his works were selling for $20,000 each. I think the year was 2017 when one of his works sold for US $110 million. The more Warhol like pop artist Haring became a social justice and AIDS, and safe sex campaigner and artist. There is a large mural painted by Haring here in Melbourne, restored in 2013 I think, and he also painted a mural for a hoarding as the water wall at the Art Gallery was replaced.

We trammed to the National Gallery of Victoria after a pleasant lunch in the city. Although not far, we wanted to save our legs for the exhibition. $30 full admittance for me and old persons discount of $25 for R and our friend.

It was the best exhibition I have seen for years. In the background was music by artists of the 1980s, such as Madonna and Deborah Harry. I think the curation was brilliant and credit to curators Dieter Buchhart and Anna Karina Hofbauer, along with the gallery's senior curator Miranda Wallace.

Nothing to do with anything but before we entered the exhibition. I don't know what it is about and I am not really interested. Maybe you are.

A few snaps of some works that appealed to me. There is anger and a rawness in Basquiat's works and that never changed. I actually preferred his art as there was much more to see and wonder about in his creations.

As his fame grew, Haring's works became much more sophisticated.

Just when I started to wonder how many rooms of works there would be, we were in a room full of celebrity type photos by French born artist, fashion designer and film producer Maripol with many featuring either or both artists. I know nothing of her, but I loved her photographs. After that interlude, I was happy to see more Haring's and Basquiat's works.

There weren't too many more before we entered an exit via the gift shop passage featuring huge over life sized photos, also cleverly reflected behind glass on the opposite wall.

Basquiat, Andy Warhol and Haring.

Both with a person unknown.

I so do at times research for some posts. I put a good bit of work into this one, whether it is of interest or not. Basquiat looks rather attractive in the these photos above, but I saw one of him taken not long before he accidentally overdosed and he did not look good. His looks were fucked by drugs and hard living before he died at such a young age.