The incoherent blathering and deranged rantings of the self-styled Guru Bob...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Get into history

Finally finished Tom Wolfe book called 'I am Charlotte Simmons' on the weekend which was actually pretty good. I have waded through a few of his more recent tomes and supposedly he is the master of observation or some such nonsense. However you could claim some link between him and JB because I think he was one of the instigators of 'new journalism' (along with the madder then mad Hunter S Thompson) with books like the Electric Cool Aid Acid Test and other looks at 60s sub-cultures.
However seeing as the long weekend was all about commemorating the landing of the first colonists in Australia some many years ago - I hit a few historical books over the weekend as well.
I had picked up a couple of books that have recently been published by Arcade Publications about some aspects of local history. One of the great things about Melbourne is the support given to small publishers and these guys are small publishers who make small books (quite literally as the things fit into a trouser pocket) about the history of Melbourne. One about the eccentric bookselling genius E. W. Cole whose enormous old house is around the corner from my place in Essendon. The other was about 'Making Modern Melbourne' and was a great little condensed history of the city.
I actually finished both of them really quickly and then moved onto another book Flavours of Melbourne: a culinary biography which gives you an insight into the different foods of different eras of the city - from pre-contact through to colonial days, the gold rush, Marvellous Melbourne and I am now up to the Great Depression era. Each chapter outlines how people lived, the food they ate at home, where they went out to and concludes with recipes from the era - so if you want to know how to cook kangaroo steamer, devilled sardines or mock turtle soup - you can start there.
Finally on Oz Day after a traditional barbie of flattened tandoori chicken where I managed to set fire to the BBQ - we relaxed with some beers and watched episode one of The First Australians which should be compulsory viewing for everyone down here in Oztrailya...
So now I feel a much more well rounded human being and know some more stuff about my new hometown and the land of my birth.

You know its summer when...

I knew it was definitely summer the other day when I looked up from the back yard to see Elvis flying past.

For those of you who live OS this didn't mean that I had been partaking of too many presecription drugs, rather that I saw a bloody enormous helicopter that is based out at Essendon Aerodrome in order to fight bushfires. I think they come over from the USA because once we had dinner next to an entire group of yanks all wearing Elvis t-shirts at the local Indian curry place.

So it is bushfire season and bloody hot at present. I haven't been following the weather reports but the news is full of stories about railway lines buckling, trains being cancelled and yesterday morning on RRR they were talking about birds falling out of the sky, something that Sweet Thang swears she witnessed the other day!

I am sure we also drove past a temperature reading that said it was 47 degrees (celsius- I don't know what that means in American but it is bloody hot down here) the other day as well...

So at present whenever I venture outside it is like putting your face into a blast furnace and it is just too hard to get energised or enthused about much at all.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hunting Rhino...

Rhinos have always been something which fascinate us. But I have been concerned at the lack of any presence of our former Jspace compatriot known as Rhino.
At first I thought that he may have fled to escape the carnage in the Congo but apparently he may have just been looking for love?

But then again he is probably too smart to rely on the element of chance and so would be found advertising online or elsewhere.
But if so his shyness doesn't seem to be working as he doesn't want to photographed...
But then again this report indicates that he may have been succesful in his quest for love.
I just hope that the HDLW approves???

Monday, January 12, 2009

Spag skippy

On the weekend tried my hand at cooking up a pot of 'Spag Skippy' with some kangaroo mince I picked up at Coles.

Now as a cook I am not exactly up in JB's league, but I do know how to make a pretty decent bolognaise, or at least that is what I call it. It is based upon the stuff my mum made and I think she learned it from the old Margaret Fulton Cookbook back in the 60s (by the way I didn't realise she was a well deserved living national treasure before). However I know that what we Aussies serve up here is probably a lot more meaty and herby then any real Italian would recognise as a true bolognaise.

Now I have tried kangaroo on more then one occasion at restaurants and pubs. It usually comes grilled and is very, very tasty.

However I probably should have read this guy's blog or looked it up before I started because the bolognaise just lacked something, tasting very dead. Or is that the 'gamey' taste that I should have expected?

Now I have a huge pot of the stuff sitting in the fridge and neither Sweet Thang nor I are overly enthused at the prospect or polishing off the leftovers.

It is times like this that I wish I had a big dog...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Driving Ms Daisy...

Sweet Thang was meant to go and get a Learners Permit this morning. She had booked in to do the test and everything.

Now this is great news. I myself was a late bloomer when it came to learning to drive and only got my licence in my mid-thirties, because I got a job that said 'must have current drivers license' in the criteria. Luckily no-one actually asked about that until after I had started the job and had been rushing through those lessons. But once I got a license it was like 'hello - what have I been waiting for???' and I haven't stopped driving ever since.

I also have many other friends who were late starters in the motorist stakes for whatever reasons. In Sweet Thang's case, she has been an inner city girl for a long time, uses public transport because it is more environmentally friendly and rides her bike quite a lot, plus despite the whinging of various sections of the community Melbourne has one of the best public transport systems of any Australia city. I mean we have trams!!!

So when I met Sweet Thang and we started going out it was the most natural thing in the world to just say, 'hey no problem' whenever she needed a lift somewhere, or 'hey I'll just drop by and pick you up' if we were heading somewhere. However two years later and we are living together in the burbs and it is a major pain to have to always both go to the shops to get a few things, or have to plan my weekend around getting her to a hair appointment, or whatever.

It isn't major relationship counselling stuff, but it is just a bit annoying and niggling... I have dropped the ocasional hint about how she would love the independence and how it would make such a huge difference in her life etc etc. Not enough to enough to qualify as nagging, but what I would like to see as 'positive encouragement', but she has been immune to my entreaties and blandishments.

Until now.

She ended up staying on in Melbourne for a week on her own prior to Christmas while I was in Brisbane swanning around, having barbies with mates, looking for the world's hottest burger etc. Originally her work had said that she would be working up until Christmas Eve and she had made plans etc based on that, bought her plane ticket and was super organised. However about three weeks before Christmas they changed their minds and told everyone that the office would be closed from 20 December until 12 January as a 'cost-cutting measure'. So all of her plans went out the window and it was way too expensive to change her flight arrangements with such short notice because in Australia the flights that week before Christmas are just insane.

So she ended up staying at home for a week, feeling stuck in Essendon, with a perfectly good car just sitting outside unused. So she decided that it was time to make a change and go and get a license. Of course it is always better when someone makes a decision themselves, so it has all worke dout for the best.

However last night we hit a big snag. We spent the evening turning the house upside down looking for her passport (she is Canadian), which seems to have gone walkabout. The annoying thing is we are positive that it is somewhere in the house but we just can't find it anywhere...

So no ID, no drivers test!

So I am going to be continuing my limosine duties for a while longer.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chaz is coming...

For those of you who are also Jspace refugees you should be aware that Chaz is coming all the way from Perth just to have dinner with us here in Melbourne - details here.

It should be a good night...

By the way does anyone know where Minx is these days? She was a bit annoyed that she missed out on the last Melbourne get-together.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A long time between drinks...

I am sooo very excited...

Tonight I am off to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in concert at some dodgy place in the CBD.

Yes I am off to see the master of dark rock and biblical apocalyptic lyrics, the prince of porn star moustaches and comb-overs and the greatest purveyor of the swamp music and purloined southern gothic aesthetics.

The last big concert I went to was to see The Pixies at the V Festival in Sydney a couple of years ago, which was huge and corporate and I had a ball, just me and Sherriff Luke and his gal bouncing around and singing the words along with Frank Black and about 30-40,000 other people...

I am sure that this won't be on that same scale. Back in the days of student politics and all that stuff I actually put on a Nick Cave concert in the old main refec at UQ, I don't remember that much of it because I spent most of the night helping out at the bar and never got a chance to meet him - which was pretty stupid of me - but hey I was young and stupid then.

After that I saw him at a couple of Livid Festivals and remember after a great concert at the old Festival Hall in Brisbane my friend Julianne and her then partner Grant McLennan brought him along to Ricks Bar in the valley to have a drink with us. Once again I didn't have much to say to him then apart from the usual 'great concert' statements, which were pretty redundent.

Anyway it has been a few years since I have seen him play, it was always abit harder to make it to gigs from regional Queensland and I have kept up with his albums. However Sweet Thang is also a bit of a fan and just before Christmas I was reading an article about him playing here in Melbourne and I just went and ordered the tickets straight away on an impulse. We went to see the Nick Cave exhibition a couple of times last year (which I understand will be heading to Brisbane sometime soonish) and we have enjoyed his latest album way too much.

He is in Oz as the 'curator' of the All Tomorrow's Parties Festival which of course is not happening in Melbourne, instead the Victorian gig is miles away at Mount Buller - although why they would have a music festival at a ski resort in the middle of summer is not readily apparent. It is like a dream festival where someone gets the chance to put together their own best lineup of acts (the 'curator') and then it just happens. I have to admit to some confusion because I thought that it would only be happening at Mt Buller but there is also one happening in Sydney and even in Brisbane - so if you can get along to it you really, really should. Because it will just be amazing.

I am not sure whether it a definite connection but the title All Tomorrow's Parties is also a book by one of my favorite authors William Gibson and a song by Nico and the Velvet Underground...

Anyway I am missing out on the big gig, but pretty happy to get along and see Mr Cave and his band play tonight. As for actually meeting him again - if I am not starstruck again - I doubt that it will happen in the near future.

But you never know - apparently he has a new book coming out and that opens up all sorts of possibilities in my line of work.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Pretenders to the Throne

It has come to my attention via the good book Google that there are many false prophets claiming the mantle of 'GURU BOB', however as that French guy playing a Scottish dude in the lame movie Highlander proclaimed many times, "there can be only one!" and I have been he since the dim dark days of the 1980s.

This false prophet Guru Bob has nothing to do with me nor does this one... so don't be led astray by their falsehoods and promises...


Big Break

Well it has been a while since I posted anything online so I thought that I may as well give everyone a quick breakdown of my holiday.

I took a couple of weeks off work and flew up to Brisbane, picked up a massive great big rental car and went to Taringa to house sit my sister's place for a few days. The plan was to catch up with some of my friends who I hadn't seen for ages before Sweet Thang came up to join me. It worked out really well and I saw JB and Barnes (who I actually see anyway down here in Melbourne) for a barbie at JB's place as well as going to see the Game On show at SLQ with Bill, JB, Barnes and a horde of kids. The exhibition was excellent and the kids (small and large) all seemed to love getting there and playing video games, however when Bill and I were playing Space War (the very first ever computer game) his little one thought it was 'boring'.

That was followed by an abortive excursion to eat the world's hottest burger at Wellington Point. I seem to recall a certain Lance Corporal Barnes drilling into my head the adage "Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance" but in this case he could have followed his own advice because the destination we drive for 45 minutes to get to was actually closed for the holidays.

Oh well - we had lunch down the road anyway. To be honest I was a little bit relieved that I avoided that bullet...

I also caught up with some other friends I hadn't seen for a while and saw their new houses/cars/babies etc all before going to collect Sweet Thang at Brisbane Airport on Christmas Eve. Then it was all about heading up North to see her family for the next couple of days. Which all went very well, lots of turkey and ham was consumed, presents were opened, beer and wine drunk and conversations had.

Then we headed back to Brisbane to my sister's place for a couple of days catching up with Sweet Thang's friends. It was great to have a house to use as a base, complete with pool, barbie and stereo.

Then we set off to meet up with my family in Scott's Head , dropping in to Bangalow for brekkie and Grafton for lunch. Every second year my family find a house somewhere on a beach midway between Sydney and Brisbane and all congregate there for the season. It works pretty well but did seem a bit crowded with 8 adults and 7 kids (plus one more on the way). However everyone cooked up a storm every night, there were ample fine wines and beers to be had and a gorgeous beach was just a short walking distance away. On New Years's Eve we feasted on barbecued Wahoo and then wandered over to watch the lantern parade and a fantastic fireworks display on the beach before cruising back for a snooze.

New Years Day we both said goodbye to the futon in the living room and hit the road agin for Sydney. Making pretty good time meant that we were able to duck off to visit Newcastle for a late lunch and to see the regional gallery which is supposed to be one of the better ones in NSW. There was a sculpture there by a guy called Jasper Knight which even Havock would have enjoyed...

Then it was on to Sydney. We spent a night at my other sister's house in Surry Hills. We had a little bit of an evening wander around a few of the pubs in teh enighbourhood before grabbing a bite at the Dophin Hotel. In the morning we made around the corner for breakfast at the Book Kitchen and who should be sitting out the front but Hughsey's ex and their son. Sweet Thang thought that the son was actually his boyfriend at first, but when I put her right said that he was handsome and very good looking. The rest of the day was spent wandering around Sydney in the car.

Then we checked into the Amora Hotel in town for a couple of nights as tourists. I thought that the last thing my sister would want upon returning home after a 6-7 hour drive home (complete with kids and hot weather) would be a couple of free loaders haning around so we treated ourselves to a Wotif special package and it was great. A totally generic 5 star hotel experience in the centre of Sydney for a ridiculously low price.

We walked up to Rockpool and grabbed a meal from the bar menu, sitting about a metre from the kitchen action and drinking some great wines, then wandered up to the 47th floor of the Australia Square for a touristy drink or two in the rotating restaurant/bar.

The next day a huge ship must have pulled into the wharf at first light so we wandered around the CBD looking in overpriced shops and playing spot the ship person. We also went to the MCA and saw a couple of good shows as well as pick up some clothes that actually fit me, which was a major bonus.

Spent the evening with my sisters (and various husbands and kids) who had finally returned from their beach front holiday before getting stuck into the packing and stuff required for an early flight back to 'sunny' Melbourne and back to real life...

Unexpected highlights included:
- JB's Portuguese roast pork done on the barbie
- the supposed zombie movie Quarantine at a suburban multiplex
- the Optimism exhibition at Brisbane's GOMA and the huge Ron Mueck sculpture upstairs
- the fireworks at Scott's Head
- polishing off Peter F. Hamilton's new book
- lunch at Sailor Thai in Sydney's The Rocks
- listening to The Flight of the Conchords CD while doing lots of driving
- lots of swimming and pool time

See you soon.

The Madding Crowd

Apparently I am an e-refugee from Journalspace.

Sitting here in a new land with few possessions around me, no real bearings or knowledge of what surrounds me and cut off from my usual friends and colleagues.

I have to say that it truly sucked big time to completely lose about 18 months worth of pointless blogging and commentary about life, the universe and everything.

However I was on holidays so it didn't have a big impact until I returned to the real world yesterday to discover that what I had thought was one of the usual temporary J-space issues had actually been a fully fledged e-apocalypse for an online community that I had grown pretty attached to.

Anyway here I am - bring it on!!!

Lets get a move on and colonise this new place.