A well-rounded holiday

26 April – the day after ANZAC Day. Which means it is a public holiday as Victoria has adopted the national policy of a day in lieu of the Sunday. Good idea if you are an employee. My actual ANZAC Day was spent at the MCG seeing the Pies dominate the Bombers, so the extra ANZAC Day required something different. The weather is fine and sunny – a lovely late April day in Melbourne.

Carlton are drawn to play the Cats at the G in a Carlton home game. The morning was spent in outdoor pursuits – a walk along the waterfront followed by some weed spraying and then some lawn mowing. Good productivity. We arrived at the G in good time and secured Ursula’s desired front row seats. A stint in the bar catching up with numerous family members and then back to see the teams run out. I check the time and deduce that we aren’t going to have the ANZAC Day ceremony. Having heard the last post possibly fourteen times in the preceding 48 hours, I was not disappointed.

Geelong are favoured, with most pundits are still struggling to get a fix on Carlton, especially since they allowed themselves to be beaten by Essendon a few weeks earlier. The first quarter is frenetic, and very entertaining. Free-flowing football has the large crowd transfixed and involved. Quarter time and Carlton lead by a goal. Everyone readies themselves for the remaining contest. Everyone, that is, except this writer. Some people go to the pub before they head off to the football. I went to the football in preparation for a stint in the pub. The federal government had sponsored a music event at the Corner Hotel: Live Solution – a music event against alcohol fuelled violence. Quarter time, and I bade farewell to wife and daughter, and walked across the park to the Corner in Richmond.

I arrived in time to catch the tail-end of the Spoils. On the second stage, and playing their last gig before a hiatus as the violinist goes off to have the lead singer’s baby, they put in a good one. In the brief break, I caught up with Ken and Julie as MC Johnny Von Goes introduced Guy Blackman and band to the stage. Guy Blackman has his own record company, writes music reviews in the Age and generally has a presence in the industry. Maybe that is why no-one has told him that he can’t sing. I have previously heard him on the radio and the live performance confirmed my assessment – his music is crap. Ken and Julie and I escaped to the upstairs beer garden.

The first text message had already come through from Helen – Geelong are down by 31 points. A bit later and I receive one from Ursula: “This is not very pleasant. Geelong are playing horrible.” At least Ursula manages to append a couple of kisses and hugs to her message. However – it is the last I hear from the attendees for the remainder of the game. The air-wave silence tells me that the outcome is in accordance with their earlier communication.

Back in the band room and the music quality has already improved. Young hipsters World’s End Press entertain the crowd with their disco-inspired pop as the bounce around the small second stage. They then give way to accomplished band the Sand Pebbles. The numbers in the venue are increasing, but it is not packed. And given the occasion, I am confident there aren’t going to be any fights! Precious Jules, made up of singer and guitarist Kim Salmon and drummer Michael Stranges entertained from the second stage, leading into my highlight act, Charles Jenkins and the Zhivagos.

Having recently spent more than a week at a place outside Casterton putting down a new album, the Zhivagos seemed to have benefitted from the time spent together. The album is still in production and there are a few tears being shed as they pare the more than twenty recorded tracks back to a single album. At this gig they played only new material, but right from the start they were impressive. A five-piece, the lead guitarist is Davey Lane who also works with Tim Rogers as part of You Am I. Charles Jenkins is a beautiful song-writer and an excellent lead singer – and this new work compares favourably with his earlier output. As I watch his front-of band performance, I cannot help but draw the sporting parallels with the captaincy of Tom Harley. Not necessarily the best in the business but able to bring out superior performances, not only in himself but also those around him. However, Tom Harley has departed and based on today’s performance, Geelong may be on the wane. Charles Jenkins is definitely staying and the Zhivagos are heading for top of the ladder.

On the published schedule, Black Cab, who had been one of my draw-cards, were next up. However, on arrival I had noted they were a scratching.  Not knowing their replacements, and happy to let pass the opportunity to see final act Dallas Crane, for no reason other than I doubted they could improve on what I had already seen, I headed for the train home. The crowd exiting the MCG had mostly departed. Blues supporters are eagerly looking forward to another huge game against the Pies next Sunday at the G; Geelong looking forward to some respite against Richmond.

About Andrew Fithall

Probably the most rational, level-headed Collingwood supporter in existence. Not a lot of competition mind you.


  1. Peter Flynn says


    I wish I’d left at quarter-time.

    How did you fare at the Willy show?

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