Month: May 2012

home of little heard music

– – There’s nothing that puts me on edge quite like those annoying commercial radio jocks who think fake laughing at unfunny jokes qualifies as entertainment. And then, just to tip me over the ledge, they follow up by playing some grating bubble-gum pop probably written by a poor jaded muso who now pumps out formulaic tunes from nine to five just to pay the rent. Depressing stuff. But then I discovered PBS. If you like listening to a wide variety of music, from the past as well as the present, tune into 106.7FM. Here you’ll find PBS, a community radio station run by over 200 volunteers as well as a small handful of pros. These folks love their music and generously give their time to produce over 80 specialist music programs, from hip-hop and soul to jazz, funk, Latin, gospel, folk, metal, world music and everything in between. PBS is a big supporter of the local Melbourne music scene and often showcases tunes by local artists. You’ll also hear the announcers spruiking gigs around Melbourne, so tuning in can be a good way …

town hall hotel

    Tucked away in North Melbourne’s very cute Errol Street is the Town Hall Hotel, an unassuming little pub that gets a lot of things right. The front bar is suitably dingy for a casual drink — a very casual drink. As the Town Hall’s own website says, you’ll feel right at home here ‘if you’re the kind of person who feels uncomfortable in the foyer of the Hilton, but not self-conscious about a gravy stain on your collar’. Wander around the back and you’ll find a great little beer garden — a lovely spot for a quiet beer or an al fresco meal in summer. But it’s the Town Hall’s central dining area that particularly tickles my fancy. It’s cosy, intimate and shabby enough to put you at ease. An open fire burns in winter and there’s always a tea-light candle on every table, lending just a touch of romance. The food here is generally pretty good, with main meals mostly around the $15–$20 mark. A great choice for a hearty pub meal …

the tents

– This coming Wednesday the State Library of Victoria’s free Outside-In Cinema will be screening The Tents, a documentary that tells the story of the rise of New York Fashion Week. Directed by James Belzer, the film features interviews with designers and editors. You can check out the trailer on the film’s website. As usual, the film will be screened in the State Library’s Experimedia room, and you can bring along food and non-alcoholic drinks. – Outside-In Cinema Film: The Tents Address: 328 Swanston St, Melbourne Vic 3000 Date: 23 May 2012 Time: 6.30pm—8pm Damage: Free Click here to book your seat online. –

Mediterranean Wholesalers

One of the best things about Melbourne — if not the best thing — is its multiculturalism. Not only do we get to interact with people from a huge variety of cultural backgrounds, but we also get to eat their food. The Mediterranean Wholesalers in Brunswick is heaven to lovers of Italian cuisine. This place stocks pretty much everything you could wish for, and much of it can be bought in bulk. Even if I don’t feel like buying anything, I love wandering through this place just to smell the delicious food and hear the tiny nonnas with their perfectly coiffed hairdos chat away in Italian. Coming here is like going on a miniature holiday. Food plus culture plus travel. To me, that equals big love.   Mediterranean Wholesalers Address: 482 Sydney Road, Brunswick Vic 3056 Tel: 9380 4777 Opening hours: 9am–5.30pm Monday to Thursday, 9am–7pm Friday, 8.30am–2pm Saturday Read more reviews on

outside-in cinema

– I love the State Library of Victoria. Not only is it beautiful, with its glorious books and artworks and soaring architecture, but it also features exhibitions and events throughout the year, most of which are free to attend. One of these is the Outside-In Cinema. I only stumbled across this recently, but judging by the line-up of films screening over the next few months, it looks like a great find. The cinema shows contemporary documentaries and animated features in the Experimedia room every second Wednesday from 6.30pm. This coming Wednesday (9 May) showcases the film Crossing The Bridge, a documentary about Turkish music directed by Fatih Akin. You can bring food and non-alcoholic drinks along, and entry is free, although you will need to book a seat online. A few of the other films due to be screened over the next couple months include Babies, Being Elmo and Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times. I’ll try to give you heads up when the screening dates approach. – Outside-In Cinema Film: Crossing The Bridge Address: 328 Swanston …

doing the block

– – A hundred years ago, Melbourne socialites would dress in their finest and head into the CBD to ‘do The Block’ on a Saturday afternoon. This entailed strolling around the city’s two fashionable shopping arcades, The Block and Royal Arcade. While this tradition has unfortunately been lost (I must admit I would love to carry a parasol and walk haughtily around the city), these two arcades are still very much in existence. Today, they’re filled with posh boutique stores and have become one of the CBD’s main tourist attractions. The Block was built between 1891 and 1893 and has the somewhat random distinction of featuring the largest mosaic tiled floor in the country. Royal Arcade was constructed a little earlier, in 1869, and is known for its large clock flanked by the mythical characters Gog and Magog, which have been in place since 1892. Both arcades are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register as particularly fine examples of Victorian-era architecture. It’s rare to find public buildings in Australia that convey such a strong sense …

read and laugh (and laugh some more)

  A couple weeks ago, Melbourne blogger Jonathan Rivett posted a complaint letter that he wrote to Yarra Trams on his blog, Haught. Two days ago, a Yarra Trams customer relations officer replied to his complaint. I know this doesn’t sound like particularly riveting reading (no pun intended), but the exchange was so unexpectedly hilarious that it headlined on The Age website today and had me laughing out loud. This is how the world should be. I wish I had the power to give Jonathan Rivett a book deal, but I don’t. Instead, I’ll recommend his posts with all the links I can muster. Do yourself a favour and check them out. You can read the original complaint letter here, and the reply here.  

get smart

– – Today The Monthly magazine launched a new free daily called ‘PoliticOz’. As I have yet to actually see a PoliticOz posting, I’ll leave it up to The Monthly to explain this new project: PoliticOz delivers the best of Australian political writing and journalism to your inbox every weekday. It’s a selection of the day’s major stories, key quotes and essential commentary, as well as videos, interviews and the latest polls. A one-stop shop for followers of Australian politics, PoliticOz highlights the best of the nation’s top political sources, including newspapers, blogs, think tanks and new media. Knowing The Monthly, I think this could be a great new resource for anyone wanting to keep abreast of Australian politics. Register for PoliticOz here. – And while we’re on the subject, I may as well let you know about The Monthly‘s first daily. ‘The Shortlist Daily’ is a bite-sized newsletter showcasing a small handful of links to ‘the best reads from around the world’. (That should really be amended to ‘the best reads from the English-speaking world’, but no matter.) This …