‘Mr Kitly’s Hanging Garden # 4’, Brunswick, Saturday 29 October 2011, photo by Alicia Bee


I had a dog; it weighed more than many men at eighty kilograms.
It was an Alaskan Malamute a breed which appears like a wolf.

It would howl at thunderstorms, and loved the ocean.

The dog’s name was Jonty, though it died in 2007 I may never own or look after a pet like it.

Larger than life; the size of a bear, she was a member of the family.

The breed in the Grinderman promo above is more like a Siberian Husky, however they had made it appear quite vicious and domesticated breeds are trained away from such nature.

You can see from the promo this is a very expensive clip designed to promote Grinderman amongst other great label artists like KELLY ROWLAND and BEYONCE.

When I was a teenager the book WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES was popular amongst feminist book club circles.

I didn’t get through the introduction of WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES, but had never read THE FEMALE EUNUCH which also came in a time before my birth.

Sometimes though, I would take a run in the hills with my pet wolf and just run really fast.

For there were times when I liked to run, in spite of all aspects of my lifestyle.

I was once a runner, and won many races.

So I guessed that I was a woman who ran with the wolf.

This is one thought I had when running with Jonty in the hills.

‘I am running with the wolf,’ I would say to myself.

I would run to the hills many times to be with the family and the wolf in the windy trees.

And now the dog is dead, so I cant do that anymore.

And it has been a long time since I have run with the wolf.

After the Fringe Festival show that included my dead pet photos, I have this week added 2 more poems about pets to my new title THE BOOK OF THE DEAD AND WOUNDED launched in less than a fortnight in ST KILDA. One of the poems is printed below.

THE GOOD FOLK CLUB presents a launch of THE BOOK OF THE DEAD AND WOUNDED poetry collection by ALICIA BEE with bands BURN IN HELL + SLACQUER + CHARM + JAMES HAZELDEN on FRIDAY 11 NOVEMBER at ST KILDA BOWLS CLUB at 66 FITZROY STREET ST KILDA from 8pm, its $11 entry ($25 with book).


Nick Cave lies like a junkie to say he thought Rowland S Howard should have sung ‘Shivers’ on their 1979 Boys Next Door LP ‘Door Door’.

‘Dogs In Space’ director Richard Lowenstein suggested in the question forum that it was clear Nick Cave was untruthful and the audience would know the lie, when he stares with his junkie blue truth right into the camera and says that Rowland S Howard should have sung ‘Shivers’, the song he wrote for former band The Young Charlatans.

Rowland S Howard wanted his documentary to be truthful and share information on his drug periods so it was only part of the real story to include a lie from Nick Cave on the ‘Shivers’ statement, as it was always there.

Those that have ever contemplated why Nick Cave sung the vocal of the poignant lyrics would know the issue was always a part of Rowland’s professional life and he was open to talk often about the song.

This documentary opens up a little more about his music story outside the ‘Shivers’ gift to Australian Folk music history.

Autoluminescent is a long feature documentary about Rowland S Howard’s music career since the late seventies; his bands, collaborations, and time spent living in Australia, England, Berlin and America.

It includes recent footage of the Rowland S Howard that we knew in Melbourne over the past 5 years from junkie days to hospital treatments and more healthier times of live music including a festival show.

Interviews with a cast of international musicians take it away from the Rowland S Howard funeral tributes with the locals we know and love, making it a story that helps many understand the importance of his contribution to music.

The duration of film really allows you to feel closer to Rowland’s life knowing that the lead character dies only makes it seem more like the two hours is sharing a slice of his story.

Rowland was a cool kid in 1970s Melbourne, they partied and played in bands. When they went to England, the band took their girlfriends and the whole entourage lived together. What a fun time they would have had! Can you imagine the birthday parties of The Birthday Party people back then? See the documentary and find out what Rowland S Howard thought of England.

Watching Autoluminescent is like glimpsing an era of another time provoking the same nostalgia I had for stories about Australian music journalist Lillian Roxan or those great yarns about The Factory.

People who are in the right place at the right time in the time before we were born have this envy.

This documentary reminds us of a fleeting part in time and that NIck Cave and Rowland S Howard were once the coolest kids in Berlin.

Rowland’s story covered several periods in Australian music and will touch people differently as they deal with drugs and the interviewee statements.

I just hope it reminds people around the world once again that the cool kids came from Melbourne.

This is an important Australian music history documentary that I am proud they are presenting to the world. I hope you can see it in New Orleans, Berlin or England and know that Rowland shared a piece of history there.

Or for the locals you can see it just at the Elsternwick Classic, Cinema Nova or Belgrave Cameo.

NOTE: These cinemas are my favorite cinemas in Melbourne and I think all films should do a run at these places ONLY. Now known as the COOL THREE CINEMAS TO COOL KIDS IN MELBOURNE AND BERLIN.

Strange Wolf Wine list.


BAR  Enter via Strachan Lane, near Exhibition + Collins Street, Melbourne.

Maurice Manno one owner of the new inner city bar Strange Wolf says they haven’t yet planned Christmas and New Years parties, but bands will play occasionally. The venue close in quick step to Pony and Cherry bars, adds another music nightspot in between Ding Dong.

Walk down the stairs into the den, and take a look at the plants.

STRANGE WOLF have several windows providing daylight from Exhibition Street above that give atmospheric areas for hanging plant displays along the East wall. I suggested getting solar powered panels in place of the glass bricks to retain the lighting lost, after a later 8pm darkening dulled the art of the design features but they are not yet in place (it really would not be hard to make solar power happen and their embracement would mean a big deal as a statement about clever design for our venues).

Several plants sit in large square alcoves hanging from under the street windows beautiful in the natural light. The plants are grown from a root system that is wrapped in a string like ball shaping starting from a small base rather than a large pot of dirt.

The hanging ball plant displays were first seen by me at Mr Kitley  on Sydney Road in Brunswick (photo above but better photos on their website), a shop that displays hanging plants and homewares with art pieces and books. Mr Kitley tells me hanging plants of the ball style base were also seen at the Melbourne Design Market and they would be creeping into offices, houses and more venues around this town because it is now hip to own a terrarium.

What Strange Wolf and Mr Kitly share is the idea of bringing plant appreciation back into inner city venues where it is cool to be without cigarette pollution.

Who knows how long till hanging gardens will return us to Babylon, but go stand next to the plant exhibition at this cool venue STRANGE WOLF.

The Grace Darling owners have a wood display above the bar similar to The Workers Club decoration in appreciation of open framing and naked or natural tones.

A too large bar end at the entrance will direct drink buyers to an orderly area closer to the taps, (but that one may only make sense when you get there and measure you arms across the bar).

DJ music and friendly strangers most nights for after work drinks.


KING CANNONS wrote a folk song titled CALL FOR HELP a while ago; and it was answered by a full house audience of friends and fans who know the lyrics and want to follow them when they tour. As opening track the song played with purpose and feeling reminds us that we are at a show for a band whose time is now. The shock is enough to alert senses and keep audience interest with a feeling that their glass is full enough, till the end of the songs they had waited to hear.

Retaining this energy for the set by playing staring at the crowd KING CANNONS have started a movement that is worth the experience.

Dressed all in black except for one pair of brown dress shoes on the singer, the six piece love every song of their uniform rocker set; know and understand the lyrics and keep up the healthy tour of dates momentum for a tour closure with a spot on set without encore.

JACKSON FIREBIRD remind us that THE WHITE STRIPES were right to have a twopiece. This duo is powered by drums that compliment guitar and lead them to battle for each song.

Rock and roll radio pop, short songs with tight finishes make Cock Rocking on a Rock Solid base the formula to make punters smile.

What sells them impressively is a drummer that will also handslap a plastic box for their preferred extra sound, which is more noted in percussion than one who shares cymbals with the greats. See them again at a festival.

THE STRUMS had the best merchandise on the table but had played while I was not writing a review for the mandolin soundcheck of The Taylor Project at The Penny Black, or the first songs of Perth band The Volcanics at The Retreat, in between going to cool bars like Ressurrection.

THE STRUMS have put a magnet on a mousetrap with their name and this fascinated me greatly in the safe environment of the after gig merchandise social area even without the enticement of French cheese attached.

They will play again in Melbourne with ISAAC GRAHAM on the ‘Pickin Up Momentum Tour’ on Saturday 17 December at The Grace Darling Hotel.

In the mean time look out for their single review below.


A working class hero punk lyric anthem over fast chord changes about being frustrated at not being heard. THE STRUMS just may have rewrote ROWLAND S HOWARD’s SHIVERS with their lifeline mention of depression and use of strong words with the same male intention; but rest assured that they have not been contemplating suicide, as it doesn’t suit their punk style.

“Its not suicide but its certainly not a happy life,” is the throwaway statement of angst from a songwriter whose antagonists are brickwalls or the ‘man with a suit’, (who within this rhyme is ‘playing the flute’ in a Pied Piper like taunt).

Note also that Rowland S Howard had copyrighted the lyrics ‘suicide + but’ in that order, but this is a new punk version of the Australian folk song that really doesn’t suit the style of the gothic 1979 recording as known to be sung by Nick Cave.

‘Two and Two step’ is the new detention of a punk genre in the Myspace zone for those kids bored with Triple J, Grinspoon and Reality TV.

(My guess is that ‘Two and Two’ makes age 23 punk songwriters, though readers of my reviews know my numbers don’t always add up either. 23 if only I could be. 23 can you remember me?)


My good friend Merry Prain has convinced her sister to continue playing bass for her band Slacquer with Phil Lawrence on drums in spite of familiar sibling distractions. Whilst ‘Music By Number’s is a new 2011 release it contains four old songs recorded with two female lineup versions of former band Lacquer which they numbered in a formula on the CD notes.

‘Lacquer 1’ songs started their dual harmonies as school based singing style of sounding like a girl band with songs like ‘Baby’ that form the pop melodic character of their present live set.

‘Lacquer 2’ tried to create more division in their chord and vocal changeovers and become louder with tracks like ‘Wall Of Sound’.

One track called ‘Shoeboxes’ recorded by Lacquer 2, is a song about a girl who keeps her concert tickets and memories in old boxes. If it hadn’t been written before Merry knew about my collection of shoes and setlists it could well have been another song ode to feet like mine, but I have been reminded a few times that it came before in a time when they wore work uniforms for their first gig at the Tote (I was there).

When they worked out the newest lineup and added the special super S to their name becoming Slacquer they wrote ‘Rock And Roll Baby’ perhaps the fullest vocal recording on the ‘Music By Numbers’ release. This is where they are at the moment, providing sibling supporting harmonies in a tighter three piece more practiced from playing Shoeboxes so many times.


When this Melbourne four piece from the south east gave away their EP at City Polyester Records looking for new listeners I picked up a copy always willing to get something for nothing. CLOWNS play with the bands of their day; Chaos Kids, Epics and The Bennies and could look every bit the pierced lip skip punk bunker of the suburbs that created The Living End and British India. Watch them Repeat After Me  now as they wear school uniforms and photocopy their fliers in someone else’s office in true do-it-yourself build-it-up band dreams on the sand of the Mornington Peninsula.

You may be watching their band at a club in Prahran or wondering if the St Kilda clowns have adopted them as rock and roll orphans.

I stamp their hands at the door with the same ink we used on the FREEZA shows at the turn of century (23 how we used to be).

Still yet to play festivals and ALL AGE sober shows, and enjoying the beer tokens.


Alouette Alaskan Wolf

Alicia Bee ©

We had a pet wolf as big as any grown man,

She’d howl at thunder or the moon and couldn’t bark,

If you stared into space she’d point to understand.

Alouette Jonty, my dog, come back home and play.

We would let her be wild all over the state park,

Didn’t kill but with energy she had ran,

As domesticated she would come back at dark.

We took her to the beach before they made a ban,

She was over the waters on the landmark,

She didn’t know any of the songs I sung,

Alouette Jonty, my dog, come back home and play.

Dead Roos

By Alicia Bee ©

I don’t travel on the National Highway,

Because I cry at all the dead kangaroos,

They leave the dead roos on the road where they lay,

The unnamed bodies don’t get a funeral.

The journey straight up takes hours of eleven,

Ladies take a tea stop on the distance cruise,

The rear vision mirror is hogged by women.

By Coburg I was looking for things to say,

How long is the song on the way to heaven?

If you take the plane ride you don’t need to pray,

The unnamed bodies don’t get a funeral.

Pharlaps Body

By Alicia Bee ©

When I come around it will be riding Pharlap,

I’ll be taking every country on the map,

Its not the great war myth that flies my dreams across,

Im riding his taxidermy with wings to flap,

For solving the murder I don’t need your handclap,

When I come around it will be riding Pharlap.

I need to find out what they did with my head cap,

All action happened before I had the nap,

The skeleton’s in Wellington being flossed,

Died in California through violent mishap,

Its because Pharlap always worked for the boss,

You can’t feed them water straight from a running tap,

I’ll be taking every country on the map.

I was hiding the book while riding in my lap,

A well full of water is not to be a loss,

(Back in the capital for a heart with lip gloss)

I’ll be taking every country on the map,

When I come around it will be riding Pharlap.