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Cycling in Melbourne-Part 1- Chinatown

Oh my God, watercolor, you can be so hard to govern you’d make Bakunin jealous.

I finally finished the first in my ‘Cycling in Melbourne’ series of artworks. I can’t say I am thoroughly satisfied, but at a point you just have to stop before you do more damage.

Cycling in Melbourne - Chinatown

This one is inspired by Melbourne CBD’s ‘Chinatown’ district, which extends from roughly one end of Little Bourke Street to the other.


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.

Forgotten Worlds in Collingwood

Being in a bar when you don’t drink alcohol can be a bit of a bore. I do have a few bars I actually enjoy being in, thanks to other factors at play there, such as the food or the music. Examples in Melbourne are the Pinnacle in Fitzroy North – good food and interesting DJs and live music, Grumpy’s Green in Fitzroy (Nice stage and all eco-friendly with used materials and lots of Vegan options), and The Grace Darling hotel. I am adding another one to the list, and this one is quite special really, to the point that it might just be sitting on top of it. The name is Forgotten Worlds, and it is nestled in Johnston Street, Collingwood. It has plenty of stuff that may be too weird for others but made it work well for me. Forgotten Worlds sign First of all, FW’s interior channels a specific point in time, in which geometric, flat, pastel desk lamps-and other furniture for that matter- are considered cutting edge and analog answering machines are hi-tech. Being my age and from a developing country, I actually remembered thinking that they were, at one point in my life, classy and cool. So it’s an interesting sensation.   Second, I have been in a situation where I think a coffee-or even tea- would be GREAT, at least, to make me more tolerant of the drunken chatter and state of minds of the people I am with. But, alas, the bar doesn’t have any coffee or tea, or they refuse to make one because its past that hour. The same goes for food. And it is a pain in the derriere to go out of the bar to actually look for those things. espresso But not in the Forgotten Worlds.

As long as the bar is open, the espresso machine is too. Since it is an (drum roll) Arcade/Bar/Espresso joint! I am not a coffee snob so can’t do a detailed explanation or critic of the soy latte I had. But it is certainly better than what I can whip up. And next door is a pizza place from which you can order munchies of your choice – pizza, kebabs, chips, even dessert. All right, its not ultra healthy, boutique cuisine, but hey it’s actually open till 11. I think they’ve made a great decision of skipping the food but providing coffee till late hours. It’s not so much pressure on the bar staff and less messier. But that might cause them to be quite dependent on Angelo’s (the pizza place). Forgotten Worlds interior 2

And now let’s move to the first element: Arcade. FW has several arcade machines, including Street Fighter (of course), Mortal Kombat, a shooting one, and..Golden Axe. Oh dear, what a throwback that was. The Street Fighter machine was, alas, broken, during my visit, and I have never been good at Mortal Kombat. But Golden Axe was fun.

I would suggest that they provide more games/rotation of games, and maybe more games that are not necessarily arcade ones. What about comic books? board games? pinball?

Forgotten World Interior

Courtney Love in Festival Hall, Melbourne – As Raw as it Gets

Courtney Love in Festival Hall, Melbourne – As Raw as it Gets

courtney love

I don’t think anyone can say they have seen ‘raw’ performances until they have seen that of Courtney Love.

Let’s spare you, kind reader, of how old I was when I started listening to Hole, but I can tell you that Live Through This have been quite a big part of my teenage years, first finding its way to my hands from quite an idiosyncratic friend of mine.

As with many songs and albums, my appreciation of Hole’s and Courtney Love’s have changed over the years. As far as my memory allows me, I am conscious that I now react differently both to their music and lyrics. I am pretty confident that ‘Northern Star’ moves me in a way I don’t think it could have back then, and while I still love ‘Jennifer’s Body’, I have a newfound appreciation for ‘Gutless”s riffs.

It probably has to do with the fact that I am now about as old as Love when she wrote those songs.

As amazing as it would have been had I watched Hole back in the 1990s, it was not to be. But I managed to catch Courtney Love when she came to Melbourne recently.

What was it that I mentioned about rawness? Right. Imagine this amazing presence appearing in front of you and then proceeded to captivate you both through her striking physique (she is larger than life literally as well) and just her… wholeness.

Watching Love perform, I do not just see self-confidence (which, of course, oozes out of her like juice from an over-ripe watermelon), I see sadness, goofiness, anger, sexiness, strength, and just this amazing femininity…it is almost like this woman does not want to, and does not know how to, keep her cool, and, as so many people have said before, it is possible indeed to love her or hate her to pieces.

courtney love

I loved it.

On to the technicalities, the sound was a bit stumbling at first, but improved quickly. As I did not read any detailed concert reviews before going, I found myself pleasantly surprised, especially with ‘Gold Dust Woman’. ‘Gutless’ was played, so was ‘Rockstar’ (Ha, yeah, I agree with Ms. Love. That is quite a funny choice), some new ones of course, such as ‘You Know My Name’.

One thing that can be improved is my position. I wish I had gotten there earlier, so as to get my ass front and centre of the stage and requested ‘Never Gonna Be the Same’ and maybe exchange a word or two with that gorgeous woman.

Great show, even if the venue was a bit impractical.

Rialto Melbourne (Almost) pre-coloring

Rialto Melbourne (Almost) pre-coloring

I was reminded to upload this sketch before I colored it. Ah well.

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 Melbourne

Yes yes, Melbourne is diverse, but I can’t put them all in one window… so there you go.

window to melbourne