Gertrude Street blogged and a beautiful new blog discovered

I came across the gorgeous blog of Melbournienne Lucy Feagins.  She has done a great job blogging Gertrude St.  The beautiful photo of Amor y Locura above is hers.  I find so few blogs that I really want to read these days, but this is one of them. It’s so what blogs should be like: journalism without the corruption.  And with good photos.  Good blogs need good photos.  Free and ad-free.  But hers even boasts hand-drawn maps to die for.

Apart from Gertrude St, it has much of interest to whatever remains of Abbotsford Blog’s readership after its sad neglect by me.  For example, her posts on:

But then just about everything else is likely to be of interest.

Panama Dining Room

I do like the Panama Dining Room on Smith St. Used to be a pool hall, when the floor below was a Latin Band venue — The Stage — which used to go off, and where I had some of my best evenings. Now The Age is onto it, and here’s their review. In fact, they like it so much they reviewed it again. It has that up 2 flights of stairs, you have to know about it excellence, but unlike so many such places, it is an expansive place once you get up there. There is a free pool table, and apparently on Sundays they have table tennis. They only got a sign recently. This one will be with us for a long time, like Spleen, and The Lounge, and 20 Myers Place. The photo of the Room’s bar is by Ben Richards, one of the Crumpler crew whose HQ is not so far away from the Room. Here are some more of his lovely Room photos: Continue reading “Panama Dining Room”

The Age’s take on Kent St, the good Smith St Bar, is here. Our Melbourne daily has forgotten that the city side of Smith St is actually in Fitzroy, but who cares? It’s an odd review which does not ring true to the location for me. What is meant by this passage for example?

‘Behind the large roller door (which is a glossily bright shade of Margaret Fulton kitchen green), Kent St unfolds in a marvellously ramshackle fashion. Like Miss Haversham’s formerly grand abode, had Miss Haversham lived in an upstairs-downstairs townhouse near Number 96, the place is like a ’70s dream house gone to seed. You half expect to be greeted by a bunch of dust-covered ladies-who-(didn’t-make-it-to)-lunch in bell-bottomed playsuits clutching stale vodka stingers.’

Whether this is a reference to Miss Havisham (as is suggested by ‘dust-covered ladies’) or Miss Haversham from the BBC series ‘Upstairs Downstairs‘ (as is suggested by the spelling and the alusion to upstairs-downstairs), neither is evocative of Kent St, and how do we segue from either period to the 1970s?

Birdman Eating and The Royston Reviewed by the The Age

I got my hair cut at Dr Follicles today, and had a coffee from Birdman Eating, which I have earlier written about.  The Bird Man has got his liquor licence up and running nicely, and has a drinks and tapas thing happening of an evening — though he was kind of distancing himself from the ‘tapas’ concept (despite the menu saying ‘Evening Tapas’) in favour of the small meals to share concept. You can have green beans for $7.50, zucchini and fetta fritters for $8, grilled ox tongue with beetroot, capers and horseradish for $11.50, shanks for $14.50, crispy duck for $16.50 or go the hack with a sliced hunk of steak covered with a piquant salsa for $28.50.  This guy’s saucy: I love the attitude associated with ‘Black pudding with eggplant kusundi and leek croquettes.’ I’m going there for drinks one night, because he’s also dishing up Milawa Gold Washed Rind cheese with apple jelly, and hot cinnamon doughnuts with chocolate sauce.  My coffee was truly memorably good, which either means Matt Preston, who also gave the Bird Man a great review in today’s Age, was wrong, or the Bird Man has taken the critcism to heart.

And, just a week ago, Dani Valent reviewed The Royston in The Age, which I have also earlier posted about, and which is also a place I want to go for dinner. If only I had the time.

Cavallero, Birdman Eating, Lentil as Anything reviewed; Beer haiku

Reviewing is a difficult art. There are certain constrained forms I particularly like. The obituary. The chess column. The restaurant review. All so constrained by the necessaries, requiring clever use of what little room there is for the decorations. The English tend to do them best. Zia Mahmoud does the most with the least with The Guardian‘s bridge column. Haiku fascinates me. The very word puts me on edge. I hate haiku about as much as shakuhachi music, but at the same time I love it about as much as a good egg breakfast, a short speech, photos of Japanese taking photos of cherry blossoms with unbelievably expensive cameras (snap thanks to a great photographer, Mark Alberding), and the way sacred cows get in the way of traffic in New Delhi. Short is good. Less is more. Small is beautiful. Metre is a useful discipline for the poet’s natural tendency to ungrammatical excess. Some of the most elegant writing going around today is to be found on this website. I particularly like: Continue reading “Cavallero, Birdman Eating, Lentil as Anything reviewed; Beer haiku”

Abbotsford house prices go up

The Age reported yesterday that the median Abbotsford property sale price — that is the middle number when all the sales results are lined up in chronological order — was 12.7% higher in the first three months of this year compared with the last three months of last year. But there were fewer than 30 sales results in the line of numbers, and the data are therefore implicitly not statistically reliable. The median was $575,000 in the first 3 months of this year, compared with the median for the whole of Melbourne of $380,000, and the median for houses within 10 km of the city of $566,000 (that figure is up 15% on a year ago, compared with the whole of Melbourne figure which is up only 5.3%). Richmond and Collingwood were also up about 10%, but Fitzroy — also with fewer than 30 sales — and Clifton Hill were down about 5%. The median sale prices in the last 3 months were: Continue reading “Abbotsford house prices go up”

Drug-freaked yellow racer killer jailed for 8; update: 3 stabbed in Fitzroy

Dale Phillip Ward, formerly of Nicholson St, Abbotsford, fell into difficulties when his brother was convicted of murder, and committed suicide in jail in a drug overdose. His brother’s girlfriend was murdered too, her dismembered body dumped into the lake at Monash University. Ward used dope, amphetamines, ecstasy and ice, and developed a drug induced psychosis. Almost 2 years ago, in 2005, he stabbed Alex Cooper four times in the chest and once in the arm and killed him. He was charged with manslaughter and other offences from what the Herald Sun describes as “a crime spree”, and pleaded guilty. Sounds awfully like a plea bargain to me.  Update,  29 April  2007: more stabbings at more public housing estates. Continue reading “Drug-freaked yellow racer killer jailed for 8; update: 3 stabbed in Fitzroy”