Will Type For Food


Monday, May 18, 2015

The sage of suburbia

The grace of Sydney Road: an 11 pm kebab.

What is the point of trains running on time? You can't rely on a service that is too reliable.

The wealth of Sydney Road: a 12 am baklava.

Never trust a brand name that has too many or too few capital letters. 

The spices of suburbia: a 10 am Freddo.

Normal: making friends with people you have never met before. Harder: making friends with people you never will meet.

Remember to throw out mobile recharge voucher only AFTER you have used it.

Prunes: the gourmand's laxative.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Do you know a shy Tory? Are you so shy about your own Tory leanings that you haven’t outed yourself yet? Mysteriously invisible to polls, this is a species that the left needs to learn to identify.

Rupert Myers, The Guardian: Think you’ve never kissed a shy Tory? You’re almost certainly wrong 

Shy Tory Song
Are they blushing in the bedroom?
Do they hide behind the door?
Do they harbour an opinion
On the undeserving poor?
What colour are their stockings?
Have they ever worn a boater?
Those unassuming non-presuming
Shy Tory voters.

Has a husband or a wife
Ever awkwardly confessed
That Mrs Thatcher's policies,
Though harsh, were for the best?
Does their bedroom conversation
Touch on economic quotas?
Those flirtatiously salaciously
Shy Tory voters.

Do they dream of Union Jacks? 
Is it on their underwear? 
Do they groan about the Whigs
In tones of deep despair? 
Do they Telegraph their news,
Get their views from the Spectator?
Those tantalising self-disguising
Shy Tory voters.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Dream literature

Apparently I have an occasional habit of writing literature in my dreams. As it happens, I had two dreams last night, and in the first, I wrote a play: Here it is, in full:
PERKINS: I say, Jenkins!

JENKINS: Well, what is it, Perkins?

PERKINS: I want some words with you, Jenkins!

JENKINS: Well, what is it, Perkins?

PERKINS: Those were the words!

JENKINS: Right then, Perkins!

PERKINS: Good day to you, sir!

In the second, I got told that a drama company wanted a one act play to put on tonight, and I got all excited because I remembered I had one lying around somewhere. At first I tried to write another one but couldn't, then I started searching through my papers for the play. And do you know what happened when I was just about to find it? As they say in the classics:


Monday, May 11, 2015

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Brew problems (™) forum

Welcome to the Brew problems (™) forum. Where we tackle the great Brew problems (™) of our day to help you get a better brew!

Today's problem comes from Agnes, of outer Woop Woop. She writes:

"I was going to do a brew today but the cat is on my lap.

I have no idea how I will overcome this seemingly insuperable difficulty.

I suppose I could put the cat off my lap, but if I did that, the terrorists will win."

Anyone else got a solution for Agnes here?

UPDATE! - Doris from Clonbinane writes: 

"I know how Agnes is feeling. Once I'd put on a 100 L pot of Heavy Scot's Ale on the stove for a final boil and then the cat hopped on my lap! Well, it boiled right down and then evaporated and still the cat didn't hop off. Eventually the house caught on fire, but kitty was purring so what could I do but scratch her behind the ears? Then she got angry at me and jumped off and coughed up a furball in the ashes of the kitchen, and you can imagine it was terrible to sweep up." 

Thanks for that helpful tip, Doris. Keep writing in, brewers!

Friday, May 01, 2015

Smokey the presenter

Years and years ago (said the old man) I used to listen to Jazztrack on ABC Classic FM. Back then it was presented by an old codger with a smokey and laidback voice, kind of like a hippy 40 years after his time. His name, suitably, was Jim McLeod. I guess he got his voice that way by hanging around in the sort of nicotine-fragrant dives you heard jazz in, and presumably smoking a few himself. Voice may be a true mark of character, but cigarettes sure help.

Anyway, now I'm listening to the 3MBS jazz program. It's called The Colours of Jazz and it's presented by a young dude whose name escapes me at the moment. He has a voice that is laidback and kind of.... smokey. What? Is it Jim McLeod all over again?

They're not the only ones, because apparently the conspiracy is wider than that. Years ago I'd also occasionally listen to Adventures in Good Music, presented by a fellow with a voice like an old American uncle, Karl Haas. It was on ABC Classic FM, right in that time slot before Margaret Throsby and Clive Robertson were due to come on and start arguing with one another, if memory serves me correctly. Well, I think I've found this Karl Haas's doppleganger, too - an old American dude. Last name McLaughlin, first name Bill. Kind of sounds like someone's uncle. He presents a show on 3MBS called Exploring Music.  But of course; the titles Discovering Music and Music for Pleasure and so on were all used up, I suppose.

Huh? Is there some requirement that radio presenters of certain types of programs all have the same accents and characteristics? Does every jazz program have to be presented by laidback cool types with smokey voices? Do educational programs in classical music need to be fronted by avuncular American sorts who seem like they'd be just as happy delivering this talk at a piano lesson? Inquiring minds need to know. (Actually they don't).

PS the show's almost ended now and he says his name is something something Groves. Huh? That's not a very smokey name at all.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A real estatement

A poem in real estate, four blocks, with all mod cons

I Love, I Love, I Love
But Jellis Craig's obsessed -
How shall I end this tale? 
L J Hooker, you're the best.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


JK Rowling has been hailed an “inspiration” after she was asked by a young Harry Potter fan why Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore was gay. 

Rowling, 49, revealed Dumbledore's sexuality almost a decade ago in 2007, after the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was published...

 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay 

Dumbledore is quietly gay
In a non-flamboyant way.
No use asking for a list
Of all the men that he has kissed -
Of who and what and when was it -
Dumbledore is in the closet.

Maybe J. K. Rowling knows
If he has a string of beaux -
All we have are empty pages,
A mystery throughout the ages.
No answer to our every query -
Dumbledore is gender theory.

The modes of Bell Railway Station

Bell, couchant - a slightly-too-warm late morning in summer. A hot breeze blows from the north. Scattered over the bare concrete of the train station, waiting for the trains, are two or three passengers, here, there. No trains are in sight.

Bell, rampant - a winter afternoon. The city platform is overloaded with Collingwood supporters. The South Morang platform has a solitary Italian grandmother with her wheelie bag. She picks her nose, thoughtfully.

Bell, avec impressionism - Sombre autumn evening sighted through the windows of a slow-moving train. Fluorescent lighting through a patch of drizzle. An atmosphere both magical and squalid.

Bell, avec gritty realism - Near midnight. Temperature around 4 degrees celsius. City platform empty. South Morang platform containing three ticket officers, all with a similar glum expression on their faces. No trains coming.

Bell, avec futurism - midsummer, midday, 40 degrees celsius. Both concrete platforms completely bare. A train, not taking any passengers, rushes past the South Morang platform. On the City platform, a voice over the intercom announces to no-one that the following train will be 15 minutes late. The announcement redounds from the bare black concrete of the platforms onto the bare black concrete of the surrounding car park.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ess Ee Ex

Sex! I wanted to talk about the party, not the act, though it hardly matters, because you know that old rule about how any sentence that with sex will get your attention? Sex! See, it works! We all know the old classic: "SEX! Now that I've got your attention...." Except, okay, it's not that old, and it's not particularly classic either. But anyway, throw in FREE into the same sentence, it doesn't particularly matter where and in another non-specific SEX location if you throw the word SEX in as well then FREE it SEX doesn't SEX matter FREE what happens, those are the SEX FREE only words people will SEX see after.

In fact even when you're doing something specifically anti-sex, so long as the word is in the sentence that's all that people will notice. Once a few years ago I had written an anti-sex poem for a poetry slam, to inspire raging indifference, apathy, and chastity in my listeners. One of the judges marked me down so much that they knocked me out of the running, with their stated reason being: "I like sex." Fair enough, then.

But anyway, back to the point, the point being SEX, the point in addition being PARTY, and the point not in any way at all being FREE, because haven't you heard? The Sex Party is running for politics. And - such is the motivating force of their name alone - that, no matter who else is on the ballot, a large proportion of the electorate will only be able to see the word SEX followed afterwards by the word PARTY, presumably causing visions of Bacchanalian delights to swim before their eyes, causing their pen to descend as if automatically to the box beside this name....

In short, it doesn't really matter what their policies are or who represents them, I suspect by simply having the name they do, the Sex Party have got the vote of a certain proportion of the electorate - lecherous, unchaste, impure souls that they are - stitched up. Some people would probably even vote for Adolf Hitler if he ran for the Sex Party. It is a genius name, a name so simple that only a simpleton like an advertiser could come up with it.

Being something of a simpleton myself, I feel that this theory could be applied successfully to the other main parties in the election. Sex may be one of the primary motivators of people, but it is not the only one. There's also Greed, and Fear, and many others too. And they do say it's a time for renewal in politics, and renewal starts with the name. Behold my suggested brand changes to the major parties:

Australian Labor Party - Malice, Spite and Vengeance Party

Australian Liberals and Australian Nationals - The Coalition of Greed and Fear

Australian Greens - National Envy Party

Between them I believe the major parties could also sew up most, if not all, of the Seven Deadly Sins. At any rate, that's about all I wanted to say, apart from the obvious: sex.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


There's nothing like you spending quality time with the cat, and the cat spending quality time with you, on the couch, listening to music, sipping on a drink, possibly nibbling on a biscuit, all while curled up in a lap. You can't do all of these things yourself, of course, and nor can the cat. Even if you wanted to curl up in your cat's lap, you'd have trouble finding it. (Do cats even have laps? If they do they must be slightly more rare than a giraffe's honk, and a tad less so than the proverbial hen's teeth.) So, this is clearly a collaborative effort between you and the cat, and the radio and the cup of something and the biscuit of something, etc. Possibly, if the cat has disported herself across your lapular environs before you have had time to fetch a drink for yourself, you may have to ask someone else to help you fetch it. But that just shows what a complex, interconnected, social world we live in. Multitasking, it's all about multitasking.

Perhaps you may object you do not have a cat, or you are a cat and do not have a lap, or you do not drink, or you are living on the other side of the world. Well, don't worry. Beatrice the cat and I are here to do it all on your behalf.

Multitasking, my friend. Multitasking.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The stunning new literary movement that's sweeping the room

"What the hell's so good about six word fictions?" I found myself thinking the other day. "Now.... five and a half word fictions... there's a REAL challenge...."

And so I set to work on this bold new literary venture. Which I did by putting my notebook away, hopping on the train, and not writing any for the next week.

Finally I did come up with one, on Bell Station the other night (why are train stations and trains so good for this stuff?) Here it is; hold your breath, ladies and gentlemen...
Help! Stuck in cupboard! Pen run
I didn't stop there either. The following is my favourite:
"Who needs man?" cried the wo.
 Interestingly, it works just as well (stop laughing!) if you substitute the word "men" for "man". Some pernickety-snitch critics might of course interpret this as a careless slackness of my prose style, but I like to think it demonstrates my admirable versatility.

Speaking of admirable versatility, I kept plugging away at my literary inventing for another three or four lines. Some are too execrable to repeat, but then some were too terrible to have even been begun. So I'll show you the former:
Cat meow broken. Just says "ow". 
"Darling!" he cried. "Want a cho"...
And with that impulsive rush for the chocolate bar, I finish this list of five and a half word fictions. THE FIRST EVER IN THE WORLD PROBABLY. It's right up there with the time I invented haiku or singlehandedly engineered the limerick with thin air and a spare rubber band. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Chook 1, Chook 2

In just the sort of deplorable story twist that you have come to expect from me and the Baron, we have recently come in possession of two chickens. (Make that two MORE chickens - that's on top of the seven currently wandering around the backyard looking for plants to devastate and vegetation to wreak their terrible fury on). Aforementioned two chickens are destined for the possession of my mother in law; before they came into our possession they were in possession of two friends of ours, after passing out of the possession of other equally mysterious persons who, presumably, found them in a handbag at Victoria Station.

Anyway! I feel we're getting off track here, because the important points to remember are Two + Chickens. They're easy to tell apart, because one of the chooks is sort of brown and the other is sort of black. By common assent, we have decided their names are... their names are.... well, that's just the thing - I still can't quite work out what their names are:

Alison, Caroline
Alice and Caroline
Carol and Alison
Caroline, Alice

Which brings me to the real point of my post: names that sound similar are confusing.

Now aren't you glad you read to this point?

Monday, April 06, 2015

Care scare

Zap! Again there's screaming in the street,
Then sirens. Cops, too late - and all they find's
The tiny pitter-pat of teddy feet;
Another victim of a Care Bear crime. 

 There was a time when love hearts seemed so cool,
And rainbow diamond lasers were in vogue - 
But no-one thinks that anymore at school,
Not since that ghastly day the Bears went rogue. 

Seems each day now someone we know breaks down,
Statistics of the growing Care Bear scare - 
A mounting paranoia grips our town,
As rainbows sizzle through the panicked air. 

So kids! Say no to fluffy toys and other thrills,
And twinkle stars and all those Care Bear lies - 
They may seem nice and pretty, right until
A Care Bear love heart frizzles out your eyes.

I googled 'Care Bear Mug Shot' and would you believe this is the sort of thing that came up. Shudder!

Friday, April 03, 2015

Basically the entire internet, so you can switch your computers off and go home now

A poem that is basically the entire internet

A puppy that sleeps on a cat that is cleaning its kitten!
A turtle that eats while a piglet is wearing a bonnet!
A dog with a sign with a crudely-spelled message upon it!

A turtle that eats while a piglet is wearing a bonnet!
A lolcat lol cats are so funny so funny so funny!
An African princess is asking to send me some money!

A lolcat lol cats are so funny so funny so funny!
A guy who is cute with a duckling that eats from a beanie!
A one-year-old badger! It's wearing a tiny bikini!

A guy who is cute with a duckling that eats from a beanie!
A boy three years old wearing pink BOYS LIKE PINK!
(This mindblowing cat gif will really make you stop and think!)

A boy three years old wearing pink BOYS LIKE PINK!
A mouse and a crab and a hamster take turns in a mitten!
A puppy that sleeps on a cat that is cleaning its kitten!

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Hello! This is Tim on the homophone speaking, can you take the call?

Unspoken rule - something that is not allowed, but not aloud. 

(Complaints to the usual address, & co. & co.)

UPDATE! - And while we're on the subject,  I suppose you could call a homophone something that is aloud, and usually allowed also. Now aren't you glad I told you that?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

To ride the cushioned waves

Going to bed. This, I think it is safe to say, is something of which I am a fan. I have signed up to its newsletter, I have clicked 'like' on its facebook page, I often think wistfully of it during the day.

And of course, when it happens, it has its little rituals and rules, things that must be done right if I am to sleep right. For instance, there must be a certain amount of tucked-in-ness for sleep to occur in a satisfying nature; and the bed must be suitably geometrical, with the corners of the blankets square with the corner of the bed itself. This is non-negotiable: the results otherwise could include limbs falling out into the cold night air. There should be around two pillows - three strike one as being decadent, and could result in the head being propped up in awkward positions - and most importantly, a certain amount of wriggle time should be factored in before going to sleep. You surely know the deal: the body requires some wriggle before it can truly feel ready for the hard yards of sleeping it is going to do. I don't quite know why this is, but the wriggle really lets you put yourself in all the right positions before sleeping, and test them out, one by one - and sometimes test them out several times over. Of course, some times the wriggle continues for the duration of the whole night, but these are thankfully few and far between.

Sleeping, I am fond of saying, is hard work, and I am a little surprised that people don't acknowledge this truth more often. Why else do we often wake up from sleeping much more tired than when we have begun sleeping? Staying awake before sleeping - you could do that for hours, sometimes even days if need be (air travel is built on this concept); but staying awake after sleeping is much more difficult. It is not just fatigue, either: sometimes you can wake up with black eyes (what on earth...?) or toothaches, or arm-aches - not to mention the fact that you always seem to wake into those dreadful one- or two- or three-day lurgies that lay you out.

This morning I seem to have awoken to a trifecta of afflictions: a kind of scrape on my heel, a sprain in my other leg, and a bad back. I have no idea how, or why, I could have somehow procured these complaints during a protracted bout of sleeping, but it just goes back to what I was saying before: sleeping is hard work, man!

In fact, it's so difficult that I think I might have a little lie on the couch now. You may call me petal and bestow other such epithets of sympathy on me, if you wish.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Telling your yeah, nahs from your nah, yeahs

As the poet says (and he, irritatingly, has a habit of saying such things): "Yeah, nah".

But what does the poet really mean when they say, "Yeah, nah"? Are there situations in life when "Yeah, nah", actually means "Yeah, yeah"? What of the feminist claim that "No means no"? Applying the logic to the current equation, and carrying across the positive to the negative and reversing the neutron flow of the universe, not to mention vice versa, does "Yeah, nah", actually mean, "Yeah, nah", no matter what we think it's meaning might mean?

And what does this meaning mean for "Yeah, yeah", which in actuality means "No"; or "No no", which doesn't (though it doesn't mean, "Yes", either). Come to think of it, what does this mean for "Yes, yes", or the rare specimen of "Yeah, nah.... yeah" which we may still find in the wild? Is this to be a case of letting the eyes have it, or (taking it from the horse's mouth), will it be a neigh rather than a yay? Just what is the poet on, anyway? We'd ask him, but he strangely seems on leave at the moment, so we'll just have to ask the footballer instead. Let's give it a go.

Q: So, how do you think you'll go in the game on Saturday? 

A: Yeah, nah.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Straight from the horse's mouth. (Horse? What horse?)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tragedy is when you cut your finger...

"There was a young lady from Ryde", begins the fairy tale, as so many fairy tales begin...

...Who ate some green apples and died
The apples fermented
Inside the lamented
And made cider inside her inside. 

From that heartwarming tale of a successful fermentation completed in the most unlikely of circumstances, we move to a sorrowful tale of tears, trauma, and tragedy. While I was making cider today, I cut my finger. And then, proving that life has a way of finding situations that cannot get any worse, and then making them so, I cut the the other one.

When you have dried your eyes and ceased shaking at my horrifying tale, you will be happy to know I now have 4.5 litres of apple cider in my study about to start fermenting away. When that cider is ready, I shall drink it. And if I should happen to die after drinking it, I'll be sure to let you know. What else are blogs for?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


VICTORIA, MONDAY  - Labor has decided to go ahead with the controversial East West Link project, with the  entrance of the new road being built through former Premier Denis Napthine's bedroom.

"Building a gigantic fucking big road right through Denis Napthine's bedroom is a really important infrastructure project for this state," said Premier Daniel Andrew's yesterday, "And Labor will be delivering this project on time, and on budget."

In answer to questions about the possible legality of such a move, Premier Andrews replied that the East West Link would have a 'sound wall' and that an environmental impact study would be performed "or some shit like that".

The office of Victorian Liberal leader, Matthew Guy, has responded to queries that he is "happy Andrews has decided to proceed with the project". However, Guy's office has indicated the Coalition would also like to see progress on their alternative suggestion, "Building a Doncaster Rail Link with a big arse station right in the middle of Daniel Andrews dunny".

"That way, when he wanted to catch the train, he could just hop off the loo and jump on the train", offered one Coalition minister, helpfully. "Why aren't Labor considering this sensible and reasonable suggestion to help ease Victoria's traffic congestion problems?"

POLL: Which project do YOU support? 

a) Building a gigantic fucking big road through Denis Napthine's bedroom
b) Whacking a big arse station right in the middle of Daniel Andrew's dunny.

All responses are welcome. Just place a tick beside the appropriate answer with your texta or something like that.

Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, looking all evil and Machiavellian and shit.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Food for poets #1: what to eat when you write about nothing.

As a poet, at some point you will of course have to tackle the subject of nothing, writing about the fundamental nothingness of existence, or the basic nothingness of something (or something), and what to do when that horrible event comes along that we've all been dreading and nothing much happens. Obviously it is very important for you to take this all incredibly seriously, and wear black, scowl gloomily, and sit about doing.... well, nothing. Good.

So, writing about nothing is the most important thing you can do as a poet. Basically, nothing is really something, or should I say, you should be able to make something out of nothing, or maybe writing something about nothing should make you really feel.... something. I don't know, you're a poet, I'm sure you'll be able to get round to it. Point is, writing about nothing is so incredibly urgently mindblowingly important, that you shouldn't be on an empty stomach when you start. You need to get some food into you. But what?

1. Donuts. Donuts are an excellent food to eat when writing about nothing. You need to take those donuts out of the bag, one by one, and admire their wonderful shape, their smooth curves.... and most importantly, the little empty hole of meaninglessness at their centre that makes them look like a zero. You really need to get those donuts into you, straight away, so you can have that little empty hole of meaninglessness at your centre and you can start writing about nothing. But make sure they're hot, fresh out of the fryer and dusted with cinnamon sugar! Otherwise it won't work.

This food is so important for poets that I'd go so far as to say that you should eat it every day.

2. Also good: Cheezels, Toobs, Burger Rings, and those types of breakfast cereals that have holes in them. You could even try a little DIY project at home and make pancakes with a hole in the middle, but this subject is so incredibly technical and complex that I wouldn't bother if I were you.

3. Some poets, when thinking of writing about nothing, have ventured into a Wholefoods store on false premises. Poets, never do this. This is based on a fundamental misunderstanding and in years to come dieticians will write about this as one of the short-lived food fads of the early 21st century. Sometimes you will be lucky to find even one foodstuff in these stores with a hole in it.

4. Acceptable: foods like KFC, the sort that of food that you at once compulsively eat, and and leave you wanting less.

5. Controversial, but still acceptable: foods such as crinkle cut chips. Do the crinkles actually add more to the chip, or are they actually cut out of the chip? The crinkle cut chip is therefore a fundamental study in somethingness or nothingness, or something like that.

That's all for this episode of 'Food for poets'! I hope you all have a lovely time contemplating the bleak nothingness of everything, or how to live up to the legacy of other poets and do nothing at all with the rest of your day!

Fig 1. An important food group for poets.

Fun activities to try for yourself #2,000,001

Burst loudly into a room where a philosopher is sitting doing some serious thinking about a difficult philosophical conundrum, and immediately shout, "Stop thinking so loud! I can hardly hear myself talk!"

"I think it's time I gave the car another paint job"

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Nice places to have drinks in

I like a drink or two and I have been drinking on and off for many years now. But I wonder if I would have ever got into the healthy and enervating practice of drinking if it hadn't been for pubs? I like a pub, too. They look like a nice place to do things, to drink things in, to be in. They're attractive. Sometimes when I'm in a pub I half think I'm actually there to appreciate the place rather than the drinks. And maybe I half am.

There's a couple of iconic artworks of Australian pubs out there that have stuck in my memory ever since I was a kid, such as this -
Moody's Pub, by Russell Drysdale. Now that, it seems to me, is what a good pub looks like. There are elegant windows and there is a door where a door should be, but just as importantly, it has a balcony (with tres fashionable iron lace), so you can stand upon it and take in the evening air while you converse pleasantly with your elegant and strangely elongated companions in the quiet country town. The less said about the Ettamogah Pub the better, but while we're on the subject, even it has a balcony. Do you know how hard it is to find a proper pub with a balcony still in use? Did previous mischievous patrons tip half-pints of fermented beverages onto unfortunate passers-by?

I can't actually recall the first Melbourne pub I drank in; it was one of the numerous Fitzroy backstreet pubs, perhaps the solefully-titled Marquis of Lorne on a long afternoon early in the year. If it was the Marquis, it's had several paint jobs since then, but I recall it having a pleasant dusty wooden atmosphere, like all the best pubs. It had a rickety wooden stair leading to an uninhabited second storey, and a small shabby pool room where you could retire and sit around on these voluminous couches.

Melbourne was something of a stronghold for temperance politicians - as you can see in the slightly desperate names for some of our early 20th century pubs, such as The Perseverance Hotel. Perhaps reflecting this, a lot of our early wealth from the gold rushes was spent on extravagances such as the Victoria Markets - market stalls being literally blocked in permanently to the rest of the city. Pubs and bars haven't had the same privilege, so it is reassuring to come across the occasional bar that seems to have become one with the city. Two come to mind; the Charles Dickens Tavern and the cosy Sherlock Holmes Inn, both bars where you have to walk below street level. I especially like the Sherlock Holmes Inn, with a variety of British brews on tap and cosy little ingles to cosily mingle in.

My favoured watering hole is the Dan O'Connell Hotel, not so much for my drinking habit, or my architecture habit, but for my slightly less reputable poetry habit. When I first started going there it was a solidly Carlton and Guinness pub, with one weird cider on tap (actually, it was probably Bulmers). It had a nice bar along the middle of the room and comfortable big red chairs, with a painting of their namesake on the wall. The chairs have, alas, since been refurbished, and the bar has been relocated allowing for free movement between the pool room and the main room, but the painting has stayed. It's an Irish pub but has never, thank heavens, succumbed to the full horror of green paint, four leaf clover images, and - *shudder* - backpackers. In fact they do have a four leaf clover stainglass above a door behind the bar, but it looks oddly incongruous with the rest of the surroundings and, consequently, is rather charming. And just look at their lovely turret, the fancy font with which they announce their name, and the - what do you call that sort of decoration? I'll guess I'll just go with 'decoration' - above the name.

I have also noticed a peculiar characteristic when sitting within this pub and drinking and admiring its noble edifices. Though situated on the corner of the quiet Canning Street and the noisy Alexandra Parade, the noise of the Parade never seems to irritate you while you listen to the poetry or the music or the bubbles in the beer singing their own soft melodious song. Perhaps it is just the magic of the building. Or the drinking. Or possibly soundproof lining on the windows and doors, though I'm going with the magic. It is a wholly lovely place to have a drink in.

Here ends my succession of ponderings about nice looking Melbourne pubs. Perhaps one of these days I could organise a little tour to admire the architecture of many Melbourne pubs in one day. And perhaps have a drink in them to admire their architecture more. It could be called a pub.... a pub.... give me a second, I'm sure a good name will come to me....

Thursday, February 26, 2015

All the egg jokes the universe has ever made

This is a blog post the purpose of which is to use all the possible egg jokes in the universe. Once all these egg jokes have been made for once and for all, it is hoped we will be able to move on, to become involved in other fruitful and fulfilling activities, to forgive, and to forget.

For reference purposes, here is an egg.

It would be no eggsageration to say that this is an eggslempary eggsample of an egg. It doesn't matter whether you show this egg to your eggs-wife or your eggs-husband, all will agree it is simply an eggstrodinary egg. You may think I am just egging you on, but the yolk is on you. You can save that one for the albumen, for, after all, just how many yolks is it possible for someone to crack? It's all-white if you're a pavlova or just frankly discustard with the eggstenuating circumstances I have eggsaustively listed here, for omelette you get away with whatever you want to say now, because I officially declare these egg jokes ova. You can search all the way through your leggsicon for related egg-corns or whatever, but I'd be surprised if you could eggstend the yolk much further. Though, good Cod, I suppose you could roe out to really deep waters, but if you could make omelette out of caviar, that would be a real beat up, and we'd all end up with egg all over our face. Though now that I come to think of it, a positive Googolpleggs of words now occurs to me, so I might be some time....

To be continued....

Pleasing things

Round baskets.

Spotty animals. All spotty animals in general, but especially irregularly spotted animals as it is fun to look at them and try and guess where the next spot will be. If you are with friends, you could make a game of it.

An open window with a cat sitting on the sill.

Going for a walk in a nice area and passing by a street which you could decide to walk down. Even if you do not, the little glimpse of this street is soothing to the eye and remains as a future possibility for exploration.

A summer day when it is cool enough for you to wear a jumper, or lie in bed in the morning with a blanket on.

Wearing socks on the couch.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hereby offering my services to farm out slogans for community radio

"Welcome to community radio! The station for the whole community to ignore!"
"It's got the word 'community' in it!"
"Something something something something vibrant something something something!"
"Help! We're trapped in your radio! Let us out!

Monday, February 23, 2015


"An invasive species", says Wikipedia, "is a plant or animal that is not native to a specific location (an Introduced species); and has a tendency to spread, which is believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy and/or human health." So when we're talking about weeds, it's a plant that's everywhere you don't want it to be, taking up all the space for every plant that you want to be there. Basically, all the best plants are weeds here in Victoria. Dandelions are weeds. Apples, hilariously, are weeds. Fennel is a weed - at the shops the other day to buy some fish I saw fennel sprouting up out of the pavement, causing me to have visions of plucking fresh fennel to go with the fresh fish that I was going to get - though, as it turned out, the shop was all out of fish. Nettle is a weed, St John's Wort is a weed, blackberry, delicious blackberry is a weed of national significance, and horehound is a weed too.

I've been searching a lot for horehound lately, with very little success: posts on this forum and that forum asking if anyone had some in their backyard, searches on the Weeds databases on government websites, and so on. Horehound, as it turns out, is an invasive weed that is actually quite difficult to find - except, I suppose, if you don't want to find it. Perhaps a better definition of 'weed' in this case would be 'a plant that's everywhere you don't want it to be unless you want it to be'. Yes, well, I'll keep working on that one.

You might ask, at this point, why did I want this plant to be anywhere anyway? Yes, well, good question. You see, horehound is a brewing herb, a good base bittering component for ales. It's in the mint family, so on top of that bittering you'll get a minty, almost desserty flavour out of it - very well-suited for the darker ales. They used to make lollies from it (the weed, I mean, not the ale). I picked up some from an Organics store in Bright last year which I now suppose must have been shipped in at preposterous cost from an exotic locale far removed from these fair shores, which, considering it's a weed that can go invasive here in Australia, does seem rather eccentric.

Anyway, finally, we found a source of the allegedly-invasive horehound yesterday. A few posts on the Permaculture forum on Facebook and we found a wonderful permacultural-minded soul who had a few back paddocks full of the stuff. On presenting ourselves in aforementioned paddock yesterday afternoon, we did indeed find this dreaded weed, quietly marauding its way over acres of land, with a bunch of cows standing about apparently ignorant of the dire situation they were in, and a peppercorn tree in a similar state of denial. Who knows what would have happened to us if we hadn't picked the horehound we needed, stuffed it in bags, and went on our way? Probably nothing, which is what is all the more scary about it.

There's not really much to tell in this story - it's really another one of my endless anecdotes that never goes anywhere and takes a long time about it as well - but this is why this morning found me binding up sheaves of horehound and hanging it up in the shed to dry out. 

Hey, it was either the weed or me, man.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Critic speak

The poems are full of fine moments of attention and crystalline, lucid images and overall the poems work to discover value and meaning in the world.
Crikey, I thought when I first read this, who talks like this? I mean, people have a go at poets for not using ordinary language (and we don't) but this slip - from a judge - sounds to me like it's coming from another world. I mean, if you're reading a book of poetry, could you imagine someone coming up to you in the street and asking, "Are the poems full of fine moments of attention?" "I'm looking for something with images that are crystalline, but also lucid". Huh?

Critic speak I've called it, because obviously, critics do it too; it's something critics and judges do in common - apply their critical faculties to a work of art and then describe it evaluatively. This isn't a particularly bad example - questions about just what 'fine moments of attention' are (is the attention 'refined', or are the moments of attention just 'fine', ie, good)? You see the same tics in music or art gallery reviews or whatever - the problem is simple, and hard: how to convey something of the experience of a work of art without, you know, actually reproducing the work of art? You can't, obviously, though you can try, which is why critics and judges tumble over themselves to produce language which tries to be both descriptive and coolly analytical, all at once.

Just this morning Dr Cat spotted the following phrase critically applied: "achingly gritty". Not so much mixed metaphor as mixed cliche - though at least it has more spring in its step than "grittily achy", or whatever. Mind you, once I was watching one of those ABC list programs where readers vote on their top ten favourite whatevers and the host - in this case Myf Warhurst - attempted to find the adequate critic speak for each of the books (okay, it was books). The top book was one of those predictable bestsellers, and Warhurst described it as "A guilty pleasure which we can all read without guilt". Um, okay then...though personally, I rather like the sound of the phrase, "A guilty pleasure which we can all read without delight", and I feel certain there are plenty of books this can be applied to accurately.

It might be fun to ask these sort of questions of critics at critics festivals, or wherever it is that they all hang out, though: "the book you're reading - is it achingly gritty?" "Does it cast a coruscating eye over the post-industrial subjectivity we are imbricated in, or is it more a lazy summer afternoon read that we should all make time for?" "Do you give it four stars, or is that the television guide?" Go on! Try it yourself! Let me know how you go! I'll just be right here waiting for you to report back.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Poem for over-interpreting

Poem for over-interpreting
She was healthy and wealthy and fair beyond words,
He was handsome and witty and tall
Together they went for a night on the town
And did absolutely nothing at all.

Poem for over-interpreting #2
They talked about Shakespeare and poems and cats
She thought him to be quite refined
As they stood all alone in the library stacks
And - wipe that image from your mind.

Poem for over-interpreting #3
He said that he couldn't.
She said that he might.
She thought that he wouldn't.
He said "it's not right".

So he ordered the fair-trade Latte instead. 

Thursday, February 05, 2015

From the Romance of the Weed


And yt came to passe that BARON VON HARLOT and SQUIRE TIM did essay forth up ye mountain in search of further heroic exploits and noble deeds. For there, they heard tell, lived a puissant LORD who had come into these parts from landes afar, and brought all the villages to meek subjection and cowardly abasement.
And yt was passing strange, for, some of the people did say he was a cruel and fell tyrant, who did wreak devastation and waste upon ye face of ye land; but, contrary, did some of ye people say, he was a kind and generous Lord, with gifts of bounty and plenty, and many fared from afar to marveil at his great richnesse of heart and plentiful spirit.
And for some of ye year, he did make his presence known thorough ye land, with sundry messengers and knights; but, for many months, he did keep withinne his demesnes, and whether he slept, or was sicke, they wot not.
So, ye BARON said to TIM, let us see this puissant Lord for ourself, and, God wot, some good may come of yt.
The Baron's hands staineth vermillion with the blood of 
our enemy

Ye day was fair when they set out on their journey, and there were but few welkins, and TIM did say, My Lady doth wear her blue mantle right well this day, and ye BARON said, who is this lady thou talkst of? And ye sun was high in ye sky and they began to pant and weary and wish for a drink to slake their thirst, for their provisions were but few.
And presently, they came to a mountain pass, and right by that pass there stood a fearsome GIANT, bearing a sword in arm outstretched, so that they did think ye way was barred. But then ye giant did say,
Step under or over, do what ye wille,
Yet I will stand here guarding stille. 
 So, after much debate, they walked under ye arm of ye giant, who for his part moved not from his spot. And so they fared forth up the mountain.
Ye road was but bare and worn, and presently did it give way to a rough pass. But on either side of ye pass did stand two GIANTS with fearsome visage, both larger than ye giant before them. And they did hold their swords before them, pointing unto ye ground, and say,
Further travel, if ye dare
Into my MASTER'S lands to fare.
Then with much trepidation did ye BARON and TIM venture forward, stepping gently over ye swords, and yet ye giants moved not. And so they fared on up ye mountain.

Markes of friendes

Now, high above ye fair town of BRIGHTENING, did they come to a castle ypight in Stately Gardens, most plenteously endight with every good thing of Goddes creation.
But bespread over the garden grounds were one hundred and one fearsome GIANTS, each one large than ye other.
And some did carry sword or sabre, and some did carry mace, and some did darrain themselves with javelin or spear, or prepare for wrestling, in armour bespread all over with spikes, and all did roar defiance, crying
If our MASTER you would see,
Why then, SIR, you must pass by me. 
 And they did wail and snarl and gnash their teeth most terribly, but, being giants, did move but slowly, so ye BARON and TIM did draw their swords and hope to come to ye castle still. And as they pressed onward thorough the garden, lo, did this giant press on one side, and ye other press on ye other side, and this giant in spiked armour did lay hold of TIM's hand, and then three more enclosed in around them, emprisoning them in a wall of spears and of swords, but still, by dextrous manoeuvre, did they escape, and come to the castle gate.
And, behold, yt did open for them, and as yt did open, as one did ye giants fall back. And there in ye castle was a fair table, well bespread with all manner of sweetmeats, and fine red wine, and fruit of every description, and amidst it all stood LORD BLACK, laughing with arms outspread.
And he did welcome them in, and ply them with many welcome refreshments and giftes for their own Lorde.
And they stayed that nighte and many nightes after at LORD BLACK'S castle, passing ye hours in song and poetry and in ye making of witty jestes and hearty catches and rondelays.

Our puissant foe.

Sunday, February 01, 2015


Have been having some field days yesterday and today with the Baron and the Baron Mother, in Bright and Beechworth and surrounds. Speaking of field days, Freud would have a few himself if he heard half of the Freudian slips made, or maybe he wouldn't, because the Freudian slips aren't slips at all, they're all deliberate and unabashed and loud and clear. Allow me to present a small sample:

"Oh, look, naked ladies!"
"Another naked lady!"
"There's some naked ladies!"
"Naked lady, naked lady, naked lady!"
"Nice naked ladies in that front garden".
"Perhaps we should have some naked ladies on our nature strip".

The naked lady, as I'm sure you're all aware, is a flower, though that doesn't stop all of the sentences above sounding like the lubricious exclamations of a person with autism in a brothel. The last sentence sounds particularly lascivious, creating an image of sportive nymphs performing exercises from dawn 'til dusk upon the lawn. Oh, and walking up the hill today, the following dialogue occurred:

BARON: "Look, those naked ladies are hiding under some bushes."
TIM: "Now you're just doing it on purpose."

Is there such a thing, then, as a reverse Freudian slip, where a person uses a perfectly lewd phrase and actually means something completely innocent, like 'gardening' or 'doing a lovely bit of embroidery'? Because maybe that's what's happening here?

Va va va voom....

In conclusion, NAKED. LADIES.

(If that doesn't get the salubrious gardening types visiting this blog, then I don't know what will.)

"Look, naked ladies outside the church!" 
"Hey, there's a lot of naked ladies in this town!"

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Who needs Simon Schama?

Let's face it, there's nothing the BBC likes better than to send bespectacled history boffins out into the fields to stomp around in the mud, to frown portentously while wading through a mire, to intone solemnly while sloshing through a bog, and generally have a lovely time splashing and splattering their way through millennia of British history. Cut from a shot of the historian looking brooding and intense about something important to a shady murky camera shot of someone in a bad costume waving a sword or a parchment or an old greasy pair of undies about and then back to the historian shaking their head at the sad and sorry irony of it all, and that's a wrap, ladies and gentlemen.

It's all great fun and quite harmless, and if the British didn't occasionally release their historians out into the wild then who knows what would happen to them? They'd probably get all sorry for themselves, sitting in their little boxes and looking in a brooding and intense manner at a wall, or something like that.

But what about the non-historians? What about the rest of us who did arts degrees in one obscure subject or another, and now spend our time shaking our head at the sad and solemn ironies of the decline in fortunes of the Lydian mode, or intoning solemnly about the state of semiotics pre-Ferdinand Saussure to no-one in particular? Why isn't there a television network ready to release the experts in the Theodosian code or the Freudian/Lacanian interpretation of Christopher Marlowe's later plays into the wild, to wallow in galoshes through the slough of some bog, to utter grand soliloquies about some confusing philosophy or another? For, it must be admitted, even though no-one watching the television would have the faintest idea of what these people are talking about, no-one knows what televisual historians are talking about most of the time anyway. Who honestly remembers anymore details from Simon Schama's History of Britain than the fact that a) it had a title b) it was about Britain and c) it involved some dude called Simon Schama?

I think it would all be quite grand. What better setting for postmodernist philosophical thought than a pile of sludge? What other visual metaphor of the state of thinking in the modern humanities than a gigantic dirty swamp? We're on to something here, I think, by sending these professors of quibbles and obfuscantism out into the bogs and the moors. Sure, they are shy creatures and may be a little timid at first in front of the cameras - but with a little encouragement, and perhaps a scone here or there, they could become quite healthy.

Picture it now: a windy heath, a grey sky, a shadow looms on the horizon. And then a grizzled and cantankerous voice growls out: "I'm Judith Butler: and I'm here to talk about the prehistory of the subject and its role in modern gender binaries....."

And CUT!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

This is just to say...

This afternoon Beatrice the cat did a really whopping turd. An absolute stinker. The capacity of these small, rather attractive creatures to produce such gigantic piles of excrement never ceases to amaze me. "Little messages" is the quaint euphemism Mum uses for cat and dog poo. Well, this one wasn't so much a little message as a positive essay, with fully developed argument and points and an elegantly restated thesis in the conclusion to round things off nicely. I think I can still smell the toxoplasmosis in the air even now.

Beatrice, take a bow. In years to come, poets shall write of this poo and where they were when it happened. Eaux, the memories!

Okay, that's all I wanted to say.
Email: timhtrain - at - yahoo.com.au

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Me person. Live in world. Like stuff. Need job. Need BRAINS! (DROOLS IN THE MANNER OF ZOMBIES) Ergggggh ...