Archive for March, 2014

Jonesy’s Chili Sauce II

Jonesy dropped in Friday night with the latest batch of home-made chili sauce. Pizza making ensued – 5 in total over the weekend, all with Jonesy’s sauce at the base. Tearing through the jar already. Had a brief chat about where to sell it; the venue, website etc. Hopefully we’ll get it out there somehow (before my insides collapse).

Hot stuff: Pizza number 1, Friday night – Jonesy’s Chili Sauce on the base.

Fires out.

Melbourne’s Public Transport Slide

Went out for drinks with friends last night at Lane’s Edge bar, Bourke Street Melbourne. Caught the train from Collingwood. Missed the first one waiting for someone in front who was having trouble with ridiculous Myki ticket machine. Should count myself lucky – got the next one about 20 minutes later (housemate recently missed a train back from Greensborough at 10pm – and there were no more so he was forced into a cab). Despite government advertising & assurances, public transport in Melbourne is third rate by any standard (got talking about this last night). A common defense is our ‘lack of population’, especially when comparing train systems in Europe. Indeed, this is a very poor defense. Take Berlin, population 3.44 million. No matter what station you’re at, trains leave every 2-3 minutes, 24 hours a day. Ticketing is simple & cheap. So everybody uses public transport all the time as second nature.

Berlin Trains
Map of Berlin’s train system. Note the ring rails & comprehensive interplay between lines, making for relatively easy travel north-south/east-west anywhere in the metropolitan area.

Back to Melbourne: Population 4.1 million – trains leave unpredictably and often 20 – 30 minutes apart (when they’re not cancelled without notice). Melbourne is also a wealthier city by GDP. It’s as though for the past 30 years we’ve failed to notice (or care) about a gradual & incremental slip behind the rest of the world when it comes to public transport. Tragically, Melbourne has become a city choked by traffic congestion as more and more commuters are forced onto grid-locked roads. The government’s answer: Shelve all new rail projects and build MORE roads. Why is it that the most economically sensible, socially and environmentally responsible transport solution is so horribly ignored in Australia’s 2nd largest & fastest growing city?

Fires out.

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Origin Energy and Victorian Government – Helping Small Business Move Forward!

2nd December 2013; we applied to Origin to get gas connected to the new venue – principally for luxury items like cooking, washing & heating. Get this – it took THREE MONTHS to connect a gas line (early THIS month). But we can’t have a meter yet because Origin need permission from Energy Safe Victoria. So the gas pipe comes into the building & terminates.

Two Lonely Gas Pipes

You can call your ESV inspector between 7:30 – 9am weekdays to book an appointment – except he doesn’t answer the phone during those times. Got through to someone else in the office at ESV only to learn our ‘paperwork’ had been sitting there since early March doing absolutely nothing & no-one knows why. Guy said – “Tell your plumber to give us a call”.

If we ever actually get gas connected here it will probably be by coincidence or random chance. All this stuff reminds me that as much as we think we’re living in 2014 Australia, it’s really just 1975 with internet. Cheers Origin & ESV – here’s to rugging up for a cold winter.

Fires out.

Melbourne Sunset

Sunset over Melbourne taken out the front window above the new venue in Collingwood.

Sunset Over Melbourne 26Mar14

Spent the day measuring every wall, door & window, preparing plans for council. Moving as fast as we can to open as a performance & venue-hire space.

Fires out.

Wedding Singers

Going to Queensland next month for a mate’s wedding. Gotta learn this song for the ceremony. Josh Pyke’s cover of the Jezabel’s song ‘Endless Summer’.

Rob (husband-to-be) was the band’s original bass guitarist when we first kicked off in 2003. He played & toured with the band til 2006 before relocating to Brisbane.

Fires out.

Me & Mr Jones’ Chili Sauce

Been waiting to post this one. Graham (Jonesy) & Kate came over for dinner a few weeks ago. Jonesy left us a jar of his boutique home-made chili sauce. This, unfortunately, is all that’s left. Went brilliantly as pizza-base sauce, on hotdogs, chicken wings etc. Plenty of sting in the tail – but not crazy. Jonesy should go into business.

Jonesy’s 50/50 Chili Sauce.

This batch was half Habanero, half straight capsicum. Habanero chili has a somewhat notorious reputation for being over-the-top hot – but this particular blend/recipe harnessed the power without crippling the participant. Very nice work Mr Jones.

Fires out.

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Venue In The Making

Pic below: Last Friday before our first event in the new venue, modifying an old door for the beer garden toilets. That’s Mojo oblivious as usual – uncanny knack of being precisely in the way of whatever we’re doing. Max posted an album on Facebook this week – ‘Venue In The Making‘ with a bunch of renovation shots. Click here.


Back to it again this weekend. Builders arriving 7am tomorrow.

Fires out.

‘Us’ Debut At Stalk & Kims

We had our house-mate’s birthday bash here at the new venue on Saturday night (as posted earlier this week). But yesterday was Scotty’s actual birthday so we went out for dinner to his favourite Vietnamese restaurant on Victoria Street. Back to Stalk & Kim’s afterward, as usual, for drinks and jamming. Yet another session in their backyard. I reckon I’ve played there once a week for the past 2 months. Last night I kept a list of the songs we played, Kim on shakers, Stalk the bongos, Max – vocals & percussion, Scotty -BVs & dog cuddling. (set list below)


America; Sister Golden Hair, Rod Stewart; The Killing Of Georgie; Pretenders; Brass In Pocket, The Vapors; Turning Japanese, Eagles; Take It Easy, Lionel Ritchie; Easy Like Sunday Morning, Richard Thompson; Beeswing, Beatles; And Your Bird Can Sing, Violent Femmes; Blister In The Sun, The Saints; Firewood, B52s; Rock Lobster.

Slow start this morning. It takes a lotta beer to come up with a list like that. Kim also named our ‘band’ last night – hereon we’ll be called ‘Us’.

Fires out.

Russia Annexes Ukraine Territory

The crisis in Ukraine escalated yesterday with the first instance of troops firing on each other, shifting the conflict from largely ‘political’ to military. Apparently a Ukrainian soldier was killed and another injured when Russian troops stormed a Ukraine base on the Crimean Peninsula. In response, Ukraine’s military yesterday ordered its troops to open fire on Russian soldiers. In defiance of international law, Russia also moved yesterday to annex Crimea, President Putin signing off on the ‘relevant’ documentation. The US is now seriously considering deploying troops to the region in order to halt further Russian military incursion. Nervous and dangerous times for Europe and especially the people of Ukraine. The pic below taken from an article in the UK Telegraph.

A Ukrainian soldier stands near an armored personnel carrier at a checkpoint near the village of Salkovo, in Kherson region adjacent to Crimea Photo: Reuters

The troubling question is ‘what’s next’ – or worse, ‘who’s next’. No doubt, eastern Ukraine sits firmly in Russia’s focus, the southern area of Crimea under its belt and forces building along the northern and eastern Ukraine-Russian borders. All this kicked off about a month ago when the people of Ukraine ousted a corrupt puppet-president, installed by Putin – opting for their own autonomous leadership, fresh elections and the release of a democratically elected former-president from detention. Coincidence? Not likely.

Fires out.

The Truth About Demonstration

Max at a massive demonstration against Australia’s Abbott Federal Government on Sunday in Melbourne. Whenever people get out en masse to express concern about the direction of government policy, they’re often subject to a wave of criticism from conservative voices in our society – and mainly those who didn’t attend.

Demonstration Max

Public rallies & demonstrations are also important ways to learn about hidden activities in our country. Stuff our insightful main-stream commercial media deem unfit for broadcast or publication. Little things like violating the human rights of refugees and indigenous people, corporate economic savagery & environmental destruction, the subjugation of women and so on. If you’re getting your news from Channel 7 or 3AW, sorry but they don’t want you thinking or talking about all that uncomfortable stuff.

For mine, the People’s right to express concern isn’t and shouldn’t be about barracking for your favourite political party, rusted on like a football supporter. In my experience demonstrations have overwhelmingly been about truth, honesty, information and appropriate action. The opposite of politics.

Long live democracy and the will of the People, however they are ridiculed or distorted.

Fires out.

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