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Showing posts from September, 2009

The Changing man: a Weller biography

"...they are different to you and me, the songwriters. Normal rules do not apply. Theirs is another kind of existence, one that moves to a different drum beat. Their moods fluctuate, swiftly. One minute an angel, the next the meanest person alive. They feel themselves special. They are at the centre of the universe, and all because they write three-minute pop songs. Their arrogance is staggering, their humility a sham. They see and feel in different ways." - Paolo Hewitt, 2006.
I've just finished reading a biography about Paul Weller, The Changing Man (2006), written by his former friend and biographer, Paolo Hewitt. Paolo Hewitt is a London-based music writer who originated from Woking where he and Paul Weller had met as teenagers. Weller was Hewitt's best friend from 1980 up until 2006, where Hewitt admits to the termination of their long-standing friendship. For Weller fans, Hewitt would be best known for his lucidly-written biography of Weller's firs…

Jakarta rainstorm

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"just like that
my whole world
changed in a flash just like that
my life so different now
so different now..."

These are the lyrics by a mate Gav for his song 'Just like that'. In July he asked me to come along to the studio to lay some cable (erm, bass tracks) and this song was one of those. The truth of these words hit me like cobra-spit. And now, as I sometimes get up and do the acoustic thing with the boys, the words maintain their relevance in my day-to-day life.

Last week the mood at work was akin to a gray rainstorm about to burst like a steamship on Jakarta. And sometime during the middle of that week my manager announced her resignation. This detonated like a bomb throughout the school as it was definitely the last thing that anybody had expected. But there's so much polarisation and politics in that place as it stands currently, that much has given over the past year. And my manager tendering her resignation is one of the pieces that's toppled over…

cusp

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I am a walking conundrum of opposing vanities
like a swirling funnel in a happy clown
my mind age is decreasing and pinning towards zero
i walk the king street of newtown on sunday nights
a heavy musical instrument latched to my back like the sunday cross
i take photos
i drink black beer
i'm happy in company
why weren't my twenties as much fun?
i was mercurial then
now i'm smooth
and a good enough player
so i enjoy myself
like a twenty year old should
so this is what's suggested
that 'life begins at 40'
i'm 39
i feel i'm at the top of the spoke
practically i'm probably over the half way mark
sliding down toward the inevitable passing
i take all the evidence in hand
my youthful proclivities
and obsessions
i obsess on the sound of maple
american, rock, eastern, or queensland
i obsess over the sound of basses
i obsess over the counterpoint of bach
i obsess over whether i love neil finn or not
and for what
to plug in and play for twenty minutes twice a week?
i take the other hand
man…

Neil Finn: a man I love, a man I hate

I believe the inexplicable has happened. Something that I’d never believed could swing and shift in the space of this one lifetime. That is, I’m beginning to like Neil Finn. I mean, really like him, and with little reservation this time. You see, I’ve always had this love/hate relationship going with Neil Finn. He is a man whose work I could occasionally love, and oftentimes hate. By “hate”, I’m talking about much of the Crowded House-era work, and more specifically, the first self-titled Crowded House album and Woodface. There’s been always something antsy, projective, and bombastic about Neil Finn – particularly in his lyrics and delivery – that ticks me off time and time again. And yet I find I borrow the Crowded House first album off a friend, listen to it, and find with wonderment that I actually quite like it now. Years ago it would have been the Frisbee I would have thrown the furthest.

It strikes me that the eponymously-titled debut album has dated quite well in the s…

Velvet Road on MySpace

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(The above sketch is mine, although ironically it's Gav and Pete who are the practicing sketchers and artists of the band. Top is Pete Thompson, left is Gav Fitzgerald, right is Ross B. Gav came and scribbled some hair on the sides of his head - I wish he hadn't done that, it's tainted my sketch!)

I've made up a new MySpace page for a band I used to play with, and still do, though in acoustic format. Velvet Road formed in 1999 through Songwriting Society members who shared a common love of blues rock. Well, I didn't love blues rock. But I was, and remain, a huge Cold Chisel fan, and I dredged up to those early gigs carrying my portable piano like a caveman drags the club. Gav Fitzgerald liked my stuff and I liked his, so we did the logical thing and had a jam. I found him a little awkward, and a little too keen to talk about himself a lot, but other than that he was strangely endearing and I liked him a lot, and musically we hit it off very well. We soon fou…

the music Lesson...

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I’ve almost come to the end of bassist Victor L. Wooten’s ‘The Music lesson’. Music, finally, is a a universal power and force, a feminine entity or spirit, that never leaves us, but we leave her.
The spiritual principles in this book delve very closely into new-ageism, and I see nothing wrong with that. It appears to me that Music as is conveyed by Wooten’s book comes exceedingly close to the other, more generic, concepts of ‘God’, or ‘Life’, ie, the unlimited presence of stillness, love and peace. Reading this book makes me realise how close Music is to me, and more importantly my relationship with Her. Moreso, it shows up the grey areas, the areas of negativity that serve to push Her away from me. And believe me, I have a few of those blotches appearing ad Infiniti in my psyche. Music is so dear, so close to me, that the spirit of Her is equivalent to the spirit of ‘life’ or ‘being’ as it were. Therefore I feel I can gauge my strengths and negativities in my relationship wit…