Canberra Confidential / Corbell the comeback kid?

CANBERRA’S former Prince of Outrage, Jorian Gardner, clearly delighted at the news of the ACT’s fast-forwarding to 100 per cent of renewable energy, tweeted last week that Environment Minister Simon Corbell is “doing far better work” than Greens leader Shane Rattenbury “has ever done on the environment”.

These days, Melbourne-based Jorian – he of the infamous Nazi burlesque at the Fringe Festival – is an adviser to Australian Sex Party leader Fiona Patten (who was elected to the Victorian Upper House at the last election) and will probably be directing traffic as the Sex Party mounts local candidates to contest the October ACT election with the Greens being the primary target for stealing votes.

But he’d best be careful what he wishes for. CC is hearing of the dawning concern at the lack of depth in the preselected Labor line-up and the stupidity of the Left faction’s inexplicable decision to effectively dump Corbell from this year’s ticket.

Certainly, for a man working notice, the Deputy Chief Minister hasn’t missed a beat in prosecuting the tram argument, juggling the miseries of the Health portfolio and soldiering on almost single-handedly saving the environment.

CC predicts someone down the ticket in his home electorate of Murrumbidgee will find themselves suddenly indisposed and Corbell will be called to make up the numbers. Labor certainly needs him; there is but daylight between Chief Minister Andrew Barr and the rest of his cabinet when it comes to political nous and experience.

Cakeage leaves bad taste

LAST week we wondered if anyone could top the $2.50 “cakeage” cost a Watson reader had been charged recently by a restaurant for slicing up a birthday cake. Margaret Funnell can top that and then some. She wrote to say that almost 20 years ago at a swanky Barton restaurant (we have the name) she was charged $4 a slice at her son’s 18th birthday.

“As it was a large cake for over 20 people, it was a considerable and unexpected charge,” she says.

“When I had asked if it was all right to bring a cake, they had not informed me of any additional costs. Needless to say, no tips were given as it had finished the night with an unpleasant taste.”

There’s still no clue to cakeage costs on the restaurant’s website, but its corkage cost for BYO wine is an eye-watering $20 these days.

The Dead Singer Band live.

The Dead Singer Band live.

The dead ringer tribute band

WELL, we’re going to call it: weird, that’s what the glumly titled, concept group Dead Singer Band is. Coming to Canberra later this month this quartet takes tribute bands into a decidedly strange place.

Comprising three former members of the Masters Apprentices band, Dead Singer Band was borne from the grief over the death of Apprentices’ singer Jim Keays.

Apparently, from the reminiscing about how many dead singers they collectively knew, the three veteran musos – brothers Colin and Denny Burgess, and Roger Faynes – discovered that between them they had a collection of personal stories to tell about a host of iconic lead vocalists (for instance, Colin was Bon Scott’s tour roommate when he was drumming for AC/DC).
So, with singer Vanessa Lea, stories and footage were collected and collated, and the result is a show based on, well, dead singers including the work of Billy Thorpe, Ray Brown, Shirley Strachan, 
Ted Mulry, Darryl Cotton, Maurice and Robin Gibb, Bon Scott, Doc Neeson, Chrissy Amphlett, Michael Hutchence and Stevie Wright with the recently deceased Jon English rounding the night out.

The dead centre of Australian music is at The Basement, on Friday, May 20.

T-shirts with a mission

Models in the whale-inspired T-shirt.

Models in the whale-inspired T-shirt.

WHO would have known: more than two billion T-shirts are made every year around the world, the vast majority in an unethical and unsustainable way.

But not, it seems, in Canberra where sustainable furniture makers Anita and Carlo Krikowa have created Lost and Found, which is creating T-shirts that don’t damage. Indeed, they do a whole lot of good by supporting women and children affected by economic domestic violence.

“We chose economic domestic violence since it’s not as well understood as some other forms of domestic violence,” says Anita. “This type of violence occurs when an abuser controls all the money, often not giving the victim access to bank accounts or an adequate allowance or even the money needed to get to and from work.”

Lost and Found has struck a partnership with the Domestic Violence Crisis Service ACT, which manages the program, channelling funds to those who need it most.

The design of whales on the first season’s tees is original and by Canberra’s Katie McAuliffe. The tees are made using 100 per cent organic cotton, 73 per cent recycled water, 90 per cent renewable energy and are carbon neutral. They’re made by workers protected by Fair Trade laws and no child labour is involved.

They’re only available through Cardif Collective, Green Square, Kingston (upstairs in the Cusack Centre) and online via

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