decoded_ Something for your mind… Something for your mind…

August 16, 2009

Hello from Chicago, via New York, Boston…

Filed under: Art,Clubbing & Gigs,Films,Food,General,Music,Travel — decoded_ @ 5:49 am

Hello from Chicago, via New York, Boston…

Sorry for the lack of posting here. We brought along Joanne’s laptop with us to the U.S.A, excited to be able to easily update our blogs with all our travels and adventures, during them. But, it’s been difficult to find the time, with so much to see and do, then collapsing at the end of every day into bed. We’ve been doing so much walking around, it’s great, but sore feet! It’s been awesome having a laptop with us, very handy. I wish Joanne’s iPhone’s Internet/data was working though.

We’re having a fantastic time, so much fun. I’m really surprised at how much we’re enjoying the U.S.A. This trip has really changed our (media influenced) perception of America and Americans. They are lovely people, polite, friendly and helpful, although that’s seen mostly through their amazing customer service, and obviously $ play a part. But we’ve had some great chats with random people we’ve met too, who are interested to hear about your travels and experiences, people are not afraid to strike up a conversation with strangers, like they are in Sydney.

Our flight with Delta from Sydney to Los Angeles was great, good cabin service, excellent on-demand video system, watched many movies and TV shows, decent food, smooth flight etc. The Los Angeles airport experience and flight to New York was far from great though, and very scary. We had the worst turbulence coming into land at New York JFK, I really thought we were going down any moment. Then we had a worrying 30 minute wait for the other half of our bags to finally turn up on the carousel at baggage collection. The queues and security checkpoints are a long wait, we’ve had many. I can’t believe how dirty, old and rundown LAX and JFK airports are, maybe it’s just the terminals Delta use. Customs and immigration all went well, was pretty quick, photo with glasses off and electronic scan of fingers and thumb of prints each hand, and welcome to the U.S.A.

Weather here has been hot, very hot, and it’s a lot more humid than I was expecting. And we’re had more hot days in a row than we’re used to in Sydney. We’ve probably had equal amounts of clear blue and overcast cloud covered skies. We’ve only had a couple of days where it rained or there was drizzle, but it didn’t last for long, quick storms. I think I’m going to be coming home with a tan, crazy! It’s certainly nice to be in warmer weather, coming from Sydney’s winter. Speaking of winter, it’s hard to imagine everything being covered in snow and ice during their winter when it’s this hot here.

So, Depeche Mode in New York, the main reason for our trip. The first concert we arrived late, missed 2 songs, and were seated side on to the action, half way down the arena, which was disappointing (these were the fan pre-sale ticket seats!), but they sounded fantastic, and the show looked amazing. Huge LED RGB giant (TV) screen behind them, with a half sphere LED RGB screen in the top/middle. Every song had a unique look, and visual/video. I’m sure there are loads of photos and YouTube clips around so you can see what I’m talking about. They used a lot of red and blue colours during the show with the lighting. I loved how they moved the lighting rigs around as part of the show too, and I don’t mean just up and down, during one song the lighting rigs looked like a bird flying, or ocean ripples, like a modulating syne wave, amazing. I tired to take some photos but our little old digital camera is really crap for photo’s at night in low light, and 3x optical zoom didn’t get anywhere near close enough to make it worth while.

Second concert, the next night we were on the dance floor, in the middle, about 20 rows back from the main stage, behind the VIP area, perfect spot, it sounded so much better, and the show looked fantastic front on. They give a fantastic performance, Dave Gahan sounded great, and jumps around like he’s 20 years younger. I decided to not bother with any photos the second night (although they would have looked great being so much closer), and just dance, enjoy the show, and make the most of the experience, and I’m really glad I did. I had a fantastic time. They played a slightly different set on the 2 nights too, which was nice. I was really happy that they played so many more of their older songs, I feared they may just play mostly the new album, which hasn’t really grown on me.

I’ve finally seen Depeche Mode live, and they were awesome! Here is the song list of the Monday night…

In Chains
Hole To Feed
Walking In My Shoes
It’s No Good
A Question Of Time
Fly On The Windscreen
Little Soul
Come Back
Policy Of Truth
In Your Room
I Feel You
Enjoy The Silence
Never Let Me Down Again

Encore #1
Master And Servant

Encore #2
Personal Jesus
Waiting For The Night (Bare Version)

On the Tuesday night, they replaced ‘Little Soul’ with ‘Jezebel’, ‘Home’ with ‘A Question Of Lust’, and ‘Come Back’ with ‘Miles Away/The Truth’. The bare version of ‘Waiting For The Night’ at the end, has Martin and Dave out at the end of the catwalk extending from the main stage (5m away from us), singing together, with just the main simple keyboard lines (played by the drummer), then later the other keyboardist and Fletch join in. A really beautiful way to end off.

I was going to write in detail about what we’ve been up to, but I think that would fill a book, so, here’s a list of what we’ve been up to, quickly off the top of my head, in no particular order. I’m sure there will be some forgotten things and spelling errors here, I’ll fix them up with later edits.

New York – 9 days

– Stayed in the Stanford Hotel, on W 32nd Street, between Broadway & Fifth, aka Korea Way.
– Blk|Market warehouse minimal/techno party in Williamsburg, 500+ people, with Euro guests Hugo and Reboot playing live, couldn’t stay awake past 5am, so missed seeing Reboot. Hugo was ok. The party went till noon!
– Depeche Mode @ Madison Square Garden, Mon & Tue night concerts.
– Deep Space @ Club Love (moved from Cielo for 2 weeks) with DJs Cosmo & Francois K, such awesome range of music/set flow.
– Depeche Mode After Party @ Rebel NYC, one of the best after parties I’ve ever been too. Way too much to drink.
– Met a DM fan from Finland who had Violator tattoos on his arms, and travels the world seeing them as often as possible.
– Ferry to Statue Of Liberty, went up inside it to the crown lookout as well, very cool, and hot!
– Empire State Building observatory at night.
– Spent a lot of time in queues and going through security checkpoints!
– Amazed at the amount of people and different races and languages.
– Rockefeller Centre Building, top of the rock, observatory by day.
– NBC TV Studio tour, kinda lame, but the NBC shop, full of TV show merchandise, was awesome.
– Visited Godiva chocolate shops.
– Joanne spent a small fortune in La Maison Du Chocholat.
– Located the Ghost Busters firehouse.
– Went to Chinatown and located Brett & Jermaine’s apartment and Dave’s pawn shop from Flight Of The Conchords.
– Ate Korean food, Korean food, and more Korean food, our hotel was on Korea Way, and just down from Madison Square Garden.
– Ate lots of healthy food from a place called Speedys.
– Got drunk and danced, and got drunk some more. Love the heavy pour with spirits here, or is it the altitude that makes us drunk quicker?
– Guggenheim Museum.
– MoMA Museum.
– Went through Central Park… in a taxi.
– Restaurants: Buddakan, Balthazar, Grand Central Oyster Bar.
– Times Square by day and night.
– Theatre District.
– Grand Central Station.
– Caught lots of subway trains.
– Went to Warm Up 2009 @ PS.1 MoMA – DJ Lovefingers.
– Hung out with Sydney friends, their friends and relatives, made new friends.
– Ate a pastrami on rye with pickles at Katz’s Deli.
– Shopped in SoHo, and all over Manhattan.
– Bought sneakers, sneakers and more sneakers, $40-$60 USD for Adidas Superstar IIs! Nike is king here though.
– Clothes are so cheap here! So much range too.
– Flatiron building.
– Cocktails & tapas at Bar Onda in the financial district.
– Wine Bar called Cava in the upper east side.
– Bunker @ Public Assembly Brooklyn – Stephen Beaupre, Smirk, Alka Rex live and other DJs.
– Saw Brooklyn by night, didn’t get there during daylight hours.
– Spent too much on hotel laundry services, not doing that again.
– Bought another suitcase because we bought too much stuff.
– Spent a lot of time/days in a T-Mobile store trying to get Internet/data working on Joanne’s iPhone with a T-Mobile pre-paid, it’s still not working properly.
– Got sore feet, slept very soundly.

Philadelphia – 1 day
– Joanne and Motoko (friend from Sydney) went to Barnes Foundation Museum.

Boston – 4 days

– Caught an Amtrak train from New York to Boston, wow it’s green and lush along that route.
– Watched USA FTA TV (so bad!) and bits of movies on cable TV – Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Depeche Mode 101, Batman Begins.
– Stayed on Hereford Street, just off trendy Newbury Street in Back Bay, in a brown stone walk up.
– Enjoyed dragging 3 heavy suitcases up 4 stories of stairs, not.
– Movie & TV walking tour, Joanne loved all the Matt Damon stuff.
– Boston Common (park) & Public Garden.
– Played with squirrels.
– Museum Of Fine Arts – Joanne and Rowena
– Museum Of Science – Dave, watched the Theatre Of Electricity.
– Student led walking tour of Harvard.
– Visited more Godiva chocolate stores.
– Visited 500 Boylston – The building where Boston Legal (TV Show) is set.
– Ate all up and down Newbury street, taking advantage of Boston’s restaurant week, with cheap set menus, ate French, Spanish, and Modern American.
– Quincy Markets.
– Caught the ‘T’ subway trains/trams around Boston.
– Bought a Boston Red Sox t-shirt, didn’t get to Fenway Park.
– New England Aquarium, some amazing marine life there.
– Shopped at the Prudential Centre, ate lunch above the (closed) observatory, at the Top Of The Hub restaurant.
– Ate Italian in the North End.
– Got sore feet, slept very soundly.
– Flew from Boston Logan to Chicago O’Hare airports.
– Used a laptop on a plane for the first time, I can see why business people get smaller laptops.

Chicago – 5 days

– Stayed at the Comfort Inn & Suites on E Ohio Street, between N State and N Wabash Streets, in the middle of the city.
– Ate Italian dinner @ Uno, spaghetti and meatballs, we’re not fans of deep-dish pizza.
– Ate Japanese dinner @ Oysy, 2 nights in a row.
– Ate huge meat sandwiches for lunch @ Weber Grill.
– Checked out the Rock’N’Roll McDonalds (just down the road from where we stayed).
– Visited more Godiva chocolate stores, everywhere in the U.S.A, only at David Jones in Australia!
Architecture Foundation River Cruise, got rained on 3/4 through, when a storm came in for about 20 minutes.
– Visited the Art Institute of Chicago, Awesome!
– Had drinks and food at Emmit’s Irish Pub (Where George & Matt chat in Oceans 11)
– Shopped at the Water Tower Place, and rode in the elevators, the same elevators in the movie Class where they…
Chicago Film Tour – Mini-Bus, fantastic way to see much of Gotham City/Chicago.
Millennium Park – Cloud Gate, Crown Fountain, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Lurie Gardens.
– Caught the Chicago ‘L’ trains, still a bit confused by them, but we managed to get around.
Wrigley Field, hours after a game had ended, saw lots of drunken Cubs fans everywhere.
– Saw John Tejada DJ @ Smart Bar, danced and danced, until the lights came on, and the music stopped.
– Chatted with John Tejada afterwards.
– Shopped and walked all up and down Michigan Ave aka The Magnificent Mile.
– Went over, under, around the Michigan Ave Bridge, where Keanu escpaes in the movie Chain Reaction.
– Traveled along Lower Wacker Drive, where tunnel like Batman and Blues Brothers car chase scenes were filmed.
– Went to the movies, saw District 9 (packed cinema at 10.30pm on a Sunday night), and Public Enemies
Sears (Willis) Tower.
– Walked along Lake Shore Drive, saw Lake Michigan.
– Saw and heard Air-Force jets screaming overhead as part of the Chicago Air & Water Show, over 3 days.
– Saw the Picaso ‘Chicago Picasso’ and Alexander Calder ‘Flamingo’ sculptures at the Daley and Federal Plazas.
– Bought yet another suitcase, because we have bought too much stuff, and it costs less to travel with more bags than have heavy bags.
– Bought North Face backpacks, so cheap!
– Had our best/fave meal so far, at The Gage, modern American/Euro food.

So, we’re off to San Francisco next for 3-4 days, then Los Angeles for 2 days, and then fly back home…

While in San Francisco we also get to see Steve Bug & John Tejada at a Poker Flat Party @ Mezzanine, and in Los Angeles we’re seeing Steve Bug again. We didn’t plan our trip around seeing these guys, it just turned out they were playing on the w/ends, we were in those cities.

Thanks for reading, hope you’re all well.

Photo’s here:

More coming soon.

Cheers Dave

November 24, 2008


Filed under: Films,Food,Music,Travel — decoded_ @ 1:27 pm

The Hotel Windsor

I just had a fantastic w/end away in Melbourne with Joanne, celebrating 10 years together. We stayed at the lovely, old, Victorian era, grand Hotel Windsor. Lots of character, so much nicer than the trendy boutique hotels. Old-school service, porters, concierge, a top hat wearing doorman greats you on entry… “Welcome to the Hotel Windsor”. We took advantage of their pillow menu there, made for great nights sleep. Very enjoyable stay.

We had some fantastic food in Melbourne, as you do!

A nine course French degustation dinner at Vue Du Monde for 5 hours. An amazing experience of flavours, textures and innovative food presentation, such rich beautiful food. It’s up there equal with Tetsuya’s for an awesome degustation experience for me. Going there was the main reason we went to Melbourne, and I’m very glad we did. It’s also exciting not knowing what food is coming next, with no menus. They e-mailed us exactly what food and wine we had the next day. Fantastic personal service too.

We had a great Japanese lunch at Yu-U as soon as we arrived into Melbourne. We had some great modern Spanish tapas dishes and cocktails, dropping into Bar Lourinha a couple of times, which was just around the corner from where we stayed. I highly recommend their ‘Stolen Town Bike’ cocktail. We had more excellent Spanish tapas and cocktails at the very popular Movida, also picking up a copy of their new book on the way out. We caught up with friends at Babka Bakery Cafe for some Russian style food for lunch, which was ok, it’s not as good as it used to be there. We had a great breakfast our first morning at the hotel in the grand ballroom. The next morning we had a late breakfast at Madame SouSou in Brunswick, which was excellent. Moments before heading to the airport we also managed to pop into The Supper Club, just up the road from the hotel, for a quick wine, jamon, and olives fix, seated in the comfy, well worn, old-school, red leather couches, great place, we had it all to our selves, as it had just opened for the night.

We couldn’t visit Melbourne without also having some Trampoline gelato. I love their Likrish, and Peanut Nutter flavours, and managed to find/have them again, which made me very happy. Joanne loves the Lemon, and Lychee n Lime flavoured sorbets.


Chocolate! Joanne enjoyed a Melbourne chocolate tour, and visited many chocolate shops, such as; Haighs, Cacao, KoKo Black, San Churro and more. We also got down to Acland Street St.Kilda, with it’s wonderful cake shops, seems to be fewer of them now though unfortunately.

I’m sure this will all be written about in great detail on Joanne’s blog in the coming days. There’s photo evidence of all the food/drink consumed as well.

I enjoyed looking in clothes shops around the city, in Melbourne Central, and up and down Chappel St, Greville St, Brunswick St and surrounds, picking up a few cool t-shirts. A lot more walking than tram action this trip.

We even managed to squeeze in seeing the latest James Bond movie one night – “Quantum Of Solace”, which was great, not as excellent as Casino Royale, but I still enjoyed it. I don’t recommend seeing movies at the Russell St. Greater Union though, horrible seats, and it sounded like the audio was coming from a single mono central speaker.

It was a really fun, special time in Melbourne. Everything was great, well apart from the weather, which was pretty horrible at times, and very un-summer like. Grey clouds mostly, cold, some rain, heavy at times, even a little hail, and gale force gusts of ice cold wind. Sometimes we saw the sun, but not for long. Rain not unusual for Melbourne though. We managed to avoid being out in the heavy rain which was lucky. Sunday was better weather.

The massive queue to check in baggage that took almost an hour on Sunday night at the airport was also not so great, but life can’t all be perfect.

We could have also seen German/Dutch techno/minimal producer/DJ Patrice Baumel @ Tramp, whilst we were in Melbourne, but didn’t make it there. It was the night of our amazing dinner at Vue Du Monde, not wanting to spoil the memory.

This is one of the most relaxed and enjoyable visits we’ve had in Melbourne, and unusual for us to not include seeing a DJ at some club or dance music event. Must be getting old. I love Melbourne’s cool little bar scene.

March 2, 2008

Melbourne : 29 Feb / 1 Mar 2008

Filed under: Food,Travel — decoded_ @ 11:22 am

Melbourne tram

On Friday/Saturday Joanne and I had a nice little get-away in Melbourne. The main reason we went to Mexico, was to go to a techno party on Friday night at QBH, featuring Steve Bug, Sven Vath and Gui Boratto [live]. It’s always fun to spend time in Melbourne, funky shops, great food, nice relaxed vibe, friendly people, and it’s lovely to catch up with our Melbourne friends.

We got a really cheap, last minute, return air-fare and accomodation deal through VirginBlue, staying a night at the Jasper Hotel. It’s quite nice, It looks like an old hotel that’s had a trendy colourful make-over. We stayed on the lime green 8th floor, in room 808, how very techno! We were on the Queen Victoria Market facing side, so come Saturday morning we were woken by lots of noise from below. Paying extra for late check out, allowing for a sleep-in, was well worth it, we didn’t get in until near 6am after the party.

We had some great food in Melbourne, as you do. We had excellent Japanese for lunch on Friday at the little hidden away gem, that is Yu-U. For dinner we ate at Bistro Vue at Vue De Monde and had delicious Jamon, Foie Gras and amazing Wagyu beef. On Sunday we caught up with friends and ate a late breakfast at one of our fave Brunswick Street, Fitroy cafes Babka Bakery Cafe. It’s always great to eat some yummy Trampoline gelato when in Melbourne too, such amazing flavours. Try the lickrish, and peanut nutter flavours, awesome! The lemon and pistachio are still my faves. I think I like this gelato even better than Adelaide’s Alfrescos gelato now.

It’s fun in Melbourne to catch the trams around, a novelty for us Sydney folk, and check out all the groovy little shops in the arcades in the city, up and down Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, and in the massive Melbourne Central complex. I’ve missed checking out shops up/down around Chappel Street, and Greville Street Prahran/South Yarra the last few visits to Melbourne, must do that next time.

Joanne scored some chocolates, jewellery and was very excited to find and buy an FM3 Buddha Machine (see my post about Robert Henke’s Layering Buddha below). I scored a couple of ubercoolische t-shirts, but failed again on finding any sneakers I like in Melbourne. On Saturday afternoon we got very distracted by all the amazing gormet foods in the Simon Johnson store. The 70% dark chocolate Chocolate Santander brand we got from there was awesome. Made for some intense dreams that night.

I’ve been to Melbourne so many times now I’ve lost count. It’s always an enjoyable place to visit.

June 28, 2007

Pain au Chocolat

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — decoded_ @ 12:58 am

All is going well in Paris, very busy, lots of awesome food and wine, seeing lots of sights, lots of art. Will write more soon. Cheers Davo…

June 25, 2007

Grie Soss

Filed under: Clubbing & Gigs,Food,Travel — decoded_ @ 12:32 am

Traditional Frankfurt-Am-Main food

Guten Tag! Last day in Frankfurt for a week or so. I forgot to mention we went and saw the movie “Oceans 13” at the only English (Original Version) cinema here the other day, we really enjoyed it, very snappy, slick, funny movie, loved the out of character banter between Brad and George near the end of the film.

Last night, Saturday night, before heading off to the Robert-Johnson club, Andreas took us out for some traditional Frankfurt drinks and food.

We went to a very well known, old, original Äpplerkneipen (apple wine inn) called Zum Gemalten Haus, over the river Main in Sachsenhausen, a quite trendy part of Frankfurt.

As you would expect, we drank a lof of Frankfurt’s national drink, Ebbelwei (apple wine), which is poured from a huge grey ceramic jug called a Bembel, and then drunk from a Gerippte, a special apple wine glass. We drank it mixed with sparkling mineral water, as it can be a bit sour and acidic drunk pure. It goes down as quick/easy as sparkling apple juice and you get drunk very easily.

For eating we had some Frankfurt specialties, I had a huge thick pork chop (salted and boiled) served on top of sauerkraut, with boiled potatoes, usually you have mashed potato, but they had run out, as we were eating late at 11pm (just after sunset!). Joanne had a traditional large Frankfurt beef sausage, also served with sauerkraut and potatoes. Andreas (who is vegetarian) had the traditional Frankfurt eggs with green sauce, served with boiled potatoes. The eggs are hard boiled and sliced, and the green sauce, Grie Soss, is a thick, creamy sauce, always made from the same seven herbs; parsley, pimpernel, chives, water-cress, chervil, garden sorrel and borage. Much eating and drinking, we rolled out of there, and then headed to the much hyped Robert-Johnson club in Offenbach.

On arriving and walking upstairs, once inside my first thought was… This is it? This is a club? It’s a little room with white walls. It looks like an art space, with make-shift bar and DJ console. It’s small, capacity 250 people. A couple of coloured neon tubes are the only lighting. It’s very loud in there for such a small space, using 6 large speakers suspended from the ceiling, 3 on each side of the dance space. There’s benches all around the walls to sit on. There is also a balcony outside, looking over the river. Lots of smokers in this club, all ignoring the ‘thank you for not smoking’ signs. We saw one guy wearing a t-shirt with “I Love Myself” written on it, which err… said lots about the type of crowd, very different to the Cocoon crowd.

We had to ask the DJs who was playing. I think I may have asked DJ Ata the guy who runs Playhouse/Robert-Johnson. It was DJ Stephen Kürtz (sp?) from Frankfurt who warmed up with some nice deep-tech-house and minimal sounds. He was followed by the main act, two guys playing back to back, known as Optimo. Google tells me they are DJ’s JD Twitch and JG Wilkes from UK/Glasgow. They played a lot of funky, chunky house, electro-house and old-school analogue/acid techno, a few old classics. They got the room jumping. It was loud/busy music, and I wasn’t really in the mood for it, struggling to stay awake, too much apple wine earlier.

Their set was split up with a live set from Max Mohr, a Playhouse artist. He performed on a small stage opposite the DJ console. Another Apple laptop, Ableton Live live set. His music was ok, simplistic tech-house/minimal stuff. It was really obvious he was just turning clips on/off in Ableton Live and not doing anything else.

We left around 3am, which seemed to be the time a lot more people were arriving. Andreas tells us the club sometimes keeps pumping until 10am the next day! It would be a sweat-box! I really don’t understand the attraction of partying that long in a small club.It was cool to check out Robert-Johnson, but wasn’t anything at all like we were expecting.

On the move… We’re off to Paris tomorrow for 4 or 5 days, so this is the probably the last long post for a while. We’ll be back to using Internet Cafes again. It’s been handy having a laptop and Internet to use whilst here in Frankfurt… We may go check out John Acquaviva at Rex-Club in Paris whilst we’re there.

Thanks for reading… Speak to you again from Paris, au revoir.

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