If I was to look back on stories in the last year or so, many of them happen on a Melbourne Tram. I live in Melbourne and I catch trams regularly, so this opening sentence really should not be a surprise to me. Maybe to you, but definitely not me.

A middle aged man, who looked like he may live quite rough (there are quite a few in the area I work in) stepped onto the tram. The touch on point for the Melbourne Myki card system was at the entry. He did not have a Myki card and so did not pay, though he pushed a pretend button and stooped in close to the machine. He then spoke into it saying, “teleportation complete”, and sat down on a nearby seat. He seemed quite happy with himself, his mission obviously over.

A little boy, probably 4 years old, gets on every morning, insisting on sitting on the same orange seat. He gets on with his grandmother who is a typical Aussie grandmother. A mixture of cranky and laughter. Some days she laughs at him asking a stranger to get off his seat, other days she drags him down the other end of the tram.


An older lady stepped up into the tram but failed to get inside. So I offered my assistance, and helped her up. The older trams are quite the battle for elderly people. Little did I realise that this was not an older lady, but a woman in her 40s who had been obviously drinking all night, who began shouting at everyone. Yep, thank me later everyone.  I do have to say you rarely see older ladies like below.



I sat on a tram once (yes there is a tram theme in this post), and I started to hear One Direction blaring out quite close. I looked at the guy beside me, who was looking back at me. Then it hit me, my phone was on loudspeaker and blaring out the pop hit. I.HAVE.NO.IDEA.HOW.THIS.EVEN.HAPPENED. But I acted casually.



Friday. Good.

So it is Good Friday. 2013. That is three years after 2010. For those who count in threes.

Work wise, Melbourne International Comedy Festival had begun and therefore its a little busy. So I am just at home writing while my phone constantly receives email and calls. And the shops are closed, everyone seems to forget this every year, so when you are actually craving a hot cross bun or chocolate, there is none anywhere. Not even the ones you baked a few days ago.

I start my new role in a month, event managing a theatre. Once again, another cool chapter to come I reckon. I shall write about it. Seems like the thing to do.

I went across and bought a coffee the other day. From a shop in Melbourne, a coffee shop at that. I stood there with the server who asked me what I was up to. I said, “work”. He said “cool”. Comedy Festival was mentioned and the barista’s ears pricked up. He said someone mistook him for Peter Helliar once. He is a not-so – funny comedian in Australia. I didnt really have much to say to that, and the barista then volunteered the fact he was a stand up comedian once upon a time in Perth. I looked impressed, got my coffee and then left the shop, the coffee shop.

PS this is Peter Helliar.

File:Peter Helliar.jpg


I also want to take this opportunity to advise people, it is three years until 2016. Especially for those that count in threes.


View of the World

A view of the world.

I learnt some french, I think.

Vue De Monde was the next stop on the Bank of Melbourne and Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Adventure (deep breath).

From stepping into the lift and going up to the top of one of Melbourne’s tallest buildings, seeing the sunset shine into the beautiful bar and beginning the experience at the restaurant were only a few of the memories.

As soon as we finished our tour of the kitchens, we were led to our table. The tables were all very spread out and each had its own direct view out across Melbourne city. I could only smile as I looked across the city that I call home now, and had my fella by my side, both thankful for this adventure.

Vue de monde

The servers were all fantastic and all had a cheeky glint in their eye, not wanting to give away the surprises of the night. So to keep it that way, I will not expand too much into the food itself, other than to say it has to be one of the best experiences at a restaurant. Simply because of how creative and interactive it all was, with such a strong Australian influence. We sparked up some great conversations with the staff, and over the 3 and a half hours (yes!) we did not have a dull moment.

I will say though.. this was my favourite dish, I wont say what it involved though:


Favourite of the evening.


Cal and his Movember Mo enjoying the evening.

As we left through the cellar (at the top of a skyscraper) with our breakfast goody bag, we both had big grins on our faces. We were two lucky guys. The next morning, the breakfast bag was perfect. I may not have been!





Like the rest of Melbourne, today was a sad day. The dark clouds hung over the city and there was a sombre mood amongst people, a contrast to the usual upbeat nature of a Friday morning in the CBD. The papers and social media had begun to inform everyone what they had hoped to never read. That Jill Meagher was found dead and a suspect had been arrested for her rape and murder. We didnt know Jill, some of my friends did, but I personally didn’t, but I wanted to cry.

Jill had been on the front of the newspapers for a week now and Melbourne, and Australia had become so invested in the news story. An innocent, bubbly and fun woman in the community had mysteriously disappeared on her way home from work drinks, the haunting CCTV footage shown to the public of her last moments. And in those last moments, a mysterious man talking to her. Everyone knew a girl like her, it could have been a sister, a partner or a friend. For me, the fact that several of my friends knew her and adored her, made it hit home even more so. And so many friends had done a similar walk home from a pub. Australia’s heart simply broke today.

I dont even know how to sum up why it is so sad, other than how horrific the tale is. And how real it is. This time last week, Jill was out having drinks and having a laugh with friends, and in a few hours, disappear. And for the next week, have her face across the country’s media. To be then found in a shallow grave 50 km north west of the CBD.

To the beautiful young Irish woman that never should have gone through this, Jill, you will be remembered. And my heart goes out to her family and friends. Because I am a stranger to her, but mourn her loss.


As usual, it took me a while to find this restaurant. I am not used to looking down at the ground to find a restaurant down the classically Melbourne’s Flinders Lane. The establishment was in a basement, with the only signs that it existed were a few knee high windows next to the pavement. CODA was a restaurant I had heard of and I had been very keen to give it a go. So I was pretty darn lucky for it to be Dinner Four of the Bank of Melbourne and Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Prize. The industrial look was a winner as soon as I walked in, and sat down at our table. The mesh lighting was a bit different but at the same time, very Melbourne. Thats the cool thing about this city, anything goes and therefore it becomes unexpected all at once.

Our cheery waitress talked us through the menu like it was her favourite short story, and I discovered that pretty much 3/4 of the dishes on the menu could be turned into a vegetarian dish. The menu is divided up to smaller dishes and larger dishes, so it was a shared scenario for the evening. We ordered a long list of things, as we were in a fortunate situation, along with about four cocktails each, and still didn’t come close to our gift voucher budget. I was very impressed and the food was fantastic. The odd thing was that my favourite thing on the menu was the side of brussel sprouts. Something about them made me just want to proclaim how good they were to the people in the street on the way home. I came close.

The cocktails were fantastic, I would come here just for them, the Clover Leaf being my favourite, so rock on in there and don’t even look at the list, act like a local and order it. As long as you are cool with drinking alcohol. It has alcohol in it.

All I can say is that everything I ate was fresh and quality, with an overall asian feel to the menu, with modern/western twists on some of the dishes. Can I just say it was all yum and all should go here? It isn’t too expensive either.

Walking back out into the night after finishing off the dinner with an amazing set of desserts also, I was simply chuffed. Thanks Coda, there was a reason I had heard of you.

Playing Catch.

The other day, Cal asked me if I wanted to go to the park and play catch. Play catch? Yep, play catch. He pulled out two leather baseball mits and also had two baseballs. We all keep this kind of gear, I just obviously lost mine. I love spontaneous ideas at a convenient time when I am prepared for spontaneity, so I said, “Yes! I haven’t played catch since I was about 10”.

Actually, my Dad bought me a small baseball bat, baseball and mit when I was about 9, I think it was for Christmas. It was a sweet way of saying, “Lloyd I know you hate soccer, but maybe another sport that I have randomly chosen, will be enjoyable for you.”. I did embrace it for the two week family trip after Christmas to Lake Tabourie Caravan park, then I dropped the ball. Figuratively of course, though probably literally too.

So Cal and I walked to the park, Cal in gym shorts and a shirt and runners, I was in good jeans and a collared shirt (assuming that this activity wouldn’t be too strenuous and due to how spontaneous this baseball practice was).  We found a small park that was deserted, ticking my box of reducing possible embarrassment that my curve ball at age 10 wasn’t as good at age 27.

I was handed one of the mits and I casually placed it on my hand, though my thumb did not fit into the pinky part, wrong hand. Put it on the other hand just as casually and struggled to work out how my thumb was to be involved with this glove. Obviously my smooth actions did not deceive Cal and he helped me find the spot to put my thumb. Now I sound kinda stupid, after rereading that sentence. I am Australian, we do not have a need for these gloves. Cricket, Football and Rhythmic Gymnastics do not involve gloves of this style. So to be fair, it was like learning to be a lobster.

We both took paces away from each other and the first ball was thrown. He could have been a bit gentle, maybe an underarm throw? No, I did not catch it. My opening and closing of the glove constantly did not improve my skill. I threw it back and he caught it. Yes, because he is American and all they do when they are kids is throw balls with their fathers and have long chats at sunset while their Mom makes lemonade and brings out a plate of Oreos. Bad for your health. If this was cricket, I would at least be able to shout out random cries like, “Howzatt!!”. He through it a bit better this time and it rolled along the ground and I scooped it up for a bit then it fell out of my glove. Why am I telling you this story? Gay man cannot catch, tell the press? So this continued for a while and then I began to get it. Don’t close the glove UNTIL the ball is in the glove. As soon as I caught it a few times in a row, I thought I was a pro! Cal began asking me why I was throwing it weird. Weird??! I was throwing it like a pro with a side step.

I have a pretty short attention span sometimes, and if there is no game involved, I begin to get bored. Here is where some advice comes in, freely given to you from myself. Do not tune out while playing catch. Do not allow your mind to let your new hand-eye coordination go into auto pilot too soon. Why? Because while you are thinking about how many rocks it would take to make a BBQ next to the swings beside me, the ball comes towards you and surprisingly your pro ball skills do not kick in. Mit misses ball. Ball hits you on the nose. Mit drops to ground. Hands go up to nose. Slight moan kicks in. Then of all images to flash into my brain, I have Marcia Brady saying, “Ow,  my nose!”. I know how she feels!! I finally have a moment that connects me with her. She was always the eldest girl of the 1970’s TV sitcom that I never really understood. Now I did.



Cal was there, asking if I was OK. Somehow in that moment, I walked in a circle and then pathetically fell into the ground. Not onto the ground, kinda into it. So of course that kind of show should mean Cal would expect to see blood coming out of my face, whether out of my nose, mouth, ear or eye or just all of the above. Nah, I was just still thinking of Marcia Brady and whether I would have a big bruised nose and everyone would laugh at how I got the injury. Nah, none of that. Just a sore nose. No evidence physically, Cal kinda chuckled and said I would be OK.

Cal then insisted I keep playing, so I have no connotations with the ball being evil. I bravely put my mit on again and prepared myself for the onslaught that was the baseball. I caught it, threw it back, caught it. OK, time to go home.