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Festivals & fairs
New club members
Casablanca Nights
Melba vs Alda
From the White Hat Inbox
Les Murray
Reader feedback
Country Victoria
The White Hat Quiz

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Festivals & Fairs

This weekend is the Warrandyte Festival and the Kew Festival which ends with fireworks.On Sunday at Fed Square is the Thai Festival called Songkran with lots of food, entertainment and stalls. On Saturday is a fair called ‘Hidden Treasures of Darebin’. If you turn up you might find out why they have been hidden. And of course the Brunswick Music Festival and the Melbourne International Flower Festival are in full swing. Details of all these at Festivals in Melbourne.

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New club membership

For those of you who got up early on Saturday morning and logged into our website to apply for special club membership we offer our congratulations. You were all given free membership of the April Fools’ Club and now swell the ranks of those who last year wanted to join a tour of some fictitious tunnels.

You can’t say you weren’t warned. The section of the newsletter referring to the club was peppered with contradictions and nonsenses. For instance 4% of 2,420 pounds is nothing like 285 pounds; in the 1880s England had no king, and the Soviet Union did not exist; in 1920 Canberra and its Parliament House were not yet built and Shakespeare didn't write a William IV (or a first, second or third for that matter). Also a gelding can't sire anything. If you don’t understand why, we would mention that Australia once had a well-known gelding called Stunon. If you spell his name backwards you might get a clue.

Some of the feedback we received (that is fit to print) includes:

“Sucked in real bad. It was bad enough turning up at the internet café in our dressing gowns . . .”

“Hi Loved the April Fools Day trick! As you can see I logged on at 8am!
Cheers Mary”

Some of you spotted it early:

“Ha Ha! It has taken me a while. But it has just occurred to what tomorrow's date is. I think the answer to this week's quiz is April Fool! Well done! Upon re-reading I am ashamed that I didn't pick up on any of the many, now-obvious, clues. Although, in my defence, neither did my equally curious husband when I forwarded your newsletter to him. I hope I will be more alert next time. And I will endeavour to pay closer attention to what I am reading.

"So I should get up, at 7am, on April Fool's Day to check your website? “I think not. : ) Can't wait to see how many hits you get though!! Happy April Fool's... I love the newsletter and really enjoy your writing.

Well Jo, we had 91 hits between 7 and 8am, and a further 60 hits in the next hour.

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At BMW Edge there is global music on Saturday and twilight jazz on Sunday. On Saturday Ensemble Gombert perform music of Gesualdo, the MSO perform the Bruckner 9th. Sunday has the St John Passion plus ‘Mozart and More’. Monday has Morning Melodies at the Arts Centre and on Tuesday Rake’s Progress opens. Details at Classical Music in Melbourne.

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Casablanca Nights

There is an exhibition of Moroccan themed art at a gallery in Highett (“it’s lovely and quiet in Highett”) and you will receive a free glass of wine if you mention White Hat. Maybe that will make up for getting up early last Saturday. Details under ‘Casablanca Nights’ at Exhibitions in Melbourne.

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Melba vs. Alda

Frances Alda was an opera singer from Melbourne who was performing at the same time as Melba. Some believe Alda to heave been the greater singer. Melba however (like Kylie a century later) knew herself to be not just a singer – she was a ‘package’ (just ask the Town Hall clock keeper at Bendigo). For our subscribers in Canberra (and we know there are over 200 of you) may wish to attend an illustrated lecture on the subject at Old Parliament House next week.

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From the White Hat Inbox

We had the following personal message:

“hi from portc. havnt written cos so much has been hpng. ive got a KOMBI!!! dad sent the money and we did the car yards and there it was at the back of con & ruby stavropoulous car yard down by the river. craig sed I shouldnt buy a car from some1 called con and that I should get a racv check but crystal consulted the cards and the stars and the numerology of the number plate & sed it would be gr8 so i bought it. then I told dad i was taking a gap yr and he went ballistic cos the car was for getting to monash. hell get over it but i don’t dare go home 4 a couple of weeks yet. lots to tell ya but theres the fone
ove nat”

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Les Murray

On Wednesday there are drinks with Les Murray as he launches his latest volume of poetry. Les easily made it onto our list of 200 Significant Australians. From memory, the only other living Australian poets we had on that list were Peter Porter and Clive James. If you want to have an erudite dinner party at home by yourself, cook your favourite meal, pour yourself a glass of wine then listen to one of the conversations between Clive James and Peter Porter which can be found at: www.clivejames.com

Getting back to Les, you will find details of his session at Forums in Mlbourne.The Les Murray session is at 6pm at the City Library which possibly then makes for perfect timing to head around the corner to Manchester Lane for some political cabaret with the Soubrettes from 8pm. Details at Comedy in Melbourne.

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Reader feedback


“Hey white hat,
A hidden gem I’ve found in [xxxxx]. Its called [xxxxx] although you wouldn’t know by looking, there doesn’t appear to be a sign. It’s a lounge/bar but feels more like a lounge room with table service. The front half of the bar is where the best vegetarian pizza’s EVER are made. I was dubious at first (you can’t have a pizza without meat!!!) but they really are really really good. So good we’ve become regulars and are organising a birthday party there. So good my strictly carnivorous “little-bit-country” brother in law has become a regular too. And their beer and wine list is more than adequate. cool jazz and funk in the background. Very relaxing. I’ve always thought this place was a vacant shop but it turns out they never went to marketing school. But I guess that’s the charm. Whenever we go there we have the place to ourselves. I’m happy the way it is and frankly I don’t want people to find out about this place but I know that if word doesn’t spread, I’m buying my pizzas somewhere else. And I’ve become accustomed to pizza’s with enough anchovies you can taste them. A true hidden gem. Oh yeah, I have no association with this place other than my patronage.

[We have xxx'd out the names so that this hidden gem remains only known to our newsletter subscribers. Obviously, if we placed it in our web pages it would no longer be one of Melbourne's Hidden Gems.].

Newtown residents

“Dear White (I feel as though we are on a first names basis)
Having changed to Mildly Amused - Geelong, I have to register the following: Mallop Street? What a lot of bollards (it's actually Malop Street)! Other than that, your description of the residents of this fine city is accurate to a point - only residents of Newtown really fit the bollard habitus. Those from Bell Park, Bell Post Hill and Belmont for example are (naturally) bell-shaped whereas up in Wandana Heights, by way of comparison, we encounter the buffed, toned and wiry bean shapes, honed to perfection by a combination of high winds and steep backyards. I could go on but I'm off to my Art Appreciation Class lecture - The Wine Cask and Its Exclusion from the Art of Rubens

“White Hat,
I am only just catching up on reading your news letters for March '06. As a current employee of Shell Australia, reading your comments on Shell House. "And if you get an invitation to one of the board rooms on the upper floors we recommend that you take it. You may then agree with us that this one of Melbourne’s hidden ‘private’ gems”. I am almost brought to tears... Before moving to our new premises in suburbia, I used to have a desk facing floor to ceiling windows with spectacular views of the Yarra, Birrarung Marr, the Bay, MCG, Flinders Street Station and the list goes on... NOW I have a view of a brick wall !!!!
Such is life Rebecca”

Finally, as many of you will have noticed, we don’t use a built-in spellchecker and syntax checker at White Hat. We simply use our 7,000 subscribers who give interesting error messages such as:

"Melbournians" AGAIN! AAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Terry”

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Country Victoria

This weekend in country Victoria, the MSO is performing Geelong, the wildlife of the Yarra Valley are being terrorised by Rock’n’the Bush, There are dance sports in Ballarat, Shakespeare in the Grampians and the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach.

The following weekend, Easter, there is a riot of activity with festivals and events all over the state. For details go to our home page and choose the appropriate dates from the drop-down menu of events in Victoria.

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The White Hat Quiz

How well do you know Melbourne?

First to the last quiz. Our first entry came from Dawn.

Please note: This section of the newsletter has been removed as it forms part of a forthcoming publication.

Now to this week’s quiz.

Naming rights

  1. Melbourne is named after an English prime minister. Name a Victorian town that is named after an English Prime Minister.
  2. What lane in Melbourne is named after a rock group?
  3. What Melbourne suburb is named after a piece of agricultural machinery?
  4. What suburb of Melbourne is named after an American industrialist?
  5. Nellie Melba named herself after Melbourne. Which singer named herself after Broken Hill?

And as a supplementary question –

Which suburb named itself after a factory manufacturing automotive springs?

No prizes – just glory and a warm inner glow

You can find a comprehensive guide to markets around Australia at The White Hat Guide to Markets in Australia.