Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Hussler does it again

The Randwick Guineas, run yesterday afternoon, ended in a very close finish; a veritable whisker separated the winner, Weekend Hussler from the runner up, Sydney horse Triple Honour. I watched the race at a pub where we had gone for lunch with friends. Weekend Hussler, looked at one point to not have a hope of winning, veering off like Haradasun did last year, but he rallied and hit the line with Triple Honour in what could almost have been a dead heat. The jockeys on these two horses are brothers Nash (Triple Honour) and Brad Rawiller (Weekend Hussler) so the quinella was a family affair with no hard feelings from the loser. It was Weekend Hussler's fifth Group One victory, no mean achievement for a horse who has run only ten races.

Other winners yesterday were Zarita in the Oaks in Adelaide and Stripper in Sydney. Miss Andretti disappointed by weakening in the straight and only managing to come fourth.

Patty Griffin at the Palais

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Patty Griffin live at the Palais Theatre 28/03/08

Although the crowd was thin on the ground (or in the seats) for Patty Griffin's concert at the Palais in St Kilda on Friday night, it was for those who did attend a wonderful show.

As it is festival season in Melbourne and elsewhere at this time of year, where a wealth of acts leave music lovers spoilt for choice, it is perhaps not all that surprising that Patty failed to fill the house. But her true fans - I count myself one - wouldn't have missed her for anything.

This time around she was accompanied by a drummer as well as a guitarist, which truth to tell made little difference to her act, except that the drummer (who was excellent) added a slightly different nuance to some songs, enhancing the overall experience.

Patty sang quite few different songs, but alas, no Tony. She made up for that by giving us the exquisite Mil Besos from her album 1000 Kisses and Burgundy Shoes from her latest recording, Children Running Through.

She also sang Top of the World, Kite Song and a crazy song about Amazons, called Riding With The Amazons and a great cover of Tom Waits Hang on St Christopher.

After 15 songs plus 2 for the encore it was over at about 11.30pm. The audience gave her a standing ovation which she certainly deserved.

I'd certainly go and see her sing her wonderful songs over and over again as often as she comes to Australia.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Soul Cleansing, Ear Rending Rock N Roll at Basement Discs

Spectrum - left to right - Bill Putt, Tim Gaze, Mike Rudd

Iconic pub rockers, Spectrum returned for in store performance at Basement Discs at lunchtime today. They are promoting the reissue of their album Milesago and EP Breathing Space.

It was a great way to spend lunchtime, having one’s socks rocked from close up. A mix of old and young persons were present for the show. One young girl caused a stir by fainting, toppling to the floor face first. The band kept on playing but the audience was understandably distracted. She quickly recovered with no visible ill affects.

Mike Rudd ironically remarked that it was a long time since anyone had fainted at one of their gigs.

Tim Gaze, well known Australian rock guitarist who has been around the Australian music scene for as long as Spectrum, played guest guitar on two songs. He’s a terrific guitarist I must admit.

Tonight I’m off to see Patty Griffin again. She’s playing at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda – should be good. She will be with her band this time round, but from what I can gather the band consists of a guitarist and a drummer – that’s all. I should imagine they will make a reasonable sound.

I hope Patty sings different songs from those she sang in her previous tour. I’d love to hear her sing Tony live. It’s an astounding song about the suicide of a gay schoolboy. The chorus goes:

Hey Tony, what's so good about dying
I think I might do a little dying today
He looked in the mirror and saw
A little faggot starin' back at him
Pulled out a gun and blew himself away

Yes, it’s kind of grim, but spine chillingly good.

You may be wondering why I am taking black & white photos. I think it adds character to the pictures in some way, so it’s a fad I’m going through.

Autumn Racing Carnival – Week 9

There are three Group 1 races on Saturday, the Randwick Guineas in Sydney, starring Weekend Hussler and the South Australian Oaks and the Robert Sangster Stakes are being run in Adelaide. The marvellous Miss Andretti returns to racing in the Robert Sangster Stakes – a sprint for fillies and mares. I do think she is a class above the rest and she races well fresh.

In the Oaks I rather fancy Zarita who has won her last two starts in fine fashion.

Other horses in my black book racing tomorrow are God’s Hand, Estee, Stripper and Murtajill makes a return in the 4th at Randwick.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cat Politics Update

There is a great deal of ongoing amusement to be gained from observing the interaction between cats, but it also can be worrying.

At the present time Willy is running scared of Timmy and only enters the house with extreme caution. We thought he’d moved out altogether as he went missing most days, only turning up for food then disappearing again. As the weather has grown cooler he has since returned at night to sleep in the bed with us where he feels safe.

Timmy has been observed making threatening moves towards Willy - well, Willy regards them as threatening and avoids any contact, eye, or otherwise, with Timmy. Willy’s not a fighter. His ears are still intact, whereas Timmy’s are torn and frayed. For such a macho cat Timmy has the wimpiest meows – a kittenish squeak.

Lizzie, however, rules. She has Timmy keeping his distance, having commanded respect without drawing blood, It’s attitude, more than anything. Timmy walks the long way around her, whereas Willy is not in the least afraid of her and will spring on her out of the blue, much to her annoyance, but he only gets hissed at.

We have grown quite fond of Timmy over the months so it is out of the question to give him away or nullify him. He’s has some endearing eccentricities, like sitting with one paw raised, or as shown in the photo above, with all four white mittened paws lined up neatly. I snapped the photo last night and he posed very nicely for it, staring directly at the camera and not moving a whisker. He hobbles around like an old man one minute then he’s frisking like a kitten at the next.

He must be about 14 years of age, but looks like he’ll live forever

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another Rags to Riches Story in Australian Horse Racing

Augusta Proud
A new potential star of the turf has emerged with Adelaide filly Augusta Proud winning the Magic Millions Classic for fillies yesterday. I listened to the race and was delighted when Augusta Proud stormed down the inside to snatch victory from She’s Meaner. It was a blistering run, in that even her jockey felt she hadn’t a chance of winning at the 200m mark, when She’s Meaner raced to the lead and put a couple of lengths on the field and looked a sure winner. Augusta Proud was blocked for a run, but her jockey managed to find a clear spot on the inside and unleashed her. The jockey, by the way, was Clare Lindrop, who became the first female jockey to win a Magic Millions race.

Five minutes before the race I decided, after having one of those dead cert hunches, to put a small bet on Augusta Proud as her odds were quite good so I was doubly pleased with her win.

That’s six wins from six runs for Augusta Proud now, and prize money of over a million. Not bad for a filly who was passed in at the yearling sales last year for $47,500.

I first heard of her a couple of months ago. Her name caught my fancy for some reason, so I’ve followed her racing career since. And so far, she has kept on winning.

There is every possibility she will be entered into the Golden Slipper Stakes where another million dollars is up for grabs. I think she has a very good chance of winning it, but even if she doesn’t I’ll still be watching out for her in the future.

Update: Augusta Proud will not be competing in the Golden Slipper but will be spelled until spring. Apparently her win in the Magic Millions jarred her up. Her connections are to be commended for not continuing with her autumn campaign - she's done enough, you'd think.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pictures from the back garden

I've been out taking photos of various things in or from the back garden.

Last night I noticed a rather fetching photo opportunity seeing the full moon ducking between clouds. The photo turned out rather well with the dark clouds framing the the moon, making a rather dramatic picture.

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And yesterday I observed that an orb spider had built a web over the barbeque. Orb spiders normally return to the same spot and reweave the web during the night.

I watched the spider in action last night and later took this photo of the completed web. I used the flash to capture the web, so the spider rather than being golden has turned out white.

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This view looking towards the back garden I snapped last week. I like the composition of the cat (Lizzie) poised in the foreground looking in the same direction. You can see in the background the yellow grass. It hasn't rained for weeks so lawns are dried out, but as soon as we get a decent fall of rain they'll be back to being green.

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To left in the above photo there are several pots containing bromeliads. They are weird plants, strange and outlandish in shape and foliage. They are epiphytes and can be grown on trees, needing little soil to hold their roots. They reproduce by growing "pups" - small versions of themselves. They also have wells at the base of their foliage collecting water.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ron Sexsmith at Basement Discs

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Ron Sexsmith live 19/3/08

As always, it was a pleasure to see Ron Sexsmith perform live in an intimate setting. I wouldn't miss one of his Basement Discs in store performances for anything.

On Wednesday last week, despite being on leave from work, I caught a tram into the city for the occasion.

I love Ron Sexsmith's brand of literate pop music. B can't stand his music, so I rarely get a chance to listen to his CDs, but Ron is great to see live with his genial, endearingly gauche stage presence singing his great songs to really pretty tunes. By rights he should be a household name, he is that good, and although he has won accolades from the likes of Elvis Costello & Dylan who count themselves fans of his music, he is still out of the mainstream and rarely played on the radio.

Not that I listen to the radio much, but at work I sit near a small call centre and they have a radio playing pop music going most the day. It doesn't bother me at all, but I get tired of the same songs being played over and over again. A bit of Ron Sexsmith wouldn't go astray, but he is never played on pop music stations, more's the pity.

Autumn Racing Carnival - Week 8

Yesterday Randwick race course in Sydney hosted two Group 1 races, The Galaxy and the Chipping Norton stakes. Both races were won by relative outsiders, with Typhoon Zed winning the Galaxy and Casino Prince taking out the Chipping Norton.

However, Musket scored his second win in a row in an unlisted race at Randwick. He's a three quarter brother to the great mare Makybe Diva, so is one to watch in the future.

Tomorrow the focus is on the Gold Coast Magic Millions meeting. The race for 2 year old fillies looks interesting and I am curious to see who will be the winner. Class fillies, Sugar Babe, She's Meaner, Black Minx and Augusta Proud (love the name) will be competing in a field of 14.

Next Saturday sees the running of the Randwick Guineas for three year olds. Weekend Hussler will be making his Sydney debut. Let's hope he can run straighter than Haradasun did last year, who despite this tendency won two Group One races.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Autumn Racing Carnival – Week 7

There are no Group 1 races this weekend as Melbourne’s share of the carnival is almost over and the focus shifts to Sydney from now on.

However, there are still some interesting races being run tomorrow, in Melbourne the Group 2 Blamey Stakes sees Melbourne Cup winner Efficient returning briefly to run in it. I really can’t see the point of him just having one run this autumn, but I assume his connections think it a good idea for whatever reason. He is not expected to win, as the distance (1600 metres) is a bit short for him, though he has won at 1600 in the past. The main contenders are Orange County, Cargo Cult and Molotov.

In Sydney the Silver Slipper Stakes for two-year olds has some interesting runners. I am interested to see how Star Ripper goes. He is having his first start, but has a blue blood pedigree as his mother was the great Dane Ripper who I witnessed winning the Cox Plate way back in 1997.

The feature race on the Sydney program is the Golden Rose, a Group 2 race for three –year-olds. 2007’s Golden Slipper winner Forensics will be competing against Mimi Lebrock, a Bart Cummings trained filly. Bart’s on a bit of a roll at the moment after Sirmione won the Australian Cup last week. A remarkable trainer is Bart Cummings. He’s now 80 years old and has had an illustrious career winning a total 248 Group One races, and he’s not finished yet - he can still pull winners from the hat every so often. Bart also trained Star Ripper’s mum Dane Ripper who won the Australian Cup in 1998. Bart of course trains her son.

So there’s not that much action as far as my top 30 stable goes this weekend, but as the Sydney carnival progresses the excitement will build and we shall get the chance to see Weekend Hussler in action again and Apache Cat will be back soon as well. Not so Light Fantastic who has been spelled and will be back in Spring.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster

Ruthie Foster live at Basement Discs 13 March 2008
Today’s lunchtime in store performance at Basement Discs was really something special with the remarkable Ruthie Foster putting on an amazing show of her extraordinary talents. Her predominant gift is her astoundingly powerful and expressive voice. Think Aretha Franklin, only better. She’s not called the new queen of soul and gospel for nothing, as was amply demonstrated in the intimate surrounds of the Basement Discs today.

Ruthie’s music covers gospel, blues and folk but she gives her own individual interpretations of those genres and transcends them. Her latest CD is The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster and I am here to attest that this is no idle boast, but a truthful assessment of her talent.

In person she came across as warm and friendly and self deprecating, and I was very glad I made it down to see her, as no doubt were the rest of the small crowd present. A rare and delightful experience all round.

You can hear some of
her music on her My Space page and judge for yourself.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Danny O’Keefe, Kristina Olsen & Peter Grayling @ Basement Discs

From L to R - Kristina Olsen, Peter Graying, Danny O'Keefe

The first of the two live in-store performances at Basement Discs this week was a delightful mini show today of Danny O’Keefe alternating songs with Kristina Olsen with Peter Grayling providing beautiful cello accompaniment to them both.

Overall both artists played three songs apiece. Danny performed two of his most well known songs, Well, Well, Well which he co wrote with Bob Dylan and The Road - a song famously covered by Jackson Brown on his record, Running On Empty - as well as one from his latest CD In Time.

Kristina sang three of her own compositions, a sexy little number about the Tango, In Your Darkened Room the title track from her latest CD and The Big O.

Though a short set, it was all very entertaining and I loved the cello. What a wonderfully melancholy sounding instrument – so deep and sonorous. One rarely sees it being played these days in live concerts. Danny O’Keefe joked that it was an impressive instrument to experience up close, in that it penetrated the lungs and drew out all the phlegm. He recommended Peter Grayling release a record called The Medicinal Cello.

Peter Grayling

Tomorrow Ruthie Foster is in store, so bang goes any other plans for lunchtime activities, as I figure Ruthie Foster is not to be missed.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Season of mists & mellow fruitfulness

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Fruitfulness, yes, mists, no. Yes, it's autumn and the fruit trees, especially the figs, are in full fruition. We've given bags of them away to friends and neighbours and there are still plenty left for the birds and possums and fruit bats. Messy fruit, figs, as they go squashy in no time and one needs to take care walking out in the garden so as not to step in them and traipse sticky gunk into the house.

We have jars of fig jam a friend made from our figs, which according to the Greeks in our neighbourhood, are the best and sweetest variety. Hence their popularity with all living things, except cats of course who don't care for them at all.

And just for Clare at Keeper of the Snails, here's a photo of pomegranates on the tree. There's not so many of them this year, or at least not on our side of the fence.

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Though officially it's autumn, you wouldn't know it from the weather which has suddenly become hot again after a very mild February, so there are no mists, just a summery haze.

Update on the races

Saturday's race meeting at Flemington was up to expectation with a very interesting series of races. Weekend Hussler won again as did Light Fantastic, the two star three-year-olds proving they really are something special. It will be intriguing in the spring to see them compete against each other in the Cox Plate which apparently they are both going to be set for.

Weekend Hussler (red and black, white cap) winning the G1 Newmarket Handicap, at Flemington on Saturday 8 March 2008, ridden by Brad Rawiller, trained by Ross McDonald.  Photo by Bronwen Healy

Unbeaten grey colt Light Fantastic (blue, yellow and green) wins Race 7, the G1 Cadbury Australian Guineas at Flemington on Saturday 8 March 2008, ridden by Craig Newitt, trained by Mick Price.  Photo by Bronwen Healy

Weekend Hussler

Light Fantastic

I got a good look at them both on Saturday on the screen. The Hussler is a very impressive looking young horse, big and powerful with a wide chest expanse that reminded me of another star performer from the past, Might and Power who had a similarly powerful frame. Light Fantastic is a striking dark grey horse with a white mane and tail. The photos above are by Bronwyn Healey who surely has to be the best photographer of race horses working these days. I hope she doesn't mind me using a few of her small photos on my blog.

Miss Finland failed to get a place in the Australian Cup, so has now been retired. She was a wonderful race filly and mare in her early days and those of us who have been following her career are sad to see her go and disappointed that she couldn't go out with a win. But that's racing for you.

The Australian Cup was won by Sirmione who stole the show in a most impressive fashion by sprinting to the lead in the straight and putting too many lengths on the rest of the field. Princess Coup stormed down the inside to grab second place.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Autumn Racing Carnival – Week 6 – Super Saturday

A fantastic day of racing is coming up tomorrow with three Group 1 races on the program.

First up is the Newmarket Handicap over 1200 metres with race enthusiasts getting another opportunity to see Weekend Hussler strut his stuff. He’s the favourite of course, and deservedly so as I really can’t see anything beating him.

The other young sensation of this autumn, Light Fantastic, is favourite for the next Group 1 on the cards, the Cadbury Guineas over a mile (1600 metres) and I am really looking forward to seeing him race again, albeit not on the course but on the box. The only real competition he faces in the race is from Marching and Playwright. But Light Fantastic is something special, so I do expect he will be there at the finish.

The Australian Cup over 2000 metres is the feature race of the day. Miss Finland acquitted herself quite well last week by coming third in the Futurity, so she’s been spared the breeding barn for now. She appeared to motor home in a dour fashion in the Futurity Stakes, only really getting into stride in the last 200 metres. She’s up against Princess Coup, Fiumicino, the Derby winner last spring, and Sirmione who is trained by the old stayers master, Bart Cummings. They appear to be the main threats. Sentimentally I would like Miss F to win as she was sensational during her two and three year old days, winning the Golden Slipper and the Oaks in the same year. Her usual jockey Craig Williams will be back on board. To him Miss Finland is Miss World as he’s ridden her in all her victories.

There have been many memorable Australian Cups over the years. Lonhro, a beautiful black horse and star of the turf in the early to mid 2000s who even defeated the great mare Sunline, won it in sensational fashion back in 2004. It was an extraordinary win by Lonhro who was blocked for a run in the straight and seemingly in a no win situation, but he was pulled clear and raced to the lead in a few strides and won the race. He’s now a young sire whose offspring have been showing promise. One of his daughters, Black Minx, won a listed race last week.

Burgeis who scored a close third in the Blue Diamond two weeks ago is also racing at Flemington tomorrow in the Group 2 Jayco Stakes. I’ve been following her career as she is trained by Tony Vasil who was the beleaguered trainer of Haradasun, so I am interested to see how she goes this time round against a weaker bunch of two year olds.

Other horses in my personal black book racing on Saturday are Estee in the first in Melbourne and Sugar Babe and Stripper in the first in Sydney. Also racing in Sydney in the Group 2 Winning Edge Presentation Stakes are Racing to Win, Desert War, Mentality, Sniper’s Bullet and Paratroopers, all of whom are in my top 30 stable.

Camarilla, a super Sydney mare is returning in the Triscay Stakes after a long break from racing after being effected by the EI Virus crisis last spring.

So there’s a wondrous day of racing ahead for fans of the sport. I might even have a few bets myself, for a change.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Delta Blues via the Netherlands at the Basement Discs

The first of the March extravaganza of in store performances was a generous set from Dutch bluesman Hans Theessink (pronounced Tay-sink). Hans, as well as being an ace guitarist, is also a fine singer-songwriter with a warm baritone voice.

I have seen him perform previously at Basement Discs back in 2006, so I knew it would be – whenever isn’t it? – a pleasant diversion on a lazy Thursday lunchtime.

Hans Theessink didn’t disappoint this time round, though he seems to have kept the same stage patter, when introducing himself regarding how Big Bill Broonzy was his main inspiration for getting into the blues back in the 1950s and how he has dedicated himself to the genre ever since.

After his introduction he segued into a song he wrote as a tribute to Broonzy, Big Bill's Guitar.

The highlight of the mini show was Hans’ version of St James Infirmary Blues which is based on an old English folk song, now mostly sung as blues.

He also performed a song about the Cyclone Katrina disaster to the tune of an old bluegrass song where the chorus went: “Oh Liza, Li’l Liza Jane.”

Next Week at the Basement Discs there are two shows, Danny O’Keefe with Kristina Olsen and Peter Grayling on Wednesday, then next day, what surely will be a fantastic in store, Ruthie Foster, the new queen of blues and soul, will be performing.
On the subject of recorded music, yesterday I picked up the new Kathleen Edwards CD “Asking for Flowers”. I’ve only listened to it once so far, through headphones on my computer, but this initial audience gave me the impression that Kathleen has created a great little rock 'n roll record. This is her third recording following on from Failer and Back to Me, both of which CDs I am fond of. I’ve seen her live once, at the Northcote social Club in February 2006. I wrote a review of the show for Nu Country which can be found here.

Kathleen Edwards is a Canadian artist, sort of alt country/rock. Her admitted influences include Ryan Adams and Tom Petty. She is not in the least in the category of sweet and soulful, but is an artist with attitude - sort of a female version of Ryan Adams - and writes wonderfully scathing lyrics in some of her songs.

Another CD that impressed me recently is Ray Bonneville’s “Goin’ By Feel” a sort of country blues record.

Edward Whittemore yet again

It’s strange… reading Edward Whittemore’s books, no matter how often you do so, you still find yourself being mind blown by some piece of writing. It could be a brief phrase in a conversation that somehow sends a frisson through your brain at its aptness to the context of the moment and the entire setting of the novel. Whittemore’s writing has extraordinary depth. It is very wise, I think.

Take this short extract from Nile Shadows:

Long thoughts standing around like pilgrims outside an oasis, leaning on their staves and restlessly waiting to be spoken to life. Talk, the poor man’s gold. The thirsty man’s water.
It has that wonderful imagery of the pilgrims (in keeping with the Middle East setting) as an analogy for the brain’s function in formulating and expressing ideas in speech.

Reading Whittemore, as I have been doing over the past few months in order to gather a collection of quotations for a calendar for 2009, has delivered many of these moments of deep recognition that something serious and truthful is being expressed in the prose. And the prose, besides, is very beautiful.

It must be the tenth time I’ve reread the Jerusalem Quartet, but each time the books reveal further subtleties.

Nile Shadows is the third volume of the Jerusalem Quartet and is not even set in Jerusalem, but in Cairo during World War 2. It is an espionage novel, but it is also much more than that. In fact, it has to be the most unconventional spy novel ever written.

After the razzle dazzle of the first two tomes in the tetralogy, Nile Shadows is a much soberer novel and is thus sometimes dismissed as not up to the dizzying heights of invention of
Sinai Tapestry or Jerusalem Poker. Certainly it is darker in mood, but by no means inferior to the two earlier novels in style or content. Every time I read it I am astounded by it and deeply moved.

It is written in a highly unusual way, complete with exquisite Whittemorian prose, as a series of conversations between individual characters. Conversation/talk dominates this book, but the conversations are so enthralling you are never bored. Somehow or other the action of the novel forges ahead despite or because of the all the talk.

As an aside, Whittemore does not use quotation marks and minimal punctuation. The writing is so good that I for one didn’t even notice it the first time I read the books, nor has it mattered since. It is always clear who is talking, but quite how Whittemore manages this is beyond me. I think a lot of it has to do with the how the words are spoken. Whittemore’s books read well out loud, for instance, the excerpt above. The punctuation doesn’t make sense until you speak the words in your head.

Here’s another extract from Nile Shadows which somehow expresses the inexpressible:
I suppose we all have to delve into the Egyptologist’s craft now and then, and there even seem to be some hieroglyphs involved. A code, so to speak. Things I can’t decipher because there’s no Rosetta Stone for this one.

It strikes me as amazing that Edward Whittemore’s books are not better known He’s been obscure for decades and even when he was alive never sold many books, but no one writes or has written quite like him, before or since. He’s unique and I feel privileged to be part of his small world wide devoted readership.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Midnight in Heidelberg

Danny O' Keefe - 29 February 2008
On Friday night I ventured into the wilds of Eaglemont and, inadvertently, Heidelberg which are suburbs to the north from where I live.

All this was for the Danny O'Keefe house concert. I caught the train to Eaglemont and puffed my way up a steep hill to the house where the event was taking place. It took me a while to find it as it was tucked away out of sight from the road. Luckily it was still daylight, otherwise I doubt if I would have found it at all, not being in the least familiar with the area.

Once inside I eschewed the wine (fortunately, as it turns out) and found myself a good position up the front in the room where Danny O'Keefe was to perform.

The concert was rather good - Danny O'Keefe is an old trouper and an excellent song writer and singer. He has a rather high voice, rather unusual in fact, but it suits his style. He sang about thirty songs in all, many of them unknown to me as I am not all that au fait with his music. I took notes for a review for Nu Country which I have yet to write.

By the time the concert finished it was quite late, and I was wondering how I was going to make it home. Trains were out of question as they have a reputation for being dangerous late at night, so a taxi was my only option. However, taxis were hard to come by in that part of town, but some people who had attended the show and were leaving offered to drive me to the nearest station - Eaglemont - then thought I would have a better chance of finding a taxi at Heidelberg station, so they dropped me off there.

By this time it was about midnight and of course there were no taxis in sight or at the taxi rank. Nor were there any trains running, as when I asked the railway official at the station when the next train would be running, he curtly informed me, 7.00 in the morning. I wandered the deserted streets of Heidelberg for a while looking for a taxi, feeling ridiculous and somewhat desperate. Eventually I made my way back to the station which fortunately had a pay phone. I don't have a mobile phone, so a pay phone was my only option.

It all turned out well in the end. I called a taxi company and booked one. I should have done this as soon as I was dropped at the station. Expecting to wait for a quarter of an hour at least, I was relieved when a taxi showed up shortly afterwards and I was able to get home at last. Hopefully , I'll never find myself in that situation again. I was glad I was sober at the time, with my wits about me, though I was a tad worried all the same.

Anyway, the photo above is one I shot on the night - in black and white for a change.