Saturday, August 30, 2008

Two Thursdays in a Month of Augusts

Last Thursday night Nicole and I met in the Brunswick Street area for another serve of The Basics' residency at The Evelyn. Introducing her to Bimbo Deluxe, we devoured their awesome, and oh so cheap, pizza in the dark, before crossing the road to join a packed house.

Supports for the night, with a growing crowd, were Hot Liquid Sex and Princess One Point Five - of whom I would probably give Princess another listen...

The Basics were awesome this night, their best gig I have seen to date. Tons of energy on stage, and lots of fun, I was loving this show. Kris, the presence and link to the audience was playful and chatty, and he and Tim up front were dancing, and just having so much fun! The addition of the sax on stage also added that extra element.

They have been playing tracks off their up coming album, as well as a mix of their previous albums, to the point that we are quite familiar with most of the new tracks. I Could Go On, Carolina, Better, and Memory Lane stand outs from the back catalogue, with With This Ship and Like A Brother from the pending album sounding awesome. The track The Executioner was delivered with some brutal, hurt force from Kris - someone has broken that lad's heart, and that girl must be mortified at the musical interpretation! Wilson Picket's Land of a Thousand Dances, and The Clash's Rock The Casbar were the rocking covers - such a great show!

This week, Mary joined Nicole and I for the gig, and we enjoyed the first band for the night, The Harpoons. Making us laugh with their cute lyrics, this young Melbourne band could be a bit of a find. If You Wanna Dance - so cute!

We endured The Swindlers, who we were unimpressed by, before The Basics appeared for the last gig of the residency. The first half of the set for me was flat, and I wondered if perhaps the grueling schedule of Tuesday gigs in Sydney and then our Thursday shows had taken their toll over the month. But then Kris got The Executioner out of his self-confessed heart-broken system, and then the gig took off! The vocal range of Wally, as always, was disarmingly good. Have Love Will Travel by Tim was gritty...and Wally dedicated one of the great new tracks to Tash - I'll take that! Thanks Wally!

An encore last night, including Rattle My Chain, and ending with New Kid On The Block and then a great rendition of The Police's Roxanne by request from the audience, this residency was awesome! A month of getting to know the lads, it seems like - but next year is too far away for the release of the new album!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hawks at Subi

On the weekend, we flew to Perth for the footy, some sunshine, and a catch up with mates over there. A trip booked the day before I knew what my leg cramp was all about, and long before it was apparent that Lance 'Buddy' Franklin would be on track to kick 100 goals this season, the flight loomed as scary...but the chance to see footy at Subiaco Oval, and potential for a history making match, made sure I went anyway.

Having a dinner after work to see Jo off on her travels before her new job within Konekt, Rick and Melissa picked me up in the city, for our airport run for our late Friday night flight. Having half a beer at the office, on an empty stomach, I was shamefully flying when I got in the car, and thus, excited and silly about the trip ahead. Warfarin and alcohol - what a combo!

The 3 and 3 quarter hour flight in little Jetstar seat space made me antsy after a couple of hours of being still, but thankfully the flight was not full, and I could sit in the aisle behind us and stretch out my gimpy leg. This is what got me over to WA without having a panic attack about my DVT, I think, and thanks God for that! Flying is scary - considering it was the cause of this medical mess of mine in the first place!

Taxi in from Perth airport to our central hotel - with a cringe at the bad, bad karaoke downstairs, the time difference hit each of us, and we crashed for the night.

Awake to sunshine and light from our window, we watched Olympic highlights as we planned and readied ourselves for our free day in Perth. We walked through town to the station, and was then directed to a bus to get to Scarsborough, for brunch and to meet up with one of Rick's mates. Kelly soon joined us also, and we took in the sun and beach in front of us, as we all caught up. We wandered along the foreshore after brunch, taking in much needed Vitamin D for us deprived Melbournians.

Moving along the coast to Cottesloe, Rick, Melissa, Kelly and I settled into the pub for an afternoon session at the pub, looking out over the sea, and soon watching the sun sink into the water. Charmaine joined us, and we headed across the road for dinner.

Sunday morning we again awoke to sunshine, and took in an awesome Aussie Gold for pole vaulting, before making our way via train to the suburb of Subiaco for breakfast. Watching the game back in Geelong live at the pub as a warm up, we then walked over to the stadium, and found our seats a row from the fence, in the forward pocket.

Buddy needing 6 goals for the ton, we were in prime position for a run on the ground to congratulate the lad on this feat, if he got it. Taking in the real like eagle flying overhead in the pre-game entertainment, including dancing girls, we were ready for the match.

A nothing game for a depleted West Coast Eagles, I almost felt sorry for how woeful they were! The Hawks powered ahead early, with Buddy and Willo, and new found gun forward Campbell Brown, unleashing goals willy nilly! Four for Buddy in the end, he ended the game on 98 goals for the year - would have been great to see him kick 100 in front of his home state...but not to be.

More drinks at the pub after the match to celebrate the hefty win, and dinner at Chutney Mary's, we eventually made it back into town, and then taxied to the airport for some waiting time in the Qantus Club - and then the red eye home.

Tired, and experiencing some leg swelling, it's recovery time this week, leading up to the last match of the Home and Away season.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Basics and Little Red

Thursday night I attended my first gig of The Basics' A Month of Augusts residency at The Evelyn. I met Mary at the door, and we joined Nicole inside.

Now, after chatting to my GP the week before, I had been reassured on the drinking front that "consistant" drinking is allowed, for my warfarin levels to combat my DVT. Clarifying this, it means I can have one drink 3 or 4 times per week, every week. The key in consistancy, and not overdoing it with each session. This I can do! And so I had my first post-DVT beer before while Scumbag from The Sophisticants entertained the crowd with his crazy and over-energetic hip moving dacing!

With a Basic here and there, mingling through the crowd, I savoured my Boags through Smurfinger, who we had also seen at The Empress last month.

A great set, with Wally De Backer brilliant on drums and vocals, as always. Ghost band member Dave was on stage for the set, and the banter between Wally, Kris and Tim showed that these guys are loving playing live right now. Playing from their range, adding in new tracks from a promised album, and then mingling in a bit of Mariah, and then an awesome cover of New Kids On The Block's The Right Stuff. Such a fun set! Mary was very impressed, and has been spreading the word at the office ever since.

Last night after work, I got the train out to Richmond and met Nicole, Belinda, Ruth and Danny at Mexicali Rose at the end of their meal, before we made our way to The Corner for Little Red. The girls have raved about this band for many months, thus I decided to go along for a listen, sight unheard.

A sold out show, with a solid, young following for the Melbourne band, my verdict was that they aren't my next big favourite band, but they put on a good show. A five piece group, the tracks and change in tempo and vocal strength of Quang Dinh made the gig for me.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Launceston for Crawf's 300th

I had booked flights for this weekend back in February, for Mum's birthday. Long before my DVT dramas, and well before it became evident that Shane Crawford would play his 300th AFL match in Launceston this round, so what a bonus!

Assured that flying at the moment, whilst on warfarin for my DVT, is perfectly safe, helped to quell my nerves leading to flight time. I mean, flying is what got me into this mess in the first place! However, given the thin consistency, or anti-clotting nature, of my blood on my medication, I am one of the safest people to fly at the moment!

Melissa and I got the SkyBus out to the airport, and met Mum for our late Friday night flight across Bass Strait. We picked up our hire car, and drove out to the Tamar Valley Resort for the night. Out in the mountain range, just out of town, we woke to fog covered plains.

Meeting up with Rick, we made our way to the Grand Chancellor to check in for our second night courtesy of Melissa's work connections - only to find the Brisbane players, and various other footy names, floating around in the foyer! Mum got to get a photo with Jonathan Brown - Happy Birthday to Mum!! Spotting Peter Hudson and Leigh Matthews up close was also pretty special.

We grabbed brunch in town before walking aross to Aurora Stadium for the Hawthorn v Brisbane match - basked in sunshine. Hardly the freeze fest we had all prepared for.

Watching, and cheering, Crawford through the banner, holding his son Charlie, was a big moment - we have been to so many of his matches, and remember vividly the young blonde lad that he was, breaking into the team. The 6th Hawthorn player to have reached 300 games, it was awesome to be there for his big day within a career that has made us Reid girls so proud!

A game that, on paper, could have gone either way, it was a dismal display of footy really, as the Hawks chipped away at a decent lead, and then piled it home, to secure second place on the ladder at the end of the round. Crawford's goal at the end of the fourth quarter, and witnessing the full team huddle to celebrate that moment, just showed what a hero the man is at our club.

We joined the Tassie crowd for the post-game function, after Melissa and Rick had a kick on the ground, where a large showing of players attended. First addressed by Jeff Kennett, who talked about membership for Tasmania, their growing support, and took questions from the packed hall, we than had Clarkson and Crawford talk to the room.

Filled with the joy of the match, we headed out for dinner at The Prickly Cactus, before driving out to Prospect and the Casino at Mum's request, for drinks.

This morning we have enjoyed the much hyped about buffet breakfast at the Grand Chancellor - which lived up to Mum's rave reviews - before our flight back to Melbourne. But not before mingling with Shane and his family, Dixon and Graham who had come over to celebrate with their former teammate, and then bring on the flight with Kennett. What a great weekend!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Bra and Footy Shorts

Yesterday I ditched work for a long lunch again, to see 32A as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival, at ACMI.

A movie filled with Irish accents and phrases, it's a story of Maeve and growing up. The teenage pre-occupation with bra size, the competition of growing rates with your girlfriends - it was also a trip down memory lane of the fights and silent treatment of friends in high school, ewww! Maeve captures the eye of an older boy, and falls into a world a little older than she for just a brief moment. The movie is sweet and cute, with growing pains aplenty.

A couple more hours at the office, and then it was back to ACMI for pre-screening drinks and address by Kevin Sheedy. Meeting Jenny on the way down, this being our first MIFF film actually together, we joined Rick and Melissa for champagne and canapes, before a seemingly off the planet Sheeds addressed the gathering to introduce the MIFF Footy Shorts - a short film competition marking the 150 years of AFL footy. Sheedy stumbled through an intro, and interview with artist of a collage showing the different forms and stages for our great game.

Moving up to the cinemas, we took our places for the 12 short films shown, introduced by the judging panel. These shorts were submitted by people all over Australia, and many of them portrayed the struggle of small town footy clubs, in tough economic times. Drug Game was a film about the recovery of Seaford footy club, after their run in with drugs - I Just Wanna Play Footy was a look at a young kids quest to get out and play - Child Rearing for Richmond Supporters was a funny look at the life lessons barracking for a flailing side like the Tigers teaches young people, very good.

In a totally crazy day, I then jumped on a tram and got to the Brunswick Hotel to see Oh Mercy with Nicole and Michelle. Based purely on Nicole's recommendation, I quite enjoyed this young Melbourne band's sound. Cute and fun tunes, they were funky and enchanting. I would have loved to hear Eliza sing a solo though! Alex, the lead, handled the heckling of two wasted tramps off the street mid-set, and their songs like Salvation Jane lead me to believe the world will be hearing more about them very soon!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Strangers and Charlie

The MIFF mini-pass allows you three additional daytime weekday movies, which are all too tempting, and oh such hard work for a full time worker! Monday I ducked out of work for a 'long lunch', and power walked down to the Forum for Strangers.

Not the only moviegoer to rush in as the cinema went dark, and rush off as it ended, I settled in to watch this movie about a Palestinian girl and and Israeli guy, who meet accidentally after switching bags on the subway in Berlin. Amidst the soccer World Cup mayhem, these two develop a sweet bond despite the political background of the unrest and warring going on at home. An interesting platform to look at the Gaza unrest, this movie left a warm glow for the rest of my working day!

Tuesday I worked for Assessments Australia, which I have been doing here and there for some sessional work. Reading applications for the Department of Education's Program for Students with Disabilities, determining eligibility and support needs for children in primary and secondary school here in Victoria, this work reminds of my disability knowledge and interest. A way for me to build my hours during my provisional psychologist registration period (well, that's the plan!), delving into the lives of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Severe Behavioural Disorders, Intellectual Disability or Severe Language Disorder with Critical Educational Needs, gives me respite from the return to work world, and places me within the beautiful State government buildings at Treasury. Some sad stories, about struggling in the classroom, or deterioration, but also a great way to apply all those years of university and work with this population.

I rushed out of work again on Wednesday night to meet Mary at Greater Union for Playing For Charlie. An Aussie movie depicting the struggle of a young carer, looking after both his mother and baby brother, also trying to find his way in the world, and pursue his talent at rugby. Lots of cracks about rugby being for rich kids, this movie was filmed in Melbourne, and has introduced a great new actor in Jared Daperis to the big screen. A full Aussie flavour and passion for sport, disgraced Neighbours actor Shane Connor played the coach with a heart, which made this film. Another recommendation from the Festival!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Boy A and a Swedish Vampire

Today I have seen two films as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival, and they have both been quite good. Am really enjoying the movie overload!

This afternoon after a lazy morning, I met Rick at the RMIT Capitol Theatre for Boy A. A British movie, along the line of thinking about the James Bulger case and the boys released from prison after serving their time - Jack assumes a new name, outlook and life, hoping to put his past behind him since his release. Delving into the ideas of rehabilitation, and the experience of traumatic memory - the flashback start out very realistically, and then are used to fill the audience in about what it was that the boy did that led to his incarceration - I was bracing myself for it!

After enduring the mild clapping after the film, we went to the Lounge so I could watch Rick have a beer! Melissa joined us, and we then went across the road to Ghin Khao Thai on Swanston, to meet Jenny, Garath and Emma for dinner.

Rick had discussed the notion of clapping after a movie in the cinema a couple of weeks ago, and having caught the MIFF addiction, has reported back after most of his viewings with confirmation of clapping. Odd! Who are these people! When I saw Men's Group I understood the clapping because the producer and actors were in the audience...I don't get it otherwise though!

After our Thai dinner, Melissa, Rick and I made our way to Greater Union for Låt Den Rätte Komma In (Let Me in)(Let the Right One In). A Swedish horror movie with the review stating:
“One of the strangest, stickiest, and (yes) sweetest horror movies I’ve seen in 10 years.” – Cinematical
I selected this one as another trip down memory lane for my travels to Stockholm - and the scenary of white snow atop of bicycles and windowsills did not disappoint.

A full Sunday evening cinema were enchanted by the young vampire coming of age movie, with cute and funny interactions, and bloody killing scenes - something for everyone! The music was certainly overkill at times, but the bond between Oskar and Eli was indeed sweet and lovely.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Men's Group and Get Back to The Basics

My commitment to MIFF, with the mini-pass, has allowed me to maintain some saneness with the craziness of the end of the month at work, and also with an increase in the leg symptoms of my DVT, by having films locked in, that I must rush off to! Has been a great ploy in the attempt at bring back a much sought after work-life balance within my own return to work!

Thursday night I abandoned the overwhelming amount of work I have to do, to rush over to ACMI for Men's Group. Introduced by the producer, and told that several of the actors were in the audience, the film is a look at the Aussie man's mental health, and challenges with communicating their feelings and issues. Having read, also, that the actors played to some improvisation by not knowing each others key plot character features, this film sparked my interest.

Issues such as grief, relationship breakdown, fatherhood, and loneliness were all fleshed out by the group of men gathered in a lounge room once a week to talk - but rarely were they able to discuss these issues in this fostered forum. So frustrating, and heartbreaking, the very real portrayal of the difficulties of men and their mental health. Such a powerful movie, and a very full-on experience of life and it's troubles.

I missed the Q&A after this movie, cos I needed to hot-foot it over a few blocks to Coverlid Place and Roxanne's Palour to see The Basics! Walking down the little tiny alleyways of Melbourne city was certainly unnerving, but I eventually found the venue, tucked up on level three of a dodgy looking complex!

The Basics were actually support to another act that night, and so on the elevator ride up to the venue, there was a clash of worlds, with young scantily clad blondes in a flutter about the main act, and the mid-twenties and on age group awaiting the gig to re-launch Get Back, the first The Basics' album from 2002.

Dressed in their signature suits, Wally on drums, and Tim and Kris on lead and bass guitar, The Basics played the tunes that started them out, and also told of tales of that time. A solo Wally doing I Don't Need Another was certainly a highlight, the set was rounded with a very cool cover of The Police's Roxanne, The Basics impressed again.
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