Kids Need to Hear That Educational Funk

indoor play centre MelbourneKids love rap, and I can prove it. I’ve taken my traveling rap show up and down the country, visiting almost every single kids party venue, Melbourne to Jandakot, Jandakot to Perth, Perth to Sydney, and other places!!

Although getting booking has been somewhat hard. Parents and guardians often aren’t that happy when they hear I’ll be performing rap; I usually have to whip out the balloon animals to set their minds at ease. So I mix up the rap with the balloon animals, and then if I get to the end of the performance and the parents are looking extra horrified, I just whip out my pre-pre-prepared pass-the-parcel. It’s way too much of a classic for my refined modern tastes, but it does appeal to the parents, and the kids appreciate the thrill of the game.

Thing is, people just need to get it out of their heads that rap is wrong. If they listened to the lyrics, they’d know that they’re all about how to cross the street correctly, why you shouldn’t eat things that fall on the floor and the importance of broccoli. I’m doing something that really should fit right into the ethos of a party venue, which is keeping the tone chill and teaching kids valuable life lessons. But no…it’s rap, so it’s got to be corrupting the children.

At least some parents are starting to realise the truth and give me some very nice reviews. And it takes quite a bit of skill! My raps aren’t written; I freestyle for about 45 minutes on subjects I think kids need to know.

People will see, eventually. Rap is the way. Every single indoor play centre in Australia will have rap ringing through their halls, just like all the indoor play centres in Melbourne seem to have ball pits. Wow, so many ball pits. Maybe I need to include a few minutes of spitting lyrics on ball pit safety? No dunkin’ or divin’, wiki wiki.

-Funky Franklin

Read More

Kids Parties, Beneficial for Everyone?

indoor play centre SydneyNever thought I’d find myself smitten with a birthday clown, but…life, I suppose? Life certainly keeps you entertained. Much like a birthday clown. And I honestly didn’t know there was such thing as a female birthday clown, but that’s the new and progressive world we live in. Equal rights and opportunities, and all that. Anyway, it’s not like she was a clown in the traditional sense anyway. Very sensibly dressed (even if they were nice colours), and her style of entertaining was mostly educational mixed with fun.

Lovely, it really was. I wasn’t so sure I’d be able to find a good kids party venues. Castle Hill isn’t isn’t exactly full of places for children to enjoy. Back when I was a kid and there was no party venue industry. Mostly they just decked out a room with some streamers, called it a ‘kids party venue’ and then hired one of the old types of birthday clowns, the ones that would make all the children of today cry. Things certainly have moved on a bit since I grew up and had my own child. Didn’t really LIKE the idea of giving over the party responsibility to a third party, but…well, when you’re a widower, you have to make some concessions. I just wanted Joe to have a good time. Then all my friends with kids were on at me about hiring a clown, and I really hated the idea at first.

But no. Clowns have moved on with the times. Essentially, Maddie is just an entertainer who bears the name of clown for convenience. An amateur clown. She’s very good at her job, anyway. Of course, the whole birthday party venue just made things a whole lot easier, but with all the stuff Maddie was doing with acrobatics and educational balloon animal demonstrations, I’m glad we had the space. Indoor play centres in Sydney aren’t so bad. And now I’m going out for coffee with a really nice amateur clown, so…that’s also good.

-Derek

Read More

Anybody Like Glass Balustrades for Christmas?

glass balustrades“This Christmas, give the gift of…cards. Give a gift card.”

Ughh, I swear…Christmas is the harshest of times for advertisers, and by extension, advertising agencies. Everyone is competing with everyone else to create the perfect bit of advertising gold that squeezes out both tears and wallets, and the bottom-rung agencies like us get stuck advertising the worst stuff. I spent all day today trying to come up with a unique angle for gift cards. GIFT CARDS. I’m sorry, but if you get someone special to you a gift card, then you’re a bad person.

Meanwhile, Joe sitting next to me gets the glaziers. Experts in Melbourne who specialise in high-quality glass services, blah blah drone blah! There’s so much to say on the subject of glazing compared to gift cards, it makes me sick. I swear, Joe times his commute so he always gets to the office two minutes before me and swipes all the good clients. No, don’t leave any glaziers for me, Joe. I’ll write about gift cards and private investigator firms, all the while trying to follow a brief that instructs me to ‘inject a dose of festive cheer.’ Merry Christmas! Unless your spouse is cheating on you, in which case, not a merry Christmas at all.

Not that window repairs and glass balustrading is exactly festive, but still, it’s ostensibly a gift. A husband could have the stairs remodelled in time for Christmas day. They could have the lounge windows extensively remodelled. And then there’s the new year to consider, with everyone making changes and getting stuff done to the house.

I know gift cards are ostensibly gifts, but there’s not much to say about them, and I still maintain that they don’t make *good* presents. Not good like waking up on Christmas morning to find that Father Christmas has come in the night and remodelled your staircase into elegant glass balustrading. Now THAT would be a Christmas to remember.

-Ali

Read More

The Mysterious Past of Old Gill

business law MelbourneOld Gill is at it again. Always good for a laugh, even if every now and then I just have to stop laughing because it feels cruel. This time he was trying to tell me that he had a hand in starting Melbourne’s cupcake industry, and that if it hadn’t been for him and his relentless campaigning worldwide, cupcakes would now be a forgotten art.

Everyone at the home has a soft spot for old Gill, but you can’t help wondering where he came from. No paperwork, no relatives, no nothing. Just an old fellow with a mixed up accent and VERY differing stories as to his own past. One of the most consistent pieces of his tale is a commercial law firm based in n Melbourne. He seems to know the city pretty well, so I’m thinking there’s a grain of truth in there. And then every now and then he’ll throw in these legal terms…like, really quite complicated ones, used in the right context. I don’t have a property lawyer on hand to confirm it all, but we DO have a lady who used to be a nautical lawyer, and she’s very lucid. Says that Gill seems to know what he’s talking about.

Almost has me convinced sometimes, until he starts telling another tale of how he drove around Melbourne in his Conflict Resolution-Mobile, solving marital problems and eventually landing a multi-million-dollar TV show deal that was buried when his jealous brother returned from where he’d faked his own death and stole it all away, erasing Gill’s name from existence. Never a dull day in the wonderful city of Melbourne. 

Or some other, totally different story. Depends on the day…but the Melbourne commercial law seems to be the most likely. But then, the way he is now, we’ll probably never know. Unless some Melbourne business law firm still has his picture up as employee of the month, 1972.

-Carol

Read More

Windows for my Independence

decorative window frostingI’ve always gotten a great deal of pleasure from doing stuff myself. Not something you often hear from a person as privileged as myself, but I’ve always just been…special in that way. I’m not one to let the servants do something that I could easily do myself. It’s just a novelty, when you look at it that way, plus it just gives you the good feeling. I LIVE for that good feeling.

So anyway, I recently bought what you might call a ‘fixer-upper’. Basically, a dilapidated disaster that’s certainly seen some better days, but in a good location and possessing some potential. I have such plans. The first thing you notice are the windows…or lack of. They’ve all been smashed. Imagine if I could get some proper decorative window glass. Melbourne’s industries are something I like to keep up with, and I’m sure I could source such a thing. Perhaps something reminiscent of the stain glass found in cathedrals, but more…decorative. Not quite as lofty. I’ll ask Klein what he thinks about glass designs; I think he does landscape paintings in his spare time. In fact, I’ve been meaning to talk to him for quite some time on the subject of his paintings. I take quite the keen interest in the goings on and hobbies of my underlings, you see. It’s all about people skills these days. Not enough to know their names: you really have to prove that you’re one of them, so to speak.

So, my decorative glass. I bring it up because the front of the house really is quite presentable, besides the graffiti and the overgrown lawn. Maybe I’ll look into some other decorative windows in Melbourne, see what the current trend is. Or possibly, I’ll ask Klein. Isn’t he a frequent attender of a arts and crafts fair on the weekends? I’m sure he knows all kinds of artisans. And that is how you use connections…

-Lucian

Read More

Home Styling: Don’t Forget the Lights

commercial lightingI may only be in week three of my home styling course, but I think I have a knack for it. Pretty sure I could go onto learning TWO things every week, and I’d probably be fine. As it is, I’m doing a lot of home study to make sure I don’t forget what I’ve learned. I want to make a career out of this, after all.

Alright, so…first, a clean home is a good home. Pretty obvious, but that’s week one for you.

Second: never, EVER have oak in the same room as sandalwood. Pretty specific, or so I thought. Turns out that, while it won’t happen too often, the times when it DOES are like the cardinal sin of home decor.

And then we just finished module three: Melbourne’s commercial lighting sector, and how lighting can effectively be used in business. Oh yes…home decor professionals don’t just deal with houses. You think those trendy, chic cafes and knick-knack shops do their OWN designing? Well, some do, but you can always tell the difference between those and the others. You can’t actually achieve charming decor if you don’t have a professional. We learned that in the orientation class!

Anyway…lighting was an interesting one, since everywhere NEEDS it, but it can be done so right and so wrong. I never knew there were so many lovely designer lighting options available. There really is no excuse for setting up a nice little cafe and ruining it with some cheap over the counter lamps. Colour psychology dictates that warm orange lighting is more inviting and cosy that blue lights.  There are commercial lighting consultants in Melbourne. THAT’S how important it is: there’s a whole job dedicate to making sure your lighting doesn’t drive customers right out of the shop. And with the rate at which I’m learning, I’m pretty sure that it’ll be a job option for me…very soon.

-Leena

Read More

Not Easy, Being the Boss

recruitment agencyI’ve been pretty fortunate when it comes to careers. Most people don’t have a business mentor from the age of fifteen, but my dad pulled some strings and I basically got a head start over the competition. Got my first proper job when I was eighteen, worked my way up and now at 22 I own my own company. It’s not a HUGE company, but…it’s mine. I enjoy what we do here. Got a small team, niche area of business and I can see a lot of potential for growth.

But then I’m still learning a lot about stuff as well, like how to properly host a meeting. My first one was awful, not going to lie. I offered the guy a lemonade, because he seemed like a lemonade kind of guy, and he looked at me weird. Okay, so…tea and coffee in future.

Dealing with recruitment agencies is interesting. I needed a marketing person and I didn’t just want to ask Dad or whatever, so I trawled for marketing recruitment agencies in Melbourne. Turns out it’s not QUITE as simple as just giving them a call, asking for someone good at marketing and having them shipped into the office the next day in a brown box. That’d be nice. But no, you have to prove your business credentials, commit to an interview process and then advertise fairly, which is a whole another thing that has nothing to do with the recruitment people. Nah, they’ve been great about the whole thing. It’s just that owning a business comes with a metric ton of paperwork, and I’m still working on getting it all together.

Man, being the boss is tough. Now I need to think about the digital marketing person I want on the team, whether they’re going to gel with everyone else, whether I need a brand manager down the line or whether I can double up on the job of the digital marketing person to save money, which is SUPPOSED to be a bad thing. At least I’m sort of familiar with the local Melbourne recruitment agency way of doing things.

I think I’m getting better at being the boss, but still…no amount of mentoring prepared me for all the paperwork. And now, the interviews.

-Peter

Read More

The Changing Apprentice Mindset

ute draw systemsApprentices just aren’t what they used to be. Time was that they were at least keen to learn. I’ve had this one for six weeks and he still doesn’t know one end of a monkey wrench from the other. I showed him the ute toolbox central locking and he looked at it like I was some kind of wizard. Just…come on. This is standard equipment in 2017. Show a bit of initiative and look it up yourself.

And it could be worse; my guy isn’t all that bright, but at least he’s decent. My mate Harry had a guy who showed up late every day and spent half the time trying to check his phone. But if it’s not one thing it’s the other. All these workplace laws we have nowadays just make things difficult, as well. I remember when I started, back when I was only fourteen. The only rule then was ‘you screw up, you’re gone’, and it worked like a charm. It was a plumbing job, and my very first job on my very first day had me crawling through a septic pipe to get rid of a blockage. They didn’t even wait until I was out before they turned on the jet cleaner. The boss said I probably needed a good hose down anyway, which was pretty much true. And then d’you know what happened? I didn’t go crying to the ombudsman; we went to the pub afterwards and had a good laugh about it.

Sure, we might not have had toolbox central locking, and actually ute toolboxes weren’t a thing either. We just carried toolboxes by the handles and dumped them in the back of the ute. But it was a lot simpler, I can tell you that. I learned quickly by getting stuck in and observing. I didn’t go home at the end of the day and have all that knowledge fall out in my sleep.

Ahh, maybe I’m being too harsh. Everyone learns differently, and at least I got a nice guy working under me. Still, a week in and he still doesn’t get custom draw systems? Now THAT isn’t rocket science.

-Geoff

Read More

Attack of the Frizz Beast

Melbourne hairdresserFoggy today, isn’t it? I was on the train up at the very front, and it was like we were heading into some kind of otherworldly unknown realm. Good thing I wasn’t driving; I’m a bad driver even without the thick fog obscuring the road! At least trains are on tracks. Though I have to say, has anyone noticed that a cold morning always means a hotter day? It seems to be some kind of rule that the temperature in the morning is totally different to the afternoon.

How am I supposed to keep a coherent hairstyle when the conditions are like this?? My hair is a dream to style on those cold winter mornings- no humidity, you see- and then it collapses into a floofy mess come the noon. Makes me wish I had my own private hairdresser who could be summoned with a click of my fingers. Or maybe a phone call. That’d be nicer. I mean, I work right next to the Melbourne CBD, top hairdressers and salons are on every corner and I couldn’t be more happy! I’d imagine so, anyway. They’re always a bit more expensive, which means they can hire better people and use better products. In fact, maybe I should find one around where I work and just go there on the DL during my lunch break if things get too humid. They can fix me up and send me back to work looking fab for the rest of the day, at least. Oh, you think that’d be a cost?

Well, maybe. On days when I’m trying to save money I could always just go for the boring, practical ponytail, but there are only so many days you can get away with that before people start to get suspicious that you’re a lazy bum who can’t even make a simple hairstyle. So maybe that’ll be my get-out-of-jail free card, once a week. For the rest of the time, I’m finding a hair studio in the Melbourne CBD that’ll make me glam in half an hour. Should stave off the frizz beast for the time being.

-Sandra

Read More

Backed into a corner

solar panel companyI’ve just done something truly stupid. Last week, I ran into a really good friend of mine from back at university. I always like to think I’m one of those people who’s changed, but whenever I run into someone from my ‘old life’, it’s as if something comes over me. I regress into the person I used to be.

For example, this old friend I ran into, for the sake of this story let’s call him Mike, is now running a successful marketing company that has just made a couple of equally successful moves to become more environmentally friendly. He told me how he’d recently been working with the most incredible commercial solar company in Melbourne. He was saying how they’d helped him through the whole process, making it all essentially painless, and how he’d never thought reducing his electricity bill could be so easy or make him feel so virtuous. Hearing how successful and innovative he is unleashed something terrible within me. I had to be better. And that’s when I said something I almost immediately regretted.

“Actually, we’ve managed to make money through our solar.”

I don’t know what possessed me to say that. I don’t have solar at home, let alone at the company I work for. I just had to one up him and now I’m in a real pickle. Mike actually knows a few of the people I work with, he could verify my lie if he wanted to. So the trick here is to make it a truth. By my estimates, it could take anywhere from 5 days to 3 weeks for the news to get back to the office. That means I have 3 weeks to find a commercial solar company and get the business I work for on board.

I mean, from all the benefits Mike was talking about, it shouldn’t be too hard. Right?

Read More