Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Rock for Refugees

20th October 2006
A top selection of Brisbane’s finest bands and performing artists will join together at The Globe Theatre on Friday the 20th of October for a massive night of great music and entertainment – all in aid of a very important cause.

The colossal line up includes local alt-country rock favourites Halfway, Brisbane art-rockers Wipsnade Zoo, urban hip hop artists Indigenous Intruderz, recent NXNE show stoppers The Black Arts and indie-pop maestros The Slides. The night will also feature performances by 'Nerissa' - Australia's number 1 belly dancer, and art/visuals by 'Mindygirl'.This fantastic line up of local talent will be performing to raise much-needed funds and awareness for the Refugee Claimant Support Centre – a Brisbane not-for-profit community organisation that has a vital role in the community by assisting refugee claimants with a number of essential services including emergency accommodation,English language classes, assistance with food, employment and health.

"Rock for Refugees is now in its third year and is shaping up to be a big night on the Brisbane calendar with the Valley punters. Event organiser Eric Robinson says that support from the local live music scene has once again been overwhelming: “Whether you’re interested in issues facing refugee claimants or you just want a top night out in the Valley with your mates, we urge you to come out and support this cause.” Rock for Refugees is officially presented by RAVE magazine.4ZZZ with the support of ACU National, The Big Issue, and Drinksmart*.

Venue – The Globe, (Ann Street, Fortitude Valley)
Doors open – 7.30pm Tickets presale - $10 + BF / $15 on the doorTickets available from Rockinghorse, Skinnys, Butterbeats &

For more information on Rock for Refugees please contact Eric Robinson Mob – 0409 566 194 Email –

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

All that glitters

Fireworks don't excite me much anymore; a three-hour fireworks display in Japan broke me, I guess. So last Saturday night I was too busy doing my own thing to bother watching Riverfire kick off the River Festival. But these photos of Riverfire taken by Marty Pouwelse are amazing. Hurrah Brisvegas and all who sail in her etc.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Month of Sundays #2: Chalk Hotel

Chalk Hotel
735 Stanley St

Two words spring to mind. Huge, and posey.

We could leave it there, really, but that wouldn't be so much of a review then, would it? So let's press on.

Wandering up to the hotel, we thought it was just a little bar, found a table outside and wondered where all the people were. Then we ventured inside to discover that the place is huge, with staircases and random levels and bars every which way. It all felt a bit space-aged – there’s a lot of glass panels and stainless steel – but also very cool in both senses of the word. I was impressed with the use of space and light inside; less impressed with the layout and slightly excessive number of staircases.

On this Father’s Day afternoon there were a few families in the lower level, along with a whole bunch of flat screens showing a whole bunch of sport. The lowest bar had comfy looking brown leather couch-type things, and put me in mind of a furniture showroom. The unofficial uniform for the dads seemed to be a striped green shirt with beige shorts. You have been warned.

Venturing higher up, we discovered more bars, a DJ playing downtempo and a very pleasant looking veranda with tables and chairs. Unfortunately for us, the tables that weren’t occupied with fashionable young things were reserved, presumably for more fashionable young things. So we retreated back towards the cool inside of the hotel and consoled ourselves with some $3 Coronas. Yes, you read right. Coronas were $3. Less watery beers were a bit more, although not in the realm of expensive. We weren’t able to work out if it was a Sunday special or a promo of some sort, but we were pretty happy either way.

There was food, chips and things done with a bit of a posh twist, although I wouldn’t recommend trying to share the pizza – it looked tasty though. I would have tasted it, but there really wasn’t enough to share. We didn’t look at the restaurant menu, although the restaurant itself looked alright. The staff were pleasant enough, but a little too cool for school at times.

The most entertaining part, to be honest, was watching the young folks parade around and eye each other off. I’ve never been together enough on a Sunday afternoon to doll myself up like it was Saturday night and head off to see and be seen; perhaps some part of my upbringing was lacking. But it’s ok, I don’t think I’m really the Chalk Hotel’s target market. Like the posey kids, a lot of the features seemed to be there just for the sake of being cool. Take the toilets – unisex hand basins might seem funky and edgy, but where are the girls supposed to go to gossip, fix their makeup, and generally talk crap in private? And I hate to think about how many high heels go tripping down those random staircases when the lights go down and the music gets louder.

The verdict:

Relaxing beer on a Sunday? Yes, passably.
On a Saturday night? Not if you paid me.
Recommend to my 18 year old cousin and her giggly gal pals? For sure.

Focus On: Paddington

One of the problems with living in the city of your birth is that you get lazy with it. You fall into habits of always going to the same places, doing the same things, seeing the same sights. It’s remarkable how little we really do see of our own city. Occasionally, because of one thing or another, you may find yourself in an unfamiliar part of town. The city feels new and fresh again; you almost feel like your on holiday in a different city. You see shops and cafes that you’d love to visit again but you never seem to get around to it.

Well, the ladies in my family finally got sick of this state of affairs. We’re now on a campaign, spearheaded by my mother, to visit and experience all those corners of Brisbane that we never get around to doing. Once a month, every month, we will all get together and experience a place. Browse around, soak in the atmosphere, investigate the shops, delight in the cafes.

Last Saturday was the first of these monthly sojourns and, using the time-honoured tradition of pulling a name out of a hat (or in our case, a dusty glass vase that happened to be handy), we decided on Paddington.

So, where is Paddington? Not the stupid question that some will take it to be. I’m a Western Suburbs girl through and through so places like Indooroopilly, Toowong and, yes, Paddington are no mystery to me (although I’ve never been to Paddington before Saturday). But give me a suburb on the Northside like, oh I don’t know, Wooloowin and I couldn’t find it with a GPS system and tourguide in tow.

So for those readers not familiar with the area, Paddington is an inner-city suburb on the western side of the city, nestled behind Milton and next to Red Hill.

Why visit Paddington? Well, why not? But Paddington is well-known as a trendy area with a myriad of cafes and boutiques. It’s also famed as being one the location of a small number of infamous stores that charge people for browsing the store (one store I heard of charges you $5 if you’re just “having a look”. This may or may not come off any items you may buy).

When you arrive in Paddington you’ll find that parking is a laughable dream that stopped being a reality about a decade ago (at least on Saturdays). The streets are narrow and hilly (note for manual drivers, this is a painful place and brake-starts will have to be your friend) and parking will never be improved because, from what I’ve heard, the locals are resistant to anything that will destroy their little part of suburban paradise. This is an example of the kind of elitism that my sister finds so offensive about Paddington. She has a point but elitism is only uncool if you’re not in the elite.

The area has an interesting and diverse mix of stores that range from modest thrift stores to the self-consciously trendy stores of the glamazon variety. No chain stores here so look elsewhere for Just Jeans.

Some stores of note that I visited and would recommend are Endos, a thrift store that has a gorgeous range of dirt-cheap jewellery (and take a look at the fabulous Mardi Gras costume they have on display); Adornments a store that specialises in second-hand/antique homewares, accessories and ladies clothing and Hula Homewares which will be getting a return visit from me to get their jasmine-scented coconut oil handcream (imported from Tonga – DIVINE).

There were many stores I didn’t go into though. Some (like the creepy faerie store that looked like a cave of doom festooned in saccharinely pink glitter wear) I had no interest in. Others I didn’t feel comfortable entering for fear of having a re-enactment from the Pretty Woman shopping scene. That’s the trouble with trendy places: they’re discerning (or snobby, depends on your perspective). Although, having said that, the place does seem to attract a large number of hippies. I could almost have thought I was in Nimbin, if not for the lack of ganga haze and the Age of Aquarius sign.

TANGENT: Why do all hippies look alike? Why does being a free spirit necessarily equate to tiedye and a bath a year? In this case, hippies are no better (or worse) than emo kids – protesting mainstream conformist culture by strictly adhering to the norms of their sub-culture of choice. Don’t kid yourself, hippies. You’re just as much sheep as the rest of us only you smell more.

Ok, getting back on track. After all the retail therapy, lunch was in order so, on the recommendation of the lady from Adornments we decided to eat at Paddington Café and Flowers on Latrobe Tce. Let me preface this by saying that I am an accommodating customer. I used to waitress in the bad old days so I can sympathise with being overworked, underpaid and not nearly qualified enough to deal with the mentally instable who seem to comprise 90% of your customers.

I do NOT recommend eating at Paddington Café and Flowers. Let me elaborate. The place is a converted Queenslander with a flower shop in the front and the café tucked at the back. It has a lovely verandah with a fantastic view at the back but it’s a tight fit and, if you have a pram and baby in tow (as our party did) you’ll have to sit inside. The inside of the café is quite warm with a tendency towards stuffiness and, when we visited, they didn’t have any fans running (the problem was not the temperature per se as a lack of airflow). Flies were also a problem.

Their entrees were delicious. Their parmesan and pesto ciabatta was gorgeous, as was their garlic bread. Their Mediterranean lasagne was fantastic and I would highly recommend it. Their garlic chicken with potato is bland. Fry up some chicken, boil some potato and slap on a plate and you’ll pretty much have it. They have sauce but barely a trace of garlic is detectable (this may suit some, though, so I’ll keep an open mind about it’s tastiness to the rest of the population).

In fact, the issue with Café Flowers is not their food. It’s their service, which is lacking. We were a party of three plus one small child. We had to do a little rearranging to accommodate the pram which was undoubtedly an inconvenience but it wasn’t insurmountable. It wasn’t until about halfway through our lunch that we noticed that they had a highchair. It would have been highly appreciated if our waitress had mentioned this as it would have saved the 10-minute rearranging to organise the pram (which could have been folded away if we knew about the highchair).

The main meals came out relatively promptly but they were not cleared away. In fact, 10-15 minutes after we had quite obviously finished, we had to literally grab a waitress to order dessert and, 5 minutes after that, she decided to clear them away when she brought over some drinks. 20 minutes after ordering dessert, it still hadn’t arrived. We ordered slices of cake so all they had to do was cut slices from the cakes in the cabinet and bring them out. Why that would take up to 20 minutes, I don’t know (we were sitting right by the counter so they couldn’t have forgotten us since they had to pass us to get to the kitchen). After 20 minutes, we got sick of waiting and decided to leave. Our waitress was consciously polite in that unpleasant “I’m only being polite because I have to, you’re causing me so much trouble and I’m going to spit in your food” kind of way. One thing I will say, though: the Café had made an effort to be child-friendly by providing toys (a really good initiative). It’s a shame their attitude was so poor. And that’s what it really was: lazy service with a poor attitude that made the difference between a great experience and a really ordinary one and changed me into the bitching customer writing this review.

Despite all this, the day was great and Paddington is a great way to spend a Saturday morning. Just don’t eat at Café Flowers ;)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Election fever

One week to go and there's stalls, booths, buttons and leaflets all over town. Lots of things are happening in the lead-up to the election this Saturday 9 September.

You can check your enrolment status and find out where to vote on the Queensland Electoral Commission website.

If you've already decided who you're going to vote for, that's great. If you're not sure, then there's a whole bunch of ways you can find out information to help you decide.

MikeFitz has mentioned a public debate organised for voters in the Brisbane Central electorate.
  • 6-8pm on Tuesday 5th September
  • Ithaca Hall, corner Kennedy & Enoggera Terrace, Paddington
All of the parties have their policy platforms on their websites:

Happy voting!