Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Australian for Phở Bò

Come on down to the Mermaid Cafe
and I will buy you a bottle of wine
And we'll laugh and toast to nothing
and smash our empty glasses down
- Joni Mitchell, "Carey", 1971

Phở originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam. The specific place of origin appears to be southwest of Hanoi in Nam Dinh province, then a substantial textile market, where cooks sought to please both Vietnamese [...] and French tastes. - From Wikipedia Phở

"New Asia Grill" -  94th and 2nd, Manhattan
You could tell that they were Australians.

As soon as they stepped into the doorway of the newly opened "New Asia Grill" on the corner of 86th and Third.

A couple, early thirties, both tanned with sun-bleached hair - and with all the time in the world.

"D'ya have BYO?" the male half of the pair asked of the tiny Asian greeter. The woman (don't we always?) translated. And then, when it was established that the pair could indeed bring their own wine, the man left to cross the street to buy a bottle.

I listened to them later as they ordered. Yes, I was right. Definitely Australian. They were talking about the "starters", referring to them (correctly) as "entrées". On returning, the man had ordered a beer. When it arrived the couple clinked bottle and glass - looking at each other with that nonchalance of the long-married couple who still has that Aussie regard for social niceties - and said, "Cheers".

Ah, my memory was jolted. My mind floated back to a more civilized time. A time when entrées meant entrées. When we'd à la Joni Mitchell, "laugh and toast to nothing and smash our empty glasses down".

Crowd at the "Mekong", Melbourne, OZ
Memories of Victoria Street, Melbourne. Home of the best Vietnamese cuisine outside of Vietnam. Of "Mekong Vietnam" in Melbourne's CBD, which is proud to proclaim in its window, "Bill Clinton Ate Here!"

The "New Asia Grill" on 86th Manhattan is a far cry from the genuine-article Vietnamese restaurants of Melbourne - Melbourne, perhaps the culinary capital of the world.

But it's worth a visit. Any restaurant that opens onto a construction site - a construction with a proposed life of 11 years- has to deserve our respect.

Yes, that's where the "New Asia Grill" is located. Slap bang in the middle of the mess that is Manhattan's Second Avenue subway site construction - started 2007 and supposedly to be completed by 2017. Of course they didn't tell us that when they started. 2012 was the estimated complete date back then. Do a bit of arithmetic. With that rate of delay we are realistically looking at maybe 2026.

Entrance to the "New Asia Grill"
When I first went to the "Asia Grill" last weekend, I had to enter through the kitchen - the construction works were blocking front entry. But the staff were cheery and putting on a good face. What else could they do?

Even a Little Aussie Battler couldn't do any better, or worse. And Little Aussie Battlers always have the worst luck. And overcome it.

I hope that the "New Asia Grill" does well. Sure its food isn't as good as the fare we get downunder. But there's enough of a similarity to jog the memories of the sun-bleached Aussie tourists. Let alone us long-termers, here for the duration. Yes you have to admire the pluck, the tenacity of the owners of the "New Asia Grill".

What is it that they say?

"If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere" ....

New Asia Grill
1817 2nd Ave
(between 94th St & 93rd St)
New York, NY 10128
Ph (212) 828-3066

Give it a go folks!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Twitting on their TwitPhones

"I'm very worried about the future of humanity with so many people sending Twits on their twitPhones." An Ex., August 2011

And you know something is happening
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones? - "Ballad of a Thin Man", Bob Dylan, 1966
Now, I'm no advocate of Twitter, FaceBook, or social networking in general. But at times I feel that I must rise to their defense. And those times are when people, people who have never even used those social networks, feel free to criticize them. How can you criticize something that you don't know what it is?

Twitter - I check it out several times a day; I'd spend, at most, 20 minutes a day there. I don't follow many people but I would have to say that at least once a week, I find something beneficial or amusing from my TwitReading.

Take today for example. I'm a follower of @theBookSlut. She's well worth following. This morning I followed on from one of her tweets and read a really amusing O Henry story - I'd not have even heard of it were it not for Ms BookSlut's "Tweet".

And FaceBook. I use it to keep up with friends and family. I'd spend say 15 minutes a day on it. 15 minutes a day. It used to take me that long to go to the corner store (OZ == milkbar) to buy a carton of milk. And no one wrote about the disastrous affects of overdosing on milk.

One has to wonder about Mr. Ex. and his concern about humanity and his "TwitPhones". I'm a firm believer in - "if you don't know what it is, don't assume the right to criticize it".

Of course, no doubt he (Mr. Ex.) meant what he said in jest. At least I hope so. Give me some credit for my ability to discern good partners, albeit retrospectively! That is, the retrospective credit, not the nonexistent retrospective choice.

Luckily for him, Mr. Ex. is not on Twitter. I can only assume that if he read the tweet about his comment on Twits and Twit phones, that he'd come up with some smart repartée. But of course, he wont; so he wont.

I remember yet another "Ex" - and yes, I've had several. He was complaining about HIS Ex - who had wanted to name their child a misspelled thing - Raychelle or something along those lines. "If you can't spell it, you can't have it!" he claimed he'd told her.

But even better, and even more ironical - to use a much over-used term - is to be tweeted about your misspelled-anti-tweet comment - my Ex. and his anti-Tweet non-Tweet!

Now, where can I buy a TwitPhone?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Categorically Speaking

"First of all, we don't like to be referred to as 'normal'. We're 'able-bodies', not normal. That's like from the eighties" - Larry David, in "Curb Your Enthusiasm" to a disabled man who has just referred to a stall for "normal" people.

"Sweatpants were so submerging, so suburban, so Upper West Side. 'We live in the West Village,' Gerhard said ... 'solely to escape sweatpants'" - From A Day at the Beach, Helen Schulman

Upper West Side - Where Have All the Sweatpants Gone?
I've always been into categories. They fascinate me. How things can be sorted, categorized, named, labeled ...

I like the inherent humor of categories. For example, a while ago I read that there were once Neanderthal-like people in Asia, much the same as the European variety, except they had slanty-eyes. Why I find this amusing I can't explain. It just seems so weird that geographical location could have such a bearing on eyelids. And at the same times, it's sort of cute. There we were in our Western insularity and arrogance, imagining Neanderthals as being universal, when in reality, our Western Neanderthals were just one of a kind. I wonder what else was different about the Asian variety. Their caves, for example ...

And then there's the soft porn categories. Now I'm no aficionado of porn. It doesn't turn me on. But if I ever thought about it, I suppose I'd just imagined there'd be porn for different sexual orientations. But after moving into my apartment in New York and I discovered, on putting out trash in the compactor room, that the Chinese guy down the corridor, had thrown out for recycling - recycling porn? - Chinese porn. It had never occurred to me that porn was related to race. Bizzaro!

Medical categories. Vet categories. There's a "Curb Your Enthusiasm" episode where Larry David questions the wife of a veterinary surgeon at a dinner parties. Are there categories of vets? he asks her. As with human doctors where we have orthopedic surgeons, gastoentorologists, urologists and so on. Are the vets for horses, kittens, hens?

The vet's wife correctly follows this on with the absurdity of something along the lines of, do you mean then that there should be vets specializing in like, feathers?

As well as finding categories amusing, I also find amusing people who are obsessed with which categories that they would belong to, if they weren't themselves. People who find themselves so interesting that they will post on FaceBook what sort of movie star they would have been, had they been a movie star. Or what sort of vegetable. Amazing. ASIF by imagining which category they would have belonged to had the belonged to a superset of that category, somehow magically confers upon them the glory that the genuine article possesses.

Back to the porn. On reflection I knew there was more than sexual orientation categories of porn. I knew for example, that men were either breast men, leg men, bum men. But that also there was something in common for ALL men.

All men don't like women wearing sweatpants.

But that's another story.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Don't Lay a Heavy Scene on Me Man!

For a moment, Gerhard glimmered with an enjoyable righteous anger. Perhaps there was indeed a way to blame all of this on her. Wasn't that what a wife was for? Isn't that why people get married? Someone to blame things on." - From Helen Schulman, A Day at the Beach

I'm livin' in the 70's
I feel like I lost my keys
Got the right day but I got the wrong week
And I get paid for just bein' a freak - Skyhooks, circa 1974

Me in Teheran, Pre Ayatollah Khamenei
There was something weird and wonderful about the Seventies.

A time when one could say, tongue in cheek, "Don't Lay a Heavy Scene on Me Man!"

A time when white people could be hip. A time ...

A time long gone, "The seventies too far away".

AbbA. Boomers' kids. The time before the Iraq War, before "Weapons of Mass Destruction", before acronyms, before texting, sexting, before 911, before FaceBook. Before. Before before.

What was the cut-off point? The point between innocence and cynicism? Between then and now? Between the faint hope of idealism and the (false) pragmatic of NOW?

Was it the election of Ronald Reagan? Was it the Gulf War? Thatcher? Y2K? I don't THINK so.

I think that the Baby Boomers had become jaded. For sixty years we've ploughed ahead, against all odds.

And in New-York-Speak - "What can I say?"

I really DID love the Seventies. It was a pause in the world of trauma. The Sixties, Vietnam, had left us and we didn't know about - or even imagine - Iraq, WMD, 911, bail-outs, Osama, Obama.

A time of innocence - The Seventies.

I was a married woman with small children in the seventies. A woman who thought it was a smarte-arse thing to say, with touch of irony - "Don't Lay a Heavy Scene on Me Man!" I used to say it in the heat of arguments with my then husband. It annoyed hell out of him. At that time it was small things like this that gave me pleasure.

Seventies words. I heard a few of them the other day, at of all places, my dentist's.

I really like my dentist. He's so "Seventies". I always ask for nitrous oxide, as I am a nervous dentalphobe. He'll have his assistant put the gas-mask on me, and then disappear to check his email, or to put his iPod on Frank Sinatra. Yes, his idea of music isn't seventies but the rest of him is. And then he'll come back and ask, "Are you stoned yet?"

Last week when I was leaving, and saying goodbye to the receptionist - another "seventies" person, I became flustered. I was attempting to organize a date that suited me, but she was concerned I should come earlier. "Leave her alone," my dentist reprimanded her. "She's freaking out."

The Seventies. Poor cousin of the Sixties.

I think it's time for a Seventies' revival.

Now what was the great Australian politician's slogan in 1972?

"It's Time!"

Pre Thatcher. Pre Reagan. Pre Taliban. And perhaps now more importantly, pre Tea Party.

And talking about the Tea Party, I have just one more thing to say:

Don't lay a heavy scene on me man!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Keeping Up With Mister Jones

I have literally understood 11 words that Bob Dylan has sang tonight. Hoping to make it to 15 before the concert ends. - Justine_B, Twitter

Omg he's playing a song I know! (And I still have no idea what the heck he is saying.) - Justine_B, Twitter

Ah, but I was so much older then
I'm younger than that now. "My Back Pages", Bob Dylan, 1964

Adrian Rawlins Statue, Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
A hundred years ago I lived at 43 MacArthur Place in Carlton, a university suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

Most of my life from that time is now a blur, but I can remember one day perfectly. Actually it was a night. The night before we (me, my boyfriend and my boyfriend's friend) went to see Bob Dylan play at Festival Hall. My boyfriend and I were in the upstairs bedroom, when we disturbed by rapping on the front door. We let our house-mate, A, answer it.

Next thing we hear he was bounding up the stairs. "The Band is here, The Band is here!" he was yelling.

We told him to get lost and kept on with what we were doing ...

I must admit I was a bit naive. "The Band". "What band?" I was thinking.

Later we discovered that the "The Band", Bob Dylan's Band, had in fact come calling. Looking for a guy called Adrian Rawlins who we were sub-renting the house from.

Adrian was a "beat". A poet. Something rare in Melbourne in the sixties. You can see a statue of Adrian if ever you go down Brunswick Street Fitzroy. Or you can just look at a photo of it here!

Our house-mate A invited The Band in, and they stayed a while. But I didn't get to meet them. Pity ... I have my priorities in a better order nowadays...

But I did get to see Dylan perform the next evening. For the first part of the concert he played the old folk-songs - "Come Gather Round Children ..." and so on. And then after interval, out came the electric guitars, and the boos.

A bit short of forty years later I saw Dylan again, this time at a concert at Madison Square Gardens in New York. And again last night I saw him at a concert at Jones Beach, New York.

The Jones Beach Crowd - Waiting for Dylan
It's hard to belive he is seventy. Even though we had "orchestra" seats it was hard to see what he looked like.

But it was a great concert. And yes, his voice was raspy and it was a bit hard to make out the words. Especially as he was giving new interpretations of old songs such as "Ballad of a Thin Man" and "Tangled Up In Blue". But he was Dylan. And that was enough for me.

And the audience - it was the same it was in Melbourne 1966, but yes something has happened and we do know what it is - we have all gotten OLD! I looked around at the crowd. Yes, Melbourne Australia plus forty years!

Something was weird. Yes it did look like the crowd at Festival Hall 100 years ago. And that was the problem. Melbourne. Australia. The "White Australia Policy".

Where were the black people? There weren't any here at Jones Beach. How could that be?

Back in Manhattan I called a friend. A black friend. And I asked her how come there were no blacks at the Dylan concert. They are all gone, she told me. He was popular with blacks in the sixties and early seventies. Those people have all gone.

All of them? I wondered. And what about us white people? It's all getting too confusing. And too scary.

Native American at Babylon Fair, New York
On the way back from Jones Beach we stopped at Babylon where we saw there was a Native American fair. We decided to check it out.

It was a sad sort of fair, much like the "street fairs" that they have in Manhattan where imitations of imitations are displayed by people pretending to be fair people. The only difference here at the Indian Babylon fair was that the vendors were selling fake feather instead of fake glass earrings. Some of the so-called native Americans sported blonde hair and pale faces. But there were a few of the genuine article. Here's one. Sleeping.

As I wandered through the crowd I pondered and wondered about the Jones Beach concert.

And realised. I've traveled 12,000 miles and a hundred years and the times just ain't a'changing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah - "Hallelujah" - Leonard Cohen, 1984

I've titled this blog, "Hallelujah" because of a man on the Q32 bus yesterday. The Q32 runs between Queens and Manhattan in New York. And it so happened that "Hallelujah" became a word that I - a non-religious person - actually heard, for the first time used in every-day speech.

I decided to write about the Queens-Manhattan-bus New York moment, but what could I illustrate it with? Then I remembered, one of my favorite people, Edie Langley, singing it. And I checked on YouTube. Sure enough, here it is.


I particularly like how she sings, a là anglaise as does Leonard Cohen, the writer of the lyrics, "But you don't really care for music, do you?" with "you" pronounced as "you", rather than as the American "ya".

But that's not what this post is on about.

Back to the man on the Q32.

The bus was about 3/4 full and we'd just pulled out from the last stop in Queens, just before the non-stop ride to Manhattan, over the Queensboro Bridge which is now renamed "The Ed Koch Bridge". A few people straggled on board, the last one being a male, born circa 1948. Oh no, another baby boomer!

He looked a little worse for wear. But don't we all? I'd rate him two points up from homeless - 6 on a scale 1:10. His clothes were thread-bare but clean and his hair was gray and longish. No one would have noticed him. Until the driver turned in his seat and said, "Excuse me, I don't mind if you can't pay the fare, if you can't swipe your card, if you don't have a card, but you could at least acknowledge me and not just walk straight past. Say something!"

Mr Baby-Boomer-Not-Paying-a-Fare took absolutely no notice and proceeded to find a spare seat and to sit in it. So the bus driver said it again. Louder.

This time, Mr Not-Paying-a-Fare reacted. "What do you WANT me to say?" he asked.

"Anything," said the bus driver.

"Hallelujah!" responded Mr Not-Paying-a-Fare.

There were a few minutes silence.

Then the driver looked a bit remorseful. He turned to me. "All I want is to be acknowledged," he said. I nodded sympathetically.

He waited a while and then addressed Mr Not-Paying-a-Fare again. He, the driver, obviously felt bad. Maybe Mr Not-Paying-a-Fare was intellectually-challenged. Maybe he had Alzheimers. Maybe he was really poor and embarrassed.

Turning to Mr Not-Paying-a-Fare he asked, politely, "Are you OK, sir?"

And after a slight pause, the response came.

Mr Not-Paying-a-Fare replied,


I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Blame the Boomers Game

"The time has come, Senator Barack Obama says, for the baby boomers to get over themselves." - Shushing the Baby Boomers, Journo John M Broder

Baby Boomers, Manhattan, June 2011
"The time has come," Obama said,
"To talk of many things:
Of jobs and tips  and  too-much-tax
Of mortgages   and things
And why it's all the boomers' fault
And whether pigs have wings." *

A hundred years ago at Mac.Robertson Girls' High School in Melbourne Australia, we had a headmistress called Miss Barrett. Miss Barrett used to glide around the school's corridors as if she were balancing a book on her head. I remember thinking she was really really old, and fantasized that she had never married because she'd lost her fiancé in the trenches at the Somme during WW1.

Looking back with the benefit of experience, I now think she never married because she was a world-class bitch, but back then I was a bit of a romantic, and no doubt a more tolerant human being than I am now.

We had school assemblies where we'd all have to stand when she entered the hall. She'd be wearing an academic gown and would stand facing us on the stage, fixing us with her stare so that we'd all freeze. We were not to move.

When she commanded, "Sit!" we all had to sit down at precisely the same time. And then she'd give us a lesson in morality.

Vinyls for Sale - Manhattan June 2011
I remember little of her talks, except for one. It struck me at the time and became etched in my memory because it was so blatantly unfair. I was all into fairness at that time.

I used to get really annoyed for example, when the RI teacher would tell us that when we died god would judge us, and depending upon our score would let us into heaven. Or not. I was pretty sure I'd be unjustly accused and not be allowed into heaven. "Why should it be just up to HIM!" I'd think to myself. Of course that was when I thought god was a man as women's lib was yet to enlighten us "gals" as Miss Barrett called us.

I'd imagine myself arguing with god. No way was I going to take his decision lying down. I imagined everyone else going along with the decision and me, alone, defending myself. I'd been studying the Reformation and thought of myself as a modern-day Martin Luther, standing on my principles.

I'm pretty sure now that I know why I was like that. My mother worked and I had to manage the buying of groceries and purchasing house-hold items. So I was constantly having to return items to the store, and being a kid, the customer-service people would argue with me. I'd stand my ground. Martin Luther was my hero. And I envisaged that it would be much the same when it came time for god to assess my earthly performance. A celestial customer-service sort of thing.

The only morning assembly morality talk that I can remember in any real detail, was when Miss Barrett explained to us that we were all "bad gals" because SOME of our parents had brought us up according to (horror of horrors) an American! - a pediatrician called Benjamin Spock, whose book "Baby and Child Care", published in 1946 advocated such "permissive" practices as feeding babies 'on demand'. According to Miss Barrett, this had had the effect of turning us into selfish gals who wanted instant gratification and if we weren't careful we'd all get pregnant and never go to university.

At MacRob - Indulging in an Apple
Little did Miss Barrett know, but she was a trend-setter. A woman before her time. Later Spock was to be blamed by the Right for causing the anti Vietnam war demonstrations, Janis Joplin, the contraceptive pill, drop-outs, sit-ins, and the Summer of Love.

And now, as we near retirement age, the Miss Barrett's of this world are multiplying daily. You can see them in the Tea Party and on the morning news. You can see them on websites, on television; they are everywhere. Even in the Whitehouse. I wrote about Obama's dislike of baby boomers way back in 2009 in Slowing the circle down - like a rolling stone.

Quite frankly I'm getting a bit sick of it. After ALL we did - fixing the post WWII mess, marching for peace and civil rights, working long hours and slaving over hot stoves. And what thanks do we get?

None. Zero. Zilch.

It's gone on long enough. Now it's apparently OUR fault that the U.S. budget isn't balanced. It's our fault that the U.S. debt ceiling is a ceiling. We are responsible for S&P downgrading the U.S. economy. We are responsible for S&P NOT downgrading the U.S. economy earlier.

Are baby boomers to blame for debt crisis? writes Ed Hornick of CNN. But wasn't it boomer Bill Clinton who balanced the U.S. budget?

"Nice going Baby Boomers/Tea Partiers! The Great Depression 2 is here! Looks like you are going to lose your 401K and hopefully job! You voted in these idiots last November and now you have to face the consequences of your actions!" wrote someone signing themselves as "Nice going Baby Boomers/Tea Partiers!" on KHTV.com's news article, about S&P downgrading the U.S. Credit Rating.

Generation Xers Looking for Bargains, Manhattan, 2011
Last week while I was getting ready to go to work, I was listening to CNN. "One good piece of news," a twelve year-old anchor was saying, "with the baby boomers having to downsize their apartments in order to retire, there are lots of bargains to be had! They are forced to sell at rock-bottom all manner of things, dinner sets, couches, appliances."

Uh-err, watch out my fellow boomers! The vultures are out. I'm reminded of a movie I saw back in the Dark Ages. Some Greek movie or was it Zorba? Where people in black pretending to be her mourners, descend upon some old lady's house fighting over her posssessions.

"But we aren't dead yet!" I cry!

As they say in New York, "What can I tell you?"

"O Boomers," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?"
But answer came there none --
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd beaten every one.*

* Apologies to Lewis Carroll (Jabberwocky)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

What Sort of Candle Are You?

And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind - "Candle in the Wind" 1973, Bernie Taupin

Let me take you down,
'cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.
Strawberry Fields forever - "Strawberry Fields" 1966, John Lennon

Tourists at Strawberry Fields, New York
I ask this question, not because I have written a FaceBook app on the topic, but because recently a friend of my brother's described my brother Tim's life as, "like a Roman Candle". And I got to thinking ...

Thinking about how often the image of a flickering dying candle flame is evoked when trying to describe the brief life of one who has gone too soon from this world.

The song "Candle in the Wind" is just one example. Interestingly it was written by Elton John's writing partner, Bernie Taupin, about Marylin Monroe - Norma Jean. Taupin got the idea for the title from a quote he read about Janis Joplin. And of course, over a decade later, in 1997 Bernie Taupin rewrote the lyrics so that the subject was Diana Spencer. Elton John played the new version at Princess Diana's funeral.

Still, I was surprised when I read in an email that a friend had described my brother's life as being "like a Roman Candle, spent in a fantastic rush."

It's not how I saw my brother at all. He was a laid-back kind of guy. He worked for himself most of his adult life, as a carpenter. "Like Jesus," he'd say when people asked him what he did.

I remember Tim musing one night about "careers". He saw them as something "other people had", but not himself. "When I think of 'career', he explained,"I think of a car careering out of control." I laughed. So Tim.

George Harrison Remembered -  November 2001 - Strawberry Fields
I remember too when Tim lived in a spice cupboard. Sleeping on a narrow shelf. Of course this description of his lodgings back then were conveyed to me by my mother who had a dry sense of humour, and moreover, was given to exaggeration.

Tim said he was happy to live in a spice cupboard - "like the Vietnamese boat people," he explained. "If it's good enough for them, then it's good enough for me." But then, he had a dry sense of humour, and moreover, was given to exaggeration.

I actually visited him there later, at his spice cupboard abode. We met outside the spice cupboard in a communal lounge-room. I was wearing a watch. Tim said, "Can I have l look?" and so I took it off and handed it to him. There upon he picked it up and smashed it with a hammer. "You don't need to be ruled by TIME," he said. Really.

Perhaps Tim's friend of the Roman candle remark merely meant that Tim lived life to the full. A Roman Candle. I googled it, and I vaguely remembered them from my childhood - splattering sparks randomly in all directions. Like "Tom Thumbs". I think I was scared of them.

Tim, St Kilda Beach, 1960
Yes my brother did "live life to the full", as they say. He wasn't a conventional person, but he wasn't a Roman Candle speeding through life like a gush of shooting Roman candle sparks.

I lived with Tim for a while when we were both adults. At a time when we were both recently separated from our partners. In the evenings we'd sit out in the back yard with his mates. Like his dad, Tim was a beer drinker.

I'd stay relatively sober, as I had a salaried job. A "career" in fact. But towards the end of the evening even Tim would quit drinking and lay back, looking up at that wonderful Australian night sky - so filled with stars - sinking into ... his strawberry patch.

"Strawberry fields, forever," his friends would say as they departed for the night.

A Lennon admirer, yes. A Roman candle? I can't see it.

And what sort of candle am I?

Or, more to the point, what sort of candle are YOU?

beetroot to yourself
lettuce all get along
Bean so good
getting to know you
Peas to you
and all of your family.

Tim Juliff (1950 - 2011)