Friday, June 25, 2010

Song of the Week 96

Well that's the end of another school semester. This one seemed to drag on and on and then suddenly it was over. Like any job, teaching has ups and downs but I remain amazed that people have to have a little "can't cope" at the same time twice a year. Seriously, you can predict the busy times - take a leaf out of Baden-Powell's book and "Be Prepared".

The end of this term also marks the impending demolition of some old buildings at school. Not before time too. I'm glad to have moved out of my office as the heating and cooling had both given up the ghost quite a while ago. We're in temporary accomodation in a glorified shipping container that has turned out to be a lot better than we thought it might be. Can't wait for the paint fumes to dissapate.

Now I don't want to shock anyone out there so make sure you're sitting down. We get the scooter back tomorrow. When the garage revealed to Alison that it would be another 2-4 weeks to get all the parts I could hear the excrement hitting the fan from miles away!! The upshot is that they have made the scooter roadworthy and we can have it back until they have all the bits to fix the cosmetic damage. Amazing.

Perhaps this song reflects my frustration with the week that was. It came on in the car this evening as part of a mix-cd that DJ McG gave me and captured the moment.

The Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated:

But I have three weeks of stand down now so you can expect happy pop songs next week.

It would be remiss of me not to at least quickly mention Australian politics. After all, it is a rare opportunity that I am actually qualified to make any of the comments I pour out as part of this blogging extravaganza.

I'll preface this by reminding all my loyal readers that I lean to the left side of politics. It is no secret.

So, we've got a new Prime Minister. Not a shock really. Kevin dug his own grave. You can only act at being personable for so long if it isn't real. I'm not doubting that he is smart. I'm not doubting that he had some great ideas and took some hard decisions. But, the Labor Party risked being slaughtered at the next election if Kevin remained in the top job. People just didn't like him anymore. In my opinion he became smug and lost his mass appeal. So does Julia have the goods? We'll see.

But I am totally and utterly sick to death of continuing comments on her gender, hair colour and marital status. It doesn't matter. What matters is if she can do the job as PM effectively or not. So many male politicians are fat and unattractive but we hear very little comment about them in this regard. This isn't "Australia's Next Top Model" folks so ignore the hype and concentrate on the substance. In a country where people would be outraged to be asked about their gender, marital status, sexuality or hair colour at a job interview (and it would be illegal) why are we fixated on Julia's personal information.

On the political theme but injecting some humour here's a song about one of our greatest Prime Ministers - Bob Hawke. Love him or hate him, few people would deny that he had charisma to spare.

Redgum - The Drover's Dog:

And the Socceroos are out of the World Cup. Sad but then we still have a way to go to be consistently serious competitors on a the world stage. All that diving is such a bore anyway - glad to see Italy were eliminated as they are one of the worst team of offenders.

Ironman training is coming along nicely. I've been working hard on training consistently and working towards a really good endurance base. The cycle commuting has helped a lot, swimming is starting to feel good and running is great too. The distances just need to continue to get longer!

As I reflect over the last six months I have had one close friend die and another two are seriously ill. That has really put a lot of other things into context for me and made me think about what really matters in life. Enjoy your time with your friends and don't work so hard that your family thinks you are some kind of ghost - it isn't worth it.

In new music I have read that there is a compilation of Kris Kristofferson's early demo recordings available. Many of these are songs he wrote for other people. Kris is an artist that is growing on me. I can really get into the honest and gruff delivery of his songs as well as his lyrics. I will investigate and report back.

But this week's track is for Zoë. She has been working very, very hard in the backstage crew at the school musical and I am very proud of her. Motorheads "We Are The Roadcrew" isn't quite her style I don't reckon. But this next track was used as the pre-show music at the show and I can picture Zoë really liking it so here we go.

Paul Simon - Diamonds On The Sole of Her Shoes: (with lyrics for you karaoke fans!)

Have a great weekend.
DJ Rob

Friday, June 18, 2010

Song of the Week 95

Did you know that Hugh Laurie (of House and Blackadder fame) plays the piano on the new Meatloaf album? Neither did I but there you go.

Meatloaf - If I Can't Have You:

Now, a word about illegal downloading. When I was younger - not that long ago - we taped albums that our friends had. We couldn't afford to buy all of them. Was it illegal? Yes. Did the artists suffer? No. We weren't going to be able to afford to buy the albums anyway. But, I did become a fan of a number of bands because I had a copy from a friend. In the long run the bands got some money as I spent loads and loads of my salary on LPs and then CDs.

Whilst I am violently opposed to people pirating music to resell the file sharing and downloading argument is much more complex. If I can watch a show on TV for free then why can't I download it to watch at a convenient time? Because I don't have to watch the advertising? Well I don't watch it regardless.

Movies are a bit different. I'd happily take myself to the cinema if there could be some guarantee that there wouldn't be some cretin sitting behind me with a super large bag of noisy food and the need to analyse the film with their nerdy friend for the duration. But that is seemingly impossible. And $15 for the privilege is just a bit outrageous. The DVD hire shop is an option but frankly I am tired of all the movies I want being already out or the discs skipping all over the place.

Do we need a pirate song? I think so!

Norah Jones - Chasing Pirates:

Alison's knee operation seems to have been a success. A quick arthroscopy, in and out of hospital in less than 12 hours. We're not really sure that sending her home to a house with stairs was such a good idea either. Here's hoping that she is back on two feet, walking and running before too long. If not then the kids and I will move out!

Here's a song for Alison:

World Cup fever is here and apart from the boring vuvuzelas it is reasonably enjoyable. Although I didn't enjoy Australia getting thumped by Germany it really wasn't that unexpected. It was great to see NZ draw with Slovakia. I remember the heady days of 1982 when the All Whites marched off to the World Cup in Spain. And I really did enjoy seeing Spain lose to Switzerland. Truly, soccer is such a low scoring game that at the World Cup, anyone has a chance of an upset.

Scotland aren't at the World Cup. They are too good and have elected to stay home. When I was a lot younger they qualified to play in the finals that were in Argentina. Here's the theme song - hilarious and very optimistic. My Granny and Grandpa sent me this song on cassette!

I've heard the official Australian theme song and it pales in comparison!

On Saturday night I went to see two of my friends (finally) get married. This week's song was one we covered in the band where Scot was the singer. Originally by Sisters of Mercy but recorded by Scot and Rod on their first album. Here's the original.

Something Fast - Sisters of Mercy:

Still no scooter. Unbelievable.

Dogs are people too,
DJ Rob

Friday, June 11, 2010

Song of the Week 94

You can always tell who reads this drivel by mentioning them and then realising they haven’t noticed!

Some of you may have seen yours truly published in the Canberra Times bemoaning the price of tickets to the Australia vs. Fiji Rugby Test. I guess I should be thankful that I don't want Test tickets in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane which are even more of a rip off. I will admit that I was rather surprised at getting my letter published. I'd never written in before, I'm usually more content to tee off here in cyberspace.

Today's cycling tip is that when the temperature is -4 degrees, it is not a good idea to leave your face mask at home. Although it makes me look like an axe murdering hockey goalie I would've appreciated not having the icicles forming under my nose!

Yeah, the scooter is still waiting on parts. Boring.

I made an inglorious return to the swimming pool last night. I dragged myself up and down at the back of Lane 5. I had forgotten that swimming was such hard work after a break. Ouch, ouch, ouch. I would've loved to draft off Howsie but he was burgling in Lane 4.

DJ Rozzlin suggested that this week's theme was artists that died before their time. Well OK. Maybe a couple, with a twist at the end.

Randy Rhoads shot to fame as guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne. His classical guitar training and influence shone through in tasteful guitar work. This is an acoustic piece that he wrote and dedicated to his Mum (Mom). Randy died in a plane crash at the age of 25.

Aeroplanes and guitar players are not a good mix. Ritchie Valens died in the same plane crash that killed Buddy Holly.

Ritchie Valens - Come on Lets Go:

Of course, also on that plane was The Big Bopper. This is a classic tune from when rock n roll was much less complicated.

The Big Bopper - Chantilly Lace:

The list of rockers dying before their time is long and sad. Sid Vicious, Bon Scott, Jimi Hendrix, SRV, Janis Joplin and so on. Notice that I didn't include Nirvana's Kurt Cobain in there. I was sad that he died but in my opinion, and feel free to disagree, he took the easy way out.

And is it wrong to include Billy Joel in Song of the Week? I know a lot of people think he has a major credibility issue but he has written some cracking tunes. Here's one I like a LOT that relates to this week's theme, maybe...

Billy Joel - Only The Good Die Young(live):

Billy puts on a great show, I saw him in Sydney on the Stormfront tour - fabulous!

Of course, there is more than one band with that as a song title.

Iron Maiden - Only The Good Die Young:

Angus has had a successful sporting week. He represented North Canberra in the ACT Schoolboys Rugby carnival. Not only did his team win but no tries were scored against them all day! We wait now to see if he is invited to trial for the ACT team.

And the big news is that Alison has to have a knee operation next Wednesday. Ouch. Here's hoping they find only what they expect and that she is off the crutches very soon.

Now, this is a long weekend to celebrate the Queen's Birthday. I hope all you people that voted for a republic are coming to work on Monday!! Personally I have nothing against the Queen but her parenting skills leave a lot to be desired. But we don't need the next monarch on our money thanks all the same. And if the Royal Family fancy a visit down under then they can pay their own way without input from my taxes.

Also this weekend - here comes the World Cup Football! I think I'm a bit over it already. When does Le Tour begin?

I'm sorry - this week's attempt on "Glee" at KISS' "Shout It Out Loud" was well below par. And before you ask, I saw it on the promo. Total rubbish. A complete lack of vocal power and presence.

On to our final song. It was going to be Buddy Holly but really, I was never a big fan. Maybe it was the Clark Kent glasses. Try this instead...especially if you are a fan of The Fonz!

Eat your greens,

DJ Rob

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


What a terrible couple of days. Seems like it is grumpy season all around.

I freely admit that one of my failings can be being far too optimistic about people. It is something that I reckon makes me good at my job. But sometimes it is hard to keep the glass half full when it seems that a lot of people around you are trying their hardest to empty it.

As well as that it was bloody freezing today. I didn't mind the cold when I was cycling to or from work but all our buildings are like iceboxes just now. If I was poikilothermic )like Alison's feet) then I'd be dead by now.

And there is still no sign of the scooter.


Ah, I feel better now!

Can we have a song? OK - you've twisted my arm. Are you sitting comfortably?

This one is for DJ SutO who is hospital. 19 years ago he turned me on to this band - pivotal moment. - turn this one up.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Song of the Week 93

There is too much going on. And my brain is full. This week I would like to plug in an external hard drive and do a quick backup.

And I'm tired. I think that running the 13km to school this morning wasn't such a good idea. Not that I didn't enjoy it because I did.

So, let's cut to the chase and check out a few songs.

Here's something you may not have heard before. Straight out of Sweden is a band called First Aid Kit. I know nothing about them save for reading a short review in a music magazine. The band is made up of two sisters who came to fame initially via a cover of a Fleet Foxes tune they posted on YouTube. And I think this is the first time I've seen an autoharp for quite a while. For fans of folk music and indie pop probably.

First Aid Kit - Hard Believer:

This next song rolled around on my iPod(tm) this morning during my run. It jolted me out of a momentary lapse of motivation! A great song, a funny video but serious lyrics.

Iron Maiden - Run To The Hills:

DJ Fat Rollins organized the biopic "Nowhere Boy" for me to watch. It is the story of young John Lennon. A great film with some very funny and very sad moments. Even if you think the Beatles were just an average band of Liverpudlians you'll probably enjoy the film.

As I said last week my new guitar arrived at long last. And it is fabulous. I don't think I've ever played a guitar that has such a wide range of sounds. In my experience most guitars lend themselves to certain songs. For example, my original red Strat copy is just fabulous for the "Money for Nothing" intro - it almost plays itself. And this new guitar already has revealed its own favourite song. And it is one I would never have expected to play in a month of Sundays. From one of the best country music voices, an amazing song that I can't believe I am enjoying so much...

Dolly Parton - Jolene:

I know that the White Stripes have a version of this song but I don't like the screaming in the middle. It isn't tortured as it could be, it is torturous.

Song of the week. This one has been on my radar for ages now. It cracks me up. But like a lot of rock music, if you're going to take it too seriously you should pass on this track and head over to Everyone has something embarrassing or that they would rather forget somewhere in their past. I know I do. Just remember not to post any of it on facebook! Apologies to all the mums out there driving Volvos...

Everclear - Volvo Driving Soccer Mom:

Australians can't say "Mom". We just don't have the long o sound in the middle. My American and Canadian friends always amuse me because "Rob" becomes much longer than the way we say it!!

Get a life, get a dog.

DJ Rob