Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Melbourne vol. 2: Melbourne vs Sydney

Well of course Melbourne is on track to become Australia's biggest city. I conducted my own investigation into the Melbourne - Sydney divide many years ago when I packed my bags and moved north. Having grown up in Melbourne, I decided it was time for a change of scene. Sydney seemed so inviting - the glamorous harbour, the tranquil weather, the beautiful people with their tans and their little dogs and their weekender yachts.

Turns out Sydney is a lovely place is you're stinking rich but pretty tough if you're semi-broke, in your twenties and living in a share house. I lived in Newtown - described to me soon after I arrived as "the suburb you live in if you wish you lived in Melbourne." The tranquil weather turned out to be hot and humid and left me with a permanent sheen of sweat and a bad attitude. The public transport was great if you didn't mind endless delays and line breakdowns and getting on the train to Bondi only to end up in Bankstown. The pubs were full of pokies and the beers (sorry, midis) too pricey. I stuck it out for two years and then flocked back to the loving embrace of that grand old dame, Melbourne.

Sydney had its upsides: Glebebooks, Bill's, the Bondi to Bronte cliff side walk and Mardi Gras. I'll give it its beaches and its beauty. But give me the Merri Creek over the harbour, the roar of the MCG over the clamour of Coogee and the Palais Theatre over the Opera House. Sydney, you're beautiful but you drive me wild. Melbourne, be mine. x

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

MICF must see

So yes, we're off to the tropics and yes, it will be fabulous and will involve G&Ts and poolside massages and maybe a little sunburn and hopefully not a henna tattoo and/or an obnoxious conversion to yoga.

But missing Marty Sheargold and Tony Martin joining Glenn Robbins and Dave O'Neil at MICF on Thursday night is making my heart ache just a little.

Monday, April 07, 2014

If we took a holiday

I'm busy packing for a two week fiesta in the tropics where I'm not planning to do much besides read, sleep, drink gin and hand baby over to her adoring grandmother. Maybe I'll play a little Uno as well. So you'll have to excuse me, my three and a half readers, wherever you are, for the paucity of updates. Between buying mozzie repellant, cancelling mail, cleaning the house and buying enough baby food to feed a small island nation, I haven't had a lot of time. So here's The Onion: "Find the Thing You're Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights and Weekends for the Rest of Your Life."

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Night sounds

I used to be hooked on talk radio as a way of getting off to sleep. Something about Tony Delroy's The Quiz would quiet the mindchatter at the end of a long day (except those nights where you'd be screaming at Terry from Wodonga "Meryl Streep. THE ANSWER'S MERYL STREEP.")

Since the IPhone entered my life I've found a new nighttime companion: the podcast. Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington were the gateway drug and now it's a habit. Here are some of those who get me through the night:

WTF with Marc Maron
The godfather of podcasting. Maron started interviewing fellow stand-up comics in his garage a few years back and quickly became huge. His interview with ex-friend/rival/nemesis Louis CK is legendary. See also Maron's cable TV comedy, Maron, based on the podcast.

Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin
Why, Alex, why? You had me with your erudite, thoughtful questions; your unabashed admiration for your subject matter; your cigar-and-whisky tones; your dash of wit served with a side of pathos. Your interviews with David Letterman, Chris Rock, Rosie O'Donnell, Thom Yorke and David Simon were compelling from beginning to end. You had your own cable talk show in development. You coulda been a contender! Then you had to go and get all sweary-homophobic-punchy-sanctimonious and ruin a good thing.

By the Way with Jeff Garlin
Larry David's sidekick brings the funny with this series of interviews recorded live at Largo in Los Angeles. Worth it just to hear Garlin flirting outrageously with Amy Poehler and Lena Dunham.

Monsters of Talk with Margaret Cho and Jim Short
Did you know Margaret Cho is a massive Crowded House fan? True fact - one I learned listening to her chat to Neil Finn.

Also worth checking out:

Hollywood Babble On with Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman

Can You Take this Photo Please? with Justin Hamilton

I Love Green Guide Letters with Steele Saunders

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Sleeping like a baby

She slept through.


I want to kiss strangers in the street, kick my heels in the air and doff my bowler hat to passers-by because SHE SLEPT THROUGH.

I want to lead a pride march of bedraggled, bleary-eyed parents who've done their time in the trenches and come out the other side. We'll wave our flags, we'll laugh and dance, we'll high-five our brothers and sisters in arms, we'll hoist on our shoulders the weak, the weary and the sleep deprived, and then we'll stumble home to lap up more of that sweet, sweet sleep.

No more falling out of bed at 10pm, 1am, 3am, 5, 6 and 7. No more blurry predawn breastfeeds. No more foggy mornings, wondering just how I'll maintain a semblance of sanity for another 12 hours.

No more accosting other parents with a deranged gleam in my eye, shaking their shoulders and demanding they tell me their babysleep secrets. No more pouring over Pantley, Weissbluth, Ferber, Tizzie and Gina. No more vulnerability to every two-bit shyster who promises to unlock the mysteries of infant slumber once I click to hand over 29.95.

I tell my Mum. I tell Facebook. I tell the guy at the grocery store. I consider sky writing.

Oceans may rise. Empires may fall. But I'm doing fine because SHE SLEPT THROUGH.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Flashback Friday: The Dance Off

One person required stitches and a mother and son were arrested after a brawl between two dance teams that began during an impromptu "dance off", police said.

It was a quiet night in the suburbs of Wichita. The ten-strong Dynamic Steppers had gathered for their regular drill sessions at the basketball court behind Mike’s Diner. The Regional Allstar Discoamerica Dance Championships were less than a month away. The Dynamics' shock defeat to the White Tigers at last year’s Regionals still gnawed away at their insides. This year, victory would be theirs.

Mikey Z, the young, charismatic leader of the Dynamics, threw his spangle-gloved fist in the air and coolly clicked his fingers four times, punctuating each click with a sensuous body roll. All eyes fell upon him, the crowd respectfully silent. Mikey kicked off with a slammin handglide before swiftly moving into a double backspin. Raucous cheers burst out from his teammates. Z-man was a hero to all of them. Nobody could do a two-legged applejack like Mikey. He caught his proud mama's eye from the sidelines. He was just about to hurl himself into the cannonball, when a cry rang out from across the court.


With that, Jazzy ‘Jazz-hands’ Jack jumped out of the shadows and propelled himself forward with a mid-air somersault, landing on his knees and thrusting his palms out with his fingers fluttering. It was his signature move, the very one that packed such an emotional punch in last year’s routine that the judges forgot all about Mikey’s ferocious running man and foisted the trophy upon the Tigers instead.

Seeing those lithe, supple wrists taunting him with their effortless quiver filled Mikey with a cold, murderous rage ...

(First published 22 September 2005)