July 2005 Archives

Vi hadde en flott helg i the blue mountains. 90 min kjøring fra Sydney. Mye kaldere der, kald vind.

Blue mountains er 240 millioner år. I 1868 ble det bygd en jernbane opp til blue mountains. Aboriginer og convicts, ,dvs fanger var med på dette. Alex er i slekt med han som ledet denne gruppen. Katoomba er hovedbyen her. Vi bodde på et sted som heter Leura, mindre og koseligere enn Katoomba.Her var masse koselige cafeer og butikker.

Everyone whinges about how unreliable the Sydney rail system is but the real issue is how stupid the pricing and fare system is. Salv often comments that he believes that public transport should not be run to make a profit and I quite agree.

Since I have lived in Sydney I have relied on the simplicity offered by the red travelpass and have been reluctant to travel outside this circle as the costs of transport balloon once you go beyond this range.

The red travelpass zone is also the only zone where most residents should not really need a car.

Astrid has to work at Carlton this week, from our place the fastest option is to take a bus to central and change for a train to Carlton. However Carlton is not in the red travelpass zone - nor is it in the next category up (green) instead it fits into the quite hexy yellow zone. So taking a bus/train combo is out of the question.

Strangely it is the same price for a weekly from central to carlton as it is from stanmore to carlton. I guess the pricing is based on the longest leg of the trip with all legs priced from central.

Also oddly, Chatswood (where I work) is more expensive for a weekly, further away (rail kilometre wise) and yet is in the red travelpass zone.

The current pricing scheme really just perpetuates the move away from public transport. Why do we not have a 10 trip ticket for trains as well as buses? Why can't you buy a weekly bus/train point to point ticket instead of the ineffective travelpass zone based setup?

For the past few years I've been finding myself liking more and more of the contemporary music from London.

London's size and it's subsequent cultural and economic mix seems to spawn a new musical style every week, though many are just a rename and rejig of a previous style.

The one that has me interested though is grime - which is being touted as the UK's answer to hip hop.

Grime's biggest appeal is the refreshing anything goes approach to the production and the hyperspeed yet insightful and catchy lyrics that actually take on gritty real issues.

For me, it's wonderful to hear female rappers with great flow and intelligent verbal wordplay. With the lyrical skills to compete on the same territory as their male counterparts they put paid to the capitalist RnB cultivated image of supposedly independant women who are really just wannabe nubian queens.

I'll be the first to admit hip hop hasn't offered anything of value for many years - over the past decade hip hop and it's girl power sibling RnB have become the defacto pop music in the US with all the sachharine over produced associations that introduces.

Sure there are wonderful underground acts still operating in the hip hop arena (Dalek, El-P, Aesop Rock and MF Doom come to mind) - however they represent a sad minority.

London's musical battlefield is however quite different - at the higher level there is just as much manufactured polished pap as anywhere. Underneath this, though lies another world fuled by the proliferation of pirate radio stations combined with an urban electronic music culture that dates back decades.

Grime started when fast talking types from the inner east of London started rapping over the tunes played at raves. These tunes were predominately UK garage [a style I originally couldn't understand nor enjoy] that had a relatively slow bpm and lent itself to MCs rhyming over the top.

In addition to UK garage, grime also draw heavily from dancehall a sound originally from Jamacia which also heavily influenced hip hop (and more recently, vice versa)

Much of my exposure so far has been via remixes of more well known acts like The Streets but over the past few days I have been listening to a compilation released last November in the UK - called Run the Road. A very exciting compilation which even though the music documented within has most likely long been superceded by something even more dark, gritty and fresh.

Last night I attended my first pub gig since the changes in smoking legislation came in force at the beginning of this month.

Now 50% of the space in the pub must be made smoke free. If the pub has only one bar - at least 50% of this bar must be dedicated to a smoke free environment.

Over the next two years, this figure will increase to 75% and then 100% smoke free.

Most pubs will implement this as making the largest bar 100% smoke free and designate a smaller bar as the smoking bar. This is in direct reverse of the practice previously where those wanting non smoking environment had to sit in the bistro or a small area designated for this.

Logically - this now includes pretty much all live music as this is usually in the largest bar of a pub.

One would hope that many intelligent pub owners have read this informative site detailing the tobacco industries various approaches to try and ensure that the hospitality business remains a smokers paradise.

One such attempt was this supposedly grass roots fax sent to NSW hotels last year

In the initial few weeks, to ease the transition, the pubs aren't being overzealous about enforcing this - however I noticed (and appreciated) a concerted effort made by most of the patrons to go outside for a smoke or sit in the smaller bar.

In the two and a half hours I was at the pub, only two people tried to light up - one guy was quite drunk and acted suprised when the smoking changes were pointed out to him. The other was the annoyingly selfish smoker who knew full well he wasn't supposed to smoke there but thought he could get away with it by being stealthy. I pierced him with my harshest glare and he immediately stubbed his half burnt cigarette out into an empty can.

I know that I come across as a bit too overzealous about smokers - my justification has always been that I have very sensitive nose and lungs (often I can smell someone smoking when others around me have not even noticed).

Helen will say that it's about time NSW comes into line with this, the ACT has really led smoke free legislation in recent years.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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