Canberra Confidential / Platter chatter at the Lyons shops

Cafe owner Ben Holland. Photo by Gary Schafer

Cafe owner Ben Holland. Photo by Gary Schafer

DOWN in Lyons shops is eclectic little cafe Stand By Me, run by brother and sister team Ben and Phoebe Holland. New to the hospitality industry, they’ve created a homely, cosy vibe where vinyl plays exclusively in the background – they encourage you to bring your own records to listen to, or donate them in return for free goodies.

Ben says the food is generous, hearty and rustic, the coffee awesome and they do all-day breakfast on the weekends. Their sister Allison bakes for the cafe, too.

Sad science

SCIENTIST Dr Kara Youngentob, pictured, an American working at the CSIRO, recently visited the “empty shell of a research facility that was the Yarralumla CSIRO campus”

In a plucky Facebook post she says that there are plenty of empty offices but some of the remaining scientists are being housed three or more to a room because the new CSIRO has a policy that each person only gets a certain amount of space.

“I learned today that one defiant scientist tried to go sit in an empty room so he could think in quiet. He was summarily reprimanded and sent back to his allocated shared-space,” she writes.

“To the powers that be, he is not a person, he is not a leader in his field, he is not shaping the future of Australian industry, he is just a piece of policy and he must fit into a set of rules that were not designed for people like him, or the work that he does, but nonetheless he must spend his days, his life, like this.

“More likely though, he will leave us and go to a country that appreciates his work. Here, he is just treading water, like so many of us with no certain future. Where is the sense in this? This is how Australia treats its leading scientists.”

Toast of the night

FORMER senator Gary Humphries was doing a masterful job as MC at the grand Eisteddfod Choral Challenge at Llewellyn Hall brightly filling the time as choirs arrived and departed the stage with small talk and buy-the-program announcements.

As one choir departed, having included an indigenous-influenced “Waltzing Matilda”, he stopped the conductor to ask how the singers had achieved the cupped-hand sound of the didgeridoo. Unconvinced at the ease of the technique, Gary said it might be best achieved by gargling with methylated spirits. Trouper that he is, he pressed on with nary a blink.  


MUM in the shower when five-year-old son appears with her iPhone announcing there’s someone calling her. As he opens the shower door she reaches to grab the phone before it gets water on it and realises it’s a FaceTime call. You may have heard her screams on Saturday!

HARD Love… “Courtney Love just cancelled her interview with me,” tweets the ABC’s Jolene Laverty. “I hope it’s not because I tweeted her a picture of me dressed up like her.” Do you want to tell her?

CC’s Garran snout returns a dozen eggs to a supermarket having bought them with an expired “use by” date. Cheery shop assistant refunds money and returns the eggs to the shelf. She counters his protests, saying: “It’s okay, they’ve all expired”.

AND still they tweet… the unapproved Capital Metro train set, smugly comfy in getting its latest tranche of $23.5 million through the Assembly, maintains its daily slew of mindless tweets to a pitiful handful of followers. For example:  “Congestion is crippling our cities, what’s the solution?” And in case you can’t guess, there’s a link to one of a series of facile corporate videos on YouTube.

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