Wine bar plan for arts centre

A COFFEE and wine bar could be opened in the Nautilus Arts Centre, adding to the revitalisation of the centre.
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A coffee and wine bar could be opened in the Nautilus Arts Centre, adding to the revitalisation of the centre.

Former local Jemma Schilling, who is returning home to Port Lincoln, and Elouise Dukalskis have approached the Port Lincoln City Council with their idea for a licenced coffee and wine bar offering coffee, light meals and a communal space for pre and post-dinner drinks.

The venue would not just be open for shows at the theatre and they believe it would have a positive impact on the centre.

It is proposed to be located in the the current box office area, small store room and kitchenette, and the office of the civic hall officer, which would be leased from the council at commercial rates.

The council voted this week to support in principle leasing an area of the centre for the business, which still has to go through the development application process and a lease is yet to be negotiated.

The proposal also has the support of the Nautilus Arts Centre Community Reference Group.

The council’s community development manager, Janet Grocke, said the reference group had discussed the proposal and was keen to have it investigated.

She said there would be issues to do with the gallery shop and office space for council staff but they would be considered further in the assessment of this proposal.

The council’s deputy chief executive Katrina Allen said a longer term possibility could be to use the courtyard between the Nautilus Arts Centre and the Civic Centre and possibly have seating in the Rotary Gallery and alfresco dining out the front of the centre.

However she said the whole concept was still subject to development approval.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Joe’s flying high at just 15

HIGH FLYER: 15-year-old Joe Peter with flying instructor Earl Longstaff after completing his first solo flight.IT is never too early to start achieving your life goals according to 15-year-old pilot in training Joe Peter, who recently completed his first solo flight in a Jabiru aircraft.
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Joe, in Year 10 at the Port Lincoln High School, said he wasn’t even a little bit nervous before he flew without supervision for the first time.

Instead, he said he felt confident that he knew how to operate the aircraft.

“I knew I had the knowledge and ability to complete a circuit of the airport,” he said.

He has now done four solo flights and is halfway through completing his recreational aviation licence.

Once he sits his exam and completes the flying test he will be qualified to fly on his own.

He then intends to continue on to get his private pilot licence before ultimately becoming qualified to fly commercially.

Joe said he wanted to join the Royal Australian Airforce as a pilot flying transport aircraft after finishing high school.

His love for flying came from his father Graeme who flew gliders in Alice Springs.

Joe is also an avid model flying club member, spending hours building model planes and flying them every weekend.

His father said he was proud of Joe and said he would continue to support him in his flying while Joe still enjoyed it.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Annual men’s foursome competition

THE Robe Golf Club competition on Sunday was the annual 27-hole Bruce Hinge Handicap Men’s Foursomes.
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Richard Bateman (left), Keith Couzner and Scott Sawyer have a practice before hitting the greens over the weekend.

Bruce was a valued contributor to the club as a member, volunteering his time and scooting around the course collecting green fees.

The seat up on the 15th tee block in his memory is there for golfers to take a load off as they come down from the back nine hills.

Winners on the day, by the narrowest of margins, were Sean Emery and Richard Bateman (net 108, gross 132).

David Murch and Andy Van Der Stelt were in second place (net 108.5, 140 gross) with third place going to Ian Regnier and Harold Manton (net 115.75, 139 gross).

This weekend is a stroke round, the combined first qualifier for the Handicap Championships, first round of the Caledonian Inn Trophy and also the Rymill Wines sponsored Monthly Medal.

On the following weekend is a stableford event, the first round of the John Leake Trophy on June 29.

On June 28 and 29 there is also the Robe Bridge Tournament, held at the Robe Golf Club.

Bar volunteers will be needed to assist Peter DeLaine.

July 6 is a stroke round for the second qualifying round of the Handicap Championship, Caledonian Inn Trophy and the Rymill Wines sponsored Monthly Medal.

The second stableford round for the John Leake Trophy will be on July 13, then the annual travelling round to Lucindale for the Cavpower tournament.

Come along and get your game tuned up with the mix of stroke and stableford events to suit all golfers coming up at the Robe club.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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James Franco, Seth Rogen’s The Room revisit gets thumbs up from ‘Mark’

James Franco and Seth Rogan take on The Room.”What happens when your dream comes true, but in the opposite way?” That’s the question posed by actor Greg Sestero about his experience on the worst movie of all time, which threw him into the spotlight but for all the wrong reasons. The Room, which has been described as ”the CItizen Kane of bad movies”, was released in 2003, reaping just $1800 at the box office (from a $6 million budget) before catching a second wind with an audience who embraced it for its endearingly relentless display of flaws.  But for Sestero, the film didn’t end a career which hadn’t yet really begun – it launched one. His role as handsome, baby-faced Mark made him part of the global cult phenomenon that emerged from this cinematic catastrophe.  And now his book, 2013’s The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Room, is being turned into a film by James Franco and Seth Rogen. It will star Dave Franco as Sestero, in yet another surprising twist to Sestero’s journey with The Room.  ”It was kind of a full circle moment,” Sestero, 35, says on the phone from Los Angeles. ”Of being dealt this film that people see as the worst movie ever made and [to be] able to turn it around into something that could be its own movie, it’s made all the effort worth it.’’ Written, directed and produced by eccentric Tommy Wiseau, the film is loosely hung around a love triangle. It is completely capitvating in its appallingness, from wooden acting to incomprehensible plotlines to bizarre dialogue.  While Sestero’s book touches on the hilarity of the film – he only stepped in as a favour to Wiseau, who he knew from acting classes, and never expected anyone to see the film – it’s also an interesting, thoughtful take on the quest for fame, the drive for art and the flawed American dream.  It was announced in February that James Franco’s Rabbit Bandini Productions had snapped up the rights to the book and will direct and co-produce and star, working with Rogen’s Point Grey Pictures. Earlier this month Dave Franco announced during an LA screening of the movie that he would play Sestero, with James Franco signed up to play Wiseau.  ”I think James is passionate about the project, and that’s where it starts,’’ Sestero says. ‘‘Making a great film, you’ve got to have a vision and you’ve got to be passionate about it. And Seth Rogen is obviously one of the best producers out there, so I think the book’s in really good hands.’’
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  He says Rogen and Franco understand the humour and have a firm grasp on its meaning. ‘‘The story isn’t just kind of mocking a bad movie, it’s really getting behind what it’s like to try and make art and the struggles that come with that.  ‘‘There’s so many different dimensions to the story and they’ve done comedy, they’ve done drama – it’s a perfect mix for the film.’’ Sestero says it’s early days yet in terms of production – ‘‘it’s going to be really, really exciting’’ – but the prospect of yet another layer to The Room’s spotlight for him is something he’s taking in his stride.  ‘‘It’s just kind of like a roller-coaster,’’ he says. ‘‘I’m just happy to have the chance to be able to do something creative and that’s the kind of road that I hope to take. ‘‘I’m sure it’ll be definitely a new chapter and a very, very entertaining ride.’’

  Greg Sestero will be at a Q&A and screening at the Hayden Orpheum, Sydney, on July 10. See orpheum南京夜网.au.   

DAVY FRANCO and TOMMY WEISEAU!!!!! “The Disaster Artist” COMING SOON!!!! http://t.co/VxyrZn5kw3 — James Franco (@JamesFrancoTV) June 8, 2014

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The new blockbuster nutrient?

Turmeric: is the humble yellow spice, on the left, the ‘new’ blockbuster nutrient? Photo: Leentje photography by Helaine WThe ‘new’ blockbuster nutrient is actually really old.
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There are some fairly audacious statements being made about the benefits of turmeric.

The unassuming spice is also being dubbed as the ‘new Omega 3’ for its anti-inflammatory and fat metabolism properties.

Turmeric is said to help with everything from heart disease to Alzheimers, asthma to arthritis. A potent antioxident, it is even said to slow the ageing process.

No surprises then that hipsters have taken to juicing it and having it in straight shots or mixed with juice.

In India, turmeric has been used traditionally as a disinfectant and treatment for sore throats.

The 5000-year-old herb is so revered, it is also used as an offering of good will and, mixed with lime, to make the paint for Bindis.

One of the most researched supplements out there, turmeric, which is part of the ginger family, is one that seems to live up to much of the hype.

Omega 3s and turmeric, with its active ingredient curcumin, are “blockbuster nutrients”, according to professor Marc Cohen, head of Complementary Medicines at RMIT.

“Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant which stops lipid oxidation and is anti-inflammatory,” says Cohen, who devoted an entire chapter to turmeric in his book, Herbs and Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Guide.

“It is a possible aid in preventing chronic degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.”

In fact, the high intake of turmeric in the Indian diet has been attributed to their rates of Alzheimer’s disease, which are amongst the lowest in the world.

Cohen, who suffers from osteoarthritis, is such a fan of the spice that he takes it daily.

“I’d recommend half to one teaspoon daily, but there’s not a prescribed dose … and no toxicity levels.”

As well as using it in curries (where it is responsible for the yellow colour) and smoothies, he often has it with milk as the fat, he explains, helps absorption.

Absorption has been one of the issues with turmeric’s abundant benefits.

“A key challenge we have faced in the past is how to ensure curcumin is absorbed into the body to provide therapeutic benefit.”

A recently released supplement called Theracurmin, formulated from curcumin, claims to have overcome this problem, at least in part.

“Theracurmin has 27 times the bioavailability of curcumin,” Cohen says.

“I’ve been recommended to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,” he says for his osteoarthritis.

“Rather than take Voltaren, I’d prefer to take theracumin … Instead of adverse side effects likely to have positive side effects.”

Not everyone is convinced however that a curcumin supplement beats turmeric, if you’re going down that route. Dr Andrew Weil, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, picks the whole spice over isolated compounds.

“I frequently recommend turmeric supplements,” he says, “and I believe whole turmeric is more effective than isolated curcumin for inflammatory disorders, including arthritis, tendonitis, and autoimmune conditions.”

Taking a natural-first approach, in this instance, is not a bad idea, says Melanie McGrice, spokeswoman for the Dietitians Association of Australia.

“I think it’s always great to try natural food sources before turning to medications,” she says. “Turmeric certainly has a lot of health benefits, especially because it is so rich in antioxidants.”

While Cohen says he takes the therapeutic dose specifically to help treat his condition, it isn’t necessary for all of us: “Fresh turmeric is recommended for everyday use.”

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Essendon players the pawns in a game of double jeopardy

Essendon’s decision to pursue a court injunction against the supplements investigation last week was popularly viewed as an attempt to wriggle out of a tight spot on a technicality. But should that still be the case?
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Given the events of the past few days, isn’t this now about an organisation showing understandable reticence to deal with a process flawed from the beginning in terms of evidence, procedure and, it now emerges, ethics as well?

Because what has transpired since last Thursday makes it increasingly apparent the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority – the body set to deliver judgement on 34 Essendon players – is in no position to be running a school cake stall, let alone determining the careers and livelihoods of professional athletes.

The prevailing view was that Essendon’s players should, regardless of their belief in their innocence, take the ”candy” of the six-month suspensions offered to them by new ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt.

Surely that can’t be on the basis they’ll be treated fairly, of which there’s been precious little evidence.

If McDevitt’s round of media appearances last week were supposed to give the impression of an ASADA sheriff firmly in control, they did the exact opposite.

First, McDevitt blithely announced that AOD-9604 –  the very substance upon which most of the public crucifixion of the Essendon players had rested for a year-and-a-half – was no longer part of the rap sheet.

Then, incredibly, he conceded he wasn’t even sure what the burden of proof was for ASADA to reach a point of invoking suspensions.

He went on to offer that if Essendon players accepted their guilt, they would receive a 75 per cent reduction in what for so long were being touted as mandatory maximum sentences.

That didn’t seem to betray a lot of confidence in the strength of evidence gathered.

But at least McDevitt wasn’t in the chair when ASADA colluded with the AFL to pre-determine that Essendon players would not be sanctioned individually (confirmed in leaked emails), and the basis on which they agreed to co-operate. A deal on which ASADA subsequently welched just two weeks later.

Is it any surprise given that catalogue of contradictions, ignorance and lies that the players now are reluctant to listen to anything ASADA has to say?

McDevitt’s attempt to plea bargain clearly implied guilt, something Essendon’s players still vigorously deny.

Then they were accused of holding the game to ransom, despite being the pawns in the continual blundering and politicking by a range of bodies, including their own club, supposedly looking after their interests.

Don’t they at least deserve the right to be able to view the alleged evidence against them without a presumption of guilt from the very body that would determine their fate? Not that the players haven’t already been tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion.

Ask Jobe Watson about that one. For the past year he has had to shrug not only at the same cat-calling levelled at his teammates, but demands that he be stripped of his 2012 Brownlow Medal for allegedly using a substance that this investigation is no longer interested in.

Watson was hung out to dry. Particularly by ASADA, which presumably knew for a year that it could not prosecute him for something not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency until two months after the investigation began.

That protracted confusion between ASADA and its world parent body over AOD-9604’s status serves as yet another example of the Australian chapter’s incompetence. Not that there’s not some serious doubts about WADA’s credibility either.

As sports lawyer and general secretary of the Australian Athletes’ Alliance, Brendan Schwab, said on Monday, WADA’s modus operandi is political coercion, governments and sporting bodies alike fearful of being excluded from the Olympics if they don’t comply.

WADA’s ”one-size-fits-all” code is ill-suited to team sports, particularly in this case, where Essendon’s players were following the instructions of their employer, which assured them what they were taking was both legal and safe.

No one, not even Essendon, disputes how shoddy its supplements program was run. But that lack of appropriate governance has already been dealt with via the heftiest team and club penalties in AFL history.

Why should the club’s players, kicked from pillar to post these past couple of years, be pawns yet again in a game of double jeopardy?

Essendon’s players have been the patsy in this soap opera from the word go, and ASADA has been complicit in the undermining of not only their reputations, but their mental health as well.

Take six months? Surely no one in the position of the Essendon players would be answering that question with anything other than: ”Take a hike.”

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ASADA’s delay in taking AOD-9604 off the table disappoints players

The AFL Players Association is disappointed it took so long for the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority to publicly clarify its position on AOD-9604 given the scrutiny Essendon players were under last year, and is confident the players will not face any further questioning over the drug.
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While the World Anti-Doping Agency has the capacity to challenge closed matters and ask for the disclosure of any relevant information or evidence, ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt has said his organisation does not plan to pursue any alleged use of AOD-9604 prior to April, 2013.

That was when WADA clarified its position on the drug, saying that as the substance was still under clinical development and not approved for therapeutic use by any government health authority, it was prohibited under the S.O. category.

McDevitt said last weekend that pursuing athletes for their possible use of AOD-9604 prior to WADA’s statement would be ”unsuccessful and unfair” because athletes and support personnel could not have known it was a prohibited substance.

The AFLPA believes this position could have been stated much earlier in the investigation to spare the Essendon players unnecessary turmoil and scrutiny. Captain Jobe Watson was subjected to public criticism after saying he believed he had been injected with the substance as part of the supplements program run at the club in 2012, having been told it was permitted for use.

Thirty-four current and former Essendon players have instead been issued show-cause notices alleging they were administered the banned Thymosin beta 4.

”We do not believe that ASADA will take any further step through the Essendon investigation in relation to AOD-9604 given the comments of the ASADA [chief executive] over the weekend,” said acting AFLPA chief executive Ian Prendergast.

McDevitt did not clarify at the weekend whether Essendon had been given wrong information on the status of AOD-9604 and stressed the long-term effects of the drug were unclear, saying its use at the club had been ”grossly irresponsible”.

”The advice I’ve had is that we cannot take the position that prior to April, 2013, that athletes and support personnel could have known AOD-9604 was, in fact, a prohibited substance,” he said on ABC radio.

”What it comes down to is if WADA publicly stated for the first time on the 22nd of April, 2013,that it was a prohibited substance in sport, it would seem that if you pursued an anti-doping rule violation that related to the substance being administered prior to that date, then not only would it – in my eyes – be unsuccessful, it would be unfair.

“The reality is that this … is actually something that’s got huge health effects potentially on humans. It’s just grossly irresponsible in terms of the player welfare.”

Essendon chairman Paul Little said on ABC radio on Sunday that Essendon players, particularly Watson, had been ”to hell and back” over AOD-9604.

“This is another area where I firmly believe the process has been completely stuffed up and the fact that it’s now off the charge sheet, are we meant to be grateful for that?” he said.

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Council blocks Delaney Hotel Socceroos screening plan

FOOTBALL fans willing to forgo sleep and watch the Socceroos have been left disappointed, with the announcement one of the city’s pubs will not be screening the 2am match.
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The Delany Hotel were preparing to show State of Origin II tonight and remain open until 5am to show the Socceroos match against The Netherlands in Porto Alegre.

The Darby Street pub had advertised internal and externally and were planning on imposing a lock-out at 1.30am, but continuing to trade.

The Australian Hotel Association had approved all NSW hotels to extend their license, but it’s believed Newcastle City Council advised the hotelier at 3.30pm on Wednesday afternoon that they could not show the game.

Hotel management issued an apology to its patrons.

The Newcastle Herald understands the pub had been inundated with calls from football fans in the lead-up to the match and were disappointed they could not show the game.

Comment has been sought from Newcastle City Council.

The Premier Hotel had been planning to open at 1.30am for the match, but have since decided against trading, after hearing what had happened at The Delany Hotel.

It’s another blow to Hunter football fans after the absence of a World Cup live site in Newcastle this year.

Wheeler Place was transformed into Socceroos headquarters in 2006 and 2010 thanks to Juicy Bean owner Peter James.

Mr James told the Newcastle Herald last week he was waiting on council approval and had a big screen ready if given the go ahead. But Mr James told the Herald this week he would not be able to show the games.

Several pubs and clubs have confirmed they will show the game, including The Kent Hotel, The Blackbutt Hotel, The Cooks Hill Hotel and Wests Leagues Club.

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THEATRE: New take on old tales for school holidays

CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Joseph’s coat arouses sibling jealousy. Picture: Simone de PeakEVERYTHING old is new again. That’s an enjoyable feature of theatre, as shown by two forthcoming school holiday productions, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and A Knight to Remember.
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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is being staged by Young People’s Theatre at its Hamilton venue in the first week of the holidays, opening on Monday, June 30, with Saturday performances in subsequent weeks until August 16.

And A Knight to Remember will be presented by Footlice Theatre Company at the Newcastle Community Art Centre’s Black Box Theatre in Hamilton in the second week, opening on Tuesday, July 8.

The two groups last staged the respective shows two decades ago, but the presentations this time will be very different.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is a lively two-hour musical that began life as a 20-minute pop cantata written in 1968 by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice for a London school’s annual concert.

At the suggestion of the school’s music master, they based it on the biblical story of Joseph, a farmer’s son in ancient Egypt who was sold into slavery by his brothers who were jealous of his brightly coloured coat.

Joseph eventually became the chief adviser of Egypt’s pharaoh and met his brothers again when they came to the royal court seeking food during a prolonged famine.

The short musical version of the story was so popular that Lloyd Webber and Rice gradually developed it into a full-length show, with bright songs including Any Dream Will Do, Close Every Door and Those Canaan Days.

The zip of its lyrics and music makes it very much a story for today, so directors Katy Booth and Emily Taylor have given it a contemporary setting.

The farmer, Jacob, is an outback Australian farmer who gives Joseph his brightly coloured Driza-Bone coat. Potiphar, Pharaoh’s chief adviser who has Joseph imprisoned because he suspects him of misbehaviour, is a millionaire operator of an airline and its chief pilot. And Pharaoh is the host of a Deal or No Deal-style television game show who teaches Joseph how to be a TV star.

YPT will stage the musical with two alternating casts.

Nicholas Hamilton, 15, and Hamish Pickering, 14, play Joseph, as well as one of his brothers, Judah, when they are respectively in the title role.

They see the musical as a fun show, even when the story moves into dark areas.

‘‘Joseph is a positive person who does his best in everything he puts his mind to,’’ Hamilton said.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat plays daily at 11am from Monday, June 30, to Friday, July 4, plus a 7pm supper show on Wednesday, July 2. It can then be seen every Saturday from July 5 to August 16, at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets: $15.90 to $16.50; supper show $20. Bookings: 49614895, at the theatre (corner Lindsay and Lawson streets, Hamilton) Friday, 4pm to 6pm, and Saturday, 9am to 1pm, or online, ypt.org.au.

UPLIFTING: A Knight to Remember.

A Knight to Remember is a light-hearted story about a scheming king’s attempts to get the fortune of his niece, Princess Cynthia, who is the rightful heir to the throne.

The king is hindered by his less-than-bright squire and aided by a quartet of inept and inane knights attracted to the royal castle by the offer of the princess’s hand in marriage for a knight able to slay a dragon that is terrorising the kingdom of Woddle Woddle Wip Bung.

The difference between this and previous stagings of the tale is the addition by director Fiona Mundie of an extra knight to the three included by writers Richard Howard and Christopher Fletcher.

The new knight is a character from an early 1990s revue sketch performed by Footlice.

The cast includes Oliver Pink as the King, Jan Hunt as the Squire, Sonja Davis as Princess Cynthia, and Callan Purcell as the four knights.

A Knight to Remember, which Fiona Mundie describes as ‘‘bright and cartoony’’, can be seen at the Black Box Theatre in Parry Street, Hamilton (behind the Sacred Heart Cathedral), daily at 10am and noon from Tuesday, July 8, to Saturday, July 12. The show runs for 45 minutes. Tickets: $10. Bookings: 0405154174; [email protected]南京夜网.

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MUSIC: Tourbuoys Benjalu

HOME: Benjalu are back in Newcastle, and you can win a double pass to their gig on Saturday.BENJALU is wandering Australia off the back of their European tour, and their second stop is Newcastle.
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Despite their five-piece composition, the band shrunk themselves to two for the trip. But they’re back together for the Aussie dates, and looking forward to getting back into it.

The band’s Ben ‘Gumby’ Gumbleton and Anthony Morris talked to LIVE about their travels.

Why set out as a two-piece for your European tour?

As an independent band, we back ourselves financially for everything. Recording, promotion and the often mountainous expenses of touring. We had initially spoken about the whole band going over for the European tour, but because we are a five-piece and with our first album in the works, financially it didn’t make sense … We decided that our first European tour was going to focus on building contacts and meeting new friends that may help us in building Europe’s awareness of Benjalu. So, to cut costs, only a couple of us went. The tour has really opened up a new avenue for the band … Most of the venues on the tour were small, intimate venues that suited the acoustic show perfectly.

What was the tour highlight?

Every night was a highlight. New places, new venues, new languages, new stories. The tour blew out to around 40 shows in 35 days, which was amazing. To be in a different country and hear the stories about how people had found our music and how they had made a huge road trip to see the show was pretty mindblowing. We also ended up in the studio with a well-known electronic artist recording songs between shows in Belgium. So many doors have been opened that weren’t planned. It’s all looking very positive for the future.

Favourite country where you performed and why?

That’s a tough one! I’d say probably Belgium. We have a friend that lives in Brussels … [who] organised four great shows, filled with new Benjalu fans that she had converted. Just goes to show the power of the people. So we thank Sylvie for what she has done and what she will do for us in Belgium for 2015.

What’s your earliest musical memory?

Music has always been a huge part of all our lives, even before any of us could play an instrument. We all grew up listening to our parents’ favourite records. When the band first started writing songs, it all came together from us sitting around, talking about the artists we liked. The Beatles, Paul Simon, The Doors, The Police, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles – pretty much all the classics!

First album you bought?

I paid for it, but I had to get my mum to physically buy it for me. It was The Offspring. The language was too ‘‘explicit’’ to be bought by a kid under 15. Good thing I had parents that looked at music beyond a couple of words.

Last album you bought?

The Arctic Monkeys. Great album and an amazing live band. We have tonnes of inspiration coming from them and their sound at the moment.

Most memorable gig you’ve played?

Most gigs are memorable to us, but I guess playing Byron Bay Blues Festival will always be a standout. It was pretty much like listening and hanging out with our album collection for five days. Another one … would be the first time we ever sold out a home show. It’s always a highlight to come home and play in Newcastle, to hang out and have a few beers with all our friends. We love our home and our town and it plays a huge part in our lives. This is where the band started and we love coming home and thanking everyone for their ongoing support.

Something my fans don’t know about me is … I love to cook! I find it therapeutic.

Benjalu will play on Saturday at Newcastle’s Cambridge Hotel. Tickets are $19.40 and available at tickets.oztix南京夜网.au. See Freebies on this page for your chance to win one of two double passes to the show.

SASKWATCH

FROM humble beginnings playing lacklustre house shows, Melbourne band Saskwatch has become a pretty big deal.

But despite being a nine-piece, they don’t butt heads over sound or direction.

Listing their influences as Sam Cooke, Arctic Monkeys, Aretha Franklin, Dr Dog and Nick Cave, the band is diverse in sound.

Saskwatch, who are part of the 2014 Splendour In The Grass line-up, will play The Small Ballroom in Newcastle tonight. Tickets can be bought on the venue’s website.

REMINISCENT of ’70s-era Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac with a splash of Springsteen and Tom Waits, Jim Gordon’s Travelling Companions have been playing around since the ’80s. With largely original material, the band – described as ‘‘a crackerjack live band by any measure’’ – is rhythmically persuasive and topically diverse.

Jim Gordon’s Travelling Companions play on Saturday at The Great Northern Hotel.

ESKIMO Joe’s lead singer Kav Temperley is sharing stories from their ARIA-winning album, A Song Is A City, on an intimate solo acoustic national tour.

Temperley says the album was a ‘‘turning point’’ and he is now ready to tell the stories behind the songs.

Temperley will play at Newcastle’s Lizottes on Thursday, July 24. Tickets are on sale now through kavtemperley南京夜网.au.

BALL Park Music has announced their Trippin’ The Light Fantastic tour. Band members will be appearing as three-dimensional images rather than actually being present at the shows.

‘‘This is just a crazy concept we have always wanted to turn into a reality,’’ said lead singer Sam Cromack.

The band will ‘‘appear’’ at Newcastle University’s Bar On The Hill on Thursday, September 25. Tickets are available at bigtix南京夜网.au.

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Best spots in Sydney for whale watching

South Head: Perfect spot for whale watching. Photo: David Finnegan The majority of migrating whales is expected to pass through the area between the end of June and start of July.
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Whaling watching is a popular pastime for locals and travellers alike, and this year, with between 16,000 and 18,000 whales predicted to pass the NSW coastline, Sydneysiders and tourists will be in a for whaling delight.

According to NSW National Parks and Wildlife, these figures represent more than a 10 per cent increase in the number of humpback whales passing the Sydney coastline year on year.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife says Sydney Harbour National Park has already been visited by early migrating whales. It expects that the majority of whales will pass through the area between the end of June and start of July.

The official whale season runs from 1 June to 30 November when humpback whale migration passes Sydney’s coastline, providing the perfect excuse for visitors to pop on a wind jacket and pull out a pair of binoculars, and head down to the coast for some whale watching.

These are the top five vantage points for whale watching at Sydney Harbour National Park, according to NSW National Parks and Wildlife.

North Head lookout 

This lookout provides views across Sydney Harbour National Park towards South Head. It is one of the best spots for whale watching in Sydney. Head to Fairfax Lookout for sweeping Harbour panoramas and whale spotting.

Hornby Lighthouse 

The Historic Hornby Lighthouse is near Watsons Bay in Sydney Harbour National Park. Walk the easy track to the lighthouse for great whale watching.

Arabanoo Lookout 

Located at Dobroyd Head in Sydney Harbour National Park, Arabanoo offers fantastic views over to North Head and South Head, and the expansive Pacific Ocean beyond, making it a perfect spot for whale watching.

South Head

There’s no shortage of lookouts at South Head in Sydney Harbour National Park. The Gap offers some of Sydney’s finest views and fantastic opportunities for whale watching.

Shark Island 

With its lush grassy areas, picnic shelters and spacious gazebo and amazing 360-degree views, the island is a great vantage point to spot whales popping into the Harbour during the migration season.

Visitors can download the Wild about Whales app to see the latest whale sightings at these locations as well as post their own sightings.

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Tourism Tropical North Queensland welcomes Leonardo DiCaprio’s attack on reef

Tourism Tropical North Queensland said it does not fear a downturn, after remarks by Leonardo DiCaprio that the reef is now “riddled with bleached coral reefs and massive dead zones”.
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To the contrary, chief executive Alex de Waal said the comments about the environmental changes of the World Heritage site are welcome.

“Any discussions that go on about the focus of conserving the reef are absolutely consistent with what we do, and absolutely supportive, if you like, of building our profile in the global environment,” he said.

DiCaprio’s comments came as US President Barack Obama pledged millions of dollars towards ocean conservation at the “Our Ocean” conference in Washington.

Mr de Waal said that while environmental devastation had occurred in isolated parts of the reef, “to apply Mr DiCaprio’s perspective to the entire reef is not appropriate”.

“If the celebrity’s voice is the only voice that is heard out there, and is in isolation, then naturally that is of concern, but contrary to that there [are] obviously other perspectives that need to be heard and I think they will be heard loud and clear,” he said.

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What Game of Thrones readers want in season 5

Tyrion must return for season five of Game of Thrones. When it comes to Melisandre we are all rooting for Jon Snow, quite literally. The Wall is cold, and a man needs a burning desire.
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Remember Gendry? Surely he will play a part in the Lady Stoneheart plot.

Daenerys’ storyline needs more action, and fast.

COMMENT

(Spoiler alert: If you haven’t read all of the Game of Thrones books, do not read on.)

On mourning the loss of Game of Thrones for another year (April, 2015 just can’t come quick enough), thoughts immediately turn to next season and why there are certain elements of George R.R. Martin’s books that devoted readers want to see come to fruition on the screen, and quickly.

For example it became blatantly apparent on Twitter shortly after the season-four finale ended that book fans were disappointed that Lady Stoneheart did not make her entrance in what would have been a pretty amazing teaser for next season.

But on reflection, I can see why showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff didn’t want to introduce her just yet. Don’t forget there is still that tantalising element for TV viewers of not knowing who Lady Stoneheart is, and the series will get to draw out the terror that Lord Walder Frey’s men experience at the hands of some mysterious bunch of murderous bandits. Followed by the big unveil to Brienne of Tarth.

That’s a whole series there, so my bet is that Stoneheart will help launch the new season.

Interwoven with that is the reintroduction of Gendry, who we last left sailing away in season three while escaping from Dragonstone, and where he will be placed going forward. I suspect he has a greater role in the story than even the books have alluded to yet. He, Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton are the bastards upon which a great number of plot lines can still be centred (claims to the Iron Throne, anyone?). And before you start commenting that Jon, like most of the Starks, will meet a bloody end, I disagree.

Hasn’t Lady Stoneheart taught us anything?

Getting back to season five, Jon Snow’s ascension to Lord Commander is clearly next, now Stannis Baratheon has arrived at the Wall. But as a fan of both book and the show, I really want to know whether Weiss and Benioff plan on making Melisandre a complicating love interest. It was only a look, but what a tantalising look she gave Jon through the smoke of Castle Black’s burning bodies during the finale. And we know Jon has a thing for women who have been ”kissed by fire” – Melisandre comes straight off a Redheads match box.

Although the book never goes there, we know how much sex and naked bodies have been a staple of the show and there were plenty of hints coming from Sam Tarly, as well as possibly Wildling-king Mance. Sam pointing out that the vows taken by men of the Night’s Watch never explicitly meant celibacy (although this could just be in reference to his own desire for Gilly), but when coupled with Mance’s suggestion that Ygritte was not enough to turn Jon, suggests Jon’s days of naked romps may not yet be over (challenge accepted Melisandre?). Which will certainly make for an interesting dynamic with Stannis, although knowing him he might condone Jon spending a little time in a (ahem) bushfire in exchange for ensnaring him as Warden of the North (I’m not sure if they’ll bother with Mance’s Wildling sister-in-law).

Then there are the Stark girls, who we can see from Sansa’s new dark do are going to really come into their element rather than being led around by men in their lives. The trouble is that the books don’t really offer much in the way of Sansa’s story going forward, except that Robin seems to accept her as a surrogate mother. The TV show has already fast-tracked Littlefinger’s creepy crush and added her bad-ass element, which for many of us who have defended Sansa’s character (based on the books’ insights) is a welcome twist. So she may not return for season five but perhaps season six (by then Martin may have written another book (fingers crossed) but I have to acknowledge that three more TV seasons have been commissioned without him publishing another word.

Or, going off plot and thinking outside of the box, could Sansa eventually lead the northern revolt against Ramsay Bolton (instead of Lord Wyman Manderly)? She has declared herself publicly to the Vale, and reminded them of their failings to her family. And I’m guessing that Ramsay needs to carry out the charade of marrying Arya Stark, who is really Sansa’s friend Jeyne Poole (returned from the dead), to continue the plot line, as well as give him something sadistic to do. The role of Jeyne is the salvation of Reek (aka Theon Greyjoy) and the motive for Jon to send a rescue team to Winterfell. I doubt Ramsay’s sicko girlfriend (randomely introduced in the show) can fill that void.

But really Arya is where all the visual fun and excitement is at, especially upon landing in Braavos. Yet I suspect that her introduction to the Faceless Men of the House of Black and White may still  be a way off, as it was in the books, which will allow her to simply become a street urchin for a while. A murderous one, don’t get me wrong, but she has a language to learn and a new port city to explore (although in the books she wasn’t quite in Braavos – but surely that would be too confusing for watchers).

And when it comes to new things, there are a plethora of new characters yet to be introduced. Which leads me to disagree with Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson, who wrote that next season the show will morph into something unrecognisable, and not as good.

“Certain beloved characters will stay stuck and stagnant (anyone hoping that Daenerys will get out of the dang slave desert anytime soon should probably stop holding their breath), while a bunch of new characters are introduced who, as far as any of us have read anyway, really don’t have anything interesting to do,” Lawson claims.

“Will viewers be happy to meet more salty, stolid Iron Islanders? Will various antics involving other Dornish folk intrigue them as much as Oberyn’s plotline did? I’m just not sure they will.”

Shame on Lawson, for dismissing all the action in Dorne so swiftly. The repercussions of Oberyn’s death on the Sand Snakes and Cersei Lannister’s daughter, Princess Myrcella, provide a great deal of new political intrigues, sex scenes and betrayals. Which in turn spawns some of Martin’s most-inspired material since the Red Wedding – revenge plots on the House of Lannister.

Enter Young Griff (although strictly speaking he’s not the only Martell iron in the fire). This new character had me jumping up and down with glee, made all the more delightful that it is through Tyrion that we get to meet him. And let’s face it, I don’t think any TV fan can go without Tyrion for a whole season, so I would stake my fictional character’s life (if I had been so lucky as to have won Martin’s offer of being written into one of his books) that we will meet Young Griff in series five. And Tyrion’s adventure is so action-packed that it would no doubt take three seasons to play out.

I only hope (unlike the books) Varys plays a part in guiding Young Griff into the lives of TV viewers, because the eunich, played brilliantly by Northern Irish actor Conleith Hill, was well missed in season four.

You also have all the developing fun of King’s Landing as Margaery and Cersei wrestle for control of Tommen (of which I relish the day that Cersei makes that famous walk through the city). But there is much to come in the way of Cersei befriending and bedding Taena Merryweather, empowering the Faith Militant and losing Jaime, as he is once again road-bound for Riverrun and eventually Brienne.

I also can’t imagine Lady Oleanna sitting idly by as Cersei self-sabotages (as she mostly did in the books) since the Queen of Thorns is Highgarden’s Tywin Lannister (a real prick). I think her’s will mostly be an Agatha Christie plot, full of mystery and twists, as Cersei digs further into Joffrey’s death.

Not to mention the fact that season four did not kill off the Martell’s sworn enemy, The Mountain – who at the hands of Qyburn-Frankenstein sounds like he’s about to become a monster. To what end, who knows?

And just for the blood and gore factor there is always the rebellion against Daenerys Targaryen. But I have to admit her storyline needs to ramp up radically, even if it means fast-tracking the action of much later chapters. In that much, Lawson and I agree.

Iron Islanders be damned, they will just be a pawn in the much bigger chess game that Game of Thrones thrives on and has kept us hooked from the begining. Because in the game of thrones you win or you die. Valar Morghulis!

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