Least favourite

My workplace supplies biscuits for morning tea

Not all places where I've worked do offer morning tea for staff and one place asked for a financial contribution to cover this civility.

Anyway, I noticed the tearoom near my office had only Shortbread Cream left.

Usually I don't pay attention, because I bring almonds and dates to snack on during the day and find that combination is more appealing than chocolate or cake or most things on offer.

But I got curious and checked the downstairs tearoom and noticed the Shortbread Cream also appeared to be consumed less often. 

(That's a row of them on the left of the plastic tray.)

It led me to research Arnotts and I was surprised this biscuit went on sale in 1908 but I expect palm oil has changed their recipe.

Then I discovered that Kingstons have been around since the 1920s.

I'd always assumed they were a bastardisation of an Anzac biscuit, but it turns out they were around before parliament passed legislation about what can be called an Anzac.

(And Kingstons don't have oats, so I've learned something today.)

The chocolate one doesn't compare to an Oreo, although the look very similar.

If I had to pick one, it might be the Monte Carlo.

Their dry biscuit and addition of a jam-like flavour with the cream gives it more complexity, I think.

Now I think about it, the cream is what makes all of these taste terrible and the biscuits are no good for dipping in a cuppa as they leave a weird oily residue and usually fall apart after two dunks.


This flier for an Aboriginal mediation service caught my eye

It seems appropriate to discuss it on Australia Day as the expression of "having a blue" is slang for having a fight.

I guess the decision to write it as "blewin'" avoided misunderstanding if it were "bluein'" or "bluin'" but it did make me think the mediators might be blow-ins, an expression for people who have only recently arrived.

So, "having a blue" seems to have originated in the late Nineteenth Century, possibly gaining popularity based on an observation that Irish were often fighting.

Redheaded people were referred to as "blue" as an ironic joke, which might've started in the mid-Nineteenth Century with migration as part of the Gold Rush.

Given the unions in Australia started around that time and the Eureka flag has a blue background, I wonder if that might've also played a role.

Anyway, there seems to be a semiosis in the flier that draws on multiple layers of meaning across successive waves of migration.

The slang is a substitute for the word "mediation" which originates in Latin during the Fourteenth Century.

Yet the flier is aimed at a group with a much older claim to this land.

And it was printed in 2009, so likely out of date!

Elephant crushes Triple J

Woke to the news The Wiggles have won Triple J's Hottest 100 with their cover of Elephant

It's not surprising to me, as the song seemed to be the only contender that I saw being discussed in the lead-up to the event.

I think it's an inspired cover, as The Wiggles do what great covers do and make it their own.

The original track is cynical about a particular kind of corporate character that seems straight out of the stories about Sony's Australian operations.

This kid-friendly rendition brings light to the image and beautifully segues into The Wiggles own material as a kind of bridge or medley.

However, I feel like we're witnessing the moment when Triple J finally disappears up it's own arse.

For years the need for the station to appeal to youth has meant they increasingly mimic the overblown hype of commercial radio.

The idea that the Triple J competition is won by a song they produced themselves is a kind of vertical-integration, as the promote and also sell the result.

Maybe I should file a complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission?

Around a roundtable

My collaborator Jo Roberts and I will be discussing our project with Orana Arts

Register here 

Reflection on listening to the radio

This year I've been trying to keep a journal and my reflection today seems innocuous enough that it hopefully won't embarrass me later

Driving to work today and I observed a surprising shift in myself.

In hindsight it seems kinda obvious but it was also very subtle.

I was listening to the news across three ABC stations.

They were discussing the events of the week in politics, the tsunami in Tonga and COVID-19, as well as commentary.

As I pressed for the radio to tune to a different station, it started searching and then went past the one I wanted to start scanning up from the bottom of the spectrum.

It arrived at the ABC Classical broadcast and, hearing the soft symphonic music, I felt a lightness.

There was a kind of shift in the weight of my head and also it was like my focus moved.

This reminded me of the way I can feel relief from no longer trying to read small print (because I'm long-sighted), but I could feel a different sort of mental focus.

The feeling deepened as a soprano brought a sophisticated vibrato to the performance.

I marvelled at the emphasis she brought to passags but wavering notes slowly and fast.

It reminded me how much I enjoy music but also how little of it I've been listening to recently. 


Next time I wish I was brave I'm going to remember how this Willie Wagtail attacked an eagle