Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Mission Accomplished!!!

The following is an email I received recently:

Dear Will and Mark,

Your question about Tom Oliver's birthplace came to me and I can tell you he was born in Chandlers Ford and moved to Fareham at an early age.

Hope that settles the argument!


Alan Fletcher

Dr K

So, damn it, Nick wins. Now that's solved we may sleep peacefully at night, safe in the knowledge that Lou from Neighbours was indeed born in Chandlers Ford. My compensation for being wrong comes in the fact that 1. I got an email from Karl Kennedy and 2. He got Nick's name wrong.

Simple things please simple minds

Saturday, 24 February 2007

See the world and all the nutters it has to offer

Drawers assembled by my own fair hand. The DIY expertise must be passed down from father to son... ahem

Melbourne, from atop the Mausoleum

The Great Ocean Road

Three fine examples of man at its best

The Twelve Apostles (About 6 visible here)

Inappropriate use of a famous national landmark

After experiencing a couple of classic hostel weirdo's in the space of a week, I thought I'd compile a shortlist of the best so far. See, the problem with hostels is that they will let almost anyone in, even if it's just for one night before they throw them out the next day for some act of strangeness...

Hostel Weirdo's So Far:

- The American bit-part actor who insists on telling you all about his life and every film he's ever supposed to have appeared in as an extra/very minor part. Self obsessed does not do justice to this man who possesses all the social skills of a door.
- The staring Aussie guy. Only spent a night in the same room as him but the consensus among others is that when you wake up, there is a good chance he will be staring at you. (As he was at me when I woke up. Twice). Told me that his mum has taken out a restraining order against him. Apparently the worst part of this for him is that he can't get his CD player back. A couple in the hostel were lucky enough to walk in on him... let's say... being intimate with himself.
-Fat, ugly naked Scottish guy. Pretty self explanatory, plus wore a pillowcase as a nappy. Was banned from the hostel after one night and all hostels in the area were warned about him.
-Annoying cleaning lady, who took ages to clean the shower I was waiting for, just because she had some gripe with the other cleaner who happened to be waiting for a shower also. Tried to involve me in her argument: "there's just no teamwork around here these days bla bla bla". Funnily enough, I don't give a crap, I just want a shower you crazy old hag.

So, that's the best of them so far. There'll undoubtedly be more.

On the work front, I SHOULD be starting a job on Monday, having got another job but not actually given any hours by them. If this place screws me over too I will start rumours that they lure in the crack whores from the surrounding streets with promises of a fix, and then knock them out and use them in the soup.

As you can see from the photos, we took a trip to the Great Ocean Road. So named because it is a road that runs parallel to the ocean from Adelaide to Melbourne and it is great. Or at least that's what I choose to believe. Basically, we drove the equivalent of Southampton to Norwich and back, in a day, whilst all rather hungover, in authentic Melbournian Rhiannon's 4x4. Generally, whoever was feeling best at any given time was the driver. The main aim of the day was seeing the Twelve Apostles, of which there are about 7 or 8 still standing. This we did, and promptly abused the iconic landmark in our own special way. There are more photos of a similar nature but I think you get the idea from the one above.

The best clubs in Melbourne all seem to be hidden down alleyways. Having been to one or two such places already, we went to a club called the Croft institute, down a particularly dark and smelly alleyway. The chances of anyone happening upon these clubs by chance are virtually nil, even finding them when you know where they're meant to be can be a challenge.

Saturday, 17 February 2007

I saw this near my hostel the other day and it reminded me of the martial arts teacher in the film Napoleon Dynamite. "Do you think someone wants a roundhouse kick to the face when I'm wearing these bad boys?" And the logo in the top-right corner is wierd too; a martial arts kangaroo with a knife?

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Late-night penguin hunting

Childish? Maybe. Funny? Certainly.

Rahzel: The Godfather of Noise. Simultaneously beatboxed SexyBack and sang like Justin Timberlake. Impressive.

Snoop Dogg. Not a particularly good picture but you get the message: I saw the D O double G.

Let's just call this a drinking game forfeit. Thankfully that's not me on the receiving end

A penguin at around 3am

Right, what have we been up to lately?

Hip-hop has been the way recently, that's what all the best stuff was at the Good Vibrations festival I went to. In a nutshell: Razhel was great, as were Jurassic 5. The Beastie Boys were disappointing, bordering on shite. This was pretty much the general consensus of everyone. Best of all though, Snoop Dogg. Surprisingly, I actually knew more of his songs than I thought, most of which include the word 'pimp' or 'biatch' and lots of rude swear words which I shall not sully my blog with. I hope he doesn't kiss his mother with that mouth.

In true bling style he even had a chrome plated microphone, no normal black mic for Snoop, oh no. There were rumours that he would turn up with an entourage that would rival the army of a small country but as far as I could tell it only took about 6 massive guys to escort him on and off stage. Minimal really for a rapper I imagine.

A first for me last night was leaving a club in order to go hunting for penguins. St Kilda, the place we're staying in, has a pier and I was told that in the early hours of the morning there are penguins roaming about. So, after a couple of cheeky drinks in a club we left sometime around 2 or 3 (OK, I'm a little hazy on the details) and wandered down to the pier on a late night wildlife expedition. Don't think I've ever done that after leaving the Rhino back home before.

Notice above, we struck penguin gold. Despite some really loud Dutch guys nearly scaring away all penguins within a mile radius. Climbing around big rocks, trying to take pictures of penguins at 3am takes guile and stealth, not a group of Dutch shouting out to the penguins to come and say hello.

Now approaching the 3 months of being away milestone, we have been trying to get jobs recently, in order to fund our nomadic lifestyle. Easier said than done. In England, I think I've had a total of about 6 different jobs. Tomorrow I have a trial at a cafe/bar. This will be my fourth different job in about 2 weeks. If I don't manage to start saving some money soon I might sell a kidney or a lung or something.

On a completely different subject, are we missing any great cultural fads back home? If we are it will probably catch on here in about 2-3 months, I think that's the general lag in stuff like films and music making it over here. Which did mean that when we first got here, we had a second run of whatever crap pop songs were always playing when we left England.

Not one to miss out on anything for free, I'm going to finish this post now to make sure I get back to the hostel in time for some free BBQ food. There'll be fellow cheapskate backpackers swarming around the BBQ like moths to a lamp by now, lured by the smell of free hotdogs.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007


A couple of parrot-type birds

Some big monster-thing that likes to chase children (Insert Tom Farmer joke here)

Me, Nick and Phil outside Harold Bishop's house

Melbourne skyline/ some big shiny buildings

The real address of Ramsay Street: probably good pub quiz knowledge

Nick's new home with Harold Bishop

The Neighbours theme tune with guest vocals, i.e. me

You wait ages for a bus and then two come along at once. Or in my case you get two great pieces of news in the space of about 15 minutes. What are these small nuggets of joy? Well, firstly I am starting a bar job on Friday (trial first) in a place called The Espy. It's kind of half large bar, half music venue, so maybe I'll get some free gigs out of it too. There's more about it here http://www.theesplanadehotel.com.au/
Oh yeah, it faces onto the beach too, so if I get any shifts that finish during the day, I just cross the road and play in the sand :-)

My second great bit of news concerns the Good Vibrations festival I'm going to this Saturday. Already headlined by Beastie Boys (doing a greatest hits show, sweeeeet) and Jurassic 5, they've recently announced another headliner: SNOOP DOGG!!! How good is that? Like his music or not (and I've never been much of a fan) he's bound to be great live and then for the rest of my life I can claim to have seen the d-o-double G. And say stuff that ends in 'izzle' and 'izzay' until someone punches me.

I think I saw Darcy from Neighbours the other day. He had grey hair, but I'm certain it was him, more so because someone else reported spotting whom they would have been sure was Darcy if not for the grey hair. Which was nice.

I'm still in a hostel at the moment, I have temporarily given up on finding a flat, although now I may have a job sorted I might continue the quest. This will technically be my second job in Australia though. On Monday, Nick and I started a job in a warehouse, packing envelopes, a job we got through Nick's roomie at the moment, Rhiannon. It started at 9am. By 9.20 I had quit. This beats Nick's record of being an Asda employee for half an hour by a full ten minutes. Basically, if I had spent the whole day there, I would have resembled Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, after they have turned his brain to pulp with electro-shock treatment. Except there would have been no large, silent Native-American to try and smash down a wall and help me escape. To be fair I didn't need to escape, just walking out sufficed.

Our mate Phil from our jobs at The Old Forge this summer has now joined us. When we met him last week at the train station, he looked as pale and slightly bewildered as we must have looked on arrival. Yesterday we went on a covert adventure to Ramsay Street, aka Pin Oak Court. We were there at pretty much the same time as the organised tour people, but just buzzed about excitedly near them. As the real reason we are here in Australia is to discover exactly where Lou from Neighbours was born; Fareham or Chandlers Ford, (For anyone who hasn't had this explained in unnecessary detail, it's a long running personal dispute between us) we thought we could ask their tour guide. This we did, and she said that she was doing a tour the next day where they get to meet one of the "stars" of Neighbours and that if we wrote down our question and email address she would pass it on and hopefully we would get a reply. Soon the whole world will know that I am right and Nick is wrong. That's what's matters here people.

Finally, my blagging skills have been given a work out this week. The other day I had to charm my way into an open air cinema performance of Pink Floyd's The Wall. It was free but you had to reserve tickets by email. Apparently they were sold out and overbooked anyway so there probably wouldn't be enough room. Shortly after I was watching Bob Geldoff go crazy and shave his eyebrows off. That's what happens in the film by the way, I didn't just meet an insane, razor-wielding Geldoff, muttering to himself about saving Africa by removal of body hair.

The second blag saved me a $150 fine as I hadn't paid for a tram ticket and nearly got caught by a plain clothes inspector. But I played it so cool you would be forgiven for thinking my code number was 007 and lived to scam another free tram ride.

Tonight I intend to celebrate my newfound employment with $2 pints (that's about 80p) at a nearby club. Assume the worst and then whatever happens to me will seem like a let-off.

Hope everyone's still coping without me. If it gets hard, just take it one day at a time, that's what I keep telling Waterman.