Tag Archives: perth

Perth Royal Show

What a great week off work! One of the activities we got up to was going to the Royal Show.

In the last 2 years, we went later in the day so we could try to fit in the fireworks – but we found that the Woolworths Pavilion and some of the Animal Pavilions were closed by the time we got to them!

So this year we decided to start earlier, before lunch. Much the same experience as previous years, except this time, we didn’t do any games or rides. Up to $6 for a game and $9 for rides??? Are you kidding?  We told the kids that we’d rather buy them another showbag than to let them play the fishing or clown game for $6!

We also saved money this year by bringing in our own water and packed lunch and fruit.

I did pop in to meet fellow Perth blogger and tweeter, Rodney Olsen.   Sorry it was so quick and awkward Rodney!   It seemed like you were busy broadcasting…   Good luck for the ride 🙂

About 6 hours later, we decided we’d had enough and took the long walk back to the car…   our arms filled with showbags and our bellies with as many free food samples as we could find 🙂

Highlights:  free tasting at the Dairy Pavilion and Yellow Brick Road at the Woolworths Pavilion

Lowlights:  no IKEA stand

Funniest sight:  old men and ladies getting on the “jiggling” vibrating exercise machines

What I’d wish I’d done:  stay until night time to take some long exposures of side show alley


Supanova expo this weekend

A friend just passed me a flyer to Supanova, a “pop culture” expo that is on this weekend. 

At first I thought, what the &#$@ is “pop culture”?   Ths Supanova expo seems to encompass movie stars, sci-fi, comic books, anime and cartoons, computer gaming, LAN party, card gaming and more.  

One interesting thing that the kids (and I) might find entertaining is cosplay (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosplay).  This is the sub culture where people dress up as characters (usually anime/manga/computer game characters) and re-enact scenes or pretend to be that character.  Apparently there is a cosplay competition as part of supanova!  Might be good photography subject material.

With children under 12 are free with a $25 adult ticket at the door, it sounds like a good way to start the Perth school holidays


Memories of Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson on the Hollywood Walk
Michael Jackson on the Hollywood Walk

On the way to dropping the kids off to school this morning, I had the radio on and couldn’t believe my ears when I heard that Michael Jackson had passed away.  What?!? THE Michael Jackson?

I’m sure some of us have stories involving Michael’s music in some way or another.  Sure people now think he is a weirdo and maybe a child molester, but in the 80s, he was DA BOMB!

For me, his song, “Beat It”, is one of my very first pop song memories from when I was 8.  I remember our family was on holiday in Hong Kong in 1983.  Our hotel had some sort of tinny daggy piped music system and the song that had most rotation was “Beat It”.  It became the “theme song” for that family holiday!

A few years later, I remember the huge launch of “Bad”.  Our family gathered around the TV, watching some long special where they talked about the song, and then played the full length video clip (probably multiple times).  I was an instant fan!!!   My father then bought us the 12-inch LP single of “Bad” – our very first “pop” record (I think INXS Kick was the first album I bought with my own pocket money).

I used to listen to “Bad” over.. and over.. and over.  The 12 inch was great because it had all sorts of other mixes on there, including an acapella version, and a track with no vocals either.   I was mesmorised by the little electronic click that swished from left to right and back again in stereo.

Then one year, he came to Perth.  We HAD to go.  It was over the top – MJ coming out of a rocket in a spacesuit.  But thinking back, I remember was that his concert was a bit of a letdown because even though we were seated on the floor right in front of the stage, security made sure no-one stood up at all.  It was a pop concert of major dance tracks… with no dancing allowed.  No fault of MJ – just stupid concert promoters.   But I remember thinking, “OMG!  Is that really MJ?  Is he here performing in Perth?  Wow!”

A few weeks ago, Rage had one of their video theme specials where the theme was like cool dance choreography clips.  “Bad” came on and I was so excited!

I yelled to the kids, “Hey kids! You gotta see this!  It’s Michael Jackson and there’s really cool dancing in this clip.”

They watched for a seconds over their cereal.  And then tuned out.

I watched the clip again… it was a bit 80s.  The clip IS a bit dated.  The dancing isn’t as fantastic as some other more modern ones.

Oh well, I continued to watch and tried to remember why I wanted to be a dancing gangster when I was 12.

May he rest in peace…  his immense collection of hit tunes will definitely live on for centuries..

More here:




Too many things on in Perth!

Who says Perth is dullsville??

I was overwhelmed with the number of things on this weekend!   There was just TOO much going on at once – it was hard to decide which one to go to (let alone, afford to go to more than one of these big events/concerts)!!!   Here was the shortlist of what I wanted to go to, but in the end we just went to one:  swing dancing to June Smith as part of the SwingBlast weekend.    At first sight, June doesn’t look like she is a singer, or a jazz singer at all – but boy can she entertain, sing, swing, growl and scat with the best of them!

Human Nature with WASO


Future Music Festival

Hyde Park Fair

James Flynn celebrating the music of Stevie Wonder

June Smith and the Apple Band playing for the SwingBlast weekend


The Nargun and the Stars

Perth Writers Festival at UWA

Stevie Wonder in Perth!

And so we joined the thousands streaming into the Burswood Dome for what should be another great concert – Stevie Wonder in concert!  The Motown dude with a zillion hits.  The crowd was quite mixed – I’m not sure if there is any stereotypical Stevie Wonder fan, but we definitely had lots of music friends going.

Inside the Dome, the crowd was buzzing, not sure whether because of the excitement of the show, or the anticipation of getting your money’s worth after having paid multiple hundreds of dollars to see the man.  Finally the band came on, and impressive it was – a full 10 piece band (not including Stevie) plus 4 backing singers.  This was serious, and they all proved their great musicality throughout the night.

Stevie Wonder has an immense song library to choose from, and for the first half of the program, there were many new songs (or songs that I wasn’t that familiar with).  They grooved as all his music does, but some were more experimental, especially the vocoder one that seemed to go on a bit too long.  But he threw in his hits, especially near the end of the show when he did a medley of 5+ hits one after another that reminded everyone of what a great songwriter he is and what great songs he has in his repertoire.  And shock horror – his popular groovy hits got Perth people on their feet!!  In the middle of a show with seats!!  🙂  I’m glad security didn’t get everyone to sit down like at the Michael Jackson concert many years ago..  how could you not move your body to his music!!

There was no interval, but the show must have gone for between 2 and 2 and a half hours, finishing just before 10.30pm.  A pretty long set, interspersed with some preaching, Barack Obama campaigning and what I like to call melodic dictation (audience participation singing!  A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do…   I think Stevie must realise by now that Perth crowds are very conservative!).  In the end, we left very satisfied, except for the sound.  Perth needs a better large live music venue where the sound is not woofy and muddled, especially in the bass end.  I would’ve so loved to have heard his full band in a venue with amazing sound clarity where each part is crystal clear and the bass is tight.  Maybe only on DVD or Bluray…

Labour + Liberal coalition?

I have to give full credit to two close work friends for this.

They were discussing what was the best way to resolve the current stalemate in WA’s state election.  One way to stop Brendon Grylls of the National Party from having to decide whether to side with Labour or Liberal, is for Labour and Liberal to form their own coalition!  Stalemate resolved!

We would need to somehow create a new leader to lead this party –  a combination of Colin Barnett and Alan Carpenter…  Col’n Carpenter!

Colin Carpenter
Col'n Carpenter

A night out with ACO

ACO Vivacious - Alina Ibragimova
ACO Vivacious - Alina Ibragimova

Due to some great friends and some luck, we were able to secure two great seats to the ACO Vivacious concert last night.  I was really looking forward to this concert as I hadn’t heard the ACO for a while,  there seems to be great reviews for the guest musical director and I was keen to compare the Four Seasons to a recent concert of it I heard in Venice itself.

Alina Ibragimova was the guest director and lead violinist for this concert season, and as soon as she walked on, I’m sure she already caught the attention of every (unfortunately probably 40+ year old) male in the Perth Concert Hall.  I was wondering how someone with her petite stature, cute face, funky hair and tender age of 23 (10 years younger than me!) could command a group like the ACO.  But she immediately impressed me from the first movement of Bach’s The Art of Fugue.  ACO was amazing yet again – the first movement was played without vibrato, but the intonation was perfect and the tone and interpretation extremely delicate, too delicate.

I was wondering how ACO would fare alternating movement’s of the Bach with Signs, Games and Messages by Gyorgy Kurtag.  I imagine it would be hard to context switch between the different styles, but I think it was an interesting experiment in the end – it even made some of the Bach sound foreign at times.   There were some great thoughtful and well executed solos and chamber playing from ACO.  The last piece of the first half was what I’d term “difficult listening”.  I could sense unease in some of the audience around me, and I was wondering what they must be thinking about of the three pieces from the Lyric Suite by Alban Berg.  Luckily, the amazing execution by ACO kept me engaged throughout.  Not being familiar with the piece at all, I’m not sure if it worked out well – especially the third (?) movement which was extremely complicated and all over the place.  I was laughing on the inside because they could have all been out of time with each other or lost, but I don’t think anyone would know, because they all ended together – just like true professionals.  Judging from the expressions of some of the players as they walked off the stage after that piece, I’m sure some things didn’t go quite to plan.  (Note to all performers – even though you may have finished “playing” the piece, you’re still “performing” until you’re out of sight of the audience!!!)

The Four Seasons was what featured in the second half and I think this was the reason why the Perth Concert Hall was sold out, up to its upper gallery, and why many proud parents had brought their musical genius wannabe kids.  Again, Alina’s and ACO’s execution was extremely delicate and precise.  Was it fresh?  Yes – it definitely was not the boring/usual interpretation and my wifey commented later how liberating it must be to be able to get to a stage of your playing and career where you CAN experiment like this.  At which I replied, there’s nothing stopping amateurs doing that anyway!    Was it authentic?  I don’t know – but does it matter anymore?  However, I am not totally convinced of the ACO performance – some of it was TOO liberally interpreted in my opinion, especially in Autumn.  I wonder if people go out of their way to pull the music in different directions, just to be different, just because they can.   I guess ACO didn’t claim to deliver an authentic performance, but a fresh one, so they achieved what they wanted and I wasn’t bored but wondering how they were going to play the next bit.

At times, I felt Alina’s playing was a little too introverted and chamber like (sometimes playing into her stand instead of to the audience), which would be OK in a smaller room, but at times in the Perth Concert Hall, she was slightly drowned out by the other ACO players.  But I loved the use and non-use of vibrato for effect, the variation in bow speed in long notes, the use of dynamics in ways I hadn’t heard before for the Four Seasons.  The sul ponticello in Winter seems to be the “fashion” lately as Interpreti Venezia did exactly the same when we saw them in Venice.  Alina’s execution of the fast runs were energetic, but didn’t some fast passages didn’t seem as clear as Carmignola’s playing (but that is a studio recording).

So, in the end, a satisfying and inspirational night out, confirming that Australia really has one of the top ensembles in the world in the ACO.  ACO seem too perfect at times, so it was refreshing to see Alina walk into the wrong door when exiting the stage after the first half, and (distracting and unfortunate!) to see her have problems with her music page turn over (due to Perth Concert Hall’s airconditioning breeze I think?) – yes they are human!  Actually, I found that the time when her music did turn over and she had to play from memory was the time when her playing and performance was liberated the most.  Oh how I wish I could be good enough to play with them one day.

As for Perth audiences – I know it’s winter season, and many people do try to hold their coughs until between movements, but even that because annoying or disrupting – when the performers (ACO) have to wait before starting the next movement because people are still coughing = BAD.   Why don’t the venues offer free cough lollies (without crinkly wrapping)?  Wouldn’t this help?  And please, please, don’t unwrap crinkly cough lollies in the slowest quietest movements.   The quieter you try to unwrap it, the longer it takes, the more agonizing it is for those around you!

Funnily, I decided to wear jeans and a shirt to the concert thinking ACO is meant to be fresh, vibrant, youthful… but I felt quite underdressed with most of the patrons being older and in suits/jackets.  Even with snazzier photographs/posters/brochures and better online presence (see ACO’s blog here), I wonder if classical music will ever be more accessible to the younger generations.   And why do Perth audiences feel the need to rush out as soon as a concert is over?  The last ACO member hadn’t even left the stage yet and people were up on their feet trying to get to their car to beat the Perth “traffic”.

City to Surf adventure

This year was the first year the kids actually walked the City to Surf.   In previous years, the City to Surf walk took a different form of physical challenge from “push the kids for 4kms” to “baby bjorn the baby for 4kms” 🙂

The first major hurdle was getting the kids up in time for the actual event!  A late Saturday night did not help at all!  Note to self – sleep early the night before a City to Surf.  The frustrating thing was that on Saturday morning, the kids all awoke really early for some unknown reason.   That weekly body clock thing amazes me.

So, for a get there by 9am for 9.45am start, we managed to find a car park at 9.55am.

Arrival time at starting point
Arrival time at starting point

When we got to the starting point, we looked out for other people from my workplace, but it seemed that many other companies had chosen red as their T-shirt colour!  So much for that idea!

Before the walk!
Before the walk!

We eventually got going and the kids were quite enthusiastic for the first few hundred metres, doing little sprints for fun.  But before the first drink stop, I started hearing the dreaded “How much longer?” and “Are we there yet?”

The first drink stop was a relief for our 9yo.  However, I think we brought her up too well – she insisted on not wasting water by finishing every drop of water in the cup, and then she didn’t want to throw the paper cup onto the floor as it was littering!!  I was going “Just take a few sips and throw it away so we don’t have to carry it!”, but no…  she continued to carry and sip the water for the next few hundred metres or so.

Must drink ALL the water!
Must drink ALL the water!

About half way through, our 7yo started getting tired..  tired as in “need to be carried” tired!  Wifey tried to carry her for a while, but this was not going to work for the whole walk.  Eventually, I got her distracted by playing the “name game” with her for the last 2kms.   So if anyone heard us reeling of names end to end, that was us!   Andrew – Wendy – Yasmin – Natasha – Alexandra – Alex – Xavier – Rachel – Laura – etc!!

Carrying the 7yo at the 2km mark
Carrying the 7yo at the 2km mark

All was well until she asked what was at the end of the walk.   I accidentally replied that there would be a sort of a party and rides to keep her motivated.  And then the question I should have seen coming came up – “can I get fairy floss?”.   Yep, the question reverberated on for the last 500m, up to the finish line, past the finish line, and until…  and until we couldn’t actually locate any fairy floss!   Oh well, it distracted her to the finish line.

Near the end!
Near the end!

Looking back, the hour or so of walking wasn’t too bad in the end.  I’m sure we walked many times more that in Disneyland!   The kids got their medal, we donated to charity and we got out of the house early on a Sunday!   To round it off, we spent 40 minutes waiting for the bus and the trip back to the car.   So now we pack away our company T-shirts until next year.

Back in the car
Back in the car

More fun with Google Maps Street View in Perth

I don’t know why, but I find it really fun to wander around my home city of Perth virtually! I should just get up and get outside, but no… walking with a mouse is so much more fun 🙂

Here are some funny things I found in the Street View of Perth in Google Maps.

They drove through the tunnel and took photos along the way!

Graham Farmer Freeway Tunnel
Graham Farmer Freeway Tunnel

They even drove down Hay Street Mall, evidently quite early in the morning.

Hay Street Mall
Hay Street Mall

But there seems to be a wierd glitch/bug when you “travel” down Piccadilly Arcade.  I would have expected to pop out on Murray Street Mall, but it seems to think you’re still on Hay Street Mall with Piccadilly Arcade going the wrong way.  Wierd.

Piccadilly Arcade Bug
Piccadilly Arcade Bug

Anyone else in Perth find anything wierd or funny?

Google Street View in Perth!

I found out today that Google has finally added Street View to their mapping capabilities!   What this means is that instead of looking at streets or photos from above, you can look around at the surroudings from ground level in 360 degrees.

I’m glad that Google has kept our sleepy town of Perth up to date in its maps.  I remember being all excited when they finally added Australia as a satellite view, then the maps itself.  It’s almost a recognition that Perth still counts 🙂

For Perth, Google obviously spent a lot of time driving through every street, photographing it with their special vehicles equipped with mounted cameras and GPS.  Here’s a shot of the new interface with the view from Kings Park.

Google Street View of Kings Park
Google Street View of Kings Park

One cool thing about this is that you can grab the picture and just drag it around to “look around”.

I then spent the next 10 minutes going to my house, my parent’s house, the kids school, work trying to see if I or my car was in any of the photos..  unfortunately not 😦

Access Google Maps here:  http://maps.google.com.au/