Republic of Moreland

March 20, 2008

“Tanti-social” toilets in Coburg

Filed under: Coburg,crime,Sydney Road,urban planning — Kath @ 11:45 pm

What larks to see Media Watch pick up on the Moreland Leader‘s sub-editing issues. And following The Republic’s exposé on Coburg’s über-toilet scandal (see post below), the Leader ran a campaign to “stop the tanti-social behavior” in Coburg toilets.

You what?

Tanti-social issues are one thing (and don’t we all have ’em?), but spelling ‘behaviour’ American-style is just a steaming pile of jobbies. Still, bottoms up to the Leader subs who remembered to replace “Toilet headline in here thanks ta” with:

Toilet backflip a big relief for Coburg shoppers

It’s punny, innit? (I bet you can think of a dozen variations — “Shoppers’ fears flushed away” and so on.) The story then describes a dangerous Alan Jones phenomenon in Cobes that’s threatening family values:

A lack of toilets in the central shopping district had forced families and parents with prams to use underground toilets also used by men cruising for sex.

I’m just busting for A Current Affair to pick up on this one. Read the full report here.

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November 12, 2007

Government to destroy hoons’ cars

Filed under: environment,Sydney Road — Kath @ 9:20 am

Check it out. Just what we need in Moreland.

July 29, 2007

blue

Filed under: Brunswick,crime,Sydney Road — Kath @ 8:45 pm

Yesterday I visited my beloved hardware store, a family business, a dusty vestige of old Brunswick, where they greet you by name, serve you from behind the counter and sell nails by the kilogram.

I was there to buy a tap and pvc pipes and elbows for our new tank. From behind me a small voice said, in a broad Australian accent, “Whatya boyin them for?”

I turned and saw a slight woman. A blue woman. The skin on her face was blue, her hands were blue, her limp, mousy hair had blue streaks, as did her synthetic tracksuit. In the few seconds that followed, some possibilities flipped over in my mind. She’s a performer, perhaps a mime artist, perhaps a circus player. Or else she’s got that peculiar skin condition some Vietnamese people suffer, where blue-black freckles appear as you age.

But these weren’t freckles, and this was a most unnatural electric blue. No, vibrant, aquamarine blue.

I said something and looked away, but I noticed that the bluest region of her face was around her lips, and when she spoke, the pink fleshy insides of her mouth looked almost obscene against it. And then I saw what she was buying: three cans of vibrant-electric-aquamarine-blue spray-paint.

She sniffs it! I whispered to C——, one of the storekeepers, as she took me up the back to choose some threaded pipe fittings. C—— told me: I know, I know, but what can we do? We’ve called the police, and there’s nothing they can do, either. Then C—— said: It’s terrible. I’m hard, you know, but I feel sorry for her. And she has kids, too.

May 22, 2007

“It’s very new Brunswick”

Filed under: Brunswick,cafes & pubs,food,Lygon Street,Sydney Road — Kath @ 10:11 am

It was very new Brunswick to see the feature in today’s Age, called ‘Backyard Barista’. I can’t link to it, cos it’s not online: but apparently this obscurity is precisely what makes things “very new Brunswick.”

I nearly spluttered my very new Brunswick Fair Trade Organic Coffee when I read the double-page spread by Cheap Eats editor Nina Rousseau. In an otherwise good roundup of the best Brunswick cafés (including A Minor Place, El Mirage, Ray’s, La Paloma, Sugardough), Rousseau’s account slumped into ethnocentric journalese when she attempted to capture the local cant. Quoting no-one but her own publication, she wrote:

The Age Cheap Eats 2007 describes A Minor place as “new Brunswick” and you’ll often hear the term dropped meaningfully into conversations — “It’s very new Brunswick” —to describe something more than cosmetic. It’s becoming a style; a term to describe a particular look and demographic… To open a “new Brunswick”-style café anywhere in Melbourne you will need… cool indie tunes, resident funksters…”

Now call me insular, but I’ve never heard any ‘resident funkster’ [ahem] drop “It’s very new Brunswick” into conversations at any of these cafés. Maybe because I don’t mix in the real estate and market branding circles that Nina appears to. But I suspect this is not so much ear-to-the-ground, word-on-the-street reportage as… well, something else. Cringeworthy, made-up puff, perhaps.

But I’m happy to be proved wrong. If anyone, anywhere, knows of a conversation that “meaningfully” incorporated “It’s very new Brunswick,” please record it here.

___________

Postscript: I just googled “very new Brunswick”. Lo and behold: The Age reviewer Matt Preston also used it in a review of A Minor Place: probably the very same review as in the Cheap Eats Guide. He also writes that café is frequented by “art school lesbian” types and “older locals who look like hip, SBS-watching teachers”. Don’t these (apparently Eastern Suburbs commercial tv-watching) Age reviewers ever get out?

April 11, 2007

Extreme lawn bowls

Filed under: Brunswick,Coburg,op shops,Sydney Road — Kath @ 12:20 am

Today at the Salvo’s in Coburg, I bought some lawn bowl trophies that were really just liquor glasses with gold trim. Each had “trophy” embossed underneath a gold emblem with ‘Moreland Bowls Club’, ‘Coburg West Bowling Club’ and so on.

I bought a dozen or so, all from Moreland suburbs, but the store has plenty still from Elsternwick bowls and elsewhere. Must be from an enthusiast’s deceased estate, and I couldn’t help picturing the whole set (around 40 glasses) having pride of place in a glass cabinet next to the gas heater in a geezer’s lounge-room.

To end up sitting on the bargain shelf of an op-shop. I paid a handsome 50 cents for each, but felt I was pilfering someone’s title.

There’s a supposed resurgence in lawn bowling (naffy George Negus, without irony, has said “suddenly the game has become groovy — so groovy…”). Particularly since 2001, when the lawn bowling community took the radical, visionary step of permitting women to compete on a Saturday, with the blokes. More radically, now there are extreme lawn bowl sports. But I haven’t yet drummed up enough interest to go.

Still, I’ve got a kind of theme happening. Out of nowhere, an accidental collection emerged: our household boasts two vintage bowls bags, a bowls mug, a bowls cup-and-saucer, and now bowls liquor glasses.

Like campervan interiors, lawn bowls has a peculiar aesthetic that resonates with my inner retired geezer. In many other scenarios, lawns are objectionable (you know: the class values they represent, the petrol they waste) but stroll me past a green like The Grove’s Moreland Bowls Club, and I’m anybody’s it makes me irrationally content. The decadent expanse, the chalk, the measuring instruments and paraphernalia, the scoreboards, the quiet clacking of balls, the behatted nods and murmurs and squints, the ‘Madam President’ parking sign, the uniforms, the club rules and repressed competitive tension… so civilised. So Coburg. I feel privy to another era.

Unlike other lawn sports that evolved from the great estates, participation in lawn bowls seems more egalitarian. (Yet what would happen, I wonder, if nearby churchgoers were to park in front of the ‘Seceratary’ or ‘Madam President’ sign in The Grove?)

These are the reasons it worries me that The Grove club will sooner or later be under great pressure to succumb to real estate development. Or so a reliable colleague (involved in such things) reckons. And they ain’t building new ones nowdays. Bloke on The Avenue also thinks it’s only a matter of time before lawn bowls suffers the fate of Melbourne’s own trugo.

March 21, 2007

Time to outlaw petrol-heads

I’m starting to be a bit of a fan of Moreland author and stand-up comedian Catherine Deveny. She has an oped in today’s paper which, despite its meandering, is spot on:

HOW about that Grand Prix, eh? One look at the racing fans is all it takes for me to realise that some suburbs should have fences around them. Knuckle-dragging petrol-heads, anorexic bottle blondes marinated in fake tan and middle-aged blokes with man boobs and pimples on their arses paying exorbitant money to watch cars go fast…

I’m sure the parents of terminally ill children suffering rare diseases that there is no funding for researching will take comfort in the fact that the State Government has probably spent $30 million on loud, polluting cars while their child dies. They’ll be at peace knowing that Bernie Ecclestone has pocketed a $20 million licensing fee. (more…)

March 15, 2007

Brunswick music festival

Filed under: Brunswick,cafes & pubs,events,music,notices,Sydney Road — Kath @ 9:15 pm

starts today. Dunno what to go and see.

February 17, 2007

Moreland needs your brains

Filed under: art,Brunswick,environment,events,Sydney Road — leonaaardo @ 10:57 am

storm-over-the-burbs.jpg Storm over the Burbs (more…)

February 15, 2007

Please don’t go

For several years I had the strange experience of living in far north Queensland, where developers breed like cane toads, and old house demolition is an international sport. (more…)

February 9, 2007

Crow’s-eye view of Moreland

Ever wondered how big your neighbour’s illegal extension actually is? Now you can check it out, at Google Earth, of course. Or Google maps. Here’s the satellite aerial image of Moreland, thanks to Brickworks Collective, a site I found via Brunswick Labor.net. Scroll around and have a perv! You can zoom in using the tool on the left.

January 15, 2007

Can’t have it both ways

Behold the cup and saucer, from St Vinnies, nine bucks. (more…)

January 10, 2007

Moreland pools in peril?

Filed under: Brunswick,Coburg,politics,Sydney Road — Kath @ 11:01 am

The other hot, airless day my little one and I decided to go to a public swimming pool. We looked at the Moreland City Council website and I was surprised to learn there are two public pools in Coburg. We settled on Coburg Olympic Pool in Murray Road. As ever, it was a toss between the car and public transport. (more…)

January 7, 2007

Sydney Road to become boulevard?

Filed under: Brunswick,cafes & pubs,Coburg,politics,Sydney Road — Kath @ 1:46 pm

The Age reported this morning that there are plans to make a huge stretch of Sydney Road, from the Parkville border right up to Bell Street, one giant boulevard-mall:

In his first speech as mayor in December, Cr O’Brien outlined the virtues of the new car-free mall. “Visualise in your mind these surroundings,” he said.

“Off Bell Street your journey commences by parking at the rear of the shopping strip. You take a leisurely walk, bike or tram journey down Sydney Road amongst a canopy of trees stretching as long as the eye can see, with widened and paved footpaths, observing a relaxed community sitting around coffee tables chatting … in a calming environment. (more…)

December 22, 2006

Open for business

Sydney roadWELCOME TO Republic of Moreland. I did pen a tagline under its masthead but, for reasons unknown, WordPress refused to publish it. I thought about using Almost Pretty, the title of a history of Sydney Road, which, incidentally, is the longest continuous retail strip in the Southern Hemisphere, or so a prominent local real estate auctioneer is very fond of shouting. (If you’re lucky enough to covet property, you know who I’m talking about. He with the year-round suntan.) It’s an impressive fact, until you think about the other cities in the Southern Hemisphere. Anyway, suggestions for the tagline, and how to get it up there, will be warmly received. (more…)

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