Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Aussie action at the World Cup

Well, it's almost time for the FIFA World Cup to quite literally kick-off and how good is it that the Socceroos have qualified and will finally be taking part in the action on a world stage. Christ knows they've done their best to stop us in the past and succeeded.

I keep expecting some Euro Aussie-phobe to suddenly realise that they've let Australia slip through the net and change the rules again to knock us out at the last minute - 'I'm sorry, but we think it only fair that you play a team made up of the world's best players in order to qualify... can't have you getting in that easily now, wouldn't be fair on teams like the USA, Togo or Poland...'

Bitter? Just a bit - just doesn't seem quite sporting that despite belting the living suitcases out of every team in our region, we've never had the opportunity to rip off a few 'Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy! Oy! Oys!' for our boys, yet in some parts of the world you can qualify by simply being able to recognise that yes, soccer balls are round.

I'll never forget living in London during the World Cup in the late 80s - 88, 89 possibly. I was working in a Peter Dominics off-license on Upper Street in Islington and sharing an upstairs apartment with the manager, cum mad abstractionist Justin Piperger. We decided to drag the TV downstairs and set it up in the shop when England was playing - no one got served when the ball was in 'our' half, but I don't think anyone cared! Another glass of Crimean Shiraz anyone? (it was our World Cup special at the time.

There was a great little Italian restaurant around the corner, tucked in a laneway off Upper Street and served the best seafood pizzas - but it was the same deal there. TVs were everywhere and if Italy looked like scoring, it was forks down and be prepared to wait. If Italy actually scored, then it was time to knock back a few chiantis very quickly, join in the celebrations and hunker down for a very long night.

Just for a bit of added 'cool' factor, England's theme song for that campaign was penned by none other than New Order - 'We're playing for England, Eng-er-land!' Still sends a shiver up my spine today. Let the action begin!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Scrotum talk & Sydney Harbour Bridge

I've been a lazy poster over the past few weeks, but with the days getting shorter, the nights getting colder and the demands of the office growing ever greater, it's a bit bloody hard - flat out like a lizard drinking, as the old saying goes.

But I got worried today when a blog browser typed in 'scotum verandah (yes, spelling mistake intended' and got directed to my site - numero uno, first cab off the 'scotum' rank. Indeed, one of my posts did indeed mention the mis-spelled version of scrotum and verandah. However, I don't think my post provided the information this browser was after... methinks the terminology may indeed be the same as, 'the verandah over the toolshed', i.e, the male beer gut.

Anyway, moving away from scrotal matters, I can highly recommend that when next in Sydney you do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb - see photo above.

I did it as part of a corporate team building exercise a few weeks back and it's quite a day out. For those of you scared of heights, there is one section where you climb up steel ladders - 75 steps in total - through the traffic and that gave me a bit of a moment. But once you're up on the arch it's quite peaceful taking in all the Sydney smog as you gaze down over the Opera House and other Harbour attractions.

One of the bridge facts that sent a shiver up my spine was how the thousands of rivets were hammered into the bridge - including the narrow support beams that run across the middle. Apparently one guy would haul the red hot rivets up from below and then throw them to the bloke out in the middle who would catch them in a little bucket before putting them in. And if you wore a rope to secure yourself to the bridge you were considered somewhat of a nancy boy. Surprisingly I think only two blokes fell off the bridge, but I guess it explains why there are so many rivets at the bottom of the harbour.

Quite frankly, I'd rather chew off my own 'scotum' than scramble around on a slippery steel bridge trying to catch red hot lumps of metal in a bucket for 10 hours a day. But those Sydney-siders will do anything for a crust...

One final word of caution, do not consume a lazy 10 C*%k-Sucking Cowboy shooters the night before the climb - I was sweating butterscotch schnapps by the half way point. They breathlise you before you start the climb and I think I only just scraped in.

Anyway, must be off to work on growing the verandah.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Migration services in Perth

Someone asked me the other day if I knew of a dependable, timely and cost effective Migration agency in Perth and as it happens, I do!

Steppingstone Relocations WA can arrange:

Visas for Work or Business Visas for Skilled People Visas for Couples Visas for Family Members Visas for Students Other Temporary Visas Visas for Refugees or Asylum Seekers

Steppingstone Relocations WA
Perth Office
45 Ventnor Avenue
West Perth WA, 6005
+61 (8) 9429 8833
+61 (8) 9429 8800

For more details visit:

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

John Howard & George Bush do 'Brokeback'

I almost choked on my rice bubbles this morning when I heard a news grab from the Howard-Bush 'Love Fest' in which Dubbya describes our Johnny as "not the prettiest" guy on the block.

Of course, our Johnny being the brown noser he is, failed to retort with a well timed, "That's okay George, cause you're not exactly the smartest bloke on the planet - about as sharp as a bowling ball in fact..."

Dubbya even went on to comment about the PM's bald pate, in a move which I think was intended to show just what great mates they really are - I think it was a scene stolen from 'Dumb and Dumber', or in this case, 'Dangerous and Dangerouser'.

So chummy are these two that word from Canberra is that Johnny generally greets Mr President with the truly Aussie opener, "G'day you old bastard, how the bloody hell are they hangin'?" Dubbya just loves it and intends to come up with the perfect rejoinder one day, just as soon as one of his staffers makes one up.

Talk around town is that the two men are planning to retire 'Brokeback Style' and set up house on a large ranch property in North Dakota. There they can spend aimless days polishing their saddles and telling war stories across an open fire.

John Howard and George Bush - what a couple of wacky funsters they are!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Waterloo Terrace, N1, circa 1989

Talk about a busy few weeks - barely had time for the proverbial scratch, let alone cobbling together a post... but as the unseasonably humid night outside unleashes the first rain for weeks, I thought I should hunker down here in the wee hours and pen a few words.

My old mate Harf sent me the attached photo last week, harking back to my days living in London at the pictured address in Waterloo Terrace. I remember the day the photo was taken quite clearly - a few pints and a packet of Silk Cuts down at The Post Office pub on Upper Street, Islington. Ever the wacky trickster, old Harf showed the snaps around when he got home and told everyone they were taken on his wedding day.

We moved into the Waterloo Tce house after doing a runner from a house in Hackney that accommodated about 12 people and had only three bathrooms and one kitchen. If the landlord could have rented the broom cupboard, he would have, so we had had no qualms about skipping that fortnight's rent - besides, he got to keep the Yukka plant.

The move was prompted by an invitation from a friend I'd made while performing temporary clerical duties very badly at Eagle Star Insurance. Jon and I both enjoyed a drink, shared the same taste in music and were both taking something of a sabatical from what we really wanted to do in life - it was a good fit, so the top room was invaded by Aussies.

Jon and his partner Louise - who I've mentioned before on this blog - went on to form Britpop band Sleeper not long after my visa finally gave a last cough, closed its eyes and expired.

Indeed, the band was born from the womb of this very house.

But back then, circa 1989, thoughts of stardom and cocaine fuelled pop star excess hadn't even hit the radar - we were probably pooling cash to buy a couple of litre bottles of Bulgarian Bull's Blood, an eighth of Leb and sitting around the shabby Georgian-inspired front lounge being swept up by the swirling guitar voodoo of Black Francis and our beloved Pixies.

Some nights in bed I can still feel myself floating in the bath in the Waterloo Tce basement, listening to the roar of the trains snaking their way through to Angel Station, the imagined muted voices of commuters rising through the earth, the soft whooosh and hum and the blessed vacuum of expectant silence that remains.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Grant McLennan Dies - long live the 'Go-Bees'

Terribly sad news out of Brisbane today that legendary Go Betweens frontman Grant McLennan failed to wake up this morning and we'll never again get to witness the melodic charm and warm wash of the Go-Bees live on stage.

To me the Go-Bees and The Triffids were the defining Australian bands of the 80s.

I spent many a night drifting and dreaming of what my future might hold as songs like Head Full of Steam and Spring Rain beat out a soundtrack that seemed so perfect, so pure.

As GM put it so eloquently in The Wrong Road:

"I took the Wrong Road round
Stranded at low-tide where the river bends
Wouldn't you know it, that's how life ends
Lucky at cards, that's an old lie
Lucky in love, that's how life ends."

Monday, May 01, 2006

Fremantle furore - where's our two points?

I almost had a brain snap yesterday, following one of the most ludicrous umpiring decisions that I've ever witnessed in AFL football.

And there have been a few involving the Fremantle Football Club: an umpire marking a kick from one of our players, an umpire asking the opposition team if they were happy with a decision and, well, the list goes on...

But yesterday at York Park in Launceston we witnessed the mother of all umpiring mistakes. Not content with abolishing the traditional centre bounce in favour of simply giving St Kilda a free kick out of the centre every time a goal was scored, umpire Nicholls decided to let the game continue after the siren to give the Saints every opportunity to win the game.

It would seem that the umpire's plans to hand the game to St Kilda via a series of ridiculous free kicks was thwarted by some good play by the Dockers and some indifferent form on the part of their opponents. Indeed, despite a veritable 'golden platter' being served up to the Saints, the umpire looked doomed to run out of time and opportunity to hand them an ill-deserved win.

Indeed, the siren sounded and Freo players immediately started celebrating a hard fought victory... but that's when it all got mondo bizarro and the weirdness level was cranked up to 11. You see, umpire Nicholls grabbed the ball and walked back to indicate that he was going to bounce the ball, despite half our players already walking off in search of a wet cloth to wipe away the spittle that had collected from being in the same suburb as 'no neck' Freaky Fraser for the past three hours.

While Freo players jumped up and down politely advising Mr Nicholls that it was all done and dusted, his eyes glazed over and the ball was indeed bounced. It went to a St Kilda player and a snap on goal resulted in a behind to level the match a full 10 seconds after the game had actually finished. But that's not all!!! Not content that St Kilda had simply levelled the match, our fave umpire awarded the St Kilda player a free kick and another shot on goal to try and rectify the situation - thank f#$@ that justice prevailed and it was another behind.

By this stage big Chris Connolly was stalking around the playing field like Gene Symmons on benzedrine and Cameron 'The Colonel' Schwabb looked like he was about to extract the missing two points directly from Nicholl's sphinctre.

It's fair to say that the siren at Launceston is akin to the sound of a mosquito farting in a paper bag, but the fact that everyone else heard it should mean that whatever happened after that moment should become null and void.

Too bad if the blood was rushing through Nicholls temples as he bullishly refused to concede a Fremantle victory - them's the rules. I urge one and all to go to the link below, sign the petition and help to overturn this travesty of justice.