Posted by: jkirkby8712 | February 9, 2011

Wednesday, 9th February 2011 – some midweek notes

I often find cyclists on the roads to be a real menace – some of them – though that is not to suggest that motorists are not without fault.  However I do find myself getting annoyed with some cyclists [hopefully the minority] who seem to think the roads are made entirely for them – they ignore red lights where they can get away with doing so, assume that the motorist is always aware that the bike is ‘there’ and that the cyclist can actually seen, or often, where a bike lane has been provided on busy but narrow roads, instead of riding in the middle of that lane, seem to tempt fate by placing their cycle right on or slightly over the traffic line of that lane, meaning that even though a bike lane has been provided, a motorist such as myself becomes very apprehensive about passing the cyclist in heavy traffic because of the fear of either the cyclist swaying in front of the car, or creating some slight coming together, which would obviously be disastrous for the cyclist. It is those riders in particular who really do get my ‘ire’ up – because of the assumption on the part of the cyclist that whatever he or she does, the motorist will get out of the way, and if they don’t, the driver ‘must’ be at fault anyway!!!  I would imagine that the best and safest cyclists on our roads, are those that also drive a motor vehicle – they have the knowledge, and perhaps the sense, to be aware of the road situation from both aspects.

And why am I raising this topic, on this particular morning?  Simply because, as I drove through the inner Melbourne suburb of Clifton Hill not far from my employment, I came across an ambulance, etc, at one of the many roundabout intersections attending to a cyclist who was down on the road, presumably having just being struck by a motor vehicle – I didn’t stop to ‘look’ or take close note of obviously in the prevailing traffic conditions, but that appeared to be the scenario. I immediately felt pity for the cyclist concerned, his/her day ruined [though, pray to God, to be given the opportunity to ride again, even live], but also an element of pity for the vehicle driver, although of course I had no knowledge of the circumstances of that particular case. In that particular area,  there are numerous roundabouts that have been constructed at most of the intersections in that heavily built up residential area, with narrow but busy through roads. When driving through there, I am especially nervous when approaching these intersections – not for fear of other vehicles, which will generally be obvious – but wary of cyclists, some of whom, knowing they officially have the ‘right of way’ charge through these intersections as though they are invincible, and simply assuming that the motorists have seen them, irrespective of who is in the right. But these people are not always clearly visible until the very last moment – often, because of the small size of a bike in relation to a motor vehicle, the initial view has been obscured by some aspect of the roundabout structure, or the colours they are wearing, just some minor aspect that obscures the driver’s vision. Perhaps something like that occurred this morning! Perhaps the car driver was at fault! I don’t know of course, but certainly, this morning’s incident stirred up my emotions a little!!

Something else which stirred up my emotions, again occurred whilst driving – on my way home yesterday afternoon –  tuned into our Sunbury station, and was annoyed to discover that the presenter who should have been on air prior to myself this evening, was not there, again! I switched over to the parliamentary broadcast from Canberra, where I’d remembered that today, as the first day of Parliament sitting for 2011 was going to be dedicated to a day of condolence motions for the victims of Australia’s various natural disasters of recent weeks, and the recent deaths of soldiers in Afghanistan. Earlier in the day, Julia Gillard apparently became emotionally upset [rare display for her to display genuine emotion, if that’s what it was] – questions would be asked in the media afterwards as to whether this was the real Julia, and would it change the public perception of her demeanour, even Tony Abbott remarked later in Parliament that ‘the Prime Minister has a decent heart’!  Anyway, I didn’t hear or see Julia’s performance, but I did tune in just as the Liberal National Party member for the Federal seat of Wright began to talk – Scott Buchholz –  that was an extremely emotional 20 minutes because, in speaking to the condolence motion for Queensland’s flood victims [from the first of the tragedies up there in January], he was obviously upset and having an immense difficulty in controlling his emotions even before he started to speak. That was one of the most genuine and heart felt speeches I’ve ever heard from the parliamentary chambers, and because he wasn’t Julia Gillard, his response rated no individual reference in this morning’s media. The Brisbane Courier Mail noted that ‘Scott Buchholz, Member for Wright the region taking in the Lockyer Valley towns of Grantham, Murphys Creek and Helidon cried as he recalled the harrowing moments his constituents were swamped by the inland tsunami. He told of locals clambering on to roofs as water rose to their chests”, and he was one of many MPs who apparently spoke in emotional terms about those events.  Reading a little bit about the man later, it is perhaps no real surprise that he reacted in the manner he did –  Scott Buchholz is described as a man who has the knack of getting people to do things – not just talk. A man of deeply held traditional family values, and a man interested in serving his community. He has been active in Lifeline Community Care, for eg, as a director, amongst other strong community involvements, and quite obviously through his speech revealed that passion and dedication to the people he serves.

PM Julia Gillard tribute to flood victims

TRIBUTE: An emotional Prime Minister Julia Gillard held back her tears during her condolence speech to the parliament, holding an Australian flag that was retrieved from Murphy’s Creek by an Australian Army Blackhawk helicopter crew, who were searching for missing people. Picture: Gary Ramage. Source: The Courier-Mail

To be continued >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Yesterday, I was speaking of the ABC Program, Q & A. Last night, it was SBS’s turn with another ‘Late Session’ chat, and as usual, another intriguing little group of appropriately chosen ‘dinner’ guests [of varying age ranges] with host Waheed Aly, and a subject along the lines of ‘the nature of age and wisdom’. While one of my friends described this late night program as too light weight and flippant for that time of night, I, as I have noted on past weeks, enjoyed the interchange of ideas, and the presentation of a range of noted guests in such an informal and relaxed setting- so much so, that we had Jenny Lee relating her one night stands with people like John Lennon [he was hot], and Keith Richards [the Rolling Stones] in her younger wild days as a ‘rock groupie’ – personally, that was all a bit too much detail, but nevertheless, an aspect of a program which brings out the ‘real’ personalities of these people that we would not normally see. This week’s guests were: Jenny Kee, Ross Wilson, Benjamin Law, Libbi Gorr and Kamahl, and in more detail, as follows, as I like to recall [compliments of Wikipedia, and other bio sources].

Jenny Kee is an Australian fashion designer. ‘She was born in Bondi to a Cantonese father and a mother of partially Italian descent. Kee started her career in fashion in modelling, at one time featuring as the face of Canadian Airlines advertisement. ]She was married to Australian artist Michael Ramsden for 21 yearsIn 1965 she moved to London and became involved in the Swinging London and underground scene..  There she sold ethnic and retro clothes, cast-off Dior clothes, and Indian embroideries to a hippy clientele. While being interviewed for TV series Talking Heads, she claims that during her time in London, she had a brief sexual encounter with John Lennon.  She was involved with the filmaker Philippe Mora and starred in his film, Passion Play, shot in The Pheasantry (1967–68), playing Mary Magdalene.  In 2006, she published her autobiography and account of her life in swinging London, A Big Life’. Interestingly, her past ‘hippy’ younger lifestyle doesn’t seem to have faded, if only I felt as lively as she came over on the TV tonight!!  The Sydney Morning Herald had this to say about her – ‘At 64 and with the aid of a fortifying glass of shiraz, the fashion designer turned artist Jenny Kee still makes for one of the most entertaining and engaging dinner party guests Sydney has to offer’……the report went on ‘can confidently report that Kee delivers in spades, including the revelation she slept with four of the world’s biggest rock stars in the 1960s, that she now considers the 2001 suicide of her partner, the artist Danton Hughes, a ”blessing”, and that her old chum Germaine Greer has grown into a ”bitter” old lady.  Kee kept her dining companions, which included Libbi Gorr, Ross Wilson and Kamahl, enthralled, especially when it came to the top of her list of conquests as a rock groupie: bedding John Lennon.She described Lennon as ”this amazing, energetic, extraordinary, funny, funny … beyond funny” man.She says Lennon was the third man she had ever slept with and had met him after sneaking into the Sydney hotel he and the rest of the Beatles were staying at during their 1964 tour.”I was his first little Asian experience,” Kee says, referring to Lennon’s later relationship with Yoko Ono’. Well, that article was pulling no punches!!

Lisbeth Joanne “Libbi” Gorr (born 24 March 1965) is an Australian broadcaster, writer, voice artist and journalist. She is also known for the satirical character that she created called “Elle McFeast”. Gorr was born in Melbourne and educated at the Methodist Ladies’ College. When she was an arts and law student at the University of Melbourne, she began working in comedy. After graduating she became an articled clerk with the Melbourne law firm Phillips Fox. She also performed with the all-women cabaret group The Hot Bagels. Gorr got her first regular media gig as the voice of Sportsgirl fashion chain, when she was asked to “sound” like a photo of supermodel Elle MacPherson. In 2010, Gorr signed her first book deal with major Australian publishing house, Harper Collins’.  Now this lady, I have heard on the radio, but never had any interest in watching the TV show ‘Elle McFeast live’ [not my kind of entertainment].

‘Benjamin Law is a Brisbane-based freelance writer. He is a senior contributor to frankie magazine and has also written for The Monthly, The Courier MailQweekend, Sunday Life, CleoCrikeyThe Big Issue, New MatildaKill Your Darlings, ABC Unleashed and the Australian Associated Press.His essays have been anthologised in Growing Up Asian in Australia, The Best Australian Essays 2008The Best Australian Essays 2009 and the forthcoming Voracious: New Australian Food Writing.The Family Law (2010) is his debut book, and is published by Black Inc. Books. A French edition will be published by Belfond in 2012. The TV rights have been sold to Matchbox Pictures.He’s currently working on his second book, a collection of non-fiction looking at queer people and communities throughout Asia. It has the working title of Gaysia.’ A slightly built  man of Asian apperarance, interesting man, very quiet, but before reading the above, I had little knowledge of him , and unusually for this program, not a great revealed about his personal life, that I picked up anyway.

‘Ross Andrew Wilson  [born 18 November 1947, Melbourne, Victoria) is an Australian singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer who fronted the groups Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock, and produced albums by Australian band Skyhooks, He has also performed solo, and as a judge on celebrity singing TV series It Takes Two from 2005.  Wilson .as individually inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in 1989 and again as a member of Daddy Cool in 2006’.  Now I’ve played the music from his two bands from time to time on my radio shows, and really enjoyed listening to him sing tonight –  his solo performance [although many years after the original] of ‘Cool World’ was great tonight, and interesting to watch the enthusiastic response of the other guests – especially Jenny Kee who was ’almost’ up on the dinner table jiving away to the music!!  Great to see!

‘Kamahl is the stage name of Kandiah Kamalesvaran (Tamil: கந்தையா கமலேஸ்வரன்; born 13 November 1934), an Australian singer and recording artist, perhaps best-known for “The Elephant Song”, and his repertoire of popular music. Born in Malaysia to Tamil Hindu parents, he is of Sri Lankan Tamil heritage. He grew up in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur and studied at the Victoria Institution. He arrived in Adelaide, South Australia in 1953 to receive a higher education at King’s College (now Pembroke School), however, his arrival was not without prejudice on the part of an Australia still influenced by the White Australia Policy. This experience gave bite to his well-known quote: “Why are people so unkind?”[ At his first public performance in 1958 he shortened his name to Kamal, but the Master of Ceremonies announced him as “Camel”. After that he changed the spelling to Kamahl. As he made his way into the Australian music industry, Rupert Murdoch was an early important mentor. Murdoch tipped Kamahl £10 at a concert in December 1958 and encouraged him to move to Sydney. Without asking, Murdoch arranged for Kamahl to perform a six-week season at the Hotel Australia in Sydney. After that season, he boarded with the Murdochs for two years’.  After my mother passed away, in 1990, I ‘inherited’ most of her vinyl recordings which included a number by Kamahl, and I occasionally play a track or two on the radio.  In many ways, his singing was maligned by some, but his popularity to a certain generation can never be denied. Now aged 76, he was obviously slowing down, but ‘sang’ for the dinner party last night –  with a reference again to that quote of his ‘Why are people so unkind? The ‘chorus’ lyrics with a strong element of sadness about them, went like this:-

What would I do without my music?

What would I do without my song?

What would I do without my music?

To lift me up when all my dreams are gone.

To give me hope, so I can carry on.

‘The Late Session’ finished off with that ‘Mondo Rock’ man, Ross Wilson singing ‘That Old Country Road’ with Waheed Aly accompanying him on the guitar, and a guest pianist who had been waiting ‘in the wings’ for that moment.

All in all, I learnt plenty about the guests, although not sure if I gained much about the topic of ageing and wisdom, except interesting to learn from people like Waheed and  Benjamin that getting to 30 years was a traumatic event [the latter not there yet] while Jenny Kee considers her life now is as good as it ever was, and she believes it will continue to be so when she gets to Kamahl’s age!! Sounds like a lady who has enjoyed life, and continues to do so.

On another aspect of yesterday, I was disappointed to once again find that neither of the radio presenters due to be on air both prior to and after my program tonight had turned up for their shows!!  Back to my old ‘gripe’ about commitment, and my belief that some form of ultimation needs to be given to some of these people sometimes. However, that is matter for future consideration – in the meantime, I’m beginning to feel like a ‘lone island’ of a Tuesday evening this year. Nevertheless, as usual, I enjoyed the program I presented tonight, which included a selection of music from the movie ‘Marie Antionette’, and the musical/operetta ‘Naughty Marietta’ which doesn’t generally get a great deal of airplay these days.  A break from the show music, halfway through the show, with a little selection of jazz – summer music!!

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