Pies and Zhivagos Dominate a Full Cultural Menu

Weekends which encompass time at the MCG combined with time at the Corner Hotel, are weekends well-spent, even if they are not very productive. Productivity is further compromised if the weekends are bookended by liberal doses of red wine. Juicer and Nicole arrived from Warragul Friday evening.  As St Kilda supporters, they are really not bad people. And Juicer at least has no objection to matching red wine with fish, so other than football allegiances, we have much in common.

Saturday morning and I head off to coach my girls’ basketball team while our country guests enjoy a long walk around Williamstown. Early afternoon and we are off to the G. I had endured the game earlier in the season when St Kilda strangled a Collingwood forward line which consequently didn’t kick a goal after half time. I was hopeful but not optimistic. On the way in I spotted Nick Cave in a St Kilda scarf. I initially identified him as Tim Rogers (who barracks for North). How embarrassment! Luckily I hadn’t gone up to him and said “Hello Tim – I liked your forward in the Footy Almanac.”

A quick pre-game beer in the upstairs bar and am greeted by Almanacker David Downer whom I had met at the June lunch. It is becoming a good networking mechanism this almanac.

The critical point in the game comes early. A St Kilda kick out-on-the-full has Leigh Brown lining up from forty metres and on the boundary (funny about that?). He slots it, and Collingwood is home. Not that I think it at the time – after all there are still three and a half quarters to be played. But the contrast with Collingwood’s kicking in the previous encounter is already stark. St Kilda on the other hand, miss their opportunities. Nick Riewoldt seems not to have fully recovered his fitness, and the Pies certainly benefitted from the late withdrawal of Del Santo. And as a Collingwood supporter, it was really disappointing to see Milne beaten so comprehensively – his only goal coming from a cheap handball from a teammate who was quite capable of kicking the same goal by conventional means. Leon Davis played his first reasonable game for the season. Forty-eight points was a margin properly reflecting the relative performances on the day.

That night, our Warragul friends having returned home, it was off to the Corner Hotel for the Winter Ball. Put together by Charles Jenkins, about whom I have written previously on this site, it brought in a number of top-quality guest performers, singing with Charles and his band, the Zhivagos, or sometimes solo. Song choice could be one of their own, or one of Charles’. Two sets, the first was more mellow and acoustic, with the second set a bit more rocked-up. The sets were preceded and interspersed by Died Pretty front-man Ron Peno and his new band RSVP. Easily the most depressing song of the night was by Nick Barker, a little ditty he had penned from the perspective of his six-year-old son as he witnessed the marriage break-up of his parents. You would think he could come up with something a little bit more uplifting with that subject matter! The primary highlight for me was Rob Snarski (Triffids; The Blackeyed Susans; Snarski v Snarski) with a close second to a duet between Angie Hart (ex Frente) and Charles Jenkins. On Angie’s recent record, the male part in the song Little Bridges is performed by Bonnie Prince Billy. Charles’ contribution was just as beautiful.

Sunday begins with an hour watching my girls play lacrosse, a quarter of one son’s football game, and then off again to the MCG. The company this day is a bunch of blokes from Williamstown. I had chosen the Richmond North Melbourne game two months earlier as being a game of no consequence which means our application into the ballot for the MCC dining room would be uncontested. More recent performances suddenly had Richmond favourites. Who would have thunk it? Fortunately we had won our table of ten in the ballot, and it was located on the window with a view of the playing arena. Five of the attendees were pro-Richmond, three pro-North Melbourne and two non-aligned. I hadn’t seen Richmond supporters so chirpy for a long time, and after Sunday’s performance, it could be a while before I see it again. In difficult wet and windy conditions, Richmond played poorly and gave their full-forward, the other Riewoldt, very poor service. North Melbourne on the other hand, played the corridor much more effectively and got a much better return. For someone with no emotional investment in the game, it never took off as a spectacle. For the majority of the time I was happy to watch from behind the glass, temporarily abandoning my glass of red a couple of times to see how cold it was and to be surprised that the crowd was actually making some noise.

I am not getting ahead of myself, but the next time I will combine MCG and Corner Hotel entertainment will be preliminary final weekend. If there is a game, Friday night of 17 September will be spent at the MCG, regardless of who’s playing, and then it will be off to the Corner to see Washington. I can recommend both events. The fact that you are reading this means you will be familiar with football. If you have any interest in music, check out the video of Sunday Best at http://washingtonmusic.com.au/videos/. There is not enough beer in the world to make me think that I can dance. This song nearly did? Even better with a glass of red. Enjoy.

About Andrew Fithall

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


  1. AF – nice one. I agree, when Leigh Brown is kicking them the Pies are home. So what margin will they win the GF by? Or perhaps Pie supporters are already contemplating back to back?


  2. John Butler says

    It’s a cakewalk!

  3. John Butler says

    What could possibly go wrong?

  4. Andrew Fithall says

    Now now chaps. We don’t even take it as far a one-week at a time. Collingwood at this stage are happy if they win two quarters in a row.

  5. JB #3,

    Didak, Toovey, Johnson, Reid, Macaffer……………..

    ……………….& September

  6. David Downer says


    I enjoyed this for the sheer fact the majority was devoted to matters other than the game itself!

    Tough day at the office for Sainters.

    I spent most of the second half in the afore-mentioned upstairs bar. I had plenty of red, white and black mates in there to share the “experience” with. And the early train home to boot.


  7. Andrew Fithall says

    A video of the Rob Snarski Corner Hotel highlight from Saturday’s Winter Ball. Sound is a bit below par. Matt from The Zhivagos is on harmonica.


  8. Thanks for the Washington tip – top shelf.

    I think that Dave Downer is onto something in his little piece. I have a couple of mates who are avid (is there any other kind?) Collingwood supporters. My contention to them, over many years, has been that Collingwood (as a club) would love having them as supporters as they significantly raise the average IQ of the Collingwood membership – which it must be said could be seen as a rather back-handed compliment. I dare say that the typical Collingwood supporter would not have a thorough appreciation of quality indie music either – perhaps more your AC/DC types.

    PS: Given the outcome of the game and Nick Cave’s penchant for deep and sorrowful thoughts, I wonder if he has been seen alive since?

    That is all

  9. Andrew Fithall says

    Thanks Arma (#8)

    To tie it all in, just to hand is that Megan Washington has just finished her vocals contribution to the new You Am I album (release date unknown). I knew the Tim Rogers reference would have some relevance somewhere.

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