Friday, December 25, 2009

Song of the Week - Episode 70

Merry Christmas everyone! This is Song of the Week #70 and it is Christmas Day!

In amusing news, Angus lost his watch a while ago. Sometime this week, I heard a beeping in the lounge room and assumed it was coming from the missing timepiece. I searched high and low, listening carefully on the hour for the beep. This morning when I unwrapped a gift the beeping was a watch for me. I had been a source of constant amusement to my family all week!!

Here’s a song about time:

Anthrax – Got The Time:

Here’s a track from the CD that Angus got for Xmas (his request):

Kings of Leon – Use Somebody:

And it seems only fair that we play one from a CD that Zoë got:

Taylor Swift – Love Story:

This next one is from a CD my Dad gave me for Xmas – the latest from Mark Knopfler called Get Lucky – one of the greatest guitarists. The song is written for his uncle who was a Piper who died in WWII aged 20.

Mark Knopfler – Piper To The End:

My Brother indulged my Johnny Cash obsession this Xmas by giving me the new version of the Folsom Prison concerts. There are two live concert CDs and an excellent documentary. Johnny Cash is one of those singers I never tire of and come back to on a regular basis. His music has that special knack of always having something to say that is worth listening to.

Johnny Cash – I Got Stripes:

Santa Claus has been around for a very long time and he continues to live in the hearts of people around the world every year. Folks, to quote Arlo Guthrie, “it’s a movement”. Santa is fun; the look of sheer delight in children’s faces when they see him is immeasurable. I remember my first Xmas as a parent and how much joy Santa brought me and continues to do so although I am in no doubt that my kids know it is me! Go with the flow people, let me have my fun and please don’t feel the need to discuss whether he exists or not at a party in front of my 11 year old.

This week’s song therefore is for three reasons. 1 – I was annoyed, 2 – Santa was sighted, 3 – it is on one of Alison’s Xmas CDs!

Eddie Vedder and Neil Finn – I See Red:

Of course, if you like that song then check out the original version by one of New Zealand’s best ever bands – Split Enz.

RIP Alphonse.

Merry Christmas,
DJ Rob

Friday, December 18, 2009

Song of the Week Episode 69

Dude, Song of the Week Episode 69! Spot that cultural reference!!

I’m sure most of my faithful reading audience know all about my exploits in Sunday’s Canberra Half-Ironman. If you don’t then the race report is in the post below this one. Hard day out but I made it. Now it is time to focus on another event and the big goal of the full Ironman in December 2010.

I’ve listened to a lot of new music this week – not being at work was a big help of course! Old and new tracks from Florence and the Machine, The Faces, The Proclaimers, Coheed and Cambria, Weddings, Parties, Anything, AC/DC and Kris Kristofferson to name a few. There is also a new live anthology set out from Tom Petty. 4 CDs for about $40 is great value. I might treat myself to that one after Xmas. Tom has been on Song of the Week before, but in case you missed him, try this tune on for size:

Tom Petty – Free Fallin’:

While we’re on American bands, I never tire of this next song and if you got the cultural reference earlier on you’ll understand why I have included it. This is another great song that I have on vinyl and comes from the album “Permanent Vacation” which is criminally underrated. Funny video too with a couple of “Crying Game” moments.

Aerosmith – Dude Looks Like A Lady:

Have we had Painters and Dockers on the show before? Probably not. This is a Victorian band that had a cult following when I was at High School and University. Biting lyrics and outrageous and fun live shows. Were they the first band to perform their video clip totally nude and still get it aired on national TV? Perhaps. I remember being asked not to play this song again on school radio ;-)

Painters and Dockers – Nude School:

While we’re on classic Aussie bands, see if you can pick anyone in this band (here’s a clue….WAKE UP JEFF!)

The Cockroaches – She’s The One:

And if you thought The Wiggles were just a kids band:

The Wiggles – Angel of Harlem:

This week both of our kids got their school reports and they were very good. We all got a huge shock when Zoë got an award for Extended Mathematics and another for getting straight A grades. What a clever girl! Obviously she was switched at birth ;-) I also got to watch Angus playing the oboe in his school band yesterday – tough instrument but the band were pretty good. They finish school today so Alison and I are preparing for the onslaught! Luckily all the Xmas shopping is done.

Tom Waits has been on this programme as well, but he has a new live album with tracks from his “Glitter and Doom” tour. Zoë doesn’t like Tom. She thinks that he is belching all the words to his songs! Fair call probably. This is a great live version though and Tom Waits can really grow on you if given a chance.

Tom Waits (live) – Goin’ Out West:

Choosing a song to highlight every week is a challenge but one that I enjoy. Sometimes it is just the track that I keep rewinding in the car (well, repeating I guess in these days of CD and MP3) and sometimes it is just one that pops into my head. This one popped in. Back at school I remember someone giving me a tape of Midnight Oil’s “The Dead Heart” to play, or maybe it was a record. Regardless, on the B-side were two songs, one was by Coloured Stone called “This Land” and then there was this – a great song, a great riff and a message that is still being ignored largely by our government regardless of their political persuasion. I think I wore out my cassette copy so I’ll hit eBay after this and see if I can track it down on vinyl or CD. The Warumpi Band album that this comes from is called “Big Name No Blankets” – a reflection on the band’s “success”.

Warumpi Band – Blackfella / Whitefella

Will there be an episode on Xmas day? Maybe, so watch this space.

DJ Rob

PS: for those of you who need a hint with this week’s cultural reference:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Canberra 1/2 Ironman Report

Ever since some of our crew raced at Busselton at the end of 2008 I’ve had my eye on the challenge of an Ironman. For me, competing and finishing is everything. Unless I can outlast everyone in my age group the podium will never be for me!

So, after quite a few Olympic distance and other races it was time to step up to the ½ Ironman distance. Having it here in Canberra always makes life easier. I entered months ago to make sure that I did all the training!

Race day came around very quickly I must admit. Here’s a rundown:

Swim 1.9km – excellent, I got a good position on the left of the field, which meant I could see almost everyone without having to look into the sun. Pretty uneventful apart from some swimmers going waaaay off course. I was glad I had paid attention to Coach in regards to open water swim technique.

Transition 1 – not a short run to the bike and my soft feet didn’t like the carpark! Apart from that it was all going to plan. I chose to put a cycling jersey on to avoid some sunburn – glad I did too. I figured I’d be out there for a while so I took riding gloves and banana bread as well.

Ride 94km – I expected this to hurt a lot more than it did. I really had no problems at all out there although more than one portaloo on the course might’ve been good! Even the 3rd time up Coppins Crossing was fine. It was great to get the support from the Tridents and QUON folks at the top of that hill. Three laps came and went without a drama – the extra cycling paid off – even the hated home trainer!

Transition 2 – uneventful – I remembered to have that extra Powerade drink I’d left beside my bike as well as to put my socks on! With the sun beating down and me having fairer skin than the majority of redheads I left the cycling jersey on. I figured I could chuck it if it annoyed me later – it didn’t.

Run 21km – shocking. After 5 pretty good kilometres where I felt great my left ITB suddenly began to protest. No amount of stretching or swearing would make it behave. I was torn, there was no way I wanted to pull out but I wasn’t sure I could face walking the rest of the way. In the end I shuffled, ran and walked (saving my best running moments for going past the Tridents HQ tent!). I was very, very pleased to have Howsie and then AB riding alongside me at a couple of points on the run – they kept me going at pretty dark moments. After I got over “Hospital hill” for the second time the end was in sight and I was fairly determined that the Bilby behind me wouldn’t catch me. It wasn’t pretty and in the end my daughter Zoë could walk faster than I was running but I got to the end. She ran across the line with me which was very special and I look forward to the official photos.

In review I reckon it went pretty well for a first go. I’ll work more on the ITB even though it hasn’t troubled me for 18 months – probably a combination of a hard ride and the hard running surface.

To all the Tridents who hung around in the hottest part of the day waiting for me to drag myself across the finish line – a HUGE thankyou. And to all those competing who encouraged me along the way – you guys ROCK. Of course, none of this would happen without my understanding family and Coach.

Busselton Ironman 2010? Ask me in a few weeks.

Rob (I have the finishers towel and the t-shirt and that is what matters!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Song of the Week - Episode 68

This week’s collection is a bit random. I was toying with a couple of themes but they didn’t amount to much in the end. So really this is just a bit of a random playlist of tunes you might enjoy.

Here’s a song I never expected to like. I ran a radio station when I was at High School. It was a once a week “broadcast” and this next performer was just huge. I disliked his songs greatly at the time but then this one came along. I have no idea why I like it but I still have it on a 45 and it’s a great tune:

John Farnham – Two Strong Hearts:

At our place, both the kids are addicted to the TV show “Glee”. What I like about it is the songs they choose to cover – usually great tracks from the 80’s. I’d forgotten about this one:

Salt n’ Pepa – Push It:

One of the theme’s I was going to choose was Australian songs with bagpipes. Why? Well why not. I like bagpipes although my attempt to learn to play them wasn’t successful – it was very difficult so I regressed back into rock’n’roll!!

AC/DC – It’s A Long Way To The Top:
The Church – Under The Milky Way:

And then I thought I’d put some of the songs that have kept me going with my run training for this weekend’s ½ Ironman but it was a bit hard to decide on as I usually have the iPod on shuffle! Here’s a couple I tend to play over and over as the beat is about right for my slow pace:

Everclear – Volvo Driving Soccer Mom: (not if you’re easily offended)
Simon and Garfunkel - Me and Julio down by the schoolyard:

And so, dear friends, here we are at the end of the school year. I’m fairly sure that Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” has been played before by me so I’ll leave it to one side! This week’s featured track comes from a band I was lucky enough to see in concert. Once at the ANU and then later on at the Royal Theatre which was a much bigger venue. The first time I saw Yothu Yindi was just after “Treaty” had been released. Between the support band and Yothu Yindi the crowd was asked to sit on the floor as school kids from the Top End would perform for them but were a little nervous. Everyone sat and the kids were fabulous.

Yothu Yindi – Tribal Voice:

See you all next week assuming I survive Sunday’s race.

DJ Rob

Friday, December 4, 2009

Song of the Week - Episode 67

Not a lot to say this week. School is winding down. Some people need to wind just a little slower. I've been training the house down in preparation for my first attempt at a half-ironman triathlon. Dec 13th is the big day and I'm more than a little nervous.

Angus' class has been rehearsing for their end of year concert and part of their act is one of my favourite songs. They chose a great version as well:

Ike and Tina Turner - Proud Mary:

My mate Garry in London mentioned that he'd been listening to John Hiatt so I did a bit of a search and came up with this song. I like the sentiment and also it reminds me a lot of Neil Young's band, Crazy Horse.

John Hiatt - Perfectly Good Guitar:

Is it my fault that this song led into this one? An oldie but a goldie:

Bob Seger - Old Time Rock N Roll: Of course, some of you may remember this song from the TV series ALF:

And on to this week's featured tune. Lenny Kravitz is pretty famous now. Back in the day I heard this single and bought the album on cassette. For me, it is one of those rare albums without a dud track. Critics seem to disagree but that's their call. This track features Slash from Guns N Roses on guitar and I reckon if Tina Turner had continued on from her cover of Proud Mary she might've come up with something like this.

Lenny Kravitz - Always On The Run:

DJ Rob

Friday, November 27, 2009

Song of the Week - Episode 66

Today is November 27th. 16 years ago Alison and I were married on a very hot day. Wearing a kilt in searing heat was an interesting experience. The weather meant that the reception drinks outside were quickly moved indoors. Apart from the obvious highlight it was a pretty good party. And of course, the photo of Alison in her wedding dress holding a shovel still makes me giggle.

So I thought I’d play a few songs this week that Alison and I both like.

This one was pretty popular on the radio here and one of us bought the CD. At some stage I must find out what Angelique is singing about when it isn’t in English!

Angelique Kidjo – Wombo Lombo:

I remember going with Alison to see this next band at the ANU Refectory here in Canberra. They were pretty new on the scene and the gig was a riot. I lost a watch in the crush but I seem to remember Alison losing an earring, several buttons and perhaps a shoe. My good friend Darren was also at the show with us. He made it all the way to the front just to have his knee give way. He was dragged onto stage by security. An interesting if unintended way to attempt meeting the band!

Baby Animals – Rush You -

This next band were one that Alison turned me on to. We also saw them at “The World’s Biggest BBQ” concert which was a huge flop – apart from a couple of bands:

Boom Crash Opera – Hands Up In The Air -

Alison is also to blame for me liking this next band. I really, really didn’t want to go to the concert but she talked me around! In the end it was great – I was amazed at the show that Roxette put on – it was all guitars, all rock and a great night. For all you guitar fans out there you should have a close listen to Roxette – Per Gessle is a seriously underrated guitarist.

Roxette – Fading Like A Flower (live) -

In the early 90’s it was so hard to find a new band that no one else had heard of. I remember buying an album by this next group, becoming a huge fan and then being disappointed when suddenly they were everywhere with a dodgy cover version. However, it did mean that we got to see them live in Australia and they remain firm favourites. Alison and I saw them in concert and I can’t remember where but it was fun apart from the self-indulgent feedback fest at the end of the show.

This is my favourite Lemonheads song and you can probably work out why:

The Lemonheads – Alison’s Starting To Happen -

Until next week, be thankful that we live in a country that seemingly values elite sport funding over everything else (that’s a sarcastic remark in case you didn’t notice). People don’t need education, health care, somewhere to live do they?? And you think the Obamarama show has issues?

DJ Rob

She'd shake it up, was hard to make out.
Now it's plain to see
I couldn't cook to save myself,
found my life a recipe.
I never looked at her this way before,
but now she's all I see...

Alison's starting to happen,
Alison's starting to happen,
Alison's starting to happen to me

It's so mesmerizing,
can't describe it,
all that inside, hey.
No one's heard her last name, I ain't asked,
So, who am I to blame?
An earthquakes started forming underneath my feet today...

Alison's starting to happen,
Alison's starting to happen,
Alison's starting to happen to me

Oh, this world is topsy-turvy,
and it is mine to eat.
She's the pebble in my mouth and underneath my feet.
She's the puzzle piece behind the couch, made the sky complete.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Song of the Week - Episode 65

Well I’m guessing that the lack of comments on the blog or replies to last week’s tunes meant one of two things; either I choose the most awesome songs that you all love, or, no one reads any of this tripe! Either way I feel free to play almost anything this week.

In that case, I’m going for a themed approach. These are the songs that made me want to be a guitar player.

There were a number of stages for me in learning the guitar. First up I had a few lessons that in retrospect were a few blokes teaching a group of kids some basic chords and songs. More than enough to strum along to most things. At the same time I would try and mimic my Dad’s hands as he played his guitar. After that, when I became more aware of rock music I experimented with learning what I could on an acoustic guitar. I bought a pickup for it but plugged in, it still sounded like an acoustic guitar only louder – very much to my disappointment. At the end of Year 11 I bought my first electric guitar and a small amplifier – and I was inspired. I loved it. And I still have the guitar 22 years later. It rocks! Of course, joining a band at university with people who were all better musos than me meant I had to work to keep up but that was awesome fun. And the journey never ends.

Here’s a song that had the first rock riff I really wanted to play. It turned out to be so simple but the electric guitar was essential:
Queen – One Vision:

About the same time I discovered my favourite band via this song…it took me longer to come to terms with this famous riff:
AC/DC – Back In Black:

Probably the first complex thing I learned was the intro to this classic Ozzy Osbourne song. Man, I thought I was cool when I could play this over and over at age 17:
Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train:

If you’re looking for serious guitar tone then this player is unmistakable. This was the first piece that I tried (and pretty much succeeded) in learning from a guitar magazine. In 1988 it was seriously credible to be able to pull this one off!
Dire Straits – Money for Nothing:

Then of course there were plenty of things that I couldn’t play. I had a short Hendrix phase and of course an admiration for guys like Van Halen and Yngwie Malmsteen. Somewhere in there I remembered that I liked acoustic and country music as well. If it had a guitar in there somewhere I was happy.

But, if I had to put down the most important influence to me guitar wise then it isn’t any of the well known guitar heroes. A friend gave me three LPs to listen to in about 1990 and they were all Billy Bragg. Truly life changing. One man, one guitar – all you ever need:

Billy Bragg – Between The Wars:

So there you have it. Of course I have heaps of other favourite guitarists but these are the ones that made, and continue to inspire me to play.

Thanks to my Dad for selling his piano accordion to finance my first guitar. Thanks to my Mum for taking me to buy the electric guitar probably against her better judgment! And of course, thanks to Alison who understood when I wanted a huge Marshall amplifier.

And look, if you really feel the need to see me play then check this out….rough but honest.

DJ Rob

Friday, November 13, 2009

Song of the Week - Episode 64

Has anyone been watching “Ashes to Ashes” which is the sequel to the BBC drama “Life on Mars”? It is set in the eighties and although the story can be a bit hit and miss, the soundtrack is just a blast! In the latest episode they played a couple of my favourite bands: Motorhead and The Anti-Nowhere League. I wasn’t surprised to hear “Ace of Spades” but a song by The Anti-Nowhere League was a shock. So we’ll have some great tracks from the eighties this week. Not that there were too many.

John Parr – St. Elmo’s Fire:
This one is a classic. What is even funnier is that DJ AB requested it the same day that some of my students had been playing it. It is now the unofficial Team Funky Trunks theme song for this weekend’s Triple Triathlon here in Canberra.

And just proving that someone could be uglier than Rod Stewart and the Faces and have a hit:
Anti-Nowhere League – Streets of London:
I know that this is a cover of Ralph McTell’s song but it is the only song by the ANL that isn’t fairly offensive. Google them if you want more. Funny but crude.

Now here’s a song that I really hated at the time but that has grown on me. All the girls at my school were in love with the singer in this band. Personally I thought he was rather lame! I saw this song covered by local ska band “Los Capitanes” and I have quite a different opinion now:
Aha – Take On Me:

Of course heavy metal got extremely cheesy in the 80’s. Big hair, loads of makeup and not a lot of lyrical content worth writing home about. It was about having fun though. Former Van Halen singer David Lee Roth had the formula down pat. Amusing videos, mountains of hair, fake tan and a hot guitarist (Steve Vai in this case) – as a teen I LOVED the way the guitar spoke at the start of the song.
David Lee Roth – Yankee Rose:

There was an absolutely fabulous Australian folk/rock band in the 80’s called Redgum. Their biggest hit was the song about Australia’s experience in the Vietnam War, “I Was Only 19”. A great song but I like this one better:
Redgum – The Long Run:

This weekend I’m competing with some friends in the Sri Chinmoy Triple Triathlon. 3 tri’s back to back with all legs being cross country. There are some serious hills in the running and mountain biking. Thankfully the lakes are pretty warm now as well. The whole thing could take 11 or 12 hours and it is bound to be hot. We’re “Team Funky Trunks” and I hope I can live up to expectations! Hell of a race.

I was so tempted to put the obvious song from this artist as song of the week but after a quick flick through YouTube I chose this one. Suzanne Vega has a fantastically dreamy voice. Luka is a great (and sad song) but today I liked this one better so it is the song of the week.
Suzanne Vega – Left Of Center:

So, for those of you that survived the 80’s, I hope that these flashbacks don’t cause you to regress. Anyone who missed them then just go to YouTube, type in “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” into the search, listen and be glad you missed such wonderful fashion!

Hasta La Vista Baby!
DJ Rob

Friday, November 6, 2009

Song of the week - Episode 63

Well, it had to happen and I must admit that I am relieved. Someone has made a request for a song. Mind you, this Song of the Week nonsense is all about me so I’ll choose whatever I like, but I am heartened that someone out there actually reads what I blether on about (blether is the word of the week – read on).

Now, I’m not sure why anyone in their right mind would have a hankering for Rod Stewart but that is what was asked for. Immediately I pictured a mop in a tartan waistcoat!! Rod has had his moments though so here is one from his time with The Faces. I much prefer this to his solo stuff as there is infinitely more swagger and attitude. Oh for the days when one could be as ugly as a hat full of rear ends and still be a rock star!

The Faces – Stay With Me:

Now, this little sojourn into the world of Rod Stewart reminded me of a clip from my favourite comedy of all time. My apologies are given in advance to those of you that have been subjected to this before. Mike Myers made a film called “So I Married An Axe Murderer” which is a lot funnier than Shrek or any of the Austin Powers films. Here’s a clip to whet your appetite:

So I Married an Axe Murderer (Mike Myers as his character’s father):

That segues nicely into the word of the week, again from Scotland, and it is “blether”. Blether means to talk nonsense in essence, normally ad infinitum. For instance, if someone was talking non-stop just to hear the sound of their own voice you might tell them to “stop blethering”. Blether comes from the Old Norse word “blathr” which means nonsense. I’ll stop blethering now and get to this week’s song.

It is no secret that I like guitars. At the moment I only have 4. Guitars are like bicycles in that the perfect number to have is one more than is in your collection. For a long time I have been a fan of Irish guitarist Gary Moore. He plays with taste and a great tone regardless of whether it is rock or blues. My mate Will got me to listen me a whole heap of his stuff a while back, whilst I was a casual fan at the time, I am morphing into a fanatic. One of my favourites is his song “Over the hills and far away” which has an obvious Celtic influence – here it is:

Gary Moore – Over The Hills and Far Away:

But the Song of the Week is not that, it is even more guitar oriented and I guarantee that not all of you will like it – sorry. I’m hoping that you’ll listen with an open mind. Dragonforce are from the UK and they play loud, fast and melodic (to a point) heavy music. Their lyrics make me laugh (and they are not meant to) as they are very much in the dragon/fantasy vein. I like this song, it rocks, it is technically fab from a guitar point of view and it has a good melody and is catchy. I hope you like it. The only unfortunate thing is that really, most of their stuff is very, very similar. Too similar for me.

Dragonforce – Through Fire and Flames:

DJ Rob

Friday, October 30, 2009

Song of the week - Episode 62

What a weird week – almost everyone I speak to agrees. I really would like to put a big line through it and start again. Somehow we made it to the end though.

Michael Jackson fans rejoice, you can purchase this for only US$190. At this price it will need to sing, dance AND do the dishes in my opinion.

Facebook followers may have noticed that I posted “just because I dress like this doesn’t mean I’m a communist”. Setting aside my political leanings for now, it really was a reaction to far too many people I encountered this week judging others by the way they first appear without looking any deeper. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try and “look the part” but it isn’t everything. I always thought that most “radical” groups would have a lot better chance of getting their message into the consciousness of the general public if they had a wash and wore clean clothes now and then. “Needlessly alternative” is so boring. Oh yeah, the lyric is from an ace Billy Bragg song – check it out here:

Fans of harder music will no doubt be aware that Slayer’s new album is due out next week. Thanks to the magic of technology I have had a quick listen to it. A couple of points: if you don’t like their older stuff, you won’t like this. If you think America is a flawless world power, you won’t like this. Great songs, great production. Listen with an open mind.

Not too much else to report except that I am completely gobsmacked by my son. A while ago he dislocated his right shoulder playing rugby. He was told that he would miss a season of rugby and probably two summers of cricket. Wrong. Rather than sit out, he’s been relearning all the skills he needs for cricket – left handed. That’s perseverance for you. He’s also playing tennis left handed. No swimming though which may remain a challenge in summer!

The scooter riding continues to cut into my music time but I have my hard drive playing on shuffle at work and I’m coping. This week’s song comes from a band that I have never been overly enamoured with. Sure, they have some good tracks and their frontman’s mastery of the guitar is without question but as a package I find Dire Straits patchy. Not that they would care about my opinion!! I do, however, really like this song. Great dynamics, it features a resonator guitar and of course a timeless story. – Romeo and Juliet.

In addition, here’s a great version from 2007 from The Killers:

DJ Rob

Friday, October 23, 2009

Song of the week - Episode 61

Hi there. To quote Ozzy Osbourne, “let the madness begin” !

As most of you know I did the course so that I could learn to ride a scooter (Vespa, stepthrough) on the weekend. Tons of fun and I would highly recommend it. Since getting the license squared away on Tuesday I’ve been scooting here and there. A nifty way to get around. Someone asked me if this meant I was in touch with my feminine side? I think more my “mod” side. I will make a soundtrack including The Who, The Move, Pink Floyd and The Jam!

On Monday I braved a small prop plane for a trip to Sydney to participate in a roundtable providing advice to government on legislation regarding equal employment opportunities for women. Interesting, challenging and reasonably productive in the end. Some women, and only a few, need to remember that not all men are the enemy. Enough said.

The only down side I can see to riding the scooter apart from when it rains is that I can’t listen to music. So, I loaded up the iPod and wore it around a bit as well as when I was out running.

This song came around on Wednesday night on the iPod (which was filled randomly and playing on shuffle). American metal band, Anthrax, doing an excellent cover of Joe Jackson’s “Got The Time”:

Anthrax, “Got The Time” :

Look, pretty much I have had a great week. I was watching the following clip on DVD and Iggy Pop introduced it by saying, “my life’s had some ups and downs, right now I’m on an up baby”. Me too, Iggy. It is a great song too.

Iggy Pop, “Candy”

This week’s featured song is probably influenced by my experiences on Monday. A while ago I started some tertiary qualifications in Industrial Relations and I wrote quite a bit about gender equity in the workplace. Initially I was astounded that in a fairly enlightened and wealthy nation that the gender pay gap was quite severe. This was in the 90’s and it still is a real issue.

The Dixie Chicks haven’t featured here before which shocks me because I get a kick out of a number of their songs. Good musicians who perform well live and lately write some catchy tunes. This one is all about having your own point of view and sticking to it in the face of criticism.

Dixie Chicks, “Not Ready To Make Nice” :

Fight the good fight.

DJ Rob

Friday, October 16, 2009

Song of the week - Episode 60

Weather – rain, rain and more rain. We shouldn’t complain being in a drought and all but really, it would be so much better if it only rained at night. Rain means no cycling and that means riding inside on the home trainer. This is possibly even more boring than gardening in my opinion. Of course, the dog chasing me whilst I was riding in the lounge room was quite amusing for about 30 seconds. Apparently, 1 hour of riding at a reasonable pace burns the equivalent amount of energy as is contained in eight chocolate biscuits. So if I ride for a bit longer I can finish off the packet guilt free!

Also, it needs to dry up for me to enjoy my course this weekend. I’m off to learn how to ride a scooter so that I can get my learners license!

Words – we haven’t had a word of the week for a while. My individual lexicon has obviously been stagnating. So, two words would seem to be in order this time. The first is “wean” – nothing to do with feeding babies either. Pronounced like the name Wayne, wean is a Scots word for a child. It means the same as bairn really. Wean comes from “wee ane” – small one. I’m really not sure why this word popped into my head – maybe a subconscious flashback to the “Oor Wullie” cartoons.

Read this for more, it’ll help if you read it out loud or find a Scotsman to help:

The second word is “sanguineous”. I heard this in a song and for a long time it didn’t click that this was what was actually being sung. The lyric was “sanguineous hands of death” – cheery eh? Sanguineous means relating to blood or bloodshed. I guess the hands in the song were bloody then!

The song with sanguineous in it is from a great band that I saw live a LOT a few years ago. Armoured Angel were from Canberra and were purveyors of very, very heavy metal. My good friend Sutto introduced me to them when we drove to Sydney to see them play. I was asked to run the lighting panel that night never even having seen one! Over the next few years I saw Armoured Angel play in a number of cities – they were a great band although they aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. This song is about the possible effects of science on humanity:

Armoured Angel – Castration:

But the song of the week is something a little lighter! Well lighter in terms of musical style rather than lyrical content.

Glasvegas are, surprisingly, a Scots band! I hadn’t heard of them until I heard their singer being interviewed on radio. He was really boring but I thought but the songs they played were interesting. After a read of the lyrics to this one I felt that it was a good one for this blog. Thought provoking for those interested in thinking and a good tune if that is your bag. What attracted me to Glasvegas initially was, again, the fact that they sing in their own accent, as well as their sound which has an 80’s flavour to it in a good way. This one is called “Flowers & Football Tops”

You can read a bit about the song here:

This week’s song is not attached – the file is too big so you’ll have to listen online:

Glasvegas – Flowers & Football Tops:

Drive safely,
DJ Rob

Friday, October 9, 2009

Song of the Week Fri 9 October '09 - Ep 59

Sometimes you just get music, sometimes I have other things to get off my chest. This week my chest is burdened by a couple of issues. These are only my opinions and I understand that your mileage may vary!

Roman Polanski - all those people supporting him, please organise yourselves to be drugged and then abused against your will. Then see how you feel. He admitted it. It is wrong. He should receive the appropriate punishment.

Cycling dope cheats. I hate them. All the cyclists I know think that they are a blight on a fantastic sport. Well done to the UCI for catching another cycling doping cheat. Can I also say that there is a penalty that they have to serve. I won't comment on whether or not I think it is severe enough. The point is that there is a process in place and when they've done their time then they are afforded the chance to return to the sport. Fair enough. Second offences should mean a lifetime ban I reckon. Maybe it is that way - I'll read up later.

Blatant profiteering. My favourite band, AC/DC, are about to release a CD/DVD box set. No problem with that. About $45 gets you some music videos, live tracks and "rare" tracks. Right up my alley. However, the "deluxe" version includes an extra disc, an LP, memorobilia and, get this, the box is a working amplifier. To me, as a fan, this sounded almost too cool for school. I expected the price tag of just over $200. What really annoys me though is the fact that you can only purchase this "deluxe" set from AC/DC's website. So...postage ends up being about $60. You have to be kidding. Can anyone say ripoff. Hopefully this is sorted out soon.

Music time. Have you ever had a song in your head that just won't go away. I have. And at 3am last night I really wished I hadn't watched all that Wombles stuff on YouTube. Not quite sure how it happened. One moment I was listening to Bob Dylan and the next minute there we were, on Wimbledon Common! Watch this at your own peril.

Remember You're A Womble:

In 2005 my mate Chris talked me into playing the guitar for a musical. The songs I had to learn were way, way, way out of my comfort zone. ABBA, Tina Turner, REM and Dolly Parton weren't really in my hard rock repetiore! This one slipped back into my consciousness this week. I hadn't heard it before the show and really, it is a great tune. Very catchy and fun to rock out on the guitar.

Me, Myself, I - Joan Armatrading:

This week's main song was playing in the supermarket tonight when Alison and I were trying to work out what to have for dinner. Funnily enough, the singer of this one was the mystery guy introducing Stryper the other week. No-one picked Dee Snider - shame on you all!! This song was funny - I remember when I thought it was so heavy! It was also the first guitar solo I ever learned note for note! This song takes me back to before I had an electric guitar and trying to be oh so cool. My showpieces were Bon Jovi's "Dead Or Alive" and this solo. Fun times and a really funny video from the time when MTV ruled! This song really just highlights the fact that every generation has a different take on almost everything. Did my Grandpa like my Dad's music? Probably not. Did my Dad like mine? Certainly not always although to his credit, he was a lot more open minded musically once he understood how much I loved my electric guitar! He'll be reading this and will no doubt enjoy the Wombles more than Twisted Sister!

We're Not Gonna Take It - Twisted Sister:

See you next week. Be nice to each other.

DJ Rob

Friday, October 2, 2009

Song of the Week - Fri 2 Oct 09 - Episode 58 aka Special School Holiday Edition #1

Welcome to a World Premiere - the first ever school holidays installment of "Song of the Week". When I started on this musical journey (to paraphrase Larry Mullen Jr!) I only wrote these in the school terms. Now that the Woozle has gone "World Wide" however, it seems only fair to my dedicated audience to carry on the madness.

First up - huge congratulations to WORLD CYCLING CHAMPION Cadel Evans. So many people cut him down after Le Tour, well, time to eat their words.

School holidays are great - if in fact you can get any time away. This week has been rather average in that respect. But, I have managed to check out a few new tunes.

Landspeed Records in Canberra provided me with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's "Deja Vu - Live". Worth a listen if you like Neil Young. Basically it is his "Living With War" album plus a couple of others live. Neil doesn't hold back on his political views and his bandmates obviously share his ideas. I reckon that if you listen to this and are shocked by the fact that he doesn't much like George W then you should probably ask yourself why you listened in the first place. If you were to listen with an open mind I am sure that he has something of value to say in there even if you didn't agree with the whole lot. Here's the trailer for the DVD version: (CSNY Deja Vu Live - trailer)

I also picked up Lou Reed's "Berlin" which is also live. The price was right and the few words on the CD sleeve were enough to interest me. I'm listening to it now and will report back.

There were rumours this week that David Bowie would be headlining the "Big Day Out" festival here in Australia. Seems that they are not true. This is a shame - but apparently he wanted a LOT of money just to play a 45 minute greatest hits set. Surely we could've counter offered with some money and a guest spot judging Australian Idol!! If Bowie was to play then this song would be my first choice: (David Bowie - Suffragette City)

There are some U2 remasters floating around now. One has to wonder if there is any good new music out there some days. What disappointed me was finding out that some of the ad lib bits in their "Live Under A Blood Red Sky" have been edited out of the remaster. Personally I'll be heading to the second hand CD place to pick up an old copy. Now this isn't from that concert but it is always a treat in my opinion to watch U2 at their best - young and hungry: (U2 - Gloria - live)

I'm choosing to refrain from a debate about religion on this blog. But, one of my favourite metal bands of all time are US rockers Stryper. Their lyrical content isn't a big deal to me. I am happy for them to sing about God just as much as I am OK with Slayer going on about dismembered bodies or Billy Bragg about socialism. Stryper just hit a chord with me as a young man. They could write a good hook and they could sing too. They have a new album out called "Murder By Pride" and this song (which is a cover of a Boston tune) is worth a listen. Bonus points if you can identify the person who introduces it! (Stryper - Peace of Mind live)

And now, onto the song of the week. For a while now I have been interested in what actually happened to the Beach Boys. It is a twisted tale and as you probably know, not all of them have made it through unscarred. While listening to some Beach Boys stuff I stumbled across a reference to an album made by Dennis Wilson. Probably common knowledge to many but it was news to me. "Pacific Ocean Blue" didn't last long in print until it was reissued recently. At the moment I've only had the album in my possession for a day or so but I think this song is worthy of your attention: (Dennis Wilson - River Song)

Just one look at Dennis' face on the album cover made me feel like this album would have something to say. That doesn't happen often. Reminded me a lot of Kris Kristofferson. The Beach Boys influence is obvious but this is a more organic, maybe rougher sound - I like it.

DJ Rob

River Song (Dennis Wilson)

Walkin' down by the river
Water running through my knees
River, oh river moves so free
Oh mighty river endlessly

Oo mighty river
I would love to be like you
Oo lonely river
Has not got the time to say

I was born into the city life
It's all that I've ever known
You know it's rough gettin' round this place
So crowded I can hardly breathe

You can only see about a block or two
In L. A. that's the truth
I'm lookin' for some country life
Some kickin' room no more city life
I want the river

Rollin' rollin' rollin' on river
(I got to get away I got to get away I got to get away)
Rollin' rollin' rollin' on river
(I got to get away I got to get away I got to get away)
Rollin' rollin' rollin' on river
(I got to get away I got to get away I got to get away)
Rollin' rollin' rollin' on river
(I got to get away I got to get away I got to get away)
Rollin' rollin' rollin' on

It breaks my heart to see the city
I wonder why it ain't pretty
Oh I want to cry, want to cry
Come on you've got to do it do it do it

You got to run away you got to run away
You got to do it do it do it
You got to run away
You got to run away

Friday, September 25, 2009

Song of the week - Episode 57

Woo hoo! School holidays are here. And for all of you who delight in letting me know just how many weeks’ holidays we teachers get…feel free to join in – plenty of jobs available!

Anyway, a few tracks this week for you to hopefully enjoy. Unless you’ve been off-world then the dust storms around here have been hard to miss. The red “end of the world sky” and the crud all over the car are dead giveaways! I heard a radio report mention that the snowfields in New Zealand have been turned pink in the past when there have been dust storms here in Australia. Probably an urban myth but the image of pink snow is rather amusing.

A few tracks with a weather theme therefore seems appropriate.

First up, and don’t laugh, here’s Billy Joel. I actually saw him in Sydney on tour in the 90’s. Much, much better than I expected:
Stormfront (Billy Joel)

Now here’s one from the greatest Beatles tribute band ever – Crowded House:
Weather With You (Crowded House)

Now, those two songs were fairly obvious. When I was a kid (only yesterday) my parents had a cassette that had some country and western tracks on it. This one was a real toe-tapper and I must admit I hadn’t thought about it until yesterday! The original version has a cracking guitar solo as well. This is a live version (best I could find) and for all you guitar heads check out the Steinberger headless guitar that the soloist plays.

I Love A Rainy Night (Eddie Rabbit)

When I first became a Johnny Cash fan, and I admit I came to it a bit late, there was a song called “Lucky Old Sun” on the first album I got. His version is fabulous, but this one by Louis Armstrong is sublime:

Now, we could go on forever with songs about the weather. Riders on the Storm, Rock You Like A Hurricane, Raining Men, The Wind Cries Mary and Who’ll Stop The Rain to name but a few. But I’m in a rock ’n’ roll mood so indulge me.

It is no secret which band is my favourite of all time and this week’s song is from them. Now, it isn’t their greatest ever song but it starts with a great guitar riff and I love the camera strapped to the guitar neck that gives us the angle on Angus’ hands. Of course, it is AC/DC and Thunderstruck. In about 1986 I was given a cassette that had two AC/DC songs on it – Back In Black and TNT. Loud guitars have been a passion ever since. Many other artists inspire me and make me sing along. But, very, very few rock as hard as AC/DC. Angus Young, their lead guitarist, once described their music as Chuck Berry but much, much louder. Fair enough.

Hey, you’ve been Thunderstruck! (video clip) (live version)

DJ Rob

Friday, September 18, 2009

Song of the Week - Episode 56

Ahoy there me hearties!

Tomorrow (Saturday 19th September) is international “Talk Like A Pirate” day and we’re celebrating it here today at work. Some “interesting” interpretations on pirate garb!

I could’ve made a sea shanty this week’s song but something else jumped out. So, if songs about the sea pique your interest then try this:

Thousands Are Sailing (The Pogues) -

The World Triathlon Championships were held at the Gold Coast in Queensland last weekend. Quite a number of people from the club I train with pulled on the green and gold to represent Australia (as well as one for Singapore and one for the USA) – this is an awesome achievement and their efforts, especially training through a cold Canberra winter are just awesome!

I would mention Australian Football finals at this point but it might be bad luck so I’ll shut up about that!

I have less to say this week so on to the music.

As I said, we’ve been dressed up as pirates today. I am amused at some of the takes on what a pirate might wear. But, just getting into the theme is important. Next year I’ll be more organized and surely Captain Feathersword can make an appearance. This song is a summery one and it seems to fit with the costumes around the place! “Girls In Their Summer Clothes” by Bruce Springsteen. I love the way he can write a song that is a story. Much the same way artists like Wedding, Parties, Anything or Steve Earle can. Anything I try and write like that just sounds dumb!!

Here’s a YouTube link:

ManD mentioned some misheard lyrics today so I’ll put some together for a future episode. Feel free to send me any amusing ones you have heard.

DJ Rob

Monday, September 14, 2009

“The Irate Intern” – 50km mountain bike race

Mogo, NSW 13 September 2009

It seemed like such a good idea all those months and months ago when AB and I entered this race. In retrospect, it probably was, but a range of circumstances made this race less than perfect for me.

I’m not whinging but a week off with the flu followed closely by almost 2 weeks of constant physio as the result of a crook back was hardly ideal preparation.

Anyway, on Saturday we headed down to the coast. After registering for the race we headed back to our hotel and did not too much. Bateman’s Bay Soldiers Club provided an excellent pre-race meal although we will never return there again. Their failure to agree to show the Collingwood vs. Adelaide match on any of their one million TV sets did not endear them to quite a few people!

Race Day – an easy wake up as we didn’t have to be there until about 9am. Great coffee and raisin toast at the only café that we could find open on a Sunday morning.

And then it was off to the race. AB started in the second group due to his time estimate – and he did well – a very good result.

My race (ride) was less than spectacular. I was quite worried about my back and to tell the truth, if I hadn’t paid the entry previously I may have pulled out. Anyway, I started towards the back and steadily picked my way through struggling riders. I have NEVER ridden such a hilly course. I reckon they looked at a map and made us go up every hill possible!! My pre-race plan of having a good stretch every 5km was working well and I was enjoying the scenery and chatting to other riders. After about 15km of feeling great my back started to niggle. More stretching helped but the ache was constant. I was NOT happy but after about 5 more kilometres I decided that it was time to stop. One of the course marshals directed me down a fire trail and I did the lonely and grumpy ride back to the event centre. What they didn’t tell me was that is was almost 10km on the road…

Do I regret my decision? No, I am still walking and my back isn’t sore this morning. Will I go back better prepared and ride again? Definitely.

Thanks to my supporters, “AB transport and motivation” and the "WMGS".

At least Collingwood won!!

Pictured: AB hydrating pre-race!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Song of the Week - Episode 55

Hi, and welcome back.

What a treat – the Beatles remasters set (all 16 CDs worth) has been released. I can’t say that I’ve had a chance to listen to more than a couple of tracks so look out for an opinion in the next few weeks.

There was much excitement at our place as Angus’ rugby team played in the Grand Final on Saturday. Although Angus has been out injured for quite a while now, his team asked him to kick off in the game. He also got a Premiers Medal as the team won 17-5 over Wests. It was a special day and with 15 tries for the season he can be proud of his efforts. Here’s hoping he’ll be back next season as neither Alison or I can take much more of him being banned from sport whilst his shoulder recovers!

If I had to have a rant about something this week it would be manners. Given that I work in a school, having students shut up and listen is fairly important to me. Adults are often complaining that kids these days never listen and are rude. Well, HELLO, time to take a good look in the mirror. Not long ago I was at a performance here at school. At the back of the venue, one parent took a call on her phone, for 5 minutes and then proceeded to have a conversation with the parent next to her. All of this whilst the performance (which was awesome) carried on! No amount of glaring made them stop. I had the misfortune of catching Parliament on the radio on the way home the other day. Can we really expect our kids to be polite and well mannered when those running the country act like they are in a chimps tea party. OK, I’ll take a deep breath now.

Here’s a new innovation that I’m going to include sometimes in my weekly diatribe….”word of the week”. I loved English at High School but by the time university study came around I couldn’t stand the thought of dissecting another good book. Foolishly I didn’t ever study English again. I was in Borders (aka Satan’s Book Supermarket) on the weekend when I saw a book by one of my favourite artists – Henry Rollins. Henry, as you may know, sang for seminal hardcore band “Black Flag” before going out on his own and becoming a writer, public speaker, publisher and actor. This book is called “Solipsist” – and this is our word of the week. Solipsism is the theory that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified – or that the self is the only reality. Chew on that. I just thought the word sounded good. The book, 5 pages in, is weird…yet strangely compelling.

On to this week’s song. I was going to wait until I’d had a good listen but I can’t resist. Here’s The Beatles from the remastered version of the “White Album”. This is the track “Glass Onion”. Why? Why not. It rocks.
DJ Rob

Strap yourselves in.... we go.

Why? Well, in 2008 I started sending out a weekly email to a few friends at work. It was simply a "song of the week" and some random thoughts. Fast forward to Sep 2009 and we're up to episode 55, quite a few "listeners". So, time to put it out there on the web....

Are you sitting comfortably?