Monthly Archives: December 2011

random trams

Yesterday there was a man on the tram who was wearing a blue hawaiian shirt that was too big for him. Then he had cycling shorts on, which were over shiny leggings, which appeared to be over a bigger pair of trousers. Best of all he was wearing black, patent pointed, kitten heel boots. He didn’t look entirely comfortable in his attire, least of all from the odd looks he got from the stylish Chapel Street travellers, and I, course, couldn’t help but stare…

On Tuesday I took the tram down Chapel Street to St Kilda, for an evening drink. It was a beautiful evening, the sun was setting over the sea, but before i made it that far a man got on the tram with a bicycle. He wheeled his way to the back, and sat in the seat the other side of the aisle to me. The man behind me apparently said something the Pikey didn’t like, cos he got up and said somthing like this: ” WHAT?? YOU WANNA SAY THAT AGAIN YOU F**KING ****” and SPAT in the guy’s face!!!! He responded, quite calmly, obviously noting that the pikey was not to be reasoned with, saying something about it being a joke. Pikey ranted on “WHAT??? I can do WHAT I WANT, WHAT I F**KING WELL WANT, WHEN I WANT. NO ONE TELLS ME WHAT TO DO. i DO WHAT i WANT, ALL THE f**KING TIME. I CAN USE THE TRAM, I CAN USE MY BIKE. YOU WANNA TAKE THIS OUTSIDE???? YOU WANNA SAY THAT AGAIN? i’LL DO MORE THAN SPIT IN YOUR F**KING FACE, I’LL PUT YOU IN HOSPITAL MATE……” This speech continued, over my head, as the object of his outburst was right behind me. He stopped between swearwords though, to apologise to me, for his outrage, before continuing his torrent of “I DO WHAT I F***KING WANT”.
I moved towards the front of the carriage, one stop early, and made that I was checking its destination with the driver, not before the Pikey had continued his rant, his previous target having wisely got off… at ME. Clearly desperate to justify his rage and explain to me why he was on the tram with his bike, and how fucking rude it is to comment and make jokes. bla bla. bla. goodness me what a fun Tuesday afternoon!

Then today, a girl got on the tram and signed the cross. Maybe she has met my pikey nutter on the Chapel Street tram and needed another force to keep her safe… or sane.

At least I don’t pay for my travel…

all the fun of the circus

All the fun (and money) of the circus!

I’m definitely getting my money’s worth with experience in Melbourne work-wise. As I said before, although I’d just love a simple 9-5 that doesn’t use my brain, I am actually getting a lot out of working for (to date) 5 different places.

So last weekend, thanks to a student hooking me up with a contact for a catering company she works for, I waitressed at a Circus! I actually thought I had heard the guy wrongly on the phone, when he gave me clothing instructions and directions to Silver Circus, Stop 17 on tram 70. I just figured it was the name of a business park or restaurant. When I got off the tram, right in front of me where the yellow and white tents of a circus!

The event was for a Christmas party for a company with 450 guests, sitting a 3 course meal, complete with a free bar, canapés, petit fours and of course, a circus performance between speeches and courses.

I think have enough experience both here and most certainly un the UK of catering companies, function work and the hospitality industry to say that this was one of the most positive work experiences in this field I have ever had. Yes, the chef got a little hot under his hat, in his tent with the rain and the thunder storm teeming down and coming through the gaps of the tent, but it was hiccup free. Meals were served seamlessly, guests were happy, but more importantly, staff were too! (That’s rare, at least what I have experienced so far here!) The staff, mostly South American and European (I was the only Brit and I counted one Aussie) got on with each other, were friendly and enjoyed what they were doing.

Between meals, the only thing we could do was stand near our allocated tables, ready to serve a drink and watch the show. I got the privilege of being on duty during the trapeze artist’s act as well as a girl doing hula hoops with about 25 rings, whilst walking on a mirrored ball around the stage.

The final act actually made me feel uncomfortable. There was a round metal cage about 5 metres in diameter. Inside went a motor bike, who wooed the crowds whizzing round and round and round at high speed inside. Then in went another bike, they both went round and round in opposite direction, holding hands at one point. In went a girl, who stood in the middle of the cage, as the motorbikes whizzed past her, skimming her hair. Finally she got out and a third bike went in, and round and round they went, just a hair’s breadth away from each other. It was hard to look at times!

Our evening concluded, once the guests were scraped off their tables or dragged off the dance floor at midnight with an almighty thunderstorm. Thunder, lightning and rain had been prevalent all night, but just as the guests had exited the heavens opened. All the restraints that had held back the rain all night gave up and we sludged our way through the last stage of the clear up. A tent, surrounded by metal poles and puddles of water was the last place I wanted to be at that moment, but final debrief had to be done. Awarded with a bottle of leftover wine, I went on my way, having had possibly the most positive work experience so far in Australia!



grohl love

For those of you who follow facebook, you’ll know that I let everyone know that I was going to see the Foo Fighters. If that doesn’t interest you, then skip this entry!

Anyone who loves a band and has loved them since they first heard the tunes coming from their big brother’s bedroom when they were 12 would have been over the moon to discover that a previously sold out gig had re-released loads of tickets. The tickets went on sale back in August, when I was still pondering with the idea of even coming to Australia and were sold out within a day. To my fortune (there is a music god) loads of tickets were retracted (having been bought by touts) and resold, which meant that buying mine a week before, I got brilliant seats! We were close enough to see people on stage, which in a stadium is a big deal!

You will also know, if you read my last entry, that going to this gig cost me my weekend job at the pub, but it took me a matter of seconds to decide that this outweighed that ten-fold. My reasoning was, as my flatmate put it so well: I didn’t come all the way to Australia to be a slave to a casual job. Also I came here to live and learn and bloody well have a good time, and what are the chances of me being in the same city at the Foo Fighters?!

The last time I saw the Foo Fighters was for their One By One tour back in 2002 in London’s Wembley Arena. AAMI Park in Melbourne probably holds the same capacity, although this is open, and yes it did rain, but that didn’t stop them!

Jack Black and his band Tenacious D were the line-up and suitably entertaining. There were lots of “fucks, mother fuckers and cocks” and what you could hear of the lyrics were hilarious. Jack Black has great stage presence and referred to themselves as the Lightning before the Foo Fighters’ Thunder. Well said. “yeah we know you all really came to see them, not us, I mean I would’ve…”

Dave and the band came onstage and opened with Bridge Burning, the opener for their new album. The blasted a few out before stopping to introduce themselves, shout at Melbourne and then he and Chris Shifflet had a “guitar off”. Best way I can describe it. There was a runway that went through the audience out to a mini stage in the middle of the arena, which Dave ran up and down during songs. From Dave’s mini stage he and Shifflet had a “guitar off”. Dave played a riff, Chris played a longer one, Dave beat him, Chris beat him and so on. Dave obviously came off as the winner, but both showed off amazing improvised guitar skills.

The set was about 3 hours, cos in Dave’s own words “We’ve just got so many fucking songs to play”. They went off stage, coming back to do an 8 song encore, 4 of those Dave did solo from his mini stage, so the back of the arena had front row seats.

They played out the gig with Everlong, which undoubtedly is and always will be my favourite track, and one the of the best ways to play out a gig.

It took me a few days to come down off my Foo Fighter’s high and more than anything, here’s the cheesy bit: it woke up something inside me: a love and passion for music that got a bit buried along the way in Spain having not had the opportunity to see fucking rock music live for years!

Rock On!

Not the best pics: You can see Jack Black in the first few, but once the foos came on due to high levels of excitement, my photography skills are nothing to write to Rolling Stone about…

beer shampoo

The problem, or possibly the perk of not being able to get a full time job is that you then work as many hours as you can in as many different places as possible just to make ends meet. And stories are what I have…

I have now waitressed (as in worked a shift, done a pointless trial or even been employed) in 5 different places. I have worked as a receptionist where I answered the phone occasionally but spent most of the day watching daytime tv and doing an online typing course. I have worked as an English teacher: not what I came here to do, but fairly good money and last week taught 30 hours ( fairly unusual in our tefl world unless you are in Slovakia).I have worked in a pub which turns into a nightclub after 10pm who fired me for going to see the Foo Fighters.

My first night in the pub I was more than surprised to work until 3am and soon realised that my 4 months in a sleepy Somerset pub where at its busiest I might have served 4 pints in a row was no match for what I was about to encounter. I was pulling pints, pouring whiskeys and serving up Quick Fucks and Slippery Nipples for 6 1/2hours, staggering home as the birds were starting to sing at 4 in the morning. Now I no longer work there I am happy to say that I never want to pour another jaegerbomb, Sambuca shot or have to understand any drunken slurs for drunks I have never poured and inevitably got wrong on more than one occasion.

I also learnt the hard way how not to change a beer barrel. For two weeks I had been telling a supervisor when a beer ran out and almost magically, someone would run into the cold room and change the barrel. Service would continue as normal. I thought this was the way it went. Until one Saturday it was quiet and Carlton Draught stopped coming out of the tap. “Carlton’s off” I shouted to Kyle. “So change it then” was his response. “Me??” I should point out that for several reasons which I didn’t really get; I was quite disliked in this place, so most of my questions were answered with sarcasm or impatience. I was led into the cold room, and showed what to do. “Press that leaver and undo this”. This was the pipe attached to the keg. I couldn’t do it, it needed muscles in my back that were so sore from the pain I have been having that I struggled and couldn’t loosen it. “My hand is broken in three places and I can undo it, it’s not that hard” said my supervisor. Well Thank You for pointing that out. I obediently followed instructions, secretly hoping that I would indeed never have to do this by myself. And I got away with it: That night at least. We were quiet, so no more beer ran out. Until the next day…

I was pouring a James Boags (Tasmanian beer) and it stopped. I looked around: no one. Where was my supervisor? On her break. Where was my colleague? Collecting glasses outside. Bugger, so I needed to do it. I excused myself to the punter and went into the cold room, located the empty pump and undid the pipe. That wasn’t difficult. Undid the new barrel, shunted it over, that wasn’t easy. I heard a hissing sound. Had I heard that last night? What was that? Probably nothing. Now to attach the pipe to the new barrel. Yep I know what to do, then SHIT F**K BOLLOCKS!!!!! Beer sprays everywhere at high speed in my face, in my hair, all over the cold room, what have I done??????? Stop what I am doing, and it stops. I am covered in beer. My face is wet, my hair is wet, my top (fortunately black) is wet. I am shaking. How did I do that?! What the fudge have I done?? I always carry a tea towel on me (inevitable spills, you know me) so mop myself up the best I can. Poke my head out of the cold room: punter still waiting for his pint. Empty bar. No one to help me. Eventually I grab my (other) supervisor, who had been so condescending in everything she had said to me that day, and yank her into the cold room. “What have I done??? Look what happened!” She, thank goodness, did not take the opportunity to laugh ( I would have done had I seen myself: drenched, mascara running down my face) and kindly explained that I forgot to turn off the gas. That lever I was told to push before doing anything else. I ran off to clean myself up, whilst she finished my “work” and decided that losing this job to the Foo Fighters was totally worth it…

botanical beautiful

A relaxing afternoon wandering around the Botanical Gardens at my leisure was the order of

the day last week as I needed a much deserved bit of “me time” and what better place to do it than there?

I started at the Shrine of Remembrance, a huge monument erected to honour those who fought in the war. It’s a fairly distinctive monument, doesn’t blow you away with architectural splendor, but makes a point and deserves a visit. It also as great views of the Central Business District (CBD).

From there I ambled into the gardens, pausing at the map, wondering if I should try and seek one out. Some of you will know I do not like entering such places without a map, for fear of missing something. I managed to calm the control freak inside by promising myself I could revisit on a number of occasions and just enjoy not knowing where I was going for once. So that I did. I walked for a bit, sat for a bit, walked again for a bit sat for a bit and repeated the process until i deemed myself relaxed enough to leave the tranquility of the gardens and head home.

That seems all a bit safe and easy doesn’t it? Not really a Grace-like episode is it?

Well, I did follow some signposts to the Tea Terrace, as that seemed a good place to head towards. I knew that I only had $4.83 in my bank account (sad I know) and was going to be paid the next day, so decided to spend my precious last few dollars on a cup of tea ( yes bloody expensive). But what could be nicer, i thought to myself. than sitting in the Botanical Gardens with my book, enjoying a well deserved cuppa?

I went into the cafe eagerly scanning the menu for the best way to spend my meagre $4.83. Unfortunately it didn’t stretch to a cuppa and a cake (cruelly displayed in front of me) but for $3.90 I could have Chai Latte. That’s more exciting than a cup of tea, and totally worth my pennies! I ordered it, handed over my card to the girl, who points at the sign saying “Minimum card payment of $15” Ouch! Crestfallen, I took my card back and said “ok then, no thanks”. A nice bit of acting ensured she knew how much I wanted that latte, so she looked around and agreed to take my card. There is a latte god! I thanked her, not profusely, I wasn’t that desperate and walked away from the counter. On my way to the door I stopped to look at a wedding photo ( I totally deserved what was coming now I think of it) and briefly daydreamed about getting married here when I saw a mosquito land on my arm. Latte in one and, bag in the other and not close enough to a table I panicked: hit the mosquito and drop the latte, or keep the latte and let it bite me? It bit me.

So that’s how I got my first mosquito bite in Australia. Dreaming about a wedding in the Botanical Gardens, not wanting to drop my much needed latte bought with my last few cents.

The gardens were pretty though, here are the pics…