Sunday, November 6, 2016

World Wide Woozle #406

Greetings listeners and thank you for joining me for this episode coming to you all the way from Bowral, my garage studio, Melbourne Airport and the kitchen.


The Rolling Stones – Travelin; Man -


Last time we spoke I was about to head to the Southern Highlands for a long bicycle ride. Well the short version is that we went, it was windy, it was cold, the hills were huge and there were yet more hills. But we made it around the whole 160km loop in good humour. Fuelled by some rather fine sponge cake and pineapple sports drink from the aid stations, motivated to continue as those around us looked far too comfortable for our own mental health and thankfully not bothered by magpies it was a wonderful day out. Many thanks to DJ Hamer-time for the company and good humour.


Queen – Friends Will Be Friends -


DJ Al-ee-sunshine and DJ D-Bilby seemed to enjoy the ride a lot more than we did. They were at the day spa! Next time, if there is one, I may be tempted to book in for a massage post ride.


Matisyahu – Sunshine -


Musically I played my last gig with the band for 2016. It was a fundraiser for Palliative Care ACT and a roaring success. After having fun playing slow, quiet(ish) stuff during dinner we pulled out all the stops with some rock and roll for a while. There was plenty of dancing and a lot of laughs. It's amazing how many AC/DC lyrics George can fit into a Midnight Oil song to keep the punters happy! And apart from a very quick cameo at Green Valley Farm this show marked the first time that Tim actually played keyboards on stage! Usually he's tinkling the ivories from beside the sound desk. The band is playing New Year's Eve at Vivaldi's which should be a great event. If Billy Joel and Elton John are your thing, or if you just like to have a good time and be well fed then book now. I won't be performing at this show but will be back in 2017…you've been warned!


AC/DC – Dog Eat Dog (live Glasgow, 1978) -


You know, I thought my great mark of success would be to turn up to a show, get handed a guitar and just play without all the setup rigmarole. I've changed my mind. I just want someone to hand me my guitar when I need to swap between songs. There are a few tracks we play that my Stratocaster just isn't beefy enough for and I would like to use something else. I just don't like disrupting the flow of the show though. Maybe next time I'll play the good old Burns Steer which goes from sweet single coil tones through to humbucking overdrive without effort!


John Hiatt – Perfectly Good Guitar -


So let's talk music.


I'm reading the Springsteen autobiography at the moment and I'm quite enjoying it. Any minute now I'll be on a plane for an hour which is my cue for uninterrupted reading time. Like almost any good rock musician, Bruce's skills are honed at an early age by playing as much as he can in front of an audience (big or small). It really is the best way to get good. I'm still lucky enough to play with musicians much more talented and proficient than I am and it improves my skills and confidence every day. As George and I agree though…if Bruce is trying so hard to appeal to the "everyman" then why are his concert tickets so very, very expensive? Fast forward and now I have finished the book. Well worth your time. It was very interesting to read about Bruce's struggles with his own mental health and how he manages to get through it. You'll have to read the book (or ask nicely) to find out why I chose this track.


Bruce Springsteen& The E Street Band – Badlands (live 1978) –


After listening to a lot of Springsteen as a result of the book I agree that he's a great songwriter and performer. Still, I prefer Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes who are friends and contemporaries of Bruce.


Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes – Without Love -


I'm disgusted by our current government's latest refugee policy. To say that genuine refugees who attempt to come here by boat will never, ever be allowed into the country no matter what happens is just horrible. To backdate it is even worse. Despite what Pauline Hanson says, we ARE a lucky and rich country. We can do so much better for those who need our help. Yep, this is an angry song…


Rise Against – Prayer of the Refugee -


At the moment I'm watching a documentary about country music superstar Glen Campbell. It's tracking his career since his diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease. As the film goes on, Glen's memory (and temper) get worse. It's amazing to watch his family hold the tour together and to see audiences genuine love for a legend of Country Music. I watched it on Netflix but I'm sure it's not that hard to find if you look a bit.


Glen Campbell – A Better Place -


Today I finally managed to finish the online course I have been taking about the music, art and literature of the American South. One day I'd love to meet the lecturer and thank him. It's been a very interesting pursuit and has left me with a notebook full of musicians, authors, artists and places to explore. One day maybe I'll get there in person.


This song is all through the course played by any number of people. BB King features heavily as well in a whole lot of interviews and lectures.


BB King, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi – Rock Me Baby (live) -


There's a lot more to write about this time around but at just over 1000 words I think that's enough.



I'll leave this here. Some of you will understand.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

World Wide Woozle #405

So much music to listen to; so little time.

This week I was out and about in a work vehicle and 30 minutes alone with the radio turned out to be very worthwhile as I discovered this next band. The Delta Riggs are an Australian group who sound like a cross between some funk, disco, rock and blues. Sometimes they are like a version of the Stones combined with Stevie Wonder's backing band. 

The Delta Riggs - Surgery of Love -

Also on the radio was a mention of legendary Australian band Hoodoo Gurus. Dave Faulkner (singer) has one of those instantly recognisable voices and the band had the knack of writing very catchy rock and roll tunes. This selection is a bit more obscure but it's a cracker.

Hoodoo Gurus - I Was A Kamikaze Pilot -

Last time I played Abbe May's, "Doomsday Clock" for you. No-one picked the song that I thought it sounded like. Fair enough; my ears and brain matter are all my own and your mileage may vary! Try this one out after listening to Abbe. More great Australian music.

Eurogliders - Groove -

Last time I asked for listener's favourite lines from a song. Well DJ Macca sent a good one in. The version most people know is either from Petra in the 80s or KISS in the 90s. But here's the original. Actually, here's all three!

Argent - God Gave Rock And Roll To You -
Petra - God Gave Rock And Roll To You -
KISS - God Gave Rock And Roll To You -

DJ Hamer-time and I are off for a ride in the country tomorrow. There's nothing all that unusual except that it's a 160km event and there's a massive hill in the middle of it. We're riding at Bowral which is new for both of us. I won't lie when I tell you it's a good idea that we don't have to go to work the next day!

Canned Heat - Going Up The Country -

Well it's 4 years since my good friend Garry passed away. Between the topics of music, sport, politics and action figures we always had something to talk about. I'll never forget the moment I was told the news; early morning at a campsite near the beach. It was a couple of hours until anyone else was awake and that was probably a good thing. Life is short people; don't waste it.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Swingin' -

The best thing about rock music is that (usually) it's fun. You can put on a record or go to a concert safe in the knowledge that at some stage you'll find yourself with your fist in the air, singing along with a goofy look on your face. You'll probably find that everyone else there will be doing the same. In the 80s I was a huge rock and metal fan because that's the way the music made me feel even if at times everything else around me wasn't so peachy. It's the feeling you get blasting some early Van Halen in the car even if it's only for a couple of minutes. Or the way you go "oh yeah" when you hear the intro to Poison's, "Nothin' But A Good Time" on the radio. Back in the day there wasn't the same access to information about bands as there is now and as such they maintained a certain mystique that seems long gone. This week I heard a song by a comedian called Jim Breuer. He's put out a full length rock and roll album and it's a lot of fun. You can tell that he grew up listening to great rock and metal bands and it still makes him smile. See what you think...

Jim Breuer and The Loud & Rowdy - Old School -

See you next time folks.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

World Wide Woozle episode #404

Today we vote in the ACT. Do we want light rail or don't we? Do we trust any politicians to deliver what they've promised? And if the current Government is so good then why haven't they instituted all these wonderful promised things already? It isn't that they aren't good ideas, but when you've been in power for years surely some of them could've got a guernsey. In all likelihood we'll get another minority government due to the vagaries of our voting system but the pundits believe that it's far too close to call. The good thing about the election being over is that all of the advertising material can be removed from our beautiful city. We don't have billboards so seeing even small amounts of advertising stinking up the place is disappointing. 

It wouldn't be an election without me insisting that you all listen to this song. Look at that guitar!!

Billy Bragg - Ideology -

You are all no doubt aware that Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Norman Mailer is turning in his grave and attempting a slamdunk in response. It's an interesting decision. In my book lyrics are a form of poetry and possibly the most accessible to the general population. Bob has tons of lyrics to trawl through and plenty of people dissecting them. That gets boring.  Surely the best line in popular music is.....<insert your answer here>.

Rolling Stones - It's Only Rock'n'Roll -

King of the North are an Aussie two piece, loud, rock band that continue to impress me. I've seen them live once and have both of their albums (and a t-shirt of course). That two guys can make so much noise is priceless. If you like energetic rock music then now is the time to try out this band. If you're one of my European fans then the band is on tour there at the moment.

King of the North - The Mountain -

Last weekend Davey and I provided 26 hours of non-stop music and commentary for the Australian 24 hr Mountain Biking Championships. Riding for 24hrs is hard work. Talking, staying awake and remaining almost sane is nearly as difficult. We had a blast. Unfortunately this, the 18th edition, was the last time the race will be run. I think I've ridden in seven and done commentary for four. I'd still happily change careers to work as a radio DJ if I thought it would pay the bills and someone would listen.

Bruce Springsteen - Radio Nowhere -

Abbe May's new song "Doomsday Clock" rolled around on the radio this week. I like it quite a lot. A straw poll of a few regular readers of this column revealed quite polarised opinions. See what you think....there's another song that I can't get out of my head when I listen to this but I'm not sure that Abbe is old enough to realise that she's referenced it in a good way.

Mojo Nixon never fails to make me laugh. Some of his material is crude but for the main it's a fairly cutting look at the culture in his homeland. I have one of his older albums on cassette and lyrics such as, "Don Henley, must die...don't let him get back together with Glenn Frey", never fail to put a smile on my face.

Mojo Nixon - Debbie Gibson is pregnant (with my two-headed love child) -

DJ The BigChicken had a birthday this week. Ba-barrckkk! Here's a song for you my friend. Many happy returns.

Anthrax - Caught In A Mosh (live with John Bush) -

Let me tell you about my cycling challenge. You may or may not have heard about the concept of "Everesting". That's where you find a hill and you ride up (and down) it non-stop until you've climbed the equivalent of the elevation of Mt Everest. I'm not quite mad enough for that (yet). One of my favourite climbs is Black Mountain here in Canberra. To "Everest" Black Mountain is 38 times up. I've been doing a few preparatory climbs and my aim is to do those 38 climbs on one month (November). Watch this space as I do my best for no other reason than I can.

Gary Moore & The Chieftans - Over The Hills And Far Away -

Yesterday I presented at a forum on behalf of my employer. I was much later on in the day after a number of speakers. I was moved to say something like this before I began. "I'm an immigrant to Australia. When I came here in 1983 I was genuinely shocked that it seemed no-one knew anything about Aboriginal Australia. Today we've had a Welcome To Country and every presenter has acknowledged, in a genuine manner, the traditional owners of the land. Our country is not perfect but this is a start." I couldn't help but quickly tell the story of the band being welcomed, with a smoking ceremony, to Gamillaray country. In a room full of people working towards equitable outcomes for a range of people it seemed to resonate.

I chose the next song for the energy, delivery and awesome sounds. Looks like it would've been a great gig to be at.

Saltwater Band - Bolu -

That's enough for one week. The sun is out, the sky is blue and I have to wander down to the Primary School to exercise my democratic right to vote for whomever I choose.



Saturday, October 1, 2016

World Wide Woozle episode #403

In a week where a lot went wrong, I didn't get much sleep and it rained far too much, I'm pleased to say that music kept me going.

DJ Hamer-time and me are out at Stromlo next weekend doing commentary for the 24hr mountain bike race. This year marks the event's 18th birthday. It's also the final one. With the amount of rain that we've had it may turn into a kayaking event. I'm taking a snorkel and my flippers. Assuming that the ground isn't so wet that they are forced to cancel you'll be able to hear us on 99.5 on your FM dial in and around the event. Feel free to come on down for a chat even if you're not competing. 24hrs straight is a long time. Fortunately for everyone we'll be playing a lot of music as well.

Everclear - AM radio -

It's the end of the Australian Football season this weekend with the MCG hosting the Grand Final between the Swans and the Bulldogs. It's hard for me to get excited as my team was knocked out last week. The Swans and the Bulldogs joined what was the VFL in 1897 and 1925 respectively. They have 6 premierships between them so you'd hardly call either team wildly successful. Grand Finals are rarely close or hard fought encounters. Last week's Giants vs Bulldogs game will probably be the best of the finals series. However, it's been a cracking season of football, I hope the Bulldogs can manage an upset to win their second only premiership and also that no morons feel the need to kneel down during the National Anthem. There's a time and a place to debate national symbols and the anthem; at the footy today is not that place in my opinion.

Mike Brady - Up There Cazaly -

Alison and Angus gave me the first six Star Wars films on bluray as a gift recently. Starting at the start seemed like a good idea so a couple of weeks ago I sat through Episode I. My thoughts and review from when I saw it on opening night back in the day still stand. A very average film with great special effects an unwanted pseudo muppet. Last weekend was Episode II. Oh dear; I really had forgotten why I'd only watched it once before and that was at the movies. There may be some cool moments but all in all it is way too long and far too boring. It's so good that I slept through a chunk of it and missed nothing. Thankfully I know that the next four are awesome. There are 40 hours of special features as well. Don't expect a review on them anytime soon but I will get through it!

D.A.D. - Sleeping My Day Away -

Noting that Bruce Springsteen has penned an autobiography, imaginatively entitled, "Born To Run"), and that I've ordered a copy from the Book Suppository, I dipped back into some of his extensive back catalogue this week (or catalog for those of you economical with your use of vowels). With so many b-sides, demo versions, alternate ending versions, bootlegs and the like available it's easy to begin to overlook his 'standard' versions of albums. Like a lot of people my age, Springsteen exploded into our lives with the "Born In the USA" album. Cool kids I knew pretended to know all about him but the title track of that album and "Dancing In The Dark" were the huge hits when I was a teen. The "Born To Run" album was already 9 years old and ancient history if you were 15 yourself. "Born In The USA" is far from my favourite Springsteen album but revisiting it and subsequently the relatively recently released live DVD of the album being played in its entitreity reminded me that Bruce is a great guitar player. Yes, yes, yes; he can sing and write songs and perform 4 hour concerts I know that. But when the mood takes him and the mix is right Bruce is right up there as a rock and roll guitar-slinger.

Bruce Springsteen - Cover Me (live) -

I've been listening to some old Georgia Satellites tunes this week as well as guitarist Dan Baird's solo stuff and subsequent group, 'The Homemade Sin'. It's all good old fashioned bluesy rock and roll that doesn't take itself too seriously. Funnily enough, Volbeat who got an airing last week do a really good version of the Satellites tune, "Battleship Chains".

Georgia Satellites - Red Light -

Dan Baird - I Love You Period -

Volbeat - Battleship Chains -

I like a good protest song. Bragg, Earle, Paxton, Guthrie, Cash, Oils, Spys...they've all got some crackers but here's something else. This time from Canada it's alt-rock-country-folk outfit Blue Rodeo with some fairly clear messages (from 2015) about their displeasure with their government.

Blue Rodeo - Stealing All My Dreams -

That's enough for this time. Stay tuned for more.


Monday, September 26, 2016

World Wide Woozle #402

I'm still here. Turn this up.

Soundgarden - Been Away Too Long -

Billy Bragg has a new album called "Shine A Light". The songs are those of the American railroad. A couple of listens in and I'm thinking it's a bit sedate but it may yet grow on me. The concept is good and the songs well chosen so maybe it just needs a little time. They couldn't top this effort though....

Emmylou Harris - Hobo's Lullaby -

Hellsingland Underground are a Swedish rock band I know absolutely nothing about other than I heard one song and had to hear more. If you like The Black Crowes, Little Feat or Lynyrd Skynyrd then this is worth a listen. Great guitars. What IS going on in Sweden??

Hellsingland Underground - As Dreams Go By -

Unlike the UK we'll stay in Europe for a few minutes longer. In Denmark to be precise where we find a rather fine band by the name of Volbeat. Their music mixes up classic rock, metal, rockabilly and probably some Elvis as well. From what I've read it seems that their music has become slightly more commercial as they've developed. I'm jumping in with the latest album and therefore no emotional baggage related to their previous releases. I like it because the singer can really sing, the beat is good and the guitars are crunchier than a Granola suite. From an album with the great title "Seal the deal and let's boogie"...

Volbeat - The Bliss -

Why not pause here for a quick trip back to Sweden and one of the greatest cover versions I've ever heard. Here's Ghost (or Ghost BC depending on where you live) from their brand new EP, "Popestar" with a spooky version of a Eurythmics classic. This was released just over a week ago and is simply brilliant. Someone who knows how music actually works will be able to explain how they've used minor keys and what I imagine are flatted 5ths to make this sound evil and spooky. I've probably got that wrong but I heard Kerry King from Slayer talking about it once.

Ghost BC - Missionary Man -

Last week we had The Beatles. This week it's Elvis. I've been listening to the recently released CD set, "Way Down In The Jungle Room". This is two CDs worth of material recorded by The King at his home. There are a range of outtakes, demos and fully fledged tracks and it's quite diverse. I noticed today in the record shop that the Elvis Presley estate has been busy with legacy releases. More for me to check out. Long live The King!

Elvis Presley - Way Down (take 2) -

I saw Iggy Pop's latest album, "Post Pop Depression" selling for only $10 today in the store. In my opinion this is a really strong album and the band he has behind him is basically Queens of The Stone Age. I guess they were either overstocked or the rest of the music buying public doesn't agree with me. I now realise that I didn't go back and pick it up after I was finished looking for other stuff (that I couldn't find). I really need a better record store. The independent one I usually frequent has stopped answering emails so I can't be bothered with them if they are lazy. I can get my fix via eBay and Spotify but flicking through racks of CDs and records is a lot of fun.

Roxette are a great band. I've seen them live and it remains one of the best shows I've ever been too. Per Gessle has a million classic guitars and he can play them to boot. One of his signature sounds involves a shimmering, slightly overdriven guitar and that's one of the reasons I love my tremolo pedal. Here's an alternate version of a song that should've got a lot more radio play.

Roxette - Cinnamon Street -

Lastly this week, something that shocked me. It's rare that I hear an album for the first time and find myself completely blown away. I can list the records that have had that effect on me on just one hand. If you're interested then here they are linked to a track from each one:

The album that seriously turned my head this week is the 1988 self-titled debut release from Danzig. Singer (and songwriter) Glenn Danzig was in the horror punk band The Misfits. Although they are well regarded and an important group in the story of music in general, they never really caught my ear. As a result I suppose I let Danzig (the band) just go through to the goalkeeper without so much as a second thought. Even when Metallica covered a few Misfits tunes quite well I still wasn't interested. Last week the great musical oracle called Spotify that keeps insisting that I should listen to Phil Collins (not happening) popped Danzig up on the "Discovery" playlist. Not even realising what was playing I found my toes tapping and my head nodding. To be quite honest, I thought I was listening to an outtake from The Cult's "Electric" album. When I found out that the track was from Danzig I cued up the entire set and the rest is history. It's no coincidence that "Danzig" the album is produced by Rick Rubin. So is "Electric" and the Johnny Cash LP referenced above. This one has the dry AC/DC guitar/drum sound which, when coupled with Glenn Danzig's vocal delivery style (Morrison meets Presley meets Astbury) and a rhythm section that understands the middle ground between Sabbath and bluesy swagger rock, is simply a rock and roll treat.

Danzig - Twist of Cain -

How's that for a week of music? Thanks for the few 'welcome back' notes that were sent through; I really do appreciate them. Tune in next time for more ramblings and hopefully a tune that'll make you sit up and take notice.


I like songs about real life. Like this.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

World Wide Woozle episode #401 (Return of the Woozle)

I'm back. Apologies in advance!

Addiction is a difficult thing. Drugs, drink, reality TV, KFC...they all contain some kind of chemical that makes you crave them fortnightly or even more often. My addictions are different in that from the outside anyway they seem healthy. Guitars, music and bikes; what could possibly go wrong?

A while ago now I stopped my weekly blog. 400 episodes was enough. The pressure I felt to have something to say and tunes to share meant that it was no longer fun. In the last few days I've got the itch to write again. Maybe it's the fact that there are so many new pieces of music that I'm enjoying? Maybe it's that I'm enthused by having a new shiny piece of technology to type on rather than the steam powered devices I've been curating for a while now? Then there's always the chance that I just have a big mouth and instead of posting random things on Facebook and Twitter I can get them down in a more detailed manner here. The reality is that it's a mix of all of these reasons and more.

Let's start where it all began for a lot of people and that's with The Beatles. Their only official live album "The Beatles at The Hollywood Bowl" was released in 1977 from concert recordings made in '65 and '66. This album has been remixed, remastered, repackaged and probably other things beginning with 're' as well. It sounds amazing and comes at the same time as the Ron Howard film about the band's touring years. It was only released a few days ago so I've only listened using Spotify but it's a lot of fun. Beatles fans should lap it up as the clarity is so much better than the '77 version and there are extra tracks as well. I'm not a hardcore Beatles nut but it's hard to fault this offering. Here's some footage released as a promo...

The Beatles - Boys (live) - 

Concert ticket prices continue to climb here. I was excited at the thought of seeing almost all of the classic Guns 'n' Roses lineup in concert in Sydney next year. $173 for quite average seats turned me right off the idea though. I'm sure they'll be good but for that money I just can't justify it. Let's just hope they don't keep punters waiting for hours and hours before they hit the stage. 

Just as I was feeling a bit low about the Gunners ticket prices along came a band that I like a lot more with an unexpected tour and a price that is just manageable. The Cult. Woo hoo! Their '86 album, "Electric", is one of my all time favourites and so, in November I'll be heading to see them with a couple of former bandmates who are probably even bigger fans of the band than me! The Cult have a new album, "Hidden City" for me to listen to as well. I bought this next track when I was 16 on a 45 single on the strength of the cover art and was an instant convert. 

The Cult - Love Removal Machine - 

Amanda Shires is an American musician and singer. I was introduced to her music as she is married to Jason Isbell and plays and sings with him. Amanda also has a succesful solo career and a new album, "My Piece of Land". I imagine that if you like artists such as Emmylou Harris that this might be for you but it's much more and it's all Amanda's. The cover photo is superb as well; a simple, almost candid, portrait sans makeup.

Amanda Shires - Slippin' - 

Sabaton are from Sweden and are one of the best power-metal bands around. From the footage I've viewed they really know how to put on a live show. Musically it's heavy but not growl and detune rather a melodic and energetic version of heavy rock. DJ McG showed me the way to Sabaton a few years ago and I've gone on to purchase quite a few of their albums. If you like fist pumping metal then this is for you. Their new album is called, "The Last Stand".

Sabaton - Sparta -

The Ruts (or Ruts DC) have been around since 1977 playing their own style of punk rock. They have an obvious reggae influence which is often present in punk but The Ruts always had a swing and swagger that set them apart in my opinion. Well, they're back with a new album, "Music Must Destroy", and a couple of singles one of which features Henry Rollins. Here's one of their old songs and one of the new ones as well. Definitely an album I plan to purchase.

The Ruts - Something That I Said -

Ruts DC - Psychic Attack - 

Last night I played a gig with the band that signals the end of an era. We billed the gig as, "Last Chance for Oils" as it was to be our last show doing the Midnight Oil tribute. New songs were added to the setlist and the pressure to get them right was on! Indeed Tim and I spent Friday night in my garage sorting out last minute bits and pieces for a number of tunes. After years of working to get it right I think that I can stop looking for guitar pedals. The combination of the old Marshall Guv'nor pedal and an even older Ibanez Chorus was, and will remain the mainstay of my sound along with the trusty Strat. The rest is window dressing. Anyway, the gig was fantastic, the crowd as they say "went off" and we were left completely worn out in the best possible way. It's been a fun ride playing such great music for a few years and even though we've played other stuff along the way the Oils music has been a defining part of us for quite a while. Who knows what's coming next?

Midnight Oil - Truganini - 

That's probably enough for this instalment. I've got more to say but I'll leave something fermenting in the tank for next time. I haven't told you about Zoe and I returning to Vanuatu, new employment in my family, I haven't said anything vaguely political and there's a heap more including other music that I'm enjoying. I'm not promising a weekly missive but I have a feeling that I'm back.

Let me know if you want off the train and I'll quietly remove you from the mailing list.


Should we still have a final track? Why not. Here it is.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Why Stuff Matters To Me #001

After 400 weekly blog installments I was tired of the whole thing. It was becoming obvious that a lot of readers were ignoring what I wrote or skipping all of the songs and to me, that defeated the purpose of what I was doing. I've always had a lot to say and I wanted to continue writing. Not in an academic or scholarly sense, but as an outlet. In 2015 I spied a book in a bookshop (remember those?) called "Why AC/DC Matters". I don't need anyone to tell me why but the title got me thinking. Why does stuff matter to me? And by stuff I don't mean material possessions. My blog had been an attempt to share my passion for a wide range of music, why I wanted to listen to it and to encourage others to open their ears as well. Although it mutated into a diary, training log and personal expose at times, music was the glue holding it all together. The upshot is that I am starting a new series. Some of the topics have been in my head for ages and some are brand new. With a nod to the author of the above book, which I will read at some stage, welcome to my thoughts about why stuff matters to me. My closest adviser recommends that I keep each piece of writing under 500 words; let's see how I go!

A quick tune before I start…

Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band - Express Yourself -

The first thing that matters to me is being yourself. Or more specifically, being myself. It's often a throwaway line for self-help types and I intensely dislike that. To be yourself is difficult. Even though no-one else is like you most of us spend quite a lot of time trying to be something we're not. I always find it incredibly harsh when children are advised "just to be themselves" as they really haven't had time to work it out yet and they need to be allowed a chance to try on a few different skins. Something else to remember is that who you are should continue to develop over time. You shouldn't be afraid to listen to those who might recognise that your current self is worn out. It doesn't have to be anything huge; going bald meant I that I started shaving my head and it feels good not to worry about the shiny patch on the back of my head. I feel like a new person every time I finish with the clippers! Big changes are OK as well. In 2014 when the band went to Gamilaraay Country to play music I knew that I needed to do something better with my life; something with meaning rather than just having a job. Then when Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu and I visited afterwards this cemented my desire to do something different. I was fortunate enough to find a new job with a charity that allows me to work with people to put their lives back on track. As was pointed out to me on Tuesday night, helping is the wrong word but my liberation is caught up in theirs and I'm a much better person for it.

Rollins Band - Illumination -