The Mildura Arts Centre and the Rio Vista House

The roads (and planes) in my life often lead to Mildura on the banks of the Murray River. Population of around 30,000. Award winning vanilla slices, an excellent Thai restaurant, one of the many stomping grounds of Big Lizzie, riverboats, wine and all the amenities one needs to set out on an adventure to the Murray/Murrumbidgee/Darling Rivers wonderland. In a July visit this year, I visited the Rio Vista Homestead, once the home of the Chaffey Brothers and now a regional art gallery and museum. I learnt interesting things about irrigation, took in some art and then nursed a cup of tea as I read Mildura Living and eavesdropped on other people’s conversations.


WOMAD: Planet Earth Saved

Adelaide knows how to host a festival. The weekend of the 8-10 March was WOMADelaide, Captain Planet’s music festival of choice. Three days in the Botanic Park sitting on the lush verdant grass in the shade under towering pines listening to music from around the world. Thirty five degrees celcius? No worries, have a coconut, refill your water bottle at the refill station and run under the sprinklers and then you’re ready to shake your booty to Jon Cleary and the Monster Gentleman or for those struggling to isolate their posterior have booty shaking lessons with dancers from Femi Kuti and the Positives.
Rock before lunch to the Coloured Stones then ragtime to Pokey LaFlarge with a fresh blackberry jam doughnut. Happy hip hop with Arrested Development and chow down some Coffin Bay oysters. Lior, burger, string quartets serenading shepherds, baklava, Red Baraat, govindas.

Starting to feel guilty about over consumption? Listen to life affirming talks by individuals like Femi Kuti.
Fairy lights and lanterns, folks, make everything better… except poverty… and greed.

So basically, living the ideal gluttonist hedonistic latte-leftie white middle class dream with bonus recycling and biodegradable eating utensils. All to do now is donate to some world saving charities, fight the good fight, love, respect, learn and educate and buy some harem pants. This is Clare signing out and saving the world through one self indulgent edible treat at a time (and having a hell of a good time).

Jazz picnic on Berry Island

Once a month, Sydney Jazz Club puts on a performance around Berry Island near Wollstonecraft. They played some fun old standards and channelled Louis. We sat on a picnic blanket under the gums and ate cheese.

Gregory Porter at the Blue Beat, Double Bay

It was a warm and humid night on Monday in Sydney and Gregory Porter had done what no other had done – given me reason to enter the eastern suburb of Double Bay. Blue Beat was a swish club with a fancy bar. We were lucky enough to grab a bench and stool adjacent the stage, perfectly situated near the kitchen so that I could wistfully gaze at the delicious looking chocolate desserts that were whisked passed for the patrons who had known to reserve a table in advance. The clientele  were not the usual jazz afficienados I had seen previously at the Sound Lounge or Venue 505 or assorted pubs. They were groomed and glossy.  At some length, Gregory Porter sang and it was all good. Bloody good. There’s an energy to Porter’s performances that doesn’t always translate to the recorded albums. The audience was ecstatic, the band highly responsive to the singer. A great, great night.

Venue 505


Thanks J. for having your birthday party at Venue 505. So good to have small venue music gigs with good food, good music and great company.

A Mongolian Sequitur


Baga Gazryn Chulu in the Middle Gobi region of Mongolia (Source: me!)

Mongolia is a nation currently undergoing rapid development. WordPress not so long ago fresh-pressed Khogjmiin Duureg, a blog looking at music and urbanisation in Ulanbaatar. Here’s an American artist who specialises in painting Mongolian animal life. In recent news, a Mongolian fossil dinosaur is up for auction in the U.S. It is believed that the fossil may have been exported illegally from Mongolia.



Be Good

Back in December 2010 I heard Gregory Porter perform ‘Be Good’ at Zeb’s in New York. The song has stuck with me and I’m happy to see Porter has made it the title song of his new album.