Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Merry Christmas

Well, it's almost Christmas day and our thoughts turn to ham, turkey, presents under a twinkling tree and... our old friend from South Park, Mr Hankey the Christmas Poo.

Ahhh, you just gotta love the idea of a faecal folk hero, the turd is the word, a poo for all people, an old school stool...

And so I wish you all a very merry Christmas and may your holidays be full of joy and solid movements.

Me? I plan to throw myself into the Indian Ocean, wallow about for a bit and spend the remainder of the time catching up on a few good books - probably on the throne in our small purpose built 'library'.

Hydeeeee-Ho people and a merrrrry Christmas to you all!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Victorian bushfires - my recollections of 1997

It's been tragic to hear about the bushfires raging across Victoria over the last couple of weeks, but heartening to know that no lives have been lost.

Back in January 1997 I was working on a paper out in Ferntree Gully, in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges and remember very clearly the first signs of a fire that went on to claim three lives.

I had wandered out to the front of the building on Burwood Hwy and noticed smoke rising from very close to the summit of the Ranges, near the television towers. It was a hot and windy day of around 35 degrees and it had been preceeded by a whole string of hot weather, similar to the current situation across Victoria.

It was fascinating to watch as that fire quickly took hold, with flames clearly visible licking the crest of the mountain and sending eddies of smoke and flame high above the undergrowth. A wind change then sent it in off in another direction, with one fire fighter later commenting on how the fire front quite literally jumped over his head as it roared back over the crest of the hill.

While attention was focussed on that fire high in the hills, another blaze was supposedly deliberately lit at the base of the Ranges in a suburb called The Basin, near Upwey. That fire, which I spotted when it was still relatively small and close to the Highway, turned into a raging inferno that blackened the sky above the eastern suburbs - it looked for all the world like a volcano erupting.

It was this fire that climbed rapidly up the other side of the mountain and caught three residents of Seabreeze Avenue, Ferny Creek, completely by surprise. Reading transcripts from the coroners' report, it would seem that the couple and their neighbour were confused by the direction and speed of the second fire and by the time they realised the danger, it was too late to evacuate.

Watching this all transpire from the safety of Ferntree Gully made it seem like a special effects movie on a super large screen. I actually covered activities in the Dandenongs as part of my paper round and to watch this fire consume bushland that I had travelled through regularly and take the lives of people I may well have stood with in the same line at the supermarket, was a sobering experience.

In the days, weeks, months and even years after the fires, the scarred landscape never failed to jog my senses as I wound my way up the mountain.

Here's hoping that loss of life isn't repeated again this summer and that we here in Perth don't face similar threats as the temperature continues to rise.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Daylight savings - the whingers emerge...

Okay, I've noted a few people already starting to whinge about daylight savings - and I'm not just talking about your terminal cases like the woman who called 720 mornings to complain that DS means less time to look at her Christmas lights at night.

No, I'm talking about those who claim to have lived elsewhere and enjoyed DS, but who now live in WA and think an extra hour of daylight just isn't needed here.

Well, sorry folks, but that argument is a load of steaming old codswallop!

I'll admit that even a one hour change does take some adjustment - the kids do find it a bit harder to go to sleep, people forget to eat at the normal times and getting out of bed in the morning can be a tad more irksome. BUT, that all changes over a few weeks and you soon learn to adjust to the time cycle.

These days I'm waking to sunlight just before 6.00am rather than the ungodly hour of 4.45am and the kids are doing likewise. Even the raucous chorus of Magpies and Kookaburras in the adjacent golf course are keeping a lid on it until later.

And in the evenings it's getting dark at around about 8.30pm instead of 7.30pm which is well and truly on a par with the eastern states. I've said it once and I'll say it again - the sun has no right to be up poking its nose through my blinds at 4.45am and then buggering off before 7.00pm.

Those of you whingeing about DS should be concerned with other more pressing issues, like the people of Floreat who are intent on ridding Perth of its groundwater supplies by running sprinkler systems that would be more at home in the lobby of some Las Vegas water themed casino.

I've just moved into the neighbourhood and as a renter I'm obligated to do the bore water tango myself. The first time I turned on the retic I felt sure it was a spectacle you could see from space and that authorities would descend from Black Hawks, cuff me and drag me away to environmental vandal hell.

But it turns out that I'm not a drop in the aquifer in the scheme of things - I've seen one house cranking up industrial sized sprinklers every morning for the past week to water a front lawn that serves no purpose other than to look green. Even this morning in the pouring rain.

Groundwater is a finite option and the sooner water restrictions apply to all households, regardless of bores, the better.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pom's Ashes campaign in tatters

Poor old Poms... just when they think they've got our measure, woops, there goes 9 wickets for 70 runs. Can this hapless lot string two innings together? Can they string together their own boot laces?

Q. What do Geraint Jones and Michael Jackson have in common?
A. They both wear gloves for no apparent reason

Q. What is the height of optimism?
A. An English batsman applying sunscreen.

Q. What does Ashley Giles put in his hands to make sure the next
ball almost always takes a wicket?
A. A bat.

Q. What would Glen McGrath be if he was an Englishman?
A. An allrounder.

Q. What advantage do Kevin Pieterson, Andrew Strauss and Geraint
Jones have over the rest of their team-mates?
A. At least they can say they're not really English.

Q. What is the English version of a hat-trick?
A. Three runs in three balls.

Q. What do you call an Englishman with 100 runs against his name?
A. A bowler.

Q. What is the most proficient form of footwork displayed by English
A. The walk back to the pavilion.

Q. Who has the easiest job in the English squad?
A. The guy who removes the red ball marks from the bats.

Q. Why is Andrew Flintoff the unluckiest English player?
A. Because he was born in England.

Q. What does "Ashes" stand for?
A. Another Sad Horrific English Series.

Q. What's the English version of LBW?
A. Lost, Beaten, Walloped.

Q. Who spends the most time on the crease of anyone in the English
A. The person who ironed the cricket whites.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ben Cousins legless

Oh Ben, you've done it again! Arrested at 4.30am wandering the banks of the Yarra, pissed as a newt, just a stone's throw from the Crown Casino.

According to police, Ben was "legless" when arrested and had no idea where he was - shades of the day Trent Croad was concussed at Subiaco Oval playing for the Hawks and then went looking for his car in the car park after the game. "Trent, you live in Glenferrie mate! You'll be needing an aeroplane!"

However, Trent's excuse was a knock to the noggin, whereas Ben's situation was self induced. Word is that he was keen to shed the shirt and take off ala the booze bus episode, but couldn't for the life of him find Canning Highway anywhere.

They say you shouldn't put temptation in the way of the easily tempted, but that's exactly what's happened here in a round-a-bout sorta way. Quite simply, it's not really Ben's fault. Here's why...

You see the club that Benny frequented on this night of the lost legs is owned by a bloke called Nick Russian. Nick's a model and he's also an ex-contestant on the rather salubrious reality TV show 'Temptation Island'. Now, Australia's an island, therefore Ben was led into temptation... see what I mean!

A rather stupid and fanciful excuse I'll be the first to admit, but no more so than his story last time around - 'I was busting for a wiss so I ran from the car and just kept on running'.

So we wait with baited breath to see what sort of excuse will be cranked out to once again save the hide of big, bad Benny. This time he's got no Gardiner to help deflect the blow torch, but I'll put $1,000 bucks on him trotting out for round 1 of season 2007, bright and shiny as a new teflon pan.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Daylight savings - welcome to a new dawn

It's finally happening. The powers that be have opened the door to a brave new world where we dare buggerise around with time and learn how to adjust our clocks to embrace daylight savings.

And it's about bloody time... I'm an absolute wreck from waking at the god-awful hour of 4.30am every morning as the sun peeks in and rudely slaps me from my slumber.

Unless there are cows for me to milk, or wheat for me to sow, this is not an hour that I feel requires my waking presence. As outlined in my previous post below, I refuse to join the 'start early, finish early' brigade.

Perth, It's just a matter of adjusting. We've been dealt a poor hand by Mother Nature when it comes to the cycle of daylight hours and this change is merely putting everything back in its natural order.

They say, 'if it aint broke, don't fix it', but I've got to tell you, it's well and truly broke - it needs a sharp hit with a blunt instrument and daylight savings is just the tool to put things right.

Look forward to seeing you all down the beach for fish and chips on the foreshore one night soon - no torch required!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Daylight savings - suck it and see

Western Australia is renowned as the start early, finish early, make sure I'm tucked up in bed by 9.30pm capital of the universe. It is for this reason that we have so many people staunchly opposed to daylight savings.

"I want to water my 12 acres of lawn at 4.00am and it's my God given right to do so! All you people who want to spend quality time with your children in the afternoon are simply being selfish..."

And so the argument goes. Another classic line is how difficult it is to get children to sleep while it's still light outside.

Well Perth, I've got news for you. After a decade in Melbourne I can assure you that even if we roll back the clocks by one hour, all you early birds will still have plenty of time to catch your worms, power walk a few Ks, scoff down a croissant and latte breakfast and still be at work early enough to be back out on the freeway heading for home at 4.30pm.

I say this with the knowledge that I've been awoken every morning for the past three weeks at approximately 4.20am, thinking some giant friggin space craft covered in halogen spotties has descended from above. Add to this the chorus of magpies and the sounds of all those vehicles inhabited by you early risers and it's IMPOSSIBLE to get back to sleep.

Just when you think sleep deprivation will kick in and and force you back into hallucinogenic slumber, the two year old in the next room decides that by the look of the blazing light coming in through the cracks in the blinds, it must be toast time.

I no longer crave daylight savings for its post-work pleasures, I now need it desperately to know that I can slumber in semi-darkness until at least 5.30am. And don't go banging on about changing work hours to suit the summer daylight hours - I don't want to change. I want to wake at 6.00am, start work at 8.30am, come home at 6.00pm and go to bed at roughly 11.00pm.

The daylight in Perth is broken... it's wrong and it must be amended accordingly. To prove my point you simply need to visit any suburban Chinese restaurant at 5.00pm - there are people already past the banana fritters getting ready for home. Not natural - Fat Cat hasn't even donned the jammies.

Beware people, especially the young. Failure to embrace daylight savings will result in further generations of up early, finish early, talk-back phoning, lawn watering, early eating dysfunctionals that really do believe their own hype.

Be very afraid...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Rest in peace Wally Foreman

So sad to know the journeyman of WA sporting commentary, Wally Foreman, passed away this week at the young age of just 58.

I've only ever called in to the Sports Talk program once and, spookily, that first time was on the Saturday afternoon before his fatal heart attack this week.

I was the last caller to the program and Wally thought I was Jim, so he's shouting 'hello Jim, are you there Jim?' and I'm shouting, 'Wally, it's John, are you after John?' Eventually he put me through, warned me to be quick as the news was nigh, and I asked my question of guest Jon Steffensen.

The fact that I - and I'm not 100 per cent sure on this - was the last caller on his final show dealt me quite a blow when I learned of his death.

And it is only now that I realise how important he is to the fabric of my media 'family' in WA. We grow comfortable with our preferred radio presenters - they go with us to and from work each day; they come shopping with us; they accompany us on road trips; drop the kids off at school; they're in the background as we snooze away lazy summer Sunday afternoons... and now one of our family is gone.

I'm certainly no fan of West Coast, but for the sake of King Wally I'm sincerely glad that he got to call his team in a winning Grand Final before he passed.

Rest peacefully Wally.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Vote YES for daylight savings

Quite frankly, I'm getting sick of having to be in at the office at 6.00am for a teleconference with my Eastern States colleagues in summer.

It peeves me no end that I'm usually well and truly tucked up in bed when my Melbourne mates are welcoming in the new year... especially when they call me.

And I get really, really cranky when darkness falls over Perth just when you think it'd be a great idea to get out and enjoy a balmy summer evening.

Come on Perth, wake up and smell the sunshine! We live in a state that enjoys the best climate in - dare I say it - the world and here we are shutting up shop, pulling down the shutters and hiding ourselves away in small dark holes one hour earlier than the rest of the country.

Oh, sorry... Queensland is also yet to embrace daylight savings. Gee, aint it just super that we've got the banana benders on our side - didn't they reprieve prohibition laws just last year?

Maybe if we introduced daylight savings we could start eating at more reasonable hours too. Perth is the only place I know where there is a culture of hitting restaurants on the dot of 6.00pm and washing down the last forkfull of tiramasui with the last drop of Black Tower (possibly Blue Nun) before the clock hits 7.30pm.

In the Eastern States eating at 6.00pm is considered a late lunch. But that's the thing about Perth, everything starts early and finishes early AND you can't go shopping on a Sunday. God knows it's only been in recent years that we haven't had to look up our nearest 'roster' petrol station to buy fuel after hours.

I reckon that if I live in a state with the highest property prices, rental costs on a par with New York, trading hours tighter than a fish's sphinctre and traffic lights that never change (more on this later), then I deserve an extra hour of sunlight during summer.

Of course I know that the curtains will fade and the cows won't know when it's milking time, but we can live with that. Yes, I know the kids can't get to sleep because it's still light, but here's a tip - buy yourself some of those heavy, non-fadable curtains and the little ones will never know! Besides, when it's 48 degrees, who's sleeping anyway!

So, make your mark - vote now and vote often! YES to daylight savings in WA.

Pass it on to as many friends as you can.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Brownlow's Biggest Goose Award

Ladies and gentlemen, the 3-2-1 for Biggest Brownlow Goose - displaying juvenile and drunken antics before a national TV audience - and the winners are:

3rd place: Brendan Fevola - half cut before round 1, wild gesticulations and an obvious inability to focus by round 6. One-eyed by round 12.

2nd place: Brendon Lade - looked almost studious in glasses until round 4, then polled quickly with his 'beer coaster on the schnozz' routine. You can take the bogan out of Port Adelaide...

And the winner is!

1st place: Travis Johnstone - was in high spirits from the outset, polling strongly with ill-advised and unwanted kisses to the cheeks of his team mates. Secured top spot with a lick to the face of a teammate in the dying rounds. Rumours involving a male nipple have yet to be confirmed.

Honorary mention: Daniel Kerr - for tearing up when he suddenly realised he was in the hunt... But he wasn't - GOLD!

Also, what the hell was going on with Judd's hair? He'll have to use that lip-bush as a comb over if he loses any more on top.

Well done to Adam Goodes and commiserations to Scotty West who has had legitimate claims on the Brownlow for years now - I'm sure he'll give it a run again next year, but he'll have to hold off a rampaging Pavlich.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs

Aye laddie, that wee buftie Irvine Welsh is up to his usual tricks once again, dragging us along a cold and blustery Leith Walk by the scruff of the neck and promising lewdness, drink, drugs, sexual excess, football violence and... romance?

Yes, the dark prince of Scotland is back with his latest novel, the Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs and a new anti-hero in the likes of hedonistic party boy Danny Skinner - a council restaurant inspector who likes a wee bevvie or 10, plus a bit of the "white powder... just to give me the edge".

His nemesis is the new boy on the block, anorak-toting stick figure Brian Kibby - Treckie, 'Hyp Hiker', model railway enthusiast and a compulsive masturbator.

When the two cross paths in the workplace a chain of events is set in motion, born from Skinner's fierce, almost supernatural hatred of his young nemesis. The resulting plot twist gives flight to Welsh's glorious ability to capture and deliver tales of hedonistic debauchery so wrong that they fairly reek of old fag ends, stale sex and endless pints of lager.

Add to this Skinner's sad search for the father he never knew - he told the kids in school that it was Joe Strummer - and a salubrious slice of seedy Edinburgh kitchen life... Welsh at his realist best.

But it's when Skinner's transposed to the West Coast of the US that the reader is really treated to the comedic genius of Welsh's complex characters and the keen observations that only they can make.

Aye, it's not for the feint hearted or the "dinguls" of this world, but for those of us who ken what this gadge is on aboot, it's a f*****in good laff!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

TNT - Freo's Dynamite!

The new tradition at the end of Fremantle games, following a win, is for the AC/DC classic TNT to be played at a raucous volume over the loudspeakers - it's become our unofficial club anthem.

And doesn't it just rock! On Friday night it was rumoured that Bon Scott himself had scaled the fence at Freo cemetery and was on his way to Subi.

Taking the song to the next level I thought I'd do a bit of re-working and give it a bit of the purple passion treatment:


See us run out of the centre square
On your plasma TV screen
We're the purple passion, yeah!
If you know what I mean
Runners to the left of me
And runners to the right
They ain't got no passion
They ain't got no heart
So don't you start no fight

'Cause we're Fremantle, we're dynamite
(Fremantle) and we'll win the fight
(Fremantle) A purple power load
(Fremantle) watch us explode

We're dirty, mean, the fastest you've seen
Each one a wanted man
Purple enemy number one
So lock up your goal square
Lock up your wing
Lock up your backline
And get ready for the sting
The Dockers are back in town
So don't you mess us 'round

'Cause we're Fremantle, we're dynamite
(Fremantle) and we'll win the fight
(Fremantle) A purple power load
(Fremantle) watch us explode

Fremantle, (oi, oi, oi)
Fremantle, (oi, oi, oi)
Fremantle, (oi, oi, oi)
Fremantle, (oi, oi, oi)
Fremantle, (oi, oi, oi) , we're dynamite
(Fremantle, oi, oi, oi), and we'll win the fight,
(Fremantle, oi, oi, oi), A purple power load
(Fremantle), watch us explode!

AFL Grand Final one game closer...

The mighty Freo Dockers dispatched their Demons quite literally on Friday night before the most vocal AFL crowd in the history of the game - well, at Subiaco Oval at least.

It was a solid win, but next week looms as the biggest test in the port club's 11-year history.

Will big bad Bazza Hall snap our rosy cheeked Bahai Luke in two? Will Josh Carr be seduced by sequins and the lure of the Gay Mardi Gras? Will the 75,000 people in the crowd realise that this is AFL and not that other game where blokes throw the ball around and jam their heads up each other's backsides?

Only time will tell, but for now the tinitis of 43,000 people belting out a throat scorching version of AC/DC's TNT reminds me that we're still in the hunt - just one more win...

* Pic: 'The Door is Open'

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The West Coast Eagles SUCK!

Now, the main focus of all Fremantle supporters right now is obviously knocking over the Dees and securing Sandi an aisle seat on a jumbo heading for Siderknee a week later.

But, in true Docker spirit, the team at couldn't resist making the most of an opportunity to well and truly stick it to our cross-town, chardy sipping neighbours - the West Coast Eagles, *retch!*.

So, while we're enjoying the game on Friday night, all Dockers supporters are being encouraged to download and print off the above sticker - link below - and stick it on the seat in front of them.

The train of thought is that many of the stickers will survive until the next day, when the seats will be occupied by the blue and yellow Wet Toast brigade - imagine the fury, the spilt plonk, the clash of furious knitting needles... priceless!!!

"This picture is intended for your own personal use and Dockerland does not encouraging vandalism etc".

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Gearing up for the AFL Premiership

This is it folks... the Dockers are three wins shy of being the AFL Premiers - the best side in this national competition, or as Steve Irwin may have described them, 'the duck's guts'.

We take on the Adelaide Crows this Saturday and if we turn them into humble pie for the second time in a month, it's straight into the preliminary final.

We're the underdogs, the team without finals experience, the team that surely has to drop a game at some stage... but with all that, we're also the team with 11 years of fire in the belly and a purple passion that's set to explode like TNT.

AND, we've got Jeff 'The Purple Jesus' Farmer on our side - bring it on!

Monday, September 04, 2006

By Crikey - Steve Irwin dead

There's been a mini shockwave travel through the office... the king of 'Crikey', the man lambasted for dangling his baby over the jaws of a rabid croc, the man who was second only to Hoges in upping the Aussie "struth!" factor - Steve Irwin - is dead.

It's a sad day - I feel terrible for the family that he onviously loved so dearly (despite the croc dangling incident), but if he was going to bite the big one, well, a stingray barb to the heart is pretty fitting way to do it.

His gravestone would have to read: 'By crikey this bloke loved life and fair dinkum, didn't he have a good one...'


BREAKING NEWS: Steve "The Crocodile Hunter" Irwin is reportedly dead after being stung by a sting-ray during the filming of a new TV series.

The Courier Mail has reported the 43-year-old had a heart seizure after a sting-ray barb went through his chest off the Low Islands in North Queensland, near Port Douglas.

Irwin has been transported to Cairns Hospital.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fremantle finals party pack

There's a sniff of purple in the air... the mighty Fremantle Dockers are marching towards September action and we're feeling confident about our chances for the first time since inception.

For my fellow Freophiles out there, gearing up for the critical game against Port tomorrow night, get ready to gear up in traditional / rave / head-banging style with the Freo Finals Party Pack that has been lovingly complied by fellow Freo blogger and regular Range-Raver.

Not only do you get the club song and his fabulous Purple Passion re-mix, you also get that adrenalin pumping post-win favoutite, TNT - ahhhhh, ACCA-DACCA's never sounded sooooo good!

And if you're in the market for a Flashing Purple Anchor or three (who wouldn't be!) or a snack mid-game - maybe some delish wasabe roasted green peas - drop in to the Angry Almond at Subi Markets:

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Where am I?

Apologies for my tardiness in posting over the past couple of months, but to be frank, I've been so bloody busy I've hardly had time for the proverbial 'scratch'.

Lord knows I've got plenty I want to talk about, but between work and my unnatural preoccupation with the Fremantle Dockers... oh, and my family... there seems time for little else.

Besides, the callouses on my two typing fingers are fit to burst, so like a good AFL coach, I'm resting them for the sake of my long term blogging career. Too many bloggers have made the mistake of simply having anaesthetic injections in their fingers so they can keep on typing week in, week out, only to finish up crippled at an early age.

I will be back...

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Howard and Costello stoush

All this talk of "hubris" and "humility" between the Howard and Costello show is driving me to drink... c'mon boys, let's settle this leadership dispute the fair way: get Janet to grease you both up with a mixture of vaseline and dencorub, then put you in a plastic wading pool full of KY Jelly and let you slug it out!

Now eyebrows, before you get started on Costello's advantage because of his longer reach, remember that your arse is closer to the ground, therefore giving you added stability.

Of course, to make matters even fairer, how about we have lil' Lexie Downer as the judge and we send in about 400 peace keeping troops to quell any civic unrest... obviously we'll have to ask George Dubbya for his permission on this one.

Speaking of Dubbya, get him and his mate Dick Cheney over for the gig - tell 'em to bring Dickie Pound too just in case you boys try and slip in a few roids to gain the upper hand.

And a word of warning - there will be no punches to the nads ala Danny Kerr, or any Hopoate 'digit in the date' action... Johnny, don't look at me like that, look at moi, loooka moi!

Oh and did I say you'll be wearing nappies during this showdown? Ahhhh, Aussie politics, who needs the World Cup???

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Chaos and bloodshed on Perth streets!

Rampaging Bell Towers, decapitated politicians and chaos across the city... another typical Perth day really.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Aussies robbed at World Cup

I will not eat another bowl of spaghetti bolognase in... well, at least WEEKS. Nor shall I go cheek to jowel with a pizza (unless it's an Aussie), because WE WUZ ROBBED out of World Cup glory by a jumped up little upstart that had no place on the football field - the umpire.

I'd just put another pot of sauerkraut on the boil and was about to tap a fresh keg of Heinekin to ready myself for a penalty shoot out when the unthinkable happened... the Mexican house maid, Concheeta, unplugged the plasma to run the vacuum over the rubble of my hotel room.

By the time I'd placed a well struck volley to the side of her head and wrestled the cord back into the socket it was all over... the cheating swines we like to call 'white maggots' in AFL had given the Italian 'diving' team a free shot at goal with only 30 seconds left on the clock. It was a cruel blow made worse by a further blow to the rear of my skull as Concheeta bought the vacuum pipe down with a vengance.

As I thrashed about the room trying to shake her from my back and bemoaning the bastardisation of the world umpiring fraternity, I reflected on what a fickle game the world sport is. Quite frankly you I-tie nancy boys, if we'd had Harry Kewell on the track yesterday, you'd all be back home with your Mamas right now coping a damn good thrashing from the frenzied Italian press corp.

Yes, if it wasn't for Harry's gout-ridden crotch and corrupt officialdom, we'd be looking set to ride rough shod over the happless Ukranians and marching on to World Cup glory.

I've decided to stay on in the hotel and cut my losses over a week of Wimbledon action - when did Italy ever produce a world class tennis player? Probably never as you're all too busy falling over and grabbing your hairy white shins.

As I tuck into my strawberries and cream I'll be keeping an eye on you Italians and the umpires - hope you all get gout in the gonads!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Bring on Italy - where's the sauerkraut?

Sweet Jeezus, it's been a hell of a roller coaster ride this World Cup campaign... been too tired to fire up the lap top since Japan and the Mexican house maid has now taken to stealing my USB connection - found it last time in the sauerkraut vat.

Don't know if it's the lack of sleep, but I'm now hatching rabid conspiracy theories about the umpires officiating at this gig. Last night the night porter looked suspiciously like that 'Merc' character and I swear he did something to the schnitzel... he must have a twin brother here in Perth, no two heads can be that ugly.

The Brazil match jigged my senses a bit and laid me low for a few days. I tried focussing on the other group matches but I felt doomed that somehow I would never see another goal scored at this Cup... nil all draws are the curse of the round ball game and have the ability to seriously screw with your synapses.

And what about last night? An unholy 3.00am Perth start as the outside temperature dipped to a testicle shrinking 3 degrees and the sun decided to hit the snooze button for another few hours. Staring from the top floor window I felt like the only dumb soul in Perth to be cranking up the blood sausage and tapping the Heinekin keg for another go around at this mad caper.

Come 5.30am - and a very heated argument with the concierge about the smell of boiling cabbage coming from my room - I had crossed over into a wild insanity that had me singing 'Harry Kewell, Harry Kewell' to the tune of Daddy Cool. Just when we thought all was lost by Gooooos's decision to put 'lurch' in goal, the great man came of age and gave the cheating, gang-tackling Croats a swift kick in the nads to go on with. "You're red, you're white, you're going home tonight!"

Speaking of the Croats, what was with that swine who got three yellow cards and still slunk around like a curr, refusing to leave the field?

Still, we're on to the big stuff now... It-al-ia, primadonnas of the Euro circuit and quicker to take a dive than a Jap on a Minke whale fritter. Christ, will that Mexican woman ever leave me alone? "No, I did not steal all the shower caps from your trolley, so kindly give me back my USB cord and bugger off back to the laundry!"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Aussie's taste World Cup success

Oh how sweet it was last night when in the space of just six minutes, 70 odd minutes of frustration was swept away by Australia's first three goals ever in the World Cup.

Commiserations to the Japanese contingent, but quite frankly, you should never have even been in the picture - watching Schwartzer get taken out of the play was akin to Gulliver being pinned to the ground by the little people. It was a definite foul and the Egyptian umpire has admitted it was a good job we had the 'gods' on our side...

Can't say I'm impressed by the rotten nancy-boy tactics deployed by the Japanese either - they must have the most delicate ankles in the world... must be the strain of carrying all that 'Flock of Seagulls' hair around all day.

Anyway, I've been holed up in a penthouse suite overlooking the Swan River now since Sunday night and lack of sleep is starting to take its toll. I've taped up all the windows to keep the light out, but there's a feisty little Mexican house maid who keeps sneaking in and trying to peel it off when I go to the bathroom.

To recreate the atmosphere in here I've got three mini-kegs of Heinekin, two gross of blood sausage, a great vat of pickled cabbage on the boil and a 'Sprechst Du Deutch?' language tape running in a loop over the sound system. I've built a little grandstand over the couches populated by a half dozen blow up kangaroos and two of the porters drop by every now and again for a burst of 'Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy, Oy, Oy!'.

Looking forward to the Toga match, but need some sleep before I start talking to the roos. Can hear that damn Mexican woman scratching around outside the door again - might have to take her down with a trademark Viduka foot sweep...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

My Top 10 Albums

There's been much talk of late about the top 10 albums in the UK and for the main part, I agree on what the punters have got to say.

So, I thought I'd compile my own little list - in no particular order except for the number one spot, which The Pixies will FOREVER hold down.

I've missed a lot, I know and I'm going to kick myself later when I look through my collection... but let's just call it a work in progress - a 'fluid' top 10 if you like.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts?

1. Doolittle - The Pixies
2. Nevermind - Nirvana
3. Three Feet High and Rising - De La Soul
4. Free Dirt - Died Pretty
5. What's the Story Morning Glory - Oasis
6. Goo - Sonic Youth
7. Post - Paul Kelly and The Coloured Girls
8. Treeless Plain - The Triffids
9. The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground
10. The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses

Strong contenders:
1. Psycho Candy - The Jesus and Mary Chain
2. Why Should I Stand Up - the Colorblind James Experience
3. Echo and The Bunneymen - Crocodiles
4. Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express - The Go-Betweens
5. Black the Sun - Alex Lloyd
6. Live Rust - Neil Young
7. The Queen is Dead - The Smiths
8. Angel - 20th Century Crucifixion (for you Hadyn!)
9. Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches - the Happy Mondays
10. Henry's Dream - Nick Cave

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Aussie action at the World Cup

Well, it's almost time for the FIFA World Cup to quite literally kick-off and how good is it that the Socceroos have qualified and will finally be taking part in the action on a world stage. Christ knows they've done their best to stop us in the past and succeeded.

I keep expecting some Euro Aussie-phobe to suddenly realise that they've let Australia slip through the net and change the rules again to knock us out at the last minute - 'I'm sorry, but we think it only fair that you play a team made up of the world's best players in order to qualify... can't have you getting in that easily now, wouldn't be fair on teams like the USA, Togo or Poland...'

Bitter? Just a bit - just doesn't seem quite sporting that despite belting the living suitcases out of every team in our region, we've never had the opportunity to rip off a few 'Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy! Oy! Oys!' for our boys, yet in some parts of the world you can qualify by simply being able to recognise that yes, soccer balls are round.

I'll never forget living in London during the World Cup in the late 80s - 88, 89 possibly. I was working in a Peter Dominics off-license on Upper Street in Islington and sharing an upstairs apartment with the manager, cum mad abstractionist Justin Piperger. We decided to drag the TV downstairs and set it up in the shop when England was playing - no one got served when the ball was in 'our' half, but I don't think anyone cared! Another glass of Crimean Shiraz anyone? (it was our World Cup special at the time.

There was a great little Italian restaurant around the corner, tucked in a laneway off Upper Street and served the best seafood pizzas - but it was the same deal there. TVs were everywhere and if Italy looked like scoring, it was forks down and be prepared to wait. If Italy actually scored, then it was time to knock back a few chiantis very quickly, join in the celebrations and hunker down for a very long night.

Just for a bit of added 'cool' factor, England's theme song for that campaign was penned by none other than New Order - 'We're playing for England, Eng-er-land!' Still sends a shiver up my spine today. Let the action begin!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Scrotum talk & Sydney Harbour Bridge

I've been a lazy poster over the past few weeks, but with the days getting shorter, the nights getting colder and the demands of the office growing ever greater, it's a bit bloody hard - flat out like a lizard drinking, as the old saying goes.

But I got worried today when a blog browser typed in 'scotum verandah (yes, spelling mistake intended' and got directed to my site - numero uno, first cab off the 'scotum' rank. Indeed, one of my posts did indeed mention the mis-spelled version of scrotum and verandah. However, I don't think my post provided the information this browser was after... methinks the terminology may indeed be the same as, 'the verandah over the toolshed', i.e, the male beer gut.

Anyway, moving away from scrotal matters, I can highly recommend that when next in Sydney you do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb - see photo above.

I did it as part of a corporate team building exercise a few weeks back and it's quite a day out. For those of you scared of heights, there is one section where you climb up steel ladders - 75 steps in total - through the traffic and that gave me a bit of a moment. But once you're up on the arch it's quite peaceful taking in all the Sydney smog as you gaze down over the Opera House and other Harbour attractions.

One of the bridge facts that sent a shiver up my spine was how the thousands of rivets were hammered into the bridge - including the narrow support beams that run across the middle. Apparently one guy would haul the red hot rivets up from below and then throw them to the bloke out in the middle who would catch them in a little bucket before putting them in. And if you wore a rope to secure yourself to the bridge you were considered somewhat of a nancy boy. Surprisingly I think only two blokes fell off the bridge, but I guess it explains why there are so many rivets at the bottom of the harbour.

Quite frankly, I'd rather chew off my own 'scotum' than scramble around on a slippery steel bridge trying to catch red hot lumps of metal in a bucket for 10 hours a day. But those Sydney-siders will do anything for a crust...

One final word of caution, do not consume a lazy 10 C*%k-Sucking Cowboy shooters the night before the climb - I was sweating butterscotch schnapps by the half way point. They breathlise you before you start the climb and I think I only just scraped in.

Anyway, must be off to work on growing the verandah.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Migration services in Perth

Someone asked me the other day if I knew of a dependable, timely and cost effective Migration agency in Perth and as it happens, I do!

Steppingstone Relocations WA can arrange:

Visas for Work or Business Visas for Skilled People Visas for Couples Visas for Family Members Visas for Students Other Temporary Visas Visas for Refugees or Asylum Seekers

Steppingstone Relocations WA
Perth Office
45 Ventnor Avenue
West Perth WA, 6005
+61 (8) 9429 8833
+61 (8) 9429 8800

For more details visit:

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

John Howard & George Bush do 'Brokeback'

I almost choked on my rice bubbles this morning when I heard a news grab from the Howard-Bush 'Love Fest' in which Dubbya describes our Johnny as "not the prettiest" guy on the block.

Of course, our Johnny being the brown noser he is, failed to retort with a well timed, "That's okay George, cause you're not exactly the smartest bloke on the planet - about as sharp as a bowling ball in fact..."

Dubbya even went on to comment about the PM's bald pate, in a move which I think was intended to show just what great mates they really are - I think it was a scene stolen from 'Dumb and Dumber', or in this case, 'Dangerous and Dangerouser'.

So chummy are these two that word from Canberra is that Johnny generally greets Mr President with the truly Aussie opener, "G'day you old bastard, how the bloody hell are they hangin'?" Dubbya just loves it and intends to come up with the perfect rejoinder one day, just as soon as one of his staffers makes one up.

Talk around town is that the two men are planning to retire 'Brokeback Style' and set up house on a large ranch property in North Dakota. There they can spend aimless days polishing their saddles and telling war stories across an open fire.

John Howard and George Bush - what a couple of wacky funsters they are!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Waterloo Terrace, N1, circa 1989

Talk about a busy few weeks - barely had time for the proverbial scratch, let alone cobbling together a post... but as the unseasonably humid night outside unleashes the first rain for weeks, I thought I should hunker down here in the wee hours and pen a few words.

My old mate Harf sent me the attached photo last week, harking back to my days living in London at the pictured address in Waterloo Terrace. I remember the day the photo was taken quite clearly - a few pints and a packet of Silk Cuts down at The Post Office pub on Upper Street, Islington. Ever the wacky trickster, old Harf showed the snaps around when he got home and told everyone they were taken on his wedding day.

We moved into the Waterloo Tce house after doing a runner from a house in Hackney that accommodated about 12 people and had only three bathrooms and one kitchen. If the landlord could have rented the broom cupboard, he would have, so we had had no qualms about skipping that fortnight's rent - besides, he got to keep the Yukka plant.

The move was prompted by an invitation from a friend I'd made while performing temporary clerical duties very badly at Eagle Star Insurance. Jon and I both enjoyed a drink, shared the same taste in music and were both taking something of a sabatical from what we really wanted to do in life - it was a good fit, so the top room was invaded by Aussies.

Jon and his partner Louise - who I've mentioned before on this blog - went on to form Britpop band Sleeper not long after my visa finally gave a last cough, closed its eyes and expired.

Indeed, the band was born from the womb of this very house.

But back then, circa 1989, thoughts of stardom and cocaine fuelled pop star excess hadn't even hit the radar - we were probably pooling cash to buy a couple of litre bottles of Bulgarian Bull's Blood, an eighth of Leb and sitting around the shabby Georgian-inspired front lounge being swept up by the swirling guitar voodoo of Black Francis and our beloved Pixies.

Some nights in bed I can still feel myself floating in the bath in the Waterloo Tce basement, listening to the roar of the trains snaking their way through to Angel Station, the imagined muted voices of commuters rising through the earth, the soft whooosh and hum and the blessed vacuum of expectant silence that remains.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Grant McLennan Dies - long live the 'Go-Bees'

Terribly sad news out of Brisbane today that legendary Go Betweens frontman Grant McLennan failed to wake up this morning and we'll never again get to witness the melodic charm and warm wash of the Go-Bees live on stage.

To me the Go-Bees and The Triffids were the defining Australian bands of the 80s.

I spent many a night drifting and dreaming of what my future might hold as songs like Head Full of Steam and Spring Rain beat out a soundtrack that seemed so perfect, so pure.

As GM put it so eloquently in The Wrong Road:

"I took the Wrong Road round
Stranded at low-tide where the river bends
Wouldn't you know it, that's how life ends
Lucky at cards, that's an old lie
Lucky in love, that's how life ends."

Monday, May 01, 2006

Fremantle furore - where's our two points?

I almost had a brain snap yesterday, following one of the most ludicrous umpiring decisions that I've ever witnessed in AFL football.

And there have been a few involving the Fremantle Football Club: an umpire marking a kick from one of our players, an umpire asking the opposition team if they were happy with a decision and, well, the list goes on...

But yesterday at York Park in Launceston we witnessed the mother of all umpiring mistakes. Not content with abolishing the traditional centre bounce in favour of simply giving St Kilda a free kick out of the centre every time a goal was scored, umpire Nicholls decided to let the game continue after the siren to give the Saints every opportunity to win the game.

It would seem that the umpire's plans to hand the game to St Kilda via a series of ridiculous free kicks was thwarted by some good play by the Dockers and some indifferent form on the part of their opponents. Indeed, despite a veritable 'golden platter' being served up to the Saints, the umpire looked doomed to run out of time and opportunity to hand them an ill-deserved win.

Indeed, the siren sounded and Freo players immediately started celebrating a hard fought victory... but that's when it all got mondo bizarro and the weirdness level was cranked up to 11. You see, umpire Nicholls grabbed the ball and walked back to indicate that he was going to bounce the ball, despite half our players already walking off in search of a wet cloth to wipe away the spittle that had collected from being in the same suburb as 'no neck' Freaky Fraser for the past three hours.

While Freo players jumped up and down politely advising Mr Nicholls that it was all done and dusted, his eyes glazed over and the ball was indeed bounced. It went to a St Kilda player and a snap on goal resulted in a behind to level the match a full 10 seconds after the game had actually finished. But that's not all!!! Not content that St Kilda had simply levelled the match, our fave umpire awarded the St Kilda player a free kick and another shot on goal to try and rectify the situation - thank f#$@ that justice prevailed and it was another behind.

By this stage big Chris Connolly was stalking around the playing field like Gene Symmons on benzedrine and Cameron 'The Colonel' Schwabb looked like he was about to extract the missing two points directly from Nicholl's sphinctre.

It's fair to say that the siren at Launceston is akin to the sound of a mosquito farting in a paper bag, but the fact that everyone else heard it should mean that whatever happened after that moment should become null and void.

Too bad if the blood was rushing through Nicholls temples as he bullishly refused to concede a Fremantle victory - them's the rules. I urge one and all to go to the link below, sign the petition and help to overturn this travesty of justice.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Perth Music

Ever written a lengthy post only to have your machine crash and lose the lot? Just happened to me...

Anyway, a great site that all lovers of quality independent Perth music should bookmark is:

Despite this town being known as 'Cover Band City' ever since Todd Johnston and V-Capri graced the stage at the smoked glass, chrome, plastic palm trees and cream brick Floreat Park Hotel, we do have an incredible underbelly of fine original musicians.

I remember my 'hey day' back in the 80s - shut up, there was too some good music! - seeing bands the likes of The Stems, 20th Century Crucifixion, Kansas City Killers, The Holly Rollers, Die Monster Die, Cinema Prague and Love Pump at such venues as The Shents, The Grosvenor and The Old Melbourne.

Of course, these venues are long gone and no longer will I feel the hair on my head slowly singe during a fire breathing moment with The Painters and Dockers, or revel in the platform shoed glory of Love Pump in full flight. But, hey - this town needs more retirement homes!

I also remember a place called Fat City Cafe off The Broadway in Nedlands which went right off on a Sunday... however, the last time old Hadie and myself rocked up there, a Nedlands-type with a lemon jumper tied around his neck and deck shoes said there'd never been bands at the venue and told us to politely push off... does anyone else remember this place???

My most memorable gig? - a night at the Shents sharing the contents of a hollowed out bible sent from the midst of a Queensland jungle while Kim Salmon set about making his guitar talk to me in three different languages... what's yours?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

How well do you know me?

Got this by email today & would be interested in your responses either by a post below, or by email to my Yahoo adress:

I've been tagged. So here it goes (I got this in my lunch break) ...delete my answers, replace with your own and send it back to me and on to other friends you decide to tag!

How well do you know me?? For instance, did you know...

Four jobs I have had in my life include:
1. Newsagency debt collector
2. Warehouse picker
3. Bartender
4. Driver-Trainer

Four movies you would watch over and over:
1. Withnail & I
2. The Big Lebowski
3. Blue Velvet
4. Bliss

Four places you have lived:
1. Fremantle / Scarborough / West Leederville / Marmion / Nedlands - Perth
2. Hertford / Islington / Hackney - UK
3. Mulgrave / Port Melbourne / Toorak / Yarraville - Melbourne
4. Darwin

Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. All Saints
2. Myth Busters
3. Little Britain
4. Bargain Hunt

Four places you have been on vacation:
1. Rottnest
2. Greek Islands
3. Europe4. Singapore

Four websites I visit daily, most days:

Four of my favourite foods:
1. Lemon slurpees
2. Beef jerky (chili)
3. Seafood
4. Tea Leaf smoked duck

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Little Parakeet Bay, Rottnest
2. The Quokka Arms, Rottnest
3. Shark Bay Bowling Club
4. Wallowing about in a swimming pool filled with $100 notes

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tony Mokbel - where the bloody hell are you?

It's interesting to note that apart from Ben Cousins, the biggest number of hits on this blog are from web search results on 'Tony Mokbel' - mostly from Victoria and Heidelberg in particular (Map Stats and ClustrMaps are a great resource!).

Well, just in case there's a police squad devoted to searching blogs for gangsters that flee bail, let me put it on record that I'm strictly in the "Tony, where the bloody hell are you?" category when it comes to his whereabouts.

What did surprise me the other day was that someone in Dubai did a search on 'Fat' Tony and was directed through to my blog. After transferring $20 million overseas, there are worse places in the world to play golf and work on a sun tan.

So Tony, if you're out there, drop us a line and let us know what the weather's like!
IMAGE: Courtesy of The Age

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Kevin Bloody Wilson in Lancelin

Ahh, nothing like a long weekend in lovely Lancelin, bed-riden by a demon chest cold and a lower back spasm - the two complaints work a treat when combined! If it wasn't for the 1,000 milligram 'big bertha' antinflammatories and a sensational win by the Freo Dockers, it might have been an Easter to forget.

Of course, one of Lancelin's most famous residents is none other than the 'effin and blinding Kevin Bloody Wilson. I was pleased to see as I drove past his beachside manor that his boat was also named in appropriate KBW style - 'Far Canal'.

For those of you not well versed in Aussie 'strine', I'll spell it out for you, 'Far Canal... far-kin-al... far-kin-hell..." Got it? It's a bit like the perenial 'Far Q' and 'Far Q2'.

We love a play on words in Australia and even more so we love a sweary name. Here are some of my all time faves:

Wayne King (went to my high school)
Wayne Kerr (I had a teacher of that name!)
Richard (Dick) Wenker (I had to write a business profile about the man!)
Hung Long (far as I know his restaurant's still open in Northbridge)

Image: pure gold from the Kevin Bloody Wilson website!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bull ants, 'boondies', bogans and bore water...

Perth is a funny old place really, it has a certain character that brings to mind bore water staining, 'boondies', bull ants and the ubiquitous bogan.

To the visitor, many parts of Perth must appear as though they are rusting - fences, walls, kerbing and indeed, whole primary schools. As a kid I remember feeling quite repulsed by bore water stains and I would often wonder why people used this water if it turned everything a rusty brown.

I think the underlying love affair with bore water is the Perthite's need to defy the odds and maintain their little patches of green in suburbia. Essentially, most of us live on a large sand dune and by rights we shouldn't have lawns at all - But tell that to a Perth person and you're nothing but a savage. The dryest state in Australia? To hell with it - pass me my Pope sprinkler and let me go to work! While Melbourne lawns are left to die in summer due to water restrictions, over here it's all systems go.

Speaking of sand dunes, Perth is also the home of the 'boondie' - hardened pockets of sand (mainly of the yellow variety) that are thrown like snow balls. I have a bad memory of being hit in the eye with a supposed 'boondie' that turned out to be a real rock covered in yellow sand. I've been off them ever since.

Bull ants? Big black bastards with ferocious pincers that hang out at popular picnic spots waiting to crawl up your inside leg as you try and keep the bush flies off your snaggers. Enough said.
And the bogan - not native to Perth, but a key feature none-the-less. Begins life as a prolific boondie thrower and progresses to driving purple Valiants in a looping fashion around popular urban meeting places.

Anyway, must go and listen to Little Johnny Howard doing his best Sergeant Schultz impersonation at the Cole enquiry - that little bloke just cracks me up! And Lexie Downer - ooh, don't you want to pinch those little ruddy cheeks just right off his face!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Time waits for no Docker

Just in case you wanted to know this.

On The 4th of next month, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.

That won't ever happen again.

You may now return to your life.

On another note, to all the purple brethren, I look forward to seeing you out in force at Subiaco on Saturday afternoon - that'll be Saturday night for you eastern staters.

I'll be the guy behind the goals at the Hadyn Bunton Drive side of the ground muttering about how crap it is that you can only buy mid-strength beer... Harf, it's your shout son.

Go The Dockers!

Friday, March 31, 2006

The middle of nowhere... literally

For those of you who are overseas visitors, I thought I'd show you an image from our Bureau of Meteorology radar of quite possibly the most remote place on earth, Giles. This exciting metropolis is located in the Great Sandy Desert and really is as uninteresting as this picture would suggest...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Cyclone Glenda closes in

By Jeezus, I wouldn't like to be the poor bugger out at Mardie Station up there in the Kimberly region - the latest Bureau of Meteorology radar image shows it copping a fair hiding from Cyclone Glenda right now:

It's amazing to think that Cyclone Tracey was a category 4 storm, just like Glenda, yet Larry was a top of the range category 5! The BOM shipping warning puts wave heights in the path of Glenda as "phenomenal"... says it all really, doesn't it?

Go Saints & Heave Ho Freo

On the eve of the very first AFL match for 2006, West Coast versus St Kilda, all I can say is GO YOU SAINTERS!!! I hope you give the Toasters a glorious hiding on home soil and pave the way for a sensational weekend, punctuated by the Fremantle Dockers' first win away at Launceston against the happless Hawks... HEAVE HO FREO and no dragging the anchor across Bass Strait!

Image: Fraser Gehrig oils his mullet in preparation for tonight's game.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Yacht racing on the Swan River

Corporate days out in Perth are always a treat - invariably involving drinking cold beer in the sun, eating copious amounts of shellfish and flinging about a few business cards... and a day out yesterday sailing on the mighty Swan River out of Royal Perth Yacht Club was no exception.

Of course, nothing like starting the afternoon with a few gourmet sangers, washed down with a couple of icy cold Coronas before jumping on board our Foundation 36 yacht under the helm of 'Skip', a veteran of the 1983 Australia II America's Cup win.

We headed out into the 25-30 knot breeze - a faint tinkle of Land Down Under running around inside my head - and I was unanimously chosen to steer the boat as opposed to being a 'winch wench'. Nice move I thought, until I realised that steering a yacht straight into a stiff breeze is akin to driving a Holden Berlina station wagon through mud with two flat tyres and a broken axle. But it was okay, Skip was on hand to take over when it looked like we might be sliced in two by one of our dozen or so race competitors, or tossed into the river to swim with the jellyfish.

The idea that sailing was all about sipping champagne and giving the odd tug on the jib while you watched someone else trim the main sail soon flew out the window (if we had one), along with half a dozen caps. The boat tilts up on such a steep angle that at one point I thought I'd soon be hanging vertically, clinging to the guide wire railing, with nothing but salty air and the river beneath me... it was like driving a car on two wheels.

Going back down wind it's much more civilised and battling it out to beat the opposition around the markers is quite a thrill when you aren't scrambling around on all fours on the deck trying to prevent yourself being garotted by wet ropes - at one stage I ticked when I should have tacked, but Skip took most of the pain out of the situation and I only ended up with a bruised winged keel for my error. However, one of our crew gashed his leg open and someone on another boat lost a toenail.

We took part in two races, finishing in second spot both times, which placed us in third position overall - a bronze medal if you like. Our team all won steel meshed reinforced garden hoses, complete with stainless steel fittings - next year I've got my eye on first place and a Ryobi Cordless Powerdrill...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ben Cousins - 'piss' poor verdict

It's moments like these that make you wonder if Perth isn't populated by aliens who have a fondness for fit young blokes in yellow and blue jumpers, chardonnay, four wheel drives and the odd line or three of Bolivian marching powder.

In fining Ben Cousins the grand sum of $900, plus costs, Magistrate Peter Malone has reduced this incident to nothing more than a joke - he couldn't even help himself from bleating on about what a huge fan of the Eagles he is and how "uncomfortable" he'd feel in sentencing his idol. The defence counsel, Mambo-jambo or whatever his name was, had to console him - that's okay judgey, everyone loves our Benny.

Christ, why didn't he just get out the cheque book, pay the fine himself, then take young Benny out for a slap up feed and a night at the strippers? Perchance the opportunity might even arise to relieve themselves by the Canning Hwy motorcade...

So what was the excuse that warrented such a lenient penalty?

"Oh, ummm Ben thought the media would get on his back even if he didn't blow over the limit... what? That sounds like a lame and stupid excuse?" Gee, I can see it now, can't you? BEN COUSINS BLOWS UNDER 0.05 IN BOOZE BUS SHAME... doesn't do it for me.

"Ummm, another excuse? Oh yeah! He really needed to do a wee, so he abandoned his car in the middle of the road, ran off and wissed, then just decided to keep on running".

Possibly he was weeing and running at the same time as he was chased by the police? I don't know about anyone else, but when I have a leak I always get the urge to run away and leave my friends stranded in my car in the middle of a major highway.

I'm sorry, but if Ben Cousins is that paranoid about media scrutiny and/or has a strange wee-and-run fetish, then he needs professional help. Either that, or once again he's flaunted the law and escaped with nothing more than a bit of lost pocket change and a captaincy that the Toasters have already mooted will be his again in 2007 anyway.

How do you reckon Jeff Farmer would have fared if he'd been in the dock facing these charges?

Chimp - Can't Stop, On Fire

As Molly is want to say, do yourself a favour and buy this album by Chimp - or at least listen to it at

Lead guitar Jon Stewart is a former housemate of mine from the late 80s, when we were living in the 'on the edge of gentrification' suburb of Islington, N1. Jon went on to form the Brit-Pop band Sleeper with fellow housemate Louise Wener. He now teaches music in Brighton and Lou writes books.

My claim to fame here is that Jon credits me with helping get the band up and running after introducing him to the music of The Pixies, arguably the best band ever - in my books at least. A shame I wasn't around when Sleeper hit the big time - Jonny owed me a couple of drinks and I really would have enjoyed that rock 'n' roll excess.

Oh and Jon, I'll never forget the exploding 'doobie' you gave me on my birthday - damn thing nearly took an eye out!

Anyway, here's my review of Chimp's latest album, Can't Stop - On Fire:

Sublime, poignant and tinged with a distant threat of madness and sitting in a hot tub by yourself in the middle of a pine forest on the cusp of spring - wind in the branches - elements of warmth and chill that lull, caress and somehow invigorate - mulled wine and hot rum toddies.

Can't Stop, On Fire is an eloquent collection of well crafted tunes that hang together as much on their emotional pull as their musical charm.

It's an old car lost on a bush track in the red dusty outback carrying Alex Lloyd, Grant Lee Buffalo, Lou Reed and the ghost of Jeff and Tim Buckley... there's a bottle being passed around and an odd scraping sound coming from the roof that no one really cares to investigate...

John Cooke, 3 October 2003
buy 'can't stop, on fire' online at

Monday, March 20, 2006

Great White Shark

For those of you who thought my last shark wasn't quite exciting enough - you try pulling the bugger in on a handline! - here's one I caught in 1978 off the main jetty at Rottnest Island... nah, only joshing... it was around at Parker's Point - they love a bit of occie those great whites.

More piccies of large dead fish hanging from hooks here:

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Contiki Kid

Thought I'd write a book based loosely on a Contiki Grand European Tour that I took in '84... at least I think it was '84... anyway, here's the first chapter.

Tales of sex, booze & bowel complaints on the 18 – 35s Grand European Tour
By John Cooke

Chapter 1 – Arrival…

When the raffish young hotel porter insisted that I smell his proffered index finger, I knew it wasn’t a good start to the jolly 18 – 35s adventure that I’d been promised.

It was a warm and (dare I say it) ‘sticky’ day in London and I’d just bussed in from Heathrow Airport to begin my very first overseas adventure. I felt like shit warmed up and the combination of a jetlag hangover and the porter’s stinky finger wasn’t making things any better.
Indeed, a swift kick in the nuts would have been a preferable option right at that moment.
“Go on, ‘ave a sniff,” he offered. “She was a right corker you know…”
“Thanks, but no thanks,” I responded, weaving to avoid the offending digit as it sailed past my left ear.
“I’ve got a room booked in the name of Cooke. It’s been made through Contiki?”
“Ah, yeah, ‘ere we go – John Cooke, Aussie lad – room 193, ninth floor,” he answered, handing over a key attached to a wooden block the size of a brick.
“Hey, before you disappear,” he whispered with a conspiratorial leer, “tell me is that dirty bugger ‘Arold still giving it to old Marge then?”

Ten minutes later and free of the finger I was in my dreary shared room, wondering which unmade bed was mine. I settled on the one with the least amount of pubic hair under the sheets, dumped my stuff and pondered what sort of axe murderer I was rooming with. As it turned out, my hirsuite roomy failed to materialise – no doubt shedding away in some other far flung corner of the hotel.

After a futile attempt to wash away the jet lag, I headed down to the Contiki Club Bar to meet the people I was about to spend the next 56 days with. The thought of my first pint in Blighty had lifted my mood somewhat… then I found myself sharing the lift with Mr Stinky Finger. Of course we stopped at every floor.

The Contiki bar was chockers when I arrived, with more thick Aussie accents bouncing off the walls than you could poke a stick at. I grabbed a pint of Carlsberg and wandered over to the designated meeting area, taking a seat and scanning my fellow tourists. Nothing immediately registered on the “possible shag” radar, but then again, I probably sailed in well under their radar too.

No, my arrival had hardly proven a conversation stopper for the assembled antipodeans, but it was still early days and I was only halfway through my first pint. Little did I know that there was a shrimp vindaloo with my name on it bubbling away in a Tottenham Court Road eatery at that very moment...

Image: Four Riders of the Apocalypse, Daniel Truscott, 2005

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

More Shark Bay pics

Thought I'd put up a few more pics from my Shark Bay trip, including a piccie of John Cooke Snr, a view looking to shore from the Blue Lagoon Pearl Farm and an evil eye shot of sharkie - note Dad's foot, complete with yellow thong in the top right hand corner!

The other pic is Dad's shadow as he's holding the handline on the pearl farm platform while I try and take a pic of the shark action in the water below - didn't work very well, but it's got a certain artistic atttraction.

If you ever get up that way, be sure and drop in for a cold beer at the Shark Bay Bowling Club!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Great Bronze Shark Hunt

An amazing three days in the wilds of Shark Bay just wouldn't be complete without a bit of shark action would it?

We launched the boat mid morning Saturday in beautiful Monkey Mia - and yes, there were dolphins swimming around our feet as we got the boat ready! - and then set off on a choppy sea towards The Blue Lagoon Pearl Farm.

The wind really gets up in Shark Bay, so we'd decided on a tour of the pearl farm first and then a spot of leisurely fishing just offshore in the bay. The farm itself is an amazingly ramshackle structure anchored a few hundred metres offshore, with its own facilities and a state-of-the-art pearl shell breeding laboratory. It also provides a much better platform for fishing than dad's big tinnie, so out came the rods, reels and handlines, along with a bag of mullies and a bucket of squid for bait.

Five minutes after the first cast the outlines of two young bronze whalers came circling the platform looking for an easy feed. Three minutes later and Dad had hooked one up, alas it spit the hook and cruised away - three times!

I switched to a smaller line and caught a young parrot fish and as I pulled it in, old sharkie had a go at it, but missed. I pulled the parrot fish in, hooked it on to the big line and hurled it back into the bay. Sure enough, sharkie was interested and bang, it hit the line and took off.

For the next 10 minutes I fought it back towards the platform, amazed to see it leap out of the water a few times, give a couple of flips and crash back into the water. Finally we hauled it on deck and were about to go the catch-and-release method, but the silly bugger rolled itself up in fishing line and we weren't going near those snapping jaws to cut it loose.

I'll tell you what though, those fresh fillets soaked in milk, rolled in flour and pan fried in virgin olive oil with garlic and chili made the effort very worthwhile.

More Shark Bay pics and tales shortly...

Monday, March 13, 2006

Shark Bay adventures

Just spent three days in remote Shark Bay, eight hours out of Perth by road, where indeed I not only saw sharks in the water, but managed to catch one on a handline and pull the bugger in. I was going to do the catch-and-release thing, but ol' sharkie - a 1.2 metre young bronze whaler - tangled himself up in fishing line and I wasn't going anywhere near that snapping jaw! Pics and full details to come shortly...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Perth is baking...

Well, we're now heading into our fifth consecutive day of 36-degree plus temperatures. It's punishingly hot - great when you can slip into something cool like the Indian Ocean, but not so great at the desk or trying to sleep at night.

Spent the long weekend up at Lancellin teaching the young bloke how to boogie board and wallowing in the ocean - superb - even lunched on a lobster to complete the scene while I watched the Dockers complete a narrow win over the Woods. Imagine playing AFL in this sort of heat!!!

Anyway, took a photo of this interesting, yet unfortuately rainless cloud that hovered above me over the weekend - at least it blocked the sun for a few fleeting minutes...

Monday, February 27, 2006

Dockers HAMMER West Coast

The headline says it all really, 'Dockers Hammer Eagles'... not 'Dockers Get Over the Line Against Gallant Eagles' or 'Dockers Snatch Unlikely Victory', they HAMMERED the Wet Toast!

Quite frankly, it was all over in the first term and with Elvis scoring a lazy half dozen and Jlo picking off three, it bodes well for the season ahead.

Jimmy Walker was running around like a 16 year old school boy, Medders has traded in the tree trunk thighs for an explosive set of pins, Sandy was monstering everything that came within 20 feet of him and the last I heard, young Peake is still running.

The defining moment: Judd grabs the ball in the centre, heads off for a trademark run, bounces the ball - bang! caught! - quick turnover, Dockers goal...

See you all next week at Subi where we'll teach Eddie's mob a football lesson.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Drugs in AFL - the quick fix

With the AFL pre-season comp already underway, I thought some of you might enjoy the following article that I wrote when working on The Footy Show Magazine in 1999. It's a three part series about the use of local anaesthetics in AFL to keep players 'on the track' - a ticking legal time bomb that could go off at any time.

I'll kick off with an interview I conducted with Peter Daicos...

The Quick Fix
The Footy Show Magazine, October 1999

Peter Daicos, the 'Macedonian Marvel', performed feats of sheer magic on the footy field during a 250-game career with the Magpies. No argument, he was a dead-set legend. But he pays a huge price - every single day of his life. JOHN COOKE listens.

In 1990, the year before he retired, Peter Daicos kicked 97 goals and went on to play in the Collingwood Premiership side. Indeed, 'Daics' was prepared to put his body on the line for his beloved black and whites. But as each year passes, the cost of that committment continues to mount.

Daicos was introduced to painkillers early in his career and they soon became a part of his playing life. In his second season with Collingwood, the start of the 1980 season, he broke the fourth finger on his left hand and needed painkilling injections to play.

"I ended up playing 13 or 14 games with the finger busted and just kept getting injections. In turn, I snapped a tendon because there was no feeling in the finger," Daicos recounts. "At the end of 1980 they did a tendon graft. Because I had no feeling in the finger, I ended up wrecking it... I've got a scar from the top of my finger right down to the wrist and I've got more scars where they took the tendon out of my forearm to graft into my finger and palm," he explains.

Moving down the body, Daics "did his groins" in a state game in 1981, but went on to play the second half of the season and all of 1982 with the help of painkilling injections. "Not all the time, but whenever it was inflamed..."

"At the start of '83 I had my groins operated on, I had an inductor repaired and a couple of hernias - I played a year and a bit with that. But the worst injury I've ever sustained - and I've had 11 knee ops, my nose pushed all over my face and my teeth knocked out - were the stress fractures in my feet," Daicos recalled.

Those fractures flared in 1987 and the Macedonian Marvel was put on the retired list for the first 13 rounds of the season because he "couldn't walk". "By about round 13, they (the club) said 'we want you to come back and just have a kick-to-kick on Thursday nights' - which I sometimes had to have an injection to get through.

"In the end I played the last nine games of 1987 having injections in both feet before the game and sometimes at half time. That was some of the worst pain I've been through. After the game, when all the painkillers wore off, my feet were just in agony," he says.

"These days, Daicos concedes that if he's on his feet for more than an hour, he's "gone". In fact, he describes the feeling as " being hit over the bottom of the feet with a baseball bat."

Despite the pain, Daicos is keen to defend his former club and the doctors who injected him. While the 37-year-old can't remember what was in every syringe that came his way, he is adamant that players knew exactly what they were getting on the day. He also contests that painkillers would never have been used to numb pain at the risk of a more serious, long-term injury developing - despite the recurrent pain in his feet.

"After I got the first injections in my finger I thought it's still be pretty bad, but it went all dead and I could play football again. Then I thought, 'yeah, no worries, this is pretty easy'. I think your love of the game overshadows thoughts of the future," Daicos reflects.

In fact, he concedes that he rarely thought about how much more damage he might be doing to an injury by playing on it. "All you kept thinking was, 'I'll keep getting through with injections and at the end of the season I've got six months off and I can have a bit of an op and I'll be alright'."

Didn't anyone say anything? Was there not concern?

"People used to ask me, 'how do you think you'll feel when you're 40?' and to be honest, I feel pretty bad - I can't really squat on my knees or bend down much, my fingers are pretty bad, my shoulder's sore where I dislocated it late in my career, my legs do feel pretty bad and I find it hard to be on my feet all the time.

"Even Dad used to say, 'what are you going to be like at 40? - have a rest, stop having the injections'. But all you want to do is play. And I think you feel that if you don't play, then the club will hold it against you in a sense. They'd probably say you're not mentally tough enough.

"The problem was, I always wanted to play. You know, I'd be the one in the end saying 'let's just put a shot in it'."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Just a pretty flower

It seems that I've upset a lot of West Coast supporters with my unkind words about Ben Cousins. Even worse, they hate my blog and tell me I'm a bad writer - a "failed journalist" to boot. One bloke reckons he'd rather have a tetanus injection than read my posts.

Fair dinkum people, it's sapped me of the will to put finger to keyboard... so, instead of the usual rave, I've decided just to post a picture of a pretty flower (or three) from my backyard. It's not a good picture and it's even a bit out of focus, but at least it won't offend the delicate sensibilities of my good friends at

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

More Booze Bus Benny pics...

I just couldn't help myself - here's a couple more Ben Cousins creations to help tickle your fancy on this hot and humid Perth afternoon...

Monday, February 20, 2006

West Coast Il-eagles

Now I finally get the West Coast song!

"We're Il-eagles, West Coast Il-eagles,
and Benny's here, to flout his crimes.
Run from coppers, they'll never stop us,
we're Il-eagles,
we're FLYING HIGH...
cut me a line
that beer's mine..."

Friday, February 17, 2006

Booze Bus Benny...hic!

What a day for the Wet Toast - first the Leapin' Leo Masks and now we find out that Benny Cousins has done a runner from his car to escape a Booze Bus! By crikey, he's always on the go that lad!

Young Cuz even left his passengers siting in the back seat of his Merc and blocked one lane of traffic, so desperate was he to avoid our friendly men and women in blue. It seems that his front seat passenger also legged it, although as far as I'm aware, passengers are generally allowed to be intoxicated... unless of course there was more than booze involved here.

What gets me is that Benny's lawyer is talking it up that he doen't think anything further is likely to be made of the issue - as Big Jack once said in a lusty tone, 'pig's arse!' If this doesn't go further, there's something really rotten in the state of excitement.

Leapin' Leo Barry back for the Derby

It's game on folks - Shane at could well find himself up on charges of inciting blue & gold race riots...
Mark my words, next Sunday's NAB Cup Fremantle v West Coast Eagles Duurby has now become a whole lot more interesting thanks to the 'Leapin' Leo Barry Mask' that you can download from the website by clicking on the link below.

Always eager to bait a Weagle when the opportunity presents itself, Shane has devised the mask to remind our Chardy supping bretheren about an unfortunate incident that took place on the last Saturday in September 2005 - notably, THEY LOST THE GRAND FINAL TO THE SYDNEY SWANS!

I urge one and all to break out the Clag and the popsicle sticks and get to work on creating your very own Leo mask to kick start season 2006 in grand style. And if you ruffle a few feathers on the way, so be it.

Let's do a virtual Dale Kickett and send the Toasters home in their Claremont Taxis with their tails firmly between their legs! Any less would simply be un-Australian...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Wheat, lies and videotape...

It's a funny old world, init? Over in the US old Dickie Cheney is popping his own side in the chest with pellet guns - must be a West Coast supporter trying to steal his parking space - and over here little Johnny is playing silly buggers with our national grain - the almighty wheat kernel.

Word is that Johnny is meeting with the Australian Wheat Board (AWB), which is up to its neck in the Saddam Hussein 'money for grain' scandal, to ask if it's okay for other wheat suppliers to start selling to Iraq.

My take on what the conversation will be is something like this:

JH: "Ahhh, now, ahhhh do youse blokes reckon we could take a bit of pressure off us blokes by letting someone else take a slice of the highly lucrative wheat pie that you've monopolised and lined your own pockets with for years?"

AWB: "Ahhh, no I don't think so Johnny and just remember, a few of youse blokes have had your own thumbs stuck squarely in this pie and you wouldn't want that getting out now, ayyy?"

JH: "Ahhhh, oor, ahhhh, no you're dead right there mate - old Vailey's sweating bullets already. Look, the general public don't give a rat's about this whole thing anyway, so I'll just chuck something overboard to divert their attention and rev up the old 'Beazley's got no ticker' line - they love that one, hurgh, hurgh (Johnny chuckling)."

In the meantime, Saddam Hussein is on trial in a pair of dirty long johns... funny old world, init?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Matilda Bay moonlight magic

Image: courtesy Brian D. Jones 2004

Last night we watched the full moon rise over the Swan River from the shore line at Matilda Bay. It had been a typically hot Perth summers day and the yellow glow of the moon seemed to suck the heat from the air just as the first licks of sea breeze started drifting in.

Just to complete the scene in an oh-that's-so-Perth way, a dolphin bobbed up in the reflected moonlight, carving long, graceful swathes across the surface.

All this took place to the soundtrack of tennis ball on willow, the 'plock' of champagne corks being popped and the sizzle of meat cooking on the communal 'barbies'. The whole subculture of communal barbecue codes of behaviour is worth a post on its own - stay tuned.

Despite the number one son copping a tennis ball in the eye during a fiery game of totem tennis with Uncle Jason, it was one of those lovely days that reinforces the decision to move back to Perth.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Not the bloody Western Force!

Well, time to head off home, load the double barrel shotty and take guard on the front porch.

Tonight is the first game for Perth's very own Super-14s rugby team, the Western Force, and I'm expecting parking mayhem to erupt as rum-fuelled, no-neck rugger types seek out prime spots to park their people movers.

It's great to see another team in WA, it's just a shame that it has to be a rugby team... seriously, this game is about as entertaining as a train crash.

Big blokes running into each other, lobbing the ball backwards and then gathering in tight circles to peer up each other's sweaty shorts - what's the WOW factor in that.

No wonder the local bottle shop runs out of Bundy pre-match - everyone's gets pissed up to the eyeballs in order to enjoy themselves. And what's with the Bundy??? Are there really 43,000 ex-pat Queenslanders now living in WA?

They call it God's game, but I reckon God is more likely to be decked out in purple, red, green and white and rooting for the fabulous Fremantle Dockers. AFL, now there's a game of real skill and excitement for you - none of this bloody scrum scullduggery.

I don't mind if they play their rugby up at Joondalup Stadium, or better still, Darwin, but Subiaco should be preserved for the real game.

Bring on Freo's first hit out against the Wet Toast next Sunday and should any of you yellow and blue scumbags try and park the Rangie on my front lawn, expect a few pelletts in the jacksey!