Saturday, October 31, 2009


With a pub crawl, or the races, on the cards for the weekend, this weeks Project drinks was a small catch up at a bar out of the pack, for just a handful of us. Mary, MJ and I made it down from our office, before Jenny joined us.

Walking up to this bar in Alfred Place, there were people spilling out of Comme in formal suits and formal dresses. In our neat casual Friday work wear, we were clearly not the usual clientele. Inside was more of the same, with very dressed up business garb everywhere.

There was a function upstairs, atop of the gorgeous white marble stairs. The main bar downstairs was to the right, with the bar the central point, and people clustered and loudly competing for the most lucrative work anecdote from the week. We grabbed a beer, and found a table around to the other side of the bar.

A beautiful, vast and white space, this place is clearly the posher of the bars we have found in our bar secrets pack. Perhaps one for impressing clients, or trying to land a rich, work-obsessed husband!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Little Red

Driving back to Melbourne through some crazy traffic, I met Nicole at Mexicali Rose for an awesome dinner, and some sangria, ready for our night of music.

We arrived at The Corner as The Box Rockets were playing, followed by The Vasco Era.

But it was Little Red we had come to see play, and their happy pop tunes. Songs from their album Listen To Little Red were mixed with a handful of new tracks. Misty, I and Rock Until The Break of Day were stand outs, with a treat for Jackie Cooper with Wilbur Wilde coming onto stage to play saxophone. Very cool! Very big songs to finish their set with Coca Cola and It's Alright, and then Fight Song as the encore. Always fun!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cox Plate

Having a little get-ready party at mine, I had a spread of croissants and pastries, champers, and vodka. All the necessities of a solid start to a day at the races! Melissa, Greg and Nick come over to get started for the day, and Mary and Jenny joined us, before we got a cab to Moonee Valley.

Arriving at the races with a strategy, we each made a dash to the bar for a bottle of champagne each, and then found our spot on the lawn, with the thousands of other punters.

Dan found us on the lawn, and was soon followed by Nikki, Bec, and Alissa. Melissa started to unpack some of the goodies she bought with us, and we were set. The sun was blazing, and all was good.

The afternoon consisted of bottomless champers, sun, and a veiled attempt of paying attention to the horses making noise just over the fence. Mary and I were hanging for the appearance of Daryl Braithwaite for the tradition of The Horses...but no deal this year.

Young Jess found us, as we had more dips and carrot sticks, and salad from our disposable cooler, and the champers started to run out. Luckily, or perhaps unneccessarily, we had our stash of 'special water'. Plans were made for purchases of appropriate mixes, and then the 6 pack of water was cracked, with fresh glasses again from the cooler for our tip-over drink.

As the crowd started to file out of the Valley, we looked very sensible with water, and it was probably a great idea, just quietly. A bit of vodka, mixed with a long day of champers and sun, certainly made the day large.

We walked out, leaving the races behind, and made our way out to the streets of Moonee Ponds. Our plan was to walk to an after party in the area, and we managed to negotiate the streets in the right direction.

I was encourgaged not to enter our chosen establishment by the bouncer, and thus Greg and I found ourselves at KFC for a much needed feed. The rest of the group finished their round at the bar, and then rejoined us.

We soon found ourselves at another bar, with a seedy, sticky dancefloor, and cheesy 80s dance tunes. Perfect for a boozy end to a very fun day at the races!

Certainly couldn't tell you who won the Cox Plate, or any of the other races, and since I don't bet, I didn't lose any cash either. I think the group came out fairly even in that regard, so all in all, a top day out!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Claire Bowditch

Adding Double O to the Project 2009 event for our destination based on a Qantas review, found us wanting, as it's not longer there. It was behind the nondescript door next to Sister Bella, but no more. Walking around the Swanston Street area, we settled on a beer at Three Degrees for the Project drinks.

Sitting outside, in the courtyard of QV, in the daylight of early Summer, Dan, MJ and Mary and I had our customary beverage, before Dan and I made our way to the the suburb of Thornbury, and found a spot for dinner.

Finding Thornbury Theatre along High Street, we walked in here and up the huge marble stairs, to a venue that seemed like a place fit out for a school deb ball or formal. The crowd who had booked dinner and the show were winding down their final mouthfuls, and drinks, at their candlelit tables.

Claire entered the room from the back, surrounded by the crowd, and 3 accompanying vocalists, Aluka. She played Between The Tea and the Toast acoustic, as she made her way to the stage. Autumn Bone was next, and amazing and then When The Lights Went Down.

This night was about a preview into new material for an upcoming album, and recently released single, Start Of War. Claire and the girls gave us a taste of the flavour of this album, with their 80s influenced change of outfit, with sparkles, and the dance moves. She also gave the stage up for the room to taste the talent of her backing vocalists, about to release an EP in their own right.

You Looked So Good returned to older material, and was enchanting, and one of my favorites. She's so engaging on stage, chatting as she prepares for each song, with a story. On This Side was performed with a friend Claire coaxed up onto stage, she ended the night with crowd favourite Divorcee at 23.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Seamstress and SweatShop

After throwing around some bar suggestions this week with Mary, for a destination for Friday night drinks to mark her birthday and going away drinks, we settled on Seamstress. Another bar in our city that I had never heard of!

Making our way upstairs via the wooden stairs, we found the top floor with seating clusters at the landing, small tables in the middle and a booth section at the back. The bar was adorned with fabrics, in line with the theme.

Tonight was a big group, to wish Mary well on her trip, plus a group from work. We all found our drinking spot at different grouped sectors of the bar, and perused the cocktail menu.

The evening seemed to go very fast, with an easy venue to be in, and catch up with people. As people took their mark throughout the evening, Dan and I decided to head downstairs to the basement, to check out SweatShop. This open plan bar, with it's crates and cushions, was fairly empty by this time. But we did manage another couple of beers, a couple too many perhaps, in the end.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Privileged Woes

Katrina, Kylie and I headed to Karova last night for a much anticipated launch of Oh Mercy's album, Privileged Woes. Support act for the night was Washington, who impressed with strong vocals and How To Tame Lions as a stand out track.

Soon enough the boys and Eliza were ready for the stage, and started their engaging, chatty set. A medium crowd for the venue, with a handful of people who knew the material. Katie and Kylie soon labelled cute little Eliza 'Lemony Snicket', and we all had a debate about who of us had found these guys first. The girls claim they saw them as support for Sparkadia here in Ballarat, which may just beat my discovery in Brunswick....

Alex enchanted the crowd with tracks like Seemed Like A Good Idea, Broken Ears, and Salvation Jane. Explaining that In My Stride was about an affair with his science teacher, Holding On was also strong. A couple of new tracks popping into the set list, with one with Thom on vocals.

Announcing that they had just filmed a spot on Neighbours with the next track, and single, Get You Back, they joked that when the Toadfish requests a song, Oh Mercy did play!

Lay Everything On Me finished the night, with Alex inviting people on the stage to join them, and soon looking bemused as drunk lads towered over him, not missing a beat.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Right from the opening image, his black army boot, up to his lit cigar with smoke floating about, to that wiry and distinct black beard, Benico was everything that was the iconic man, Che. Lynn and I meet at Nova yesterday for the Guevara feast that is Che Part 1: The Argentine and Part 2: Guerrilla.

With that opening scene, I whispered to Lynn that I'd loved it already!

I was to see this for MIFF in August, but life got in the way. Having heard mixed reviews about it, Lynn and I had a pre-movie marathon coffee and discussed our low expectations. Although both acknowledging that our Cuban travels would outweigh anything average about the two movies, and then Del Toro can really do no wrong!

Part 1 was really the highlight for me, which was Cuba. A film to totally sweep you up in the man, his ethics and humanity, and his plight. Jumping around a bit to give you the history lesson that goes with the story of the Cuban Revolution, the UN Assembly speech is particularly strong. But it's the doctor and the man that it totally enchanting....treating his wounded men, and the peasants and their families, setting an example for his troops, and his high personal standards....amazing.

But then the scenes taking him wheezing through the jungle, with his asthma, are just heart breaking, and warming all at once. The politics, and how Che came to be Fidel's right hand man, is so impressive. Soderberg had the tension build, and build, and build, and even knowing where it was going, and how the fight would end, this film caught all the romanticism that is Che and Cuba's triumph.

A movie marathon break between the two films, Lynn and I walked across Lygon Street to Tiamo Cafe, and put the staff on a challange to serve us red wine and pizza in our strict schedule....with success.

Part 2 skipped forward to Che smuggling himself into Bolivia, training his army, and working on gaining the same political freedom he had won for Cuba to his homeland. This half is perhaps where the bad reviews about too much time walking through the jungle, which didn't necessary bother me, although unlike the first, it was a little tougher to keep each character straight in my head. It may also have been the wine, and the 5 hours of beautiful, young and then aging, Benico!

The complete movie Che, in 2 parts, has only increased my love of Cuba, and makes me want to return as soon as possible! The admiration of Che, the Revolution, and Cuba has been stirred and fed again!

The heartbreak of his death, knowing, again, where we were heading, but then still being stunned by seeing it play out in front of us. I don't know how accurate the final scenes are, and I had thought they weren't sure how it all ended (and it took an age to locate and return his body to rest in Santa Clara in the heart of Cuba), but I will never get that image of his execuation out of my head. And the irony of his body being airlifted out by an American helicoper, after all the fight for the greater freedom. The sadness!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Last night, with daylight still blazing on as drinks are consumed in the lunch room at work, one needed reminding that we no longer need the darkness to be reminded to move on! I made my way down through the Mall, and around the corner, to discover Rainbow Alley and a little tucked away bar for Project drinks.

Cabinet is a long room, with an awesome balcony over looking Swanston Street and the hussle going on there always, entered from a back alley through a barely labeled door and stairway. I arrived there, knowing Melissa was not far away, ordered beers, and grabbed a table, looking like I was drinking with my imaginary friend.

Surrounded by dark walls, and ornate funky mirrors, Melissa joined me, and we had a long overdue catch up. My sisters are pretty amazing! Talking non-stop, we took in the select crowd, and the food that was delivered around us.

Deciding to go searching for a late meal, we walked the length of the bar to check out the balcony, which was heated, and quite an impressive bird's eye view of the heart of Melbourne, before wandering down to Chinatown for a feed.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sarah Blasko

We had planned to go to MoVida Next Door for a pre-gig drink as part of the Project, however it was jammers when we got there, and the idea was soon ditched. A quick bite was grabbed along Flinders Street, as Kylie, Katie, Nicole and I met up ready for the night.

As we entered the beautiful Forum interior, El Perro del Mar played her solo set. A Swedish connection for Blasko, as this is where she has recorded her new album.

The floor below the stage filled, and soon the room grew quiet and dark...and Sarah Blasko emerged on stage, in a puffy white sculpture of a dress. She stood under an old style street lamp, to a dreamy background straight out of a fairytale.

Opening with Down On Love, as her new album does, she moved through this most amazing setlist entirely from the album. With one of my favourites off the album, Hold On My Heart, she opened a panel from the front of her dress to reveal a rainbowed heart.

With just Sarah and her mesmerising voice on stage, she hauntingly called out the catchline from Is My Baby Yours?, leaving the packed Forum stock still and listening.

This oh so amazing album continued, as she worked through tracks like We Won't Run and All I Want. Her voice is just stunning, and I can't rave about this show enough. Playing the album in it's entirety, but not strictly to order, the pinnacle of No Turning Back revealed further scope to the dress, with Sarah's shoulders folding out to concertina an array of shape and colour.

With the end of the 12 album tracks from As Day Follows Night, Sarah steps from front and centre of the stage, to the right, and treated us to two of the tracks from the bonus disc with the album, Cinema Blasko. Telling us how she had always wanted to do the track, she intro-ed Seems Like Old Times. Sarah then explained that whilst there was a movie of the same title, the song that came from it was lovely - and she proceeded to give us her beautiful version of Xanadu.

A set break, and a change of clothes, Sarah returned to stage in a more everyday outfit, to play a selection from her previous releases. Hammer was gorgeous. Amazing Things and Always Worth It were in there, with {explain} rounding out an amazing display of one of the best Aussie singer/songwriters around today.
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