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Do not go quietly, unto your grave

29 May

Many moons ago, I became aware of ‘over 28’s’ nights.

I was a first year uni student, having my eyes opened to so many new ideas and experiences that I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like in three years time, let alone ten. Twenty eight seemed so old at the time.

And here I am now: over 30 and childless.

Which turns out to be the best possible life scenario in Australia at the moment. Bonus points for having a job, no mental or physical illness, and a higher education. Minus points for being a woman, a public servant and the desire to go back to study, have a child, or god forbid – both.

Under the budget as proposed by the Abbot government, life is expected to get harder for a hell of a lot of people. Mostly, those who are already struggling or at a disadvantage for whatever reason. And now, in the latest announcement from the government, you may be able to continue to suffer in death!

so now that I’m too old for the over 28’s crowd, I better start thinking ahead for my next social phase.

hopefully I’m not still working at 70, I can still afford to eat, and music venues still exist. Most of all, I hope that (in the words of the late Mark Sandman) I do not go quietly unto my grave.



Another one bites the dust

1 Apr

It’s official. The Palace is closing.

It seems premature to write an obituary when the venue is still operating, but given that the end is inevitable, why wait?

While the original application to turn the site of the Palace into a luxury hotel that contravened the height limits of the area was rejected, a decision has yet to be made on the revised proposal that is currently with Melbourne City Council.

Nevertheless, the landlords of the building have advised the venue operators that the music dies on May 31, 2014.

And with that, an end will come to the 15o+ years of entertainment history at the top of the city. Not to mention, leave a sizeable hole in available venues for touring bands.

Where the magic happened - The Palace sounddesk circa 2009

The Palace will become a thing of legend, spoken of in the same tone as long gone but the much missed Punters Club.

My recollections of the Palace go way back when, to when it was The Metro, and Goo was the night to go to.

One of the first gigs that I went to there, happened to be the ten year anniversary of the Dandy Warhols. Who decided to mark the occasion by having a halftime joint to celebrate. Things got a little bit looser after that …

More recent recollections are of Goldfrapp dressed in what can only be described as Betamax; of Warren Ellis writhing around in a mix of leads and pedals during a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds show; of the floor positively shaking as the Cat Empire commanded everyone to get down and get up again; and of Sharon Jones demonstrating the history of dance to an awestruck audience.Goldfrapp - The Palace Theatre, 2010

 Good time indeed.

So it is with a heavy heart that I toast the dying days of the Palace. May it be a phoenix and rise once more.

Going to the chapel

29 Aug

Dear Mr Barry, Ms Greenwich and Mr Spector,

I think it might be time to consider releasing an updated version of your classic song ‘Chapel of Love’.

In this modern-day and age, people don’t get married for love and companionship or for the forever factor.

They get married for the $200 that a coalition government will give them if it wins the upcoming Australian election. Yes that’s right, marriage is now like a monopoly game. Go to the chapel, collect $200.

While you’re at it, you might also like to refresh ‘Why Don’t They Let Us Fall in Love?’ It’s no longer about the age of the lovers, but their gender. And whether or not the love is true or just a fashion trend.

I’m sure that once you get started you’ll find that many of your songs could do with an update to reflect the current way of life.  ‘Then He Kissed Me’ could become ‘Then I Sexted Him’ and ‘I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine’ could become ‘I Wish I Never Posted That on Facebook’.

You  get the idea. If you do however run out of inspiration, or (god forbid) think that the election policies of the Australian Labor and Liberal parties are  not representative of a true society, then never fear.

Despite what you’d believe by following the mainstream media, there are at least a dozen other aspiring political parties out there that claim to represent the mood of the nation. More if you look at the Senate ticket. Plenty of inspiration I’m sure.

Yours …

They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot

18 Aug

Ah development.

These days it seems like every second day a new lot of apartments is being proposed for Melbourne. As the saying goes, you can’t stop progress.

However, when the development causes the demise of community character, which is featured strongly in the marketing material, then perhaps a harder look should be taken at the proposal and what all the outcomes will be.

It’s one thing to lose a relatively small venue, such as the East Brunswick Club, but when you’re talking of an iconic Melbourne venue that bridges the gap between pub and arena, then I think a fuss should definitely be made.

Yes, I am talking about the Palace Theatre on Bourke St (formerly known as the Metro). The current proposal is to replace the building (circa 1912), with a mega  3o storey hotel / apartment complex.

But let’s not stop there. There is also a proposal to redevelop the Greater Union on Russell St (or the Greater Onion as I like to call it) into a 12 storey hotel / apartment complex.

Permission has been granted for demolition of the cinema. As far as I can tell, a decision is yet to be made on the Palace proposal.

When you look at the two proposals together, what do you get? Plenty of places to stay in Melbourne, but very little to do? And if you do find somewhere to go, the new neighbours might be trying to shut it down. (I hope like hell that it doesn’t come to this for the Cherry Bar).

Melbourne prides itself on the title of Most Liveable City. According to the 2012 summary report, the top ranking cities tend to have a “relatively low population density” and a “range of recreational activities”. When a city becomes too big for its buzz and has “higher levels of crime”, “congestion” and “public transport problems” it drops out of the top ranks.

So shall we open the bets for whether Melbourne retains its crown in the next survey, when you reduce the entertainment options, dramatically increase the number of residents, refuse to make any improvements to public transport, and increase the cost of energy and water? And what is the go with access to healthcare?

Back to the bit about making a fuss.  What better way to voice your opinion by commenting on planning applications? There was a rally to save The Palace being advertised for 31 August although at this stage it doesn’t appear to be going ahead as planned.

(Update 28/8/13: Although the rally doesn’t appear to be happening, there has been an interesting development in the Palace proposal. As reported by Tone Deaf (which is in turn sourcing from the Herald Sun) the Lord Mayor of Melbourne has declared an indirect conflict of interest in the proposal.

Also, Melbourne is apparently the most liveable city again in 2013.)


March to save live music, Melbourne, February 2010

Crying like a refugee

24 Jul

I‘ve always wondered about that song by Cold Chisel… Looking like a choirgirl / Crying like a refugee…

I think it must be Prime Minister Rudd’s campaign song for 2013, because I dare say that most refugees will be crying once they’re sent to Papua New Guinea for processing.

Coincidentally (or not), I just happen to be reading the Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees. I’m only up to page five, but I’ve already found some interesting bits.

Namely, as a signatory, Australia is committed to apply the convention provisions:

  • without discrimination as to race, religion or country of origin
  • without discrimination as to sex, age, disability, sexuality, or other prohibited grounds of discrimination
  • basic minimum standards for the treatment of refugees, without prejudice to States granting more favourable treatment. Such rights include access to the courts, to primary education, to work, and the provision for documentation, including a refugee travel document in passport form.

The Convention further stipulates that … refugees should not be penalised for their illegal entry or stay. This recognises that the seeking of asylum can require refugees to breach immigration rules.

In essence, there are no illegal boat people or queue jumpers.

Prime Minister Rudd contends that the Coalition don’t have a policy, but instead a three-word slogan: stop the boats. He believes that “The Australian people want a six word slogan: how will you stop the boats?”

My question for the Prime Minister, is why are you so hell bent on stopping the boats? This is no time for slogans or electioneering. Give us policy that respects human rights, and recognises the contribution that refugees make to Australia.

Number 54: the house with a bamboo door

17 Dec

Bamboo roof and bamboo walls. It’s even got a bamboo floor.

Well not quite, but it’s not far from the truth.

I am super stoked to say that the fabulous eco development that is The Commons has started to take shape. There may not yet be evidence of the solar panels, recycled timber floors and bike racks to come, but there has definitely been movement at the station. The old warehouse has been demolished and  the bricks stockpiled for later reuse. A crane reaches for the sky.

In the last fortnight, concrete ‘walls’ have appeared and pipes started to arise like stalagmites from the freshly laid slab. At this rate, I might have to rethink my once a month ride-bys if I want to catch all the action.

This time next year, all going to plan, I should be measuring fridges, checking out the rooftop honey, placing a standing coffee order with the guys from Dead Man Espresso who will be moving in downstairs, and starting to accumulate cardboard boxes from the supermarket.

So without further adieu, the first of my time-lapse shots of Florence St. Rest assured, there’ll be regular updates of the development as my excitement and impatience grows.

We built this city …

1 Nov

In Brunswick, literally, on rock and roll.

Since March the pub has sat idle. Beers remain in the fridge. The blackboard out the front still advertises trivia and parmas. The doors have not been boarded up, and no graffiti has been scrawled across the door a la the Tote. It feels like it owners have just closed for a public holiday and will be back on Tuesday.

But last week something changed.

We all knew it was coming. But I still drew a breath when I saw the sign.

Coming soon to a (former) music venue near you … new apartments.

They’ve even incorporated the logo of the band room into the marketing.

So, who exactly are these apartments being marketed at?

Girls that will proudly exclaim at their housewarming party that P!nk once ate a vegan parma at the pub? Boys who will gloat that they were one of only about 150 people that witnessed the soul sensation that is Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed open his set with one hell of a rendition of the Ace of Spades?

With the exception of the price (1 bedroom from $397, 800 and 2 from $481,500 in case you’re interested) and the promise of a car park and storage, there is nothing in the marketing material of any substance. There is no standalone website for the development as far as I can find, let alone a listing on the real estate agents’ home page.

Most developments in the area are spruiking the sustainability credentials (limited as they may be), the community factor, and the ‘trendy’ precinct that it is fast becoming. Pictures of Sugardough, the Hellenic Republic and/or Monsieur Truffe are rife within the glossy brochures.

Between Holmes Street and Park Street there are already five apartment blocks in various stages of development. The East makes it six. I’m all for building upwards, especially as opposed to forever expanding Melbourne’s suburban boundary. But I do wonder who is going to live in all of these new places?

And can the people that actually want to live in Brunswick afford it anymore? Do the hip and groovy have an annual income of between $150-200k? Apparently that’s how much you need these days in order to purchase a median house.

And this is a question that I often ask myself, now that I’ve become a person that will one day inhabit a small box on the Upfield line. Will I still be able to see bands whenever I like, if there are still venues left in the area, or will I be marking in the diary the one day a month that I can have dinner down the street.

I‘ll get back to you in a year on that one.