This week I got to see Angus singing, dancing and generally having a ball in his school production of Grease. I have to say that it was one of the best high school productions I have seen in a very, very long time. They were blessed with kids who had strong voices, a great band and pretty good work by the sound crew too.
The other really great thing this week is that Canberra has had very little wind. This makes cycling a real treat. Crossing the bridge yesterday at about 1pm and seeing the lake looking like glass doesn't happen all that often. People from out of town often seem surprised at our weather here. Getting out and about in single digit temperatures is a lot different here as usually the sun is out during the day and the sky is clear. It's very different to a dark, damp winters day elsewhere.
It would be most unlike me not to talk about politics given the debacle that happened in the Australian Labor Party this week. I mean, who in their right mind would mount a leadership challenge on the night of State of Origin Rugby League?? All I'll say is that it's only a matter of how much the ALP loses the election by. It could be a large landslide or a massive one. Idiots. It seems to me that both sides of politics have forgotten that they are there to serve the country and the people, not themselves. As Billy says, "...is there more to a seat in parliament than sitting on your arse?"
Righto, let's talk about music before the ACCC speaks to me about "Song of the Week" not being about songs.
I had a good discussion this week with DJ DJ and DJ FatRollins about the merits of various Metallica albums. While we all have our favourites we agree on at least one thing and that is that no-one should be subjected to having to listen to the "St. Anger" LP ever again. Seriously though, the discussion was about audio quality and the dreadful mix of the classic 1988 release, "And Justice For All". The issues are well documented; a distinct lack of bass, terrible snare sound and a harsh mix. If ever an album was begging to be re-mixed (as opposed to re-mastered) then this is the one. What I did discover after reading a lot of really nerdy internet fora was that there is a Japanese version which is significantly different. Well, I like a challenge so I tracked it down and had a good listen on headphones, in the car and on the stereo. There is generally more definition in all of the sounds - it's the audio equivalent of looking at a sharpened photo. For fans, it's worth the effort to get a hold of.
Metallica - And Justice For All - http://youtu.be/lfg0_FbIqqw
After reading far too much about Metallica I strayed in a couple of fora and read even more about audio mastering and different versions of a number of albums. It's safe to say that you vould go blind AND cross-eyed reading all that. If you really like an LP then maybe it's worth searching out some information but other than that, just listen and enjoy. Luckily DJ TimTheSoundMan was on hand to steer me in the right direction about all this before I was brainwashed into believing that a $3000 CD player was a good idea.
For those that read me writing about the band Ghost last week you may be interested to know that I picked up their album "Infestissumam" on red vinyl during the week. I really like LPs that come with a free download of the tracks as MP3s. It saves me either ripping them from the LP or finding them by some other means. And yep, the album sounds great.
With the band having a bit of a hiatus I've turned to playing a range of songs to see if I can manage them all by myself. I have my doubts but a couple of hours every now and then bashing away on the guitar in the spare room is fun. Here's a couple of tracks that I've been trying out...
Kris Kristofferson - If You Don't Like Hank Williams - http://youtu.be/HHyVnhYJagg
Billy Bragg - Levi Stubbs' Tears - http://youtu.be/I4v8VJ0LRgA
The other thing I've been doing is investigating a new guitar. After years of being disappointed with every Gibson I've bought I've decided to move on. The necks just don't suit my hands. Of course, the green Burns (as seen in the above Bragg clip) remains my firm favourite but, like bicycles, you can never have too many. My hands seem to feel at home on a Stratocaster so I'm looking at those. The issue is that there are just so many options. Do I save for a USA made one, compromise with one out of their excellent Mexican factory or look around for an 80s Japanese model. Aaarrrrgggh. In the end I'll probably lug my amplifier to the guitar shop next week and annoy them by playing everything in the shop before I choose! My first guitar was (is) a red Stratocaster copy. Why? Here's why...
Jimi Hendrix - Hey Joe (live at Winterland) - http://youtu.be/RKZ2n--8DP8
Dire Straits - Sultans of Swing (live) - http://youtu.be/8Pa9x9fZBtY
In the mid 90s DJ SAB turned me on to a singer called Andy Prieboy and his album, "Upon My Wicked Son". Andy was in Wall of Voodoo if you've heard of them. The album is a great listen and is one that never gets old for me. You might have heard his song, "Tomorrow Wendy" which was also recorded by Concrete Blonde. Try this...
Andy Prieboy - Montezuma Was A Man Of Faith - http://youtu.be/4zZn-faHgSk
And while we're talking about Concrete Blonde (and not about Joey)...
Concrete Blonde - Bloodletting (The Vampire Song) - http://youtu.be/sLABwwmKdyc
It's not a far stretch from that song to the movie that Zoë recommended to me. Yesterday we sat down to watch "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters". Apart from my questioning why medieval witch hunters would drop the f-bomb all the time it wasn't a bad film. Amusing, plenty of action and blood and guts without being overly gory. I've seen much worse.
That's it for another week folks. Look out in the next few days as I've been working on a full review of Clutch's latest album, "Earth Rocker" which is a gem. Other than that, I better go and find my kilt as I'm going out tonight as DJ Al-E's handbag! Ha ha.
Andy Stewart - Donald Where's Your Troosers? - http://youtu.be/4yw0bLHTOb0
Extra points if you can name the sci fi TV show that featured that song.