Caulfield man starts jazz collective

Sam McAuliffe, founder of Melbourne Improvisers Collective plays at the collective's inaugural show

Caulfield resident, Sam McAuliffe, has launched one of the most progressive jazz movements Melbourne has ever seen. The Melbourne Improvisers Collective was created late last year to showcase jazz musicians from all around Victoria. The collective premiers local upcoming jazz talent as well as providing opportunities for the public to hear distinguished musicians play.

McAuliffe, 21, says he decided to form the collective after ongoing frustration at the lack of support for emerging jazz artists in Melbourne. Upon speaking to a number of distinguished professional musicians, it became clear to him that the problem was larger than he first suspected. “I felt that the only way to make these sorts of things happen was to do it myself,” McAuliffe says.

The Melbourne Improvisers Collective provides opportunities for emerging jazz musicians to showcase their original compositions as well as allowing them to play on the same night as highly-regarded professionals in the genre. McAuliffe, a guitarist and student at Monash University, says he deliberately chose a venue that’s not known for its jazz scene as a means of giving the style more exposure. He hopes that “people who may not normally listen to jazz may stumble upon us and enjoy themselves.”

The response to this project has been an unprecedented success. As the nights feature three bands playing in succession, McAuliffe was dubious as to how people would respond to shorter set times. However, audiences have relished the idea of seeing three bands in a night. In addition to this, many performers have commented on the fun of performing in a non-jazz setting. Initial expectations were that the collective would fall apart after a couple of months “but we’re still here,” McAuliffe says. “We’re still getting plenty of applications from all over Melbourne, not only from little guys but lecturers and professionals who just want to have a play.”

In addition to the evening events, the collective has received strong support from Monash University who allow weekly performances in one of the on-campus restaurants. These performances feature Monash students who are studying in the jazz stream of the university’s Bachelor of Music course.

There are no signs of the collective slowing down, with regular performances going ahead, it seems there is no stopping the group. McAuliffe hopes to keep expanding “possibly including a second venue and building things up from there.”

The Melbourne Improvisers Collective hosts events at ‘Gertrude’s Brown Couch’ in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. The nights run from 8-11pm and require a $6 entry fee.

For more information, visit the website.

Station surveys infuriate commuters

Workers conducting surveys at Caulfield Station are disrupting commuters while authorities ignore the problem.

Commuters use the tunnel at Caulfield Railway Station

Commuters who regularly use Caulfield train station have recently been complaining about workers at the train station conducting surveys and asking for donations during peak time.

The workers, primarily from the Red Cross organisation, stand in the tunnel which connects the platforms asking passers-by for donations as well as their time to fill out various surveys or purchase memberships.

Hayden Joseph, a student who uses the station to access Monash University five days a week, says he is sick of being hassled by these people.

“I make eye-contact with one of them and all of a sudden I’m being ambushed,” Joseph says. “It really gets on my nerves.”

When asked if he has complained, Mr. Joseph says he has tried but this has not improved the situation.

When surveyed, eighty percent of commuters said they would like to see these workers banned during peak times.

While the issue is around this particular metropolitan train station, Caulfield Station master, Robert Torcasio accepts no responsibility for the problem. He says he is given little warning when the workers are going to be in place.

“All the bookings go through head office. It’s nothing to do with me,” Torcasio says.

He was unable to say exactly how often there were workers on the premises but said he believed it to be infrequently. Torcasio urges customers to direct their complaints to the metlink head office.

The Colonel’s Council

Local residents plan to start their own council after years of negligence.

A group of Caulfield and Caulfield South rsidents has announced plans to create their own council after what they describe as years of putting up with a non-representative council.

Colonel Darren Wicklow, leader of the rebellion group, says he’s sick of facing higher charger than residents in surrounding suburbs.

“The City of Glen Eira has ignored us for too long,” Wicklow says. “Last week’s rate rise was the final straw…it’s independence or war.”

The group plan to launch a legal challenge to emancipate themselves from the local government and exist as an independent municipality.

The rebels will march from Café Baa Baa, in Glen Huntly Road, to the Glen Eira town hall, at 10am next Saturday.

Desalination Plant – Rushed Decision

Experts say the Victorian Desalination Plant was a rushed decision by the government and that there are better ways to solve the water shortage issue.

With the Wonthaggi Desalination Plant set to begin working by the end of next year, experts have revealed that the Victorian Government’s decision to build it was rushed and unmeasured.

Environment Victoria’s CEO, Kelly O’Shanassy, described the plan as “reactionary” to the water shortages the State Government faced after their re-election in 2006. She said her company did not support the proposal, largely due to the fact that desalination plants of this kind are the “most energy-intensive way existent” to create water.

The plant, which will produce approximately one third of Melbourne’s annual water requirement, was not a part of the Labor party’s original campaign but such a plan has nevertheless been created.

Sustainable Water Use Expert, Dr. Grace Mitchell, believes this happened simply because the Brumby government “panicked.” She said the plant is a “heavy impact approach to water supply” and that the decision was politically motivated. Mitchell also estimates that there will be “a doubling in water pricing over the next few years.”

Recently, it has been revealed that the Government also made drastic changes to the desalination plant suggestions originally presented to them. The Wonthaggi station will produce around 150 gigalitres of water per year – at least 50% more than the 50-100 gigalitre suggestion in the feasibility study.

Melbourne Bus Routes - Inadequate

As the use of Melbourne public transport increases, problems with bus routes are highlighted.

While Melbourne’s public transport system remains one of the biggest in the world, experts say the standard of bus services is far below what should be expected.

Buses, particularly in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, are infrequent with some routes running only one service per hour.

Daniel Bowen from the Public Transport Users Association thinks buses are the “forgotten cousins” of trams and trains. “The frequencies [of buses] are just appalling,” he said.

But despite these issues a lot of Melbournians do rely on buses on a daily basis.

The Victorian State Government has somewhat addressed the issue with the implementation of the SmartBus.

However, Chair of Public Transport at Monash University, Professor Graham Currie said that a study he conducted a few years ago revealed that the average frequency of a bus was one every 40 minutes and the average finishing time of a bus was 6:58pm.

In addition to this, he said there are “huge holes in the city where we have no buses.” He believes, though, that it is not only one Government’s problem but rather that it is “in our history.”

Currie and many other experts all agree that the Melbourne bus system is simply nowhere near where it needs to be.

Five students hospitalised over meningococcal outbreak

Five Ballarat teenagers have been hospitalised and quarantined after a sudden outbreak of meningococcal disease.

Two teenagers are in a critical condition, while three remain in a serious but stable condition after all were diagnosed with meningococcal disease over the past two days.

Doctors at the Ballarat Base hospital are extremely concerned for the five, all close friends and students at Sebastapol College in the Ballarat region.

It began with fifteen year old Jeremy Little whose mother rushed him to hospital on Tuesday evening after complaints of a headache and uncontrollable vomiting.

By 3pm yesterday, Monica Templeton, 14, David Hughes, 15, Erica Singh, 13, and Jordan Reed, 16, had all been diagnosed and quarantined.

Head of Communicable Diseases at the hospital, Dr. Beryl Wainwright says it’s an extremely rare case, she has “never seen an outbreak of this strain affect so many people so quickly.”

Little’s mother, Lynne, said she started to become seriously concerned when her son came down with an high fever and couldn’t stop vomiting. “I just threw him in the back of the car and tore down here,” she said. “I’ve been tearing my her out ever since. I haven’t slept or eaten. Jeremy’s my life.”

Sebastapol College Principal, Bruce Feeney said he was awaiting instruction from the Department of Education as the situation was “not a matter for the school” to deal with independently.

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