The Gold Street Sheltered Workshop for Indigent Musos

We have never quite managed to work out what makes a jam session “tick” And even if we could, we probably wouldn’t, on the basis that there is always another perfectly good jazz toon waiting to be mangled beyond recognition.

Whatever, this one was an absolute peach. Took a bit of time to come to the boil, but when wasn’t that the case? Once we had a drummer slotted in, and Ivan the terrible had unwrapped and tweaked his basso profundo, this was as good a session as we can remember (admittedly we prefer not to remember too much these days) – a smaller roll call than the last few weeks, but class all the way.

The opening stanza bubbled along, with a welcome return by trumpeter Peter Dann, a desperate attempt (unsuccessful) at a latin beat by meself on drums failing to disrupt the debonair JC, tickler of ivories to the gentry, and a bit of a reed lick by the Captain and Tony. Mr Hirsh esq. was cajoled into taking over the percussion department. Things livened up with Ribdig De Feene (she asked me to spell her name right, what was she thinking) trotting out Some Other Time, and then Besame Mucho sung in Spanish, which finished in an extended drum solo by the Hirsh, possibly also in Spanish, defying all attempts by Keef to join in.

Taleb took over on drums, followed by Il Duce, I think, and Jason Chalmers wandered in and blew up a storm, but in a good way, and by the time we got to Mercy Mercy Mercy, the joint was jumping fit to bust, and even the 21st Birthday party in the Atrrium (Glen’s spelling, so it must be right) wandered in to enjoy the chaos. Kids these days!

There followed some mighty fine keyboard work by David Lol, the ever smooth Alex Jarosh on guitar, in walked Cardinal Pell, the Izzo and a coupla others before I left, well surprised at what fun it had been. They could be going hard at it still.

And if you are at a loose end next Sunday, will we see you at the Gold Street Sheltered Workshop for Indigent Musicians for the next one?

The Sunday Jam, every week at the Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Colliwobble, from 4.00pm until we knock off around 7.30.

Chaos Returns, China Stockmarket plummets, Japan hit by typhoon

And all is back to the new normal at Chateau Leinster, watering hole of the Colliwobble cognoscenti.

So… wandered in to the Gold Street Gossip Shop at about quarter past something or other to be greeted by the sight of a young, talented, good looking and delusional pianist. Glen must have polished the mirror for the first time in ages.

And speaking of polish, there was Captain Chaos his good self, armed and dangerous, and ready to blow a few toons. Pausing only to admire the fine skein of cobwebs that emerged from his weapon of choice, I settled down for a refreshing b., and a bit of natter, awaiting the first mangled melody with a keen anticipation. The room was filling fast, sun was streaming through the lovat green and vermilion stained glass window, there was a quiet hum of gossip around the room, all with the desultory clicking of the eight ball heroes in the front bar. It doesn’t get any better than this, I thought, and for quite a while it didn’t

The jams have seen a lot of new faces in recent weeks, as well as the usual miscreants, but tis one turned into a busy little set, with Ben, Chico, Alex and Colonel T on guitars, meself and Gerald swapping keys, Keef, The Captain, Peter Cole and Red Hat Calamatta on reeds, with a dude called Jeremy contributing some clarinet for spice, Chrissie Manetta and Bruce, Kev on tonsils, and Carlton on bass. Kay Young popped in from downtown Darwin, as you do, and the ever improving Steve, Il Duce, and Talev (?) waved sticks and brushes around with conviction, occasionally hitting something to show they meant business.

There was even a very large Tuba wandered through the room – didn’t play, possibly due to the lack of a bagpipe section. No jam can be perfect (it would be ruined if it was) but after a while this one was pretty damn good.

Steady on lads…

The Sunday Jam, every week at the Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Colliwobble, from 4.00pm until we knock off around 7.30. See ya this week?

The Laika Bar Diaries: Sevil Sabah Quartet Friday Night


The Laika Bar: Sevil Sabah Quartet, 


Sevil will be singing a new selection of blues/soul/pop/ballad tinged numbahs, some of which we have even rehearsed. There’s posh for you. Meself, Doug “got a haircut” Kuhn and Ben Stewart (guitar) in attendance.

with a sit in drummer..

Well, we couldn’t really ask Geoff to come all the way from Bendigo, so Chelsea Allen will be squeezing into the bar for a bit of light drumming. I’ve heard of her.

Should be a busy night – drop in and strangle a cocktail!

Sevil Sabah Quartet, from 8.00pm Friday 25th September at The Laika Bar, 9 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda,

The Ludicrous Arms Jam Session: ptwang, ptwang

Smooth As – what’s with all the geetars?

Managed to make it for a jam session – in the Captain’s continuing absence I even got there a bit early to help Il Duce set up. All a bit quiet for starters, but the main course soon wandered in, clutching an assortment of instruments and by about 30 minutes late we had even started kicking the ball around the paddock with a toon or two.

Early disasters (it didn’t take long) were entirely down to Sir Roger De Coverley, who had polished up his tootlefloot for the occasion, which, as it transpired was not so much an occasion as an extended set of directions for the hapless Il Duce, culminating in Sir R de C the cad, ignoring his own tempo and coming in late. Fair enough, nobody else was following his instructions either… although when they did get started, it all sounded pretty good to me.

The arvo wore on (japanese fashion label). Even Ali (sax) had a dip; and by the time Alex Yarosh, Tom McGlinn, Elliott Joe and  Chico had worked up the guitar solos, one would be tempted to say there were some fine solos going on.

Resisting the temptation, The Debonair JC, Gerald, Don and meself had a fine old time on the piano, with honours going to JC who played the rather tricky When I Look in Your Eyes without getting lost, and without giving away the fact that it had been put into a mildly easy key.

The late Miss Smith sang up a storm, Chris Manetta belted out a coupla bluesy numbers, Bruce drummed, Anton played every note he could think of, and Colonel T was in such an affable mood on bass and drums that he missed the new Doctor Who episode. Devotion to the cause or what? Meanwhile, Ivan the terrible swung the five-string basso profundo, and we all had a good time.

A quieter jam, but smooth as, and a high standard of music all made for a spiffing afternoon. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked where the Captain might be (Kyoto as it turns out) I would be richer by $4.35 cents.

The Sunday Jam, every week at the Leinster Arms, Gold Street, Colliwobble, from 4.00pm until we knock off around 7.30. See ya this week?

Jam Session? Not Quite

I was talking to Madge from Altona the other day. She is most incensed at the sudden change in management of the West Altona Bowls and Drinking Club. Seems the white hatted old buggers had decided to spike the president’s turkey club sandwich in a fit of pique and reinstate the lawnmower as the new power base of the Pennant Extra 3B Reserves team, in a vague attempt at snaffling the upcoming Refinery Terrace Perpetual Rose Bowl.

It has been some years since Madge’s disgraceful performance at their last Bowl triumph, which ended in her using the afore-mentioned trophy in a manner that would have disappointed its maker, and did no credit to the alumni of the West Altona Juvenile Correctional facility, or indeed Madge herself. Not that she cared, as she was, at the time, taking the first hesitant steps in a mildly glorious career as a member of the Bairnsdale Working Mens Club corps de ballet, an exclusive troupe of exactly two. There being no prospect of gainful employment in what is laughingly referred to as the entertainment industry any closer to home. And we all know how that ended…

It is customary for there to be some digression at this stage into a glowing, factually inaccurate, and probably scandalous description of last week’s Jam Session at the Gold Street Gossip Shop and Society Tea Rooms. Since I was unable to attend, any such description on my part would run the risk of being factually accurate, which would set a dangerous precedent, and possibly not scandalous, which would disappoint two out of the three regular readers of this august journal.

I am nearly sure they all glowed.

But not quite. I do hope you all had fun.

Should see ya all this weekend?

The Lunatic Soup Lounge Jam Session: this time, poetry from the Bard . . .

The Captain is somewhere in China, the Kuhn and meself were somewhere in Castlemaine, and the jam session went really well. A coincidence? Probably not..

I rely entirely on the debonair JC’s recollection of a blurry afternoon – seems the Curtis has a penchant for mid twentieth Century free form abstract poetry – read it and be impressed! This is what he sent . . .

Another turned up just as I was leaving but don’t know his name


John Calamatta


Alex Yarosh



He subsequently submitted a short form haiku
By the way
Elliott not Alex

Sung to the tune of I’ve Got Rhythm. He is just showing off, don’t encourage him . . .

The Jam Sessions: People are not taking this seriously…

I really thought I might get there early, but as usual, spent too much time thinking about it and turned up fashionably late… and as per the previous week, there seemed to be an awful lot of people in the room, some, admittedly, more awful than others.

The Lunatic Soup Lounge is a strange venue in many ways, and one cannot really be sure what attracts people to turn up and play jazz – clearly a lot of the newcomers have yet to develop the deep appreciation of the total unmitigated cock up that is at the heart of the jam sessions – yet again there were some rather good musicians throwing their metaphorical hat into the ring – and we are in real danger of playing some good music. If we do that, what would be the point of turning up the next week – there is nothing as predictable and dull as getting things right, unless you include Littel Sunflower, which, mercifully we did not, this week at least.

Maintaining a low standard has worked for the last 24 years, why change things now?

Amongst those not striving for an abysmally low standard of excellence were:

Colonel T of the Fourth Light Punjab Horse (well, he strive a bit) , Gentleman John Curtis, Calamatta the red beret, Alex Jarosh (good grief, has it come to this?) Bridgette De Neef, Talev the drummer, Ivan the terrible, Doug Haircut kuhn, Sebastian, Keelie, Noel the saxflutophonist, Mr Hirsh esq. on drums, Peter, Charles, Don the keys, Gerald drums/piano and ponytail, Vincent bleedin’ good on bass, Anton, and the inscrutable Chico on guitar… plus a bunch of others too horrible to mention.

Captain Chaos was so organised he has gone to China for a few days to recover, and some of us will be in Castlemaine. Luckily, the Debonair Mr Curtis will be leading the choir this week – if he gets too posh, just ask him to play Mas Que Nada

Drop by and contribute to the weekly debacle – you know it makes sense…

The Ade Show

aka The Leinster Arms

Ade Ish turned up with a bunch of mates from Sydney and put up a lively set featuring the electronic saxaphone (Adolphe turning in his grave no doubt). The Captain wisely retired hurt at the first opportunity, leaving Sub Lieutenant Kuhn to the mercies of some funky little numbers…

There followed a pleasant afternoon’s ballad mangling in the finest traditions of the Jammers – amongst the mangled bodies that littered the carpet by the end of it, I detected the corpses of Little Sunflower, Mercy Mercy Mercy (that one played so slow it would have sounded better backwards..) and an experimental rendition of Moonlight in Vermont which left both singer (Kev) and musicians (Debonair JC et al) confused, bemused and enthused in equal measure.

There was a good turn-up of musos, (21) with the following pleading guilty, as they should: Colonel T of the Fourth Light Punjab Horse (actually, he played rather well) Bruce, Chrissie, Steve (drums, pretty smooth), Ivan on the hooge double bass, Lisette (p), happy birthday by the way, Carlton (bass) Chico (g), Debbie, Gerald (D and P), meself and Ian (g) on a truly lame version of Song For My Father, cheap at any price, and young Alex (drums) and John (p) rounding out the night. A slightly nervous Keelie got up and sang for the first time in years, and we hope she does it again.

And then we all had Glens Fat Chips and went home, or something.

Meanwhile, avid readers of this august journal will have spotted a missive from the Divine Miss Smith, last seen lurking around sailors in Northern Climes. One can only appreciate her decision not to go swimming in the sea because of sharks – some of those creatures are of a nervous disposition anyway, and this would only make it worse.

The late Miss Smith (well, she has never turned up early) has clearly been drinking too much of the jungle juice as she appears to be under the impression that Hortense is accompanying her – had she been asked, and she may have been, one feels sure that Hortense would have declined on the grounds that she never goes north of Altona – other than the attempted congenial visit with Rotten Ronnie Junior, although that ended badly due to Hortense’s limited understanding of English, and Rotten Ronnie’s unfortunate accident in the Ballarat region.

But I digress: do turn up for a little Jam Session next Sunday, we will all play in tune, bars will not be dropped, the saxaphones will never play more than one chorus, and then only after everyone else has had a dip, we will decline to play Watermelon Man, Autumn Leaves, Summertime, Caravan and, with any luck, the woeful Little Sunflower, and the charts will all be right way up, and… well that might all be an exaggeration, but turn up anyway!


The Jam Session Review: One would think not…

Captain Chaos, scourge of the Calder, lead footed back from the Castlemaine Jazz Festival Committee meeting, in time to acquire fond memories of the jam session: which was , as ever, spiffingly inconsistent, prone to outbursts of music in between the trainwrecks, and populated by the usual crew of competent, incompetent, delusional and maladjusted musicians, all of whom had a triffic time, welcomed the occasional nervous newcomer, danced on the tables, indulged in outrageous and occasionally malicious gossip, all of it untrue, except for anything to do with Hortense, about whom one can never be certain, according to Madge, anyway.

If anyone has gained the impression from the previous para that I might not have been there, they would be right. Probably accounts for the reported high standard of music.

Jam Session gets hot:

It was with some pleasure, and a wet winter wind whipping round my ears, that I stumbled upon Ye Traditional Jamme Session, already in full swing – not literally of course, because they were playing a 12/8 rock beat, in defiance of the laws of Mathematics, probably.

And quite a jumble of jazz musos there was: the usual culprits, a couple of in-patients on day release, some confused passers by and several people masquerading as musicians, and…

The Captain, Tony and Calamatta on sax, Chico on guitar, Kevin and then Rachel Camarino (check out her photo on Facebook) singing, The Debonair JC, John and Don on keys, Colonel T (retd) of the Fourth Light Punjab Cavalry on everything, Piers, Alex, and Glen on percussion – including the new snare drum, which made all their mistakes sound better. I can’t quite remember who played bass, other than Carlton, for whom too many notes is never enough – great to see him back. There were others, but I wasn’t paying attention. They were quite possibly brilliant.

Highlight of the afternoon was the rendition of The Flintstones Theme Tune (Captain Chaos called that one in a rare moment of sanity), whilst the audience engaged in dark gossip and toe tapping in the back bar.

One of the better jam sessions: it got hotter as the evening wore on. If you haven’t been for a while, drop in and blow the tits off ya fave toon.:

Enthusiasm essential, charts a bonus, performance anxiety optional, and competence to be well concealed as a kindness to others…


For those of you who either cannot sleep, play 3rd trombone in Rimsky Korsakov’s Piano Concerto in C#minor, or are remotely interested in the future of the music “business”, here is an extremely well researched article worth a read…thought provoking stuff on the changes in CD sales, streaming music services, concert revenues and the like.

. . . more info