Monday, September 29, 2014

Song of the Week #317

Sunday afternoon really isn't the normal time to be writing my weekly load of nonsense. Regular readers will understand that HQ World Wide Woozle has moved locations. The physical move may be less than 1km door to door but the packing, shifting and unpacking is just the same as if it was an interstate relocation. Stop press: we've shifted time now through to Monday afternoon; there was more unpacking to do!

Right then, apart from moving house, three out of four people in the family having new jobs and the cat and dog looking rather nervous it's time to get down to just a couple of tunes.

One of the advantages of the new place is a home for my cassette player. Sadly, not all of my cassettes would ever fit anywhere other than in boxes but with a small three drawer cassette holder we can cycle through a few. There's something pure and almost organic about playing a tape from start to finish. It's not like CD or MP3 where you can skip all over the place. Also I can sit and watch the VU meters jump around! This song was on one of the compilation tapes I found and DJ Al-ee-Sun seemed to like it...

Peter, Paul and Mary - Puff The Magic Dragon -

AC/DC fans were both happy and sad last week. The band have a new album out very shortly and will embark on a world tour as well. But it will be without founder, songwriter and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young. The news is that he is not well enough to be in the band and from what little information is actually available it seems that he never will be. It's a sad thing for such an influential yet low key musician. Early on in my teens when I was developing my love for the band I quickly realised that while Angus provided the flash and showmanship, Malcolm was the part that held the band together. A relentless rhythm; never too much, never in your face and never lacking. His style of just pushing a band along rather than standing out the front screaming "look at me" has always resonated with me. 

There's no doubt that I'll get the new album and I also hope to go to one of the shows. Stevie Young, Angus and Malcolm's nephew will be playing guitar. He did the same for much of the '88 World Tour when Malcolm was unwell so he's hardly new to the band. You couldn't ever accuse AC/DC of not being committed to their music and fans. After the untimely death of Bon Scott and now Malcolm's illness they carry on. That's a work ethic folks.

AC/DC - What's Next To The Moon (1978) -

AC/DC - For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) - (1981) -

To add to the pressure of moving house and all that goes with it, I agreed, along with my good friend and partner in crime, DJ AB, to head out to the Scott 24hr Mountain Bike Race on Saturday Night. Our job was to play songs and provide commentary live at the event, and over FM radio from 11pm until 7am. The reality was that we started early and managed to hang on until lack of sleep and a sugar overdoes finally got us at 8:45am. We had a ton of fun choosing songs, talking nonsense and providing updates for the riders, supporters and volunteers. This is the second year that we've had the opportunity to provide this service to the race and we hope to be back next year...maybe with an even longer stint! Apologies to those offended by our 3am skanking through transition but a bit of a dance and a pogo kept us awake! Thanks to DJ Guz for his massive efforts in setting up the FM link and looking after us the whole time.

AB and I took some requests, as well as tweeting and facebooking all night. Being out at Stromlo as the sun came up on a perfect Spring day in Canberra is always a real treat. Here's one of the requests we played that we both enjoyed a lot!

Christopher Cross - Ride Like The Wind -

As our internet provider hasn't connected either the 'net (aaaarrrggghhh!) or the phone (who really cares) this episode will be short. It is disappointing that even with a couple of weeks notice that they couldn't sort it out and that I had to hang around on hold when we were actually in the throes of moving. This should be remedied, with any luck, during the week and I'll aim to put out a bumper crop of tunes.

Until then, satisfy yourselves with these, let me know if you like them or not...

Madness - Baggy Trousers -

Reel Big Fish - Take On Me -

But now, dear reader, I'm well and truly spent. Time for a nap.

DJ Rob

"Got the word from the Devil,
For what it's worth,
Your killing, fighting...
Cast your spell upon the World,
Send your metal birds,
It's the Devil's curse..." - The Poor, Man of War, 1994.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Song of the Week #316

This week I wrote about bike here for more.

By the time you read this you will know result of the referendum into Scottish Independence. The "no" vote has won, but not by much. During the week I was rather amazed to read that Scots not resident in the country thought they should still get a vote. I'm not talking about people on holiday, I mean people who have made a choice to live somewhere else. I have noticed also in recent years that a number of countries allow ex-pats to vote in their elections. What a load of nonsense. If you don't live there, you shouldn't rate a vote. Why? Well for one reason you don't have a true view of what life there is like. If ex-pats could claim a vote then I certainly could. I was born in Scotland and I'm a British Citizen (as well as an Australian one). But I haven't lived there since I was about 7. What do I know other than what I've read? Nothing.

Battlefield Band - The Rovin' Dies Hard -


In a similar vein I read a whole lot of moaning that the Australian radio and TV network broadcasting throughout SE Asia would cease. The people up in arms were ex-pats who would be unable to get their fix of Aussie news or football. Seriously? You think that the taxpayers here should support that? Unless I'm mistaken, Australian broadcasting into other areas of the world is important for other reasons but not so that people living away from home can watch the footy.

The Members - Radio -


Wow, I sound grumpy this week.  Why stop now? Let's talk about taxation.


I got my tax refund notice this week. A few extra dollars in my hand. That's nice. Along with the notice of assessment was a set of figures and a chart telling me how the Federal Government spent the money they took out of my pay. There was also a figure reflecting Australia's level of debt. This has increased by quite a lot…$63 billion…under the Abbott Government. But I digress, I'm not here to score cheap, easy points at the expense of the PM whilst he's busy committing us to an expensive war…which will help the bottom line so much. Grrrrr! The chart of expenditure reveals how little we spend on aid and law enforcement. Servicing government debt takes a big chunk as does welfare. Anyone reading that graph would think that Australia is tight. Maybe we are.

Jimmy Buffett - Carnival World -


I've failed to get to the music shop this week. And I'm not keen on buying music as a download. Thankfully Soundcloud, YouTube and other online services have kept me going. I've also be re-watching some episodes of the riotously funny TV show "Bottom" starring Rik Myall and Ade Edmonson.

Opening Montage - Bottom -

Mayall / Edmonson - Chess -


Bands I've been listening to this week include Sweet Apple, Bob Mould, Springsteen. Throwing some albums onto the old iPod shuffle and letting it roll around in the background has been an excellent way to revisit old tunes and become more familiar with new ones. I'm not too sure how my new colleagues are going with the bagpipe sounds emanating from my office though.

Sweet Apple - Boys In Her Fanclub -

Finally, I read that The Living End might record another album. I'd buy that for a dollar (or two) - and not on download either. Fingers crossed!

The Living End - Pictures In The Mirror (live) -

I'm off to see Witchskull tonight at the ANU Bar. If you're in Canberra and you like heavy music you should be there.

DJ Rob

" ain't no fun waitin' 'round to be a millionaire..." - AC/DC, 1976.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Local bike shops

Yeah, yeah, yeah - I know you can buy anything you want online. But for people with limited mechanical ability and/or limited time a good local bike shop is essential. Personally I'd rather spend time racking up the kilometres than turning the air blue whilst trying (and failing) to service my bike. Experts are experts for a reason.

So, with that in mind, I write to extol the virtues of my local bike servicing emporium, "Monkey Wrench Cycles" in Hackett, ACT.

I've had bikes serviced at places all over Canberra and there's no doubt that here in the National Capital we are spoiled for choice.

Without naming names, here are some reasons that I didn't go back to a range of places...

  • one place has a reputation for swapping out high quality parts for el cheapo ones prior to selling bikes
  • one place had a "mechanic" who told me I needed a new rear cassette. My bike was 5 weeks old.
  • another bike shop put my mountain bike back together with the headset spacers removed because it "looked cooler"
  • the same bike shop were meant to service my bike, true my rear wheel and throw on a new rear tyre. They washed my bike and not much else. It was oh so shiny but not in a state to be ridden
So, a couple of years ago now when Monkey Wrench opened next to my favourite coffee shop I was rather excited. Even more exciting was that it was an establishment that didn't sell bikes, they just serviced. And service they do. My mountain bike has had a lot of love there and they have been marvels at keeping my trusty Cervelo on the road for far longer than its natural lifespan!

There's no up-sell, no time wasting, just good honest work and loads of conversations about bikes. They fixed my bike on the spot one day when I rolled in from a long ride having snapped a derailleur cable. And on Sunday they spotted me and my Cervelo at the coffee shop and did a fix that I had booked in for Wednesday to make life easier for me.

Plenty of my friends will tell you similar tales.

So, if you're anywhere even near Hackett and your bike needs love then take it to Stan and Joel at Monkey Wrench. Don't tell them I sent you though as I'm sure that even the thought of my Cervelo makes them break out in a cold sweat. 

DJ Rob

Friday, September 12, 2014

Song of the Week #315

Apparently free stuff is only OK when you get to choose what you get for free.

The Saints - Know Your Product -

Irish rock legends U2 and their mates at Apple put a copy of their new album, "Songs of Innocence", into every single iTunes library. You get to choose whether or not you download or listen to it. This isn't some unknown garage band folks, this is U2. And just in case you're wondering, yes, the physical version of the album on CD comes out in around a month.

This only happened on Tuesday and the internet furore has been hilarious. It ranges from, "how dare Apple or U2 just give me an album" to "oh my, I can't work out how to delete it" and then there's me. It's free, it's a solid album and that's about it. Are Apple going to suddenly give away hundreds of albums I don't want? I don't think so. The financial arrangement with Mr Vox et. al. must be rather large for a start. Who can afford that?

The Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love -

I've been spinning the album non-stop since I got it last night. It sounds like U2 and I like it. I haven't had time to delve into the lyrics and won't have for a while. I'm a bit sick of the whole, "I like their old stuff" commentary. I do too. But bands move on, it's what they do. Go ahead, listen to your well-worn copy of "Boy", "War" or "The Joshua Tree" and remind yourself what U2 were up to before 1988. For me, "Rattle & Hum" was the album I like the most. It combined my love for American music with what at the time was modern day rock. But I've grown as well. I hated "Achtung Baby" but went back fairly recently and rediscovered it. U2 don't have dud albums, they just have a fairly large and diverse back catalogue that all has its merits.

U2 - Van Diemen's Land -

Just finally, track one on "Songs of Innocence" is (I think) about the first time Bono heard The Ramones and what it meant to him. That's pretty cool. It'd be rather neat for some kid to hear U2 for the first time as a result of their link with Apple and then for them to discover the rest of their body of work. What'd be even nicer would be if kids, or anyone for that matter, could afford a U2 concert ticket. But that's a topic for another day.

U2 - The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) -

The Ramones - Sheena is a Punk Rocker -

I wrote something about Smartwatches this week. You can read it here if you are interested in. I'm also wondering if there is anyone else getting fed up with the move for mobile phones to keep getting bigger? I found my old Nokia N95 recently whilst cleaning up to move house. It was a seriously cool phone and I can't believe how small it is!

It would be remiss of me not to mention the wonderful achievement of my former triathlon coach Ben Gathercole. He's been appointed as Team Director for the Brumbies Super Rugby Team. Congratulations! Of course, Ben is a former Olympic and Commonwealth Games Coach as well. Coaching me is hardly a claim to fame!

You may remember that one of my all-time favourite bands are Canberra's "Armoured Angel". Whilst they are no more, I maintain that they remain one of the best heavy bands the world. DJ DJ and I travelled far and wide to see them play. To that end we'll be heading to the ANU Bar on September 20th to see former Armoured Angel drummer and vocalist, Joel, play in a new band. There's one track I can find on YouTube and it sounds excellent. More like a mix of Kyuss, Ghost and Black Sabbath than the full on grinding aural assault that was Armoured Angel but that's OK. Come along if you're in Canberra.

Witchskull - Spyres -

Scotland goes to the polls in less than a week to decide on whether or not independence from the rest of the UK is a good thing. Whilst the result will be rather interesting, for Scots as well as the rest of the UK, one statistic made me sit up and take notice. 97% of eligible Scots have registered to vote. Wow! In a country where voting is voluntary that is massive. Of course, that doesn't mean that they'll all show up on the day but the signs are good. In comparison, the 2011 Scottish Parliament election had a voter turnout of just over 50%.

The Proclaimers - What Do You Do? -

The challenge for Scots is balancing the emotional want to be truly independent against economic reality. Like most elections, deciding who's version of the truth is real is quite difficult. Being Australian, but born in Scotland I do have a view. But I don't get to vote (and I shouldn't) so I'll keep it to myself. I do think though that it'd be great to see Australia as a republic in my lifetime.

I suppose it's big news, we sold our house, but for the four of us it's the end of a bit of a nightmare. I won't bore you with details but it was a very long and drawn out period of time leading up to exchange. But, the money has been paid now and we're almost ready to move. The only downside about moving, other than the actual physical act, is that our new place (about 750m from our current abode) is in a part of the suburb that does not have access to the NBN. That's fast internet for you foreigners. We'll be going back to the dark ages of ADSL but I'm sure we'll cope ha, ha!

Joe Jackson - Got The Time -

Angus thinks we're getting pay TV as well. Fortunately the price has just been halved so he might get his way sometime. Probably not in time to watch Jens Voigt go for the hour cycling distance world record on Eurosport but in time to be bored by far too much cricket. I'm sure that Angus thinks he'll be in 24/7 sports heaven.

Madness - Our House -

Usually I wouldn't recommend that you avoid a movie, album or TV show. That's because I am firmly of the belief that it's different strokes for different folks. Personally I can't stand the X-Factor but I know some people love all that nonsense. But I'm going to make an exception. The movie "Hotel Grand Budapest". It's truly one of the worst things I've ever had the misfortune to watch. It's not funny, not clever and not at all engaging. I did last about 30 minutes before I choofed off to do the ironing because that was a better option. What a waste of time. Actually, you know what? You should watch it. Maybe someone out there can explain its appeal. I can't stand Adam Sandler films but I understand why some people do. I love Star Wars but I accept that, foolishly, not everyone does. I can even accept that DJ Hopper enjoyed my former worst rated movie ever, "Tulpan". But I'm stumped with "Hotel Grand Budapest".

That'll do. Have a great weekend.

DJ Rob

"Don't you remember what it's like to lose control
Put on my jacket before you get too old
Let's rock and roll..." - Judas Priest - Parental Guidance, 1986

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I like watches. In fact I like them a lot. I've still got the first watch I ever had. We lived in Singapore before I started school and a family friend was a Timex engineer. So I have some kind of prototype. It still works and I probably got it in about 1974.

These days I only have 8 watches that I wear day to day. Oh, and one more if you count the GPS training watch. I don't count it as you couldn't wear it all day.

The idea of a smartwatch appeals to me. But so far the execution by all major players has me holding onto my money. They either look clunky, don't do much, are full of glitches, have poor battery life, aren't waterproof or a combination of those.

I must admit that I waited patiently, hoping that the Apple Watch would be the answer. After all, I quite like my iPhone and a seamless link would be good.

It seems that it isn't to be - yet. To be fair, I'd be unlikely to buy version 1 of anything Apple releases but there are other reasons.

Here's what I think a smartwatch should provide:

  • notifications for email / text messages / social networking (customisable of course)
  • it should be waterproof - duh!
  • it shouldn't look like you've strapped a matchbox to your wrist
  • its own GPS so that you can track your run / ride / swim / walk if that's your thing
  • bluetooth connection
  • cordless charging
  • a battery that lasts at least a whole day - you need to be able to wear it as a normal watch
  • ability to control basic phone functions (answer/reject calls if your'e wearing a headset or going hands free, volume up and down, next music track)
As I said, there are a few out there that almost make the grade...but not quite yet.

DJ Rob
PS: today I'm wearing the annoying Seiko Automatic watch. Annoying because it keeps stopping. Last week I thought it was 3pm and it was home time!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Song of the Week #314

My new office is interesting. Not the inside, it's just another office. I'm not saying that it isn't well appointed but it's the surrounds I want to talk about. Out the window and across the road is a huge, brand new government office complex. It's empty. From what I can gather, the sneaky peeky folks who will eventually occupy it aren't moving in anytime soon. Until then I think they should at least let people use the outside car parking! There are plenty of workers dressed in high-vis doing any number of activities inside and out though. Or are they in disguise?! Maybe I should stand out the front with binoculars and see what happens...

The Fugs - CIA Man -

Next door is a building site. There is a massive hole in the ground that about a million concrete trucks a day roll up to to deposit their loads. It's noisy but amusing to watch every now and then. If there was a TV reality show called Canberra's worst reversing then filming it from my window would ensure more than one series.

James Reyne - Some People -

In terms of this week's listening I've been checking out some live music podcasts. Both NPR and KEXP radio have excellent archives of just about all types of music. There's also a song of the day which is worth subscribing to. I'll admit that I was a bit predictable in my initial choices with Steve Earle live at the Newport Folk Festival, Jason Isbell live in the studio and Billy Bragg also at Newport getting an airing. But there really is so much on offer that you'd never get bored. Podcasts are easy to use on any kind of device and you can save them to listen to later offline if you like. One cool feature is that if you subscribe to something like song of the day it can be set to delete after listening to save your storage (if that's an issue).

Weird Al Yankovic - You Don't Love Me Anymore (live at KEXP) -

I also listened to Paul Kelly from a couple of years ago. He was on his A-Z concert tour and was just finishing up in the USA. What I liked, apart from Dan Kelly's tasteful guitar work, was that Paul chose songs that related to Seattle (where he was). It was a thoughtful few songs that finished with one of Chief's faves, "How To Make Gravy". A classic Christmas song that Paul tells us is about prison and doesn't have a chorus! Look for it sometime.

Paul and Dan Kelly - Dumb Things (live on a tram) -

In a few rather frantic moments (never sell your house folks, it sucks) I turned to some classic comedy to ease the pain. I'm sure most of you, with a little effort, will be able to decipher Max Boyce's Welsh accent. He's funny, screamingly funny. I like the way his voice has an almost sing song quality to it. He never fails to lighten the mood. Ah, memories from car trips as a wee boy!

Max Boyce - The Incredible Plan -

Thanks to the magic of TV on demand (thank you ABC, my tax dollars doing something worthwhile) I've been watching the series ANZAC Girls which is about Army Nurses in WWI. I missed the first few episodes so streaming (legally) is great. The show, while a little bit soap opera once in a while, is really well made. You get a good feeling for what they went through and achieved. If you're at all interested in history you'll like this show. Personally I get bored very quickly with history (I failed first year History at university because it was interminably dull) but this show, which is essentially true stories dramatised, flows well and remains engaging. I enjoyed the banter from the Australians and New Zealanders as their Imperial bosses gave them a hard time. It reminded me of the Bodyline TV series where the Australian cricket Captain Bill Woodfull, talking to his players about England's Douglas Jardine, asks, "which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?"

The Pogues - And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda -

You might've read about the comments Henry Rollins made about the death Robin Williams. If you did and we disappointed in him, like me, then his response to the criticism was pretty good. As DJ Fatboy said to me anyone can run off at the mouth but being big enough to admit you're wrong is what's important.

I read an article this morning about "Team Australia". Leaving aside the unfortunate mental picture of Prime Minister Abbott as a South Park style character, the piece had some really good points about who should be Australian and what it means. You can read the article here. Personally I think that this is a pretty good place to live. Nowhere's perfect but our issues seem relatively small compared to plenty of other countries. My favourite bit of the article is that Team Australia is about what unites us, not what divides us. Worth thinking about.

Lenny Kravitz - Mr Cab Driver -

That'll do. Have a great weekend.

DJ Rob

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