wagga space program

LSO’s shining Crowshow

Monday November 06th 2006, 9:56 pm
Filed under: the wagga blagga

Monday November 06th

Here’s hoping you weren’t amongst those who missed the London Symphony’s exhilarating performance of Shostakovich’s brilliant and remarkable Eighth Symphony at the Civic last night!

The talk all week had been whether Previn himself (who hadn’t flown from Singapore with the orchestra) would wield the baton on the night. Amazingly, this remained secret right up until the dimming of the theatre: even the program itself was silent on who would stand on the podium.

Then, picking his way towards centre stage (between the mostly assembled elements of the Civic’s forthcoming Yusuf Islam show) was the grinning Andre himself.

It took four and a half minutes or so – let’s say, for the sake of music,  4min33sec – for the delighted applause to fade. I distinctly heard a couple of members of the brass section shushing.

I’m sure the Civic has rarely been so blessed. There is no other word for Previn’s account of the Third Movement than “mesmerising”. Mravinsky himself would have wept (as did I) at the haunting power Previn drew from his cellos.

Afterwards, I was fortunate enough to join Andre and select strings players for pizza and a glass or three of the (recommended) Charles Sturt 2003 Pinot Gris. One of my best evenings since moving to Wagga Wagga. Five stars.



Needle in digit

Saturday November 04th 2006, 10:11 pm
Filed under: the wagga blagga

Saturday November 04th

As though in punishment for my minor role in Bingley’s cattle-shootin’ (see below or click here), I have developed a condition known as “trigger finger”. It’s not agonising, but is painful enough to wake me several times a night. Choose your phrasing carefully. (Also a swollen eye from cause or causes unknown and unassociated with any recent posts; hence not further mentioned.)


Here’s a crappy image of the effect. Click on the image for a genuine explanation on the site it was lifted from. The usually effective cure is a shot of cortisone, and Wagga Wagga Base Hospital would have provided me with such a treatment if this blog were the least bit credible, of which I am not sufficiently objective to judge.

I had the shot yesterday morning, cortisone mixed with some anaesthetic which made the finger numb and tingly, a sensation more suited to the head on a Saturday night (ie, right now). The finger has not yet shown itself to be cured, and still locks in the clenched position then clicks open – but Dr T explained it may take some few weeks to determine the efficacy of the treatment.

If the head were numb and tingly it would be considering the resonance of Wagga Wagga and Trigga Finga. Bingley is off to Europe in three days now (or, as he insists on specifying, Britain). He will miss meeting everyone at unsound06 as he phrases it, “through happenstance and deliberation.”

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Indian Restaurant

Friday November 03rd 2006, 10:27 pm
Filed under: the wagga blagga

Friday November 03rd

Wagga Wagga, of course, is hugely famous for its Mexican food. The chilli chocolate goat is outstanding on Baylis Street and the lyric, “I’m leaving ya, seeya – I’m off for a tortilla” was apparently found scratched in the mud on Wagga Beach.

Undeservedly less popular are the numerous North Indian establishments along Forster Street where slow-cooked carrots compete for aroma-space with your more standard cumin and spilt lassi.

We went mid-Indian further north, and this was, this evening, something of a mistake. More when I get back (and again).

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Bingley’s Roo

Thursday November 02nd 2006, 8:19 pm
Filed under: the wagga blagga

Thursday November 02nd

Couple days back Bingley (his real name is nothing like this) thought it would be a triffic idea for him and me to bag a roo. He had only one more week (5 days now) in Crowsville before going back to what he deprecatingly and accurately called his European executive lifestyle.

He wanted the whole hog: ute, spotlight and appropriate centrefire rifle as specified by the Federal Department of the Environment and Heritage. Given his European sticklerism, he was not impressed when I stated my view that we should comply with condition (i) “Kangaroos must not be shot from a moving vehicle or other moving platform.” 

In fact his response was, “I had no idea my friend would still be driving when I started shooting, Constable Hockington.”

Of course, this evening with a few spots of rain about were not ideal for sliding about the back of the muddy ute we’d picked up earlier today, so I volunteered to drive.

We went off onto an obscure little track near Bullenbung, and a small mob were out amongst the trees. Bingley rapped on the roof which I took to mean “approach slowly” but he later said meant, “Stop, I’ve got an ideal head shot.”

I approached slowly, but hit the pothole at the same time as I heard the shot.

The roos scattered, as did seven of eight grazing cows about 30 metres further back.

“Oh shit!” exclaimed Bingley. “No trophy for me!”

This time I knew the triple-rap on the roof for what it was: “Bolt, mate.”

I file this from The King’s Own, where Bingley’s thirst got the better of him.

The dust blows in

Sunday October 29th 2006, 9:56 pm
Filed under: the wagga blagga

Sunday October 29th

“The dirt blows out
The dust blows in
You can’t keep it neat
It’s a fully furnished dustbin
Sixteen Beasley Street.”

John Cooper Clarke

I’m beginning to find this incessant wind disturbing. It’s blowing words all over the place, so that little pieces of conversation blow in from the railway station and the park and the knots of smokers and farewellers outside each pub.

A bouncer’s voice: “I don’t like fighting. If I see a fight I run away, or I say, ‘You want to fight, go find a boxing ring.’

“I’m more a lover than a fighter.”

Three children negotiate the rules of a Narnia game – “You be both the boys and I’ll be both the girls and you can be the witch.”

“Your bag!” calls a shopkeeper.

A low whistle.

Silence then high-pitched barking, then silence again (presumably as the petshop door opens and shuts).


Shut up.


Orright, then: Singin’ in the rain, just singin’ in the rain…


Pick it up.




Don’t make me come over there.

Where would you like me to make you go?

Excuse me, could you tell me where’s Baylis Street?

You’re standing on it.

You’re so beautiful.

Hello sweetheart.

Hello? Hello? Is that the CES?

Hi Mum.

Are you vacant?

Aa-aaa-aaa-choo. Man this pollen’s getting to me.

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City Logic

Thursday October 26th 2006, 10:46 pm
Filed under: the wagga blagga

Thursday October 26th

I am talking on the telephone when Mr Egg stops by. I excuse myself to my caller (who happens to be a distant cousin) as Mr Egg won’t brook waiting. Mr Egg favours certain expressions, principally to highlight the great benefits of Wagga Wagga over my previous home town of ___.

Today, for example, he tells me people are much happier living in a town where the river always flows in the one direction.

“This,” he claims, “indicates the possibility of human progress. All the great discoveries through history have been from river towns. With tides, it’s in one moment and out the next, and then back in again. That’s why nothing great has ever emerged from a port.”

I think to contest this – my counter-examples might have included shipping, certain architectural schools – but I am too slow and Mr Egg has already skipped onto the next topic.

“Literature reflects the environment in which it is written,” he begins. “Place-names accented on the forward syllable such as Pago Pago and Stoke-on-Trent are more likely to encourage a trochaic foot than San Francisco or Adelaide.

“Yes, there’s nothing faddish about this place.”


Tuesday October 24th 2006, 8:30 am
Filed under: the wagga blagga

Tuesday October 24th

The crow’s call is “Daaa-aaa-aaad, daaa-aaa-aaad”.

For some reason (insomnia; diseluviation), this morning I find myself standing on Croaker Street just outside the blue fibro at the Hodson Avenue end and just after dawn. I hear the call, and turn to catch sight of a handsome black avian in the act, so it appears to me, of averting its gaze.


I continue north through Turvey Park.

A proof of human irrational insight is our occasional strong capacity to sense being watched. I spin around inelegantly: the crow (I assume it’s the same one) has maintained its four metre distance from me and I would swear has just, once more, dropped its eye to a piece of irrelevant turf.

Test: I cross Blamey Street.

Confirmation: so does the bird.

I run.

My glossy companion takes flight, and lands about ten metres north of me. My suspicions rise further: I once read that the best way to tail someone is from in front.

Now what?

I turn right along Heydon, now sprinting towards the Botanical Gardens. An expensively shod fitness nut is trotting the other way, gives a misplaced collegial nod.

“The bird!” I hiss, like one of Macbeth’s desert witches.

“Yes, beautiful morning,” he replies. Idiot.

Ahead, the orange-tinged sky silhouettes a plain tree covered in what might be large, black fruit, or pods.

But as the chorus of “daaa-aaa-aaads” grows evermore insistent, these reveal themselves to be dozens of crows.

And there is momentary silence as they shuffle to allow one more to alight.

Greetings from the Space Bar

Monday October 23rd 2006, 10:50 pm
Filed under: the wagga blagga

Monday October 23rd

Hello there, persons sound and unsound. I am Bernard Cohen, blogger-in-residence –recently dubbed “Resident Cohen” by the Wagga Wagga press, which moniker I embrace (and will henceforward sign off resb). Pundits are yet to discern whether the b-i-r gig will be recorded as the Wagga Wagga Blagga or Wogger Wogger Blogger.

Either way, until the unsound unplugging in mid-November I’ll be posting observations from here, in the heart of heart of the Riverina.


I arrive in Wagga by road, passing strings of caravans, mobile warehouses of livestock and refrigerated food, slogans for fast food and religious salvation.

To the west the Riverina revs up with pre-wedding cruisin’ followed by RSL Club ceremonies attended by blokes called Nudge.

Hay gets drier and drier.

The highway is infamous.


My daughter is excited about being an “UM” — unaccompanied minor — as we approach Wagga Airport for her return flight to Sydney.

A flight attendant tells us there will be two UMs on board. We spot the other, a red-eyed ten-year-old. His father’s eyes are the same.

My daughter and the boy are walked by an efficient attendant towards their plane. The father acknowledges our similar situations: “Yours going to her mother too?”

I nod. To account for my lack of tears I explain: “I’ll see her next week.”

“I only see him in the holidays,” he tells me. “I don’t know if he’ll last it out till he’s 16 or whatever the age is when he can make his own decision.”

“Couldn’t you live closer together?” I ask, and perhaps the question came out wrong, too accusatory, for he says: “I have a farm near here.”

We watch the plane start up, right propeller then left, the correct routine in the correct order, then taxi away


The social pages photographer is pissed as a skunk. To the annoyance of the band up at the Tourist, he’s playing air guitar (or is it an air ukelele?) He’s been thrown out of the pub four times this evening already, but doesn’t seem to understand.

He has no camera tonight.


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Email to Alan

Saturday October 21st 2006, 2:59 pm
Filed under: Pindari

Saturday October 21st


Welcome to the blog. Not much to report so far, Jo and I have talked over ideas and here’s an email I sent to Alan:

G’day Alan,

I’ve enjoyed the wires you and Scott set up and made a few recordings. I have been meaning to try using samples as a kind of instrument. There’s this recording I did the night before winds of up to 124km/h swept into town. I’ve timeshifted it so one hour is played in one minute at the original pitch and mastered it a bit too: Wired at Midnight

Anyway, I’m procrastinating on some homework so I thought I’d email you about Unsound this year.

Jo and I have talked over a few ideas, the first is setting up another harp. Have you had any experience with setting up two or more harps within proximity to each other? I thought it’d be interesting to mulitply the effect and see how they work and if there are chords.

This idea evolved from one I had last time you were here about what the effect of playing the harp back on itself would be?

I was also thinking about the possibility of there not being much wind on the day and what alternatives there are to incorporating the wires into something else, like if we used it as an effect like a plate reverb. I like the way it reflects the environment of Pindari and you get the birds and trucks adding their own vibrations.

They’re the thoughts I’ve had so far. Jo suggested we should give you a call next week, is there a time that would suit you?

Trust you’re well,



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Friendly Spaceships

Sunday September 24th 2006, 7:31 am
Filed under: Blogs,the wagga blagga

Sunday September 24th

Wagga Wagga and Krakow