Sunday art: Dog poetry / Street art

Dog poetry

I wandered, lonely as a dog
With my peeps to Footscray Hill,
Amongst the grass, dirt and city views,
And just the occasional golden daffodil.

I wandered, lonely as a dog

Street art

Probably overlooked by most, this is inside a road sign on Centre Road.

Art inside a road sign

Yes, that was a Melbourne train in a US sitcom… but can anybody name the station? #MetroTrains

Half the gunzels in Melbourne are chattering about this: through the wonders of green screen and stock footage, the most recent episode of How I Met Your Mother (which aired last weekend in the USA, and on Thursday night in Australia) featured a Melbourne Comeng suburban train in Connex colours.

Melbourne Comeng Connex train in How I Met Your Mother
Update Tuesday 2/10/2013 7:30am — The video has been deleted from YouTube due to copyright, so I’ve put in a still instead.

The stock footage appears to have been shot from another platform; it’s not necessarily a 3+ platform station. The building seems to be one of Melbourne’s newer ones; probably the “down” (away from the city) platform, but as-yet I haven’t been able to identify it. Anybody want to have a go?

Update Sunday 9:45pm: I think I’ve worked it out. Will be interested to see if anybody reaches the same answer I did.

The answer is… Brighton Beach

Update Monday 12:30pm: Rather than spend hours scouring the net for pictures of stations and doing painstaking comparisons, I thought about this laterally.

As Stephen said in the comments, the question is why is a Melbourne train in a US TV show? It’s stock footage – someone’s needed to save time and/or money in getting footage of a moving train to put on the green screen, and they’ve looked through available footage for something that matches the studio shot they were setting up.

So I did a quick bit of searching stock footage web sites to see if I could find it. And I found it – 23 seconds of glorious 16:9 HD vision, shot at Brighton Beach:

MELBOURNE – CIRCA OCTOBER 2009: Suburban train arriving Brighton Beach Station (click through to watch the vision)

The HIMYM producers have cropped it and carefully placed it in the completed programme to mostly hide the people on the platform, but if you look closely, it’s a match.

Stock footage: Connex train at Brighton Beach

The Hobbit part 1

Finally got around to watching The Hobbit part 1.

I thought being the first of three films, and at 2 hours 45 minutes, it would drag a bit, but it really didn’t. Nicely done.

Cumberbatch really nailed Smaug, didn’t he. I can just see him going into a studio to record his voice for part 1. “Okay Benedict!” “Rrrrroooooooaoaaaaaaaarrrrr!” “Excellent, thanks very much — see you next movie.”

(Yeah yeah, I know, he also played the Necromancer.)

And 7th Doctor Sylvester McCoy as Radagast was good. No spoons to play though, thankfully.

The Hobbit: Gandalf and Radagast

It all looks gorgeous on Blu-Ray, of course. One notable thing though, it’s one of a small number of discs I have which drops a few frames in some scenes on my setup. Might be an image correction/quality setting on the TV which isn’t handling the throughput — perhaps I can switch it off.

Anyway, very much looking forward to part 2.Thumbs up!

I am not the new Doctor Who

Despite how it may look, I am not the next Doctor Who.

Daniel and the TARDIS

We went along to the Astor Theatre on Saturday to watch the two 60′s Dalek movies — back from that curious time in British TV and film when they often seemed to remake television shows as big screen movies — in this case with none of the television cast. They are impressive in parts, and in some ways more watchable than the original versions of the stories, but also quite unintentionally amusing at times.

A good crowd turned up, as did a Police Box, a Dalek and also K9. Many people dressed up as their favourite Doctor (though, as we noted, the 5th, 6th and 7th seem to often get overlooked in this regard… perhaps because their clothing was so outlandish you’ve got zero chance of buying their clothes off the shelf).

TARDIS and Dalek in the foyer at the Astor Theatre

Meanwhile, Peter Capaldi has just been announced as the 12th Doctor.

Who? He’s perhaps best known for In The Thick Of It, which is another in a long list of TV shows that I’ve been meaning to watch for years. Perhaps this will inspire me to make the effort.

Hopefully he’ll be good. Smith, Tennant, Eccleston, all of them are all tough acts to follow.

Music: best derivatives and best angry songs

Some best ofs in my current favourite lists.

Best derivatives

While most of the music on my favourites list are original compositions, here are some cover versions and songs that sample others that I currently like a lot:

Something For Kate — Born To Run — I almost like this more than Springsteen’s original.

P Diddy with Jimmy Page — Come With Me — samples Led Zep’s Kashmir. Not the sort of creation I’d normally like, but I do.

The Gaslight Anthem — Baba O’Riley — this is really quite good. Incidentally, I read over the weekend that Meha Baba also inspired Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy — a far more annoying song.

Spiderbait — Black Betty — in particular the iTunes Originals recording, which rocks harder and longer than the album version.

Best angry songs

Some angry songs from my list:

Area 7 — Second Class Citizen — angry yoof.

Lily Allen — F$%# You — apparently about George W Bush

The Tenants — You Shit Me To Tears

Faith No More’s Epic is a bit of a grumpy song, rather than an angry song. I seem to recall The Datsuns’ MF From Hell would go well here.

What others are out there?

PAX Australia – overall a success, but the public transport arrangements let it down

An article in The Age today notes that while there were a few issues, last weekend’s inaugural PAX Australia video game festival went well.

PAX Australia: XBox One demonstration

PAX Australia: Wizard Of Wor on the Commodore 64

We went along on the Sunday, and had a good time. We avoided the sessions with long queues, and instead saw an XBox launch event, played some games in the retro area, had some lunch, and looked around the expo hall.

Not being hardcore gamers, that satisfied us. And that’s I think where the planning for this event slipped-up.

Someone had obviously decided that most people would be staying all day, and the transport planning clearly reflected that.

The trains to the Showgrounds only ran every 20 minutes until 10:40am… then at an appalling 40 minute frequency until midday.

Trains to PAX Australia at the Showgrounds: infrequent, and delayed

Worse, we and others found there were train delays. The 10:04 was about 10 minutes late, meaning we spent 25 minutes waiting in the cold at Southern Cross. It then crawled to North Melbourne before finally getting up a decent speed the rest of the way to the Showgrounds. The 12:04 train was 20 minutes late.

At Showgrounds station there were long queues for the few Myki validators available. (We didn’t bother to queue — it barely matters on weekends when the fare cap is $3.50 anyway, and even on a concession fare, two 2-hour fares will get you to that cap.)

After 12:04 (well, 12:24 if that service was 20 minutes late) there were no trains at all until the late-afternoon. Instead people were advised to catch a tram back, with extra trams running.

The reality was that lots of people didn’t stay all day… while many may have come first thing in the morning and stayed until everything finished up, many others arrived and departed at various times across the day.

And what few extra trams ran were sporadic, resulting in the utterly predictable problem of the regular route 57 short (Z-class) trams being packed:

The tram coming back from PAX Australia

Apart from making many people who’d arrived by train find a different exit and stop to get home again, it was a slow crowded ride back into the city. Thoroughly unimpressive.

The PAX programme booklet noted the support of the Victorian Government, and I happened upon an episode of Byte Into It on Triple R last Wednesday which noted that PAX came to Australia because of enthusiasm from the locals — and to Melbourne specifically by that government support. Which is great.

But this kind of cooperation should include adequate transport arrangements. Public transport can and should do special events like this very well, but on this occasion, the system let people down. The danger is that next time more people will drive, clogging up streets around the venue. And given that special events are sometimes the only times people use PT, they may also be put off using it for other travel in the future.

How much extra would it have cost to run 20 minute trains all day? Surely not much more than the extra trams they ran all day, given the labour costs (drivers, and signalling people for trains) are the main cost.

If PAX returns to Melbourne, and I hope it does, if it’s at the Showgrounds again, they clearly need to do better.

Another old obscure music video clip: Jellyfish “New Mistake” (1993) – and a new one

An obscure music video from 1993, twenty years ago. I caught this video on Rage one night, and got into the band Jellyfish from there.

I’m not even sure quite why I like it. The quirky music video (it was never clear enough on VHS, but it is here — all the band’s shots are obviously filmed backwards), the Queen-like harmonies, the wierdo lyrics. Dunno, but I was listening again to the album (“Spilt Milk”) again last week, and I still like it.

(I can see I’ve mentioned this song a couple of times before)

I didn’t know another song on the album also got a video: The Ghost At Number One. Sadly I don’t think that song is as catchy, and I guess neither did the public… after this album (their second) the band split-up.

No, here’s a better (new) recommendation: an excellent song for anybody who has stood in Bunnings and felt a little inept… Billy Bragg’s new one, “Handyman Blues”.