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I should not care this much about this.

"Beeso, you're like our Steve Price."

So said one of my very young teammates after tonights game. For those of you who have no idea who Steve Price is, he is an older rugby league player who keeps getting picked for rep sides where he promptly gets sledged for being too old, too slow, too outdated in a young mans game.

He then goes out and plays all over his opponents, dragging his team down the other end again and again. So I'm not sure if it is the ten year age gap between me and the next oldest player or the fact that I too like to drag us down the other end every set, but I was pretty stoked.

I shouldn't really be getting this excited about touch footy. The level is about the same as QLD cup or the VFL so it's pretty good, it's just the way touch footy makes me feel. Nervous.
Every game.

The last time I played at the good level I left badly. I've always lacked confidence in myself when it comes to physical things, playing music, sport and dancing and the way I left last time destroyed my less than strong ego. I wasn't enjoyed playing anywhere and I hated that. I love playing competitve sport. I love winning and feeling like I've made a difference for my team. But for two years all I could think about when I got on the feild was "what if I do something that loses us the game?"

At the bottom of it I didn't care, I was fat and lazy and was thinking of going and playing darts. Then I got a bit fitter. I started enjoying myself, wanting to win again. By the time this season came round I was keen to give it another shot, just to play hard. I wanted just one game of A grade. The bunch of guys in my team are kids with better attitudes than some of the rep players I've played with. And it shows, tonight we won our final round game which gave us an undefeated record for the regular season. The funny thing is, last week I played A grade, mainly by default, but I was feeling like I'd let the boys down, I paced around while they played, screaming encouragement, running water. When I played my game it wasn't the same, it wasn't my team.

I still get nervous, really nervous before games, but they're good nerves, they pump me up so I can cart that ball forward every set.
Just like Steve Price.


Lantanaland from the iPhone

My life in music.

My mum, bless her cotton socks, was not big into music. As a result of a hrs life and a car accident she suffered from and still does of debilitating migranes. So deep purple LPs lieing around were going to be in short supply. In fact the only record I can remember her playing was a Slim Dusty album. Once. So it would be fair to say she had very little influence on my musical taste.

The first tapes I can recall owning were Dire Straits - Love Over Gold an EP of sprawling stories with lots of beautiful guitar and piano. I'd wanted their album, Brothers in Arms, with all the classic pop songs, but ended up with that. Despite my initial distaste of ungrateful 11 year old, I still love that EP. I also got a few hand me down tapes from my step brother. Choirboys was good. Right on Track 87. If you are a 13 year old boy can there be a greater lyric than "boom, boom, boom , let's go back to my room"? I think not. I think the first tape I bought was Icehouse - Man of Colour. A great Aussie band writing good pop. And of course every christmas for about five years I got the Smash Hits compilation tape. Bros, Kylie and the gang was the musical equivilent of feeding a baby fairy floss and Dagwood dogs. That's why it is highly ironic that in grade ten, Bon Jovi came to save me.

You see, my mum, money concious that she is had greeted every statement that I was going to purchase a CD player with a question. "do you need it?". I wasn't sure. An cousin saved the day by buying me the gold tour edition of Slippery When Wet. A fine excuse to pony up the cash. It was then that one of the biggest influences in my musical education kicked in. My mate Motts.

I joined a music club that gave you three CDs a month at a better price. We split the purchases between us. I think Motts got Faith No More - Angel Dust and the Jesus and Mary Chain - Stoned and Dethroned. I got the Chilli Peppers classic Blood Sugar Sex Magic. Of course we swapped CDs and I got an introduction to grunge. Alice in Chains, Soungarden and I hate to admit it now, Pearl Jam followed. Not Nirvana, strangely, it would be years later that the doco series Classic Albums would get me interested in them. Of course I loved U2 and the live Hunters and Collectors double album but I reckon that between high school and Motts and I living together the first year and a half of living in Brisbane, that he introduced my to every new band that I got into.

Except one. A girl that I was more than a little interested in was a big fan of a couple of bands that were very condusive to young hormones and poorly lit bedrooms and dance floors. Portishead and Morcheeba come on down. The love affair with them, Massive Attack, Tricky and others lasted much longer than my teenage hormones.

Another beast was about to raise it's head. Brisbane in the late 90s was the best place to go out and see a bit of live music, even if I didn't really know what to go and see. I can remember going to a Livid and just hanging round the main stage. I can only recall a bit of Shihad and two Reef songs while I was lining up for the toilets. Now I kick myself that I missed them, but back then I had no idea who they were. My local watering hole was also a great little room to see the odd local legend like Glockenspiel. The Alley would have a much bigger part to play later.

After a few years Motts, The Wife who was at that stage The Girlfriend and a few others got another share house together and introduced me to a starnge new music. Aussie hip hop, specifically Resin Dogs. It rocked my world. I was hooked and for good. And live, Jesus they were something else, with Dave standing at the kit, drumsticks flying and Lazy Grey on the mic. We saw them live a lot. And a few others as well, Moby's tour of the Play album was a highlight. There was lots of music festivals of which I can remember little but live music ws about to become a much bigger part of my life.

I was working at The Alley now, in the tradition of getting a job there from spending more than half my waking hours in there playing pool, drinking and listening to music. Trouble was I had this wedding coming up and I needed to pay for some things. Suddenley the boss quit and despite no knowledge of booking bands or running a pub. All good. Over the next five years I saw more live bands than I can count but I grew very weary of singer songwriters, there were so many crap ones and the good ones, like Alex Oliver and Asa Broomhall and a few others made the others seem like cats yowling. But Aussie hip hop was what I liked. Starting with my heroes Brothers Stoney, with Len One and Lazy from Resin Dogs and stretching through to Hilltop Hoods with little side visits to bands like 11 hour limit, an instrumental hip hop band, bass, scratching and flute.

The other big influence from this period was my good mate Darryl Bailey from EMI music. He swung The Alley lots of new music to play between sets and put me onto some artists that I'd never have bought. Paul Kelly, K-OS, Beth Orton. And others that we both loved like Cat Empire and Salmonella Dub.

So now where to. I don't really go to live shows anymore. I've got back into Triple J lately, which is good for new hip hop and rock mindworms like Muse and Passion Pit. I've left a lot out like the great story of Stereo MCs for another time. It's been a great ramble through my back catalog and I might open some of the cracks another day.

But to Motts? Thanks mate.

Lantanaland from the iPhone

Class of politician

Listening to the fantastic Fran Kelly this morning interviewing a MP on the reduction of the printing allowance and MP's salary in general. It was put to this MP whether $120G was enough to lure talented people into politics. The MP mentioned a number of talented people had turned down going for the safe seat of Bradfield because of the pay. So does that mean the only people worth attracting into politics are ones who think $120G is not enough to leave the private sector for public life. Is anyone in federal parliment now on more money than they were previously?

I wonder all the time about the people in politics. Are they really a representative of us, how many teachers, miners and plumbers are there in federal parliment. If all we have representing us are party political animals, unionists and executives who think $120G is a paycut, how can they write policy for the rest of us little people.

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Down the coast

Had four days off down at beautiful Brunswick Heads with the folks and my dads brother and a heap of his family. It came at just the right time, I'd had a brutal week at work and was starting to feel a bit heavy from the non stop training so a few days of this was just what the doc ordered.






Ian and Allen (my dad) are old school fishos so there was a fair bit of fishing planned. The fish of choice is the blackfish, a good feed but boring as batshit to catch. Give me whiting fishing any day. Allen has brought me down the little tinny for me to have, so I'll be finding out what's good on the Albert River. I'd planned on doing a bit of eating, drinking beer, cooking, reading and writing.




I read two books in the three days. I picked up the first just as we were getting ready for dinner. Straight away I was not hooked, but intriuged. World War Z is, as the title suggests, a zombie book. I'm not really into the old Zed, never seen a Romero movie or read any Zed fiction. This book was something different though, it was a historian going throughout the world, gathering aneccdotes about the war on Zed. The closest thing I've ever read to this was old Tolkien's supplementary books, the Simmilarion and Unfinished Tales, which were like history books for the world Lord of the Rings was set in.


Great read. Once you read a bit you forget that Zed is a figment of the authors mind and concentrate on the stories and the picture that he builds of how the world could go if something when wrong. Doesn't have to be Zed, could be swine flu or bearded nutters the only problem was with the book is that it switched me into rude mode, where I partially ignore guests and just keep reading.

The next book off the pile was blogger/author Sam de Brito's The Lost Boys. Birmo reccomended this to me, maybe they have a club or a union or something. Anyway despite enjoying having a tradional narritive again, this was a hard book to read. Running the pubs, I knew characters like these, fuck ups that they are. It's one of my motivating factors in life, don't end up like one of them. Despite the depressing and bleak material, it's a good read.

I love Brunswick, small, quiet, good coffee and a beautiful setting. We ate well, fresh blackfish in foil with ginger, chilli, garlic, butter and lime. Shin beef slow cooked with Montieths Winter Ale and split peas, beans and pearl barley. Rib fillet in a marinade of garlic, lime juice, soy, honey and chilli. Four days of not training.

And a three day working week to come.

Lantanaland from the iPhone

Bite sized reading

I read really quickly. If it's a book that I'm really in to I can rip through a book in a few hours. It's not speed reading, cause if it's boring it takes me weeks to get through something.

So I've hit a bit of curly one. One of the fellow travellers over at Mother Foccacia also has a blog that is essentially a novel, broken up into small parts. It's funny, crude in bits and hits a lot of the memories that most of my fellow flatmates from yesteryear will recognize with frightening clarity.

However it rolls along in small chunks. At the start that was fine because it was convenient to fit in at the end of the day or while waiting in line, anytime I had a spare five minutes. But now I am hooked in the way that if this was a printed book would keep me up until I'd read the last word.

Birmo has written about doing something like this for his fanfic, to be ported into an app for the iPhone or google android. You always have it with you and read it at the doctors or on the train or bus. The writing style will be slightly different because you really have to keep the reader coming back again and again.

That's what Doctor Yobbo's done. I'm hooked. The story/blog is called In The Worst Possible Taste. It's a good read, check it out. But start with the first entry.


Lantanaland from the iPhone

Touched by the sun.

Touch can be a confusing sport to understand what is good and what's not. For a start, in QLD at least we have a superleauge type venture that runs an unaffiliated comp on grounds all over south east QLD. Whites Hill on a Friday night is the best competition short of representative touch that you can play in QLD though, without a doubt. The last game I'd played there wasn't that happy.

I'd played two seasons of the top grade. I was the worst player on the team, to be fair, but at least I'd played. One game into the third season I rocked up to find that I'd been dropped back to div 2. I deserved to be dropped, I was out of shape and low on confidence but also deserved to be told at the start of the week. I then played ordinarily for div 2 before badly rolling an ankle and never going back. After seven years playing on a Friday night then backing up for weekend work I was enjoying having a few beers on Friday afternoon, watching the footy and then sleeping off the consequences. Such as they are for me, easily the lightest drinker of all my friends.

There was never any thought of going back and playing A grade. But this recent fitness kick has brought back a few competitive juices and I asked a mate if there would be a spot in his div 2 side. This mate is regarded as the best player in the world so I was pretty confident he'd be able to at least get me a start.

Friday night was first night back. I was bloody nervous for a simple game of footy, but it might have been the redbull talking The first thing I noticed was that all my teammates had never, ever, had personal experience of the eighties. There is now an over thirties comp on a Friday night, so all the old guys have cleared out to relive glory days against old foes. The second thing I noticed was at tap off. This game was bloody quick!

I soon settled into it and found that I was having an absolute ball. My mate was filling in as coach and all the young guys were having a real crack against a slightly older late eighties born model of a team. The second half was even better, I got into the middle and did my thing, which is defending and getting the ball down the other end so the flashy guys can work their magic. All this fitness thing had worked wonders too, I was blowing but still felt strong, or was that still the redbull?

We didn't win, the young guys tightened up mentally in the end of the game, but I'll take a five all draw. If the next nine weeks and finals are like this, I reckon that the last memories I have of Friday night touch will be much better than last time.


Lantanaland from the iPhone

Sunday, not the day of rest.

When I ran the pubs I worked a pretty normal working week, but then most of Friday and Saturday nights, plus a bbq on sunday. So when I got this new job, which a Monday to Friday gig, I discovered the joy of weekends and came to imbue them with a mystical significance, to be protected at all costs, defended to the death.

However judging the continental sausage at the royal Brisbane show is not something to pass up, so I gave up my Sunday morning to toodle off to Brisbane for a 8am start. That would have been fine except the mob running the judging would be hard pressed to organize a piss up at Oktoberfest in the biggest brewery in the world. Me and the boss were used for a total of about 20min of judging. At 11am. Three hours of sitting round watching a train wreck of organisation.

Anyway, bolted off to get home and build some racking for some more bee hives that are guesting, maybe permantly, at Lantanaland. I quickly ducked in to grab a present from a good mate that she'd picked up in Italy and sent home with her mum. Thanks Jess!





The bloke who owns the new bee hives, Matt, came round and we whipped up this heavy duty frame that will hold about five hives. We built it out of reclaimed deck posts that my builder neighbour had salvaged for me. They are bloody good gear and I have plans already for the rest of them.





Matt took off and came back with three hives. Only one problem. One of the hives the tape had come loose on the entrance. The boys got stung quite a bit moving them, I was wearing a singlet and was soft, I stayed well back. They eventually got them in and came down for a beer and then I crashed out.




I paid for it Monday afternoon though, suffering my first case of Mondayitis in years. I struggled through the training session and good case of mental fog. Thank god it's back to normal this weekend!


Lantanaland from the iPhone
Normally you need a bloody big tow truck to pull me out of Lantanaland. I like pottering around on the farm on a weekend, thinking about things to do, or starting new projects instead of completeing ones already started.

Friday night was drinks for an old mate heading off overseas. Anita is one of the crew from The Alley days, one of the best workers I ever had and if I ever get Lantanaland up to a comercial opperation, I'd find a job for Anita in a heart beat.





After a mini pub crawl and a failed attempt by unnamed females to drag the group into the strippers, we ended up, as you do in Brisbane, on someones back deck. I was the designated driver and I was pretty tired to start with on Friday, so I'd hit the coffee pretty hard through the day, but now I had an IV drip of red bull and it was even starting to fail. Time to head home.

I've been on a big exercise kick and decided the best way to shake the cobwebs out was two coffees and a bike class. I felt much better and the bacon, eggs and coffee breakfast post ride didn't hurt either. I was all fired up for the second excurision of the weekend, Hughesy's Non Fic festival and it was The Wifes turn to drive.

Ahhh no.

Turns out the night before had struck a heavy toll and the thought of 2 x two hour drives and some political panel discussion was making Wifey go sleepy. So I ponied up, grabbed a mate and went off to hear Annabel Crabb, Birmo and some George bloke from The Australian talk about Malcom Turnbull.

(I have a theory that The Wife, faced with pregnancy and designated driver duties in the not too distant future, is making me drive as much as possible when we go out. A designated driver bank, if you want. )

I won't read The Oz because I reckon it's a bit preachy and has it's own head so far up it's arse it can touch it's own ego, but my mate loves the rag and is studying economics post doc, so he was thrilled to get a last minute invite. Hughesy puts on a good gig. Turnbull was discussed, but the conversation rambled naturally off topic to more intersting things. Both Annabel and George were excellent speakers, insightful and funny without pushing their point of veiw. I thought it was a nice touch of Hughesy to include a punter who got up and harraunged the panel for not answering the topic question. A true festival experience. By pure chance, nowhereBob sat next to me as well, introducing himself by writing a message on his phone and tapping me on the shoulder. He got to ask the first question in QandA. "Annabel, will you elope with Abe Frellman?". No, wasn't that my question. I forget.





We hung round for a feed and I got to have a good chat with Annabel and her husband Jeremy, Bob, Hughesy, Birmo and Richard Fidler, who had chaired an earlier panel. It was an extremely entertaining evening and with a bit more caffeine I made it home to Lantanaland a sattisfied man.

Now excuse me, I'm off to bed with my autographed copy of Art, Life, Chooks I bought last night.

Lantanaland from the iPhone