Thursday, 24 November 2011

Buddy Guy to play Melbourne

Composed yet effervescent blues player, Buddy Guy with polka dot guitar accoutrement is set to play Melbourne this April. I'm not entirely sure whether I'll still be on upside down soil, but if I am, might be a good time to catch the 75 year old from Louisiana ripping it up. I first caught sight of him on a 30 ft x 70 ft cinema screen as we sat on bad seats with a sneaky bottle of wine in hand, he was destroying (in a positive way) the Rolling Stones track, Champagne & Reefer.  Martin Scorsese's documentary Shine a Light was playing, it charted the Rolling Stones "A Bigger Bang" Tour featuring the 1972 album Exile on Main Street.  As we left the darkness, bottle empty, spirits high, with buzz akin to having just exited a concert, something felt different, a memory pin had been dropped on my life map.  There were other great performances Jack White was soft and endearing, the sheer energy of Mick and character of Keith & Co was admirable, yet Buddy was something new and old rolled into one, his was a stand out performance . The Stones celebrate their 50th anniversary next year, lets hope the draw Buddy back into the fold, if not I pray I'm here in the Palais Theatre on the 3rd April when the lights go up.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

in AW(M)E...

I'm in my bed with PFD (post festival depression) even a fancy dinner at Coda tonight wasn't able to revive my dampened demeanor.  Its a serious combination of crashes, excitement, adrenalin, champagne, late nights, early mornings, sugar and fantastically mesmerising loud music. The past four days have been an overload on the senses, its difficult to take stock of everything I've seen, heard and felt. I wandered around freely with my Media pass (Hi, my names Media, whats your name?) booze brimming networking events where the fizzy white and rock oysters appeared about my person, rubbing shoulders with Programme Directors from Glastonbury, Roskilde, Fuji Rocks (to name but a few). Lounging on plush seats in the Arts Centre as the intoxicating sounds of 70s golden age Ethiopia wash over me, Mulatu Astatke working his magic. Skanking away to Mad Professor as Irration Steppas get involved in the DJ booth. Being utterly blown away by the majestic voices of The Congos as they perform Heart of the Congos their seminal album produced by Lee Scratch Perry, this is their first time in Australia and I'm back stage saying hello in a cloud of Jah inspired smoke.  In short my life is wonderful but nothing I can do right now is going to top the last 96 hours of my life. AWME thank you very much indeed, it was a pleasure working with you, working for you, running around, tweeting, blogging, facebooking, editing, uploading and of course schmoozing. I am going to watch a film now, perhaps Wah Do Dem?

Photograph © Tajette O'Halloran - Mornington Island Dancers

Photograph © Tajette O'Halloran - Noriko Tandano

Photograph © Marie Muggivan - Graveyard Train

Photograph © James Henry - Mad Professor

Photograph © James Henry - Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

Photograph © James Henry - Lotek

Photograph © James Henry 

Photograph © Marie Muggivan

Monday, 21 November 2011



Thrill the World zombies race to their starting point an unauthorised underground carpark used in Mad Max belonging to the University of Melbourne

Sunday, 20 November 2011


DIY studio party with live performance and exhibition, Fitzroy

Friday, 18 November 2011

Melbourne is packed full of back street warehouses bursting with creative exploration and DIY events.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Summer shines down

What better way to spend a Saturday morning than at the beach, we headed off early to beat the crowds and arrived in time for a breakfast of Champagne and strawberries on the shore. Once the masses arrived, feeling refreshed and invigorated by the sun and the scenery we headed off to a gay union in Fitzroy Gardens. What greeted us were flamingos, dolphins, dogs in tutu's and all manner of campness and frivolity. It was shaping up to a be a perfect day, I delighted in the trail around the park, the pauses for song, quizes, high jump and high jinks allowed the bubbles to fizz in my head and the conversation to flow. Australian's certainly know how to throw a party...

Black Rock Beach   The calmness before the masses arrive - we left as the beach was becoming overwhelming   My infatuation with the cars of Melbourne continues...   The flamingo and the unicorn.   Much campness in the park
Two hot dolphins

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Carnivale time @ Edinburgh Gardens

Two carnival leftovers from The Village

Edinburgh Gardens in North Fitzroy is the epicentre of Melbourne park life, I guess I would dare refer to it as the London Fields of Melbourne. It has the drinking, bike flexing, costume wearing elements, yet with less aggro and more sunshine, plus the toilets are safe and just about clean enough to use. I have already spent several sunny days lazing on a picnic blanket consuming alcohol and various chips and dips. Last weekend it was home to The Village a wonderful carnival, gypsy style with polka bands with many a waistcoat and moustache on display. I look forward to more impromptu events and gatherings ahead.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Harvest time

Off to the Gathering in Werribee Park today, along with the rest of Melbourne, its a joyous day with a clear skies and sunshine forecast, I felt the twinge of home when I gazed at the line up, Portishead are headliners, Bristol massive. Other performers include TV on the Radio, Clap Hands Say Yeah, Trojan Soundsystem, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and The Flaming Lips...

Thursday, 10 November 2011

One door closes, four doors open...

me @ Dark Horse Experiment, Australian's are very trusting with their expensive IT Consumables

I met up with a friend fresh off the boat from London for an evening in Melbourne. Having just arrived in Australia with his boyfriend and contemplating where to call home for the foreseeable future - Melbourne or Sydney.  My own decision was a relatively simple analysis - the amount of interesting people I encountered whilst wandering the streets. Which of course was Melbourne, rich in ethnic diversity, fashion identity, musical individuality and pretty trams.  However as my companion pointed out (something he wasn't prepared for) was Sydney's WOW factor, skyline, beaches, great weather and a capital city feel.  Add to that the thriving magazine and fashion industry Sydney on first inspection was out shining Melbourne!

Sydney folk are very complimentary about Melbourne, they love the food, music and fashion, however the reverse is less generally less favourable with Melburnian's regarding there big brother as brash, in-your-face and money orientated, perhaps a touch of sibling rivalry.

To appreciate what Melbourne has to offer, requires more than a tram ride around the city, it reveals itself to you slowly, work and time are required to fully enjoy the fruits, there are hidden bars, cafe's and parks tucked away in the northern suburbs that offer something different. A bike ride along Merri Creek, will take you to Collingwood City Farm, where you can observe the peacock's fighting it out in the trees.  A grey winter is peppered with an impressive array of festivals, comedy, music, film, human rights, or a human rights comedy, music, film, festival.

To fly the relatively impartial flag (I have no loyalty to Melbourne or Sydney at this stage) an adventure to unearth the merits of Melbourne was in order.  With that in mind we embarked on a Thursday evening gallery hop, one of the great plus points of Melbourne is the burgeoning art scene both disparate and plentiful, there were eight galleries I knew of with openings that evening - we opted for four in the CBD all within walking/tram jumping distance.
The first, Flinders Lane Gallery, is a slick and rather affectionate money operation, the atmosphere both hospitable and gracious, there is nothing more awful than walking into a fancy gallery and being given the death stare of rejection. Okay you can't afford the art, but you're civilised and educated enough to appreciate it, plus you probably bring the 'credibility' factor up a little. As we drank the complimentary wine (best wine of the evening) and if nibbled on the remaining strawberries from the cheese platter, we engaged in conversation with one of the gallery representatives, the works in the main room had sold out all bar two. William Breen's oil on linen paintings were enticingly nostalgic yet modern depictions of Melbourne.  These candid still lives captured the more edgier side of Fitzroy, Collingwood and Northcote in an endearing light and fitted perfectly into any design based environment. I was impressed by the tones and use of shadow and wondered if my home might one day be captured in the same way. The side room was home to industrial sculptures, less accessible, Scott remarked they 'belonged in the lobby of a large corporation', perhaps a mining one? Anyway we were less enthused and headed onwards.

William Breen at Flinders Lane Gallery
  William Breen at Flinders Lane Gallery William Breen at Flinders Lane Gallery
We were lucky enough to be shown paintings by William Breen from a previous exhibition. 
Up seven floors of the Nicholas Building sits Blindside Gallery, an artist run space, it has the worst and most expensive wine on offer, last time I was there I actually laughed at how bad the wine (and art) was. This time the wine was as bad as I remembered, yet the art had improved slightly, still conceptual, the back room displayed work inspired by an essay written by an Academic who I've witnessed in a pool of vomit one drunken evening.  It was a mix up of kryptonite and power lines, perhaps I should get round to reading the essay, however if the paintings by Piers Greville are anything to go by, I'm sensing it will be a tale of pre-apocalyptic meltdown. We gagged our wine down, engaged in pleasantries and moved on.

Piers Greville at Blindside Gallery
Next was a most unfriendly bunch, unhindered by the energies in the room, it was interesting to gauge how different each venue and crowd was. If I could equate the audience to a certain social set, it would be a brief period of severe insecurity when realising art school was about who could out cool each other, not through style but sheer intimidation and pretentious demeanour. The gallery, Daine Singer was cute and hospitable paintings by Sean Bailey were small and abstract in form, colour blocking and without context left me underwhelmed. A respite came in a trip to the toilet, we had to be escorted through the architecture studio upstairs, lots of fancy apples and high ceilings, swish.

Sean Bailey at Diane Singer

Sean Bailey at Diane Singer
Our last stop ended on a high, Dark Horse Experiment gallery home to a solid selection of medium to large scale figurative paintings by Adrian Doyle with decorative abstract fills - a modern day Klimt, the owner dressed in skinny leather tie was masquerading as a waiter, interacting with his clientele and creating an inclusive vibe. We were lead through a door into a large collaborative open studios, with music playing and around each desk were people encouraging you to observe their work, they are hosting a full on party on the 23rd December, so watch this space for details.

Adrian Doyle @ Dark Horse Experiment

Adrian Doyle @ Dark Horse Experiment

Adrian Doyle @ Dark Horse Experiment

Open Studios @ Dark Horse Experiment

 Open Studios @ Dark Horse Experiment