What have I been up to recently?
OK. I've been busy and lazy!
I made it to Edinburgh for my cousin's wedding, Linda to Luke, with young Alex as the ringbearer.
"One ring to rule them all. One ring to bind them"! hehehe!
A fabulous event with kilts and sporrans abound.
I got to see Weng in Singapore, Kris in Birmingham, Adrian in Manchester, my new digital SLR camera in Frankfurt and the lovely Anastasia in San Francisco! As well as meeting many other fantastic people at the wedding.
I'm back working at Foster's where I've been doing hard time for the last year, but making more of the free bar on Fridays.
Adrian from Manchester stayed over in January. He was taking an extended holiday around the world collecting photos for his portfolio. We took a trip to Sydney and stayed in the notorious Kings Cross district!
Doug here again.
I'm currently working at the State Revenue Office (SRO) in the city and enjoying the scenic cycle run in on the banks of the Yarra river. I pass bell-birds, parrots and cockatoos on some mornings.
My eldest brother Alan was tragically killed in a motorbike accident in June. He died doing what he loved, enjoying himself on a trip up the Scottish highlands. I took two weeks off to stay with my parents in Edinburgh. I caught up with my fantastic family, cousins and friends. At his funeral, Alan had a motorbike sidecar hearse and a procession of over 100 bikes through the streets of Edinburgh. It was brilliant send-off with a lot of bikers whom I hadn't seen in years. Here's a great photo of them from waaay back! [photo] Alg is holding the er, cigarette.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds played at the Myer Bowl beside the Botanic Gardens. It was a nice warm night so Kate and I just packed a picnic and went along. There was a lot of others with the same idea. You can hear the music fine outside the bowl, you just can't see the stage. I saw him at the Regent a couple of years ago anyhow.
I revisited fabulous Fraser Island. Kate was working up in Brisbane, so James and I took a flight up to join her and a friend [photo] [photo]. The weather was great and Kate bought me an inflatable chair with drink-holder for Lake Mackenzie! I took snorkelling gear too and was chasing turtles down the 45 degree bank forgetting I had about 20 feet of clear water above me. The night swim was great too. You could see the moon from under the water. And we had glow-sticks too!
I saw Beck in concert at the St. Kilda Palais. He was utterly amazing. Such a range in voice. His quiet, mournful acoustic tracks from the Sea Change album were the best. Laurie Anderson was another memorable concert around that time. The last Big Day Out climaxed with the Underworld gig. What a brilliant mix of live vocals and dance music. Count those smiles! [photo]
I finally got my DJ CD player, Denon DN-S5000. I can practice beatmatching on this player as it can play two tracks from the same CD simultaneously through different channels. It can change the speed of the track by 100% without changing the pitch (think FatBoy Slim's 'Rockafella Skank'). And - it has a turntable with a slipmat so you can scratch the sound just like vinyl.
Oh, I got www.dougiebell.com. It might seem a tad familiar tho...
Coming up soon -
Summadaze: including Groove Armada DJ set, Derrick Carter.
Big Day Out: including Basement Jaxx DJ set, Timo Mass, The Flaming Lips and, er, Metallica.
I rediscovered David Bowie's album 'Hunky Dory' that my brother Leslie used to listen to. I got the Bowie DVD that has 'Life On Mars' and 'Five Years. Excellent lyrics that are still daunting and relevant today. Kate is a big fan too so we have tickets for his concert in February.
With Kate's help, I finally managed to kill the ivy! Meanwhile, a bug has inhabited my gum tree and is spitting sawdust out the holes. Whilst camping I went up in a glider launched by a V8-powered, kilometre-long winch. [photo]
Penelope and I split up. I am staying on with the house and the two cats.
The film Crackerjack, in which my car stars, has an Australian release on the 7th of November. It looks like it has already been released to good reviews in America.
Catania my eldest cat died. She was old and she was very beautiful.
I've been working in a brewery! Foster's to be exact. They have a free bar every night after 5pm serving their wines and beer imports as well as the boring stuff they sell to UK!
The Melbourne International Film Festival was great. I promise to get some reviews up soon.
Look out for my car playing lead car role in the film Crackerjack due out any day soon.
I received the photo from the Spencer Tunick Melbourne shoot. Unfortunately I am hidden amongst the other 4,288 naked people!
Have you heard of Spencer Tunick? He is this American photographer who specialises in organising large groups of naked people in famous places for his photos. Naked States was his result of cris-crossing America. Nude Adrift is his next collection of photographs from around the world. Well, Penelope and I contributed in the largest gathering of naked people EVER (4,300) in Melbourne! As per usual, it was organised in the wee small hours of the morning. It was cold and wet. The location had been disclosed by e-mail. It was a very artistic, liberating and thoroughly wonderful experience! Three photographic poses were assumed and we will be sent a photo of the one chosen (although I'd like to see all three myself). It was fine with everyone else in the same boat, but when we couldn't find our clothes, well, all of a sudden there were four thousand clothed people, and us. Cold and naked. They had been moved inbetween shots.
Oh, Calvin, my car, could be a movie star! I found a note on the windscreen. It seems Mick Molloy, a famous Melbourne comedian personality wants to use it in his forthcoming film and will pay me $100 per day! I must try and make sure that they're not gonna blow it up at the end of the film.
I got a tattoo! It wasn't peer pressure, but a few friends had got those Japanese character-type tattoos. I had been thinking of a Scottish lion rampant, but I figured that Scottish tattooists would be best for that. Next I thought of a realistic gecko, a small type of lizard that lives in our ivy. Finally, I realised that a Chinese dragon sculpture that I brought back from Langkawi would make a perfect tattoo for my back. I wanted something with lots of colour and big enough to see(!). This [photo] was taken during the first three-hour marathon. It feels like having skin shaven off with those tools you used in art class to carve linoleum. The second, and last, three-hour session didn't require as much vodka (for me) as the colouring phase seemed easier. Stay away from the bones, trust me! I absolutely adore the finished tat [photo] and look forward to getting the other two!
I took a well-deserved holiday to Malaysia. Six days in Penang, ferry to Langkawi for another six days, a couple of nights in Ipoh, four nights in Melacca then four more in Kuala Lumpur. I'll expand on this soon.
I decided it would be fun to dive with the sharks at the new Melbourne Aquarium. They also had a legionnella scare to add to the danger. It was brilliant. There were tons of fish, rays and of course sharks. At the bottom it was an impressive 7 metres deep. The compression was more scary than the sharks. We were very unco-ordinated so we were constantly in danger of landing on top of or surfacing beneath the sharks. Photos and Videos to come.
I spent New Year at a friends beach house at Point Leo. Far from the thousands of people in Melbourne, we had a relaxing, although very drunken, time. Some of Australia's top sparkling wines are great value for money. Talus if you can find it, Delatite's Demelza, Yellowglen and Domaine Chandon (a Moet subsiduary) are doing some fine stuff. Decent sparkling shiraz and burgundy are also gonna be big.
I saw Nick Cave without The Bad Seeds. He was supported by a few other musicians, but most of the show was his usual stuff stripped way back to grand piano stuff. 'Stagger Lee' was brilliant.
Next week I see Nine Inch Nails, Chemical Brothers plus many more acts at the Melbourne Big Day Out.
This month, it was announced that the smug, bombastic figure of politics, Jeff Kennett, is no longer the Premier of Victoria. He has been ousted by the independant's swing to Labour.
Penelope and I went on a weekend break. A day out to Hepburn Springs to collect mineral water and to eat the superb bullboar sausages at Frango's and Frango's. We camped at Snake Valley and I managed to clear a fallen tree with the help of a new chain on my chainsaw (went through a two-foot diameter trunk like butter). I must learn how to sharpen that darn thing. Drove through some scenic countryside to Lorne on 'The Great Ocean Road'. A nice overnight stay with bubbly, spa and food included. The bushwalks there are excellent. So many wildflowers, waterfalls, canyons and a tree you can walk through. Saw an echidna (ozzie hedgehog) close-up. We got so hot just walking in temperatures of only 20C, I've forgotten what its like bushwalking in Summer temperatures of 30-40C.
Tore, our Norwegian friend, left for home. Although I suspect we'll see him on these shores again. PMSC has an office over there and sent him over here to learn about one of our products. In sending him back I think we killed off any of his remaining live brain cells with alcohol. Penelope cooked a wonderful dinner party for him. He gave us a bottle of champagne which has only just been drunk in celebration of Kennett's demise.
The PC game Half Life is now a big part of my life. Not content with completing the solo campaign and getting together with other dudes to play 'live' every month, I'm now joining in mad 'sorties' on the internet. The idea being either to capture the enemy flag and return it to your base, or to collect the best firepower and blow the absolute crap out of everybody else. Do drop me a line if you want to meet up in the next Half Life!
Landed badly on my wrist snowboarding [photo] and the buggers put it in plastercast. I reckoned they were trying to keep snowboarders off the slopes but the second opinion was worse (3 fractures). Didn't stop me going up again tho.
A group of friends got a PC game day together. Six linked together for driving games (force feedback) and half-life. I am now addicted to the latter. It is superb. Download the demo (sierra.com).
My teeth and gums were acting up a bit so I've just had all four wisdom teeth removed. No problem at all really (apart from the expense). The lower ones were lying down inside the jawbone. They made a small window in the bone, cut up the tooth and removed the bits. My face wasn't badly swollen, so no funny photo for you I'm afraid.
Everyone called a BBQ/party recently. We also had the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. Lot's of great stuff, 'Moomba', 'Grape Grazing', St. Patrick's day. Matteo's Endless Lunch with chef Raymond Capaldi was great. I finished off the 10-hour extravaganza with a Valespino Spanish Black Sherry and a Montecristo #4 cigar. Yum.
Camped at Wilson's Promontory in early March. A huge peninsula that used to connect with Tasmania, it is now a vast reserve with lots of wildlife. Never knew camp food could be so good.
Inbetween Christmas and New Year six of us hired a speedboat up at Lake Eildon for four days. We threw in our camping gear and found a deserted spot to stay. It was pretty active with the waterskiing, wakeboarding [photo1] [photo2], canoeing, mountainbiking and hiking. You should hear the dawn chorus at 6am though (cockatoos, kookaburas, etc.).
We had a good night out at a German restaurant in December. Plenty of steins and schnapps. Plenty of silly photographs! I almost barfed on a 75% schnapps that tasted really bad, but I managed to choke it down by skulling someone's beer that was close at hand. Oh, and try tying a cherry stalk into a knot in your mouth next time you're pissed.
My parents visited on the 19th of October. I took two weeks off to show them around the sights. Sovereign Hill, Ballarat and Lake Eildon were included [photo1] [photo2] [photo3]. They enjoyed the unusual sights and sounds.
I didn't get out to Snake Valley much during the winter. The weather and early nights hampered that.
I've got a new tent to try out. I'm very loath to replace things just because they are old, but we've been using a two-man, A-frame tent I got around 1980 (I shipped over a whole heap of stuff). The old tent will come in handy if I'm by myself, but the new one is BIG. I mean you can stand up in it. No more getting dressed using the roll-around method, trying not to touch the sides 'cos it is raining.
The mountain bike is also a new purchase. There's some nice bike paths around the Yarra River. I take it out to Snake Valley where it can be used a lot, especially on the scary bike path I've carved into the woods.