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My Favourite NOFX Song

If someone asked me what my favourite NOFX song was, the top-of-my-head answer would probably be Linoleum.

NOFX in Melbourne, 2014

NOFX in Melbourne, 2014

Not that I think it has the best lyrics – Franco Un-American has better lyrics. And for tunes, I actually like Liza and Louise or The Brews more.

It probably has to do with the fact that it was the first song they played in their first gig in Indonesia seven years ago, in 2007.

I can’t remember how many attended that concert, but an online report says it was about 5.000.

In a city of around 20 million, it wasn’t that much. But it was more about the sheer excitement of seeing a major punk band that the audience have been listening since they were in their early teens.

Back then, there had not been many international punk bands holding concerts in Indonesia, and I still can’t imagine how exciting it would have been for major fans of NOFX.

As I did not manage to get there super early, I wasn’t anywhere close to the stage, so I think there were about 3.000 people between me and the band, plus barricaded area in front of the stage.

So in a typical scenario, that would ensure me being untouched by whatever slamming, pushing or other shenanigans going on in the mosh/circle pit.

But when the first tune played, and yeah, I am pretty sure it was Linoleum, I felt myself being pushed backwards and basically swallowed by waves of human bodies. I can only imagine what it was like near the stage, but if I could feel the impact from that distance, it must be pretty mad.

I recently had a chance to watch NOFX again, this time in a closed venue in Melbourne, with probably a third, if not less, of the number of audience in the Jakarta gig.

It was sweaty, and packed as well, but this time there was a much bigger chance for me to get closer to the stage, and that I did.

Also, I have learned from experience that as a woman, mosh pits in Melbourne are generally safer compared to Jakarta. there are more women in Melbourne’s mosh pits, to begin with, and so far no one tried to grope me. Maybe things are better now in Jakarta, I don’t really know.

But I certainly got a better view of the band playing this time, and was more able to express my appreciation for their set (by jumping around and getting shoved, body-slammed, and headbutted) better as well.

So that was good.

But of course nothing can replace that gig in Jakarta, when half of my excitement was actually fueled by the awe and excitement of my friends.

It was a shame that there were some ugly rumors and happenings surrounding that concert. It was badly organized, for a start, and the waiting time for the gate to open was too long. I heard that there were troubles with their gig in Bali as well. My guess is the event organizers were young, reckless, and did not bother to check in with the scene.

Ah well, that is in the past. See? I am having trouble remembering the bad stuff yet getting all nostalgic with the good ones.


Soundwave 2014

Paying 180 dollars and ended up seeing only two out of the dozens offered in Soundwave is not really my ideal festival scenario, but work blahblah meeting blahblah, roadwork blahblah no trains, and so on.

So I missed Dir en Grey, Mastodon and Glassjaw, but I did get to watch Stiff Little Fingers, whose singer’s voice remains unchanged over the last 40 years. It was funny seeing all the younger audience checking them out while waiting for the next band to play on the adjacent stage. That was cool.

Stiff Little Fingers

Stiff Little Fingers

And I  watched GreenDay too. And that was awesome too.

When they played at my hometown 20 years ago, I was too young to go. So it took me two decades and…what, five albums or more? until I finally got to hear the songs that helped me got into so much more afterwards…including into Stiff Little Fingers!

I got a bit lost during the first few songs, cause they were obviously from the newer albums, but the younger audience seem to know the words. Duh.

But that wasn’t any problem (The guys bullying me were, though), and I was heartened to see the younger fans singing along to them. I actually was pleasantly surprised to see that much people eager to see GreenDay and not only for their Dookie/Insomniac songs.

Because they’re a decent band. Let’s not get into all that punk rock sell-out PC things. As a rock band, or at least as musicians, they sing about subjects that are way more interesting for me than most of the other artists out there are blabbing about.

Sure, they sang silly songs as well, and they are not Crass or Subhumans, but at least they acknowledged that this world (or at least America) has problems, ranging from the idiocy of reality talent shows, war, suburbia’s time bombs, to inherited hypocrisy.

They are also pretty good showmen. Billie Joe getting all theatrical and Tre Cool getting off the drum to dance in a bra, the interaction with the audience members and all that.

I didn’t get to mosh (not allowed), and was too far from the stage than what I would have really liked. They didn’t play Westbound Sign and Macy’s Day Parade, which I really like. But man, that was FUN.

And thanks for the Bohemian Rhapsody impromptu singalong, you Melbourne Soundwave weirdos, You’ll know what I am on about. They even synced the lights and all, if you noticed.

PS. Has anyone heard the Billie Joe- Norah Jones Foreverly tribute album? Pretty decent actually!


Window to Sydney

Please excuse my ignorance if this doesn’t reflect the Sydney you know 😀Window to Sydney

The Roo Valley and more!

I went down under again!

Hyam's beach

This time it wasn’t so cold, although the weather was unpredictable indeed. Most of the time it was raining or cloudy.

My first stop was Melbourne, but I only spent a day there, so didn’t get to do much before heading to Canberra the next day.

My mum always talks highly of the capital and I can definitely see why. It is indeed very ordered and peaceful, and I think the best weather throughout the trip happened there- it was sunny and the trees were at their best.

And the charm didn’t end there. First there was the city planning museum. The idea of a very well-planned city, which served political purposes of a nation, exclusively, was quite intriguing. Jakarta is a city overburdened with population and purposes, with everything ranging from government buildings, luxury malls, daunting CBDs and slums all mushed together. There have been talks of moving the capital to Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan. Would the idea of having an exclusively political city work? I don’t know but if the government continues to be as corrupt as it is now, most likely we will see more miraculous permit to build one mall or luxury blocks after another popping up, even after the capital is moved.

Then there’s the parliament house. I was first surprised at how it has only two assembly rooms (Upper and Lower House), in comparison to the god knows how many rooms we have here in the House of Representatives (they’re going to build a new building with a spa on top, yknow!), and was impressed when the tour guide told me that they often have tours of school children to help them understand what goes on in the house. Now that’s an idea. I often pass through the Attorney General’s Office next to a public high school in Jakarta, and wonder do those students know whats going on in those buildings next to them? do they even know what the people there do?

Other memorable visits included the National Gallery-which was showing Southeast,

One of the waterfalls we saw on our bushwalks

and mostly Indonesian, heritages, of all exhibitions! and the National Portrait Gallery. Of course I enjoyed the Japanese and Chinese section, learned some new things about the ancient artworks from my own homeland, and to my surprise I developed a keen interest and liking towards aboriginal arts, although I must say I like the contemporary ones better.

Next stop: Kangaroo Valley! Yes! although it rained most of the time we still managed to make the best of the time we spent there. I went on my first kayak ride (I was slow, but I made it!) in the Kangaroo River, went to the beautiful, beautiful Hyam’s Beach, reportedly having the whitest sand in the world and I think I believe that, and went bushwalking to see gorgeous waterfalls, although it started to rain in the middle of it.

The shopping areas were cute. I enjoy browsing the little shops selling vintage stuff and souvenirs, although yes, it was unashamedly touristy. I like this funny old fudge shop especially.

Do you think Kangaroo Valley would be swarming with kangaroos?, yes it

The Fudge Shop

was. I mean,there are probably other parts of Austalia where you can see more of them, but we went to this open field in one part of the valley and I’ve seen more kangaroos there than I’ve ever seen.

And it wasn’t just kangaroos. The valley also allowed me to sight wombats, a wallaby and even an echidna. In short, I had a wonderful getaway.

Then time to head to bustling Sydney. I have to say, I had stronger feelings towards it compared to Melbourne. Maybe its because I’m used to living in a big city so I felt more at home. Melbourne is cool, artsy and quirky, but Sydney has this “I have to BE here!” vibe that I am more familiar with.

One of Sydney's cool spaces

And I was also impressed because despite the amount of things going on there, there were still beautiful parks, and even a lovely botanic garden! The walk through the garden , especially the part where you’re by the sea and you can see the ocean, the other parts of the city, and the harbor bridge, was like a dream. Not to mention the
clean harbors! To me, who’s accustomed to flooding, foul-smelling ports, seeing the city’s beautiful harbor was a nearly unbelievable experience.

Buut….I heard that not very long ago, the Sydney Harbor wasn’t that clean. The Harbor Bridge wasn’t that pretty either. So maybe it’s not too late. You know, as long as we stop mucking around and be rid of all the idiocy that goes on around here…

I made time to see an old friend I haven’t seen since a decade ago, I think. She is now an aspiring artist and she allowed me to see her rehearse in this really cool space.

One of the sculptures in Bondi Beach

And what’s a visit to Sydney without going to the beach? it was too cold to swim in Bondi, but there was Sculpture in The Park exhibition and so we walked along the coast (it was another sunny day), saw the artworks-some quirky, some ironic, some just plain intriguing-and went all the way to the beautiful cemetery.

I wish had more time to spend in Sydney. As I said before, I felt a connection and I think there’s much more to explore.

Nevertheless, I’m glad I had a chance to visit it and I hope Sydney (and the country) is yet to see the last of me!

My Winter in July: Giant dolls, sharpies and sheeps

As my brief previous post announced, I went down under a little while ago. I had immense fun, ate many new interesting food and saw amazing things.

This post would be about the travels only because I don’t believe in long travel posts and I have so much to share with you guys. The food part will come after this. This is my first journey abroad, ever! I was so excited and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

I went to Melbourne, initially, and was pleasantly surprised how a city could be so organized-trams arepredictable!- and the air could be so clean. So many parks too!

Of course I visited Brunswick and Sydney Road with all its cute little shops and restaurant. My crafty friend vanilla vain recommended this craft shop to me and I didn’t buy anything but I took pictures of the giant matryoshkas in the park across it. The pole in front of the shop was also decorated with crochet squares. Miss V would definitely love it! There was also this shop called ‘Kami’ that had loads and loads of pretty paper-most with Japanese patterns and this gardening shop with quirky tin animal decorations. Far cry from your gnomes and mushrooms!

The Melbourne Art Gallery was showing a special set on European Masters but that wasn’t my thing, so I explored the other parts of the gallery, I especially liked the Asian section and it had a special section on Tea! yesh. the zen of drinking tea indeed. It’s one of my favorite drinks you know.

It’s a shame the gallery was not displaying middle eastern arts -those from Persia for example- because I am a fan. I did found a beautiful second hand book on Islamic art but was hesitant to buy it.

Speaking of books, yes, there was a tour of record stores and book stores too but scant funds + being overwhelmed in general, led to more express, wide eyed exploring sessions and little purchase. I also went to the zoo and saw koalas and the most beautiful snow leopards there. I saw more koalas in the wilderness though.

One day I went to an exhibition titled “Skins and Sharps“. Apparently in the 1970s a youth subculture that is in some ways akin to the skinhead subculture in England had sprouted in Melbourne: the Sharpies. It had its own things though, such as the custom-designed tees and cardigans as well as its high respect for local bands such as Hush and AC/DC. The exhibition was well-organized and displayed very interesting stuff like actual cardies worn by the sharpies, cartoons and clippings from that era. The event also served as a reunion, apparently, so it was fascinating to see the sharpies-some now with kids and husbands/wives, pointing at the photos and saying “remember that day?”.

Then I went to CERES. I was told that I was going to go orgasmic on what I would find there and I have to agree it was very, very inspiring. it’s like my little dreams of what my capital city could have all coming true in one place…community gardens, organic cafes, solar-powered offices, and free bike repairing shop. definitely something I’d get involved in if I was part of the neighborhood.

CERES Organic farm


I stayed only for a few days in Melbourne, then it’s off to the great ocean road. The beaches were spared of tourists because it was winter. The whole cold, silent atmosphere made the ocean, and the cliffs, even more massive-and beautiful!. We also went on bushwalks in cold rainforests. We made it to the Triplet Falls and the Melba Gully at night where we saw SO many glow worms! at first we nearly believed they


A view of the twelve apostles


were non existent or decided to take the day off that day. I even mistook the moonlight peeking between leaves as their glows, but after a few minutes of walking we discovered they were there indeed! of course I couldn’t take pictures of that one.

On the way, We made a stop at the Amaze’n’games. Sure enough, there was a wooden maze and sure enough ittook me about an hour to finish the challenge, which was to get to all four of the flags in the maze.

When I was looking for the flags, I passed the exit several times, but couldn’t get to it when I actually wanted to go outside! I couldn’t even find the emergency ones! so I had to cheat (boo!) because we were running late.We stayed at the Johanna River Cottage-a lovely self-sustained wooden hideaway with a fireplace (!) overlooking a farm and the mountains.

The animals-sheeps, goats, alpacas, ponies, were lovely and we get to feed them! there was one sheep who was especially endearing. it kept following us around and it had a crooked mouth. the friendly fellow who was in charge said that the sheep was an orphan and its mother had probably known about this since it was born and so left it :(. There was also this friend here who was bullied around by the ponies 😀

After the Great Ocean Road, we went to the supposedly snowy area near Mount Beauty. We stayed in this Japanese style Bed and Breakfast with a view of Mount Bogong. The lady who ran the place was fond of classic movies so we spent considerable time watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the like with a VHS tape and were also entertained by the 1980s ad that showed up now and then because she recorded some of the movies from the telly. This place was also lovely and she had a fluffy cat called Snoopy.

the orchard where we ate lunch..sort of


We went bike riding around the area-I discovered yet again that I was SO unfit! I couldn’t make it through the ascending paths!- and saw beautiful orchards(sans trees or fruits due to the weather) the micro-hydro lake, and enjoyed the awesomeness in general. Our bushwalks led to a pack of kangaroos-they were HUGE, and what strong legs! I bet THEY would never have trouble getting uphill:D

We tried going up Falls Creek to go toboganning but apparently there wasn’t enough snow that day :(. ah well, I had a good day anyway for my bday. stayed at the cottage and did some sketches. a quiet day before more old movies in the night.

Now the dry skin from winter weather and the scars from the bushwalks are starting to fade, along with the memories. still I try to keep the best of them with me. It is starting to feel like a dream, actually, a wonderful one indeed. Even if there wasn’t any snow. 😀