Showing posts from 2011

digital rocks

Finally it's happening.  I've been waiting for the opportunity to lay down some word-threads for quite some time now, but work and work-related projects have taken over my life.  Even now I find I'm too tired to write.  I've had many plans for my writing - to which I instigated this blog in the first place as something of a launching pad - and I now have a fair idea of where to take things: critiquing, creative non-fiction, passionate mumbo-jumbo and the like, but the lack of free time proves to be the ongoing stumbling-block to satisfactory writing.  Anyway, as it's often said, if I want it enough I'll make the time.

Writing - narrative writing - is a secondary talent for me, and not a primary one.  Music is primary for me.  I pick up an instrument, play it, record with it, and if sounds good to me then I'm happy.  With writing I find I need constant reassurance and constructive criticism from others.   I find it much harder to qualify writing compared to …

Ukes not EM radiation

I've posted an article about ukulele in Suite 101.  

I've returned to learning-up, playing and performing with the ukulele with a view to making this my 'main' instrument.  The quest for me is divine the instrument's complexity, its magic, contrasting as it does with its face-value simplicity.

Ukulele's a great way to meet new people.  Carrying your ukulele around is a bit like walking your dog. If you meet someone else holding a ukulele there's no barrier to striking up some conversation.  It's real, it's vital; the ukulele represents that sensitive area in the solar-plexus or the human psyche that is innocent and luminous.   Barriers are gladly overcome with ukuleles in hands.  And like dogs, we often want to know and chat about which breed of uke the other is holding.

You can't really have any of that guitar-attitude bullshit with the ukulele which is one reason I find playing it so refreshing.  The ukulele disarms all sense of competition or sw…


To me, the magic of songwriting isn't so much about writing a great song or being able to just write songs.  I think the magic lies in witnessing talented writers who've been granted the opportunity and freedom to write a string of great albums that are touched by that certain 'spark' or spirit; zeitgeist.  All styles of music apply, as do all art-forms.  Channeling the zeitgeist never lasts for any artist; all who've been blessed with the opportunities and freedoms to create great work must one day forgo it, either by the times that have moved on, by death, by change, by life.

Where we can all think of numerous artists whose work is charged by the comet of genius within a certain trajectory of time and space, my favourite example of this is Joni Mitchell.    I love how Joni's first two albums of the late '60s: folky, sensitive, albeit startlingly & piercingly deep given her uber-creativity and free use of open-tunings, are nonetheless akin to compilatio…

a cure for writer's block (ahem..)

Shit - I have in mind to "formally" review the Cure at the Sydney Opera House for the Vivid Festival concert for "sweet one oh one" but I'm stuck in this quagmire of trying to make every sentence right, every word right, every passive phrase reversed so that the active is thrust out in front (always), and it's tiring me out like writer's quicksand. 

So this is it, the looser-uperer blog.  After this I'm hoping that I'll be able to draft that thing properly so that a formal review is written and that it gets posted and I can start earning big bucks for my efforts.  Why, my Neil Finn article has been sitting in the "sweet 1 oh one" for over six months now and already I've accumulated 40c.  

Ok. Cure.  Best concert ever.  They performed their first three albums with two intervals in between each album, coming back afterward for three encores.  It was...sensational.  I couldn't believe it was happening, but there it was.  I'd see…

the end of the X

Perhaps the most iconic of Sydney's many singer-songwriter nights had its final gig last Monday night.  We're talking about a place everyone called "the X".  Sadly, the pub has been sold to a pub-entrepreneur who is infamous for ripping out the p/a systems and destroying any vestiges of the live music that in the past had served each venue so well and the people and performers who had involved themselves with it.

Monday nights at the X were a great deal more than just a singer-songwriter night.  There are many of these all over Sydney, and many fine ones too.  With the X there was the location, the room and the buzz all combined; making it a creative and social hub with few comparisons.

The X is situated on Foveaux Street, Surry Hills, just at the base of the steep hill with the one-way traffic running towards Elizabeth Street and Central Railway Station down towards the southern end of the city.  It's one of those places that captures a spirit and buzz of genera…

the pigmy

There are no problems in my life.  No tangible, real problems.  I've no problems with circumstances, no problems with people, no problems with family, no problems with friends and loved ones, no problems with work.  Any foreseen problems in any of these areas are summarily dealt with; life goes on clearly.

There may have been problems in the past, but there are no problems now.  No real problems.  Sure I'm depend on my job for my livelihood, but doesn't everyone?  And for those that don't, are they any happier?

In fact, from a moment to moment basis, excluding past circumstance and future speculation, some aspects of my life may be considered to be 'perfect', or near perfect.  If "perfection" is about 80-90% good and 10-20% then I'm definitely in this category of doing well for my self and situation within the context of coping and living in a large city.

But there seems to be one problem, one massive almost insurmountable problem.

This problem, if it…

Yass, Wee Jasper, Berrima

Prior to Easter I took off on a two-day road trip down to Yass, situated at the westbound edge of the Great Dividing Range.  Yass is just over three hours drive from Sydney.  No-one goes to Yass for the sake of it.  Yass is a pretty, though pleasantly downbeat town of about 5,000 people and it's very much a passerby, truck-stop sort of town.  It's generally a wool centre, but for me I was attracted to rolling hills, space, sheep, cows, and I happily encountered all of these.  I also wanted to be far enough from Sydney to avoid vestiges of cosmopolitanism that tend to creep in up in satellite villages surrounding the city,  without having to drive too far.  Here, in Yass, the cafes and shopfronts were delightfully ordinary, and I reveled in the peaceful feeling you find in a small town away from the big city.

Monday Morning in Yass is slow and sanguine.  The big city, even in its quietest moments, can in no way compare.  Below is a photo of a local park with the big trees set be…

Carmen, Crabs, and the dead end drive-in

After many years of wondering and waiting I finally got to see this 80s "Ozploitation" film I'd been wishing to see for ages.  Dead End Drive-In, directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith, was released originally in 1986.   (I bought the DVD for work - such is the advantage of running a library.  And besides, the new Head of Film and TV requested that I source as many Australian films as I can, so...) My interest in this film is not necessarily because it's Aussie, or because it drips and and reeks with every 80s cliche, but because it's based on a short story that I love, that being Peter Carey's "Crabs".

I'd never read a Peter Carey novel.  I've only read most of the short stories that make up the volume called "The Fat Man in History" of which the first story, 'Crabs', is the best.  With some writers you find yourself wanting more after reading one novel or story that you love; you're hungry to read the rest of their oeuvre. …


It's easy for us to cast judgements based upon that which we read or see on the news broadcasts.  Climate change, or 'global warming' as it is often known, is the bulls-eye topic as far as markedly dividing the populace with the for-or-against arguments is concerned.  We see debates on television, read articles in the papers about melting poles and glaciers and devastating flash-floods that are happening in major cities 1000km up the coast.  We then walk outside and ascertain the validity of these 'global-warming' findings depending on if it's a hotter-than-usual day, a colder-than-usual day, and just plain too-nice a day to bother about it.

What if we never read anything about global warming/climate change?  What if we never saw a news broadcast or television debate on the issue?  What if were totally uninformed in any way to do with anything on this matter?  What if we used our senses only to guide us?  What would we see, and what would we find?

To me, it's…

we're a weird mob

I've been watching another iconically curious little Australian film recently, They're a Weird Mob, which dates back to 1966 and was filmed on location in Sydney during the summer of 1965/66.  As that date-dial wenched into 1966 my brother was about to turn 8 and my sister was 11 years old.  I was nowhere in the picture, in this physical body.  I was merely a potential at this stage, and being a potential, I could have landed anywhere.  Instead I landed in Sydney in 1970 where, 40+ years on, I still find myself living.

The film itself is not wonderful.  It's hokey and dated and the plot itself is stilted, a little too make-believe, being much like the plot of a musical without the film actually being a musical.  It's a pithily enjoyable film to watch nevertheless, both as a period-piece and for the sense of innocence conveyed in the film, particularly for its comic innocence.   The romantic plot is quite conservatively portrayed, particularly when compared to that which…