Saturday, January 14, 2006

Pizza down the Hurstbridge Line

So it's time for my first post here on Banyule Bloggers. And unlike the other lazy bastards around here, I intend to make this a bit of a regular spot. (If only they would update the link to my personal blog and then I may be a bit nicer about the whole thing.)


I propose we have a bit of a Banyule Bloggers Readers Poll. Ripped off entirely from a local paper's business awards, I thought that we could all "vote" for our favorite "local" business across a range of categories, decided entirely by us.

Our awards will be entirely biased of whoever decides to go to the effort of filling out a comment and "voting."

And I suspect that I will be the only one who actually bothers to vote. So as you can see, these awards will be truly reflective of the populous of the local area.

So, on with round one.

Who is the number 1 pizza shop in Banyule? Sure, we may not have the gourmet genius that is "Crust" in Richmond. Or even the delights of the latest chain "Mojo's seriously weird pizza." But we all eat pizza. We must have somewhere good to buy it from.

Votes in comments below please.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Elijah Wood

This is a true story. I was driving to work this morning and I though I recognised a guy who was walking on the footpath. I had a closer look and thought it might be the actor who plays Harry Potter, but with boofier hair. Then I realised it was Elijah Wood the main one from Lord of the Rings. I am completely sure it was him and it was odd that no-one else seemed to be taking any notice. This was in Beverley Rd near Jika St. Has anyone else seen Elijah Wood walking around?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Amazing Letterbox

There is a house in Banyule which is completely mindblowing. Here's a picture of it.

The force majeur of its mindblowingness comes from the fact that its letterbox is an exact copy of the house itself. Wow! I had to hang back (sit in the car actually) to take these pictures becasue I didn't want the house owner to see me and ring the Alert / Alarmed hotline. So I couldn't get close enough to verify whether the mini-letterbox-house also has a mini cockroach-sized house in front of it, I imagine it probably does.

I have admired this letterbox from afar for many years. It deserves to be more famous.

Council still laboring after election

It looks like Labor will maintain its stranglehold on Banyule council following Saturday's election.

Despite an advertising blitz, only two overtly pro-Liberal councillors - Wayne Phillips in Beale and Peter McKenna in Bakewell - got home.

Cr Phillips, a former Diamond Valley Shire councillor and shire president and the Liberal MP for Eltham from 1988-99, takes the ward vacated by former mayor Greg Ryan. McKenna takes the spot vacated by former mayor Colin Brooks.

It's good to see that despite their strong push, backed with plenty of money for signs and advertising but with little information about party connections, that the Libs did not fare too well at the election.

Tom Melican, for all intents and purposes an independent, has retained the Ibbott ward.

It appears Labor councillors Jenny Mulholland (Griffin ward, where I live), Dean Sherriff (The baby-faced assassin in Grimshaw ward) and Dale Peters (Hawdon) are all back for another term.

Another new councillor, Anthony Carbines, also has strong Labor credentials. A former journalist in his early 30s, he grew up in Banyule and worked part-time for former Jaga Jaga MP Peter Staples in the '80s.

Most recently he has worked as an advisor to Health Minister Bronwyn Pike. His stepmother Elaine Carbines is a state Labor MP down Geelong way. He takes Olympia ward, vacated by a former staffer to Ivanhoe Labor MP Craig Langdon, Sean Rawson.

Given the past few years of infighting, one could argue that a Labor-controlled council is bad news. It remains to be seen if the inclusion of Cr Carbines to the picture will be the circuit-breaker that takes the sting out of the factional fighting that occurred between Peters and Sherriff and Ryan, Brooks and Mulholland.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Banyule Elections Afterparty / Open Thread

Well it's 6pm and the polling booths have closed. Thank god, no more bloody electioneering spam-on-paper. I did my bit and went & voted, a bit later on I might try to think of something purposeful to say about the whole experience. Or not.
Anyway the primary purpose of this post is to hear from readers about THEIR favourite memories of today. Anyone interrogate the candidates? Anyone eat an unhygenic fundraising sausage? Anyone throw a donkey vote? Verify the existance of Marcus McFarland?
c'mon, let's hear it.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Ibbott Ward Pre-Election Extravaganza

So, the Banyule election counter in the sidebar there is busted, but no matter - we all know the great even is taking place this Saturday. I wonder how we'll find out who the winners are? Maybe we'll have to wait until Wednesday when the Heidelberg Leader comes out. I don't suppose they'll have an election night special on the ABC instead of the Bill.

I have not been able to decide whether to engage in election candidate commentary here since I don't specially want my house burned down or a bag of dog shit left on the doorstep. Also there are far too many candidates to do them all justice. On the other hand, it's my fecking democratic right to join in. It also strikes me that this is something of a historic moment since I bet you any money that by the next time we have a council election in Banyule all the candidates will have blogs of their own. So I'm going to just have a little chat about some of the guys standing in Ibbott ward (Watsonia, Rosanna, Viewbank and that), specifically about the ones whose friends thought the "NO JUNK MAIL" sign on my letterbox didn't apply to them.

Number One: Tom "The Pelican" Mellican

I have a special warm feeling about Tom because I've seen him in real life, three times! Once he made a speech at a Banyule event, another time he was digging in the garden bed behind his house, and the last time he was standing in the front yard of someone else's house holding a cordless drill. That was only a couple of weeks ago. I wish I had've had the nerve to roll down the car window and ask him where he stands on the issues - did I mention the issues? The issues are 1) the ongoing detention without charge of David Hicks and 2) animal experimentation.

Tom has a long list of things he'll do, like "promote family values", "speak out against the zone ticketing system" etc. His main point though seems to be that he doesn't have plans to try to get himself into state or federal politics, UNLIKE SOME OTHER CANDIDATES AROUND HERE - he does quite a lot of *hint hint*ing about that.

Enough about him.

NUMBER TWO: Scott "No Mates" Crawford

I have alluded before to the fact that Scott has himself a website , more about that in a moment. I understand Scott was somehow embroiled in the Melbourne University Student Union Ginormous Shitefight of days gone by: so it would seem he has a natural aptitude for politicking? Well, that's all in the past. Very much in the present is the deluge of poorly-written and foolish campaign material about Scott which has been thrust in to our long-suffering letterbox every ten days or so for the past six weeks. The scan you see there is one of four pages in this particular flyer. All featured the same annoying failure to distinguish between "commonsense", and adjective, and "common sense", a noun. He also spells "roundabout" as "round a bout" at least three times.

What I like best about the Scott Crawford Campaign Juggernaut is its utter jejune silliness, as epitomised by the photographs he's circulated of himself. I can't look at these with a straight face. For instance, see in the bottom right corner of the scan a blurry shot of Scott doing the "vision thing" for a transfixed bystander, outside the Macleod YMCA? Well, have a look at the website and see the same stance photoshopped onto a completely different location. Did he think we wouldn't notice? Well I notice everything. I even noticed that the address his leaflets give for electoral correspondence is a house which is advertised for sale at the moment.

I'm sorry to go on about him so much. Consider the ranting directly proportional to the quantities of "newsletters" he's imposed on us. Next!

NUMBER Three: Matt "Tabula Rasa" Aitken

Matt is a Man of Mystery - his key electoral strategy seems to be just giving the punters a how to vote card (printed on much nicer stock than the other cheap bastards paid for) and basically letting them project their own Fantasy Matt without impediment from any particular policies. Nice headshot too - I reckon Matt might have done some extra work at some stage, d'ye think?

Matt has a website too. And dear sweet mother of Jesus, it has a forum. Which has been going since January. With three posts. Two made by Matt himself. He says he likes animals! Cool!

Last of all -

number four: Flamin' David Mulholland

I found David's flyer, which only arrived last week, perhaps the most interesting of all. David's brilliant strategy is just to hang seven kinds of shit on everyone else, especially Scott. He has more to say about Scott than about himself, generally it is just about that MUSU thingo again. He says Scott has been served a writ for 3.4 million dollars. (Is that why the house is on the market?) I wish I had bothered to scan the thing properly so you could read it yourself. David says of himself that "politics is in his blood" - we wondered if that means he's related to Deputy Mayor Jenny Mulholland? Anyone know? The local paper gave David's age as 19 by the way. Point three on David's shit list is also rather nice - he says one of the candidates, Marcus McFarland, is "the unknown candidate" (that I agree with, no flyer from Marcus) - but he can't rest until he's wondered "if there is a Marcus McFarland out there or is it a figment of Scott's imagination."

Ooh, is one of the candidates a psychopomp?!?!

Well, there you have it. The monumental Ibbot Ward faceoff. Boy am I looking forward to Saturday. If any council candidates are reading this and would like to make a guest post, or possibly let us all know where you stand on the issues I mentioned up there somewhere, drop me a line on

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Touched by Britney

Check it out. Britney Spears touched this card.

And then someone loosed it in Burgundy St, Heidelberg. And Laura finded it.

Have you ever been touched by a famous person? Tex Perkins grabbed me by the shoulders and gave me an intense look - the freak. Tommy Emmanuel gave me a baseball cap and called me 'champ' - I nearly head-butted him for that. I once gave Shirley Bassey directions to the bathroom - true. And I told off Dave Groll from the Food Fighters (oops, didn't recognise him - but he apologised).

Well whatever. If you can guess what's written on the back of this card (which was touched by Britney), you can have it. Otherwise we might have to put it on eBay.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Poor man's Olympic torch on the way

Today's Herald Sun shows the Queens Baton Relay, one of the highlights of Melbourne's Commonwealth Games, will travel through Banyule on March 14. The baton and its digitally recorded message from Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth the Second, will come through Heidelberg West, Heidelberg Heights and Heidelberg on its way to the opening ceremony the next day, as long as it makes it up Liberty Pde without being stolen, burnt or used in a bashing.

Thousands turned out five years ago when the Olympic torch came to Banyule and made a stop at the old Olympic Village. But will anybody care when the baton arrives at the same spot on March 14? The Commonwealth Games organisers have said the atmosphere fore the games would start to build when the Spring Carnival was out of the way but I don't see anything but a wave of apathy. Will anyone line the streets?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Banyule vs Nillumbik: what if?

I quite liked Dorian's take (below) on Banyule vs Nillumbik, although I can only speculate as to what led him to draw this gruesome picture of the relationship.

The fact of the matter is that Banyule and Nillumbik exist in their current forms because Jeff Kennett insisted that the hippies of Eltham must have their own completely unworkable council to destroy when his government chopped 218 Victorian councils to 78 back in the 1990s.

Ten years on we have Banyule Council, impeccably managed by a strong and competent executive team but with its councillors at each other's throats, and Nillumbik, whose councillors all join hands and sup on mung beans and tofu at council meetings but whose managers couldn't manage a coherent thought if their superannuation depended on it. They are in deep debt and are increasing the rates by 10% a year.

By the next election, the present Nillumbik council, which would have its residents living in bark huts if it could, will be out and a set of equally clueless rightwing councillors who will raze the bush and build high-rise units will be in. That's the political instability Kennett wanted when he insisted pro-development bits of the northern Diamond Valley Shire were merged with peace, love and mung beans Eltham Shire.

But just imagine if the Office of Local Government had got its wish in 1994 and merged the Heidelberg, Diamond Valley and Eltham councillors into a single unit.

Dry, Christian, asset-rich, ultrawhite Ivanhoe residents still living in the 1950s, aggressive Liberal voting development types aiming to turn the green bits of Heidelberg, Ivanhoe, Greensborough, Plenty and Diamond Creek into urban slums and filthy tie-dyed fundamentalists eating nuts and berries, wearing rope shoes and demanding the council converts to solar power and bicycles (even the garbos) would all be mixing in the community and the council gallery.

Throw in a few bogans from Greensy, Hurstbridge and West Heidelberg stirring trouble along with bellies full of Bundy 'n' Coke and a couple of Somalian taxi drivers with portable barbeques sauteeing camel stakes bought fresh from a Halal butcher in The Mall and it could end up in a bloodbath, as Dorian imagined.

And that's surely what Jeff really wanted.

Should Banyule and Nillumbik and their various troubles be left to themselves or should we fulfil Jeff's fantasy, merge them and watch each camp battle for supremacy?

We'll have to leave Dale Peters and Dean Sherriff out of the war - they would only bite and scratch members of their own team.

* Ivan Hoe is a professional gambler, raconteur and man about town whose hobbies include card-counting, gun-running and decorative paving.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bogan Women, Get Fit

Like the anon commenter in the box under cdiddy's excellent post about celebrity Banyulers, I too run eagerly to the letterbox on Wednesdays to see whether the Heidelberg Leader has been delivered yet. Why? Because I do love it so.

This week's is jam-packed full of the usual local news and ads and snarky letters about tunnelling under Banyule swamp, but no matter how hard I tried to concentrate on readng my Kerrie Kulken horoscope my attention kept wandering to the back page ad for Athletique Health Club.