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Showing posts from December, 2021

The playlist.

The fill-in announcer on RRR just now (The Cave, formerly the Skullcave) was discussing his relationship with disco, which was fractious.  Apart from some early tentative crossover hits, disco eventually veered far from its soul-funk roots and descended into a musical hellhole from which it never recovered, leading to desperate attempts at new musical directions, such as the robotic new romantics using drum machines and synthesisers instead of  'instruments'.  One year in the mid-1970s disco collided with Christmas, resulting in a disco-fied Joy To the World strung out into a zombie-like metronomic medley with everything from Silent Night to White Christmas. It was the era of prawn cocktails, avocado vinaigrette, vol au vents and Coolabah moselle at the table; with guests wearing flared suits and six-inch ties - so the whole shooting match had a kind of balanced bad taste flavour about it. Disco passed but some of the world’s worst music continues to be reserved especially for

English mustard-spiked eggplant salsa and rare porterhouse steak.

Eggplant - known in England and other parts as the more evocative aubergine - is an underused vegetable, unless you are Lebanese or Turkish and then you probably have it coming out your ears. No wonder: eggplant is a marvellous vegetable/fruit/berry (used as a vegetable, looks like a fruit, is botanically a berry). This distant relative of the tomato, chilli pepper, potato and tobacco (eat twenty eggplants for breakfast and forgo your morning cigarette) has a chameleonic ability to adapt to other flavours and ingredients, absorbing their flavours and goodness. It was a late night. I had been to a committee meeting; long, but not as long as they used to be. The new president/chairman had taken over and had made good on his vow - and my insistent proposal - to cut meeting times to ninety minutes, if not seventy-five. For years they had on occasion blown out to midnight, from an eight p.m. start. They had been occasions for crusted-on committee hogs to have proxy social lives, monthly pl

Village lost in time.

It was a warm day, two in the afternoon. Slightly overcast. Southerly breeze. I drove southwest out of Melbourne, but not too far out. I took the four-lane Geelong freeway to the C114 turnoff and instead of swinging in a big right arc back across the freeway to Lara like most of the traffic, I took a left turn down the long lonely road towards the coast.  After a while, it became one lane for both directions so that you have to pull over when a vehicle comes from the other direction. Then the blacktop ended altogether, and the car crunched along gravel towards a leftwards sweep. A sign warned 'No passing on bridge' and the road narrowed even more. I rumbled over the bridge, swung back to the right, and the track stopped dead a few hundred yards farther along in a big careless patch of bitumen under a jumble of fishing boats and trailers. A slipway disappeared under a seaweedy stretch of water probably five miles across to a peninsula in the distance. Small semi-visible figures

You're talking to Tony*: radio comedian launches world's first non-boring 'history of something' book.

 At long last, after several lockdown-caused false starts,  The Moonee Ponds Club: Celebrating 125 Years  was launched on 6 December at the Club's premises at 622 Mount Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds.  3AW's Pub of the Week raconteur/gastronome/comedian/CouldbeenChampion/Moonee Ponds notable Tony Leonard emceed the launch of the iconic club with a laugh-generating off-the-cuff ramble ranging over his upbringing in neighbouring Footscray, the price of Ben Ean moselle in the 1980s and a snub of his alma mater: he once launched a book for Xavier College - an Eastern suburbs school for social-climbing Catholics - in which the attendees descended on the book table, grabbed copies and immediately turned to the index to find out how many 'mentions' they had. (I had been discussing with him prior to the launch that very reason why we had strategically decided not to include an index in my book.) Tony Leonard even kindly offered to purchase a copy of the book, so impressed was he

Hiding behind the ironed curtains of world's lockdown HQ.

It was the biggest short-lived panic of all time. I pointedly don't listen to morning radio; particularly the crybaby shock jock, the oracle of timid men, the un-pied piper of the craven, the timid choirmaster of catastrophists. But there he was, or at least his voice, coming out of a radio perched behind the counter of some shop I'd had to visit, talking up the chances of catastrophe via a new virus mutation, and frightening what life was left in his fabric-masked listeners cowering behind the ironed curtains of their fortress homes. It was just after 9am, Monday morning. I waited. The shop was busy. Now the voice on the shelf behind the counter, treble unaccountably amplified so you could hear every sibilant letter, had one of those pop psychologists on air, who was explaining in carefully enunciated syllables the importance of, when there is bad news, breathing slowly, not jumping to catastrophic conclusions, and being thankful for what you had. Small mercies in bad times. B