Well, I was wrong...

Geelong won by 12. Bloody good game though.


Grand Final Day

Today is the AFL Grand Final, a bit like the FA Cup but x 1000, whoever wins this game wins the premiership and is proclaimed the best side at playing Australian Rules football in all the world.

This season it's the Cats from Geelong and the Saints from St Kilda who are battling it out for the honours. Geelong won it in 2007 and this is their 3rd final in as many years so they're the hot favourites. Poor old St Kilda won their first final in 1966 and haven't won it since, so they are the clear underdogs and hence all the neutrals are supporting them.

I'm currently watching the build-up to the game which goes on for a ridiculous 6 hours and doesn't include the post-match analysis!

Anyhoo, i'm tipping St Kilda to nick it in the final quarter! you heard it here last.

Australian Song of the Day # 15

Choon from The Panics:


Beers of Australia: Victoria Bitter

Australians love beer. Drinking beer is one of the country's great past-times, along with barbecues, surfing and cricket. Everyone in Australia loves a beer, there's no working class stigma attached to it, it is drunk by one and all and as such here's my guide to some of the beers Australia has to offer:

Victoria's very own state beer, Victoria Bitter, has succeeded in the rare feat of infiltrating the whole of Australia, being available and widely drunk in all states and territories. Usually drinking another states beer other than your own is social suicide, but for some reason 'VB' has managed to rise above such trivial matters and is celebrated by all Australians.

The mighty VB, tremble in its presence

Although I'm not sure why, because in term of its actual taste, VB is quite frankly poor. Although it's a lager and not a bitter, it does have a bitter taste which after about 2 bottles becomes pretty unpleasant. One solution to this is to make sure it is drunk at almost freezing temperatures thus killing any of it's flavour.

Aside from this I actually quite like VB, mainly because I feel like I'm REALLY in Australia when I drink one, a bit like having a Budweiser when you're in the US. You wouldn't touch the stuff in your local, but when you're actually in the country it's made in, you almost feel obliged. It's like "I'm in Australia, I'm drinking VB. I'm awesome!" Plus adding more Australian cliches multiples the awesomeness ten fold, such as sitting on a beach or watching Aussie Rules. The only things I haven't done while drinking VB is have a game of knifey spoony or hypnotise a buffalo, but there's still time.

Not sure your pub sells VB? Look out for this cryptic sign

Flavour: Not much. Although the VB website seems to think it has "A gentle fruitiness in the aroma that complements the sweet malt on the mid-palate balancing perfectly with a robust, hop bitterness." Maybe i'm drinking it wrong?

Strength: 4.6%

Bogan Rating: Through the roof

Price: One of the cheapest $13-15 for 6 stubbies


Australian Song of the Day # 14

Australia's very own rap group:


Fifty People, One Question

nice video, thought i'd share:

Fifty People, One Question: Brooklyn from Fifty People, One Question on Vimeo.


Ashes 2009

Don Bradman, Dame Edna Everage, Ned Kelly, Alf Stewart, Rolf Harris, Bush Tucker Man, Walkabout employees, Bouncer from Neighbours can you hear me?? Your boys took one hell of a beating!!

Well, England won the Ashes then. Not that I'm a big cricket fan or anything it just seems proper to gloat a little. England, in a sporting sense, are very rarely successful, so any chance to savour it is well justified.

To be fair the Aussies have taken it pretty well, the news reports, although brief, were balanced and they all acknowledged England's performance. I think the fact that they also lost the rugby (by a point) to the All Blacks the day before has left them feeling a bit hurt and vulnerable as a nation. To keep spirits up they keep mentioning the gold medals they're winning at the Athletics Championships and the fact they finished 4th in Miss Universe, which is kinda sad but whatever keeps them going ; ) 

anyway here's the moment that probably won it for England:


Australian stuff I just don't get: Vegemite

Vegemite is disgusting. It's basically smelly brown yeast in a jar but for some weird reason everyone in Australia loves it.

Vegemite is not sexy

Now they have a new spreadable version which contains cream cheese *vomits* This "amazing" new Vegemite not only tastes like shit but looks like it too (the wonders of modern science). In fact it's so gross looking they can't even be bothered to call it anything (probably because cheesy-stinky-shit-spread is too long) and have left it up to the Australian public.

The horror, the horror!

I know we have Marmite in the UK, but at least the Marmite company know it's disgusting and advertise it as such.

Anyhoo, I just don't get it, yeast extract should not be consumed or enjoyed as a stand-alone snack. end of.


Australian Song of the Day # 13

Great song from Jackson Jackson:


Australian Television: Underbelly

I've not really had a proper job for the last year, which means money has been somewhat on the limited side. Although this has stopped me from going out, buying things and generally enjoying myself; it has meant many nights absorbing local culture in front of the television.

Although Australian TV will always pale into comparison next to the might of British Telly with the good old BBC and it's fine costume dramas, Channel 4 with it's superb alternative comedy line-up and ITV with, erm, Celebrity Love Island. Their are some genuinely good programs on Oz Tv:

Underbelly is one such example. This program kicks ass. Basically telling the story of Melbourne's gang wars through the 90's until around 2004, it's brutal, well acted and compelling. Lots of gangsters, birds, people getting shot, punched etc. It's also got Vince Colosimo in (the greek guy who gets shot in Chopper), who is an awesome actor.

Here's a promo:

Season 2 came out this year, charting the drug wars of the 70's and 80's, but it wasn't as good and everyone wore terrible porn star mustaches.


They Know we're Coming Now!

AFl Update, Round 19:

My team, Carlton, smashed last years minor champs and finalists, Geelong, by 35 points which pretty much guarantees Carlton a place in the finals (the playoffs, if you're English). This is the equivalent of say Blackburn soundly beating Man United and claiming a champions league spot in the process, i.e. a bit of an upset.

T'was an awesome performance by the blues and makes the fact that we're hopefully gonna catch a live game in a few weeks time all the more exciting!

Check out the highlights of this momentous victory below:


Australian Song of the Day # 12


A-League Kick-off!

Woo hoo! Tonight is the opening game of the 2009/10 Hyundai A-League; Australia & New Zealand's national Soccer/football league.

Finally actual Football to watch, not Rugby, not Footy, not Cricket but Football!

Melbourne Victory (reigning champs) take on The Central Coast Mariners in what promises to be an awesome spectacle.

Sadly i can't watch it because you have to have cable TV, so it's a bit similar to England then. great.

Seriously though, i'm really looking forward to this season, i completely missed the last one due to having just arrived in the country and no one likes soccer over here. Plus Melbourne might become the first team in the history of the league (all 5 years of it) to win back-to-back titles. exciting stuff!

So yeah football woo! I'm pretty keen to catch a live game was well (especially as their building a brand new stadium for Melbourne Victory this season) so if any of my aussie friends want to catch a game with me that would be awesome.

Here's a taster of what you can expect:


Mispronunciation Emancipation

Australians are on the whole lovely people with their hats lined with crocodile teeth and hilarious knife based confusions. The only thing that drives me crazy is the truly bizarre pronunciation of certain words.

#1. Debut: For some unknown reason is pronounced as 'da-boo'.

#2. Maroon: Is pronounced 'ma-rone'. Know one knows why.

#3. Yoghurt: The tasty milky treat is known as 'yo-gert'. The shame.

#4. Pasta: Even the humble spaghetti can't escape and is known as 'par-sta'.

#5. Data: Dar-ter, no! it's day-ter!

There are more but it it's too distressing to type them.


Australian Song of the Day # 11

Although not technically a fully Aussie band (half the band is from America) it's an awesome song so i don't care:


Walk Hard

Australia is massive.

I know that seems obvious but it really wasn't that obvious to me until i decided to walk to the 'local' post office depot to collect a parcel.

I went on google maps to see where the depot was, it seemed to be in roughly the same area as where we live, just a few blocks south east. Althogh intriguingly Google said it was a 3 hour walk away, "doesn't look to that far to me" I quipped. "I have long legs i'll probably walk it in half the time."

Sadly Google was correct, it took bang on 3 hours. 3 Hours of walking in the midday sun through endless Melbourne suburbs, by the time I got to the depot I was drenched in sweat and my feet felt like they'd been sawn off at the ankle. I elected not to walk back and had to fork out for a cab instead.

Although i know i'm in the wrong in questioning the all-knowing might that is Google, I swear that the scale was all wrong and Google decieved me with some sort of trickery. I guess coming from London where nothing is more than an hours walk away i was fooled by an apparant 'couple of blocks'.

Note to self, next time catch a bus.


Chk, Chk, Boom

Just for the English types who might not of heard about this story. A brilliant 'eyewitness' account from some bogan in Sydney:


Australian Song of the Day # 10

Awesomeness from AC/DC:


Pub faux pas

D'oh, egg on my face this weekend.

I'm down the pub with friends on a Friday night and it's my turn to get the drinks in, off i trot to the bar happy in the assumption we are drinking pots (half pints). I return with said drinks only to be greeted with cries of "you tight-fisted pommy bastard' and the like because we were actually drinking schooners (3/4 pints). The shame.

In my defense i get confused by anything smaller than a pint.

Here's a handy reference guide to prevent anyone making the same mistake:

see, how could anyone get confused by this simple system?


The Green Green Grass of Melbourne

I've been helping Bec's step-dad as a landscape gardener the last few months (just to make ends meet); cutting down trees, digging holes and the like. It's good honest graft and I get to wear a dirty vest and look sweaty like Bruce Willis in Die Hard (which is fun).

Anyhoo, just thought i would mention some stuff that i've noticed while being a part-time gardener in Australia:

Melbourne has a lot of shit drivers (not indicating, not letting you into traffic, dawdling at lights, etc). They're not necesserily bad just really inconsiderate. Example: One lady waited for the lights to go green before doing a u-turn in the middle of the road and holding up 4 lanes of traffic. Unbelievable.

Some of the houses in the South Melbourne suburbs (Toorak,Richmond) are massive, there is some serious cash being thrown around and that's not good because their lawns are huge and they need mowing.

Macdonalds breakfasts aren't actually that bad.

A vest tan does not look good.

Those big trampolines have become quite popular.

Chainsaws are cool.

There isn't a Black Widow spider hiding under every rock/in every tree (infact i have seen no massive spiders at all).

Everyone has GIGANTIC bbqs, i mean seriously huge, like space stations that smell of sausages.

that is all.

look at the size of this thing, it has spotlights and wings!


Blues Control

A weekend of sporting triumph for the Blues; Carlton smashed the East Coast Eagles and Chelsea won the FA Cup.

The Carlton game was on Friday night so watched that with a few beers, pretty straight forward stuff. 18 points up in the first 2 mins and never looked back, ending up 111 to 70.

The Chelsea game had a midnight kick-off over here, but luckily i was at houseparty so got to watch it live with many beers. Missed the first goal (there goes Di Matteo's record), but we played well for the rest of the game and won it with a screamer from Frank. And what's with the lack of goal-line technology? That Malouda shot was clearly in. This is 2009 not 1909 why isn't there a sensor in the goal it's getting ridiculous, surely it can't be that hard to implement.

Anyhoo, a good weekend was had by all :)


Aussie Slang Guide Part 2

Snag = Sausage

Wog = Someone of Mediterranean origin. Nowhere near as offensive as it is in America and Europe, in fact it's almost endearing although you wouldn't call someone a Wog to their face

Rage = To party

Bashed = Used instead of 'assaulted', even on news reports and other serious programs

Crack the shits = To get really angry and shout at someone eg. "Bec just cracked the shits with me"

Ranga = Someone with red hair, after Orangutan (i should be offended but the Orangutan is the noblest of all the great apes so i'll let it slide)


Australian Song of the Day # 9


Moatgate: A very British scandal

I've been out of the loop in regards to UK news, but it appears there has been something of a scandal regarding MPs using public money to claim expenses on things like (i kid you not): manure, pornographic films, and moat cleaning services!

This related clip from The Daily Show is pure brilliance:

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Cheesus Christ!

Imagine my surprise whilst browsing the dairy products in my local supermarket to find, nestled amongst the Dairylea and Cathedral City, this brand of cheese:

After the initial shock/hilarity had passed i did some research (wikipedia) and discovered that it is actually a bit of sore point with anti-racist groups. The Coon cheese company claim the name is from it's founder Edward Coon and his unique cheese maturing method 'The Cooning Process' while anti-racist groups reckon it stems from the black wax which used to cover the cheese when it was first sold commercially.

Oo-er, who would have thought that a hot-bed of racist controversy could surround such an innocent product.

Next week my report on Negro Milk.


Hilarious Comedy Hijinx

They have a program over here called "Thank God you're Here" where comedians don silly costumes and get thrown into bizarre staged situations where they have to win points by improvising and being funny.

It's not very good though, as being able to improvise and be funny isn't easy. I just find myself smiling and nodding rather than hooting with laughter as i'm supposed too. But every now and again it does throw up some inspired genius moments such as this gem from Geordie funny man Ross Noble:


Australian Song of the Day # 8


AFL update: Round 9

Just a quick update on the 'footie'; a third of the season has gone and my first impressions of the sport are all good. Watching a game is pretty entertaining, it's not got too many stoppages like Rugby, so it's free-flowing, end-to-end stuff with crunching tackles, people getting knocked out and some impressive goals too, especially when they volley the ball (like in proper football).

This game between Essendon and Collingwood, was particularly brilliant, with the underdogs Essendon coming back from the brink of defeat with 3 goals in the final 2 minutes. Stirring stuff:



...who wouldn't be after seeing this tasty UK-only treat:

God bless you Great Britain.


Playing Possum

Most Australians hate them, but i think they're cool. The Australian Possum is kind of like a giant squirrel, they crash around in the tress and wander across telegraph cables like furry tightrope walkers. I even saw one have a fight with a pigeon, it was awesome. I think the reason people hate them is because they pee everywhere and smell bad, but so do dogs and everyone loves them.

So here's a salute to one of Australia's most unloved animals, keep on keeping on.


Australian Song of the Day # 7

Fun tune from the Brisbane band Hungry Kids of Hungary:


Charity Appeal

The commercial Aussie TV channels have a lot of ad breaks (every 7 minutes or something like that) which is both hugely annoying and distracting but it does highlight a sad condition which effects many Australian TV channels: Stupidly-over-the-top-voice-over-itis.

This tragic and terminal disease has quickly become an epidemic and now effects even the most mundane programs, witness the intense drama of Neighbours a la Channel Ten:

Only with your help can we help wipe-out this affliction.
Please call 1800-pleasetellmeyourbeingironic? and donate $1 to raise awareness of this distressing condition.


The subtle difference between Britain & Oz




Ice Age Cometh

Well it's officially been the coldest April in Melbourne for roughly a billion years, last week we had a testicle freezing 2.9C morning and 4 days of below 15C.

This would be all fine for a weather worn Brit like myself but just over 2 months ago it was 47C, that's a 30C drop in 9 weeks! I am not used to such extremes, i'm built to sustain year-long damp weather culminating in a mind-numbing freezes in Jan/Feb and 2 weeks of sun in July.

I'm off to buy a big warm coat and some Ugg boots:

Australian Song of the Day # 6

A classic tune from Eskimo Joe; loved this song when i was backpacking around Oz back in 2004:


Aussie Slang Guide Part 1

Grouse = meaning great or very good "that's grouse!"

Hoon = someone who races their crappy suped up car down inner city high streets

Bogan = simple minded Australian folk, can be found in both country and suburban settings. Usually a bit racist and can be identified by a southern star tattoo somewhere about their person.

Pot = small glass of beer, roughly equivalent to half a pint

Maccas = McDonald's, purveyor of burgers and home of the meat clown, Ronald.

Pommy bastard = English people

Have you ever... ever felt like this?

Australia has many famous sights; barrier reefs, opera houses etc, but for me the best and most unexpected sight of 2008 was when heading towards Lorne in the car we happened to drive right past the lighthouse from the awesome tv show Round the Twist.

Round the Twist is possibly the greatest kids show ever, so an accidental pilgrimage to the shows setting was a treat indeed.


Australian Song of the Day # 5

That guy from the Aussie group Spiderbait has a new album out and silk suits is the first single, i think it rocks:

Vegetarian Delights

I am a self-confessed meat-lover, steak, sausages, burgers, bacon, are all devoured with relish on a regular basis. Although i'm not against vegetarian dishes, previous experiences with Tofu have left me scarred and traumatised and suspicious of all things vegetable based.

The Veggie Bar in Brunswick Street doesn't serve meat of any kind, not even those little bacon bits you get on salads, so when a friend suggested it for lunch my expectations for an awesome meal were not high. However i was completely blown away, this place is superb!

I ordered the Mexican Bean Burrito and sweet baby jesus it was good, gigantic portions, huge dollops of salsa, guacamole and sour cream and an enormous burrito. Not only was it delicious but i was absolutely stuffed (quite an achievement in itself).

Although i am still suspicious of Tofu I highly recommend this place to veggies and normal people alike. Be warned though it is pretty popular, especially on weekends.

Google map after the jump.


Australian Song of the Day # 4

Great song from Aussie band The Grates:


Massive Bankers!

The banks over here are bastards. Obviously most banks around the world are bastards, but in Australia they're gigantic mega bastards.

Australia only has 4 main banks (Westpac, ANZ, Commonwealth and NAB) and they're all in cahoots, which means they can do what they like and there's no competition to stop them.

So that means they all charge $5 a month for 'maintaining' my account, charge me a 'disloyalty fee' if i use another cash machine which isn't one of theirs and keep interest rates deliberately low so i don't make any money on my savings.



Australian Song of the Day # 3

Just though i would share my love of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, how these guys aren't revered as much as the likes of U2 (who haven't released anything decent in about 15 years and yet still seem to be the the biggest band on earth) is beyond me. This song from the latest album 'Dig! Lazurus Dig!' is pure class and the album is equally brilliant too:


Meat Injection

The Steak Bank in Ormond, Melbourne is the best place to eat steak in the world.

I have now been there 3 times and it is fantastic. They have every cut of steak imaginable; rump, porterhouse, sirloin, t-bone, ribeye and from numerous different animals; cow, gnu, buffalo, kangaroo, crocodile, ostrich and camel, etc. They also do a whopping 1.3kg monster steak, which is so big i had to take a photo of it.

Quite simply this place is a vegetarians nightmare.


A Sweet Left Hook

A demonstration of the fine art that is Australian Football


The joys of AFL

Australia has its own sport, Australian Rules Football, as the season has just kicked off again the whole of Australia has gone 'Footy' mad, so i thought i'd join in. Even though i'm not sure on any of the rules and it looks really easy to score.

Here's a trailer for the new AFL season running on telly at the moment.

Some of the best goals from last season.

And some of the biggest hits.

Australian Song of the Day # 2

Love this song by Aussie musician Muscles. Probably the best song about ice cream ever written.

The acoustic version is even better:

Melbourne 'Writing'

There are some superb and downright bizarre examples around the city. Here's some i managed to photograph:


The Mentalist!

There's a US show on TV over here called 'The Mentalist', it's supposed to be a serious crime thriller type program where the main detective guy solves crimes using his mind (thus he's a mentalist). But i can't stop thinking of that Alan Partridge line and laughing like a goon whenever i see the promos.

He's a Mentalist!!!!


Melbourne (it's better than Sydney)

On the grander scale of things i'm living in Melbourne, which is great. I won't jabber on about how great it is so i've linked this video instead.


Box Hill Blows

I arrived in Melbourne, roughly 2 days after I left, where I was promptly whisked away to my new residence, the glamorous sounding suburb of Box Hill.

Which isn't glamorous at all and is more like a China town, retirement home mash-up. It's also a dry-zone which prohibits any bars, clubs or pubs opening in the area. Great.

Two questions: Why would a:) the council want to do this and b:) would people want to actually live here? What exactly is the benefit of living in a dry-zone? It's as dull as dog-shit, there is nothing to do, literally nothing. Bizarre.

The house we're living in is pretty cool though, single storey with lots of wood floors. plus it used to be brothel, which gives it a sort-of whimsical charm.

Anyway, here's a rather energetic video someone made of Box Hill:

Olly 'I'd rather watch Sting than Spain' Villar

I should also give a special mention to Olly who booked me my flight to Oz for a mere 129 pound! Much appreciated mate, even though i had to sit on a jumpseat for the whole journey and wasn't allowed any alcohol, but i'm not complaining you saved me a shed load of cash and i owe you one.

Or i could just post this truly awful Spurs vid and call it even....


Big shout-out to the Grafton Square Massiiiive!

I've already been living in Australia for 5 months now, so before i start reporting my findings from Oz, i thought i'd just do a 'shout-out to my former flat-mates in London.

Although being away from Bec for the whole time i was in London was tough and at times i did become a bit of a moody bastard. It's a testament to the character of Olly, Han, Ray and Russ that i had an awesome time living with you guys. The late night Pro Evo sessions (including some truly epic victories on my part), ye olde London pub crawls and the best home-made chips in all of England.

So thanks guys i had a blast! Here's a little vid of the good times....


Australian Song of the Day #1

Hello there, I have literally just been inspired to create a blog by reading this post on the B3ta website.

Last October I moved from London to Melbourne to live with my girlfriend (bec), hopefully this blog will be a fun way to document my time 'down under'