Archive for June, 2008

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History in the Remaking – The Pre-Ban Experience

This has been a bit of a nostalgic journey for me.

About 9 months ago I left Sydney and moved to Adelaide, yet now here I am, tracing paths in the back streets of Newtown on a Sunday afternoon, much like I used to do on a regular basis. Strong emotion stirs from the familiarity of footsteps on these same roads, the same stray cats, the same eccentric individuals perched in coffee shops or begging in a doorway, passing by the old 19th century houses that I have often thought ‘I’d like to live in that’, thinking about a parallel life that maybe is happening in another time and space.

The popular inner Sydney suburbs of Newtown, Camperdown, Erskineville and surrounds are an appropriate place to reflect on history, particularly the era when absinthe was in its heyday.  In these gracefully decaying streets are the lingering ghosts of previous centuries… the ‘Murdering Makins of MacDonaldtown’ who mercilessly did away with at least 13 babies while running a faux-child care operation out of labyrinthine lane ways; the blackened dusty workmen who laboured at the Eveleigh railyards or St Peters Brickworks; the juvenile delinquents of the  ‘Glebe Push’ and ‘Forty Thieves’ street gangs, notorious for their trail of theft and assault…

I spy with my little eye...

I spy with my little eye….

It is fitting, then, that we invoke these phantoms, that we grasp at the sounds and sights of another time, for on this afternoon both Robert and I journey to the house of our good friend Daniel to partake in something almost 100 years old, our own little time-travel experience….

– a sample of pre-ban Pernod Fils Absinthe, circa 1910.

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Posted by Jonathan on Jun 21st 2008 | Filed in Absinthe brands,Absinthe Reviews,Events,History,News,Reviews | Comments (0)

Not So Plain Jaine

The Dark Cabaret musical genre continues to grow from strength to strength, and shows itself not to be a passing fad riding on the heels of burlesque, but the genuine discovery of a style and approach to song-writing that balances the historical and contemporary.

One such artist worth investigating as the soundtrack to your next absinthe imbibing is the brooding but sultry Nicki Jaine, who’s commanding voice is seemingly far greater than her diminutive stature.

Mesmerising cover versions of German cabaret songs from the 1940s emerge from within, along with her haunting original material. You would probably be forgiven for picturing in your mind something of a Marlene Deitrich-type with an acoustic guitar. And, in case you needed convincing of her credentials, in this genre through a good back story her musical education arose from individuals such as her grandfather, who reputedly learnt the fiddle from Transylvanian Gypsies.

Any more noir and it would hurt, no?

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Posted by Jonathan on Jun 16th 2008 | Filed in Cabaret,Music,People,Style | Comments (0)

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