STAR DATE: 28th February 2016
Had fun once again on the Huon and Kingston FM Barbeque stand outside Mitre 10 in Huonville today. It's not only a great exercise to raise those much needed and precious funds to keep the radio station running, it's also good to spend time with some of my fellow radio colleagues at a venue away from the station. I have completed a couple of these over the last few months and would like to thank all who took part - Freddy, Eric, Jim, David, Zoe and Betty - for making these a fun and enjoyable experience! Anyone fancy a sausage?
STAR DATE: 19th February 2016
CLARK KENT HAS RETURNED... BUT ALAS, NO ALTER EGO!
Yep, folks... Now that I've reached forty, it seems that I have to wear glasses once again. I used to wear specs all the time as a child, but haven't put on a pair for a number of years. I went to have my eyes checked recently though and as the optometrist cheerily told me, once you turn a certain age, things to tend to wear a bit thin... GEE THANKS! Anyway, I still can't work out if I went for the Clark Kent look or what, but hopefully these new facial adornments suit me!
STAR DATE: 15th February 2016
A TIME TRAVELLER THIS WAY COMES...
Television has reached a new golden age it seems! The new Stephen King mini series "11.22.63" started today, starring and produced by James Franco.
This is the tale of a man who finds a "rabbit hole" which leads to the year 1960 in the back of a cupboard in a diner and after being seconded by the dying owner of the eatery, he decides to go back in time to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Just watched the first double length episode of the mini-series and found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable drama, which has left me completely on the edge of my seat.
Cannot wait for subsequent episodes!
STAR DATE: 8th FEBRUARY 2016
THE HUG ZONE or GOODBYEEEEE...
Had to have a chuckle at the sign here in this photo taken at Hobart airport. This could be one of the most miserable places (let's face it, you only ever really say goodbye at airports), but some bright spark has turned a negative into a positive! You might be saying goodbye, but through this section, you get plenty of hugs!
STAR DATE: 25th January 2016
THE FORCE IS WITH YOU... ALWAYS...
Now that the press have ripped the new "Star Wars" movie to shreds and most of the plot points have been released to the masses, I think that it is fair to offer my opinion on the new instalment now.
What can I say? I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!
Yes, it was almost a reboot of the very first "Star Wars" movie (Episode IV: A New Hope), but this made perfect sense. It shared many similar plot points, I can see that, but it kind of needed to. "Star Wars" (at least the cinematic version of it) has been away from the public eye for quite a while (if you don't include those ghastly prequel films) and it needed to be rebooted for a new global audience. Even though this was the case, the plot points seemed to be different, the characters involved in each situation were drastically different to that earlier instalment and the production values, under the auspices of JJ Abrams and Disney for the first time, were so much better.
Throughout the film, I flew through a whole range of emotions - adrenalin, happiness, nostalgia, intrigue, repulsion and even that moment of tear inducing sadness when one of the best "Star Wars" characters ever meets their untimely end. It's a great start to the new trilogy and I for one cannot wait for Episode VIII!
May the force be with us... always!
STAR DATE: 23rd January 2016
LEGENDS OR HEROES?
I have been watching the DC Comic's characters "Arrow", "The Flash" and "Supergirl" for a while on TV now, so I was intrigued to watch the first episode of the new ensemble show "DC's Legends of Tomorrow". It was first released two days ago. I was quite surprised to see Doctor Who's companion Rory at the helm of the show, but would like to
reserve full judgement on it for now. It's not that I didn't enjoy the show, it's just that alongside its TV bedfellows, this one requires an even greater suspension of disbelief bizarrely! It was a neat trick at the hands of the TV producers though, which began the story of "Legends of Tomorrow" in an episode of "The Flash" and then continued it in "Arrow", before beginning in its own right. It means that for anyone who bothered to follow the story thread, the pay off came in the new series. A curious mix between shows like Doctor Who, Star Wars and any Superhero melodrama, this one is hard to pin-point, but one I am sure will go on for a few series in the future... Or the past... It's about time travel, you get what I mean!
STAR DATE: 22nd January 2016
HOW THE DEVIL ARE YOU?
This was the show that I wasn't expecting! I became intrigued by seeing the new US TV series "Lucifer" when I saw it's main star, Tom Eliis (awwww! It's that chap from "Miranda" and "Eastenders" in America!!!!) on the James Corden Late Late Show. All I knew about it though was that Tom Ellis starred and that it was set in LA. After I had watched the first episode, I googled to see what the history of it all was. Neil Gaiman wrote the original comic book and it's about the devil giving up the eternity of hell in order to walk amongst humanity. On route, something clearly begins to happen... Humanity begins to change the Prince of Darkness. Ellis is both charming and creepy in the role and shows that old Scratch isn't necessarily the clear cut figure that we've all labelled him as... He's clearly a bad ass underneath it all and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out down the line, but this one was quite an enjoyable show for the new 2016 season.
STAR DATE: 16th January 2016
"IT'S TIME TO GO BACK... (AGAIN)!"
Have just finished reading "Back to the Future - The Ultimate Visual Dictionary" by Michael Klastorin and Randal Atamaniuk. What a brilliant book! It has inclusions by the stars of the movie, Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, and the writers and producers, Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis and is the full story of how the "Back to the Future" trilogy was made. It was released in October 2015 to mark the original movies' thirtieth anniversary and the official day in which the second movie lands in "the future".
The book is a lavish coffee table affair with lots of surprising added bonuses... Some of the "objects" within the film, such as the photo in which Marty McFly and his siblings start to become erased from time and receipts and tickets that the main character lays his hands on, are included loose within the pages.
The information included leaves no stone unturned. A thoroughly comprehensive retrospective, there were heaps of new insights into the film that I had no knowledge of and I found the whole read utterly fascinating. It gave me renewed appreciation of three films that have always had great affection for. It's well worth the read!
STAR DATE: 26th December 2015
"THE HUSBANDS" or "DR WHO CHRISTMAS NIGHTMARE"
The Doctor Who Christmas special aired this evening on ABC1... "The Husbands of River Song"... Wow, what do I say?
I get the climax of the story. I understand that the special was used to close off River Song's final ending. The Twelfth Doctor gives her the sonic screwdriver that she would eventually leave for the Tenth Doctor to wire her corpse into the library, in order to give her some sort of prolonged existence... It's cyclic, it's timey- wimey and in it's own way, it's quite beautiful that this character's story has finally come full circle.
It was just the journey that both the Doctor and the audience had to take to get to that point throughout the episode. What was it all about? I am not averse to humour in Doctor Who, but this over the top slap-stick drivel about stealing a jewel that has been embedded within an alien king's head was quite simply irritating and this sort of tale should not be allowed in this coveted long running science fiction drama... When the Time Lord returns, BBC, please get back to basics... Drop the overarching stories, drop the nonsensical stuff and get back to formidable story telling!
STAR DATE: 25th December 2015
"ON THE AIR" or "THE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL"
For the first time ever, I completed my radio show "Music, Mayhem and More" live on Christmas day. I was really quite proud of many of the radio presenters this year, as they all rose to the occasion on this special yuletide holiday. Susan, Chris, Ray, David Milne and John all provided shows to fill their normal timeslots. Although we were all completely overdosed on Christmas music by the end of it, it just goes to show how much we love doing what we do on the radio. Ernest and I had a ball and were glad to take the opportunity when we could. It stands to reason that Christmas day won't fall on a Friday for at least another six years! Merry Christmas to one and all!
STAR DATE: 25th December 2015
GOBBLE GOBBLE! or THE CHEF HAS ENTERED THE BUILDING!
Every Christmas day, if I haven't travelled elsewhere in Australia to visit family, I insist on cooking the traditional turkey lunch, followed by plum pudding.
It's always a bad idea as I never remember how to cook the wretched thing and a few days before, I have to make a call to my mum for my yearly culinary lesson! She must despair at me, she really must, but always tells me exactly what and when to do it in this important procedure! I don't know how she remembers it all, I really don't!
Mum, you'll be pleased to know that this year's bird was a huge success... It was succulent, mouth watering and delicious and coupled with my favourite Paxo Sage and Onion stuffing, roast potatoes and boiled vegetables, it has fast become one of my favourite meals of all time... Roll on next Christmas and Mum, can we pencil that phone call in early?
STAR DATE: 17th December 2015
"A LONG TIME AGO..." or "STAR WARS IS AWAKENED"!
I was incredibly lucky today... I had heard that the local cinema had been booked out for weeks for tickets for the new Star Wars film, "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens". I didn't think I would see it until after Christmas. My best friend surprised me though and had booked two Gold Class tickets on the afternoon of the opening day. When she told me, my heart leapt. I suddenly felt like a child again... I was obsessed with "Star Wars" in my formative years (why, oh why did we give all of those action figures away????) and finally, thirty two years later, I was getting to see the continuing saga... I will reserve judgement on the film for now though and offer critiques at a later date... Don't want to give too many spoilers away for now!!
STAR DATE: 15th November 2015
FINALLY, SOMETHING SPOOKY COMES THIS WAY or THE SANDMEN COMETH...
Finally! A fantastic, original and engaging episode in the new series of "Doctor Who". I have been slightly let down so far by series nine of the show, which is currently airing on ABC1, Sunday nights at 7.40pm. The scripts, at least to me, have been terrible and (dare I say it?) boring and I was starting to think that in my fortieth year, I was actually starting to out grow this time travelling drama. The episode "Sleep No More" though featuring found footage set on a space station in orbit around Neptune, I found to be quite enthralling. Evoking memories of "The Blair Witch Project" and not including the now traditional "Doctor Who" titles and indeed theme music for the first time ever in the series' history was inspired... It made the production almost seem more claustrophobic somehow. I was kept right on the edge of my seat! I didn't even mind the silly (but grotesque monsters) who were made out of the sleep "gunk" from your eye after having come back from the land of nod! Keep this up Steven Moffatt and the BBC, please! Put Peter Capaldi back on top and make this the best show on TV again!
STAR DATE: 14th November 2015
FUN AT THE HUON SHOW...
I had fun today taking part in the Huon and Kingston FM's line-up for our outside broadcast at the 69th Huon Show.
This was my third Huon Show and I have to say, apart from a screaming headache in the sun later in the afternoon, this was the most fun.
I got the chance to joke around with Ray (from "Rage with Ray", Fridays 4- 6pm, right before my show) and Josh (one of our youngest presenters) on air, played some great music and also got the chance to interview some really interesting people, including members of the Girl Guide association (great singing girls, keep it up!) and Lara Giddings.
On the day, we sold raffle tickets for our yearly Christmas prizes in order to fundraise to keep the station financially afloat and got to see some of the festivities taking place on the day.
Would really like to thank all who took part in the event, but most importantly David Milne, Mike Raine, Freddie Leech and Carolyne Milne for making this all happen. It was a great day, it ran like clockwork and I'm told by others that it sounded great!
STAR DATE: 12th November 2015
THE NAME'S BOND, JAMES BOND... or BOND IS WELL AND TRULY BACK!
Daniel Craig has had a very tumultuous time as the sixth incarnation of special agent 007. His first film, 2006's "Casino Royale", based on Ian Fleming's original book, I feel, was one of the best offerings that the franchise had had to offer up to this point, but his subsequent two missions "The Quantum of Solace" and "Skyfall" felt like a bit of a let-down after seeing them.
Nevertheless, I was looking forward to Craig's fourth outing (released today officially in Australian cinemas) and pre- booked tickets, having not missed a Bond epic at the pictures since the early 1990's when Pierce Brosnan took over. To be honest though, I really didn't know what to expect... The reviews had all been so negative writing "Spectre" off as "the worst James Bond film of all time" or, as another reviewer stated "a dire affair".
As I watched the film though, I started to rapidly question if those reviewers and I had actually gone to see the same production! "Spectre" is BRILLIANT and I think that it is easily Daniel Craig's best Bond film of the lot...
Often when the hype of a film has gained such momentum (let's face it, "Spectre" was everywhere in the build up to the film's release... I even did a "James Bond Special" of sorts on "Music, Mayhem and More") but on this occasion, my feelings are the exact reverse. I revelled in the movie quite a bit.
Let's back track a little to "Casino Royale" to best explain the new film's premise. Given that it was the first book, the movie's producers took the stance, at this stage, to kind of reboot the franchise a little. Although it was never explicitly explained, Craig kind of became the young James Bond who literally gains his double - o status in the first few moments of the film. Bond was completely stripped back to his roots and over the next trilogy, quite disconcertingly for fans of the franchise since the sixties, all of the elements of what goes into a 007 epic were slowly re-installed - Q, a new "M", Moneypenny, the cars, the gadgets, Felix Leiter- the list continues.
With "Spectre", the final ingredients are finally put into place - a decent, non cringeworthy super- villain and the final elements of what audiences expect to see in a James Bond movie. For instance, the gun sight with the blood dribbling down, which has been absent at the beginning of the previous three films, has been re-inserted with Craig firing the Walther PPK.
So what if this movie draws on elements of the franchise's past? I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the production. I enjoyed the action, the quips, the nuances, the reveal of the true identity of the villain and I sat there until the final still scene on the film print which reassuringly confirmed that "James Bond will Return".
Movie reviewers of late have often got bogged down in elements of "high art" or comparisons between the last fifty years of film and today's ever changing world. I am just glad that Bond is back as he should be and that Daniel Craig has finally been given a decent chance to shine in the role, at least a shot that was akin to his first film anyway.
STAR DATE: 8th November 2015
FANCY SOME DESSERT, HONEY? or A BADGER GLAZED IN HONEY... YUMMY!
Was wandering around Salamanca at lunch- time today and feeling a bit peckish. Started looking for a light snack. Got knocked back in a couple of eateries (hey, the sun was out, the place was packed, I get it... There's bound to be more than an hour's wait!) and ended up stumbling across a dessert café called "Honey Badger".
We wandered in, took in the vast honeycomb styled wall and the tremendously upbeat yellow hue that literally seemed to dominate everything and thought twice, I'll be honest, about walking out and trying to find somewhere more blue... or green at a push. I'm rather glad that we didn't though! Whilst there, I had a great coffee and a really fantastic dessert snack. Mine was a lovely Banana Roti, a fritter style affair with syrup and coconut chocolate ice cream. My companion had a plain fruit salad.
That is something else that astounded us about the service at "Honey Badger" too. My companion is gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant and basically, food intolerant (I just made that last one up by the way) and normally has a hard time in getting things that do not agree with her omitted from the menu. To the staff at this café, nothing was a problem and what's more is the fact that after certain items had been removed from her snack, my friend didn't pay the full price either. She was only charged for what she actually purchased. Suddenly, a business who gets us!!!
I have no doubt in my mind that "Honey Badger", a fairly new venture I think, will thrive in Salamanca, especially with the right mix of great coffee, fantastic food, brilliant attitude and a high level of customer service. Well done guys and thank you!
STAR DATE: 7th November 2015
THE DRESSMAKER - GENERIC CHICK FLICK OR AUSSIE CLASSIC?
I was literally dragged to the movie "The Dressmaker" tonight. It wasn't my choice... Mine will be James Bond next week (I had to include my own conditions!) I have to say though that I was very pleasantly surprised by what I saw. I thought that it was going to be one of those awful "chick flicks", where every word uttered is from the heart, every scene would be as predictable as the last and where all of the characters are "either very, very stupid or very, very stupid" (to coin a "Men Behaving Badly" quote!)
What I discovered though was that this new Australian film, directed by Jocelyn Moorehouse and based on the book by Rosalie Ham was anything other than what I thought it would be! Yes, there was a certain degree of stupidity in most of the make-up of the characters, but without it, the movie wouldn't have made a lot of sense and the plot would fall flat. I found that I rather enjoyed the whole production! A great movie, with the promise of a James Bond epic the week after... Things were certainly going my way for once!
The film stars Kate Winselt and Liam Hemsworth and is set in 1951's outback Australia. Without giving too much away, it includes a host of madcap and devious characters, a murder and a twisting plot that never quite gives away anything specific about what will ensue later.
The basic message of this film is that no matter how much you try to be accepted, to fit in, to get on with others, everyone else is normally working to their own agenda anyway and it is probably best to keep your head down, work on your own demons in the most apt manner that you can and just focus on what you do in life. Oh... and secondary to that is that if you can't just focus on what you do in life, then revenge is best served HOT!
"The Dressmaker" is a great film and I thoroughly recommend it!
STAR DATE: 5th November 2015
CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR, BUT WHY IS IT SO EARLY?
I'm basically a traditionalist at heart. Yes, I love Christmas as much as the next person. I love the giving of gifts (especially everyone else's), the big Turkey meal with the stuffing and the cranberry and the time with your loved ones. What irks me though is when the whole world just seems to want to exploit this time of the year.
Christmas decorations and so forth have been in the shops and shopping centres this year from as early as September and I find this hugely tacky! September I ask you! Shouldn't the bottom line of Christmas be "Peace and Goodwill to all Men (and Women, I'm paraphrasing here...)? Not, what can we sell you and make extortionate sums out of doing so?
I work in retail, have done for a many number of years and I get that side of things, I really do. I understand that businesses have to make money and that at times like Christmas throughout the year, this is the apt opportunity of doing so. I just feel that the earlier that the "signs" of Christmas get, the more overly commercial it becomes. I mean, we're not even trying to hide this fact anymore...
In light of the state of the world and some of the destructive forces within it, I really think that we need to stop, re-adjust and re-focus on what this holiday is really about. Is it seriously about tacky tinsel, spending thousands of dollars an gorging ourselves stupid or is it a moment when we should pause, take stock and think about things that matter, like peace, love and understanding? I'm not a Grinch (I do own a Santa hat), but my Christmas this year will be a quiet one with a nice lunch, perhaps a glass of wine and a double helping of reflection of the world. Oh... and my radio show, "Music, Mayhem and More" live from 6pm! I'm not doing it for the cash... I'm doing it for the fun! No Christmas songs until December though...
STAR DATE: 22nd October 2015
THE WILBURYS ARE COMING!
Coming up on Thursday the 22nd of October, between 8 and 9pm is the first of a series of brand new presenter specials on Huon and Kingston FM (95.3 FM or 98.5 FM or www.huonfm.com.) Ray Williamson (from "Rage with Ray" on between 4 and 6pm every Friday) and I are kicking off with a double act. We're both looking at the Traveling Wilburys. We're both huge fans of this super band (my passion for Tom Petty's music kicked off with them) and are looking forward to playing their music exclusively for an hour. Don't forget to tune in. It will be great music and a lot of fun!
STAR DATE: 11th October 2015
A SAUSAGE AND A REQUEST...
Had fun on Sunday with Freddy and Bart running the Huon and Kingston FM barbeque outside Mitre 10 in Huonville. These barbeques are implicit to what we do at the community radio station. We are completely self sustainable and so as everyone volunteers, we have to fund raise to bring in valuable monies for running costs, new equipment etc. Freddy is truly the barbeque king and has made it his duty to run a tight ship every other weekend and with him, there are a brilliant and reliable group that help out. Without these endeavours, the struggle to continue as an entity would be much harder. Thanks to Mitre 10 and thanks to anyone that turned up to purchase our wares and to make a song request! It was great to see you all!
STAR DATE: 8th October 2015
ICE- CREAMS A' PLENTY!
What's the weirdest ice cream combination that you can come up with? This evening, I had Green Apple Sorbet, Chai Cinnamon and Licorice. And yes, before anyone asks, I DID eat it all! It was truly divine, but quite cold on the walk back to the car!
STAR DATE: 7th October 2015
There's always time to let your hair down and have a bit of a swing! I truly believe that you should let the inner child loose every once in a while. It feels great to be just a little bit silly and it reminds you that life isn't all bad. This was an awesome swing just outside Peppermint Bay, south of Hobart! There was no-one around, but I think I still would have had a bit of a play if there had been! Fun, fun, fun for all, but mostly me of course!
STAR DATE: 30th September 2015
THE BEST OF BRITISH... IN TASMANIA!
For a cheap, economical, but pleasant afternoon, you don't have to be too ostentatious these days... I'm happy in the sun, along the promenade of our local beach with a bag of chips. Fantastic atmosphere, great taste (don't forget the chicken salt) and a personal achievement that I have been out and about and doing something with my life. I've been enjoying the world at my doorway... and the chips!Life doesn't have to be overly complicated now does it?
STAR DATE: 30th September 2015
ONCE UPON A TIME...
Found this article in the Mercury newspaper today about children's bed time stories. Only a university would come up with the fact that reading is seen as a "female" pursuit and would have to outlay a ridiculous argument such as this! I chuckled at the story at first, but then I realised just how lucky I was in my youth. My Dad used to read bed- time stories to my brother and I frequently and we didn't just love it because of the "abstract questions", we loved it because of his passion and verve for story-telling... Oh and the silly voices... Thanks Dad, now I know where I get it from!
STAR DATE: 29th September 2015
NUTS... YES, BUT IT'S NEVER STOPPED ME BEFORE!
Just purchased a bag of English Jelly Babies today from the "Nut King" booth in Centrepoint, Hobart . Although, I have made it a self obsessed mission to at least try to cut down on sugar in my diet, I was slightly peckish this afternoon and having missed lunch, I purchased my favourite nut and cracker mix and the 'babes just to keep hunger at bay! They were just as I remembered them from childhood in England. Well done Julian and team at the Nut King. Thanks for the great service and a true delicacy!
STAR DATE: 27th September 2015
EXPLORING IN YOUR OWN BACK YARD or THE BEACH THAT TIME FORGOT!
It just goes to show that if you wander around with your eyes shut, you will never see anything. I had a burning desire to get out with my camera this afternoon and just went to wander. I found this beautiful secluded beach that I had absolutely no knowledge of, which was literally five minutes away from home. I'd left it all a bit late in the day, so the shadows were heavy and it was even more difficult to get that perfect shot, but the beach was amazing. To get to it, you have to follow a brief walking track that almost meanders along the backs of several houses... It was quite peculiar and as I made my way to the beauty spot, I wasn't holding out much hope. When I got there though, my expectations were more than exceeded!
Even with the warm afternoon sun, the spot was still quite secluded. Only a couple of youngsters sat on the adjacent rocks and another fellow who had similar ideas to me were there. It really made me ponder... What other wonderful haunts like this were hidden around my local area?
STAR DATE: 25th September 2015
MUSIC, MAYHEM AND MORE... TWO YEARS YOUNG!
My radio show on Huon and Kingston FM celebrated it's two year anniversary tonight... A milestone that has completely come around in the blink of an eye. That time has gone so quick (rather like the four hours that takes up each show!)
What made tonight so special for me though was the fact that so much came together in one show. It was the final "Rock around the Clock" for the Billboard Hot 100 (my initial mission is complete... yay! See elsewhere on this site for the collation of facts), Ernest took part in his eighty fifth report, it was the fiftieth edition of "Five Minute Theatre", the fiftieth week in the first chain of "Six Degrees of Separation" and the second time that Showaddywaddy had turned up with a "Song from the Crypt".
During the show, I heard from a long- term listener, "Geeveston Joe" to wish me well and make a request. Joe had been absent for a while and it was really great to hear his voice, especially as he asked for a Tom Petty song! I also had a number of "guest voices" in the Ernest and Five Minute Theatre segments. Thanks to my Dad, Big Dave, Andy, Phil, Julie, David M., Carolyne, Mark, Terri, Tisharne, Alanne, Andrew, Josie, Ben and Kerry. You were all awesome and helped to make the show one of my favourites!
Two years ahead of you seems like a really long time, but two years back... Well, it's been so much fun! I love doing my show, it's a massive release every week and gives me the chance to both focus and have fun all at the same time. Thanks to everyone that listened, thanks to Huon and Kingston FM and here's to the next year... I wonder where that will lead?
STAR DATE: 25th August 2015
THE FRIENDLIEST COFFEE SHOP IN TOWN or MINE'S THE USUAL...
For one reason or another, I spend a bit of time hanging around at the Hudson's Coffee Lounge in Murray Street, Hobart. When I write (either for my radio show or for aspects of this site), I find that the café society really helps. If I am stuck for an idea for a script or a story, I merely look up and people watch and suddenly a flash of inspiration will come.
I started going to Hudson's as it was one of the closest places to where I work. Initially, it was just a place to go. It was handy, had a great ambience and it had free WIFI with every purchase.
The reason I keep going back though is that I am constantly amazed by the level of service that is given to me and my fellow customers each and every time I walk into this establishment.
I have got to know all of the staff there by name - Michael, Vivian, Hitomi, Angel, Nancy, Sarah, Nicholas, Yama and Vic and they know me and normally (unless I throw a slightly odd request at them) what I want to order too. I am always astounded as they greet me when I walk in. In most walks of life, I feel quite ordinary, but the way they remember my name and the fact that they have made it a point to remember my usual coffee choice makes me feel quite special for the time I am in the place. It's not just me either... they seem to make it their business to remember everyone they can and this helps to create a welcoming, inviting ambience and a hugely positive space in the city. It's no wonder I like to indulge in café society so much!
So if you live in Hobart and want to make some new friends, try out Hudson's in Murray Street. The coffee is great there too! Try their BOLD barista blend... It's delicious!
STAR DATE: 23rd August 2015
EXTERMINATE! or THE FORGOTTEN DOCTOR
We had the big 50th anniversary bash for BBC TV's "Doctor Who" back on November the 23rd, 2013, but I am compelled to mention in my blog here about the same anniversary for another strain of this cultural phenomenon. The 23rd of August 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the cinema movie "Dr. Who and the Daleks".
Starring the master of horror, Peter Cushing, one- time "Record Breaker" Roy Castle as Ian Chesterton and Roberta Tovey as Susan and directed by Milton Subotsky, this movie was based on Terry Nation's very first Dalek script for the TV series. It was adapted slightly for the big screen however. The Doctor is no longer an alien Time Lord from Gallifrey, but a more Earthly based eccentric inventor who has created the miraculous TARDIS in his back yard. The journey to the
planet Skaro is now the result of an error of judgement by the clumsy Ian (who is played very much for laughs in the film, as opposed to his heroic TV counterpart) rather than the more sinister angle of the Doctor kidnapping his future companions and taking them off into time and space with virtually no hope of returning them back to their own era. And Susan is extremely young and has an older sister, Barbara, as played by Jennie Linden. Both girls are the grand-daughters of Doctor Who.
The movie, I think it's fair to say, for the hardened "Doctor Who" fans of old, does not have the same appeal as the long running series. It is a bit of a curio, with Cushing (even in spite of his horror based roots) playing a much softer and doddery version of our favourite character and the script is condensed from a seven part TV serial into a movie that runs for just over an hour and a half. A lot is missing from the original story if you know it quite well. Even in spite of its limitations in script however and the lack of that awesome theme music that we all know and love, one almost fails to remember the real appeal of this cinematic offering - the Daleks themselves, the dreaded pepper-pot shaped enemies of the Doctor. This was the first time that they were ever seen in colour.
This movie only pre-dates me by ten years, so I caught up with this epic when it was finally aired on TV during my childhood. My father taped it for me. I can still remember how I felt when I watched it for the first time. Apart from being initially confused, wondering why the Doctor wasn't young and wearing a cricketing jumper, the story was scary as hell. In my childhood, the Daleks and their motivations were still frightening and the cultural significance of these characters appearing in red, gold, blue and silver livery is massive. This film's legacy, I think arguably, is being felt in the more modern version of the series now.
Happy birthday to "Dr Who" (and on this occasion, I'm not referring to "The Doctor" by the way, but the man known completely as "Dr Who" as played by Peter Cushing.)
STAR DATE: 16th August 2015
THE ANNOYING DINERS or THE STEAK COMPLAINERS
I was in a restaurant tonight (I won’t say which one… not really fair to go into specifics) and was having a rather pleasant dinner until a couple at a nearby table started behaving in the most arrogant manner.
We had been served by this young waiter, who had sat us down and gone over the specials for the evening. He was very pleasant and for all intents and purposes, from where I was sitting, he was doing a great job. It was when this couple sat down though (with two of the longest faces that I had ever seen on a pair) that the atmosphere started to turn rather sour. From the off, nothing was right for these people. They complained about where they had been seated and
disrupted the whole eatery while they were moved to somewhere more akin to their own satisfaction. In the event, they moved to the very next table… They gave the waiter a hard time when they cast their gaze over what they considered to be a “limited” menu and then when the complimentary bread, oil, butter and special “bush dust” herbs was presented to them, this wasn’t good enough either. The poor waiter’s time became dominated by going backward and forward to the kitchen whilst he had to keep adjusting things for these annoying diners.
What I was so impressed about was the fact that the waiter (although sometimes the weight of these people and his irritation over them were reflected in his eyes) did his best to keep it all in his stride. Although these people weren’t overly abusive, there was certainly an air from them that this guy was merely the hired help and that they were much, much better than him. To be fair, they weren’t trying to cause an incident, but the more they complained the more embarrassing the situation became for their fellow diners. The culminating point was when the man received his porterhouse steak (medium rare… I heard him order it…) and complained about the lack of condiments that accompanied it. He tried to make the waiter look quite small and made him go and bring a smidge of mustard on a saucer for him.
The waiter was the bigger man though. He did his job as best he could and never broke mentally. I wondered then how many other waiters in the world had been treated in exactly the same manner as this one tonight. The number must run to millions and for some of those, the situation was probably a great deal worse! That makes me quite sad, on the whole. I know that I can get snappy or angry in certain walks of life, but I would hope that I would never treat someone who was at least trying to provide a modicum of service to me in such a disgraceful way. I suppose that it is situations like this that remind us that some people are born to wait at tables… They are (or they should be) the strong, the calm and the dignified people of the world and we shouldn’t forget what they do for us!
STAR DATE: 12th August 2015
THE NEW 30? or WELCOME TO THE FABULOUS FORTIES!
Today is my birthday. I was born forty years ago... That makes me... errr... forty, that's right! This is the one I have been dreading since 2005 when I turned thirty. It seemed like this would be the end of my youth and the absolute point of no return where I couldn't be childish or immature again (both hugely annoying parts of my personality, I think most people will agree...)
Ideas of parties, overseas trips and all manner of celebrations were mooted for this day and to be honest, I sideswiped them all!
It's not that I didn't want to spend time with my loved ones, its just that for some weird reason, the older I get, I don't want that age to seem real and by having a party or whatever, then this would be the absolute clincher. It would be the very public acknowledgement of the fact that I have finally reached what is termed in society now as middle aged. I'm not entirely sure why that bothers me quite so much. I'm not a vain human being. I don't worry overly about the actual physical process of getting old. It's probably just that I am not too fond of change or moving on from the past. With the ripe old age of forty, my youth and childhood seem to be slipping away even further and apart from the odd decade where I moped around with a broken heart, on the whole I quite liked being young.
Someone texted me this morning to wish me a happy birthday and commented that forty was the new thirty. That's a great way of looking at it. Perhaps age really is only a mindset? Now that I am actually here and have reached the year that seemed such a negativity in the last decade, it doesn't seem quite so bad! Perhaps I can be henceforth the man that grows older, but has the continuous heart of a youngster. What an incredibly worthwhile goal and life value...
Right, that's got that over with, anyone fancy playing a board game? Come on, it's my birthday... we should be celebrating!
STAR DATE: 10th August 2015
A FACE IN MY COFFEE or WHO YA' GONNA' CALL?
Ordered a latte today and this is what I found looking up at me... I laughed immediately. Some people find the face of Christ on a Shroud, or a potato crisp in the shape of Michael Jackson's head, but this was... peculiar to say the least.
Was it intentional? Was it a mistake? I just couldn't work out why I was humming the "Ghostbusters" theme all day long after drinking this!!!
STAR DATE: 6th August 2015
A DOGGY GUEST STAR or FEELING A BIT "RUFF" ON THE RADIO!
When you write, produce and perform a weekly radio show, there is a huge amount of preparation to do. Well, there is for my show "Music, Mayhem and More" anyway! Don't get me wrong about this, I'm not complaining in the slightest. I wouldn't have it any other way... I think that there is a part of my personality where I like chasing my tale. I like to be busy and I like the process of my show, where I have to always think ahead to the next episode and what will be incorporated within, even as I am recording the current edition.
Even though I perform the bulk of my show live, a few of the segments that I do, it may come as no surprise whatsoever, have to be pre-recorded before I even get into the studio. You know, things like the top ten countdowns on "Rock around the Clock" and "Five Minute Theatre"... Definitely NOT Ernest... nudge, nudge, wink, wink... He's always LIVE! (Would I lie to you?) And so, I do a lot of that work at home via the recording device on my lap- top. "Five Minute Theatre" can be easily recorded, edited, mixed with sound effects and music and rendered all at home and it saves me running in to one of the studios in Geeveston or Kingston. Normally I try to do this job of an afternoon. Basically, I am home alone, I have total quiet in the house and I don't have to feel overly silly in performing a smatter of different voices in front of anyone else! On this one occasion today though, I found that I had an unwelcome "guest" artist. I was recording the 45th edition of "Five Minute Theatre", entitled "The confessions of a Social Media User", which was (hopefully) a scathing attack on humanities' alienation in the wake of technological advancements. The recording of my voice (playing my standard "nerd" on this occasion) actually went off without a hitch. There were a couple of false starts and stutters, but nothing that couldn't easily be chopped out. Rather oddly though, there was a strange noise in the background of the recording - a dog barking.
I stopped the playback and pricked up my ears and there seemed to be nothing going on outside. How strange! My neighbour's dog must have been yapping all of the time I recorded and then shut up as soon as I stopped. That was annoying, but at least he had stopped and I could go for take two!
I sighed, wiped the first recording and then set the computer to start all over again. Unfortunately though, the same thing happened. When I played it back, sure enough, the dog was barking away! This time, I opened the back door and stood outside on our veranda, peering over the fence to see if I could catch a glimpse of the little fiend. He is a small dog with a rather cute little face and even though he had ruined my recording - twice, I couldn't be mad at the little sweetie looking timidly back at me. I smiled at the pooch and asked him to be quiet for about five minutes. That's all I needed... It was only "Five Minute Theatre" after all!
On the third attempt though, the same thing happened again and I gave up in dismay and bewilderment. Whenever I wasn't recording, the little dog clearly had nothing to say! When the dog's owners are home, there is never a peep out of him, so I resolved to record my play later that night after virtually everyone else in the neighbourhood would have gone to sleep. I couldn't help but think though. Was there something that was attuned to the dog on my lap-top or was it just a coincidence that whenever I pressed the record button, someone would walk by and wind the little dog up? Either way, I've learnt my lesson! I'll record late at night from now on, especially when I am performing "Five Minute Theatre"... The dog clearly takes offence to this segment!
STAR DATE: 3rd August 2015
LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW or A WHITE SHADE OF HOBART
It may have been freezing cold, but the world did look exceptionally pretty as it was covered in white! A real winter was finally upon us!
I was quite surprised to see snow... I actually failed to notice it until I pulled the car out of the garage! Hey... It was Monday morning and even I get a bit slow at that time of the week! I was even more surprised to see all of the roads blocked that led into the city. I couldn't actually get through to work until lunch time. It truly was a day to remember!
STAR DATE: 2nd August 2015
A BLACK DAY FOR CILLA'S FAMILY or FAREWELL TO THE ORIGINAL PRINCESS OF POP
It was on the 1st of August that the sad news of Cilla Black's death came. She was only 72 years old, young for this day and age and she passed away from a stroke in her home of Spain. It only seems like weeks ago that I was watching her biopic "Cilla", starring the talented Sheridan Smith as the lady in question and if this show is as close to reality as possible, it is easy to see that Cilla led a fairly interesting life. She started from humble Liverpudlian beginnings, as Ms. Cilla White and transformed herself through the assurances of her life- long partner Bobby, her music and her larger than life character. She performed with the Beatles and paved the way for young British women from the north to enter the contemporary music scene of the sixties. Even though her first single, "Love of the Loved", only made number 35 in the UK hit parade, it was her follow up that cemented her place in music history. "Anyone who had a heart", released in 1964 was her first number one and the first of a string of top ten hits.
As the music scene began to change though, so too did Cilla's career. She eventually became a fairly prominent television personality, offering a "lorrah lorrah" laughs on shows like "Surprise Surprise" and "Blind Date", before finally retiring in 2001.
Cilla Black is another of the showbiz fallen of late. It seems the older I get, the more prominent people leave this mortal coil and even though it is sad for the families and fans alike of the star, we must never forget their contributions to society and to our overall experience base. If you get the chance to watch the Cilla biopic (it's available at all great DVD stores), then please do. The music is fantastic (Sheridan Smith actually sings her own renditions of Cilla's songs, rather than simply miming) and the story is fascinating and a rather fitting tribute to this legendary lady of pop.
STAR DATE: 22nd July 2015
ABC... IT'S AS SIMPLE AS... LET'S JUST CLOSE THEM DOWN...
I can't have a blog such as this and not make a comment on the closures of all of the ABC Shops in the country. The gist of the story is that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation commercial division will be phasing out all of the shops by mid- 2016 and moving on to an "online retail model"
Yes, Australian retail is changing due to heavy competition and everyone going online, but one still can't help feeling a little sad at this icon of the shopping mall finally closing its doors.
The ABC Shop has always been on of those special havens in the shopping mall. There's always something to look or browse at and with me being a bit of an obsessive of products pertaining to this store (I'll let you work out which, there are some clues elsewhere on this site...), I have probably invested thousands of dollars within their walls over the years... I shudder to think at how much actually! When I was a late teenager and had just migrated from England, I often used to spend an hour's train ride travelling from the western suburbs of Sydney to the heart of the city, just to have a look in the ABC Shop. This was before they had popped up almost everywhere...
Will Australian retail ever be the same again after the closure of these shops? Sadly... No, I don't think it will.
STAR DATE : 1st July 2015
AN ALL TOO COMMON GRIPE or THE CEREAL KILLERS
I have a beef every time I walk into an Australian supermarket and it is specifically associated with the breakfast cereal aisle. No matter which supermarket it is (deep down I don't really care at the end of the day about which shop has what special or who's winning the overall battle of the majors), this feeling has grown ever more intense since February of this year. I can't help it. Every time I walk down that little stretch which is trying to lure me with its brightly coloured boxes into a purchase, the same question resonates through my mind: why is Australian breakfast cereal so lacklustre?
There you go... It's out there, right in the open where everyone can attack me for saying what I just said. All I can say is though, if you indeed attack me for this opinion, be warned as whenever I think about this topic, I see red! In my humble opinion, most Australian breakfast cereals taste like cardboard... or worse and what's really irritating is that they don't have to! I think that Australian breakfast manufacturers have taken their eyes off the ball and need to be shaken up!!!
I was just about learning to curb these opinions. Every week, I would try something new. I'd try to go in to the supermarket with a positive attitude and be open to suggestion. Ooh, Kellogs have released a new version of... Uncle Toby's have a... Even, Coles have their own brand of... They might be okay... But you could guarantee that next week, the boredom of my morning's taste buds had already kicked in and I would pick something different. Every week, I'd be secretly let down and had learned to settle into that little rut and put up with what was on offer. I had to, there was no other option. Then a relative came over on holiday in February from England. She came bearing gifts... a couple of boxes of British breakfast cereal that I had longed for Down Under since my family and I had emigrated here when I was sixteen. Nestle "Shreddies" and "Curiously Cinnamon" were both suddenly within my grasp. They were pretty good while they lasted too. Both were tasty (absolutely scrummy in fact!!!), nutritious (I knew this to be the case, especially where the "Shreddies" were concerned as they have a nutritional label on the box... they're one of the most nutritional breakfast cereals in England) and took me back to a time when everything was glowing and breakfast had the potential of being that exciting high point of the day once more!
My battle with a lack of "Shreddies" on the shelves actually goes back a few years... After a trip back to England, I wrote to the Nestle company in Australia, positively begging them to release the cereal on our own home shores. I don't have the exact response at my disposal, but it was along the lines of "at this time, we regret to inform you that our company does not wish to enter the breakfast cereal arena". The answer probably would have stood its ground, if Nestle hadn't released the "Nesquik" breakfast cereal within the very month that followed... Hmmm....
I don't know, perhaps I have been spoilt by having spent most of my formative years in England? Breakfast cereal there is a pretty splendid array. In most supermarkets, they have a whole aisle dedicated to the various examples on offer, rather than half of one side of a display. Now I am not asking for anywhere near that variety, I understand that we don't have the population for that degree of manufacture in Australia, nor am I even asking for "Shreddies" or "Curiously Cinnamon" to be imported or released in our markets (although both would be nice!) What I am asking for is that the concept of taste is introduced into Australian breakfast cereals. Please get out of this mindset that nutrition and taste aren't mutually exclusive. Stop rehashing old brands of cereals, throwing us the bone of a new ingredient or a new package and thinking that that will suffice. I implore you, come up with something that is nutritious, tasty and novel... Use the UK's Nestle "Shreddies" or "Curiously Cinnamon" as a model. They both work, they really do... It will be better for your profits, for our tastebuds and will make everyone start the day with a positive attitude. Who knows? A new breakfast cereal may be the single most effective way to sort out many of our societies' problems? It might make everyone start each day in a more pleasant manner and maybe, just maybe... that will have a knock on effect?