Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Footy's Return, F1s and the 'Finger

A day at the 'G, after the long off season, was made all that much better with a win! Hawks thump Melbourne, as they should have, as Mum, Melissa and I worked on remembering the new numbers and lads in our team, and working on that concentration level.

After tramming and walking Mum to the station for home, Melissa and I got the tram out to Albert Park, and used our borrowed officials pass to get in - just in time for the second half of the final F1 time trials for grid positions. Finding our way to the fence, just a step or two away from the concrete track barrier, our ears were soon assaulted by the fast, smelly and very loud engines of speed.

During the break in the trials, we made our way over the walkway on the track, and watched the rest from atop a hill, to see a bit more. I think the noise was greater from this position, too!

As the rain started, we started walking our way through the grounds, had a cheeky beer at the XXXX Gold Retreat, as the V8 Supercars circled the track around us. Beer finished, and bored with the cars going by, we figured out our way through the crew back paddocks and out the other side, to meet up with Greg, and Loz, emerging from their respective stands for the day.

Here, in front of us was the stage, with the unidentified, and unimpressive support band, going through their paces.

But soon enough the boys from Powderfinger arrived on stage, to the intro music of their new album, and managed to play a 90 minute set, bouncing between new, old, and older material from the extensive back catalogue.

The newly released Burn Your Name mingled with Pick You Up and Sunsets, with the backdrop here. All Of The Dreamers Lost And Running, My Kind Of Scene, and live track Bless My Soul.

Bernard introduced Nobody Sees as Mark Webber's favourite song - that lad needs to cheer up, hey! He also told of a couple of the boys in the band having a run around the GP track in an F1. Encore included (Baby I've Got You) On My Mind and My Happiness, showing that they Brissy boys have still got it!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Down The Way

After missing out on seeing them last time they toured, I grabbed tickets to Angus and Julia Stone for last night months and months ago. Quickly sold out, this show was a launch of their new album, Down The Way.

Andrea and I drove down after work, and grabbed dinner along Bourke Street, before making our way up to the balcony level of The Palace for a good view down to the stage. Half of Boy & Bear (the other half are currently touring in the UK) arrived at the front of the stage, for an acoustic set - amazing harmonies, sounding very much like Fleet Foxes, and very impressive.

Opening with an unrecorded track, Julia, in a long flowing green dress, and Angus, complete with beard and wild hair tamed with his hat, the Stones graced the stage, with their band. Instantly mesmerising the crowd with her And The Boys, from the keyboard, next, Julia started the selection of tracks from the new album.

Angus' Draw Your Swords was amazing, and fast becoming my favourite track of the album, with Yellow Brick Road. Crowd favourites like Chocolate and Cigarettes, and gorgeous Wasted interspersed. Julia played Black Jackets as a special request, around her chatty engagement with the crowd, while shy Angus told us how much he loves working with his sister, and how much she inspires him. Cute!

A surprising, and very sexy version of Grease's You’re the One That I Want by Julia, before Private Lawns finished off the set.

Much loved Just A Boy by Angus started the encore, which was followed by a cover of Fleetwood Mac's Dreams, before a haunting and beautiful Santa Monica Dream ended the night. The packed venue streamed out onto Bourke Street, totally in awe of these ridiculously talented siblings....

Friday, March 19, 2010

Greens and Blues

Dressed in green for the day of work, I was champing to get back from Geelong, ready for beer o'clock! It's just not right, not having a beer, or few, on St Patrick's Day!

I picked up Katie, and we met Michelle at Irish Murphy's for our pints of Guinness, and Bulmers, from the tap, as we took in the crowd who dared to be at the pub on a school night. It actually seemed to be 65 year olds, or 16 years olds! A band played us an assortment of Irish band covers, and jig music. As the crowd started to fill, and the younger half of the punters started stumbling around, we walked up Camp Street, to Karova.

We arrived as Last Dinosaurs were playing, reminding me very much of The Temper Trap, on the look, but also the sound. Next up were Cloud Control, who really impressed. A new little band to watch out for!

So, so hot in the little sunken band room, Yves Klein Blue entered the stage, with their own projected light show for effect. Having Michael finally up on stage, after he had been floating around amongst us, he switched from lead from and centre, to seated at keys to the left of stage.

Silence Is Distance was the second song for the night, with a smattering of new tracks from the boys. Summer Sheets sparked some crowd interest, and Dinosaur was energetic and fun. About The Future showed off that vocal command Michael has with the audience, before a massive Polka rendition with the ending of the night a hearty Getting Wise.

Monday, March 08, 2010


After all these years of public transport, on the tube in London and then the trains and trams of Melbourne, moving back to Ballarat has forced me to get my own independent transport again. My cute, new little Mazda 2 was ready for pick up on Wednesday, and took us to George as it's first outing.

After catching my eye, actually in the model up, when the notion of need had arisen, some researching, and agonising about the choice of new or second hand, this little bundle of tyres, windows, and engine (and iPod jack - who am I kidding!) led me to this decision.

Thursday, when I walked home from work, I saw the car in front of my house, and wondered who was visiting.....it's going to take me awhile to remember it's mine!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Hawks Challenged in Ballarat

Mum and I ventured down to Eureka Stadium here in Ballarat this afternoon, for the NAB Challenge practice match between Hawthorn and North Melbourne. After getting through a heavy shower of rain just a half hour earlier, the crowd was streaming in to this country ground, ready for a big game.

Was great to see our big names like Franklin, Sewell and Mitchell run onto the field, as well as Changa returning from injury for a run, and new recruits Gibson and Hooper. A host of new names on our list, it was a chance to get a look at those too.

The rain started up again just into the first quarter, as we watched under umbrella. Nothing doing for the Hawks on the ground, with no goal scored for the first half, with North dominating. To add to the Hawk woes, Taylor landed awkwardly in front of us, in a tangle of all legs with his opposition - with a cracking sound indicating a break. He was carried off, with a large amount of our rucking hopes for the season.

Our second half held slightly more promise, with two quick goals from Buddy, and Brisbane recruit peeling off another. He, and lads like Peterson and Stratton, impressed, as newbies to our lineup. Changa had a great return, with his dead accurate kicking - a treat!

With intermittent showers and then sunshine, the crowd surrounding the ground tried to maintain their interest in the lopsided scoreboard. The last quarter felt like we were just hanging in there til the siren, and we could all get out of the unpredictable elements.

Great crowd turn out for Ballarat, showing that footy is alive and well. Some glimmers of excitement in our recruits, injury reports, and a whole lot of game plan work to be done yet, for season 2010!

Friday, March 05, 2010

George in Melbourne

So after dropping the equivalent of a small country's GNP on going to Sydney to see him, I got an email with cheap tickets for George Michael in Melbourne. Can't not, right? I convinced Andrea and Jo that they couldn't not, either, and so after picking up my new car, we drove down to Melbourne last night.

Finding a park, we had dinner at Nandos, where their big screen gave us a taste of what was to come, inside in Etihad Stadium.

We made our way upstairs to Level 3, and seats halfway up the level, directly in front of the stage. Unlike Sydney, the ground below was only half allocated for seating, which left a gaping green grass hole below us.

Momentarily, the announcer at the Dome (why?), informed us the concert was about to start, the lights went down, the crowd screamed, and Waiting began from off stage.

He soon launched into the Fastlove and I'm Your Man double, wowing the crowd. A slip encouraging 'Sydney' to get into it was forgiven, as he then ended the remix of the Wham! hit, and acknowledging that the original version was what was wanted.

Father Figure was gorgeous, before George dedicated You Have Been Loved...and then lost composure for the last lines. Perhaps being a little tired and emotional, Everything She Wants started as the massive hit it is, before George again implored 'come on Sydney' not once, but twice, lost the parochial and proud Melbourne crowd.

A chant of Melbourne went around the crowd, and then silence met George's chatter to the crowd here. Suddenly, my overindulgence to fly to see him in Sydney had paid for itself. That, plus the fact that the stadium wasn't full, and the crowd around me sat down for most of it, and made us feel like we had guilty feet (see what I did there!!??) for standing for a couple of tracks.

George then walked out into the crowd on the catwalk stage jutting out to the middle of the arena, and unleashed a tirade for Rupert Murdoch, and the media in general, before playing An Easier Affair. The vocal strength of One More Try brought the evening back for me, as he shone with that voice, whether most of the crowd knew the song or not.

A Different Corner led to an energy filled Too Funky, with Star People seeing him through to the interval, and a lie down or a pep up, whatever it took!

Refreshed, and opening with the strumming of Faith, forgiven for his gaff, George dazzled with Spinning The Wheel. A step down to his jazz album, and Nina Simone's Feeling Good (where he hushed the crowd for the start), and then Roxanne showing off that vocal range again.

George seemed exhausted, at one point announced that he was knackered, and that is was much too hot for an Englishman. He also stated that this would be his last (last this tour, George, or forever??). He joked that earlier when we may have heard him calling out to Sydney, that his mate Sydney was in fact there at the front of the crowd. Moving My Mother Had A Brother, and then the 3 smashes of Amazing (to anyone who has found The One, he said, dedicating it to Kenny), high energy Flawless, and cheeky Outside in police garb brought down the house.

The sax started the encore of Careless Whisper, was was incredible. Back off stage, I wasn't sure he would return, but he did for Freedom 90, to end the night.

Perhaps for the first time in my life, Sydney has proved better than Melbourne. Nevertheless, it was truely amazing to see the great George Michael on home soil, and he thanked the crowd for the span of his career.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

MSW Starts Here

I am a university student again! Half of me is excited, with a new, or affirmed, direction to work towards, the other is scared of the time commitment and memory of the previous Masters. Nonetheless, I am a student at the University of Melbourne (again, after my very first year, where I really just learnt to drink!), doing a Master of Social Work.

Friday I attended Orientation Day, where the course and this semesters subjects were introduced. We were to have a past student talk about the experience of the course, but they had all secured gainfully employment. A good sign! Nonetheless, our lecturers presented stories of the alumni scattered far and wide across the globe, doing amazing things. Inspired!

An introduction into the profession of Social Work, which starts here for us, and talk of our Professional Body was made. Discussions about the very full on, and intensive, lecture blocks, and the placements, were fleshed out. Our course coordinator promised that the next 2-4 years will "enrich our lives emotionally and professionally". Scary and exciting, all at once!

So after my big weekend, classes started at 8.30am yesterday - ouch! For the next 10 weeks I will be attending Monday classes (minus a couple for Easter and ANZAC holidays), one full day. And then homework, and full time work for the rest of the week.

Meeting people within my new classes, who will be on this journey with me for the next 2-4 years, is also very exciting. Already the old adage that the people you sit next to during your first classes at school/uni will be your friends, seem to be a happy prospect. Going through the introductions in our tutes, people have come to this course from such varied pathways, from just completing a Bachelor last year, to years of experience in the industry, to completely different walks like Economics and Law!

Well, here we go. I am on the train now....hopefully I won't fall off...to a new destination.
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