Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

a load of hot air

who would have thought so many people were up before the crack of dawn?

after a couple of false starts due to inclement weather, including a cancellation at the
ungodly time of 3:45am, we finally had the chance to go for a hot air balloon ride (elmo did well to keep this a secret for so long!).
we started at southbank at 4:30am, headed out to monash uni and were in the air by 5:30am. this was the best part of the morning: watching half a dozen giant deflated balloons gently roar to life one by one, the air swirling around inside as they begin to lift off the footy ground.
we waved the first balloons off, then a quick scramble into the basket and away we floated, waving goodbye to the ground crew ourselves. not sure if it was the lack of cawfee or the lack of sleep, but this was a truly magical experience.
despite the low cloud, the view was spectacular. from the air, we saw the synchrotron, trains and cars on the freeways, the racetrack, various universities, many a dream suburban home (so many swimming pools in the eastern suburbs. tsktsk ;p), elmo's old high school, the amazing greenery surrounding melbourne and folks on a morning jog or walking their dogs.

other than the odd burst of flame to keep us afloat, it was eerily quiet, so still, so peaceful.
as we neared the cbd, the winds became more temperamental so our pilot, marlon, landed us with a few soft thuds on an unsuspecting school oval. for this honour, the groundsman was more than happy to accept a bottle of champers, a tradition harking back to French pioneers who appeased folks with their local sparkling, when landing in their fields. marlon tells us this also served as assurance that 'balloonatics' were not messengers of the devil.
we ended the morning with a champagne breakfast with our fellow basket ballooners to celebrate various anniversaries, weddings and birthdays. incredible to think we can still experience this technology, and an unforgettable, breathtaking start to the morning (thank you so much elmo :) )

Monday, October 22, 2007

Words and Music

Paul Kelly @ Corner Hotel
20th October 2007

I must confess that my appreciation for Paul Kelly is only new. This is an atrocity given that I’m surrounded by massive Paul Kelly fans (dr b, pierre burkensoir and elmo to name only a few ardent devotees); and that his words and music are so intrinsic to the place and character of Melbourne, the only town I would ever really call home.

My new found admiration comes via his words. When plotting a birthday surprise of tickets to the Corner Hotel gig, I wanted to plant postcards bearing Kelly’s lyrics all around Elmo’s abode. It was through this process that I began to appreciate the universality of his stories and the simple, poetic economy with which he uses language. Kelly says so much without saying anything at all.

As a new recruit, I don’t feel that I deserve to comment too much more. Only to say that the gig at the Corner Hotel was amazing; there was an incredible energy from the crowd. Kelly’s set opened with They Thought I Was Asleep and featured plenty of material from recent album Stolen Apples such as You’re 39, You’re Beautiful and You’re Mine, Stolen Apples Taste the Sweetest, The Ballad of Queenie and Rover. Other treats included How To Make Gravy, Deeper Water, Leaps and Bounds, Before Too Long and Careless.

Support act CW Stoneking and band joined Kelly during the first encore highlight ‘Stumbling Block’; the tuba from CW’s band providing a carnival-esque, ominous sound to the rousing chorus. The second encore featured an acoustic sing-a-long version of Everything’s Turning to White and From St Kilda to King’s Cross, ably backed by nephew Dan (Lovely Dan) Kelly.

The band, composed of established musos, sounded incredible, so crisp and clean, with a driving rhythm section from drummer Peter ‘Lucky’ Luscombe and bassist from Bill McDonald. I was excited to see ex-Even singer/songwriter Ash Naylor, resplendent in a ratty but smart pin-stripe suit, providing appropriate rock flourishes. All the band members variously sang harmonies, of particular note, Dan Kelly’s falsetto during Careless; and it was wonderful to see such a genuine camaraderie onstage.

Kelly’s songs elevate the familiar into poetry, hearing the opening words of Leaps and Bounds, I felt immediately at home: I’m high on the hill /Looking over the bridge / To the MCG / The clock on the silo / Says eleven degrees. I can imagine that ex-pats would feel a pang upon hearing even a flicker of Kelly’s words and music.

No wonder his gigs regularly sell out, the mutual warmth between Kelly and the crowd was undeniable; we’ll be sure to see him again soon.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

in a nutshell: ryan, hoodoo bruise, dig it

excuse me for being slack, i never did end up writing up ryan adams and the cardinals at the palais, or the hoodoo gurus / radio birdman / the stems at the forum {sorry yoss!}.

in a few nutshells:
1. ryan adams has a beautiful, heart-melting voice and his band is amazing, but the evening was lacking a certain something. however, to my delight, the band played plenty of tracks from Cold Roses and their recent album Easy Tiger.

2. hard to believe the stems/radio birdman/hoodoo gurus originally started gigging around in the 80s - they all sounded so dynamic and present. i couldn't believe how RAWK the hoodoo gurus were. ever the consummate professionals, they even happily played requests from the very noisy crowd (this was unlike at the Ryan Adams gig where a Cardinal remarked, "we appreciate your requests. but we will not be honouring them"]
it was an all-killer-no-filler-set spanning most of their recordings and included leilani, like wow wipeout, i want you back, what's my scene and waking up tired.
to my embarrassment, i sustained my first gig injury during the hoodoo gurus - two big bruises on my right foot from the over-excited crowd. not sure if this is a testament to the frenzy whipped up by the band or my own old-aged-ness :)
maybe i'll go and see behemoth and aim for an bruise to brag about!!
[in fact, this is an extremely unfair stereotype that testosterone fuelled bands are more dangerous gigs to attend. we went to see the datsuns a few years ago, and the punters there were the most polite and thoughtful we'd met at any gig. they variously stood aside to let us through, and made sure we could see dolf de datsun striding around on stage.]

finally, may i present: the latest project from the shed of jfox.
a camera pouch for a lovely, generous, surprising gift (thank you bellas!). a grey, stripey sock wasn't really doing the shiny digital camera any justice!

although i wouldn't normally plan too much, it was well worth it taking a few basic measurements. this is also the first time i've tried my hand at using quilt wadding (such a deliciously odd/not-quite-right word!).

feel well chuffed with the result, though i'm not quite ready to launch into quilting territory; just not sure about all those florals and pastels ;)

:: almost finished, unplanned stitching begins... {and no idea what i'm doing!}
:: pouch perve...
:: the finished product, a snug-as-a-bug fit

beauty in chaos

collins street ~3:30pm