Tuesday, March 2, 2010

We never missed a single pub

William has pointed out some apparent inconsistencies in my approach to Homeopathy. Let me explain.

Better still – let Ben Goldacre explain.

“Most people know that homeopathic remedies are diluted to such an extent that there will be no molecules left of it in the dose you get. What you might not know is how far these remedies are diluted. The typical homeopathic dilution is 30C: this means that the original substance has been diluted by one drop in a hundred, thirty times over. In the ‘What is homeopathy?’ section of the society of Society of Homeopaths’ website , the single largest organisation for homeopaths in the UK will tell you that ‘30C contains less than one part per million of the original substance.”

Ben goes on to say that this is something of an understatement and explains that this magnitude of dilution is actually one in

I submit that there is not much chance that a substance diluted to that level is going to do much of anything useful.

In fact Ben notes that “American magician and ‘debunker’ James Randi has offered a $1 million prize to anyone demonstrating ‘anomalous claims’ under laboratory conditions, and has specifically stated that anyone could win it by reliably distinguishing a homeopathic preparation from a non-homeopathic one using any method they wish. This $1 million bounty remains unclaimed”

Now I also submit that my Schuessler Salts while being “homeopathic prepared” are not in fact typical homeopathic remedies. To quote from Wikipedia on this:

“Biochemic cell salts aka Tissue Salts or Cell Salts are alternative remedies based on inorganic salts elaborated by Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Schüßler (1821-1898). Although moderately diluted (3X-6X), they are not classed as homeopathic, because they are not purported to act according to the "like cures like" principle of homeopathy.”

So – there may be some useful material in the Schuessler Salts that are providing me with some benefit.

Alternatively – I may simply be benefiting from the Placebo Effect – about which Merisi has commented and also about which William has written an excellent blog today.

Either way – a few weeks ago I could not walk without limping and after taking the Schuessler Salts I can – and at no stage did I pray to Mary MacKillop.

Back to Copenhagen.

We did quite a bit of exploring. It is delightful city and was good for us because there was lots of snow and ice. This did mean that the canals were iced over and we could not go on a boat trip – but were happy to trudge around. We were quite taken with the whole place and decided we would like to live there.

I mean one day they are going to have a Queen who was born in Australia – I have never had my own Queen and all my life have had to borrow the English one. She is not a bad old stick - but she is not mine.

We could have inspected the place where Mary and Frederik are going to live but I did not want to pry (or indeed line up for an hour in the freezing weather).

By the way – she is Mary to you and me but to the Danes she is ‘Hendes Kongelige Højhed Kronprinsesse Mary af Danmark, Grevinde af Monpezat.’

I could mention that Frederik and Mary met during the 2000 Olympics at an establishment in Sydney called the Slip Inn. This used to be the Royal George Hotel - which in the early 60s was a typical Australian pub with tiled walls and floors.

It was the watering hole for the Sydney Push which included a whole bunch of writers and poets and academics – and famous people such as Clive James and Germaine Greer. I used to drink there every Saturday night – but at the other end of the bar.

I was much younger than any of these people – and was unusually dim for my age – and was inevitably inebriated by the time I got to the George because I had started at the First and Last at Circular Quay with my mate Mal Cannon when we got off the ferry from Manly.

We then progressed very slowly up George Street – taking care not to miss a single pub - and finally at about 11:00 PM got to the Adams Tavern where we attempted to remain upright while listening to Graeme Bell and other legendary Australian Jazz players.

Afterwards we would fall down the long flight of marble stairs and catch the last ferry home to Manly.

Where was I – oh yes – Roskilde – Viking Museum - bomb scare - I will tell you tomorrow!


  1. I had never heard of the Sydney Push so looked it up on Wikipedia (my source of all knowledge, as it also seems to be yours) and found this excellent and detailed article including a picture of the Slip Inn itself:

    I particularly liked this paragraph and wonder if you frequented any of the places it mentions:

    "The year 1964 saw the gradual demise of the Royal George Hotel as the prime focal venue of the Sydney Push which dispersed its bustling social life to other traditional venues like the Newcastle, Orient and Port Jackson hotels in The Rocks near Circular Quay and the Rose, Crown and Thistle at Paddington, but also to alternative central-city pubs including the United States and Edinburgh Castle. By the early 1970s, the Criterion Hotel on the corner of Liverpool and Sussex Streets had become the watering hole of the last of the Push diehards. Meanwhile, Push hangers-on and 'tourists', now numbering hundreds, patronised pubs like the Four-in-Hand (Paddington) and the Forth and Clyde at Balmain, but these were venues of social entertainment, lacking the intellectual cameraderie, the informal folksong and the bohemian flavour of the 'George'."

  2. I regret to say that I was entirely too familiar with each and every one of those fine establishments - and spent many a long night at the Four-in-Hand. My favourite was probably the Newcastle - which was always known as 'Jim Buckley's Newcastle.' This was close to the Quay and so not far of a lurch to get the last ferry home.

  3. Badger: I now have a clearer picture of your arthritis problem and the steps you're taking to combat it. You'll be pleased to hear that I'm in a position to recommend exactly the product you need... of a pure mineral non-homeopathic nature, of course. It's called Kruschen Salts. My paternal grandfather took this product regularly during his entire adult life, which ended when the athletic 93-year-old gentleman fell off a swivel chair while changing a light bulb in his Gold Coast apartment. The product is marketed today by the century-old New Zealand firm called Healtheries. Click here to visit their website.

    Concerning Copenhagen, I've never set foot there, but the virtual city has been constantly present in my mind, in a most positive fashion (like St-Petersburg), during my writing of the Rilke movie script.

    Apparently you and I used to hang out at the same places in Sydney. Other famous drinkers at The Royal George were the philosopher John Anderson and the cartoonist Robert Hughes (now at Time).

    As for jazz, I remember well the following performers:

    Ray Price (banjo and guitar) and his Port Jackson Band, later the Ray Price Quartet

    Graeme Bell (piano) and his Original Jazz Band

    Don Burrows (clarinet, saxophone and flute) and the Don Burrows Quartet

    Incidentally, to close the circle, I notice that Burrows has suffered from arthritis since the age of 38. In a 2008 interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Andrew Ford, celebrating his 80th birthday, he said: "Arthritis is not the greatest for playing a musical instrument. But playing a musical instrument is very, very good for arthritis." So, between daily doses of Kruschen Salts, a move from Vienna to Copenhagen, and clarinet lessons, I think you'll be fixed up, mate.

  4. When I was about 8 years old I met the current Queen of Denmark. She was a young princess at the time, about 21 I think. I grew up in a Danish settlement in California and she came there to meet and talk to some of the old people who'd migrated to the USA and were in a Denmark-funded nursing home.

    It was too crowded in the hall where she was being photographed and interviewed (I'd followed along behind the entourage like the pest I was), so I went outside and sat on a planter. Next thing I knew, she sat down beside me and started talking to me about how much her feet hurt. She talked to me for a few minutes, until her people found her and took her back inside.

    Nice lady.

  5. Thanks William - I shall certainly try the Kruschen Salts. I tried to change a light bulb while standing on a swivel chair once and am lucky to be here to tell the tale. And thanks for reminding me about those great Jazz musicians. They just don't make them like that anymore.

    Steph - with that sort of pedigree you are eligible to be an honorary Australian. I shall write to Mary for your Koala Pin.

  6. That picture is Nyhavn! I've drunk there too ;-)

  7. Coffee? Coffee at the Slip Inn?

  8. Well spotted Maalie. I have some bird pics for you too.

    Always up for a coffee Merisi. Might have to be a bit closer than the Slip Inn.

  9. it seems that i have followed my father's footsteps around many of these sydney watering holes. however i think the newcastle is long gone, the slip is now more for the bourgeois than the avant-garde and the adams hotel got knocked over to build the hilton. However the four in hand still remains and most of the original facade and interior has been kept. quite a good restaurant too...

  10. The magnificent Adams Marble Bar has been reinstalled inside the Hilton, and it looks exactly like it was when I used to get sloshed there with my uncles of a Saturday morning.

  11. Wow, Phillip, what a splendid coming-out avatar photo! I'm sure that even Lady Gaga would be turned on.

  12. Yes I visited the Marble Bar a few times after it was installed in the Hilton and it brought back many fond memories. I think it was the bar they used in 'They're a Weird Mob'?

    I am a natural chick magnet so expect lots of offers now that I have a photo up there.

  13. We used to hang out at Jackson's on George. Not sure how long its been around. Not really my kind of place but I was just along for the ride...

    You shaved your fur.

  14. In the early 80s I lived in Sutherland Street, Paddington - diagonally opposite and four doors down from the Four in Hand. As a regular, my beer was always on the counter as soon as I was sighted at the door and on more than one occasion the publican offered to jump the bar to thump some bloke who was pestering me - that's if my usual drinking mates didn't do it first!

    Sometimes I'd venture up to the Lord Dudley and otherwise the London Tavern - in every case it was downhill coming home!

  15. Ah Lenny - I knew you were a chip off the old block. To complete this voyage you need to get drunk and fall down the stairs to the Marble Bar in the Hilton.

  16. Annie - I apologise for the noise I used to make when the pub closed. I was young and silly - and always hammered. And I do remember the Dudley - just.