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Spammers... gotta love them

So... just a quick note... whilst recovering from the Xmas Party (still).

Today I got a whole lot of "Undeliverable" emails regarding a link I sent to some people re: something to do with Electronic equipment for sale in China.

For the record, no I didn't send the email, my email address was co-opted by some spammer. I have also changed the password on my hotmail account (which I rarely use anymore) just in case.

Just delete the thing (IF you got it) and I have notified Hotmail that the address was hijacked.

< sigh >

Cheers - and see MANY of you at Infected Mushroom and DM on NYE :)

For my Birthday I received some lovely birthday greetings.... (and thank you all for those)

However, this is probably the best one I got - albeit a little mysteriousCollapse )

All were received in unsigned, plain, envelopes - smudged postmarks... VERY mysterious -

and then there was a final note received the next day...Collapse )

Thus the mystery deepened.

Our first review for Theatre Of Blood

 With all credit to: Australian Stage, and Lloyd Bradfors (Brad) Syke.

Theatre of Blood | Newtown Theatre
Written by lloyd bradford (brad) syke   
Monday, 02 November 2009 15:31

Theatre of Blood | Newtown TheatreNewtown's theatre of the same name was smart to exploit Halloween, to launch season one of its Theatre Of Blood, comprising three short plays: Andre de Lorde's At The Telephone, directed by Liane Norman; Eugene Heros & Leon Abric's The Guillotine, directed by Stephen Carnell; Alfred Marchand's Orgy In The Lighthouse, directed by Stephen Hopley. The capacity crowd exploited the opportunity to indulge their wildest gothic fantasies, too: devils, ghouls and freaks were aplenty; even moreso than a typical Friday night, just off the southern end of King Street. And to cap it all off, Hopley takes on his best undertaker's demeanour, albeit as a dour Anglican priest (is there any other kind?), to MC the deliberately ghastly proceedings. In the end, his contributions were as compelling as any onstage.

The designated Theatre Of Blood website sets the dark scene deliciously: 'it’s almost witching hour in South Newtown, and you’re walking down the seedy end of King Street. Every second shopfront is boarded up; windows broken; old posters peeling away from the walls. In the distance, gothic spires penetrate the silvery night sky; the clanking of a late-night train pounds closer and closer. A gust of wind wisps its way around your neck, sending a chill down your spine. As you walk through the skeletons of two trees by a run-down apartment block, you notice every window and every door is barred tight; graffiti on the pavement announces this as Ghost Valley. Suddenly, a dimly-lit sidestreet comes into view; and there it is. Amongst the lit-up brothels and the closed-up shops, you see the sign. A couple of steps down the alley and you are greeted by a darkened stairwell. Through the doors and up you go, up, up, into the Theatre of Blood!'

It's no one-off: again, to quote the Theatre Of Blood site: 'Theatre of Blood is late-night horror theatre, in the tradition of the Grand Guignol. Each Friday night at 11, we go live, in the foyer of Newtown Theatre, with a one-hour program of three short plays. Every three months, there’s a brand new selection to entertain, titillate and frighten you senseless. So don't lose your head'.

The Grand Guignol? Named after the incisive satirist puppet (yes, puppet), it played in Paris for 65 years, between 1897 and 1962; almost exclusively producing one-act plays. It was infamous for violent and erotic works of horror. In its most renowned incarnation, it had a particularly melodramatic aesthetic, which has been very evocatively emulated in the backblocks of Newtown South. Indeed, every TOB program will feature at least one translation of an original French play from the Grand Guignol. The GG has a fascinating and colourful history that's an entertainment in itself. Spare a thought, for Paula Maxa, the theatre’s ingénue from 1917 to 1928, who was reportedly murdered over 10,000 times and raped over 3,000. Ouch!
The theatre’s influence resonated most, but not only, cinematically: it's questionable whether we would even have had the silent German Expressionist movement of the 20’s; the British Hammer Horror tradition in the 60’s; US hyper-horror, during the 70’s, as exemplified in, say, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; or musicals like Sweeney Todd. And the influence was not merely notional: Paul Ratineau, who devised most of the stage trickery and special effects, prefigured many of those later used by Hollywood.

Remember your surprise and delight, the first time you experienced the wonder that is Wii? Or your fantastic glee, when you were introduced to the future of human relations, in the form of Facebook? Or how you tittered, when you virginally Twittered? Well, imagine the shivers of excitement that came with the telephone. Just as you've likely forked-out for iPhones for your progeny, Andre Marex bought one, at the turn of last century, so as to keep tabs on his family, in absentia. But convenience turned to curse when, remotely situated, he receives his wife's final call; for help. If not quite topical now, At The Telephone surely was, when written, in 1902, by the so-called Prince Of Terror, the Grand Guignol's reputedly greatest playwright, Andre de Lorde. And Marex' helpless torment is eerily emblematic of the powerlessness so many of us feel, in relation to war, or climate change, or even mundanities such as council regulation. And surely even Hitchcock must've found some of his mastery of suspense in de Lorde. Both have shown themselves adept at terror, as against horror.

Heros & Abric's The Guillotine (La Veuve), also known as Chop-Chop!, describes a rather comic, if menacing scene, in which a sex addict's penchant for dangerous liaisons sees her lover trapped in a museum's guillotine, with none in a rush to free him, least of all her carelessly cuckolded husband.

Finally, Marchand's Orgy In The Lighthouse, also considered a GG classic, paints a torrid, yet chillingly claustrophobic picture of two religiously deranged blood brothers, who lure two young, willing women into much more than they bargained for. For this, the front row was issued protective clothing. 

The ensemble cast proved somewhat uneven, with one or two not as elegant at elocution as they might be, and some apparent struggles to stay, convincingly, in character. But when they were good, they were very, very good and the tales were well-told, wending their way through the past, ever so darkly.

If you're looking for an excuse to dress up and indulge your more mischievous inclinations, like a laugh, a cheap thrill and a glass or two of good cheer, Friday nights in Newtown Theatre's foyer promise to be something of a Sydney institution. And for the incurable culture vulture, the homage to the heyday of the Grand Guignol should satiate any pretentious appetite. 

Newtown Theatre has never lacked imagination. But it still lacks adequate airconditioning, which might well prove to be the premature summertime death knell of the Theatre Of Blood if not, at long last, addressed. Now that would be ironic. And just a little tragic.

Newtown Theatre presents
The Theatre of Blood

Venue: Newtown Theatre | Cnr King and Bray Streets
Dates/Times: Friday Nights 11pm – from 30 October
Tickets: $19 / $15 concession | Dress horror and receive concession price!
Bookings: 8507 3034 | www.thetheatreofblood.com

The Kyle & Jackie O debacle...

 My opinion, only... caveat: I am not a licenced psychologist:

Sandilands was (probably honestly) caught on the hop and said the wrong thing while trying to think of a way out of the hole which his segment had dug him into - which is obviously no excuse for an 'experienced broadcaster' (a moniker he has used describing himself during a former on-air problem whilst at B105.FM). However, bringing a 14 year old girl onto a Live On-Air situation (interrogating her about her alleged sexual experiences) on a lie-detector, as sanctioned by both the girl's mother, and indeed the Producers and Station Management, is in itself apalling, and without the minimum of a 7 second delay is both unprofessional and verging on the criminal.

Not only is Kyle's lousy excuse for an apology, but this is the second time he's been 'caught out' in an on-air teenage sexual conduct reveal. Look at the furor in his B105 days. 

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said it had received about 30 complaints related to the segment by noon today.

‘‘We've advised those people in the first instance to write to 2Day FM," ACMA spokesman Donald Robinson said.

‘‘If they are not satisfied with the response they can bring their complaint back to us and we will investigate it to determine if there had been any breach of the commercial radio code of practice."

Daily Telegraph gets it SO wrong!!


Poh wins MasterChef Australia

MasterChef winner

Winning recipe ... Poh Ling Yeow n on MasterChef AustraliaSource: The Daily Telegraph

AUSTRALIA'S culinary experts backed her and Poh Ling Yeow delivered, becoming the first contestant to win MasterChef Australia last night.

It was a case of third time lucky for the Adelaide artist who initially didn't make it past the first audition, was asked back, eliminated from the top 20 and returned one last time to claim victory over mother-of-three Julie Goodwin in the reality TV cooking contest.

Using her cultural connection of her upbringing in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur and the traditional influences her parents Christina and Steven have taught her over the years, Ling Yeow was stunned with the verdict but happy to embrace it.

"This is really a surreal feeling," the 35-year-old, who hails from Norwood in South Australia toldThe Daily Telegraph.

"New ground is forged when you take risks and I've taken a few during this competition which have paid off.

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.


"Trying new things and throwing yourself in the deep end is what it's all been about. I feel like a deer in headlights.

"I have a cultural background to draw on, a whole spectrum of ingredients that most people in the competition aren't familiar with. It's been an intense bit amazing journey."

In one of Australia's most-anticipated and spectacular TV cooking showdowns the finalists showcased their culinary skills in a three-round challenge in front of their former top 20MasterChef Australia opponents and judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris.

Celebrity chef Curtis Stone also attended the final which included the finalists identifying ingredients in a beef bourguignon dish, cooking an entire chicken and perfecting Matt Moran's signature dish, a chocolate tart with chocolate half pipe and macaroons accompanied by a chocolate sorbet.

Celebrating the triumph with her parents, her eldest brother Casper and his four children, as well friends and relatives in SA, Ling Yeow said learning to adjust to a new culture when her family migrated to Australia when she was nine gave her the ammunition she's need to succeed in many parts of her life.

"When we first migrated here there really weren't that many immigrants around, not many Asians, so we did stick out a bit," she says.

"I guess that's what my food and art is about. It's about me constantly trying to reconcile these two cultures I am a part of and finding a sense of belonging in both. I really reflect that in my food and art."

Raised in a strict Christian home, Ling Yeow says her parents converting to Mormonism when she was a teenager has made her determined to stick to her guns and do what she wants, not others.

"I grew up in a strict home and mum and dad wouldn't let me go out as a teenager, so I was a bit of a square peg," Ling Yeow says.

"Then when I was 16 we converted to the Church Of Jesus Christ For Later Day Saints, known as the Mormons and so we went from a culturally traditional home to this quite strict Christian religion so I had a sheltered upbringing.

"I basically went overseas when I was about 19 and that's when the world opened up to me. I had to leave mum for a little bit and just explore it myself. It was the best thing I ever did."

After pocking the $100,000 cash prize and a cookbook deal Ling Yeow says she's excited about launching her book Food From Mars.

With a heavy Asian influence, the MasterChef winner believes Australians have been waiting for a cookbook which explores her roots.

"I think Australia is at a stage in our food history where we are willing to be adventurous now," Ling Yeow said.

"That's why I put fairly exotic ingredients into the competition because I think the public is ready to try exotic food.

"It's part of my story of who I am as a migrant and food has played a very important part in terms of me identifying with my culture because I've lost touch with lots of other aspects of it like language and values. That's happened because I grew up here."

However, for Ling Yeow her immediate focus is on returning to her painting after neglecting it for four months.

The established artist is yet to finish all her pieces for an exhibition of her works at the Hill Smith Gallery in Adelaide in November.

The reality TV contestant says it's been tough juggling the demands of MasterChef Australia with her love of art.

"I've been getting some really amazing offers due to MasterChef, which I can't talk about, but it's been really hard to balance it all," Ling Yeow said.

"So I am trying to process the recognition from the show, but I still really need to paint and it's something I miss and couldn't do in the house.

"I've been trying to multi-task but it's been difficult. When I am at home I can just put it down, but I've been really restricted in that sense while being on the show so I've got this build up of ideas in my head that I have to get out."

Disappointed but humble, Goodwin praised her feisty opponent for her success.

"Poh's a very deserving winner," she said. "I'm proud of her, she's a good friend and I wish her every success in the world."

MasterChef Australia is expected to record a national average audience of more than 2.58 million, the figure of the highest-rating TV program this year in the debut of Underbelly: A Tale Of Two Cities.

Auditions for the second series of MasterChef Australia will commence in November following the premiere of Celebrity MasterChef.

Applications are set to double with more than 15,000 expected to audition for the hit program.

Vale! Jill Munroe!


February 2, 1947 – June 25, 2009

Farrah (Ferrah) Leni Fawcett-Majors, one time model, actress and pop culture icon passed away, from complications due to cancer, this morning at the age of 62. It was expected for a few weeks now, and the public nature of her demise makes it no less tragic, and yet not as much of a specatcle as one would think. Almost as the opposite of some of the paparazzi-hounded tragedies of recent years, this one seemed to be served with a certain piognancy, a certain respect.

Her career was meteoric at it's outset, with commercials, leading to guest spots on popular sitcoms of the day (such as 'I Dream Of Jeannie', 'The Flying Nun' and 'The Patridge Family') and, with new husband Lee Majors, 'The Six Million Dollar Man'. There was much conjecture that she had been considered to play Jamie Summers (Majors' love interest in The Bionic Woman episodes) but these have not been substantiated. Her rise seemed unstoppable as she co-starred in the 1970's hit show 'Charlie's Angels' as Detective Jill Munroe, a role which cemented her iconic place in pop culture. Her poster image/s adorned the walls of thousands of bars and teenagers bedrooms, her hairsyle copied by countless teenage girls over the world. After she left Charlie's Angels (and the court-case surrounding her early departure had quickly faded), Fawcett moved to more dramatic roles, moving through well-know films such as 'Myra Breckinridge', 'Logan's Run', 'Saturn 3' and 'Cannonball Run', finally seeming to gavitate towards those of abused/infamous women in; 'Extremities' 'The Burning Bed', 'Between Two Women', 'Nazi Hunter', 'Poor Little Rich Girl', and 'Small Sacrifices'.

Her acting career never faltered through any cause except choice, even surviving a narcotics arrest in the . At times she eschewed the screen and stage to collaborate with artists, and even tried her hand at backing Broadway productions. When the mood struck she would happily appear on popular TV series' such as Ally McBeal and Spin City (in their heydays). Her final production was a documentary, following her secondary cancer diagnosis and subseqyent treatments, along with a fly-on-the-wall perspective of her life throughout this time, made by Rod Stewart's ex-wife Alana Stewart.

Farrah Fawcett died on June 25th, 2009 in Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Alana Stewart and Fawcett's long-time partner, since 1982, Ryan O-Neal was at her side only a week after admitting on air to Barbara Walters that Farrah had finally agreed to marry him (after years of his asking).

She is survived by her son Redmond and her Fiancee, Ryan O'Neal.

She was 62.

"God made man stronger but not necessarily more intelligent. He gave women intuition and femininity. And, used properly, that combination easily jumbles the brain of any man I’ve ever met." - Farrah Fawcett.

Gordon Ramsay... Proof please, not spin

Can somebody who has the facts please explain to me what this kerffufal is all about?

I don't mean an alleged report; or someone who said they heard a comment which (when taken out of context) could be construed to be homophobic/racist/chauvenist. Everything I have heard so far (including the aired excerpts from Ramsays pre-interview vox-pops at Channel 9 Studios) does not support the allegations, regarless of the spin being put on it by the ACA reporter last night.

If Ramsay *did* in fact say these things, then he has a case to answer. However, so far, I have heard nothing which *in context* supports the allegations.

The fact that he has unreservedly apologised for the alleged comments, is simply his (and his publicists') realisation that you cannot prove that you did NOT say a thing (you cannot prove a negative) - and so far I agree that the entire situation has been taken out of context and blown out of all proportion for some reason (as yet unfathomable) to me.

(As everone knows, I am *no* supporter of homophobic/racist people, but so far I haven't seen/heard actual proof of this issue, just innuendo, allegation, and spin - mostly based on his reputation for expletive-laden British affrontery, and not grounded in any facts. Provide the tapes, not the soundbites, so that the entire thing can be heard in context with tone-of-voice, because a transcription can have any emotive spin that the reader wants to put on it).

If the proof is there, I'll happily tar him with that brush.

Vale! Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan!


4 August 1975 – 29 March 2009

Sometimes you meet someone who actually has an impact on you. not just someone who you see on a screen every now and again, because there's a level of seperation involved. Of course actors affect us all, but when the actor is talented and yet is more than friendly and generous with his time, talent and effort, in real life - it's all the more tragic.

Born in Osterville, Massachusettes, Andy was a shy student and in fact didn't really perform much until he was invited onstage by Patti labelle at one of her concerts. His discovery by Joss Whedon (at a Universal Studios Revue) garnered him the invitation to audition for a new role in his "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" spin-off, "Angel". Andy got the part, and the rest is now Cult-Television history, filming 40 episodes before becoming a full ensemble cast-member.

After Angel wrapped, Andy concentrated on his singing career, taking time off for family and friends, also takign time off to rest, treating a burgeoning heart-condition.

After a five-year battle with heart disease, Hallett died on March 29, 2009. The actor passed away at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, with his father David Hallett by his side.

I was VERY privileged to have not only met Andy, but worked with him over a week/end here in Sydney, working as personal Security for his appearances here. I have rarely met such a talented and yet generous actor. We're all a little less bright for his all-too-early passing.

He was only 33.

"I'm so glad somebody finally said that, because sitting here waiting to die never was much of a plan. Sorry."

The 35th Annual Saturn (SF/F/H) Awards

The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror films, founded in 1972 to honor and recognize those specific genres of filmmaking, has announced the nominations for the 35th Annual Saturn Awards.

...and the nominees are:Collapse )

The awards ceremony will take place on June 25 (USPT) at a site/time to be announced. It is not known if the ceremony will be televised (live/delayed) through a cable network or even webcast at this point.

The 81st Oscars - The Results

The audience at The Kodak Theatre loved the fact that Hugh was onstage, and he broke the 4th wall immediately by interacting with the assembled stars, physically as well. It was a bold move, and perhaps only Billy Crystal could have equally carried it off. As far as the performance goes? I think he was nervous. He had the weight of carrying the concept of 'rejuvenating the Oscars' on his shoulders and that is NOT a small weight to bear. He did go off tune at times, but remember that he was live, and dancing, and NOT lip-synching, but that honest, good-humoured, charming, smile NEVER wavered.

Technical flubs abounded throughout the night (which were not Hugh's fault). The Sound Mixer should be shot, or at least banned from any live work. Steve, the curtain-puller, also won't be working again (anytime soon) either. I think they changed something partway through as Will Smith had to do one of Hugh's pieces on the construction of a feature film, and whilst Hugh kept the pace going, I found the idea a little contrived.

I must add that I really liked the idea of having a past recipient of a Major Award come out and give their own thourhs on the performance of the nominee. The sheer star-power onstage during any one of those moments was awe-inspiring.

Highpoints included: The musical numbers (thank the GODS they brought them back), the Award for Jerry Lewis, Best Documentray, Best Supporting Actor Award and response, Sarah Jessica Parker's breasts, Kate Winslet's breathing, Anne Hathaway's memorable Richard Nixon, and the animator who thanked his pencil.

As far as the actual Awards, themselves, are concerned...As far as the actual Awards, themselves, are concerned...Collapse )

That's it for another year of Oscar (Awards-Show) madness. many MANY thanks to those who came by and braved the mugginess (and thunderstorms) to fill the house. A HUGE thanks goes out to arby_doll for all the cooking for the night (more than ably assisted by Ben, The Waiter).

(Although, you DO know that the TONY AWARDS are in June and the PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS start the ball rolling (again) in August this year)...

... I'll see you all there ;)

Vale! John Drake!


March 19, 1928 – January 13, 2009

The man was eclectic, he was undoubtedly a genius, and he was a man of his time. He is also one of the world’s most recognised cult Television icons, something I am sure he did not expect when he started his career in The Sheffield repatory Theatre in the early 1950's.

From his adopted home in Sheffield, Patrick McGoohan trod the boards across England for ten years, meeting his wife, actress Joan Drummond, and marrying in 1951. McGoohan was a rakish handsome actor, who filled many leading men's roles in English theatre, but who almost had his career soured by a contract signed with The Rank Organisation. The company was initially interested in patrick for his physique, yet was alerted to his talent by Orson Wells. Of course Rank was large and it pushed Patrick into fields of acting he might not have ordinarily gone, such as many 1950's grindhouse flicks such as "Hell Drivers". However, these did not stretch him as an actor. Due to many heated arguments and massive 'creative differences' his contract was dissolved and this gave Patrick time and the ability to pursue television work.

A number of small roles led to Patrick being cast in the first of his iconic roles, that of John Drake in "Danger Man", a cerebral spy series where the fights were staged differently and throughout the entire series Drake did not kiss the girl. The series was released as "Secret Agent" in non-UK markets and the themesong 'Secret Agent Man' becamse a cult hit. After one year, the series, though innovative, faded in U.S ratings and revenue and was cancelled. It was brought back two years later, though, due to re-run fuelled public demand (well before the Star Trek letter-writing campaign of the later 60's), and the emerging public profile of it's star, McGoohan, who had worked extensively on-screen with the Disney corporation but had turned down some other similar leading spy-roles such as Simon Templar in "The Saint" and James Bond in "Dr No". Ironically it was the success of these two franchises which continued to raise new awareness for McGoohan and "Danger Man" returned, with an expended one hour timeslot and with McGoohan having script approval, and was a hit in the U.S, lasting for a further 3 more seasons before Patrick found he was once again no longer being challenged as an actor.

The series creator, and McGoohan's mentor, Sir Lew Grade offered McGoohan something different. A miniseries, with McGoohan as star and Producer - seven connected episodes about a Secret Agent who resigns suddenly and then wakes up to find himself in a prison disguised as a holiday resort. It was called "The Prisoner" and is perhaps McGoohan's most iconic role - the one he will always be remembered for. The mini-series revolved around the agent (who is only ever referred to as a number) trying to escape the island and return to civilisation whilst trying to determine the identity of his nemesis, Number 1. The series was not a hit at the time, though the original seven episodes was increaded to seventeen. It was deemed as too cerebral, yet found favour with the university set, and as such became a cult phenomonen, outranking such cult hits as "The Twilight Zone", "The Outer Limits" and even "Dr Who" in the '25 Best Cult Television Series of All Time' poll in the UK.

After wrapping work on "The Prisoner", Patrick worked on many TV series' such as "Rafferty" (said to be a inspiration for Hugh Laurie's "House"), and "Ice Station Zebra" which was said to be Billionaire Howard Hughes' favourite film. He won two Emmy Awards for his work on "Columbo" with Peter Falk, he appeared in Cronenbergs seminal "Scanners", in "The Phantom" with Billy Zane as The Phantom's father, and in Mel Gibson's "Braveheart" as King Edward Longshanks. He continued to work in television and film until the late 1990's, a classic working actor.

A lot of his work in theatre and television, apart from certain shining roles, was of the supporting variety, yet was constant and of a high consistent quality. Throughout all his years, and fame, he maintained his marriage to his wife Joan Drummond McGoohan, fathering three daughters, Catherine, Anne and Frances. At the time of his death, McGoohan was mostly retired, living in Los Angeles with his wife of 57 years. He leaves A legacy of theatre credits, iconic film roles and some legendary stories on how top manage one's acting career long with his three daughters, he had five grandchildren (Sarah, Erin, Simon, Nina, and Paddy). On June 11, 2008, he became a great-grandfather to Jack Patrick Lockhart.

He was 80, but he will always be Number 6.
Be seeing you.

Vale! Number One


23 February 1932 – 18 December 2008

With a career which spanned not only 5 decades, but also most of a Galaxy, Majel Hudec will be forever known as the First Lady of Star Trek. She was born in Cleveland Ohio, graduating from th University of Miamai, and then (with acting training and stock shows under her belt) moved through to Hollywood where she managed to land roles with the (then) prestigious Desilu Studios. She received comedy training from onone other than Lucille Ball herself, and was given bit parts in several of their house productions such as 'Bonanza', 'The Unctouchables', 'The Lieutenant' and Lucy's own show 'The Lucy Show'.

During her stint on 'The Lieutenant', Majel met the series creator Gene Roddenberry and the rest, as they say, is history.

Her association with Star Trek is legendary. First co-starring opposite Jeffrey Hunter and Leonard Nimoy in the original (and rejected) Pilot for the series, her role was reduced due to Network Executive insistence to that of a recurring character in the second, and successful, pilot. After the pilot was accepted by the Network, she continued appearing in almost every episode until the series cancellation in 1969 as both Nurse Christine Chapel and the female voice of the Enterprise shipboard computer. She recurred voicing her role as Nurse Chapel in the short-lived Star Trek Animated Series (as well as the computer and another regular character Lt M'Ress). She served as am ambassador of Star Trek throughout the years, appearing in at least one major fan convention per year, and reprising her roles as both Christine Chapel in two Star Trek films, thence making the crossover to the newly minted Star Trek The Next Generation in the late 1980's as a regular guest star, Lwaxana Troi, and once again providing her vocal talents as the Enterprise computer system. After the death of her husband, Gene, Majel continued to Executive Produce each subsequent series. She also made the cross-over to Star Trek Deep Space Nine (as Lwaxana Troi, and the Starfleet Computer voice) and Star trek Voyager in the same latter capacity. She lent her talents to various Star Trek video games, and even reprised her vocal talents for the computer voice of the USS Defient in an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. On December 4, 2008, it was announced that she had just completed work as the voice of the new Enterprise in the upcoming Star Trek franchise reboot film, making her the only cast member to have appeared in every incarnation of Star Trek in the past 42 years.

Majel also appeared in a number of other series, such as 'Leave It To Beaver', 'Genesis II', 'Babylon 5', 'Earth: Final Conflict' and 'The Family Guy'. She Executive Produced Gene Roddenberry's 'Earth: Final Conflict' and 'Andromeda' in the 1990's.

Majel Barret-Roddenberry, source of unrequited affection for Mr Spock, Daughter of The Fith House, Heir To the Holy Rings of Betazed, and without doubt the First Lady of Star Trek, passed away on December 18 2008, in her Bel-Aire house, from complications associated with Leukaemia. She leaves behind her son Eugene Wesley Rodenberry, a career spanning 5 decades, and a legacy in Star Trek lore and fandom which may never be equalled. She was 76.

We Grieve With Thee.

Vale! The Boy Next Door


August 25, 1916 – December 12, 2008

He had no startling impact on lives, didn't rise to the iconic status of Brando or Flynn, yet 50-60 years ago (Charles) Van (Dell) Johnson was a film-idol to rival the likes of Gene Kelly, Fred Astair and Bing Crosby.

From a troubled upbringing in Newport Rhode Island, which belied his ready and charming screen-smile, Charles Van Dell Johnson graduated High School, moving to New York City, and started a long-lived acting career. he toured with Summer Stock productions and became known as an excellent 'fill-in' dancer. From this fairly workman-like beginning he was recruited to tour Europe as a substitute dancer retirning to New York to appear in his first acting role in Broadway revue 'New Faces of 1936'. From there he was again recruited to tour summer stock productions in upstate New York (it was said that Patrick Swayze based his role in Dirty Dancing on his knowledge of Van Johnson's early career). After these summer stints, Johnson, having dropped both the 'Charles' and 'Dell' from his stage-name, moved over to Hollywood landing a bit part (and understudying for all the male leads) in the film adaption of 'Too Many Girls' and also understudying Gene Kelly in 'Pal Joey'. However, Columbia Pictures then knocked him back, Warner bros couldn't use his boy-next-door charm and looks and let him slide after an uneventful 6 month contract. It was only the intervention of Lucille Ball (whom Johnson met in his Summer Stock days) and an interduction to Billy Grady (Casting Director at MGM) which threw Johnson into a fully utilised contract at that prestigious studio.

The roles came thick and fast for Van Johnson, now that his image and charm were being fully utilised. Starting with replacing Lew Ayers' Dr Kildare as the lead in the 'Dr Gillespie' series of movies, his versatility and reliability becamse an asset to MGM. A fortuitous (yet almost fatal) injury left Johnson unable to serve in WWII, so throughout the war MGM pushed his image. Van Johnson appeared in a number of films (both in and out of uniform) portraying that 'nice young fellow' who lived just down the street in 'Anytown, USA'. By 1945 Johnson equalled Bing Crosby in box-office drawing power (which was no mean feat), but the end of the war saw the return of other 'Matinee Idol' stars and so his stint at the top was somewhat short-lived.

Despite rumours surrounding his sexuality, Johnson married newly divorced Eve Johnson in 1947, inheriting 2 children from her prior marriage to star Keenan Wynn, and later fathering his daughter, Schuyler. In 1961, the Johnsons seperated after Johnson's alleged affair with a young male dancer from his touring productrion of 'The Music Man', and 7 years later (in what was reported to be a very ugly courtroom display) they divorced, almost bankrupting the erstwhile star.

Van Johnson is probably best known for his affable roles in 'Brigadoon' co-starring with Gene Kelly and 'The Caine Mutiny', co-starring with Humphrey Bogart. Later in Television Van Johnson is credited with originating the 'celebrity walk-on' roles in TV sitcoms (the first ever recorded being by himself in 'I Love Lucy'. Further appearances in television series' followed including 'Batman', and later on in such TV stock as 'Qunicy ME', 'The Love Boat', and his Emmy nominated performance in the TV mini-series 'Rich Man Poor Man'. From TV, Van Johnson returned to SUmmer Stock Touring and Dinner Theatre. Some may see this as a step down the ladder, but Johnson is said to have remarked that 'an actor needs the basics, and if he can do them well, he'll never be out of work.' In later interviews Johnson also noted that theatre gave a known quality of script whereas the films he was being offered were fewer and 'crappier' as the months rolled on. So for three decades he was one of the busiest stars in regional and dinner theaters, traveling throughout the country, as the epitome of the working actor.

Toward the end of his life he was still working, still remembered as the 'boy-next-door' from years gone past, his last film appearance was in 1992 in 'Clowning Around'.

Van Johnson was one of the last of the 'Matinee Idols', whose good looks and on-screen charm led to a slew of memorable roles. Though never awarded an Oscar, it is a wide-held belief by many critics that Johnson consistently delivered Oscar-worthy performances, which is more than most actors can say these days.

He died on Dec 12th, of natural causes, at the Tappan Zee Manor, an assisted living facility in New York state, where he had lived since 2001. He was 92.

Vale "The Dark Angel"


April 22, 1923 - December 11, 2008

What can you say about a 'timeless' icon of the pinup, rockabilly, fetish & gothic communities, who had a profound impact on your life? That she was the face which launched a thousand black-haired, banged, imitators, and innocently sent people into paroxysms of fetish and pinup worship for over six decades. I discovered Bettie Page in an old Playboy magazine at a somewhat young age (well, young enough to be mesmerised by her looks and her innocent-yet-knowing image. From there I managed to stumble into her image (or her likeness) in so many places. To this day I have images of Bettie on my wall, on shot-glasses, in pin-up books, and even imitated by girl-friends.

Born Betty Mae Page on April 22, 1923, in Nashville, Tennessee. She was the oldest girl of Roy and Edna Page's six children. Coming from a troubled home, in a time of economic depression, and her parents troubled marriage which ended in 1933, Betty literally raised herself and her siblings. Her mother, adverse to the thought of daughters provided little in the way of a family environment, in fact leaving Betty and her sister in an orphanage for 2 years. Despite these trials, Betty was a brilliant scholar (with a view to becoming a teacher) and graduated near the top of her classes, going on the graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree, from Peabody University, in 1944.

After a failed marriage to Bill Neal, Betty moved around for a few years, working in jobs such as secretary, until meeting amateur photographer Jerry Tibbs in New York. Tibbs introduced Betty to the underground world of Camera Clubs (whose existance was widely known to be the legal loophole for the production or erotic photographs) where she changed the spelling of her first name to Bettie. Through these clubs, Bettie's image was circulated and appeared in many Men's Magazines of the time. It was then that Bettie met Irving Klaw, widely recorgnised as one fo the single biggest producers of mail-order Bondage and Fetish Photographs in the US at the time. Bettie's image was now sealed forever as being the world's first famous bondage model. Her fame (some would say notoriety) skyrocketed, yet Bettie wanted to do more than just pose for risque shots (although she would not stop for some time as she saw nothing wrong with the content of the shots at all). Bettie studied acting at the Herbert-Burgoff Studioos, appeared on TV programs such as 'The Jackie Geason Show', and made a few smaller risque films with other pin-up legends such as Lily St Cyr and Tempest Storm, such as Tease-erama. On one of Bettie's many modelling tours, being now the nighest paid model in New York State, she hooked up with the second most profound influence on her professional life, photographer Bunny Yeager who, after shooting the now famous 'Jungle Bettie' set in Florida, sent photos to Hugh Hefner of Playboy magazine. Betty became Playmate of the month in January in 1955, and awarded "Pin-Up Girl of The World" later that year.

Her career continued to skyrocket until the now infamous 'Kefauver Hearings of the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency', commissioned after a young man was found to have died during an erotic session surrounded by images of a bound Bettie Page. It is widely accepted that the stress and severity of these hearings, coupled with her name now being besmirched by the Government, helped to drive Betty into a fundamental Christian community, where she 'found' salvation, and shielding from the press and her old life, which she severed all ties to. For a number of years Betty dropped out of the public eye, and indeed the public interest until in the late 1970's interest was kindled again by several publishers who started using her likenss (gleaned from copies of the once-banned Irving Klaw photos, and other photographers' associated works). The list is long but works such as 'The Betty Pages', 'Tor Love Betty', 'The Rocketeer', 'Bettie Page Queen Of The Pin-ups' all utilised her images and likenesses from photos which (ironically) were now in the public domain, and hence were not subject to copyright or roaylty payments. In the 1990's, and living in a share-house, Betty became aware of the resurgence of interest in her image, granting non-filmed interviews with hosts such as Robin Leach from 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous', E! Television, and NBC's 'Real Life'. Thanks to this wave of publicity, and some new biographies being published of her life, her financial future was finally assured after securing the services of the same agency which represented the images of both James Dean and Elvis Presley. A financial firm was engaged to recoup as much of her lost earnings as possible. She could now live off her well-deserved fame.

In a late-1990s interview, Page stated she would not allow any current pictures of her to be shown because of concerns about her weight. In 2003, however, she changed her mind and allowed a publicity picture to be taken of her, for the August 2003 edition of Playboy. In 2006, the Los Angeles Times ran an article headlined A Golden Age for a Pinup, covering an autographing session at her current publicity company, CMG Worldwide. Once again, she declined to be photographed, saying that she would rather be remembered as she was.

The subject, now of many films and so-called bio-pics, the most recent being 'The Notorious Bettie Page' in 2005, yet one more is due for release in 2009, directed by Academy Award winner Mark Mori, and made with Bettie's close assistance, the project taking approximately 10 years to complete.

On December 11th 2008, after 9 days in hospital due to a reported case of pneumonia followed by a major heart-attack, Bettie Page passed away at Kindred Hospital in Los Angeles, where she had been on life support since suffering her attack. She leaves behind two ex-husbands, no children, and yet a profound and lasting impact on popular-culture, having forever changed the face of modelling, and countless performers. She will always remain the vibrant Bettie Page of memory, of glamour and fetish modelling, forever in her 20's. An icon of the 20th Century. She was 85.

One Day to go...

...and more than during any other foreign election, the eyes of the world have turned to the United States in the hope that the mistakes and missteps of the past 8 years will be addressed and that the directions and policies instituted by (what has been noted by some as) the most unpopular President in US History will be reversed.

In one day, eleigible citizens of the United States have the opportunity to signal their displeasure in the current economy, the ‘War on Terror’, their employment prospects, health care, aged care and a slew of other issues which hit home to the well-being of their nation, and (some say unfortunately) to the well-being of the Western World. As the US goes, so go we all, as the most recent economic turbulence will unfortunately demonstrate.

In one day, they will be able to signal their desire to see positives instead of negatives, security instead of paranoia, acceptance instead of xenophobia, their desire for change.

So, as we did last year with the Australian General Election, we now tune into the TV, and we look to see which direction Australians will be pointed (along with the rest of the Westernised World), we watch and we wait... for Change.

Send a letter... post this on your blogs

Dear IT Agency recruiters...

* When you advertise as an IT Agency, and your website says that you are an IT Agency, please do not try to tell me that you are not an IT Agency.
* When you tell me that you are offering to put me forward for a contract, please do not really mean a permanent position.
* When you state that you are offering a package, please do not include Superannuation in that 'package'. Super is a Federal Government requirement, and as such is not legally part of any package (unless you are offering above and beyond the Government requirement, which you are not).
* When you say that the amount you are offering is the cash amount, please do not then turn around and say that it is the Base-rate plus shares and Super (see last point).
* Please do not use the word 'over-qualified', as there is no such thing for a 3 month contract. If I can do the work, I can do the work, and 3 months is (literally) tomorrow.
* When you advertise a requirement of 'Min 3 years in Support', please do not tell me that I have too much experience unless you actually mean 'between 1-3 years'
* When you ask me how much money I am asking, please do not push this issue when I state that 'money is commensurate to the position'. As I have explained on a number of occasions, this changes depending on the actual position, and you can always put "$Neg" in the pigeon-hole electronic box that you need to fill.
* Further, when I say that my rate for a position would be between $x & $y, please do not insist on putting the higher rate down and then (when I call back) say I am overpriced because of the higher rate you insisted on entering.
* When saying that you're offering a package for the position I am interested in, please have the details of the package available instead of just waffling about, trying to deflect the question, and finally falling back on 'I have to ask my MD, but it's around that amount' - which simply says that you have no idea.
* When I submit an application stating that I am only interested in contract opportunities with your agency, do NOT put me forward for a permanent position.
* When you ask what would change my mind about permanent positions, please expect me to give you a polite and yet honest answer, including what I expect from a permanent position.
* Please do not tell me that people are expected to work for up to 4 hours per day outside their agreement for no remuneration. This is not the 1980's and you are not Gordon Gekko.
* When you use the word 'guarantee', please ensure that you know the correct meaning of the word, and have some idea as to what you will give me in recompense if you fail on your guarantee.
* When you advertise a contract or position at 11am, please do not tell me that the client withdrew the position yesterday... as I have the proof otherwise on the screen in front of me.
* When you say that you will continue to put me forward for other contracts, please do so. That way, when I see an ad for another contract (which I am qualified for) I will not expect to have you say: "...but I have put you forward for one already." After all, if I get placed, you get the $.
* When I arrive wearing a suit and tie, sit straight in the chair, am polite and ask intelligent questions, please do not insult me by saying that I am too laid back. Just admit that you have someone already in mind for the position.
* When you say "I will call you back", have the common courtesy to do so.

There are more... but it would start sounding even *more* nit-picky.

January 26, 1925 – September 26, 2008

There have been many glowing tributes to this fine man over the past two days, that I can only hope to give a personal perspective.

I discovered Paul Newman (that is to say I first remember seeing him) in The Towering Inferno in 1974. It was the era of disaster blockbuster movies and I was instrantly taken by his passion and his committment to what he did onscreen. Of course after that I would realise that I'd seen him on screen (large and small) for a lot of my young life. 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' would be one of the earlief films that I would have seen, but only realised it after I'd 'discovered' him :)

It seems that he was always on our screens, a noble romanesque profile and piercing blue eyes which could portray an astonishing range of emotions with just a hooded glance, and a smile which was like electricity. He was a star and yet he didn't act like one. Today 'stars' are a dime a dozen and our greed for paparzzi-style fodder makes 'stars' of the most unlikely and undeserving people. Paul newman was not one of them. In fact he was once asked a probing question about infiedlity and his offhand quote endeared him to millions: "Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?". This honest, down-home charm helped him make the difficult transition from 'classic' cinema into the blockbuster era with little trouble. His looks and his charisma simply gave him the roles for which he was best suited, and he made these roles more than their scripting and direction. Many of them, Rocky, Butch, Eddie, Hud and Luke are now iconic characters.

His second career, which surprised me at the time, he discovered whilst filming the 1969 racing movie, 'Winning', was motor-racing. This wasn't just some actor trying something new to bolster press or to try and look cool (even though the press of the time tried to paint it as such). Newman fell in love with the sport and became a world-class driver, initially owning his own team, and then becoming a regular member of other world-class teams which he either had a stake in or co-owned. Instead of just driving around the track and dabbling, Newman applied himself to a sport which seemed made for him and was rewarded by coming second in Le Mans in 1979, and later winning in his class in Daytona in 1995. One fellow driver noted that as opposed to just being a dilletant in the sport, Newman was so good at that he was seen by many other drivers as a 'professional race-car driver who just happens to make movies on the side'.

His careers spanned over 50 years. Iconically, his best role was Butch Cassidy, alongside Robert Redford, in 'Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid' although some argue that it was 'Fast' Eddie Frelson from 'The Hustler' and Scorsese's follow-up 'The Color Of Money'. Of course many today only know Paul Newman as that guy on the Salad Dressing bottles. What many don't realise is that since 1980, 'Newman's Own' brand of condiments and sauces have donated over $200 Million to charities worldwide, as Newman has given 100% of all profits from that business to charity, eschewing any for himself. He started the Scott Newman Drug Rehabilitation Clinic in memory of his late son who passed away after a drug overdose. He also started the 'Hole In The Wall Gang Camp' for seriously ill children, which has expended to give 13,000 children a year free vacation care and in 1999 personally donated $250,000 to refugees in Kosovo. In his middle-later years he became a true philanthropist.

In June 2008, having been a smoker for a most of his life, Newman was reported to have been diagnosed with lung cancer and underwent chemotherapy. His treatment finished in August, but the battle had been lost. Paul Newman died of complications relating to lung cancer at home surrounded by his family on September 26th. He leaves behind his second wife of 50 years, actress Joanne Woodward, and children Suzanne & Stephanie (from his first marriage) along with Nell, Melissa and Clare.

He was 83.
Joseph Petcka - I hope you fall under a bus and have a long, slow, and agonising death alone and filled with constant debilitating, screaming pain.

...and when they catch this mongrel, I fervently wish for the punishment to fit the crime - with something rusty and blunt.

28 July 1943 - 15 September 2008

One of the founding members of Pink Floyd, and member of their precursor group Sigma 6.

After becoming the darlings of the London Psychedelia set in the 1960's, primarily due to their drug-fuelled and lightshow-enhanced 'happenings', Pink Floyd became one of the most influential groups of that era, with albums consisting not only of their jazz-fusion roots and psychedlic influences, but multi-layerd orchestral themes which rewrote the rule-books for popular music. Wright's talent heavily influenced pivotal albums such as "Wish You Were Here" and the stand out "Dark Side Of The Moon". Unfortunately friction between Wright and Roger Waters caused him to leave the group after production of, "The Wall", yet ironically he was hired as a session musician for that tour and to date is the only Pink Floyd member to have mader a profit from the tour. Wright returned to the band after Waters' departure in the mid 1980's, and returned to play live with Waters and the other members of the band during the Live 8 concert in 2005.

Recently Wright had been attributed with a desire to tour once again with Pink Floyd, although man believe that this was sinply a positive answer to a persistant journalist's questioning.

He fathered two children with his first wife, Juliette Gale (their daughter, Gala, married Pink Floyd Bass Player Guy Pratt). They divorced in 1982. His married his second wife, Franka, in 1984, and divorced 10 years later.

Richard Wright died of a yet undisclosed form of cancer in his British home, surrounded by family. He leaves behind his third wife Millie, whom he married in 1996, his son Ben, and his two earlier children. He was 65.

August 4, 1942 – June 30, 2008

I have little I can say about this fine actor, which has not already been said in many many fan forums.

I first discovered Don S Davis on Twin Peaks, as the appealingly homey Major Garland Briggs and thought his performance in that darkly quirky series to be very one of the guest-star high points. of course I was quite happy when I ran into him again (onscreen) in Stargate SG1 and the imposing Major General George Hammond. However, his career spanned the 1980's through to this year, as well as an actual military service record (making him the only Stargate SG1 cast member to actually have a Military Service Record), from 'Joanie Loves Chachi' in 1982 through to the (now in Post-Production) 'Far Cry' to be released later this year.

Sadly, Don S Davis suffered a major heart-attack at his home yesterday, and was pronounced dead on the scene by paramedics.

He leaves behind his wife Ruby Fleming-Davis, who he married in 2003, and a son from a previous marriage. He was 65.

Spamming posts

Apparently this morning my GMail Contact list got hacked, and some form of spam 'invest in this' email was sent out to everyone. The account is secure but I've altered bits of it regardless. I've changed the password on it and my other contact lists... but some emails may be crap in them for a day.

On the further 'downside' Google doesn't seem to have a method of dealing with this. Change the password seems to be the catch-cry. I would suggest that keeping bulk mails from being sent out to entire contact lists might be a logical step for them - and I have sent them an email to this effect.

Stupid hackers...

Allegedly the 'fix' for this issue is: If you're using Firefox, install the noscript add-on, https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/722. It apparently protects against cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities, which is what the gmail contact hack relies on. So if I'm using IE to look at GMail, I have to switch to FF. There's no way of guarding against XSS in IE, I believe. More information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-site_scripting

I totally support this cause

coffee for a better cause is a campaign by a number of community organisations to encourage Gloria Jean's Coffees to redirect the funding it currently gives to Mercy Ministries and instead give that money to other worthwhile causes.
click here to repost this on your journal

Vale Noel Bon!

This is one of those times I dread.

How can you sum up a friendship which lasted 28 years? In only a post? It's just words and letters. It doesn't really convey the essence of a person. I only discovered the tragic news of his passing this morning (the inabilities of technologies at times). To say that I am saddened is a great understatement. As I said, I knew Noel for 28 years (though, not so much recently) which I will now never be able to rectify. Noel was a Torres Strait Islander, and a proud proud man. I wonder if he knew how proud of him we all were?

Noel stood a little taller than me (as do most people) but to everyone he appeared at least 7 foot tall. It was the way he carried himself, I think. There was a definite sense of majesty about Noel, something I couldn't put my finger on until I'd known him for a few years. He was the smallest of his family (or 'the runt of the litter' as he was fond of saying), which is a little frightening when you come to think on it. Noel would never ever think of sitting in his father's chair if his father was home. He knew he'd be bodily picked up and moved. I scoffed when I heard that - then one day I met his father (in passing) - a large bull-elephant of a man. I am sure (in reality he was about 6 feet tall and about 6 feet across at the shoulders/chest, but he looked 12 foot tall). I took Noel's advice to never sit in his chair.

I met Noel through a friend through roleplaying, I think it was back in the days of Nth Sydney, though now I come to think of it, it was probably in the Blue Room in Upper Campus at UNSW. Times can get a little blurry when they're that long ago ;) I recall that he was holding another roleplayer over his head (in a military press) - demonstrating something. Frightening I know, moreso if you realise that the person he was holding was as tall as he was, and also that he was supposed to be playing a slight dainty female character (at the time that WAS frightening). I think that was about as slight and dainty as Noel ever got.

As I said, I was fortunate enough to meet some of his family in Marrickville, though other friends of mine got to meet all of them and knew them better. Islanders have a certain close-knit family bond which is palpable. Noel's family had that at the time I met them. I learnt that the sense of majesty I felt from him made sense when I learnt that he was of a Royal Line in Torres Strait. Yup - he was a 'Prince' if a term is used there. I was VERY fortunate to know him very well for about 4-5 years, and then even more fortunate to have him more into my Canberra house and live with Kate and I in Tir Na'Nogth for about a year before I moved back to Sydney in the late '89.

There are so many things I could relate about Noel. The way he would scare the bejeezus out of anyone who didn't know him well and then laugh good-naturedly at their terror, because he was just 'playing with them'. Noel was fiercely loyal to his friends, and defended them to the hilt, even if they'd done something wrong, which was worse because then they'd have to answer to Noel. I'm reading back on this and it makes him sound mean and threatening - which was the image he wanted to cultivate. Only those who go to know him got to see the sly wink when he was frowning. The way that this immense Islander would be the most caring and gentle soul that you would ever want to meet because he genuinely cared about his friends. Not just paid lip-service.

There are so many Noel stories, and people like Jim Patrick, Alan, Brian Godfrey et al will have many more than I - in fact they would be able to remind me of a few. My FAVOURITE memory of Noel - and there are so many - is one of a small kitten, just after my cat Jasra gave birth, I think. It was one of our ubiquitous house parties and Noel kept having the kitten curl up on his head (it must have been the hair). The expression of comical disdain was always priceless, yet he rarely moved the kitten, because it was asleep. Anyway, so this time he took the kitten and carefully placed most of it in his mouth. There was no screaming kitten, no struggling, no shredded tongue, it just sat there. Contentedly. Purring. Y'see, it knew it was in no danger from Noel. However, it was so stupidly funny. Laugh? I almost went to Ethiopia. There was of course the time when he smashed a Jim Beam bottle over his own head to see if it could be done... and it could. He was brushing glass out of his steel-wool hairdo for hours. Again - it was a Monty Python moment. Then again, there were the times of late-night (talks about real things) and Noel just listening and ocassionally chiming in with earthy advice that just made so much more sense than most other things we'd been discussing. He was a Rugby player (and by that I mean Union). He kept running afoul of other players who would target him as being someone who they were sure was bigger than that. And yet - he'd take their best/worst and dish it back to them - then laugh uproariously about it and have beers and JB with them after the game. I shudder to think what would have happened if he had gotten involved in the SCA (more than he did) and taken up fighting. I know some of the better fighters in the SCA who were very worried that he would do just that. He was that skilled at anything he set his mind to - as his passion for model aircraft showed.

I was sad to leave him in Canberra, when I moved back to Sydney, I can still see him on the front step of the Emu Ridge house, sadly waving goodbye. However, I knew he'd be fine, even though he looked so very sad to see us leave on that day.

Noel worked for the Department of Defence, and other Federal/ACT Departments for most of his life. For a number of years Noel was also very active in Islander Affairs in Canberra. (I think the title of 'Program Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, ACT Regional Office' says a lot). He had a knack of cutting through the dross and telling things as they were. Amusingly, a report by Government think-tank on Indigenous Persons' drug abuse in the ACT reduced his statements' to 'Federalese', the amusing thing is to read through them and realise exactly what he had probably said at the time. Political correctness? Not likely, and thankfully so. Noel was a proud Australian AND a proud Torres Strait Islander - and was happy to explain to any who asked why the two were NOT mutually exclusive. He was like that - able to talk to all levels of people and cross-cultures from one sentence to the next. Of course having an involved Government job meant that he ended up not having as much time to do all the physical things he liked doing - such as sport. Noel hadn't actually been brilliantly healthy for some time. He was diagnosed with diabetes, and did look after himself, but probably not as much as he should have. He was too much of a social animal for that. Not that he liked to get drunk so much, just that he was indeed very social and sociable. In the last few years, what with the diabetes and putting on weight from not being as active as he used to be, he started having problems with his blood pressure and heart.

Yesterday afternoon, Noel suffered a major coronary episode at work, which was too much for his system to handle. According to all accounts he passed quickly, and suffered little pain.

I wish there was more I could say, but I can't. I guess I'm a little choked up, and it's all in fragments and disjointed pieces right now. Maybe later on I'll add something, I hope others do. For those who knew/of Noel, I will direct them to this letter to The Canberra Times from 2001 showing his passion for his causes. I also direct to the following entries (which may [or may not] be friends-locked) on a few journals: Lorenzo notes his passing, as does Arthwollipot, Terry, Kai', Vonne, Mong and through our mutual friends' community, so do the Friends of [House] Smithfield .

Tonight I will raise a glass to his memory. You see, I was fortunate enough to call Noel my friend for many many years... and he will be missed so very much.
March 4th was LiveJournal/Blog Amnesty Day.

Many people have a lot of friends on their list. Some they like, some they know in real life, some they never read, some they added in haste and feel too guilty to remove themselves.

Well worry no more. Because March 4th was a de-friending amnesty day, and unfortunately I missed it. So, I am taking advantage of it now.

If you added me to your friends list and you never read what I write or don't like what I write or just don't want my often pointless and generalizing ramblings cluttering up your friends pages any more, today is the day to unfriend me. Do it. Go ahead, don't feel bad about it. No worries. No grudges. That's what LiveJournal/Blog Amnesty Day is all about. Everyone has names on their friends list that they haven't the heart to get rid of because they're harmless really, but you just don't read what they write any more. Don't worry about it if I am that person on your list. No need for comments or explanations why - just unfriend me and we shall go our merry ways.

If you want to extend this offer to people on your friends list, copy and paste this into your own journal.

It's that head-shaving-time of the year.

My last 'haircut' was last year... March...

...and now the time has come again to let Dr Evil out of his hirsuit cage.

Last year the great people at Hellfire allowed me to raise some money for Leukaemia Research by having my head shaved publicly at the club, on stage, by the most Excellent mistress_elena. Dashing about the club were the more than brilliant vena_trix, master_flea and quarterzarne collecting monies for the donation. Once again the time has caught up - meaning that it's time for my 'yearly haircut' for charity - yes I leave it all year so that there's something substantial to shave off. Why do I do it?

The cause is important. Every hour of every day someone in Australia is diagnosed with leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma. Currently, more than 30,000 Australians are living with one of these cancers but only 4 out of 10 adults survive. Lymphoma is the fifth most common cancer in this country, and the number of people affected has doubled in the last 20 years. The money raised from the Leukaemia Foundation World's Greatest Shave will directly support patients and their families when they need it most. It's not easy coping with these conditions, whether you are living with it or a member of the families supporting it. Every little bit helps

So, once again, I am raising money for Leukeamia Research This year, and the wonderful Master Tom and Mistress Ultra of Hellfire have agreed that it can be done live onstage at The Hellfire Club on Thursday night, March 20th (because of the Easter Long Weekend). Now, this year it will be a sterling night of Hellfire performances coupled with my head being dipilitated by the most excellent mistress_elena. I will be joined onstage by the superbly adventurous princess_pouts who is not only having her tresses cropped to a number 4, but having some outrageous colour done as well...

All donations are welcome - as the more money raised, the more money goes to research and to the support of those living with/going through treatment for Leukaemia. You can use this link to sponsor me online, and/or you can come along to Hellfire on Thursday night, 20th of March, and see it happen in front of your very eyes... (I know that KISS is playing that night, too, so I am hopefully having this happen later in the evening to facilitate the arrival of those attending that concert).

The Hellfire Club - The Gaff [Downstairs], 14-16 Oxford Square (opp cnr Oxford & Riley St), Darlinghurst [entrance around the back], Thursday night, March 20th (that's next week, folks).

So come along... see it happen... laugh and the Dr-Evil look-alike... and donate to a worthy cause...

The night of your life...

I was feeling somewhat guilty on Saturday night... after all, as I wended my way into the city, with Gill and Barbara, to find where I my 'staging area' was, I was thinking back 30 years... I've said the story before...but for those who haven't heard/read it before it's here.

Anyway, I was thinking back to what exactly happened on that night that catalysed a city (and finally became the astonishing event of last Saturday night). People marched for a reason, they were set upon (not by rabid pseudo-Unionists [as in the Kings Cross evictions of the 1970's], or criminals [as in the bashing of Craig Gee and his partner about 3 months ago]) but by the establishment in a sanctioned ambush of a peaceful march.

I spent the 2 hours before last Saturday's march ferreting out friends and compatriots in the staging areas, all along Elizabeth Street, whilst a large number of the 78ers took respite in the ACON building in Commonwealth Street. Mind you, getting from one side of the Liverpool St intersection to the other was an adventure in beauracracy. I was talking to Michale Primrose (another '78er, from Sydney Leather Pride, who was at the Leather Pride staging area) and we both noted wryly that it was easier to get into the first parade (though the ending would be significantly different tonight). Still, I made sure that I took the time to see what had blossomed from the seed of that first march. The 150 groups who marched on Saturday night were as diverse as we all were, they stood for the same things, perhaps even moreso because so much time has passed and there is still an equality to be achieved. These people have managed to grow up in a climate which is suitably less restrictive than we did (though some things still haven't changed due to religious and political narrow-mindedness and opposition). Most people in this city now have a firmly entrenched and visible (not to mention openly active and supportive) Queer community, which is not hidden away in shuttered clandestine meeting halls or back room bars. I marvelled at the amount of preparation which had gone into each and every group I saw... and finally ran into the rest of the '78ers, as they came down from ACON, to take our place at the front of the march, much as we did 10 years ago for the 20th Anniversary.

I am still somewhat numbed by the response we received.

We forged up Liverpool Street to a deafening volume of cheers and whistles. Every Parade Official and Marshall stopped to cheer us on and applaud. I turned to Katrina and Kimberly, who were next to me, and said that I just didn't believe it. We spent the next moment turning into Oxford Street, which seemed a bit subdued in lighting to me, and then the entire street roared. There was not a person who wasn't cheering for us. Glancing behind us I could see that it was indeed for us, as the organisers had left a suitable gap between us and the next entry, so it wasn't for anyone behind us (I thought it might be for Margaret Cho as well, who was on the seond float). So many people yelling 'Thank You', every official still applauding us. Katrina (ever the rebel) nudged me and said "Remember 10 years ago? The Sit-in Protest? Should we?" I couldn't resist - "Damned right we should!" (so blame her ;)).

We forged up Oxford Street, paying homage to those establishments which are still around, and some which aren't: Patches (now DCM), The Exchange Hotel, Fitness First Gym (now Kings Steam and 34b Oxford Street), Tropicana (now The [Midnight] Shift), Cappriccios (now NV and The Banta Room), Club 80, Flo's Palace (now The Den), Stonewall, The Oxford Hotel, and then came Taylor Square.

Halfway across the square, in front of the huge video-wall, and in front of the world's media, we put the banner down, sat on the street and started chanting: "Keep your laws off our bodies! Keep your laws off our bodies!". I swear, the Parade co-ordinator must have had palpitations, as this was NOT in the schedule. However, as we stopped and sat, Taylor Square went into meltdown. The press went mad getting shots, the marshalls and officials 'got it' and went crazy. The homage was to the reason the parade was there in the first place. It was civil disobedience and a pointed reminder that we still need to have changes enacted for the equality we were marching for 30 years ago. I don't know if the point got across, but it was made nonetheless. In the middle of the chanting a Parade Security official came up to beside where we were, looked over at me, turned to their offsider and said: "Damn! It's him, we can't stop them from doing it." Smiled and walked away. Kinda nice to be royalty for one night. :)

Then we stood up, and marched the rest of the way, hearing cheers it was remarkably hard to distinguish one from the other, except for the odd, clear, "Thank You!" turning down toward the Albion Street intersection were the first of the paid viewing stands, with announcers for the crowd. These people understood. Whereas some people may have thought that we were marching FOR the '78ers, these people knew we WERE the '78ers. That's when I almost lost it. En masse the people sitting in the stands rose and gave us a thunderous standing ovation as we passed. I still can't find the words to express what I was feeling at that moment. Still can't.

I'm still a little choked by it all, actually. I think it then sunk in that this was what we caused from the events of 30 years ago. This astonishing change to the climate of this city. This was further reinforced by 2 marching groups later in the parade (as we watched from our area near the BGF stands). High School students marching openly IN uniform. This was the generation we had spawned. This was actually our legacy. It was not only our night to reflect and revel in what has grown, but this was THEIR night, marching openly in a city which accepted them so much more than they did us, and doubly humbling to me, as these students were the age I was in the first march. Only, thankfully, they have a very different ending to their first parade - and so they should.

I didn't get a chance to dash back and re-march with Bi-NSW and/or with Sydney Leather Pride. Even though my sash (Proud '78er) could get me pretty much anywhere... I had my bit.. and re-marching with the other groups would probably have been more for my ego... and to be honest I felt it not appropriate. Other 78ers were in Leather Pride and that was enough, and Bi-NSW? They had people there too... so to be honest, I was more than happy to watch them stream by and cheer them on. We started it, and they happily finished it.

I'll be back next year to march again, with Leather Pride, and/or with Bi-Australia/NSW. AND in 10 years time (barring acts of the Gods and aberrations of Parliament) I'll still be here - marching for the 40th Anniversary of our coming of age. For those who came and watched, and those who marched in our wake (not just on Saturday night, but throughout the past 30 years)....

Thank you.

Soundwave 2008

Firstly, let me say that the bands I saw yesterday at Soundwave were (overall) good. Some were VERY good, one was tedious - however, that's my personal taste. There were good things about the Festival, and some very bad things. Well folks, this is another complaint about the Festival - although this time from an Event Management and Security perspective (hey! It's what I do for a living).

Let me start off by saying that organising a concert with one band and support is a headache and a half (depending on the band) so 40+ acts gets my standing applause and kudos. That being said - to take on such a large enterprise means that you have a lot of marks to hit - and the chances of missing them increases with each addition. That being said, there are things which must be addressed next year or else this will simply turn into another 'shambles' like this year.

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These are the major things I noted on the day - I'm leaving out the niggling little ones - as nothing can ever go precisely to plan.

That being said - I fully enjoyed Plain White T's (and want to see their other show on Wednesday and I think I will). Scary Kids Scaring Kids were a lot of fun and a nice padding band leading up to ...MSI who were great onstage with a huge presence (even in the face of adversity - the missile-throwing yobbo-element) and I will enjoy their sideshow tomorrow night. Thursday (one of the replacement bands) were a force onstage although a lot of their songs sounded similar ;) their 'Wall of Death' was a sight to behold and they actually had a working circle pit. Incubus were the major disappointment of the night (and I think MSI would have been better in this slot) - Incubus were lacklustre and, to be honest self-indulgently tedious with no presence and very little charisma. Finally Offspring saved the night with a blistering set full of all the good numbers, I think they knew they had to make up for the previous band's lack of presence and so they hit the stage running.

Overall, I enjoyed the bands, and I had a really good time seeing them. However, the seeming lack of organising/delivery of the Festival was a major turn off to myself and many others.

Another gay teenager killed in the USA

Yesterday Lawrence King, a 15-year old student at E.O. Green Junior High in Ventura County, California was shot by a fellow student with whom he'd had an earlier "altercation" over the fact that other students perceived him to be gay.

Today Lawrence King was declared brain-dead and placed on a ventilator awaiting the possible donation of his organs. His assailant, another student who was 14-years old, was caught minutes after the shooting and is now in custody.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

The teenager sometimes wore feminine clothing and makeup, and proclaimed he was gay, students said. "He would come to school in high-heeled boots, makeup, jewellery and painted nails -- the whole thing," said Michael Sweeney, 13, an eighth-grader. "That was freaking the guys out."

To say I am apalled is an understatement.

A tip o' the hat to badpauly


30 years on - and the song remains the same.

Brendan Nelson, today you have proven yourself to be a worthy successor to John Howard. 'May you live in interesting times.'