What better way to segway from John’s last post about his tram travels to another pubic public transport story. Buy your tickets online before the 8th of August and save 5% off plus get free delivery. Not too bad of a deal for those who actually validate their tickets although I have a feeling a fare increase may be coming soon.
I hopped on a tram this arvo and there was a bunch of pothead bogans smoking weed at the back of the tram.
Moving to the front of the tram I sat down, trying to ignore the smell. Everybody around me were clearly trying to put up with it as well. The ‘don’t wana get involved’ mentality.
After awhile, I couldn’t put up with the smell anymore. The entire tram was filled with the stench. I walked over to the driver. Good thing the window was open.
“Hey mate could you please do something about the potheads at the back of the tram? We pay top dollar for public transport to travel in comfort, not put up with irresponsible people who live on the dole.”
“There’s nothing I can do about it, mate.” the driver retorted, without once glancing at me.
“Isn’t there anything you can do? Perhaps signal to the inspectors or the depot, to have some staff assemble at a tram stop up ahead? You do know they’re breaching the law here…” I profused.
“Sorry mate there’s nothing I can do,” said the driver as he slammed the window on me. How rude.
I couldn’t believe it. An elderly man, who is clearly affected by the smoke, gave me the ‘oh well’ look and shrugged his shoulders. Everybody but the potheads were looking at me. Well at least I bloody was trying! You guys just sat there expecting some sort of civility.
Actions speak louder than words. If people want something done, you’ve got to act on it. Why sit on your ass and put up with it when you’ve got your rights as a paying passenger? I’m appalled at the driver’s insensitivity to other passengers. Personally I just can’t tolerate dole bludgers and potheads who smoke with blatant disregard for the law. But what if there was a pregnant woman on board or little kids on board?
Just absolutely appalling.
The Lost Dogs’ Home has put together a photographic exhibition capturing images of daily life at the shelter. Melbourne-based photographer Penny Koukoulas spent several weeks at the Lost Dogs and focused on individual dog stories which promises to be an emotive and educational exhibition.
Lost Dogs opens on Tuesday 4 August 5.00pm to 7.00pm and runs 4 to 15 August at fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.
Tue to Fri: 11.00am to 5.00pm Saturday: 12.00pm to 4.00pm. Entry is free.
Image from www.dogshome.com
I took my wife to the Comedy Theatre yesterday for a matinee performance of Broadway’s multi-award winning Avenue Q. Growing up in the early to mid 80s (guess that kinda pegs my age into a certain age group!) to the regular introduction of letters and numbers of Sesame Street, it was great to relive something days long gone in the flesh.
Of course, nobody in the audience was expecting anything as tame as the PBS show, so we knew what we were getting ourselves in for. It is the most extraordinary show I’ve ever seen. Who knew puppets could be so funny and touching? Few people would have the chance of experiencing a quality Broadway performance in their lifetime and I’m glad had a chance to say they’ve definitely destroyed my cutesy image of puppets! It’s Sesame Street meets South Park! I won’t give anymore away! It’s so good I feel like double clicking on my mouse……..
The Avenue Q team plays in Melbourne for another week before moving to other parts of Australia. Tickets are very affordable and have been reduced to $49.90 (except Saturdays) and I highly recommend it with your family or date or just friends wanting a good time. Just make sure they’re of ‘mature’ age!
EDIT: I just realised Neil’s previous post has a picture of Lucy the Slut. How’s that for unwitting advertisement placement?
Image from avenueqthemusical.com.au
I had to verify that its true and it is true. We have a knight in shining blue, a Sir Ken Jones to be exact. He is the latest deputy commissioner of crime of the Victoria Police.
I like him. A bit different and because he is an outsider, he is yet to be affected by corruption allegations and in fightings within the force. According to The Age, he rides a Harley Davidson and dares to try different things to reduce crime and corruption.
One of the things I love about Melbourne are the amazing graffiti pieces we get. Apparently, we’re known internationally for it, in certain circles. We have a thriving and skilled population of graffiti artists – even under draconian laws that, for example, make carrying a can of spraypaint illegal (giving the police a pre-packaged excuse to stop suspected vandals that merely “look the part”, and haven’t actually been seen doing anything traditionally illegal).
The ‘Authorities’ choose to interpret graffiti as an eyesore. This has led to ridiculous crackdowns in the past, and masses of public money blithely wasted by our state and local governments on “graffiti clean-ups”, such as during the Commonwealth Games.
In the not-so-distant past, a police graffiti/transit squad was rumoured to have engaged in “tagging” of graffiti pieces. Graffiti artists would report catching police “slashing” graffiti pieces (painting over the top of them); I found one tale on an internet forum from a guy who says he left a can of spraypaint behind while being chased by the police – and later found that his can had been used to “slash” a range of pieces.
Tags began appearing, slathered across much better pieces, reading “CTSA” – rumoured to stand for “Cops Trashing Shit Art” or “Cops That Slash Art”.
My view of graffiti is obviously more positive than the “legal” view. I think you need to put it in some kind of perspective. Consider this: We’re bombarded with advertising wherever we go. A billboard is a genuine eyesore. We put up with lists of sponsors and corporate logos on sporting, artistic, and museum events, because we want their money. But they look disgusting. Most of the time, advertisers are outright insulting us; if they’re not insulting our bodies, they’re insulting our intelligence.
Graffiti, on the other hand, entertains. It’s not something put up there to make money; in fact, graffiti artists lose money on it, and sometimes carry it out at great personal (and legal) risk. Sure, it’s about prestige and showing off, and the worst of it – the texta tagging – can almost sink to the level of a company logo… not quite, but almost ;). But it’s often genuinely impressive. If not for the skill involved, then for the “How the heck did they get up there??” factor. Sometimes, there’s even a political point to it – while companies use slick advertising to gloss over their use of overseas sweatshops and other crimes against humanity, graffiti will occasionally bring you comments like “Stop Logging Our Water Catchments!”, “No Jobs On A Dead Planet” (in massive letters on a giant smokestack), and the bitingly ironic slogan “Shut Up And Shop“. And at least it’s your fellow Melbournians trying to grab your attention, just because they think your attention is valuable – not because they want to hustle you.
In around March of this year, Melbourne commuters began noticing a new tag – “CTCV” – used to “slash” a range of pieces. Mostly along train lines, and always over much better pieces.
A friend of mine pointed out that “CTCV” isn’t too far from “CTSA”, and apparently he wasn’t the only one to draw this conclusion. Do an Australia-centred google search for the initials, and you’ll find lots of forum speculation along similar lines by those in graffiti culture.
Is it the work of “gronks” – less talented kids trying to annoy the older graff artists and make a mindless mark of their own? Or could the “C” at the start of “CTCV” stand for “Cops” – as it has been rumoured to in the past? “CTCV” – “Cops That Catch Vandals”? “Cops Trashing Crap Vandalism”?
We’ll probably never know, unless they’re caught in the act. And then, the only people catching them would be graffiti artists themselves – reliable enough eyewitnesses if you ask me, but I doubt the “authorities” would concur.
Here’s a notice from the friendly people at Highpoint Myer that will either a) invoke your curiosity, b) have you laugh at the staff’s inadequacy or c) all of the above. Obviously written by a staff who hasn’t completed high school. Or worse, an adult who doesn’t know what a pen and paper is anymore.
There’s a reason why I loathe reading forums these days. Kids no longer know how to write with a pen and spend more time ‘writing’ with a keyboard. Or worse, a mobile phone. Clearly, the standard of English drops with the advent of ‘l33t’ (elite) speak. In an unfortunate by-product of the shortening of common words to fit the 160 spaces for short text messaging, grammar is compromised.
Oh how I wished kids these days know the difference between ‘there’, ‘their’, ‘they’re’, ‘your’ and ‘you’re’. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
By the way, how many mistakes can you count on that notice? I count two.
Coffee is king but over the past few years there has been rising faction of chocolate cafes dominating Melbourne. John wrote a piece back in January about the increasing popularity of cafes like Koko Black, Max Brenner and San Churro. When I was up in Sydney a few months ago, I got to try the Lindt Chocolat Café in Martin Place and I was thoroughly impressed. While I do like chocolate, I find the sheer amount of chocolate involved in Koko Black and Max Brenner’s dishes to be a bit much at times. Lindt, while it does serve similar dishes, actually has some desserts where a good amount of vanilla ice cream is involved. In addition, they serve some non-savoury breakfast and lunch items at its cafes.
According to a job listing recently posted in Seek, Lindt plans to open up it’s first Melbourne store at 271 Collins St this month with another location to open in August in Chadstone (in the new West Wing extension). I anticipate a visit there later this month.
Lindt Chocolat Café
Don’t get me wrong, I love his show and I’m all for people making money but cmon now. Tickets to hear him speak start at $89 and go up to $289 for a floor ticket at Rod Laver Arena. Just to give perspective, AC/DC, one of the most sought after tickets this year went for $149.
From the description on Ticketek,
“He will flood you with inspiration and motivation, giving you the power to implement his strategies immediately for your success. You will learn some of Dr. Phil’s break-through strategies to improve your career, finances, health, and personal life,”
Charging $289 for a ticket is certaintly a break-through strategy.
Melbourne has been called the cultural capital, the sports capital and the coffee capital of Australia. Well, now we can add another title to Melbourne’s fame, the flu capital. I’m unsure as to what is worse, trying to avoid people who have the flu in order to prevent getting sick or trying to avoid people who have the flu in order to not here another lame joke about pig flu. Either way, we are winning in the amount of H1N1 flu and coming a close second for “regular” flu cases developed this year.
In an incredible sense of bad (or possibly good) timing, Google has released “Google Flu Trends” for Australia. At first glance, it seems like another April fools prank like Gball but in fact is an interactive graph mapping flu data from user’s flu related searches on Google. Google correlated the amount of people searching for flu related topics and actual flu data from the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory and found that the two were very similar as seen in the graph. Unfortunately, medical data from the VIDR is not real-time but Google’s search results are, thus making for “Flu Trends” to accurate predict the frequency of flu and the state you reside in.
Looking at Victoria’s chart, it seems that we are steadily increasing and are not close to reaching the peak. By previous year’s assessments, the flu season will slowly die down by the end of September. It’s also interesting to note that while NSW has a bigger population than VIC, it’s flu rate seems to be less. I wonder if that comes down to population density or perhaps less crowded public transportation. Maybe it’s because we have a lot of small bars open until late at night. There are probably a lot of factors but it’s interesting to see the data being graphed. With better location based tracking by Google in the future, we might be able to break down search results to suburbs. Imagine looking to buy a house and being provided with a flu rank number for the suburb.
Melbourne’s Tamil community continues to protest against the ongoing genocide in Sri Lanka, which has seen thousands of Tamils locked up in camps, subjected to terrifying conditions by the Sri Lankan military, and often killed outright, while the Sri Lankan government works to block foreign media from entering. Earlier in the week, I reported on the existence of a protest group at Federation Square. Now, after seeing them there for the third night and talking to some of those involved, I’ve learnt much more about it.
The protestors have been gathering at Federation Square, every single weeknight, beginning around 5 and lasting until 6 or 7, for the past three weeks. Previous protests have gathered around Parliament and the State Library, but at these places, they were failing to attract much notice. Now they’ve found that at Federation Square, far more people can see them. Not only that, but they’re near the police station here, and in full public view – both of which make them safer from attacks by Sri Lankan ex-pat supporters of the genocidal regime. Recently there was an incident in which a group of pro-government Sri Lankans had been out drinking, and Tamil protestors were driving through the city on a pre-planned route. The government-supporters mobbed the Tamil cars and broadcast the incident on YouTube to make fun of them. Racism is a real issue for ethnic Tamils in the Sri Lankan community.
So they stand chanting slogans relating to Tamil independance, to stopping the genocide, and to the controversial resistance group the Tamil Tigers. Read more
I’ve really warmed up to Twitter and one of the great events on the site is #followfriday, where users recommend interesting people to follow. Well, in the spirit of “Follow Friday”, how bout I recommend a great Melbourne site every Friday? They will not necessarily be new sites but currently noteworthy to Melburnians.
This week’s cool site is Melbourne Places.
Quite literally it’s a blog about different random places in Melbourne. Most of the entries cover very unique locations that aren’t usually covered well by blogs, for example: Fitzroy Nursery and Gelobar in Brunswick East. Each entry is accompanied by many photos depicting what you would see if you walked through the place.
This evening across from Flinders Street Station, I heard the unmistakable sounds of a protest rally.
“Tamil Tigers – Freedom Fighters!”
“Sri Lanka Sri Lanka – Don’t kill Tamils!”
A large-ish group of people had gathered to protest the ongoing ill-treatment of Sri Lanka’s Tamil population. The Sri Lankan government, under the guise of cracking down on the rebel Tamil Tigers, continues to wage a war against it’s civilian population, and the Tamils are among those at the short end of the stick. We see the same problems in Colombia, where the government uses the FARC guerillas as an excuse to continue mistreating indigenous and poor Colombians, and in Isreal, where Muslim terrorists are the favourite excuse for the government to build up an apartheid state against the Palestinian population. All of this, of course, goes on with the tacit support – in fact, through most of history, with the actual monetary and diplomatic support – of our own Western leaders, who generally refrain from kicking up too much fuss.
I was given a pamphlet directing me to these links – haven’t visited them yet, so be warned that there may be disturbing images.
You can contact the organisers of the protest at: networktamils(at)gmail.com