Friday, April 30, 2010
I had the unadulterated joy of going to the doctor this morning. I was the first appointment at 8.30am. I could hear him in his consulting room talking to the medical student for 15 minutes before they called me in…15 minutes late. What a great way to start the day. Anyway, I have to go for an MRI on my knee. I have a Baker’s Cyst which is nothing worrisome but he wants to check for anything else including arthritis. Suddenly I feel old. And, MRIs are pretty expensive. I’ll report back.
On Wednesday I was in Sydney for the day attending a course. Here are things I like about Sydney. They have lots of good coffee places and most seem to have free Wi-Fi. Other than that I’m not sure that there is much else going for it! Too many people all in a rush. I was glad to get on the plane (which was like a VW with wings) for the flight home.
Yesterday I thought I’d have a good go on the Wii Fit that Angus got for his birthday. So, I plugged myself in and spent an hour doing a range of stretches, yoga and aerobic activities. At the time I thought it was pretty ho-hum and wasn’t working me very hard. This morning my body told me another story! It is certainly a viable alternative to an easy gym or cardio session. They really need to work on the soundtrack though!
Here’s a track I heard on the radio this week that is an ideal training song:
Kaiser Chiefs – I Predict a Riot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hamKl-su8PE
I remember reading an article about the Kaiser Chiefs when they said they never thought they’d be as successful as they had become. Anyone heard from them lately?
Great news for fans of loud music is that Metallica are heading back to Australia in October/November. There are only a few shows announced but certainly plenty of room to add quite a few more. I saw them back in (ahem, ahem) 1993. Of course, I was only 10 at the time. Get along if you can, they work hard live for their fans.
Metallica (live) – Welcome Home (Sanitarium): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQoUbUaoVkc
And that wasn’t a song about breakfast cereal either. Learning the intro to that song kept me hard at work when I should’ve been studying in 1994!
It was ANZAC Day on 25 April and also DJ KelC’s birthday. I sat through a speech about ANZAC Day being all about people who died for their country. That’s only part of the story. ANZAC Day is about remembering all Australians and New Zealanders who have served their respective countries. Listen to this track, a killer from a great Australian singer/songwriter.
John Williamson – Diggers of the ANZAC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SAODf8JPpU
This weekend Angus begins the rugby season. After missing most of the last one with a bad shoulder injury we have learned how to strap him up and all that this entails. He’s played in a pre-season match and all was good. This is great news for his parents and him too I guess. I am constantly amazed at his complete addiction to rugby. I know lots of kids who enjoy sport but for Angus it is so much more than that. As he is not the biggest kid on the team he’s at fullback which is what he wanted. As a result he’s spent hours and hours working on his kicking technique. Here’s some rugby footage for some overseas viewers. Tough game.
I’ve been reading Hunter S. Thompson’s “Kingdom of Fear”. I’m not really sure why either. The blurb on the back caught my interest but three-quarters of the way through what is essentially an autobiography I admit I don’t get it. To me he seems just to be some sort of hooligan who can write a bit. I’ll wait until I finish and see if I want to explore his work any further. But, this week’s chosen track sort of came via that book. He mentions hanging out with musician Warren Zevon and I had been listening to his greatest hits CD the week earlier. I’m new to Zevon’s work and it is patchy – like his life. But this song is pretty damned good and I keep replaying it.
Warren Zevon – Carmelita: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9L8jLPE84g
I’ll leave the lyrical analysis up to you.
Friday, April 23, 2010
A lot has happened since last time. Firstly, I have turned 39 and commenced my 40th revolution around the gaseous body we call the sun. Thoughts on turning 39? Not sure really. I might feel a little more philosophical next year. Mick Jagger once said he rather be dead than singing “Satisfaction” at 45. He probably rethought that. I have some goals to reach by the time I turn 40 but I’ll keep them to myself in case I need an extension.
My brother was kind enough to give me an iTunes voucher. Apart from picking up a George Thorogood album that has eluded me in the shops for years I enjoyed choosing a few tracks to purchase. Here’s one of them that is excellent for a laugh. Bonus points for anyone who can pick the well known rock star in the clip (without reading the comments!)
Boys Don’t Cry – I Wanna Be A Cowboy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s05jcrJw0as
A week or so ago, my good friend DJ Ducky recommended that I should watch an episode of “Supernatural”. DJ Ducky always gives good advice so Alison and I gave it a chance. Awesome, I really enjoyed it - so much so that we got Season 1 from the DVD shop. The show is quirky and amusing and to top it off, it has a great hard rocking soundtrack. Here are two songs that have appeared - both classics. And, how about those shorts on the guy doing the intro!!
AC/DC – Highway To Hell (live 1979): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqwFfGgLPzM (and if you think this is a song about devil worship then you need to pay more attention)
Free - Alright Now (live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydItRbb0b1E
In response to last week, the two guys who were with me in Sydney when I bought the guitar related a few other stories. I think I’ve almost finished laughing! And for the guitar heads out there, it was a 1972 Gibson SG. Unfortunately at some stage the neck got a crack in it and even though I had it fixed it wasn’t the same. Sutto was there at Mr Walkers’ first gig and I think Doc was as well. Talk about mayhem. The PA blew up at some stage and there was a fight involving a head butting incident too. The photos of me at that gig sporting a red moustache are best left hidden.
Last night Alison and I went to the movies. We saw Denzel Washington in “The Book of Eli”. If you like post-apocalypse style films and you’re prepared for a twist at the end that really; I think no-one spotted, spend your money and go along. No doubt there will be some who think that the film contains some major religious message – not me. I won’t say more as it is too easy to give away too much about the film. A big plus is the casting of Tom Waits as the junk shop owner and engineer – an inspired choice.
Angus turned 12 on Wednesday. In a world where too much sport is never enough we gave him a Wii Fit to keep him occupied indoors. It seems to be a big success with both kids. I think it is a pretty groovy concept really – making fitness fun by incorporating it in a video game. A small amount of research reveals that they’ve sold nearly 23 million copies. Not bad I guess!
In other movie news, Iron Man 2 is out soon and has a soundtrack supplied by AC/DC. Although I love the band, it might be just a bit rich to expect that fans will buy the soundtrack to the movie when there are no new tunes on it. At least when they did “Who Made Who” as the soundtrack for Stephen King’s “Maximum Overdrive” we got 3 new tracks.
I read an interview this week with Sly from Sly and the Family Stone. His life didn’t turn out that well for someone with seemingly so much talent. I must admit though that I had a laugh when he described George W Bush as a “dirty motherf*****”. I only got into Sly as a result of someone giving me an old LP of his (yes – on vinyl) – wow, seriously groovy. Here’s a track to get down with, a real toe tapper:
Sly and the Family Stone – Medley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4G861C3J9ms
And just before we get onto this week’s chosen track, here’s something just a little bit different. Take the time and have a good look and listen. I heard this guy a couple of years ago and he blew me away. So unexpected, yet so cool. Seriously, how many Hasidic Jewish Reggae singers have you heard of?
Matisyahu – Youth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI3hPcAu2zk
But Song of the Week #87 goes out to DJ B-C all the way over there in Kandahar. He got me into Billy Bragg back in the very early 90s which as I have related before is something I consider a rather significant event in my life. I heard this song the other day and I reckon he’d like it. Great riff, so much energy and, yeah – those haircuts!
The Jam – In The City: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivm0inFdJL8
Peace be upon all of you.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Yesterday I read “Pleasure and Pain” which is Chrissy Amphlett’s autobiography. Chrissy was the singer for one of Australia’s best rock bands, “The Divinyls”. It is a pretty tragic tale and to be honest I have no idea how the band managed to produce anything of note given the fact that they were surrounded and pickled by alcohol and drugs, victims of poor management and really their own worst enemies at times. The real kicker though is that Chrissy finally gets herself clean, pays off massive debts, marries and then is diagnosed with MS. That sucks. I featured this band recently but here’s another clip…perhaps their best song and ironically, one of their first.
Divinyls – Boys In Town: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baBgltS9u5M
Dead on April 14th at age 48 is singer and bassist for US goth/doom band Type O Negative Peter Steele. Scary looking man with a big, big voice. He was big as in tall as well at 6ft 7in.
Type O Negative – Black No. 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFwYJYl5GUQ
I had dinner with some good friends on Wednesday night and we spent some time talking about music. I tell you, if someone likes Johnny Cash and Tom Waits then they are always welcome! The conversation turned to songs reminding you of particular times in your life. And that led me to this week’s collection of songs. They all mean something to me in one way or another.
When I was 8 my family had just moved to New Zealand. At that time there were two TV stations and as far as I remember no FM radio. This particular track always takes me back to the house we rented when we first arrived, sleeping on a camp stretcher and my first primary school there. It was a scary walk to that school. There was a dog that made me very nervous about half way and also a seemingly abandoned house that I was convinced kidnapped children would be held in. Stranger danger talks obviously hit a nerve for some reason. At that school a friend let me ride his skateboard every day. You have to understand that my parents were completely anti-skateboard – probably because they could see the prospective injury toll. I remember doing a small jump and the board breaking…that wasn’t a good day. I don’t remember if Mum and Dad ever found out but I was petrified. So, here’s the song that brings back all those memories:
John Stewart – Gold: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPjhHcLpfr4
The line, “I jump into my car and I throw in my guitar” always resonated with me. An escape route from whatever was happening in my life at the time.
Guitars, as you all know, became a constant in my life at an early age. I remember buying a live Jimi Hendrix double album and hating it – I was bitterly disappointed. But there was an album “Jimi Hendrix – Smash Hits” that hung around in a record shop for maybe 6 months before I bought it. This track always reminds me of a certain shopping centre in country Victoria and shopping for flannelette shirts for winter. Also, the escape theme again…
Jimi Hendrix – Highway Chile: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxlCK0F8aQE
I so wanted to be windswept and interesting instead of short haired and normal!!
At the end of 1985 and into the start of 1986 I was lucky enough to go to a Scout Jamboree in Sydney. Well, it was in a big dust bowl somewhere nearby! We bussed it there from Victoria which probably took around 12 hours I think. Of course, the bus died in the middle of the night somewhere on the way and I remember sitting on the edge of the road in the dark drinking milk as we waited for another. I had a small transistor radio as I knew the Jamboree would have its own radio station. We requested this song over and over and danced around like loons the couple of times it was played. Scouts was a big part of my life and, my musical education as you’ll see after the track.
Hoodoogurus – Like Wow Wipeout: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoyzhBV-leI
At Easter Camp with Scouts we hosted an axeman’s carnival. Wood chopping and various other competitions ensued and they gave some money to the Scouts I believe. One year I drew the job of manning the gate and helping direct visitors, axemen and others to various locations. It was hot, it was dusty but we had a cassette player and some tapes. This day was my introduction to this next band. I never really got past the one album but every time I hear a song from it I feel the beating sun and taste the sunscreen!
Talking Heads – And She Was: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgSVTdAtNYE
In January 1991 I was at Puckapunyal in Victoria with the Army. Again, it was hot and dusty but this time I was running around with a rifle and kilos of gear! I’m pretty sure that this was the first exercise I did where the water resupply was basically unlimited – it was that hot. I won’t tell a lie, I didn’t enjoy myself very much. There was a particular moment on this bush trip that I knew the Army really wasn’t for me. Making a 19 year old dig graves was just a bit too real. But, nearly anyone with any military service will tell you that it is all about the people you are with at the time. The section I was in was full of good guys and it was a team effort to get through. There were a couple of particularly vindictive staff assigned to us and I have strong memories of one of them holding me up by the scruff of the neck about to let fly with his fists when I had to shut the bar one night. Our section adopted this next song as a theme for some obscure reason. So, this song takes me back to a time when I made a decision and learned a lot about how not to treat other people.
Kylie – Step Back In Time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx2YP7OadZE
In 1994 I was still in the Army – it wasn’t that easy to leave! By this time I had become involved in computers and I liked that part of my job. I was sent to Melbourne for three months to learn all about IT and at that time it was all pretty new. The guys on the course, like me, didn’t have a lot of money. Most of us were Privates and Corporals (and equivalent) from a variety of Corps training up to work with computers. I met one of my best friends on this course. He introduced me to Al Bundy and I started him on heavy, heavy music. Another course mate and I managed to get tickets to see Rollins Band in Melbourne. I only knew one song by the band but that didn’t matter – they didn’t play anything old, just new stuff as far as I remember. After seeing a lot of live bands as well as playing in a few for years this was an amazing show. The lighting guys just turned the lights up and left them there. I’m sure the guys at the sound desk did the same. It was loud, it was bright and it was the most full on display of rock and roll power I have ever seen.
Rollins Band – Tearing Me Apart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIfM4KGkXYs
Laff didn’t make it to this show but we’ve made up for it since. I was especially honoured to be the Best Man at his wedding. Rollins always makes me think of those cold three months in 1994 as well as Laff.
In 1991 I was fortunate enough to be asked to join my first band here in Canberra. The other four members were a helluva lot more musically accomplished than I was but they let me in anyway. I learned so much from playing with them. I learned, not only a lot of cool songs and improved my playing out of sight, but I learned valuable lessons about being in a band. “Mr. Walker” played mostly covers for a couple of years. We rehearsed a lot and got quite a few gigs. There is embarrassing video as well that I have under lock and key. I remember when the band split up and three of the members formed a blues band. I was devastated but in retrospect we had run our course. A disastrous gig outside at the ANU was the nail in the coffin. I played with my back to the non-existent audience and our singer had laryngitis! However, I made another lifetime friend from that band. Our soundman and voice of reason was someone I just clicked with immediately. I remember him taking me to a guitar store in Sydney the morning after we’d been to see Motorhead. Neither of use could hear a thing but we still managed to buy me an excellent guitar – and probably cleared the store whilst we were trying it out! In “Mr. Walker” I played all sorts of rhythm and backing pieces to Jason’s lead guitar. He was good, really good – a natural. This is a cheesy song, but I really liked playing the backing bits – simple yet effective. This song takes me back to carpet made sticky by beer, cramped stages and more fun than you can imagine.
Don Henley – Boys of Summer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HC8at4nyjeE
Hey, I hoped you enjoyed my reminiscing. Now, because it is sunny and I am on holidays I’m off on my bike.
Friday, April 9, 2010
The big news for me is that I’ve coughed up the cash and entered Ironman. It is in Western Australia in December. Better get training. I have no idea how long it will take me and I’m not sure I care. I want to finish inside the 17hr time limit and get my hands on that finishers medal as well as booking in for an Ironman tattoo. It’ll be a one off I reckon.
School’s out for two weeks which is awesome. Everyone needs a rest around here and that’s kids and staff!
And it is a HUGE weekend coming up. The tri club awards are tonight, Brumbies vs Cheetahs in rugby tomorrow and then the Paris-Roubaix cycling on Sunday night. I’ll need the holidays to recover.
In other news I finally got off my rear end and sold the Toyota Yaris (aka the red glovebox). It was so easy in the end. Took about 4 days from advertising to waving goodbye. I need some cold weather gear for the scooter..brrrrr.
Over the Easter break I finally managed to watch “This is England”. Scary movie. Pretty much the British version of “Romper Stomper” or “American History X”. There were some scary gangs where I went to high school but nothing like the ones in the movie. Thatcher’s England really was a pretty dismal place.
Billy Bragg – It Says Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RunXQq6cf3U
I was watching the news the other day and there was yet another bombing in Pakistan. Then there was unrest on the West Bank. Closely followed by fighting somewhere else and it went on. Depressing. It made me think of these two songs. Take from them what you will.
Midnight Oil – Instant Karma: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5xG-h7ypUw
Living Loud – In The Name of God: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOGNDcvTwso
Special mention to anyone who knows which bands the players in Living Loud are from (Will – you’re not allowed to play!)
Friday, April 2, 2010
Sometimes you hear a version of a song that is so perfect, so complete that it really moves you. A rare event but this track really got to me.
Bear in mind that this is a cover version and was originally performed by American Folk legend Tom Paxton.
However, this is Johnny Cash. And for me, this song might just be all you might ever need. Heartfelt, honest and sung with passion. He makes it his own.
This track haunts me now. Johnny recorded it not long before his death and it was only recently released.
There is no need for more than one song this week.
Johnny Cash - Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXowP1Ss5kA