Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A misst ye sae muckle!

Guid mornin, hou ar ye?

Welcome to my wrap up of the Land of the Gaels, the country which in fact shares the same island with Britain (yes I sealed my MENSA application yesterday), is abundant in ginger-topped outcasts and chlorophyll, and deep fries everything from their mars bars to their first born children.

Well before we kicked off on a lengthy, uncomfortable, and little-planned eight hour bus trip, my partner in crime Jenni of the Sky, Thane of the Pavement, and I and a few others embarked on a night out on town. Like many other of our cultivated nights in London, it started with cheap cocktails and free kebabs, and ended at a people-powered revolving dancefloor at a heavy dub and bass underground club at Shoreditch, where the only evidence of orderliness, staff, or security was a man at the door holding a shovel. Somewhere between these two extremities we danced on a bar while our friends in a band played. Totally not gloating though. But it was a bar. And a revolving dancefloor. In a club. Revolving. Ingenius.

After a swift recovery, some speedy packing and some nifty negotiating, we were soon on our way to SCOTLAND. Where the main exports are sheep, silly accents, and WHISKY. All of which I’m pleased to say we experienced in our weekend abroad. Arriving in Edinburgh in the middle of the Fringe Festival was mind blowing; I can’t believe I ever tried to defend Brisbane as ‘cultured’ and ‘refined’ when I arrived. Flyers and pamphlets were flung into our faces left right and centre in the most inventive of ways, while castles lined every skyline; and what excited me most of all was that I finally found where all the young people are hiding. Not in London, no, everyone’s old and worrying about tax and the economy and Katie Price’s new scandal. All the young people are busy in Scotland being ridiculously good looking art students. Though this is not true for everyone, we (in our good faith and sense of adventure) witnessed a bunch of unfortunate looking students performing improv for one of the most painful hours of my life. We were seduced by the witty title of ‘Edinburgh Fridge’ however it takes more than a pedestrian pun to pull off an hours’ improv about ‘The Esoteric Superior Paradise Process’ and ‘Michael Jackson Mischevious Harry Potter and the Troublesome Teletubbies’. Luckily our spirits were soon lifted by some classic Bells’ Whiskey and musical comedy. The walking tour was also really good. I thought Australia’s 200 year history of convict settlement and bogans was pretty impressive until I heard about Scotland’s history and the Scottish Enlightenment. Yeah there’s heaps of stuff about English Rule, pirates and Vikings, Loch Ness, Crown Jewels, haunted castles, and giving the keys of the city to a dog…but most importantly and notably in Scottish history (though has been overlooked on Scotland’s Wikipedia page…this may need fixing…) Scotland is where Harry Potter was imagined. AND WRITTEN. So there was pretty much no other option for Jenni and I than to spend our afternoon trawling through the cemetery where JK Rowling found names for her characters, dining at the cafĂ© where she wrote it, and wondering what spells would keep us warm from the cold.

The next fine sunny day we made our way to Glasgow, which I found to be hardly as impressive as Edinburgh as it chiefly reminded me of Brisbane and Queen street too much. I think we definitely saw the ‘best of’ Glasgow though – that is, the ‘best of’ the inside of a pub where 10 pounds (10 Scottish pounds mind you) got us five pints and two cocktails. That said, two of the pints were bought for us ‘because it’s nice to see a new face in this pub’ (read: we haven’t seen a female in this pub for a few years)(the pub was similar to a TAB)(yes we drank cocktails at the TAB, what are you looking at?). But then, our main agenda in Scotland: BLINK 182. With a median age of 14, the crowd was made up of fat, sweaty, Scottish emos who seemingly hadn’t showered in a few days and all ate Chinese for dinner. It was pretty rough, a few people fell on me from the sky and I have quite a few bruises, but my God blink were awesome! They played all the classics, and for the encore, Travis Barker played drums UPSIDE DOWN. That’s like, revolving, but in a whole nother direction. Revolving. Again. Ingenius.

With that we spent the rest of the night at the very cold Buchanan Bus Station Hostel before an eleven hour bus ride home. Which was followed by an hours’ bus ride home, an hours’ frantic packing, another hour on the tube to Heathrow, a dramatic and somewhat uncalled for staged scene at the security gate, and then an eight hour flight to Singapore for young Jenni as she leaves this wondrous country of Tea and Scones. Though good effort for her, three countries in one day. She’s a woman of nerve that Jenni.

As for me, I did get fired from my Earls’ Court job. No matter how much I tried to be posh, my inner bogan shone through. You can’t polish a turd. Or you can take the girl out of Wynnum, but you can’t take the Wynnum out of the girl. But on the positive side (of my being bankrupt and unable to afford rent), I have a new job at The World’s End and the club underneath called The Underworld, where some really small local-you-probably-haven’t-heard-of-them bands have played like Nirvana, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Babyshamles, Goldfrapp, Pete Doherty, and others. Really underground, really indie. You wouldn’t understand. Though it’s mainly an extreme metal club – this week on of my favourite bands Motion City Soundtrack are playing which is I dunno TOTALLY AWESOME! Not being good with names, plus working with a bunch of generic hardcores, I have been identifying my co-workers by their earring size and distinguishing tattoes. There’s Spiky Stud, Gaping-Holes-In-Ears-Mike/Mark, Middle-Nostril, Fat Man with Naked Girl on Arm, Fat Man With Long Grey Hair, and Dreadlocks from Melbourne.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Mainly getting fired, running away to Scotland, and working in a hardcore pub. And also being extremely disappointed and worried about the lack of certain and stable government in Australia. At least with a hung parliament I kind of feel that my vote actually counted in the bigger scheme of things. My vote which I threw into the ballot box while singing Khe Sahn. My vote which I may or may not have been decided by a Magic Eraser. My vote which was definitely below the line. Australia, aren’t you glad I vote?

Well keep me updated, yeah? And as they say in Scotland,


My vote needed to be well documented to properly count.

Like hurling in Ireland and eating in Germany, Quidditch remains Scotland's national sport. This is the training pitch.

Casually trawling through the cemeteries of Edinburgh.

Oooh...aah....well I never!

In one of the best stories I've heard in years, this dog was given the keys to the city to save him from being murdered. A real life Lassie. As you can see, hundreds of years later, people from all over the world take a pilgrimage to this statue to pay their respects to a beacon of hope in a world full of misery.

MMM DEEP FRIED HAGGIS.. marginally better than Meadow Cakes

If you're gonna buy it, deep fry it!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

le crowndale cafe

While I conquer the washing machine and recover from Scotland, I thought I'd make an update on how I am getting along, as few people believed I am capable of feeding myself properly or even working a gas stove for that matter (turns out gas should be turned OFF if not in use).

Now that I'm unemployed again (The Courtfield and I went our separate ways..you can take the girl out of Wynnum, but you can't take the Wynnum out of the girl) the challenge has arisen to feed myself creatively yet on a tight budget. And I embraced this challenge head on and you will be pleased to see that I have come up with a delectable range of foods for any occasion that would nourish a growing young girl such as myself. So sit yourself down at le Shitspatrick Steakhouse and take a look as our finest chefs prepare you London's greatest dishes which are up there with Jamie Oliver and that other fat British guy from Masterchef.


on Crowndale Mansions

**All meals are served with natural garnish freshly picked from the courtyard gardens (garnish subject to dirt and forces of nature) **


Black tea with wholemeal bread crust 67p

A la raw Toaste – a matured slice of bread wrapped in oxygen, lightly garnished with happiness 75p

Room temperature water (options available: still, fresh, tap, toilet, recycled) 25p


French toast (no milk – lactose intolerant alternative) 1.50

May-or-may-not-be-off crispy garden salad 67p
A lucky dip of various leafy greens found in the Crowndale gardens garnished with natural dressing.

Medium-rare scrambled eggs $1
Taking runny eggs to a whole new level. Ideal for the adventurous eater or egg enthusiast.

Soup of the day – now with no ‘bits’! 90p
A vegan and gluten free alternative

Complimentary leftover balls
a delicious variety of bite-sized pieces of food served at room temperature served on cutlery and plate glazed in residual protein-synthesizing-saliva and lingering sauce

Baby food puree 70p
contains all essential vitamins and minerals essential for a growing human being pleasantly packaged into a small calorie restricted easy to digest meal

House Haggis 50p
best not to ask


Tea with milk $1

Milk with tea $1

Chewing gum 80p


Banana bits

Watermelon dregs

Meadow Cake

All meals are subject to seasons and income. Some food may contain traces of mould. You may remove/scoop out the mould yourself or ask one of our friendly chefs to do it for you for a 80p surcharge.

Tips are welcome. All meals are suitable for children. There is no free wifi. Unisex toilets are located on the right hand side of the kitchen sink.

I will update with Blink 182, revolving dancefloors at Shoreditch, getting fired, Edinburgh Fringe, Glasgow, Jenni's sad farewell and other stories from the vault soon. Living, working, AND STUDYING in London gets very tiresome you see.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

youth is wasted on the young

If there are three things I love in life, they are beer, Gilmore Girls, and lapels. And my oh my, the last two weeks my fortunate eyes have been blessed with enough lapels to make even David Bowie weep.

So I have been rather lazy with updating this damned thing lately, as I have discovered the Meaning Of Life and have become embittered by the constant reliance of humanity on the internet. In other words, I haven't found the time to drag my lazy ass to a Maccas or a free wi-fi pub in Camden to stay in touch with my brilliant friends and family back home. I like to think that I put my own personal spin on ‘loyalty’, in what could only be described as a liberal interpretation. Well yesterday marked five weeks since I've been in the Land of Tea and Scones, which unexpectedly coincides with five weeks since Queensland Police experienced an unprecedented 78% drop in alcohol related arrests and 7/11 encountered a 66% decline in cheese and bacon sausage roll sales. Sadly I failed the “putting two and two together” lesson in Year 1 Maths and thus cannot possibly think there is any correlation between these events whatsoever.

Now back to the lapels, and all things lapel-related…

In order to perfect my imitation of the London hipster, for the past couple of weeks I have been deviously spying on the Camden mod-rocker in all his lapel-wearing coiff-sporting glory, and tracking his lifestyle choices, income levels, socio-economic status, places of worship, spending habits, attitudes, values, and beliefs, and fashion and musical tastes. I think by now I can be considered an expert on the subject at the very least. With various friends I have in the London area (including falafel-reactionary Jenni, Lady of the Swans Steph, Warwick Todd-in-the-off-season-Grant, and Her Royal Highness Krysi) I have been enjoying mingling with the hoi polloi at Camden pubs (frequented by not only myself but Schapelle Corby’s other sister (no, not the one named after a car (triple brackets!!)) Amy Winehouse), dancing on-stage with bands that you are probably too lowbrow to have even heard of, salivating at the Shoreditch vintage markets, sleeping at art studios, reading NME, drinking organic half strength rice milk hazelnut lattes (two artificial sweeteners thanks – no sugar) and generally being more indie than you can ever fathom.

Don’t believe me? Check this out!

And I also learnt about England’s more, uhm, lax economy, where you can trade two things of relative value, like an old school market exchange. For example, it is very acceptable (especially in the early hours of the morning) and stores are more than willing to exchange whole watermelons for a satisfying chicken and chips feed. Or, alternatively, you could exchange your dignity for free falafel pellets swathed in nauseating white sauce of a questionable nature. A free market for all!

And like the EKKA attracts carnies, like flies swarm to streaming fresh dog poo, last week The Courtfield via the Earl’s Court Beerfest magnetized the patronage of every illiterate tourist, every mentally unstable nomad, and every seedy old man that Earl’s Court could summon. It was hectic. Whatever small globules of dignity I had left after the falafel incident have been drained by this demanding experience. Even more taxing, I have been working about 37289 hours in the past couple of weeks, with only two nights off to achieve all the above. With all this bar experience, I am pretty much rendered an expert on a) talking pub bullshit b) maximising tips c) warding off unwanted attention. Don’t believe me? Here’s the Shitspatrick Big Book of Working in an English Pub.

Talking B/S

Already having a sound repertoire in talking bull, you’d think I would be a natural in this field. And you’re right, I am. However after taking two weeks off before starting work I needed to fine-tune my skills and allow for a more nationalistic approach, focusing my banter and witty retorts on the wars (past and present, though I would generally stick to the World Wars if I were you – it’s a more universal thing), being a convict, being a met east kangaroo champion, speaking ‘Australian’ as opposed to ‘English’, all things Forster’s, and of course, our gallant Prime Minister affectionately known as ‘Koschie’. The old punters – even the ones who have been to Australia (whereabouts in Austraila? –Christchurch) love it. Love. It.

That Aussie sheila behind the bar? Yeah she’s a right riot.

Maximising Tips

Mostly this can be achieved by utilising the skills you have attained in 1. Talking B/S, but it can also be helpful to focus your energies on Americans, hand out as much coinage as possible, and dolefully note that you haven’t eaten in four days and am sharing a room with a delightful family of rodents who enjoy Wednesday’s Desperate Housewives on BBC.

Warding off unwanted attention

Coming home at 1:30am at night in the World’s [Seediest] Capital, this can be a very uncomfortable situation. It can be lessened by open declarations of transexuality or androgyny, wearing baggy clothes, or smelling quite ‘off’ (this can be achieved by avoiding showering for a few days and dousing oneself in beer). Though one could also take a ‘pint half full’ approach and turn it into an opportunity – you crave a kebab right, and Yousef from Kebab House craves company – so with some cunning manovering and sly comments, you now have yourself a kebab! Ingenius! And thanks to Mohammed (not kidding, it’s his name) at Food & Wine, I have a nightly supply of expired fruit and veg. Who said London was the world’s most expensive city to live in!?

So ladies and gents, family and friends, cyber-prowlers and NASA engineers alike, my fortnightly update has come to a close as I feel the circulation in my legs beginning to wane. I am off to bigger and better things – to vote, as a matter of fact. Alas, that is why I am at the library for the internet in the first place – to seek the major and minor parties long term political objectives and how aligned they are with party policies and ideologies in order to make my first informed decision in the coming election. Looks like I’ll just have to make a donkey vote instead. Some other things I’ll be doing this week that you should be insanely jealous about: UK Mobile Phone Throwing Championships, art farty stuff at Camden, going out tonight (!!), paying for my OKTOBERFEST tickets, dancing on stage at a Shoreditch gig in matching lycra dresses, running through Regent’s Park with the pigeons, and spending my monthly paycheck in its entirety.