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Showing posts from November, 2014

Lobby Loyde tells us what he really thinks.

Now that’s funny. After mentioning Lobby Loyde, Melbourne guitar legend (except he was real) somewhere the other day, an article in last weekend's newspaper quoted his opinion on the late television music show, Countdown . Countdown commenced in 1974, replacing the excellent un-hosted GTK . Why do you need a host? Just play the music and cut out the middle man. I did not like Countdown . I didn't like the mostly rubbish music acts; the live screaming teen audience that yelled the same high-decibel hysteria for every performance no matter how good or bad; the jabbering host who was always one jaw-drop away from actual dribbling; and the terrible theme music, if you could call it that. In other words, I was a music snob. Or was I? I looked up Thomas J. Guest’s very important reference work, Thirty Years of Hits: Melbourne Top 40 Research , to see if the music at that time was as bad as I remembered. Turning to the year Countdown first screened, 1974, I ran my eye d

There's more danger in the carpark.

Why would I stop my children playing cricket? Every time we exit the cricket ground, I have to shepherd them against the mad drivers in the car park that also services the main street shops. It is those idiot shoppers, not the sportsground patrons, who drive like possessed demons. Not the ute-driving cricketers or footballers; but the four-wheel-drive mothers who aren’t looking because they’re staring into devices, or who think they are bulletproof in the massive vehicles they cannot control properly; or who are just too plain stupid to care about pedestrians. Meanwhile, a prayer for Phil Hughes .
Photograph taken by my father, 1970. Cnr Mt Alexander Road and Ormond Rd, Moonee Ponds.

Inspired by Herge: drawing the Volvo Polestar S60 in action.

After last Sunday's thrilling finish to the Phillip Island 400, the boys got to work with their HBs. The Polestar is a beautiful piece of machinery, its sculpted lines reminiscent of the hulking powerhouse racing cars of decades gone by. Garry Rogers of Garry Rogers Motorsport, whose driver Scott McLaughlin stole Sunday's race in the last straight, posted the resulting pictures here . Well done boys. Now it's a hard career decision: commercial artist or racing driver. Hmmmmm. (Herge, who wrote and illustrated the Tintin series, started out as an illustrator in the automotive industry.)

Selling the 1970s.

People think I exaggerate about the past. Maybe I do. But maybe I don’t. Because I was there. Reader Melbourne Girl recalled an item of 1970s clothing in a comment at this post about 1970s food. That brought the whole horrible decade of bad taste flooding back. Because I sold them! My first job was salesman in a menswear store during a period that rode the fashion wave from flower power to the platform sole. Put 'clothing' and '1970s' in a sentence and you picture skin-tight trousers with the legs flared out to eighteen inches at the bottom. Why the width? To accommodate the battleships underneath: two-tone fake leather uppers that sat on five inches of prime Portuguese cork. People think the wine cork industry was destroyed by the Stelvin closure but that’s rubbish. It was devastated by the shoe industry. Rumour has it that a famous Italian shoe designer had a love rival who was a Portuguese wine cork baron, or whatever they call barons in Portugal. He vowed rev

Queensland politicians slow off the mark.

The weather is good in the Sunshine State, as is the beer, the beaches, the football , the hinterland, the outback and everything else. So you can little blame the politicians for taking a few days to notice a speech by the USA’s chief weather forecaster. But they got there, finally. 'The Queensland government,' The Australian reports today (subscription required, but Facebook link here ), ' ... is incensed over what it sees as an ill-informed, insulting speech from Barack Obama about climate change, the Great Barrier Reef and coal.' You could add patronising, hypocritical, disingenuous and any number of other words, but mostly hypocritical. The guy might be an orator, but Australian larrikin bushmen know a bit of oratory too, they just keep it short. Their rejoinder might contain just two words, the second of which would be " ... off ". The last US chief weather forecaster got the same treatment, so don't say we're not fair. Meanwhile, at t

Plugging the leek.

The leek might be the vegetable I have mentioned most in the twelve years I have been writing this online diary. It could be my favourite vegetable, but I'm never sure. But the leek is one of the most versatile, tasty, fragrant, inexpensive, ubiquitous and waste-free vegetables you can buy. As usual, I shop on price and leeks are $1 each this week so leeks is what we eat. Leek, potato and tomato stew. Warm a tablespoon of butter and a splash of olive oil in a deep heavy pan. Chop a large leek into thin rounds and rinse. Chop an onion into rings. Add vegetables to the pan and cook until soft. Now add a scored clove of garlic and a zucchini chopped into quartered rounds. Stir, add a glass of white wine, and lid the pan. Simmer on low for ten minutes. Then add two cans of whole tomatoes with their juice, a dozen or more pitted black olives, a cup of stock, a dash of salt and pepper, a scant teaspoon of sugar, and a dash of chilli powder. Put the lid on and let it bubble for

Brown rice shakes off reputation as 1970s artefact.

Like barley, brown rice used to have a reputation. Barley was once regarded as the ingredient grandmothers added to soups and lamb stews to fortify growing children. Then someone on television turned barley into a risotto, and packets of McKenzie's Pearl Barley starting flying off the lower supermarket shelves, where they had lain untouched for decades next to McKenzie's Soup Mix, McKenzie's Yellow Split Peas, McKenzie's Dessicated Coconut and, of course, McKenzie's Bi-Carb Soda. Barley was now a foodie's food. Brown rice was once similarly unloved. It was like barley for 1970s hippies, having been associated with that demographic together with several types of smoke and a kind of footwear. Being brown was kind of appropriate because everything in the 1970s was brown: curtains, Datsun 120Ys, carpet, dinner sets, corduroy, record covers , you name it. Even the timber bowls that brown rice salad was typically served in were brown. Well, of course. And the r

Butter substitute margarine was originally developed from nuts, so why didn't they call it "nutter"?

Turns out they did. The brand name of an early version of the then-controversial spread was indeed called "Nutter". From the Daily News Cookbook , UK. Can't find a publication date but the paper itself was founded by novelist Charles Dickens in the 1840s and folded (in the economic sense) in the Depression of 1930.

Four eccentric, elderly English gentlemen on stage.

It's almost pathetic. What? That I missed the Rolling Stones again. Always an excuse. Too young in '65 or '66. Couldn't afford '73. Too busy another time. Missed out on tickets. Forgot. Out of town. On the subject of ticket prices, is $300 to $1000 too much to pay for a two-hour Rolling Stones concert? It's all relative. If you offered fans the chance to see a miraculously revived two Beatles, and they joined the other two in concert, how much would they pay? Anything. Elvis Presley? Quadruple that. Yet the Rolling Stones survived largely intact and are here. It's all relative. I think I just said that. Last night, when Keith Richards was announced on stage, he was reported saying, "It's good to be here. It's good to be anywhere!" No, I haven't bought tickets for Hanging Rock. Can't remember my excuse, but there must be one. * Favourite Stones song? The one my mother frowned at in 1967 when my brother purchased the EP: 

Cinematic experience in a TAB.

The children have never been inside a TAB. We went in to throw away a few dollars on the mugs' race, the Melbourne Cup. A huge screen on one wall was showing races around the country. Sit on the couch, I told them, while I put the bets on. (Fawkner for Tracy, William and Thomas; Lucia Valentina for Alex; Mutual Regard for me.) Alex asked me if she could have some popcorn.