Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Summer Cold

Well readers, my summer cold has been identified by our health care professionals as mild bronchitis. An absolute bummer for me. So far I have missed a kick arse concert by Shapeshifter. Another gig by our friends the Ride Ons and Three Pony, a boozy dinner at the Lowenbrau with a good mate and countless other things. I had been taking reasonable care of myself so how I got this is a mystery, although the final few months of the year were quite busy for me. Not what I'd call stressful, but busy. Now I have the obligotry anti-biotics course which means no drinkies for Christmas. How boring. One advantage though is that by the time I am down the south coast nest week, I will not have had any booze for two weeks. I have managed to make use of the time a bit, practicing music and writing some new patches for my Moog Modular software synth, as well as a bit of xmas shopping and planning for next year. And lots of sleep.

Bah humbug!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Writing Music with a Cold

Still being a bit under the weather with my cold, I've tried to make use of the time writing a bit of music. Fired up Logic on the computer and started playing around. Did a bit of piano practice and fender rhodes playing running through a few Albert The Good and Jamiroquai riffs. Then I fired up my favourtie synth Moog Modular and got a 70ish sequencer track going. Sounds good so far. I think I'll put it in my tracks based on the arctic cricle which i hope to finish before I'm 40 (only got about a decade to go)! Music is fun. Also played a gig on thurday night. Was feeling pretty rough, but funnily enough once on stage I felt great and played well. The band is still great. More musical activity to come!

Has Australia lost it?

Be warned: Strong views ahead.

So this weekend we all wait with baited breath to see if the boofheads will be back out in force to beat the crap out of each other and any other poor suckers who get in their way. This week we have seen bashings, churches being burnt down, some shows of compassion, people being arrested for possesion of some pretty serious weapons, pleas for clam, seriously strengthened police powers, radio celebs being suspended and suspect politcal leadership. All this can't just happen overnight, it's been festering for a while.

As an English immigrant to this country I can certainly say I have a slightly different view on a few things. I always tried to believe in Australias capacity to be a great place to live and great people to be around. That has happened to some extent, but too many times I've seen and been on the receiving end of this kind of black and white pack mentality and bullying culture, intolerance and inflexiblity. And not just from anglo types. Are we really just seeing the true face of Australia now, a cultural nadir finally going into social meltdown? A complete failure of tolerance and imagination? A country where bigotry and bullying are accepted? Is this really what we are now? I truly hope not. I will be making a stand for what I think are decent, reasoned values and I hope others do to. I've met some fantastic people from many backgrounds here in Australia and place my faith in them to stand firm for intelligence and compassion also.

Another point, being of fairly much in the middle, maybe centre left beliefs politically, I have to say that I really think the shift to strong right wing and conservative attitudes in this country has created this. I hope a few people in that category have a good hard think about their words and actions, because if this is the society they want, it's going to get a lot rougher from here on in. Perhaps they should read some history books and remind themselves of the outcomes of deep racial hatreds, social division and just flat out greed. There's a lot there to learn from. And given the religious overtones present in all this perhaps reminding ourselves of the ten commandments or seven deadly sins, or teachings of Jesus might not go astray. The lessons are all there whether you believe or not.

It's time for all of us to pull our heads out and start listening to each other. It's not to late to change course.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Sod's Law

Why do we always get colds at the worst times? I have come down with a some kind of cold (nasty sore throat, phlegm, headaches etc) just as I finish some work and have time to do the other 50 million things I need to do eg Chissie shopping, a gig and rehearsals for that gig, bands to go see, studio to rebuild and a short film to start, music to finish etc. What gives? Is this natures way of saying "chill out, son, take a break"? Getting sick always frustrates the hell out of me... oh, get over it. I'm going back to bed.

Monday, December 12, 2005

True Colours

Well, it's taken me a while. The blog now steps into current affairs for a post or two.

John Howard has finally spoken but refuses-to-use-racist-tag.
Howard has once again used clever semantics to basically give the mob responsible for all this a bit of a nod. Or at least that's what I think. Why not just come out and say it? It was a racist attack by drunken white yobbos on a Sunday afternoon, and the attacks on the wider community by Lebanese gangs are just as racist. It's a chicken and the egg situtaion. At least he seems to condemn the development (finally, an admission!) of tribalism in Sydney (the cult of the Sutherland Shire could be considered a tribe, just as the Lebanese ganstas). I just wish he would take a principled stand for once in his life. But considering the local member for Cook is Liberal and has pretty much sympathised with the vigilantes shows the political layer present in all this. Howard has used this kind of negative sentiment for political gain in the past. Same rules should apply for all regardless of your address or background.

There's a bigger question: What's causing all this?

Idoits on the loose

I grew up in the Sutherland Shire and frankly this weekends violence comes as no surprise to me. The fact that two lifeguards were attacked is bad enough, but the meathead vigilante response is disgusting. All ethnic groups all over the world have their good and bad elements. Why? Because they're human beings! And all human beings have good and bad in them, it just depends and what side of the fence our personal attitudes reside on. I found the Sutherland Shire to be pretty much full of the downside of the anglo-celtic culture. Racist, igorant, and my biggest issue with them: meatheads stupid enough to actually act on their macho, bullying attitudes. Some Shire boys WILL start fights and cause havoc over nothing or some imagined incident or ill informed xenophobia. They're that dumb. Are all people in the Sutherland Shire like that? Of course not, but this xenophobia holds the order of the day down there much more than it does in many other parts of the city. Growing up down there, it was crime to be "different" in any way, down to your choice of music of t-shirt, let alone being from a different racial or cultural background. I remember copping racism when I was a kid new to the area in 1980, and I was English! Half their grandfathers were probably English, but my thick Northern accent marked me out as different. That's the mob mentality that has always existed. I'm sure too, that some of the dropkicks from other parts of the city go there to stir up touble too. These fools all need their heads banged together. So welcome to the dark side of Sydney. All cities have them. Ours was on full show this weekend. Australias future is not about some fantasy anglo-celtic homogenous society, or some recreation of the middle east or continental Europe. Move on! Let's use or imagination here. Also I see the Prime Minister and leader of the opposition have yet to comment. Could this be because they know the power of playing the race card?

Read about it here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Growing Pains

After Saturday's huge Jamiroquai concert, on Sunday, Marie and I ducked off to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I'm not really a Harry Potter fan, but I really enjoyed the previous film, so I was looking forward to this new one. It was pretty good. The stories and the performances are getting much deeper and interesting. The story is getting more and more complex and now, upon reaching the fourth film, the series is feeling much more interconnected. If you hadn't seen the previous three, you would have been pretty lost watching this. Still, we found it very entertaining, but a lot to take in. Probably needs a second viewing. Technically the film was great. Well shot, acted, good score and the sound design was pretty good (aside from the use of a very typical servo motor type effect used on Mad Eye Moody's mad eyeball, which came from the Sound Ideas SFX library, but hey, I only know that 'cos I'm a sound FX professional, and I think I used that sound yesterday). This film did intrigue me a bit so I looked up Harry Potter on Wikipedia and was pretty floored by the depth of the whole Harry Potter fantasy world, and how much other fantasy/mythical tales etc that its draws from (or is derivitive of, depending on how cynical you are). At this rate I may have to read one of the books....


This weekend was a hoot. Rolled down to Centennial Park in Sydney with about 20,000 odd other people to catch one of my favourite bands for over 10 years now, Jamiroquai. The night was fantastic. A beautiful, sunny but not too hot day in the park, listening to good tunes. Jamiroquai were supported by a few others, most notably The Avalanches, who tore it up with a pretty full on and comical mix of dance classics from the past 25 years. By the time 8pm rolled round the crowd was pretty much up for it, and then Bang! on was JK and the lads for two hours of funky tunes. As usual the musicianship was 100%, the grooves fresh and the vibe great. I've only seen them once before and that was damn good, but this went past it, big time. I was really impressed with their new keyboard player, Matt Johnson which is saying a bit as I was huge fan of the original Jamiroquai keys man Toby Smith. He rolled out some very tasty solos. Good start to the summer.