Friday, January 29, 2010

Song of the week - episode 75

Another week down. For me it was my first week back at work after the bliss of the summer break. Well, bliss might not be quite the right word but being off work is better than most things. Australia Day in the middle was pretty good though. Shame it has become the bogan pride celebration. Perhaps when Australia eventually becomes a republic we can change the date and the focus of the whole thing.

Alison and I watched a decidedly average film the other night called “I Hate My Job” – a comedy starring Neve Campbell. There was one excellent line though…”I find hugs as a management tool sinister…”, I’ll remember that one!

My Brother tells me that he can hear AC/DC playing loud and clear from his house in Wellington, New Zealand. How cool is that? I tried to get tickets for Angus and I here in Australia but it proved impossible unless we wanted to sit at opposite ends of the venue. Whilst he is a super cool 11 year old I thought that might be a bad idea!

Should we have another AC/DC song just because I can? Oh, OK then! One of my absolute favourites…and probably not what you’d expect unless you are a fan:

AC/DC – Fling Thing/Rocker (live 1978):

Of course, in all things Scottish it was great to see Andy Murray win through to the final of the Australian Tennis Open. The British media is pretty fickle though (shock!) and he is British when he wins and Scots when he loses it seems.

On the theme of Scotland and sport here’s one of my favourite comedians (well he was before he decided to swear every third word). My brother and I listened to this non-stop as kids and can probably still recite most of it word perfect.

Billy Connolly – Football Violence:

More sport? Cheesy song? OK then. In 1982 I was not that old and lived in New Zealand. Imagine everyone’s shock when their soccer team made the World Cup Finals! It was absolutely massive and they haven’t made it back there until this year. Here’s their 1982 theme song…which I have on a 45 here still!

Marching Off To Spain:

And I can’t resist this piece of news. Stryper are touring Australia! These guys dressed in yellow and black were huge in the 80’s whether you were digging their message or not. I am very, very tempted to go along to check them out.

Stryper – 4 Leaf Clover:

But this week’s song is a bit different again. Kris Kristofferson is an interesting guy – I may have mentioned him before. Rhodes Scholar, Army Helicopter Pilot, Janitor, Songwriter, Actor and the list goes on. I’d only really ever heard him sing with guys like Johnny Cash or Willie Nelson so I tracked down a recent CD, “This Old Road”. It is just so honest. His voice is average, the guitar is sparse but the lyrics and the emotion are just so intense. This is the second song from the album. Awesome.

Kris Kristofferson – Pilgrim’s Progress:

See you all next week,
DJ Rob

Friday, January 22, 2010

Song of the Week - Episode 74

Last night there was a car crash outside our house. We’re only really used to noise when the Summernats Car Show is on so the whole neighbourhood. It seems as though a couple of girls were joyriding in a stolen bomb and hit a couple of cars. We saw them drive away around the block in what was left of the Commondore and then apparently they legged it. I wonder if there is any chance that the ACT Government will give us speed bumps now? Sparky thought he was a police dog hot on the trail and that was very amusing.

We took Grandma (that’s my Mum) who is visiting from Sheepland (aka New Zealand) to the Illawarra Fly during the week. It is a walk suspended above the tree line on the side of an escarpment basically. Great views but the entry and food prices were highway robbery.

On vinyl this week I’ve been playing AC/DC’s Highway to Hell album, Arlo Guthrie’s Washington County and Jimi Hendrix Live at Winterland. This is a great cover version from Hendrix where he covers some “real groovy cats”. Usually Hendrix live annoys me as a result of the tuning and the noise but this one (and almost the whole album) is sweeeeet!

Jimi Hendrix Experience (live) – Sunshine Of Your Love:

I lashed out at the CD shop and bought the Grease soundtrack for ten bucks. After all these years it is still pretty cool. I played this track on repeat on the way to swimming training last night. Must’ve been good as I swam pretty well.

John Travolta – Greased Lightning:

Note that the version in the film is not quite the same as on the soundtrack. Not a huge difference though. And who had the sneer first, Billy Idol or John Travolta.

You be the judge:

Billy Idol – White Wedding:

And that video leads almost obviously into this one. Don’t take it too seriously – you can be sure the band isn’t.

Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction – Prime Mover:

Oh dear, if that doesn’t remind you of Vyvyan Basterd then nothing will – segues into this:

The Young Ones – Living Doll:

And look, while we’re staying back in the dark ages, did you know that the Young Ones morphed (or mutated) into a Spinal Tap-esque band? No? Well you do now. The album is hilarious!!

Bad News – Bohemian Rhapsody (produced by Brian May from Queen) -

Well, as I see it there is no turning back now. I need to choose a song of the week that is British, cheesy and that has no chance of appearing on Idol !

Status Quo seems a little clichéd so here’s Slade! I don’t reckon they ever took themselves too seriously! Nice Celtic influence too! And of course, Slade are almost as attractive as Zodiac Mindwarp who we met earlier.

Slade – Run, Run Away:

Back to work on Monday. Hooray (and you can all insert the requisite amount of sarcasm here).

Until next week,
DJ Rob

Friday, January 15, 2010

Song of the week - Episode 73

School holidays are still here and it is great to kick back and not have to think too much about work. That’ll change soon enough I guess.

I did want to quickly make mention of the fact that Alison competed in her first Aquathon yesterday. A 3.5km run followed by a 300m swim in the lake. 3rd place is pretty awesome for a first attempt. I raced in the 1km swim / 7km run race and was very pleased with my performance – legs felt good and it was just below 5 minute kilometre pace on the run. We both enjoyed having the kids there to support us as well.

But, this is a sad day. Last night one of my closest friends, Glenn, was out mountain biking. He had a cardiac arrest and died. I guess it is a small comfort to everyone that he died doing something he loved and apparently it was pretty instant. Glenn was an interesting guy, an engineer, father, mountain biker, expert on batteries and avid reader. He was also heavily involved in his church. We enjoyed many rides on the road and in the forests together. I hope that wherever he is that the tracks are smooth and flowing and the hills are never as steep as they look. I’ll be riding to the funeral I think, it just seems right.

Glenn and I had differing musical tastes, he was more into jazz and classical. I’m an aficionado of neither but here are a couple of tunes that I reckon he’d like to hear.

Wynton Marsalis – Caravan:

A friend at school insisted that I listen to Wynton and Branford Marsalis once. I’m glad he did.

Grover Washington Jr. – Winelight:

I’m fairly sure that my Dad and I used to listen to this album from Grover – accessible and a great listen.

Of course, everyone tells me that Miles Davis is the man. Glenn commented on him once or twice and I hope this selection is OK with all you purists!

Miles Davis and John Coltrane – So What:

Glenn and I met because our kids were at the same school. Cycling was what we both loved and had in common and I am a better person for knowing him. This seems like such an obvious selection but I am sure you’ll all understand.

Queen – Bicycle Race:

Thanks for reading this.


DJ Rob

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Holidays and Whales

Holidays. Well I’m not really a holiday person, something that my family continues to work on, with some success!

Zoe was at the Guide Jamboree in Geelong and Angus at an Adventure Camp so Alison and I had a week to ourselves.

The Adventure Camp was in Berry which is on the coast south of Wollongong. So we went there for a couple of days. We stayed at a beautiful guest house where everything was laid on. Breakfast was so awesome that we didn’t need lunch! We swam in the pool, checked out the local shops, had Thai meal and read books. We also rode our bikes.

After a quick ride into Berry for a coffee we set out to just ride around. A quick lap of the skate park ensued – luckily the local kids had left or I may have embarrassed myself. After that we headed up the road. Alison decided to turn around and I continued up the hill. At this point it would’ve been good for me to remember that the name of the road had the work “mountain” in it. I thought that hill would never end. It was about 8km (5 miles) of tough climbing but it was worth it. The views were great, I saw an echidna and the descent took no time at all! I also passed a truck on the way up – that might give you an idea of the gradient! Needless to say I enjoyed the swim after that.

The Post House in Berry was recommended for dinner on the second night. The food was great but the couple at the next table who insisted on singing Wiggles songs to their kids were not so hot. The funniest bit was the kids refusing to join in even when Mum started drumming on the table.

We had a walk on the beach at Berry – beautiful white sand but a bit windy. The kids at the surf school looked to be having a good time as did the leather skinned pensioners.

I started reading an hilarious collection of essays by Umberto Eco called “How to travel with a salmon” which I couldn’t recommend this more highly. I also finished an Ian Rankin book, “Fleshmarket Close”. His dark depictions of Scotland’s urban situation make me glad I’m in Australia yet still thinking I should return one day. Great read though.

On to Wollongong for Weds and Thurs nights. Well that was different. Our hotel was a bit out of the CBD and walking to it was like going through a war zone. Wollongong had some nice spots like North Beach but really, the city itself is not a great tourist destination. It reminded me of Moe where I grew up but on a larger scale. A depressed area surrounded by natural beauty. No-one smiled in Wollongong. Except my mate Will who we had dinner with! Watching the hang gliders and para gliders at Stanwell Park was awesome. They soared around a cliff and then landed on the beach.

Take note Mexican restaurant owners – making people wait 25 minutes for a simple entrée and then another 30 minutes for their main meal is BAD, BAD, BAD. Luckily the food was OK. Grrrrr!

And really, if your name is at all funny, why would you use it for a business name. Sighted on our trip were “Stan Crapp Funerals” and “Dick Payne Real Estate”.

Of course the news that the Sea Shepherd vessel Ady Gil had “collided” with a Japanese whaling boat was shocking. Watch the video…they were rammed…and the water cannons continue after the front of the boat is smashed off. Watch also as the NZ and Australian Governments tip toe around the issue in case they offend the Japanese. I’m sorry, but someone needs to step up and tell them to get stuffed. Take action, now. Peter Garrett and all your Labour Party colleagues – we didn’t vote you in to be a wet blanket. Take a long hard look at yourselves.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Song of the week - Episode 72

Phew….I’m back. Rumours being circulated about my demise by various imperialist trash are not true. Anyone other than my Brother or Father who spots that reference wins a prize.

More about my holiday in a future post but let me say this. Berry in New South Wales is a lovely place to visit. Wollongong is less so. Also, if the name of a road has “Mountain” in it then it might be difficult to ride up!

I’ve only been home about 30 minutes so here are three songs…do with them what you will.

Motley Crue – Saints of Los Angeles:

Motley Crue is a band that should be dead many times over. Whilst their escapades don’t impress me, their tenacity coupled with their ability to write a catchy sleaze rock song is admirable. This is the title track from their latest album.

Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings – Ain’t No Good Chain Gang:

A classic from Johnny and Waylon. There are a heap of versions of this song – the one where they are playing as “The Highwaymen” is worth searching out I may torture the family with the DVD is a few minutes!

The Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland - Itchy Fingers, Clumsy Lover, Scotland the Brave, Black Bear:

Recently I watched the Edinburgh Tattoo on TV and then followed that with reading some of an Ian Rankin novel. Therefore it is time for bagpipes.

Stay tuned to this blog for holiday ramblings including The Wiggles, Umberto Eco, coffee, cycling and long lost Mexican food.

DJ Rob

Friday, January 1, 2010

Song of the Week - Episode 71

2010 is here – woo hoo! Of course that’s only if you subscribe to the current version of the calendar.

Is there any point in a new year’s resolution? No. If you have to wait until January 1 to decide to do something then it probably isn’t worth doing or you aren’t going to bother. My advice is to promise little and surprise people when you actually achieve something!

Song of the Week is something that you are free to comment on via the blog. Conner’s story last week about how he got his Johnny Cash tickets was awesome so go back and read it.

This week there is a theme, of sorts: great TV themes.

But before we get into that, DJ Laff all the way from the Gold Coast reminded me that I needed to play this song. Primus is the band and they are weird and cool all at once. Sort of like a cross between James Brown, Dr. Seuss and your crazy uncle. I’ll leave you to figure out what this song is all about:

Primus – Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver:

On to TV shows then! This first one was a classic and the theme song is cheesy and memorable all at once.

Theme from The Greatest American Hero:

TV shows in the 80’s worked to a formula (but it worked) – here’s one of the cheesiest and probably most successful shows where every episode is pretty much the same:

Theme from The A-Team:

While we’re on the formula who could forget this next one? I remember spending hours with friends on our bikes pretending to be in this show. We would pretend that our gumboots were motorcycle boots!

Theme from CHiPs:

This one is almost my favourite with Waylon Jennings providing the signature tune. Check out his mega cool custom Telecaster as the clip opens. Fender makes one of these for anyone to buy – if you can afford it!

Theme from The Dukes of Hazzard:

As a side note – the movie version “starring” Jessica Simpson is to be avoided at all costs.

But the best TV themes aren’t all from the USA.

Benny Hill Theme:

And this particular theme almost got my vote as the greatest of all time. It has everything, wokka-wokka guitars, brass and it builds up very well (it was a cool show too)

Theme from The Professionals:

But here are my top two, I couldn’t split them. The first is quite recent and one of the most hilarious shows I have watched. Drew Carey is funny, clever and known to invoke side splitting laughter. He has had a number of themes but this is my favourite. It is the band “Presidents of the USA” covering the “Mott the Hoople” tune “Cleveland Rocks”. Some of my friends in the USA have advised me that Cleveland does NOT rock but hey, it is a cool tune and a funny clip:

Drew Carey Show Theme:

Here’s the winner. M*A*S*H was too obvious, Prisoner was a bit obscure and Neighbours couldn’t win as Kylie didn’t sing it! This is one from my childhood – a truly awesome show.

Theme from The Wombles:

Have a great year and do a good turn for someone every day…

DJ Rob

PS: I forgot this one: – check out all the different versions!