Melbourne – Perth

Too soon to write on Perth, except very mild, even chilly yesterday, and everything closed early on Sunday. More later.

Catching up on Melbourne … excuse my indulgent diary …

Never did mention the bird-life. Even first day in Victoria Garden … Magpie Lark, Magpie and various other Crow species, not to mention various Gull and Waterfowl species not seen in Europe, plus the ubiquitous Moorhen. Familiar sparrows. Large slim thrush-sized brown / grey with white wing flashes and distinctive yellow eye and beak, and several fly-catcher / wagtail types. Long-tailed wren. Kookaburra, at least three different red-green Parakeet species, plus large raucus Cockatoos. Several different soaring kite / buzzard type birds of prey. Must buy a book to get all their names right. Could easily get into twitching in a place like this.

Read 6 or 7 chapters of Sue Blackmore’s Introduction to Consciousness. Actually written as a teaching text-book, and in a very simply worded style. We’d noticed earlier that she’s been rubbing shoulders in recent years with everyone who is anyone in the philosophy and science of mind arena, so I’ve already read just about everything she refers to. What is good about the no-messing matter-of-fact style is that she easily confirms views I’d already formed – like Dennett I do not believe in qualia, and therefore disagree with Chalmers. I see a big problem with the words “exist” and “entity” in so many things I’ve read. No wonder dualism stuck, just another false dichotomy. Need to write that up.

Re-developed / developing south-bank and docklands areas.

Trams. The “hook turn” for drivers. For right turn over tram lines, pull left, indicate right and wait for gap in traffic-light phase. Which reminds me, traffic lights and roundabouts everywhere, and rules / instructions and enforcement cameras.

Took hire car (out past the Doncaster office) up the Yarra valley, through “wineries” (vineyards), up scenic roads through sub-tropical forest jungle of mainly eucalypts and tree-ferns of many different varieties, eventually up to the skyline drive of the Eildon Lake park. Making too slow-winding progress to continue eastward drive through mountains to the east coast and back to Melbourne (in under three days anyway, according to friendly biker in Marysville !). So, took quick freeway route back west round city via Geelong, past the old oil refinery, and the coastal route through Torquay and Anglesea (a mix of surfing beaches and rugged coastline) eventually to Lorne. Ate there in the Greek fish retaurant on the end of the pier. Spiros (really !) the proprieter apolopgised for shouting at his staff, then proceeded to explain his life story starting with growing-up in a place called Nidri on an island called Lefkas / Lefkada, which I’d obviously never heard, had I ? Well actually, been there, got the T-shirt … no, really I do. Small world.

Last night in Melbourne, took in the showcase final night of the Australian Music Week unsigned-bands event. None of the bands that’d previously impressed me made it to the final so far as I could see (Sin City, Sojourn mentioned earlier)

Charlie & Silo, both bands of girl goths, the former very young, raw, theatrical, with a diminutive ballsy lead guitarist whose style impressed, the latter more sophisticated, arrogant, tall Chrissie Hynde look-a-like lead. Both interesting, and would improve with production and rehearsal.

Gut & Love Addicts, both bands of gentlemen of a certain age. The former, Buster Bloodvessel / Iranian-comic (Omid Djalili) cross meets Motorhead, the latter fronted by croaky-blues singer whose combined age-plus-tabs-smoked-per-day easily exceeded 125, proved you can keep a bluesy groove going with just a couple of deadened strings just as well as 16 crashing in overdriven unison.

Animal Simpson & The High Stakes reputation preceeded them from earlier nights, and I got to see this time. The former a drum / guitar two-piece dominated by Jeb’s virtuosity, but not interesting enough for me except on his slide-guitar opus. The High Stakes stole the show for me and just about everyone else, including other bands in the audience (Tommy and Barbie included). Such energy and so accomplished and tight with it. Real rock’n’roll, clearly pollished by time together on the road. Bought a copy of their demo CD.

Sadly, the professional, practiced delivery and audience response of neither Sin City, nor The High Stakes took the prizes. The judges (understandably) were looking for creative, novelty and sophistication to represent Australia to a future world. Moscow Schoolboy were certainly different. Leading red-head lady in Laura Ashley with tuneless guitar licks and dirges, just didn’t do it for me. Creative, different certainly, but is it rock and roll ?

On the plane over to Perth, listened to The High Stakes CD … Tommy and Barbie (of Sin City) behind me, by coincidence … and the lady in the seat next to me teaching marketing in the Australian wine industry, gave me a few names and labels to look out for. Damn, wish I’d been taking notes.

Obit – the beat-generation guy that gave Kerouac his roll of teletype paper on which he wrote “On The Road” in one continuous stream …. name …

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