Cheeseburger Gothic

North Coast Weekend.

Posted August 3, 2009 by John Birmingham
Turned out I did the trip on my own thanks to the perfidious tummy bug which invaded the house. (I dodged the bullet, which makes it twice in the past month for me that I've got off with a pass).

Drove up in the Swedish tank, with a few tunes balring at max volume. It's a much nicer drive to the north than the south coast, even with the inevitable delays for road works around Morayfield. Once you clear them you're pretty much free of the northern edge of the city and it's all rolling paddocks and pine plantations until you pass that subtle climate gradient and pass from temperate into true subtropical. All of a sudden the pines disappear, the hills started ridging up towards ancient volcanic plugs, and their slopes are denser and darker with rainforest.

A great drive, as I said. Had Cooroy plugged into the iPhone's GPS and made it to the venue with an hour and a half to spare, and with nary a false turn along the way. I was hungry though, having done a long treadmill run and a sesh of the hundred push ups program in the morning. (A nice light workout for me these days).

Cooroy was still pumping, which isn't always the case with country towns by late lunch time on Saturday and I hazarded the main strip for a feed with some trepidation. I've done a lot work in the country and in my experience country-cookin', at least in Australia, is a wretched greasy-battered, deep fried affair best avoided.

Wrong in this case.

There's a bistro in Cooroy called, a little worryingly, Bistro Bistro, but it looked a lot more inviting from the steet than the bakery or caf across the road. The menu board propped up against an outside wall was promising and although the cake cabinet inside looked like a chilly prison, at least the contents seemed to have been made on site.

On a whim, a possibly dngerous whim, I ordered the duck risotto. I almost never do this, because I know of only a few places who cook their risotto the way it should be done,  from scratch. Most cook it part of the way, refrigerate, and the reheat on demand.

Not Bistro Bistro (damn that name). A perfectly balanced and freshly prepared duck, mushhrom and spinach risotto arrived after about twenty or so minutes. Given the lack of crowds (it was sometime after the lunch rush) I had to ask ... and yes, said the waiter, the chef does do the dish properly.

God shit fuck damn why can't city fucking restaurants learn that lesson. This dish was simple and just about perfect. Even the seasoning was balanced just so - another trap for risotto fans. The pinot noir came with the option a cellar-like chill and my espresso afterwards was creamy smooth and just he right temperature.

Obsessing much, JB? Yes I am, because you rarely get such simple mastery in commercial food preparation, and certainly not in country or hinterland towns. For anyone passing through the north coast, in need of a feed, I can recommend this place as a worthy detour.

Fed well, it was onto the Butter Factory for the gig. There I found Beeso and his mate Simon waiting for me, and we were soon joined by Hughsey's man Geoffrey with a rather nice paper bag full of hot chips which he shared around. Beeso unveiled some cold smoked bacon he'd brought up and we chatted for a bit before Annabell Crabb and George Megalogenis arrived. I'm a big fan of both their work (although apparently not as big a fan as Abe, who had sent through a long series of questions he wanted me to ask).

We had a full house and taking my chair on the little stage I looked down the back and saw someone who could only be Lord Bob of Nowhere. Despite never having actually met him in Real Life, his lordly bearing and baronial airs were impossible to miss. Both Beeso and NBob have dropped comments on the thread below providing details of the panels so I wont repeat their performance.

We repaired to the courtyard afterwards for a barbecue, expertly cooked by Geoffrey. There was plenty of wine, although I had to pace myself with a lot of mineral water because I still had to drive out to the farm. Had big chats with everyone and was struck again by what a weird thing the old interwebby is, creating  friendships and familiar bonds across great distances between people who've never met.

Crashed at the G-Man and Hughesy's farm overnight and drove down to Noosa in the morning for breakfast with Mega-George and Annabel and her fam. Didn't realise the Noosa traithlon was on and got caught in road closure hell for a while. Then had to pull out every sneaky fucking trick I knew to locate a park anywhere near the village centre. Luckily I know Noosa very well so was able to pull that one off, because I didn't have time to walk in from the far side of the national park. We breakfasted at Bistro C, which looks out over a booming view of the bay and coastline. It's also one of the most reliable dining spots I know of on the north coast, with consistently good food and very friendly, welcoming vibe for kids.

From memory I had potato and leek pie in basil cream with crispy bacon and an artichoke salad. I ate up so I could head off right after my second panel, which started at eleven. I arive with one minte to spare having driven like the good Doctor Thompson from the coast back up into the hinterland. Sunday's sesh was focussed on Aboriginal/Australian history and I was pleased to see Lord Bob had ridden down from his estates again. We had a quite fascinating discussion in which I learned a few things from my panelists Prof Anita Heiss and Bruce Pascoe and picked up an idea for a brilliant feature article I might soon write.

Then, it was time to saddle up and head home.

Another long but pleasant drive and a freshly cooked chocolate and banana cake waiting for me at the end.

30 Responses to ‘North Coast Weekend.’

Quokka mumbles...

Posted August 3, 2009
So that explains the risotto. I was wondering WTF you had to do to screw that up.

And Gah. I thought the Noosa triathlon was usually held in October? They are usually cluttering up the pool at Somerville all month in a last minute bid to get fit. Last time I got caught in that mess it looked like a plastic surgery and spray tan convention gone horribly wrong. Just as well you had the tank to protect yourself.

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted August 3, 2009
Aint it funny, we talked about different perspectives of a historical event on Sunday.

From my POV.

Cooroy, so long a refuge for the international jet set of malcontents & eccentrics, hardly turned a hair as the dampened & baffled turbofans slowed, the air cushion deflated and HV Cad settled on her undercarriage. The yoof on the council skate-ramp had to study their indifference as four Bunnies took up high ground defensive perimeter positions. I was touched, but not surprised that Jeeves had brought up the Swedish battle wagon so JB could maintain his "common people touch." During a smoke break between sessions I spotted one Bunny kitted out as a construction worker on the new library site next door, but the others had blended in beautifully. They are a credit to their Special Forces training.

The ride down from Chateau Nowhere on Saturday was on my trusty old Clydesdale called Hilux, slow, steady & most importantly Zed Proof. As JB saw on Sunday I borrowed SWMBOs 200c Kompressor show pony – a much more civilised way to travel, but it makes it difficult to maintain the Marxist warrior façade.

What really separates the A list from mere mortals such as myself - while JB returned home to a freshly cooked chocolate and banana cake, a loving show-quality family & bunny stacked grotto, I returned to find SWMBO suffering Chronic Assignmentitis, a truculent “I’m soooo tired from work” Bobette and a downstairs freezer door ajar with a puddle of bait jus expanding across the garage floor.

Nice.

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Moko asserts...

Posted August 3, 2009
Crikey. You could spend your 'super' on all the little foody good spots throughout that area.

Triathlon's are hell on two wheels. Extra large spattering of arseholes who are convinced they own the road.

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Moko mutters...

Posted August 3, 2009
NBob. Rofl Got images in mah head of Ninja Bunny Battalion 2 air dropping in the night before...

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted August 3, 2009
Bob you want one of those fridges that yells at you if you leave the door open.

While we were away there was one at the unit and if you left it open a smidgeon I swear it would start cussing like a trooper if you didnt shut it pronto.

Not sure what it was saying but I think it was Skynet for 'Quick men! The carrots are escaping!'

How did you JB manage to spot you sitting quietly at the back?

I suppose you took the crossbow to pick off the ferals. Get any?

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted August 3, 2009
Quokka, JB said nothing about "Sitting quietly."

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted August 3, 2009
Fermenting dissent, rabble rousing, causing ructions and / or giggling like 8yr old girls in the back row of the bus with Beeso all spring to mind. But not sitting quietly.

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Abe asserts...

Posted August 3, 2009
Well in my defense, in my 7 or so years in the p/s, I have developed a somewhat "yumcha" writing style, so the long list of questions was meant to be a smorgasbord, offering what I hoped would be plenty of choices, depending on which avenues you wanted to head down.

Plus it turned out twice as long as I planned, as I thought asking questions of just one of the panelists may have appeared tacky and perhaps just a tad transparent.

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Chaz would have you know...

Posted August 3, 2009
Sounds all good and it's nice to see JB that you didn't starve or have to suffer more traditional outback tucker (eg soggy chips with a greasy pie and gravy, or a dodgy chicko roll)

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Quokka puts forth...

Posted August 3, 2009
My mistake Bob.

But you did take the crossbow, right?

I mean, like the man said, the Noosa Triathlon was on.

You must've known it would come in handy.

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simon bedak swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 3, 2009
We need a Bistro Bistro here in Book Book

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted August 3, 2009
Quokka, I find a DIY bolas (3X 5 ounce snapper sinkers and some 100lb mono) very effective against joggers & cyclists - slouch style or otherwise.

The crossbow tends to leave evidence that can prove ah, akward.

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Quokka mutters...

Posted August 3, 2009
Bob so long as you target the ones with the thinning lycra across their buttock cheeks I do believe it counts as a mercy killing.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted August 3, 2009
I'd like to open up to the Burgers mastication a tricky little piece of intelectual gristle.

On Sunday during the Aboriginal / Australian history session there was discussion of first hand accounts and satatements given by people and the weight given to those accounts. JB spoke of his Leviathon research where diferent reports of the same event were so contradictory that he had to check & recheck that the dates times & places ligned up.

Specifically in the context of the NW Cape gas field developments, but with reference to the "secret Womens Business" of the Hindmarsh Is. kerfuffle.

Some members of the Indigenous communities affected are big supporters of the development of an onshore processing facility, others are dead against the proposal citing cultural values of specific places / land forms.

Interestingly all the Pro voices are male, in a society where women usually have a Big say. (Like Chateau Nowhere - but that's beside the point.)

To whom does the credibility go?

JB (always good for a cracking line) said "I'm not an equal credibility kinda guy."

An argument can be made that the proponents of the project have been "Got to" by the companies involved and offered the 21C version of trinkets & beads (jobs, health & edu facilities etc.)

The other side make an argument that the Nay Sayers have been influenced by sandal wearing slouchbiking greeny luddites.

But for me the interesting crux of the matter was; with whom does the "Traditional Owner" authority rest? Are they exclusively entitled to speak on behalf of the mob, or are others entitled to their views.

No one can reasonably expect a uniformity of opinion across any group of more than 2 people, so does the gap in opinions just create a lawyers picnic?

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Chaz asserts...

Posted August 3, 2009
NBob, saw an interesting article last year about how many elders have told the greenies to stuff off. Basically the greenies have problems with anyform of development (even if it really helps the communities) and of cpourse the old veggie attitude prevelent amongst the slouchriders doesn't go down to well with many communities either.

However what really allegedly hacks off many of the elders is that again it's the whitefella's again telling the blackfellas what to do and how to live their lives.

As to your question well it would seem that there'd have to be a meeting of minds in the communities, maybe a sex strike would help...

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Moko ducks in to say...

Posted August 3, 2009
NBob. I was watching a show yesterday on ... ten ... maybe ... about how some indigenous rain forest clans successfully (in their words) negotiated some many thousand acres of land for the education of their youth and for tourism to educate anyone else who's willing to learn and understand.

Unfortunately you need the right people doing the speaking on behalf of everyone else involved before you can get dialogue that benefits them and the environment.

I think with the NW Cape Gas field the main proponent was the premier of WA (I think) who was stating the impact was NOTHING MORE than a few dozen acres of environment which is quite obviously bullshit when you consider support projects keeping the joint running.

What was the question....?. lol

The people who spoke on behalf on the lot in the example I gave were the elders of the individual clans that made up the tribes of the traditional owners then the most senior of them spoke to the government on behalf of the clans. But they had agreement, honesty, and what was best for the tribe to work with from the start.

Maybe they need to fund their own environmental impact study to start with...

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted August 3, 2009
Chaz I've seen the results of a sex strike or other attempts at disagreement and it usually ends with the woman in the hospital ward +stitches and/or -teeth.

Memory is a tricky one - its one of those things that psychologists love to test because you can prove that ordinary human beings are just so bad at recalling the same incident. Probably because we all find something in it that's meaningful and memorable only to us.

And there is always widespread dissension within groups.

I guess you'd have to have an understanding of power structures within aboriginal communities and one 14 week course at uni in understanding aboriginal approaches to knowledge left me with the conclusion - you just ask the blackfellas what they think. And accept that it may be different tomorrow. Its complex. Clannish. And affected by the breakdown of communities and families and the widespread social problems.

I mean, just look at what happens when one group within a community wants to take it dry. There is inevitably some kicking and screaming from within the same group that this is patriarchal and paternalistic and you're taking away a man's rights and dignity by refusing his right to have a quiet drink in his own home after work at the end of the day.

Louis Nowra got stuck into this topic a few years ago, wish I could remember the name of the book he wrote, its a couple of years old now. 'Bad Dreaming,' maybe?

Well worth looking at, he was brutally honest and didn't tiptoe over any eggshells.

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Moko reckons...

Posted August 3, 2009
Quokka. Interesting review of Bad Dreaming.

http://www.colloquy.monash.edu.au/issue013/nowra.pdf

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Otto swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 3, 2009
spooky. I had duck risotto with pinot on Friday night at the Metropolitan in Melbourne. It was excellent, but no claims down here to being an expert on whether it was cooked/cooled/cooked again. It was certainly better than my own efforts and I can recommend the place if you're in Melbourne.

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted August 3, 2009
Here we go. Bad dreaming. Here's the review by The Age.

I know he looked at the history of violence by men against women and children and made a case that it had always existed.

The book is well worth reading.

http://www.theage.com.au/news/book-reviews/bad-dreaming-aboriginal-mens-violence-against-women-and-children/2007/05/18/1178995392576.html

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DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted August 3, 2009
I made paella. That's sort of risotto except not.

I'll get me coat.

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted August 3, 2009
http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25875734-952,00.html

Alas, poor Kyle.

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houyhnhnm asserts...

Posted August 3, 2009
Glad to hear that your trip was eventful. By the accounts i hear it was also successful (the houyhnhnm is north coast, althouth the developers have [also successfully] traded the name sunshine coast, for 30 pieces of add rev).

disagreements among Indigenous communities (rarely violent) have been occurring for 40-60,000 years as a result of 400 plus clans/tribes and over 200 language groups spread over the continent. never an issue 'cos there was nuff resources to go round.

the sitrep wont change till there is legislative change that ensures, not the right outcome for Indigenous Australians (its too late 4 that), but electoral protection for any govt that actually does wot is required.

EG, it would be helpful perhaps if Fed funds used in say, fighting land-rights claims, were not then allocated as part of the Indigenous Affairs budget. the poor old taxpayer may assume that these were funds actually spent for the 'benifit' of Indigenous Australians. again, this is just a minor example

anyway, nice 2 hear u were well fed, housed and had a safe trip

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houyhnhnm puts forth...

Posted August 3, 2009
sorry "the sitrep wont change (in my opinion) till there is....

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Abe reckons...

Posted August 3, 2009
After Oz Story tonight, I reckon your $10 from Dirk is looking good. Possibly not the $10 from me. Chris Uhlman's comments were very damning.

Think the gummint will use the Oz Story focus on utegate to release the ANAO report (which has reportedly been drafted for circulation, but doesn't need to be tabled until the end of the month apparently) in the next week or two. They might then let it die down a bit and then orchestrate another little flurry in the summer with the AFP report before calling an early election in say Feb or March.

Alternatively, they could go Blitzkrieg and pull out the AFP report sooner than later, in which case my guess is (i) you'll take $10 from me too (as Bulli won't see 1 Dec) and (ii) we're looking at a double dissolution election in Nov, with Julie Bishop leading the Libs and going down like a dog's dinner.

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hughesy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 3, 2009
Very pleased to entertain birmo and bergers in my little neck of the woods.

BTW JB - that gooey stuff on my pate turned out to be pomegranate molasses. mmmmm, pomegranate molasses

See you tomorrow.

And Nowhere B - get in touch - I need to speak to you about events people to contact

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 3, 2009
Sounds like an excellent weekend.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Abe is gonna tell you...

Posted August 4, 2009
Think he's toast...

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25877628-5013871,00.html

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted August 4, 2009
Abe, they can't leave the seat vacant. Who do you see in it?

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted August 4, 2009
Just leave the tenner on the fridge, Abe.

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