Friday, January 4, 2013

Song of the Week #228

During the week I wrote a rather long blog post about the Blues. It just sort of happened! I’ll follow it up in weeks to come with more about other musical genres but it’s here if you are interested.

Dear 2012, welcome to Dumpsville, population you! *

The new year always brings a couple of things. Usually some time to reflect as well as resolutions to break.

My resolution was made for me prior to new year. The diet that I have to be on is tough and I’m probably a lot harder on myself than I need to be. But in so many areas I’ve become a bit of an all or nothing kind of guy. I really feel that if I allow myself to deviate from the diet just once that I’ll fall off the wagon or at the very least end up being very grumpy. It’s much easier for me just to say no to a whole lot of stuff and get on with it. I’m lucky that my family understand that this is the way I am even though I know it makes their lives hard too. So, please don’t expect me to break my diet “just this once” or for a special occasion. It just isn’t going to happen.

I wasn’t always so single minded. Will power is something that I really had to work on. In retrospect I wish that I’d had some more of it when I was a young man struggling with an Army career. I do think though that if my training had been more about the Army and less about shouting, polishing, shouting, cleaning bathrooms, shouting and ironing that we would have all been more successful. I still wield a mean iron however and men who come for an interview without their shirt, belt and trousers in alignment have to work hard to get past that initial poor impression that they create. Never wear novelty socks or ties either - instant fail!

Just to clarify; I was far from a lazy slug in my Army time but I could’ve done better if I applied the same effort that I apply to family, work and training as I do now. But a lot of that has come with age and supposed maturity.

We’re on holiday this week having some time away and also avoiding the annual influx of pretend car lovers into Canberra that is Summernats. I feel sorry for real car enthusiasts who are tarred with the same brush as the beer swilling, lecherous, moronic folks who use the festival as an excuse to get blind drunk, leer at women and turn our suburb into a tip.

The Badloves - Lost

This morning I headed out on my bike with only a rough route sketched out. I really had no idea where I would end up and about an hour later I knew I was at a beach (as was evidenced by the sand and surfers) but with no idea really how to get back home. My trusty phone, even with the much maligned Apple maps app soon had me pointed in the right direction and even though I took a circuitous route on purpose I got home in good time. Considering that the majority of my ride was on fairly busy roads I was very impressed with the attitude of drivers here in Newcastle. Kudos to you folks and thank you.

Angus has been ripping up the surf with his Aunt. We gave them lessons as a Christmas present and from all reports they have been very successful. The pressure from Angus to visit the coast will no doubt continue to increase. How long until he can drive??

Wedding Cake Island - Midnight Oil

Credit where credit is due; if you’re in Newcastle head to Darby Street and go to the Glee Cafe for a coffee. Today I had one of the best short black coffees that I’ve had for a long time. Smooth and not bitter at all. Drinking black coffee is something that I have had to work on getting used to over the last couple of months and I’m almost there. My local cafes (Little Bean and Wilbur’s in Hackett) know now that I have some soy milk on the side but I only need it once in a while now.

Billy Bragg - The Milkman of Human Kindness

Apart from the obvious time to be with my family, ride my bike and listen to music, holidays are precious to me because I have time and more importantly, headspace to read books. This is something that I find very hard to do during the school term.

Joe Jackson - Sunday Papers

I finally finished off “Willie’s Bar And Grill” written by Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst about their tour in the USA post 9-11. It wasn’t a bad read. But you really felt that the whole band really had the wind taken out of their sails when Garrett said he was leaving.

I also read Bear Gryll’s autobiography which I got for Christmas from my step-brother and his family. I was surprised at how interesting it was and of all the things he managed to get up to. I also reflected that he was pretty lucky to be able to get into a position where he could just decide to choof off around the world adventuring and not really worry about money.

Dire Straits - Money For Nothing (live)

Yesterday DJ Al-E and I visited a fairly good second hand book shop. I picked up two of Henry Rollins earlier collections which I’ll read when I’m in the mood. My good friend H commented that Henry probably writes in CAPS LOCK and exclamation marks. His books, like his music, isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s confronting, often angry and if you’re in the right mental space a very rewarding read.

Rollins Band - Get Some, Go Again

Finally, Granma gave me a book about an Aussie who spent five years in the French Foreign Legion about the same time I was in the Army. Reading his account would really make you wonder why anyone would join up. If you expect professional soldiering then you’re very much mistaken it seems.

I’m still missing Zoe very much but since it’s obvious that she’s having such a good time in France that makes it easier. She was off to the Somme the other day and she’s been doing a whole lot of Christmas/New Year stuff with her extended French family. Tres Bien indeed. I chose this song as the album cover was what instantly came to mind when Zoe turned the Skype camera around out of her window. I’m sure France looks nothing like the Battersea Power Station but the mind is a funny thing. And I’ve discovered my favourite Pink Floyd album it seems...

Pink Floyd - Pigs On The Wing (Part 2)

I haven’t said a lot about music this week but I hope you’ve enjoyed the tracks I’ve slotted in. They are not background music - that’s just something I don’t do. I like to listen and pay attention regardless of what’s playing. And all of these songs have meaning to me at least that relates to what I’ve written.

Dixie Chicks - Not Ready To Make Nice

Anyway, I’m off for a swim at the beach tomorrow. And if you know me you’ll understand that this is something I don’t take lightly. I really dislike sand and surf. I like swimming though and the pool at Merewether looks pretty inviting. It looks like I can get all the benefits of the coast without the sand!

See you all next week. And thanks for reading this!

DJ Rob

* thanks Homer!

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