Friday, October 31, 2008


My review of Louis Nowra's Ice is in the November Australian Book Review. The issue also includes my "In Brief" review of Wayne Grogan's Heavy Allies.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Arts degree

For the last fricken time, no, it doesn't mean I can paint!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bring the, or at least some, noise

Following Amanda's lead I have signed up to 8tracks which is similar to the late lamented Muxtape but more reliable and user-friendly. My first mix is of recent jazz (save for the David Murray tune, which is from 1980, although to some that probably counts as "recent jazz"), including four tracks from the Clean Feed label which I'm big on right now. Listen here or make use of the widget:

"Spain Intro", Michel Camilo & Tomatito
"The Whimbler", Gerry Hemingway Quartet
"Gat Swamba", Garage a Trois
"Hard Sole Shoe", Jenny Scheinman
"Old Grooves for New Streets 2", Way Out West
"Correspondent", Mi3
"The Last of the Beboppers", Adam Lane
"Big Love (For Joe Giardullo)", Luis Lopes
"Dewey's Circle", David Murray

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Red is the new black

Karl Marx is back in fashion, which explains why I keep seeing young ladies heading off to the races with large bearded Germans draped over their shoulders.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Barrington Bayley

He died the other day. If you like weird sf you need to track down some of his books.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The upside of the downslide

Sportsbet chief executive officer Matt Tripp said in an economic crisis people drank and bet more.

"I'm sure the mindset of a punter broadly changes a little bit when his back's against the wall. I can assure you our turnover hasn't dropped at all, we're actually writing more bets than we ever have," he said.
What a wonderful, glass-half-full perspective Mr Tripp has. If only more people could be so positive - but I suppose then there would be less despair for Mr Tripp and his ilk to make money from.

Shiny and new

I live in Melbourne's "leafy" eastern suburbs, about equidistant between two very different commercial centres. To the south is the Box Hill shopping centre/transport hub/mall/open sewer conglomeration, which, despite the vomit spatter and ever present threat of having a cigarette put out on your face, is nevertheless vibrant and honest and has a lot of shops with funny names (Nob Nobs, Hung Long Video, Hellboy e-gift).

Box Hill (artist's impression)

To the north is Doncaster Shoppingtown, a 1970s shopping centre clustered around a small office tower and buried under several square miles of car park. The centre has recently undergone significant renovations, allegedly doubling the number of shops in the complex - just in time for the recession!

Doncaster Shoppingtown (artist's impression)

The final stage of the renovation was unveiled yesterday morning and I happened to be there to see it. Unfortunately I couldn't get past the burly men in suits who were guarding the roped-off VIP section, but I'm told the Premier was there, cutting a ribbon or whatever Premiers do when opening new shopping centres. (Perhaps they go to Target and lay the first by?) The whole place is incredibly shiny - we saw a guy mopping a load-bearing pillar! - and there are plenty of posters telling you how classy the joint is. Also, because there's a Myer in the building, there are pictures of Jennifer Hawkins and her one facial expression everywhere you look.

The new Shoppingtown is even more pretentious than the old one. There's a David Jones, a Colonial Fresh supermarket,where the fruit and veg are kept crisp by a constant drizzle of vapourised water, a shop called Jones the Grocer, which is about as wanky as it sounds. There is even a "butler service", whatever that means in the context of a shopping centre.

Westfield is clearly trying to position Shoppingtown as the shopping centre for this part of the world. (Previous title holder: Blackburn Square. Just kidding.) It will be interesting to see how it fares, especially with the economy in the toilet, and with competition from outlet malls like Brand Smart and the Do Fuck Off empire. No doubt by Christmas the various luxury services will have tapered off, the pillar-mopper will have been turfed onto the streets, and there will be a Dimmeys where David Jones used to be. That'll bring in the crowds - from Box Hill.


The MS Paint arrow and exclamation marks say it all.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thirty today

I'll be thirty tomorrow, too, and for the 363 days after that, so it's probably not worth getting too worked up about. We did have a party though - I wrote and scheduled this post beforehand so I wouldn't be tempted to write any maudlin requiems for my lost youth when I came home drunk at some ungodly hour. That's the kind of forward planning we mature types specialise in.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Back to the

Waiting for my train last night I noticed this on the platform:

It didn't seem to be working, hence I am writing this in the present.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The soul of man under retail

I have discovered the cure for aging: get a job where they treat you like you're sixteen, even if you're not!

Thursday, October 02, 2008


My (brief) review of Michael Meehan's novel Deception is in the October Australian Book Review. Readers who recall this post might be amused by the contributor bio they've given me. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to my castle in the Loire.