Schnitzel

first_imgRoots rock band Schnitzel energizes audiences in its hometown of Richmond, Va., with raw, catchy Americana and evocative lyrics. Bandleader and songwriter Jim O’Brien relies on a lineup of notable central Virginia musicians to back his quirky folk tunes that are occasionally augmented by edgy soundscapes in the vein of Wilco. Earlier this year his tune “Sandston Girl” off the band’s latest album Cold Harbor took third place at Merlefest’s venerable Chris Austin Songwriting Competition. Among other things, O’Brien told BRO how his German grandmother’s cooking led to the band’s formation.How did the band first get together?The band started with the name. I thought it would be a great band name someday.I was working at the University of Richmond’s radio station, and we were noticing that UNC-Chapel Hill’s playlist was extremely esoteric. We had this theory they were making up bands (they weren’t). So we decided to prank them and say we were music promoters and berate them for not playing any Schnitzel. They called us on our bluff and asked us to send a track. So we had to write and produce a song and the band was formed.Do all of your songs take place in this area?Geography is everything. The newest record, Cold Harbor, was all about Richmond, its surrounding suburbs, and North Carolina. The last one, Southbound Freight, was a concept album about upstate New York and 19th century France. The next one will probably be about everything west of the Blue Ridge. I heard somewhere that life exists there.Are the songs about people you’ve observed, or are they complete works of fiction?In telling a story, it makes more sense to merge fact and fiction. My song “The Smiling I Do” is not exactly true, but I am guilty of all those horrible things I mention. I wouldn’t sing something if it weren’t true. You can tell when someone does.Do you produce your own albums?I write and play on the records, but bassist Stewart Myers is really the one who produces them. He and drummer Brian Jones played in Agents of Good Roots and do a lot of session work together today. Stewart is the one who makes my ideas better. He epitomizes what I appreciate in producers. They do the work and you take the credit.What inspired you to include found sounds in the flow of the albums?We’re heavily influenced by Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. We stole from the same place as they did—The Conet Project—for Southbound Freight.Aside from obvious musical influences, who do you listen to that might surprise us?I try to pay attention to Top 40—Rhianna, Britney Spears. Even today, a good song should still bubble up through the system. I also enjoy Thin Lizzy and early 80s hardcore.Your albums are part of the iTunes library. Do you get the sense that your fan base is expanding to places you never dreamed of?Expanding is an ambitious word. I make one fan at a time. Apparently there’s a decent Americana fan base in Europe. Or maybe it’s just that the dollar has been so weak, but they appear to like us more over there.last_img read more

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Accrual roundup: Retail scheme warns for accrual drop to 1%

first_imgIn order to keep the current pensions accrual, premiums had to be raised to 33.1%, they argued.A third option would be that contributions are raised and accrual is reduced at the same time, employers and workers said in their letter to the minister.However, they made clear that they preferred a quick elaboration of the pensions agreement through legislation.Social partners in other sectors are also worried about the impact of cost-covering contributions, with trade unions warning for a steep accrual drop at the €459bn civil service scheme ABP and asking for a “quick solution”.The €5.7bn pension fund for the cleaning sector (Schoonmaak) has urged the minister to loosen the discount rules for liabilities.It said it would have to raise contributions from 22% to 30%, if it wanted to keep accrual at the current level.A spokesman for trade union FNV, who couldn’t provide further details, said that several other sectors would address the issue in a letter to Koolmees.He added that approximately 4,000 FNV members had signed a model letter to the minister since the union had launched the initiative last week.Trade union CNV said that a petition against rights cuts, premium increase and accrual reduction on its website had been signed 24,000 times. Accrual at ING CDC scheme to drop by one quarterThe €1.6bn Dutch ING CDC pension fund plans to reduce annual pensions accrual by one quarter, as a result of declining interest rates.In a message to its participants, it stated that the current accrual rate of 1.738% would be decreased to 1.3% as of next year.André Hollenkamp, the scheme’s chair, explained that the declining interest rates had driven up the prime cost of pensions, leaving the fixed contribution insufficient for the existing accrual level.The scheme’s board further warned that next year’s accrual reduction wouldn’t necessarily be the last one.In September, it is to assess the accrual rate again. It indicated that the possibility existed of a further reduction if interest rates remained at the current low level.The scheme’s fixed premium amounts to 31.5% of the pensionable salary, and already exceeds the fiscally allowed maximum of 27% expected to be introduced in the new pensions system.In more bad news for its participants, the pension fund announced that it would not grant an inflation compensation next year.At September-end its coverage ratio stood at 110%.The ING CDC pension fund has 14,000 active participants and 359 pensioners.Earlier, the €31bn pension fund for ABN Amro announced that it would cut annual accrual by 20% to 1.48%.Several other pension funds, including the Dutch company scheme for Philips, as well as the trade unions for government staff, have warned for looming premium rises and accrual reductions in 2021.Recently, the multi-sector pension fund PGB said that its contribution had to rise by 4 percentage points to 28% next year.However, the €29bn scheme indicated that it had postponed the implementation in order to allow employers and workers breathing space for assessing the future of their pension arrangements.The developments were triggered by the introduction of a lower prescribed discount rate for liabilies next year, the new fiscal ceiling for contributions as well as the requirement of a costs-covering premium in the new pensions system. Employers and workers in the Dutch retail sector have warned social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees that the annual pensions accrual would drop to 1% of the pensionable salary if contributions remain at the current level while costs-covering.They added that premiums at the €26bn sector pension fund must rise by no less than 47% were the accrual to be maintained at 1.56%.The maximum tax-facilitated pensions accrual in the Netherlands is 1.875%.According to the social partners – employer and employee representatives – the accrual drop is necessary if the current contribution level of 22.5% remained unchanged but was made to cover costs.last_img read more

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Amazing home reno: Grand Queenslander totally transformed

first_imgMatt Ganter at the house he has renovated in Enoggera. Picture: Peter Wallis.FOR two years, Matt Ganter’s kitchen consisted of two gas cookers and a microwave.But the kitchen designer did not dare tell his clients that.“Quite often, when I’d sit down with people over the dining table or benchtop and design their kitchens, they’d say to me; ‘I can’t imagine what your kitchen looks like — it must be amazing!’” Mr Ganter said.As someone who designs the most important room in the house for a living, it’s not surprising a lot of time and effort went into the kitchen in the Brisbane house he has just finished renovating.The front of the house at 22 Gizeh St, Enoggera, before the renovation. Pic supplied.The front of the house at 22 Gizeh St, Enoggera, after the renovation. Pic supplied.The room is one of the most dramatic transformations in the grand Queenslander that is four times bigger than the original house Mr Ganter bought at 22 Gizeh St, Enoggera.“It’s an extensive renovation,” Mr Ganter said.“I only finished it in the last few days and every conceivable thing was done to this house.”The original property was built in the 1920s and, from what Mr Ganter could see, had not been touched since.“That made it really easy for me,” he said.“I didn’t want to walk in to a house that someone had tinkered with.”The kitchen in the house at 22 Gizeh St, Enoggera, before it was renovated.The kitchen in the house before the renovation. Pic supplied.The kitchen in the house at 22 Gizeh St, Enoggera, after the renovation. Pic supplied.The kitchen in the house after it was renovated.Mr Ganter recalls it being the last house he inspected when he was looking for his next renovation project in 2012.“Immediately when I drove up, I saw it was across the road from a park and on a big block, which was an absolute prerequisite,” he said.“More importantly than anything else, it was a blank canvas, and that allowed me to obviously have great scope with what I could do with the property.”The bathroom in the house at 22 Gizeh St, Enoggera, before the renovation. Pic supplied.One of the bathrooms in the house at 22 Gizeh St, Enoggera, after the renovation. Pic supplied.Another bathroom at the house after it was renovated.And so began a journey that would keep Mr Ganter busy for the next six-and-a-half years.Stage one of the renovation involved raising the house, changing the configuration by moving a few walls and installing some new ones, and then renovating the existing footprint.That took about three months and resulted in two bedrooms, a bathroom and an ensuite and walk-in wardrobe.“The plan of attack was that I had a certain amount of money to go towards stage one to make it sufficient to move into,” Mr Ganter said.There was no kitchen or laundry in that section of the house, as they were in the sleep-out, so Mr Ganter had to be resourceful.The backyard of the property at 22 Gizeh St, Enoggera, before it was renovated.The backyard at the house at 22 Gizeh St, Enoggera, after it was renovated.The second stage involved building an extension on to the back of the house, tearing down some more existing walls, installing a new kitchen with a butler’s pantry, creating a new dining area and adding on a deck.“From a kitchen perspective, I wasn’t held by the constraints a lot of people have when renovating,” Mr Ganter said.“I put the walls where I needed them to be to suit the kitchen footprint I had planned.“If it’s a house more than 20 or 30 years old, nine out of 10 of the kitchens are going to be too small for our modern needs.”More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus15 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market15 hours agoThe third stage of the renovation involved building in downstairs.This involved creating a double-car garage, three bedrooms, a bathroom, a rumpus room and a kitchenette and laundry.Inside the house at 22 Gizeh St, Enoggera, before it was renovated.One of the bedrooms in the house at 22 Gizeh St, Enoggera, after it was renovated.In terms of aesthetics, Mr Ganter said the house “definitely has a Hamptons feel to it” through the furnishings and style of the kitchen, while keeping in character with the original property.“It looks like a Queenslander, and one of the things that was really important to me, was that I wanted to do justice to the original house,” he said.“Once completed, I wanted to be able to walk through the house and not see where an extension had been done.”Some of the original features Mr Ganter was careful to replicate and maintain included the exposed rafters and ballustrading at the front of the house, and the hoop pine flooring, which took him eight phone calls to find.“The other significant feature is the crisscross panelled ceiling,” Mr Ganter said.“We copied that ceiling and replicated it in the extension.“Luckily I had a cabinet maker who said he’d do it for me!”The pool being installed during the renovation.The travertine pool after it was completed.The landscaped back yard makes the most of the 797 sqm block and features a unique, silver travertine pool.“The concept of the pool came to me over 20 years,” Mr Ganter said.Mr Ganter designed the house and did a lot of the work himself, and, being in the industry, knew many of the tradespeople he recruited to help him.This was Mr Ganter’s fourth house renovation and he’s already keen to move on to his next project.“I’ll find another house and do the same thing,” he said.“You definitely have to have a passion for it and it’s hard to commit to every weekend.“Do I do something social or spend another six hours on the house? That’s been my life for well over six years.”The deck that was added on to the house at 22 Gizeh St, Enoggera.But he does not regret it.“One of the benefits of taking time to do a renovation is that before you get to the next step, you have a lot of time to think about what you’re going to do,” he said.“It doesn’t eliminate mistakes, but it minimises the amount that you make.”The five-bedroom, three-bathroom property is being marketed by Ray White – Ashgrove and is scheduled for auction at 10am on February 9, 2019.RENO FACT CHECKTime taken: 6.5 yearsTotal spend: Over $500,000End valuation: Going to auction so cannot give a price guide.last_img read more

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