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Showing posts from May, 2015

Seventy years after.

"Any resemblance between pre-war football and today's game," football historian and Truth sports reporter Jim Main wrote in 1969, "is purely coincidental." Main continued: "The old game died bloodily in 1945, when Carlton throttled life out of South Melbourne and gave birth to a professionalism that has matured into today's cold, calculated ruthlessness ... ." Carlton was reigning premier when Main wrote those words; having achieved success by poaching the star player of the League's then most successful club, prompting one of the Sun News-Pictorial's better back page headlines: Carlton Draft: Melbourne Bitter . The act of unsporting bastardry so shocked Melbourne it never won another flag; Carlton blithely piled up another seven during the reign of nine coaches following Barassi, some of whom were summarily sacked - and two of which were reappointed, attesting to the board's erratic vacillations. The word professional is no long

Stupid labels: #1 in a series of about six million.

It was on a can of pineapple in the supermarket. It read: Naturally Low in Fat , as if to reassure the one in eighty billion shoppers who might think pineapple was as fat-laden as, say, a ham and cheese croissant or a jar of double cream. What next? Naturally Low in Nuts on a leg of lamb? Completely Sugar Free! on a jar of salt?

Conversation in a hotel late one night.

The room was silent. Delegates had voted and were waiting for the result of the first podium finish – third – to appear on a large screen fixed to the wall. The barman moved around softly, collecting glasses. The room was a private one at a rundown hotel in an inner bayside suburb; the kind of place once frequented by car dealers, waterside workers, blacksmiths and horse trainers. To say the clientele had changed would be like saying the sun had risen. Today, the faded curtains, the worn carpet, and the accidentally-antique bar furniture gave the establishment a raffish air that appealed to the inner-urban hipsters who had transformed the surrounding suburb from $10,000 workers' cottages into $1.5 million 'unpolished gems' by the simple act of moving in. Now, the hipsters were happy to mix with the remaining scoundrels of the area and the hotel was the place they did it. Suddenly, a headline appeared on the screen. The Top Ten Vegetables. Silence. A subtitle appeare

Countdown: top ten vegetables of all time.

NO. 4: THE MUSHROOM Until the early 1970s, Melbourne was dead on Sundays. Everything was shut. TABs, casinos, $2 shops, brothels, liquor outlets, Kidzone, Domino's pizza, Northland, you name it. It must have been awful. How did people get through the day? My father had a Sunday coping strategy. He took us on what was known as a 'Sunday drive', a quaint mid-twentieth century weekend activity that involved a whole family packing into an FC Holden station wagon and driving into the countryside on mostly deserted roads, although another vehicle might be spotted occasionally, embarked on a similar expedition. He usually drove north-west. We were practically on the urban fringe anyway. West of Essendon was thistle and Avondale Heights, both of which were wild. Keilor Road took us across the Maribyrnong River bridge into Keilor proper, where the road became the Calder Highway. After that was nothing but farmland all the way to Bendigo. We would take an arbitrary turnoff ont

The footy oval at the bottom of the valley.

Sixty years ago, several enterprising gentlemen purchased an abandoned building site in West Essendon. It was no surprise the estate was abandoned. Despite being close to sub-division, it sat on a cliff. The street plan had been submitted to the planning authorities, was printed in the 1955 edition of the Melways street directory, and then deleted in the next edition. Potential builders looked at the site and were stunned. "Can't build on that," they exclaimed. "It's a cliff. Get a decent rain after you gouge into that, and you'll have a billion tons of mud and several earthmovers at the bottom of the valley floating down Steele Creek." So they put it up for sale, to whoever would be mad enough to buy it. * The several enterprising gentlemen bought it. They wanted to build a school. But where to put the actual building? "Never mind where to put the school," said one, who played football and had his priorities right. "Let's ma