I Lost Count

20 08 2014

Three? Four? I dunno, I lost count.

But anyway, I’m back! (Again – ed.). Yes and I actually have a motive apart from wanting to be a writer, although sometimes the writing bug does strike and I get the urge to write this big fantabulous piece. But it usually stalls at this point as I struggle for ideas for what to write about and then get demotivated when I realise that research will be involved.

Anyway, to fill you in on why I’m back: I bought a (Jeep? – ed.), *sigh*, no, I bought a bass guitar. I actually bought two basses and acquired an electric six-string (hi Nguyen). I’ve had the first bass (a black Casino Stage Series) since January, the second (a red Rebelrocker/Rickenbacker F-style) for about a fortnight and the six-string (a red and black 1983 Ibanez Roadster II Series) since my birthday.

My Rickenbacker

  My Rickenbacker

I literally said “F*ck it” one day and went shopping around for decent beginners bass packs and wound up with the Casino. The reason I bought a bass is because when I did music classes in high school I could never get the hang of playing a) with a pick; and b) chords. So that really only left one option. And that suited me fine, because the bass guitar is my kind of instrument if you think about it. It plays an important part in a band, but isn’t (well not always) the lead instrument. So it keeps everything together without always being at the forefront.

I can now play over twenty different songs from a range of artists including The Church (no surprises there – ed.), The Cure, Jet, Queen, The Beatles and Green Day to name but a few. To begin with, I used to record myself playing along to whatever song I had learnt that day/week and upload them to Facebook. All was well and good. But there was this one recording that I was particularly pleased with, Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. So pleased with it was I that wanted to keep a copy of the video.

My Casino

My Casino complete with Kilbey-Kennedy “You Are Everything” promo sticker

After a while, it dawned on me that I actually had a Google+ account and could upload to YouTube for the world to see. So I though “what the hell?” I had nothing to lose and all to gain as far as I was concerned. So I did, and it’s been a super mediocre success to be kind. But I continued, why stop there? Since then, I have uploaded over 10 more videos, but only one has blitzed all expectations. I don’t know how given how simple it is.

Then, last night, I desperately wanted another outlet to potentially boost my number of views before remembering that I still had this blog in operation. I know I don’t have many subscribers here, and I probably have even less, if any, given the big hiatus I’ve undertaken. But to apply the same mentality here, what have I got to lose? So, for you viewing pleasure is my channel’s most watched video; Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock And Roll”.





Untitled

30 09 2013

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but I have been the admin of the unofficial Church fan page (yay?!) for a few months now. So this means that everything that happens on the page means I get a notification.

On Saturday morning, a link to this page was posted and made for an interesting read. With a band like The Church, there will always be contention and disagreement about which album is best. As was unsurprisingly the overall vibe in the ensuing comments. With some saying “sometimes I feel like I must be listening to some other band all together when I read reviews like that….” and “As we say in Scotland, “Opinions are like bum-holes. Everyone’s got one”” (which I ‘liked’ and put away in the memory bank).

So simply because I can, here is my list of favourite Church albums and opinions that may differ to that of Hoyer.

Number 1: Back With Two Beasts (’05)

I bought this album on the power of the cover image alone; although I saw the red and blue re-issue before I saw the original blue and yellow. This is one of only a few albums that have a cover that does justice to the music with which it’s associated. The striking red and blue of the sky tells you the best time to listen you the album; late in the evening in the summertime. It just doesn’t have the same feel to it at any other time (trust me, I know). But for me though, the stand out songs are actually ‘Snowfaller’, ‘Pantechnicon’ and ‘Ionian Blues’.

Number 2: Untitled #23 (’09)

This album provided me with one of my first memorable moments in live music; the rendition of ‘Pangaea’. One of constant on this album though is the guitar work; it is smooth and silky on every track. But as I have mentioned previously, it also has (for me) a small incorporated story in the second half of the album. Which is why my choice of standout tracks are actually ‘On Angel Street’, ‘Sunken Sun’ and ‘Anchorage’ in that order.

cover_16191223102009

Number 3: Beside Yourself (’04)

I know this wasn’t included in Hoyer’s list, but it is a collection of songs that constitute an album’s length, so I’m counting it here. From the outset, this album can be taken many different ways. It clearly states that it is mainly consistent of B-sides and outtakes from the recording sessions of the previous album (Forget Yourself), hence the name. So in that respect, you’d be forgiven for expecting something similar in sound. But the cover is an artwork by SK and is a person that appears half male-half female. Hmm… But as with BWTB, it is best sampled during the evening of a summertime. The best tracks are ‘Crash/Ride’ followed by ‘Moodertronic’.

Things I do agree with Hoyer about though include his thoughs on Magician Among The Spirits, except I’d have placed it at number 4 and given a massive mention to ‘The Further Adventures Of The Time Being‘ as the best song on the album closely followed by ‘Afterimage‘ as an fantastic closer.

About the only thing with which I agree with Hoyer is his ranking of Sometime Anywhere and his choice of ‘My Little Problem‘ as a standout song.





Sharks To Stay In Cronulla

25 09 2013

Unfortunately this is not an exclusive breaking headline, but a letter to Mr. Dave Smith, NRL CEO

Dear Mr. Smith,

I know that you have said that there has been no thought to relocating any clubs at the moment, but with the news surrounding the possible relocation of Cronulla to southern Queensland, I’d like to present some reasons why it should never happen:

1) There is no denying that the Sharks are the great under achievers in the modern game, it’s an inescapable fact. But will moving the team 1500 km north change that? Queenslanders, with their current domination of Origin, are bred for success, so do you think that many fans in that part of the world will adopt a team that is 0 from 46?

2) What about players who have signed on with Cronulla and have young families? They would have signed with Cronulla thinking they could raise their family in Sydney. So will they be willing to pack up and make the trek north or will they want to opt out of their contract to sign with another Sydney team if location was their reason for signing in the first place?

3) When St. George merged with Illawarra and Balmain with Wests, I can imagine that it would have been hard on the supporters. But a small consolation for them was that they would get to see the merger play at the same ground as which ever team it was that they were following before. Will Sharks fans still get to see their team play at Shark Park (sorry, Remondis Stadium) 3 or 4 times a year?

This is not wanted thank you

This is not wanted thank you

4) Why south Queensland? The Central Coast has been crying out for their own team for years. They already have a stadium (Bluetounge) that is used for league and it would be easier for existing Shark fans to travel to.

5) How do you tell young kids who support the team that they can no longer go and see the Sharks play because the family can’t make it to Queensland every other weekend?

So please Mr. Smith, keep the Sharks in the Shire where they belong.

Sincerely,

A One-Eyed Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks supporter.





SK and SUSO

23 09 2013

I have been asked to write a review of Saturday night’s performance by Steve Kilbey and the Sydney University Symphoney Orchestra. So here it is:

The venue selected for Saturday’s performance was only appropriate for such a show. The architecture of the Great Hall at Sydney University was to take a trip to a place that a lot of will have seen in movies, but may never have been to for ourselves. There were stain-glass windows (“you should’ve seen them during the day”, lighting man Trevor said), a tall ceiling, busts made out of sandstone, marble statues, angels in the woodwork and an awe inspiring organ above your head as you enter the hall. If Harry Potter had gone to school in Sydney, this is where he would’ve come.

The show, as a concept, was really enjoyable; an orchestra, just under 80 piece big, conducted by George Ellis, playing reinterpretations of songs by Steve Kilbey. All the orchestral arrangements (barring ‘Tear It All Away’) were done by Ellis and included the likes of ‘Grind’, ‘Myrrh’, ‘Everyone’ and (unsurprisingly) ‘Under The Milky Way’, with ‘Space Saviour’ as the encore.

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The orchestra entered the stage via a doorway at the back, as did George after a warm welcome from presenter Scott Bevan. So naturally then, you’d be expecting Steve to make a similar entrance, right? I know I was, which is why it was good to see Steve walking down the aisle of the hall to take his place on stage.

After more than 30 years of performing to live audiences, I don’t know if Steve still gets nervous before or during shows, but for the first half of the night, he didn’t appear comfortable up on stage, he seemed a bit unsettled about something; at least that was the vibe sitting in the front row.

SK (l), George Ellis (c) and guest vocalist Lisa Gibbs (r)

SK (l), George Ellis (c) and guest vocalist Lisa Gibbs (r)

It would be interesting to know what was going through Steve’s mind when he wasn’t singing though, as he didn’t have his bass with him, he didn’t have much room to move. Wearing a suit would’ve made any kind of interpretive dance hard to pull off too, and as a result, Steve just stood there kind of awkwardly and at over times very stiffly. After the intermission though, Steve seemed more relaxed and it was just a shame that the night was over before you knew it.

Due to advertising restrictions in place by Sydney University, the crowd wasn’t large as it could’ve, and should’ve, been, which was the biggest let down of the night. But those who did turn up were treated to a unique show that will not be forgotten any time soon.

*Pictures courtesy of Sharon Daniels





Me: Explained

20 09 2013

A quick review of what has happened/is happening since last I posted:

The Sharks beat the table-topping Roosters 32-22 (after leading 26-0 at halftime). They beat the Cowboys in week one of the finals 20-18 and were awarded the controversial 7-tackle try to Beau Ryan in the first half. And we now meet the Sea-Eagles in tonight’s do-or-die clash and will unfortunately be without key playmaker Todd Carney.

On the music scene, not much has changed. Still haven’t been to a concert since I saw the Mentals at New Years. Although tomorrow night I am going up to Sydney to see Steve Kilbey and the Sydney University Symphony Orchestra.

On the academic front though, things have never been so grim. Having struggled through my first year (which was actually all second year subjects) of journalism, I dropped back to Media and Communication (BCM) thinking “well I developed a bit of a foot hold in that last year and it still leaves me open to a few options, so I’ll slide on back to that”. Boy was I in for a shock.

Having been told upon my transfer from Shoalhaven Uni that I only needed to do well at the subjects I was told (which in scoring an average of 70% across all the said subjects, I was told that I was doing well) and then could apply to transfer straight to second year journalism.

I did that. But when I struggled with journalism, I was told I should’ve done the 1st years subjects, but some of the important ones weren’t running again until the next autumn session (i.e. – 12 months away). So I went back to BCM.

Upon my return to BCM, it dawned on me how messed up my situation was. One of my tutors asked me if I had or was currently undertaking any DIGC classes. I said ‘no’, as I was not told about them when transferring. The tutor then stressed the importance of these classes which meant that I was now both behind in journalism and BCM, and to start either again would mean another 3 years at uni, taking my total to 6 years at uni and only 1 degree. And I’d also be about 3 years older than those who were good enough to make the grade straight out of high school, but with the same or less experience. Not to mention that I wouldn’t be guaranteed a job when I left.

So is it worth starting again and staying on wasting even more money that I don’t yet have?

Which is why I can now say “I’m a uni drop-out”. And because I don’t have any foresight at all, I’m now screwed.

I am saw an ad a while back now for care workers, and since I’ve seen it, I’ve never ruled it out as a possibility. I have friends (even friends of friends) in aged care and they all tell me they love it (which is kind of encouraging for me).

But knowing my dad, he won’t be happy (as you may guess I haven’t told him yet), citing that I should’ve got a trade in the first place. Before I found myself in this situation, I’d have argued that he never really pushed me in any particular direction, but slowly and surely, some memories of him trying to do so are coming back. So I can’t use that argument when I get round to telling him.

What I might be able to do though, maybe, is say that he kept telling me things were/are easy and expected perfection on the first attempt at anything. I don’t think he quite grasps the concept of ‘this is my first time, I’m a learner’. Because I’m not the most practical person, I take a little bit longer to do things right. But that extra time and caution doesn’t cut it with my dad, so I shy away from many practical tasks around the house.

So I don’t know if a trade is right for me. What if a similar thing happens that happened at uni? About the only trade that I could see myself doing is becoming a painter (I haven’t researched it yet so this is just based on brief outside observations). You don’t have to worry about constructing anything (“Oh no! I got the angle wrong! And the planks aren’t long enough”, said no painter ever. “I forget. What do the different colours on the capacitor mean again?”, said no painter ever).

Not only that, I did get some brief experience painting a wall back in high school. We didn’t have the best brushes for the job, but I will admit, it was kind of fun. So maybe I’ll have to do some research, because I don’t know how in demand the painting profession is these days.

To sum up: this could very well be my last post, as I have deleted my twitter account and the next step is this. So thank you for reading.





Getting The Gong In The ‘Gong

18 08 2013

The scene: The Dragons dwindling down the bottom of the ladder in 14th, and missing their strikes players Merrin and Dugan (among others) to injury. The Sharks up in 6th coming off the back of a 4 point loss to Newcastle, but with a near full squad, only Graham out injured, and mentally battling the ongoing ASADA investigations.

The view from my seat.

The view from my seat.

History was against the Sharks, having not won in Wollongong since ’89 (but while that’s 24 years, it’s not 24 games as the Sharks don’t travel down every season). The TAB doesn’t look at history though and had installed the Sharks $1.25 favourites (Dragons were out at $4).

So how do you think I felt as Sharks fan when the Dragons raced out to a 12-0 in about 7 minutes? Clearly it wasn’t following the script that I had written in my head.

I went to high school with this guy (K. Brennan, Holden Cup player)

I went to high school with this guy (K. Brennan, Holden Cup player)

But all was to upward after half-time. After trailing 18-6 at the break (Pomeroy scored the only try for the Sharks in the first half. The number on the back of my jersey just so happened to be that of Pomeroy’s too. It was 3).

I thought Feki had scored in the corner in the opening exchanges after he wrestles his way over, but it was pulled back for a forward pass. That was the second try the Sharks had been disallowed after Gallen was denied for an obstruction.

Some ground was clawed back after De Gois crossed after about an hour and Carney was able convert, making it 18-12.

Ryan crossed in the right hand corner with a bit fortune on his side. But because of the tough angle of the kick, Carney missed leaving it 18-16 to the Dragons. After that, I honestly thought that it was game over, knowing that the Dragons can grind out a win just as well as the Sharks. And the Sharks aren’t really renowned for their attacking ability. But this is 2013 and the Sharks have arguably the best all round line-up of my life time.

90 seconds were on the clock and still it was the Dragons by 2, and a miracle was about to unfold. Andrew Fifita was to out-sprint some outside backs and score the match winning try. Or so I thought. The ref had gone upstairs, my sense of relief had been replaced by anxiety. But he ruled try and just wanted to check onside and grounding.

Luke Lewis after the game

Luke Lewis after the game

My seating position wasn’t the ideal place to see the big screen, unless it was just my eye-sight (which is always a possibility – ed.) However, on the hill in front of the big screen was a decent sized contingent of Sharks fans, so when they went up after all replays, I knew it was good.

And it was! Finally, we had finally won in the ‘Gong. I have been to numerous NRL games in my life, but only four where I genuinely cared for the result. The first time I saw Sharks at Wollongong (we lost, I think it was 18-4). When I went to the State of Origin in Sydney (QLD won 28-24. Again, I think that was the score). And last year when the Sharks came back to the ‘Gong and we lost 16-10 (I’m sure that was the score, you tend to forget these things when your team loses).

So last night was the first time I left a stadium genuinely overjoyed. Especially considering I was the ‘enemy’ and my friend, ‘Charlie’, was a Dragons supporter and had a bit of a flutter on the game given the good return the Dragons were offering.

So now that I can tick “See the Sharks win” of my to-do list, I now have to go to a game at Cronulla and watch the team win up there so when I start belting out the team song I won’t be given the evils.

“Up, up Cronulla. The boys in the Black, White and Blue…..”





At The Movies

15 08 2013

Em Bee, 77, doesn’t see many movies any more. “The last movie I saw was Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) because it had some of the old fashion actors and actresses that I knew. I did enjoy that yes, it was good”, she says. “It was recommended too and I thought ‘yes, I would like to see that’. One of my friends that had seen it recommended it to me; they’re the same age as me”.

This hasn’t always been the case though. “[We used to go] at least once a week, sometimes twice. We lived out at Bulli. We went as a bit of a get away from plain ordinary life”, Em says. “You’d get into something, almost like a fantasy I guess you could call it. It was just a get-away from the ordinary hum-drum life.”

The reasons as to why Em doesn’t see many contemporary movies anymore are simple: “I don’t like a lot of violence. Avatar and all that doesn’t appeal to me, it’s just not my age group even though some might say its light.” Surely it is just the quality in the depictions of violence right? “[I do like] A good war movie. A good musical like Rose-Marie, Kiss Me Kate, Showboat, Calamity Jane, those types of things. I never did like boxing movies and I never did like anything to do with jail movies. [And] Some of the rubbish that they show on the TV at the moment I wouldn’t even look at. So I like the old stuff, yes.”

As people, we are all creatures of habit, and Em is no different. “I’ve got to sit down stairs at the back”, she admits. “I don’t do stair very well. Otherwise I might sit upstairs up the front, but preferably downstairs.”

When the movie is over, Em doesn’t hang around. “As soon as it’s over I usually make my way out”, she confesses. “I just get up and go when the movie is over, yes. I wait till the lights come up, but I never hang around”.

If ever you see Em at the theatre though, try not to disturb proceedings too much. “I go to movies to watch a movie, not to hear what they’re talking about. I think it’s very, very rude”, she comments on people who make a little too much noise. “I would probably turn around and give them a stare. I don’t think I would say anything, but I turn around and give them a stare” she says with a decent demonstration of the dirty look one can expect to be thrown.

As the story of Em Bee demonstrates, while it is important to move with the times in some facets of life, not everything has to change.








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