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Best of the reader pics sent to http://www.theage.com.au:

No longer just famous for its dim sim, now South Melbourne has dim cabby

Jesus Christ.....

Only the most prude amongst us would deny one can take great pleasure in laying a cable / dropping the kids off at the pool / taking a dump*. So imagine if you were able to help some of the world’s neediest people while doing so – how awesome would that be?

Well, some Melburnians are on the case and plan to introduce non-profit bog roll that will fund sanitation projects in the world’s poorest places. Check this out:

Who Gives A Crap

for more.

And happy pooping!

[* Insert favourite colloquialism here]

Saving $20 a head

During their first Melbourne Comedy Festival, Bruce and Fran, as part of their crash course in experiencing all things Aussie, were considering going to see Chris Franklin’s show. He’s the mulleted, VB-swilling uber-Bogan who’s been responsible for such musical delights as his ‘Bitch’ parody ‘Bloke’ and ‘Jack Off Australia’. It never happened and, following a trip to Adelaide at the weekend, now they needn’t bother.

In town for a mate’s 30th birthday festivities, the opening night rapidly descended from free drinks and nibbles accompanied by the odd speech into wild, debauched karaoke at La Sing. In the cab on the way there, Bruce thought he’d heard “La Scene” or “La Singh” and pictured somewhere with either a) a modicum of faux 70s chic or b) somewhere they’d be able to tuck into some late night curry if the singing became too unbearable. Instead, it was the sort of place you leave without hesitation: dirty, bordering on sleazy; splashes of fading neon; odd men in booths; smashed harpies overcome with a misplaced self-confidence. Oh, and two men were being thrown out by security as they walked in, an incident that led to the police arriving ten minutes later.

Still, it took approximately ten minutes and the first enthusiastic efforts of fellow party-goers for Bruce and Fran to realise they had La Sing wrong. In reality, it was a fantastic nightspot, easily the sort of place you could spend three hours, fight over pens for the chance to get up on stage and dance wholeheartedly to your friends’ efforts. That, or the free booze kicked in just in time.

Still, the woozy 5am finish was nothing compared to the sights that welcomed them to the following day’s birthday part II bbq. Walking into the kitchen to unload a slab of Coopers, Bruce and Fran were welcomed by the sight of Chris Franklin stumbling in the other direction. In his hand, a tumbler of Wild Turkey swung violently, sloshing over the rim and onto the cupboard walls.

“Who the fuck are you?” he asked. “I’m Chris. Is that your missus? She’s hot. If you wasn’t here I’d have a fair fucking crack a it.”

And they say chivalry is dead.

It transpired he’d flown down from Queensland for the previous evening, got too drunk and not made it, instead arriving at the bbq house many hours early, waking those who’d not been in bed long, and getting back onto the Wild Turkey. What followed was several hours of trying to get everyone to punch him, cooking a bbq with his cock out, falling off his chair repeatedly, wandering around with some form of pickaxe, getting his cock out, sticking his head in an oven, drinking more Wild Turkey with his cock out, singing a new song he’d written, then finally passing out with the axe in the host’s bed, although not before declaring:

“What’s wrong? It’s only a fucking cock.”

He returned soon afterwards, hit the whisky some more and started over. It was clear the stage persona was not a hard act for him to portray.

Several hours later, Bruce decided it was time to walk home and rejoin Fran at the motel. Franklin escorted him out.

“Come on. Hit me. Go on. As hard as you can,” he said.

“Only if you’ll fight back,” said Bruce.

“I’m not going to do that. I’ve been in prison, you know.”

“Well, I’m not going to smack you unless you fight back. May as well test myself.”

Suddenly, he turned serious, explaining that it really wasn’t a good idea. Awakening the following day and recalling that Franklin had slept with an axe and that Bruce’s martial experience was confined to various sporting fields (none of them involving any legal fighting) he was glad that he did. And that he and Fran no longer needed to fork out $20 a head to see his show; after all, what was left for him to reveal? Certainly not his cock.

Two Months Off

Hmmm… not for as good reasons as Brandon Block in the story that inspired this track, but hey, still two months.

There have been many reasons to wish to restart, not least the abomination that the Grace Darling has become since its wanky takeover, but in the end it was this incredible piece of local Melbourne art that stepped up as muse:

RAEtothamuthafuckinD – we salute thee

That’s simply offal

Bruce behaved himself last night, despite Fran’s fears he might succumb to fame haggery. She should have known better. After all, it was her who clasped her hands over her face in that gobsmacked manner when she spied smiley Gary Bourgignon at Taste Melbourne recently, not he, so why should an unexpected invite to spend the evening in the company of Masterchef Chris be any different. What’s more, in their own ways, Bruce and Chris have the same mission at heart: converting Aussies from the horrors of Carlton Draught to the wonders of good beer. And, when you’ve shared the Albert Hall stage with Wayne Coyne, there’s little to get starstruck about.

And so it transpired, Bruce the model of good manners while several other attendees at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital fundraiser posed for pics with fellow Mastercheffer Julia. He got to sample miniature versions of some of Chris’s dishes, with the salmon tartare, roast pig cheek with crackling, offal balls and duck neck sausages going down a treat. He won’t be hurrying back for bone marrow spring rolls, however.

Aside from supporting a good cause, eating new body parts and sampling some of the Courthouse Hotel‘s fine range of Victorian craft beers, he got to see firsthand what Chris does when he’s not on TV or appearing in tabloid gossip column – the Beer Masons Beer Appreciation Society. The raffle’s first prize was a Beer Masons’ pack – a mixture of great beers from all over the world with a guide on how to enjoy them and become a true beer lover – and what a beautiful thing it was. It’s a great thing they’re doing and hopefully will help swell the growing tide of appreciation for proper beer rather than “yellow fizzy stuff” in Australia. After all, what better to wash down a mouthful of trotter than a gobful of exquisite ale?

The saviour of The Age?

It’s well documented that Fairfax, owner of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald among other things, has been struggling for some time. There’s even talk that those two papers might disappear with only their mastheads retained into the future. However, after Saturday night’s experience, Bruce and Fran believe there may yet be a solution: they just need to put the right man in charge.

For the time being, the right man appears to be wasting his time driving taxis around the CBD. Said man, complete with greasy mullet and forthright opinions (which should help the paper in its ongoing efforts to become more like the Hun), in the space of a ten minute journey displayed a knack for not only having his finger on the pulse but for finding snappy headlines. After a debate over the likelihood of Bruce and Fran’s Pies overcoming his Saints (the less said about this the better…) talk moved to CBD violence.

“It’s a load of rubbish,” he said when Fran rehashed the State Government / Police / media line on increasing troubles. “It’s no worse than it ever was.”

“Really?” said Fran. “So why is there so much being reported about it?”

“It’s a distraction. They want people to worry about something that isn’t there so they don’t pay attention to what’s really going on, like the way they’re treating taxi drivers in this city.”

He paused for effect.

“The headlines should be about the cuntsacks they’re doing to taxi drivers,” he explained.

With a tip and a wave, they sent him into the night and headed for yum cha enlightened. Give that man a job. What a way to start the week that would be:

“REVEALED: THE CUNTSACKS BEING DONE TO TAXI DRIVERS”

I’d buy it.

Rare are the times Bruce or Fran spend more than a minute on Smith Street without raising a smile or being stopped in their tracks by the extremes of humanity that parade there every day. They even know people who will travel there under the pretense that they’ve come for coffee when actually it’s just to be reminded how far the species has evolved (mutated) since crawling from the primordial gloop to the strains of Manu Chao.

Still, for every man carrying spray-painted rats on his shoulders, every dazzling old Mustang, every loon walking backwards while abusing the air in front of them, every member of the angry Village People tribute band that seems to call Collingwood home, it’s never coughed up a woman with a goatee, at least not in front of Bruce or Fran. So all praise to the East Brunswick Club, which last night presented them with a woman with not just a goatee, but a mightily impressive one too. In fact, she reminded them of an old American colleague of Bruce’s who liked to sport a rather thick version himself.

Truth be told, last night was a learning experience all round. Having got to know a couple of lesbians over the past few months – and forming a quiz team with them – they were invited to the Rosie Burgess Trio’s final Aussie gig before heading to tour the States. Being very openly lesbian and vegan (the band, not Bruce and Fran) they attracted a certain crowd. Now dykeling (or duckling as Fran prefers) has been added to vocabulary, Fran finally has an interest in sport having met the world’s number seven wheelchair tennis player (who hates sport – go figure…), they know what a faux chicken parma tastes like, Fran’s seen the Rosie Burgess Trio in various states of undress and they now understand that Smith Street by no means has all the answers.

In fact, after enjoying a thoroughly delightful set of bouncy, folksy numbers from the Trio, with Rosie’s beaming parents and her baby boy George sleeping in the arms of the other of his two mums, they learned that bearded and moustachioed ladies were quite commonplace around those parts. Fran, however, doesn’t really have the chin for it.

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