Matt Hayward's blog Melbourne Australia | A blog of travel, reading & other sordid adventures.

Life is short. Read, think & play pointy guitars

I’m Matt Hayward and here’s what’s on my mind

Neil Young Special Deluxe review

Neil Young Special Deluxe review

Here is what I knew about Neil Young previously. He’s Canadian, old, cantankerous and a bit of a hippy. I care little for these attributes. But when I saw this book claiming to be a ‘life time in cars’ it piqued my interest. So Canada’s given us Allanis Morrisette, Justin Bieber, Tiffany and Nickelback. Oh and he played with 90s bands like Pearl Jam that never floated my boat. What could possibly go wrong?

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Predicting classic cars in 2030

Predicting classic cars in 2030

Reading Unique Cars December issue, they made the point very clear that predicting this stuff is very difficult. Armed with an 1990’s book, probably found in a garage sale somewhere, some poor author’s predictions were resolutely shot down in flames with an arsenal of smart arsery and hindsight. So naturally I thought I’d have a crack and share in the future embarassment.

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Divi WordPress template review

I put together a web site for a local business the other day South Melbourne Health. Being an avid WordPress nut it was a no brainer which CMS to use. But what template to use? Responsive templates are a must these days (e.g. one template that adapts to tablets, phones and desktop screens automatically). This is a realm where you have to pay for a template as they’re quite involved. I chose the Divi theme from Elegant Themes. It cost roughly $50 Australian but I’m pretty happy with it for bang for buck. You don’t have to do any CSS because it gives you a really simple to use page builder template. Half the value in the template is right there. It also lets you add a lot of features people expect from a web site these days automatically. For example full page window sliders, Google Maps (albeit the map out of the box is pretty basic and won’t let you provide directions) and loads of icons you can use for headings. I haven’t played under the bonnet with WordPress for a while, so there was a bit of a learning curve. But nothing too serious. Nothing you can’t pick up and be fluent with in 5-10 days. Yup, WordPress and Divi is a pretty good combination. If you’re hesitating to actually but templates don’t. It’s well worth... read more

Reflections on the MBIT degree. Some advice

Between 2009 and 2013 I studied a Masters of Business IT at RMIT in Melbourne part time.  This is my personal view on the degree and the university. I strongly recommend you talk to others and form your own view. Why did I choose the university? I like the fight in the dog. RMIT had to be bailed out by the state government 7-10 years ago because of an epic IT fail. I believe the bail out was around $50M. But they were honest about it. The effective CIO of the uni talked about how rational people made very rational decisions and failed. But the uni seemed to thrive after coming so near to the brink. They really aggressively started marketing to international students and appear at least quite profitable. That honesty really impressed me. Secondly the uni is very convenient. It’s right in the CBD and meant you don’t need to travel. Finally it was about half the price of studying at Melbourne University’s Business School. Sadly I’m now lead to believe it’s had the degree. One thing that was clearly obvious in the MBIT program is that mature aged students working full time are a minority. Something like 10-20%. A great deal of the students are international. Many of which are in their early twenties who have gone straight from undergrad to postgrad. Many who have had no vocationally relevant work experience in IT. It means that there is very limited scope to make real connections with people in a similar disposition to you. That’s where I see the true value in a degree and I think... read more

Pete Townshend biography review

Pete is one freaky, freaky man. While this book provides an adequate explanation (I’ll leave it to you whether you think it’s plausible) for getting caught downloading child pornography, he has had a genuinely disturbing upbringing. I’m not sure after reading this book which scares me more. He’s just a weird, disturbed guy. But hey I guess that’s why the songs are so good. What left me even more disturbed was that Pete was the businessman of the group. He wrote all the songs, formed all the companies, cashed all the cheques and did all the wining and dining. One could say he’s an out and out toff. A posh git who likes the finer things in life and only concerns himself with which art format he will consume himself in next. Despite cars, yachts and mansions, he seems not so flamboyant as just plain old bourgeois. So much so he got bored with the who dear boy and left to get a desk job at a reputable publisher. Getting chauffeured to work every day, why of course! While he drank Remy Martin literally by the pint he ultimately saw Keith Moon as a hindrance and embraced his replacement who actually, well played a rhythm and kept time. Reading Townshend’s autobiography was frankly irritating. Like finding out Frank Sinatra secretly practiced dentistry or something. He talks sparingly about guitar trashing, drugs and partying but it’s most underwhelming. The guy clearly is a workaholic and a genius, perhaps he gets bored very quickly. He almost sounds more like Keith Moon’s dad, not band mate. Anyway if you’re a Who fan you’re... read more

You Am I and Delta Riggs 5 Dec 2015

Tim et al I love you I really do. But tonight just didn’t do it for me [friend]. There were stellar moments and there were duds. Songs where the band was truly tight and others that sounded unrehearsed. It felt like a best of hits package more than a band with a spanking new album. At one point they had two roguish and fantastically good lookin’ singers come and join them for a few songs. While the girls did an amazing job harmonising on one intended song, they hung around for Mr Milk and it just felt like TV pantomime. Then there was a keyboard player that was on stage the whole time, towards the end of the set he basically spent errantly shaking a tambourine. It was clearly unnecessary. Davey Lane from Bosnia (well Boronia – somehow I got that little private joke) was channeling Pete Townshend and doing a bloody good job of it. He and Andy really kept the band grounded and sounding great. But Davey in particular has become the bedrock of the band. Rusty (looking more like Johnny Cash every time I see him) almost sounds not so loud these days. I’ve never seen a man shake a drum riser like Rusty does but these days he does his little Keith Moon smirks but the drums only get a light bollocking. It’s a shame, there’s no greater drummer than Rusty at full pelt. The support act, well that’s an entirely different story… Sadly I think the band just tried to cover too much material with this gig. They played something off of virtually every album except... read more
Finding Maru restaurant in Aoyama

Finding Maru restaurant in Aoyama

My wife grabbed a book from the library ‘Where Chefs Eat‘. It had several pages on Tokyo. Turns out the Japanese like to play hard ball when it comes to finding restaurants.  That’s where I come in. Two things I’ve learnt about chef’s recommendations. One, chefs clearly never pay. These guys aren’t paying the $300 a head before drinks we have to pay. Secondly, they get lead wherever they’re going in a drunken state by locals and have researchers and publicists that can retrace their steps. We wake up with delirium tremens, they wake up that plus a story and a pay check. At the very least they still have coin in their wallet. It’s a hard knock life. This realisation came as we started to look for Maru. Seemed legit. It was on the Google map. On a main road. The hotel verified the address. No big deal so we thought. Thankfully we found it. But of all the spruikers on the street promoting bigger restaurants, yeah there were polite but none had ever heard of it. I chatted to at least 8 of them from 2 different restaurants. iPhones came out in abundance but no Maru was found. All we could find was a sign to a Whiskey Bar. We went down the stairs and the Whisky Bar wasn’t even open yet. Then I noticed a red curtain that I thought was to a broom closet or a cloak room (see pic below). Thankfully I looked in that cloak room and it was Maru. Thank god we found it. Easily one of the best meals of our trip.... read more

Tokyo’s guitar street Ochanomizu

I love Japan. I mean truly, dig up a spoon of that soil and I’ll eat it. The place is just so much fun. Judging by Shibuya crossing on a Saturday night I’m not the only fat white guy that does either! But on this trip I had a mission: hunt down awesome guitars. That search took me to Ochanomizu. It’s a station one stop down from freaky-sleazy-businessman-centrel Akihabara and had a stretch a few hundred metres long of door-to-door guitar stores. If you’re a six stringer it’s a great day out. Just leave the wives and girlfriends back at the hotel. This is for the die hards only. So what kind of stuff do you find? Mostly new stuff. For some reason the Japanese think lowly of themselves. The ground floor is usually Japanese and cheap guitars. Heaps of quirky Fernandez type things. My favourite was a lime green, see through plastic guitar. An imitation of a BC Rich Mockingbird. Yours for around 60000-80000 Yen, or about 600 – 800 Aussie dollars. Sadly plastic (or acrylic) is heavier than wood. Oh yeah and there’s actually a guitar called the ESP Throbber. I guess mity penis had already been taken. There’s also heaps of the cheaper ESP brands. Grass Roots and Edwards. I think the Grass Roots looked great. They’re all well under $500 and are made in China or the Philippines or somewhere. The Edwards stuff looks mad. They’re ASSEMBLED in Japan but I understand all the hard work’s done in China. You’ll get a lot of change from $1000 with an Edwards and they look as good... read more

Toast restaurant Quebec review

At the bottom of old Quebec city is a real treat. Toast is in its 11th year and loving life. The menu was ‘crowdsourced’ with all their customers’ favourite dishes of the past 10 years. While I’ve only been in Quebec 10 minutes, its clear as day they love to eat out. Thus toast is well on the money for repeat business. what was so good about it? Well in true Quebec style you can get a side of foie gras with any main. I like that ‘screw you hippie’ defiance to the caring foodie. Second they had a dish that was piglet done 3 or 4 different ways. Oh yes and did I say home made bacon? You bet your Toyota Prius I did hippie. Overall an ambiance, warmth and obscenely decadent tastiness that would make any Francophile melt. The perfect compliment to a freezing Quebec night. Plus if not the best, easily the most memorable meal I’ve had in... read more
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Matt Hayward
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