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The curious case of the two Brut 66es

From 2005-2009 I played guitar in a cool band called Brut 66. We were a bunch of thirty- and forty-somethings who’d all ended up in the same country town and discovered we shared similar – some would say impeccable – musical tastes and had played in similar bands in our younger days.

What’s in a name?

When we first started playing and went through the usual brainstorming process bands do when they need to come up with a name we ended up settling on the quite unique – or so we thought – Brut 66. I can’t remember who came up with it but I do remember that at first it wasn’t taken as a serious contender (unlike some others: Dead Leg, The Nits and Red Motor, um hello?). It didn’t take long though. For me personally it was a great choice because it was stupid and kind of clever at the same time and had three big selling points:

  1. It referenced the famous blues standard Route 66, famous to me via Chuck Berry and the Stones. Aside from being a great song I’ve always loved the song because of the several layers of meaning between the lines of it’s favourite lyrics. I knew that it symbolised the dream of a better life in utopian California for many poor black Americans who travelled it (check out Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath) and that it “celebrate[d] the romance and freedom of automobile travel” (Wikipedia).
  2. It also referenced the ubiquitous and totally cheesy Brut 33 aftershave that was a part of life (and found under many a Christmas tree, chosen by hapless Aunties) for any male growing up in the 1970s and 80s.
  3. It was a great bit of wordplay that mashed these two great pop culture references together. Puns, especially ones like this, have long been a favourite of my bandmates.

So anyway, off we went. We wrote some songs, practised them in Greg’s shed, played to our friends and families and occasionally ventured further afield. We recorded a couple of CDs. We didn’t change musical history but we had lots of fun.

Our style? We had dollops of 60s garage and Detroit rock, a bit of Australian underground in there. We were loud and messy, usually in a good way. As well as our originals we did some covers by the likes of The Sonics, Ramones, Patti Smith, God.

What 66?

Our name was often misspelled and that was part of the fun. On posters done by other bands we played, occasional newpaper ads, the memorable cover of a street press magazine and blackboards outside dodgy pubs we were sometimes ‘Brutt 66’ with two ts, at least once ‘Brute 66’, sometimes ‘Route 66’. It was fitting that for our very last gig at Sydney’s Lansdowne Hotel the blackboard announced ‘Brut GG’.

At the end of 2009 our singer moved away and the band ended.

The plot thickens

A couple of months later an email landed in my inbox

hi there,
played in a band called Brut 66 from Düsseldorf-Germany in the late 80´s.
sounded maybe like 70´s english styled punk rock or something else.
released only one 7 inch on a small local label called Teenage Rebel Records.
have a few copies left. if you are interessted i can send you 1 or 2.just for fun.
see you on tour in düsseldorf!

I nearly fell off my chair. Another band with exactly the same name had existed well before we thought of it. Their musical style even sounded not a million miles away from ours. I know that it’s hard to find a unique band name these days but hey, Brut 66?

Yesterday a package arrived from Michael with four singles from the ‘other’ Brut 66, recorded in 1988 in Düsseldorf. They look very young and – as I did in those days – eager to look as tough and hard as possible. In keeping with releases from the pre-digital age the single includes a photocopied A4 sheet with some cut and pasted pictures and typewritten lyrics. After the band members names it says “No thanks to anyone”.

Looks we’ve been well and truly outpunked!

(I’m ashamed to say that my record player is out of action right now so I haven’t been able to listen yet).

Pics of old and new Brut 66 singles and CDs below.

Stay tuned for the dual Brut 66es Germany and Australia reunion tour in another 10 years…

Footnote for fellow grammar and spelling pedants: I struggled with the correct way to write the plural of Brut 66: should it be Brut 66s or Brut 66es? None of the online sources I checked could tell me definitively. I know if it was written as Brut Sixty-Six the ‘es’ plural would be correct so I’ve gone with that. Further dicussion welcome, if anyone cares.

Lots of similarities between the only two people who’ve vocally supported directory scams on this site

Curiouser and curiouser…

I noticed this morning that yesterday someone had left comments on a number of posts on this blog, all regarding directory scams (both the Who’s Who In Australia and the World Business Guide scams).

In the space of five minutes yesterday Hector Schmidt left four comments either supporting these scams or putting down other commenters.

At 12.58 on More Fax Spam

Not one person mentions the countless positive pages online. Just a bunch of individuals that are complaining about receiving an advertisment. No one who actually has a problem with the service, just problems with receiving a fax. This product has worked wonders for me. This site is a bunch of bloody rubbish.

then 1pm on the same post…

And why is it a hoax?. Because lots of people received it? Makes no sense what you folks say. You all sound like a bunch of whining teenagers. Grow up. If you don’t want the service, don’t respond.

then 1.02pm on World Business Guide – another fax spam directory scam

And why is this a scam?????

and finally at 1.03om on More on the Who’s Who fax spam

YOu souns like a rocket scientist michele.

(Michele had offered the opinion that these types of organisations were trying to trick people into paying for information that’s already freely available, that these people often use fake names and that trying to opt-out may put you on another list).

All good – I want your views

Which is great – I encourage the sharing of opinions on this site. And given the number of people who’ve been vocal in their condemnation of  these types of ‘offers’ it’s good to see some different perspectives.

In fact at the end of last year I spent quite a bit of time following up with Shane Mundy who’d signed up for one of these deals to present his side of this debate.

I can’t help wondering though

What made me curious about the recent dash of comments were the similarities between Hector and Brian Green, who was a regular commenter on this site over the course of a week in late December 2010 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), commenting on most of the same posts with similar opinions and tone.

A quick lookup of the IP addresses from which the comments were left shows them both to be from the same Internet Service Provider. Now I know that this ISP probably has thousands of customers but still, I can’t help wondering if Brian and Hector work from the same location/for the same organisation or are indeed the same person?

Again, I’d love to hear comments on this from readers, particularly Hector or Brian.

World Business Guide – another fax spam directory scam

World Business Guide fax spam

Another great directory spam came through on the fax today, this time from World Business Guide.

Always read the fine print

This one is even more blatant than similar fax spam (more), in that although they note at the top nice and clearly

To update your company profile please print, complete and return this form (UPDATING IS FREE OF CHARGE).

you need to read between the lines a little. Updating may be free of charge, but placing the listing is going to cost you €2985 – around $AUD4300! Buried at the bottom in the fine print, in all capital letters to make it hard to read, is


I’ve bolded and underline what I’d have to describe as the ‘key points’.

World Business Guide fax spam fine print

(Fine print, click to zoom in)

Oh, but hang on – they’re not totally mercenary. After being hit with your first bill you do get the chance to cancel


So if you fill in the form based on what you’ve read at the top and miss the fine print it’s really only going to cost you around €995/$AUD1500. Nice.

Here’s the full World Business Guide fax (pdf, 78 kb).

Who is behind the World Business Guide?

The fax lists their address as P.O. Box 3079, 3502 GB, Utrecht, The Netherlands but their website suggests otherwise.

The World Business Guide online is product of International Directories, a corporation organized and existing under the laws of BVI.

BVI is tax haven the British Virgin Islands. Like Jack and Meg said, I think I smell a rat.

ACCC report on scams in 2009

A report released today by the ACCC says that reported scams in 2009 were up 16% on the previous year. The report is available on the ACCC website (pdf link at bottom of page)

“Realistically, this figure is likely to be the tip of the iceberg – given people can be embarrassed about reporting that they have fallen victim to scams and lost money in the process” said ACCC deputy chair Peter Kell.

‘False billing (advertising, directories, domain names)’ came in as the 5th most compained about type of scam for 2009, with the report noting

Scammers continued to target small businesses in an attempt to trick them into paying for a listing or advertisement in a magazine, journal or business register/directory. A common example is where a small business is sent a subscription form disguised as an outstanding invoice. This is an attempt to trick the recipient into signing up for unwanted advertising services.

It’s interesting to note that the ACCC have initiated legal proceedings against one such organisation, the European City Guide.

Fax Spam is not regulated in Australia

We have no laws that cover fax spam

Although Australia has a  and a Spam Act which regulates unsolicited email and sms messages and a Do Not Call Register to which (private) fixed and mobile numbers can be added there is no legislation which covers unsolicited faxes at this stage.

At the time of writing, according to The Australian Communications and Media Authority’s website

The Government has recently announced its intention to expand the Do Not Call Register, to cover both business numbers and fax numbers. When this is implemented, it may reduce these types of calls being made where people register their numbers.

Those Who’s Who in Australia spam faxes keep on coming

I’m thrilled to report that I’ve been lucky enough to be chosen to appear in the 2009/10 Edition of Who’s Who Among Executives, Professionals and Entrepreneurs in Australia.


And I thought that these guys were narky with me! Back in December after I received and wrote about my first Who’s Who in Australia fax (and followed up with more information) Brian Green – who claimed to be behind the mystery organisation that sends these faxes – left several messages on this website, which ranged from

We are asking you, business man to business man to please remove this site. It may be exciting to you because of all of the hits your getting from our marketing efforts but it is truly huring us and our over 50 employees that count on our great company to make a living. It also makes our happy customers question our credibility. So we ask you to please remove the negative press as We are clearly not a scam, just agggressive good marketers that provide a great service. Thank you in advance for you cooperation. We can help you get major traffic to your site with out hurting our company if you like. Please.
(Dec 11 2009)


These comments are from non-customers and a bunch of Rubbish. I don’t see any paid customers complaining! Just Non responders that don’t like our marketing letters. No Scam at all here, just a great service that puts peoples businesses on the map in search engines and generates business for them. But all of you have a nice day. Maybe you’ll come around someday. Good Day Mates :)
(December 16, 2009)


We have great products and tens of thousands of happy customers. This site is a compilation of a bunch of synical non-customers so here is what we are willing to do to change that. THE FIRST 10 PEOPLE That leave their contact details on here, we will provide them with free services for 1 year to prove the validity of our product. That is only if they come back and publish the great things that our services do for ther business.
(December 17, 2009)

I guess despite all my negative press ‘the Director’ still thinks I might make ‘an interesting biographical subject’. After all ‘achievement is what Who’s Who is all about’.

An open letter to Brian

As you’re still so keen to keep in contact with me Brian I have a few questions I’d love to ask you. As in the past I’d welcome the opportunity for you to have your say and will be happy to publish your responses in full.

  1. If you are, as you claim, a legitimate organisation, why don’t you supply your real business name, ABN, phone number, email or street address on your marketing material?
  2. Why don’t you provide an opt-out mechanism for people who don’t want to receive your faxes?
  3. Does Jennifer Crowley really exist?

Another Who’s Who scam – Your Recent Nomination to Continental Who’s Who

What is it about these ‘you’ve been chosen’ scams? They obviously touch some nerve by making us feel important.

Hot on the heels of the Australian Who’s Who fax scam I’ve been writing about I one of my co-workers got this email spam from Continental Who’s Who informing him that

You were recently chosen as a potential candidate to represent your professional community in the 2009-10 Edition of Continental Who’s Who.

We are please to inform you that your candidacy was formally approved November 23rd, 2009. Congratulations.

The Publishing Committee selected you as a potential candidate based not only upon your current standing, but focusing as well on criteria from executive and professional directories, associations, and trade journals. Given your background, the Director believes your profile makes a fitting addition to our publication.

There is no fee nor obligation to be listed. As we are working off of secondary sources, we must receive verification from you that your profile is accurate. After receiving verification, we will validate your registry listing within seven business days.

Once finalized, your listing will share prominent registry space with thousands of fellow accomplished individuals across the globe, each representing accomplishment within their own geographical area.

To verify your profile and accept the candidacy, please visit here [link removed]. Our registration deadline for this year’s candidates is December 31, 2009. To ensure you are included, we must receive your verification on or before this date. On behalf of our Committee I salute your achievement and welcome you to our association.

Sincerely Yours,

Frank Williams
Nomination Committee Secretary
Continental Who’s Who
33 West Hawthorne Ave
Valley Stream, NY 11580

My colleague is most definitely a fantastic and professional worker but could ‘the Publishing Committee’ from this shonky organisation really know know all about his ‘current standing’ and his reputation from ‘professional directories, associations and trade journals’ ?

Um, no. Just another one that’s been doing the rounds.

More on the Who’s Who fax spam

I wrote a while ago about the Who’s Who Among Executives, Professionals and Entrepreneurs fax spam recently and it seemed to hit a nerve. I have received and continue to receive lots of feedback from others who’d received similar faxes.

I was curious when Bob noted that a business in Hobart was advertising their listing on their site (looks like this has since been removed) so I contacted owner Shane Mundy to find out more. Shane joined up and paid his money and has a slightly different take on the situation so I asked him if he’d mind sharing his experience which he was happy to do. Here’s what he had to say (unedited)

I suppose you can look at it a couple of ways, yes it is defiantly marketing , you are led to believe you are a special person to be asked to be a member, but at the end of the day you have joined a networking organisation, that’s what it is a membership that you pay 500 dollars to be a member, I did a google and when I told the SALES PERSON I saw lots of google results as a scam. It could be classed as a scam if you look it at it that way, there are 2 membership options platinum or 5 year, I at first said I was not interested but as any sales person he offered me the benefits of platinum for the cheaper 5 year option, in that I received 2 airline tickets to a list of destinations across the globe, there is a little catch though, you have to stay in their Ritzy hotels they are networked with for a number of nights, that was fine with us because we wanted to treat our self to some nice accommodation when we go back to new york after Boston, my wife is not here to ask what airline but I am pretty sure its Continental, so in all Steve it suited me this time around but if I wasn’t flying OS it would be hardly worth joining for the glory of having your name in a black book. They do send a black book as part of package with all the other members names and profiles.

Make of this what you will…

Beautiful Ceramics from Annette Rogers

Signature - Annette Rogers Ceramics

I’ve just finished photographing some exquisite ceramics from the very talented Annette Rogers – see samples below. (Did I say talented? I should also mention patient and long-suffering – Annette’s my partner).

The cups pictured here are porcelain and the platters are earthenware and use a majolica glaze. With the platters Annette brings colour and textural elements from her oil painting work – inspired by the Dutch Cobra movement – to her ceramics.

Highest annual rainfall on record for Bellingen in 2009

2009 is now officially the highest annual rainfall on record for Bellingen with 3372mm recorded so far this year. The 500mm+ received this week sees 1921’s paltry 2895mm soundly beaten (source: Bellingen Courier Sun).

Average is around 1500mm.

And there’s still seven more weeks to go before the end of the year…

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