Sunday, December 26, 2010

Love is...

"Love is not merely a warmth to bask in, like the boatloads of honeymooners who basked on the warmth of coral beach, but a grave, fierce yearning and reaching out for paradise itself, a losing and finding of the self in the paradise of another."

                                                                                                               - Frederich Buechner

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Frederich Buechner Drops a 85 minute Truth Bomb

"I want to be a leader. I want to do my bit, you know. I want to do my bit to change the world, in whatever small way that I can."

These words, offered rather nonchalantly to me over a beer and some pork dumplings in a small restaurant in Kings Cross, have remained with me since they were first spoken to me, now over a month ago. In the quiet moments of my day, when all the noise stops briefly, they come back to me. Or perhaps they have always been there and I just choose to listen.

"I want to change the world" is a phrase that people throw around regularly. It's a simple edict. I suspect it is often dismissed as being meaningless for that very reason. However, it is the "in whatever way that I can" in the words that were spoken to me that continues to haunts me. I can't shake them for their simplicity, because as simple as they are, I can't deny that they are entirely attainable. I can't dismiss them for the niggling questions they raise in me. Am I doing what I can? Am I even a leader? And if not, why not? What have I become? What can I do to change the world? What if we all were to wake with this one simple mandate? And what if we were to hold ourselves vigilantly to it?

I have been listening to the 1981 lectures of Frederich Buechner. I have blogged about them previously. In these lectures, Buechner comes across as a writer/theologian at the height of his powers, effortlessly constructing and deconstructing life's deepest and trickiest questions over three 85 minutes lectures. I truly believe that if these lectures were in another art-form, a painting, a book or a song, we'd be holding them up as classics. The quote at the end of this is just a snippet from the 2nd 85 minute truth bomb that Buechner drops, a lecture so perfectly and consistently woven with wisdom that I can only listen to it in small morcels, for listening to the lecture in full, the undiluted power of Buechner's words become almost too much to bear. Like a man staring into the sun, I have to look away, or be blinded by the dazzling light.

One of Buechner's talents is his ability to speak, as Rilke says, in questions that become answers rather than the other way around. So often today, in so many aspects of our lives, we are given boiled-down-easy-to-use answers to our problems. "The ten things that make us tick", "The 5 keys to financial success", "50 ways to know if your boyfriend is cheating" - each give the impression that there are a finite amount of ways to succeed, to be happy, to know yourself and that beyond these finite ways there is no use searching further. Slogans like "Stopping the boats" are held up to us as the very essence of Australian immigration policy. Stopping them is good. Not stopping them is bad. No other option is available to us, not even an "all of the above". And while such messages are easy to consume, not to mention politically expedient, they fail to acknowledge the full gambit of interlocking issues that affect, determine, manipulate, or cause the nature of immigration in Australia.

Buechner's beauty lies in his complete and fearless recognition (and celebration!) of the uncertain, the unknown, the uncontrollable, the unexplainable - the mystery of life. For Buechner, it is this very mystery that makes life beautiful. In accepting the existence of mystery, Buechner accepts much more: ie. that there are many possible explanations for its existence; that it is very probably that none of the explanations explain the mystery entirely; and that there is room for this unknown, for the inexplicable, in our lives - we need not have all the answers.

I can't help but want to send the lecture to you all, but instead I must be content with another small snippet. Below, Buechner boils down the idea of faith and the idea that once we have found what we think we have been looking for, we find ourselves with a niggling inner yearning for more.

"One way or another the journey of time starts for us all... what it is primarily is a journey of search. Each must say of himself what he searches for, and there will be as many answers as there are searchers. We search for a self to be, I think. We search for other selves to love. We search for work to do. And since even when to one degree or another we find all those things, we find also that there is something crucial missing which we have not found and we search for that too, even though we don't know it's name, or where it is to be found, or even if it is to be found at all."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

roll up

A Yongman BBQ


Tess and I went down to Canberra this weekend to visit the Canberra crew. Andrew and Clare are off to Malaysia for three years with the foreign service and they were hosting a farewell BBQ. Andrew's culinary talents were once again on show - a giant paella and sweet pork ribs - both of which were delicious and not your typical aussie BBQ fare. As the afternoon sun sank lower in the sky, the day drifted into a session of backyard cricket, followed by another couple of hours of lawn bowls. Thanks Canberra.

Honey! Snap!

Honeysnaps made with love to make someone happy. They were yummy. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This one's for Darren Cormack

As perhaps the only person in the world who regularly checks this blog, this post is specifically for Darren. I know you hate the fact that this blog has become about songs I like rather than about observations on life... so consider this the last music-related post. I promise that as of today I'll get back to more general commenting, life updating and photo blogging.

But first, one more song from the most underrated band in the world. Kashmir.... I love you.

And to you, the Biggest Fella, keep up the good work.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The National write music in time with world population growth

Sometimes, some things are so coincidental that you can't help but think they were meticulously planned.

Well, I want you to do something for me.

Have a listen to the piano part in the below song by American band, The National. Now click on the following link for the World Population clock and listen to the song again. Is the repetitive piano part not exactly in time with the current rate of world population growth?!

Perhaps it's coincidence. Or perhaps it's incredibly apt for a song that contains the lyric, "We're half awake in a fake empire". Who knows the exact extent of The National's genius.



Now. Back to work.

The Boat People

Australian indie-pop band The Boat People are playing this Friday night at the Sandringham, launching their third album Dear Darkly. This is the opening track. Love it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Arcade Fire - Suburban War

This band are doing it like no other at the moment. This song is off their latest album - Suburbs. Listen to the light in that guitar riff. And then try not to bob your head when those drums come in. Arcade Fire. They be smashin it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Silver Cinder in Triple J's Unearthed Competition

Title says it all really. Go visit us on their website and vote "yay! now let them become famous":

http://www.triplejunearthed.com/Artists/View.aspx?artistid=40302

Monday, October 11, 2010

Feist - I feel it all

GAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Takes me back to 2007, Canada and Rue St André.

L'ossature d'une feuille

Thursday, October 07, 2010

New beginnings in the last of the melting snow

Well, a bit of stuff has been going down recently. I find myself listening to this song on repeat.

Slow. But crushing.

"In no doubt
As I leave this town
I will not return
For I haven't got the room in my head
For these things"

Thanks again to Guy Garvey for the heads up.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Whitest Boy Alive - 1517

GAAAAAAR!!!

Have NOT been able to get this song out of my head... and luvin' it.

The Whitest Boy Alive started as an electronic dance music project in 2003 based around Norweigen DJ and Kings of Convenience member Erlend Øye (also of DJ Kicks fame!). Check out their website... great design.

Turn it up.

Whales

I spent the weekend down with my sister in Berry. Whilst on a bushwalk in Booderee National Park, we were fortunate enough to witness a pod of whales playing off the coast. I managed to get a couple of snaps (which don't really do the experience justice). Such magnificent beasts.



Monday, September 27, 2010

Silver Cinder on Myspace!



Tam and I have been in the studio over the last couple of weekends, trying to get a bunch of tracks together to send out to venues, radio stations etc. Well, the tracks are now finished, mastered and ready for listening.

Check them out on our myspace page:

www.myspace.com/silvercinder

Friday, September 24, 2010

Holy Cash

I went to see Griffin Theatre's Quack last night, an Australian play which is on at the moment at The Stables Theatre in Darlinghurst. It was an amazing ride. Zombies, blood, onstage surgery and more. Captivating performances and a beautifully crafted script. One part of the play included one of the characters singing a section of the below song. It was spellbinding.

Originally a Nine Inch Nails song (newfound respect!), it was then covered by the late and great Johnny Cash. Lights down, red wine in hand, music turned up. Go for it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Frederick Beuchner and Beyond Time

I have been listening to a series of lectures called "Beyond Time" given by American author/theologian Frederick Beuchner in 1981. My Dad has it on cd. In the lectures, Beuchner talks about his own lifelong quest to "understand it all" and his growing awareness, albeit unconscious, of some greater plot. In particular, he scrutinizes the changing moments in his life, most of them random, moments when, as he puts it, "from beyond time, something too precious to tell has glintered in the dust, always just out of reach, like fireflies."

Beuchner was one of my Dad's theological mentors, a teacher, writer and raconteur first, and a minister second. In fact, the lectures aren't theological, even though he touches on his own beliefs and the journey it took to come to them. His exposition of the passing of time, his celebration of mystery, of ambiguity and of contradiction resonated with me strongly. Beuchner says he was once told, 'you have a way with words'. He has an ability to craft words into beautiful, telling, deep and thoughtful images. It's a very powerful gift. Some of his observations are, to borrow one of his own expressions,"like going away presents from beyond time, to carry with us through time, to lighten our step as we go".

While nothing can substitute listening to the lectures in full, the following passages are ones that spoke to me most directly:

"Listen. Listen. Your life is happening, You are happening... A journey years long has brought each of you through thick and thin to this moment in time... think back on that journey. Listen back to the sounds and sweet airs of your journey that give delight and hurt not, and to those that give no delight and hurt like hell: Be not afeared. The music of your life is subtle and illusive, and like no other, not a song with words, but a song without words, a singing chattering, hammering music, to gladden the heart or bring tears to the eyes, to haunt you perhaps with echoes of a vaster farther music of which it is part... Sometimes you avoid listening for fear of what you may hear, sometimes for fear that you may hear nothing at all but the empty rattle of your feet on the pavement. But be not afeared... Be not afraid."

Beuchner ends the lecture with the following paragraph:

"The way we have to go is full of perils from without and from within. And who can say for sure what we will find at the end of our journey... Faith, Hope and Love, those three, our going away presents from beyond time, to carry with us through time, to lighten our step as we go...
Never question the truth of what you fail to understand, for the world is filled with wonders... In the long run, nothing, not even a world, not even ourselves, can separate us from that last, and deepest love that glimmers in our dark... like a pearl... like a face."


Spectacular insights. The skillful delivery of a brutal truth that raps at the shell of our existence, threatening to break in and cause havoc.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Nothing quite like crying whilst reading your four-year-old niece a bed-time story.

There's nothing like crying whilst reading your niece a bed-time story. I came home from work the other day - a day full of urgent tasks, immutable deadlines and pressure situations. My niece was staying over, and when I got home, she was already in bed awaiting a bedtime story. I read her one about a baby rabbit that wanted to run away from his mother. "I will become a boat and I will sail away from you on the sea" he said. To which the mother replied, "well I will become the wind, and I will blow you back to me". *Insert unsuccessful attempt not to cry in front of a four year old* Goddammit!

I have no idea what the below book is about, but if it's half as good as the cover, I can't wait to read it. Deadset best facial expression on a dinosaur ever? Probably. I don't think the dinosaur was actually aware of what the book was going to be about when he agreed to do the cover.

Publisher: So, we'd love you to be on the cover of one of our books.
Dinosaur: Really? That's great.
Publisher: Yeah, we really love your work.
Dinosaur: Oh really?
Publisher: Yeah, huge fans.
Dinosaur: Well, thank you very much. You know, I do take my work seriously.
Publisher: Well, it shows. You should be very proud.
Dinosaur: So what's the book going to be called?
Publisher: The book is going to be called, "All my friends are dead."


At which point the Dinosaur made the below face, they took the picture, and put it on the cover.


Big ups to Chris Toole for sending me the image.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Building a Wall

Heard this song on Triple J this afternoon and could not get it out of my head for the rest of the day. Love it. Building a Wall is the second single of the debut album of Melbourne band Hello Satellites. Check it. (Reminiscent of St Vincent? Anyone?)


Love these lyrics:


"Cause we're building a wall, we're building a wall, to keep your love in and the storms outside. But it's here in your heart, here in your heart, and you can't stop it from rising out... but you'll have to get hurt if you want to get out, you'll have to break something if you want to get out. I was building a wall, building a wall, to keep my job safe and my lover by my side." 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Heaven at Once

This is what happens when you smoke a fat jay and then walk into a music studio. Someone has finally put this track up on the internet. It was pretty much the soundtrack of my time in Paris. This one goes out to The Djé and his record collection of Soul. I'll always remember those sessions in the apartment at 2 Rue des Couronnes fondly. ("Jamze. T'es avocat, t'es rugbyman, t'es deuxieme ligne...")

Allez. En fumez un, et ecoutez bien Kool and the Gang pendant qu'ils vous amenent au "ciel tout de suite".

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Seattle to New York: Dan Ilic

An old Ronnie Johns mate of mine, Dan Ilic, has been on a voyage across the USA, hitchiking across 13 states from Seattle to New York in 7 days. This video is shot, produced and edited by Dan. He wouldn't have it any other way. Dan is someone who makes life happen around him. He always has been. If he has an idea for a sketch, he goes out and records it himself. He doesn't wait for a TV producer to turn up on his door step. I remember when we did our first show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival together in 2003. The show had very poor audiences in the first week and the producer sat us all down and said, "If we cut and run now we won't lose money. Do you want to leave?" Dan piped up and offered to finance the remaining week of the show with his own money if it meant we could stay to finish the festival. "This is what I want to do with my life", he said. I can still remember the steel in Dan's eyes. I remember being amazed by (perhaps even jealous of?) his certainty and belief. At the moment, Dan's trying to fulfil his dream of getting a position as a writer on one of the Tonight shows in NYC.

Anyway, this video is a great testament to Dan's faith. It's also an amazing soundtrack. Go Australian Music. And Go Dan!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kashmir - Petite Machine



Love this song by Danish Band Kashmir. Love the drums, the melancholic guitar and the build at the end. Yummy.

Did you know that Kashmir were originally called Nirvana (this was way back in 1991), but then changed their name to Kashmir, after the Led Zeppelin song, as the Seattle version gained notoriety? Yeah. That's right. Checkout more Kashmir by following the above link to their myspace.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Jezabels - Easy to Love



Holy Crapola! Seeing these guys on Saturday night at the Factory in Newtown. I recently came across them while trawling through the Triple J Unearthed website (yes I know, they have been around for a year or so now!). Love the sound. Love the drumming. Love the opening lyrics.

Well I was the one who showed you the sky
But you brought it down to my thighs
I sadly believed every word i didn't mean
About loving darkness.


Beautiful.

Love this filmclip. They actually look like they are having fun! What a relief from the usual morose-a-thon. Love the time exposure clip of the lights of Sydney through the window. Yay for getting Australian sights into your film clips. Apparently one of The Jezabels' other singles "Disco Biscuit Love" went massive in the US college community. The future looks bright.

Exciting stuff coming out of Australia at the moment. Check out The Jezabels' myspace: www.myspace.com/jezabelsband

I encourage you to take the time to read their bio. They sound like a great band to get excited about.

Also check out the new video for Melbourne duo Gypsy and the Cat's song Time to Wander. Love the bit where the man just stands back and gestures towards the sound coming out of the speakers with his hands. Simple but poignant.

Go Australian music Go!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Sydney Debut of THE FALL!

It's an exciting time! After years and years of playing in my own bedroom, I'm finally playing in public. Tamara and I met in 2006 but only just started playing together again upon my return home from France. We're called THE FALL and we had our Sydney debut last night at the Excelsior. It couldn't have gone better. We've been asked back to play again on 29 July 2010. Stay tuned, I'm sure there'll be more to come. Thanks to Luke Easey for these iphone snaps taken during a rehearsal at Sound Level.

Volcano Choir - Still

Exhibit A of why Guy Garvey's Finest Hour is good (see previous post). This is a cracker version of Bon Iver's song Into the Woods which I just heard on Guy's program. Turn it up, turn down the lights and have yourself a bottle of red.

Guy Garvey's Finest Hour

I get most of my new music by listening to Guy Garvey's Finest Hour. It's actually a 2 hour podcast (he gets two cracks at it each show) hosted by the lead singer of UK band Elbow. The type of music featured on the programme ranges from Rufus Wainwright to The National to Chet Baker to Esther Phillips. It's an eclectic mix, which I find is a refreshing change from some of the stations in Australia.


The BBC are planning to close BBC 6 Music, the station on which Guy Garvey's Finest Hour is broadcasted, at the end of 2011. A public outcry in the UK received widespread coverage, however it has failed to save the station from closure. I believe the BBC's cultural capital will be poorer for it.

Check out Guy Garvey's Finest Hour here.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Ronnie Johns Tour

Swell Season - High Horses

This is, for me, the best song off the latest album by the Swell Season. I was listening to it today as I walked down Sydney's Martin Place today and couldn't help but strut.

Favourite line: "Get down off your high horses, let me in. Get down off your high horses, let's begin."

Ripper

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fremantle Harbour: Perth



The strangest thing about Perth for someone who has grown up on the east coast of Australia is that you get to see the sun set over the ocean, which, in Sydney, we're not used to. Everyone warned me about how cool it was, however I still wasn't quite ready for how strange it felt to see the sun kissing the sea in the afternoon in a way I was so used to seeing at sunrise. Go nature go!

Stars - Dead Hearts

Continuing the "songs that make me smile" series, this latest offering off the new album by Canadian act Stars is a great example of sparkling pop at its best. I particularly love the sweet piano at 1:26.

"It's hard to know they're out there, it's hard to know that you still care... Dead hearts are everywhere." And who said pop can't be poignant.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Bridge

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

That home

Following on from the last post, I press you to listen to the below video of To build a home.



It is the first track on The Cinematic Orchestra's fifth album entitled Ma Fleur. I've been a big fan of it for a while now (it came out in 2007). I recently listened to the whole album again. The second last track features a one and a half minute reprise of To build a home which is entitled That Home. Its juxtaposition with To build a home is hauntingly beautiful.

To build a home tells a mournful story of loss culminating in the final lines:
"And I built a home
For you
For me
Until it disappeared
From me
From you
And now, it's time to leave and turn to dust
"

In contrast, the lyrics and music of That home, while still somewhat mournful, are strangely uplifting. When I'm sitting quietly with That home playing firm through my headphones, I feel like I've arrived in a place that I never want to leave. It is a feeling of intense belonging and comfort. The lyrics couldn't be more spot on, for this is a place where I don't feel alone. This is a place that I call my home.

For me, a combined listening of To build a home and That home epitomises Rilke's observation that music has the capacity to make "the innermost point in us stand outside". And the beautiful thing is, we have no control over it. It happens against our will. Yummy.

When the innermost point in us stands outside

Rilke has a way of navigating his way to your most sensitive heartstrings, and flicking at them. I love these two poems:

Music

Take me by the hand;
it's so easy for you, Angel,
for you are the road
even while being immobile.

You see, I'm scared no one
here will look for me again;
I couldn't make use of
whatever was given,

so they abandoned me.
At first the solitude
charmed me like a prelude,
but so much music wounded me.

To music

Music: breathing of statues. Perhaps:
silence of paintings. You language where all language
ends. You time
standing vertically on the motion of mortal hearts.

Feelings for whom? O you the transformation
of feelings into what?--: into audible landscape.
You stranger: music. You heart-space
grown out of us. The deepest space in us,
which, rising above us, forces its way out,--
holy departure:
when the innermost point in us stands
outside, as the most practiced distance, as the other
side of the air:
pure,
boundless,
no longer habitable.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Clarke and Dawe

OK. I'm really sorry. I didn't want to blog about Clarke and Dawe again this week but John Clarke's face in the below video at 1:37 is just priceless. I love the idea of Rudd being faced with a graph of how unpopular he is and his response being to just sit there and cry.

Check it out here or click on the below image to watch.

I promise that after this one, I'll stop. I'm off to Clarke and Dawe rehab.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Clarke and Dawe: Watch in Awe - It's necessary viewing

They're back. Australia's social barometer. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Clarke and Dawe, with yet another surgical dissection of Australian politics.

The insights in this sketch, particularly those aimed at Tony Abbott, are so timely.

I especially love the line, "Does Tony Abbott tell the truth... or is he just a dinkum aussie bloke who says what he thinks".

I'd like to think that most Australian's are capable of dismantling Tony Abbott's manoeuvring and doublespeak by themselves. I'd like to think that. So thank god we have Clarke and Dawe there to help us all out... just in case we missed something.

Check it out here or click on the below image to watch. Necessary viewing.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tea Club Gig - 22 May 2010

On Saturday night, Tamara and I performed at the Tea Club in Nowra under the name of Jamison Munro. It was the first time we've played together. I'm looking forward to many more in Sydney. Stay tuned. I'll try and get a bit of video up from the gig soon. Thanks to Peter Pigott for the below photos.



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Johnny Cash

What is it about Johnny Cash that makes anything he sings sound so desperately melancholic? He has the voice of a man on his death bed who has decided to use his remaining breathes to impart a few last pieces of wisdom.

Listen here as he gives the song "If you Could Read my Mind", originally by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, the same gravitas as if he were reading a passage from the bible.

Yum.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Oh mino! Ils sont Champion de France!

Oh! Que c'est bon! L'Olympique Marseille a remporté hier le titre de CHAMPION DE FRANCE 2010 après avoir attendu 18 ans! Tellement je ne pleure pas. Tellement j'ai de poussières dans l'oeil. Et si j'étais au vélodrome à Marseille... et ouiiiiiiiiiiiii fils!

Pour revivre le match décisif contre Stadt Rennes, et voir les jouers de Marseille exprimer leur joie dans le vetiaire, cliquez ici. Le video donne aussi une idée de ce que c'est d'etre au stadt dans les tribunes parmis la foule. C'est beau.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Taken Out of Context!


The recent uproar over comments posted on twitter by The Age columnist Catherine Deveny has made for interesting reading. For those not up to date on this saga, Ms Deveny made a series of remarks on her Twitter page about different celebrities in attendance at this week's TV Logies awards ceremony. As a result of her comments, Ms Deveny has since been dropped as a columnist by The Age. The remark that resulted in her losing her job referred to eleven year old Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late Crocodile Hunter. Ms Deveny tweeted, "I do so hope Bindi Irwin gets laid".

Ms Deveny's defence was that the remark was meant as a joke. She said, "[in the old days] it was just passing notes in class, but suddenly these notes are being projected into the sky and taken out of context".

There are two things I love about this statement:

1. The passive use of "being projected" makes it sound like someone is taking Ms Deveny's comments and putting them on the internet against her will, when in actual fact Ms Deveny actively posted the remarks herself. It was her that took out her phone, typed the remarks, and then pressed the big green button that said, "please post this remark to the entire internet despite its inherent poor taste".

2. The use of "taken out of context". This is such a little gem of a phrase. Taking something out of context implies that there is a correct context that this comment should have been taken in. Take a moment to think about this question: In what context would these comments have been appropriate? I am trying to imagine Deveny speaking to a person sitting at her table at the awards ceremony...

DEVENY: I hope that eleven year old girl isn't too lonely at this award ceremony.
PERSON: No, it looks like she's here with her mother. She'll be alright.
DEVENY: Oh... no... when I said "lonely", I meant, that I hope someone has sex with her tonight.
PERSON: Um... C'mon dude, that's pretty uncalled for. I mean, she's eleven!
DEVENY. Oh! You've taken me out of context!

This is not the first time the old "out of context" excuse has been used.

A young member of the Australian Liberal Party in Queensland recently found himself in hot water after tweeting about an interview involving Australian journalist Kerry O'Brien and Barrack Obama which aired on Australian current affairs program, The 730 Report. During the interview, the young liberal party member tweeted, "I'm not sure why they paid Kerry [O'brien] to fly to America, if they wanted an interview with a monkey surely a Ferry to Taronga [Zoo] would have sufficed". As if his point wasn't quite clear, he later added, "If I wanted to see a monkey on TV I'd watch [Australian wildlife TV program] Wildlife Rescue".

Of course, when the Australian media reported about the remarks in national newspapers, the young liberal member asserted that the remarks had been meant as a joke and that they had been "taken out of context".

Ding! ding! ding! There it was again. The old "out of context" excuse. "I was referring to the fact that Obama is black. Why? What did you think I meant?"

So, please feel free to go ahead and offend, abuse, ostracise, be racist, sexist or bigoted towards anyone and everyone. As long as whatever you do or say is "taken out of context" you'll be right as reign.

Here's a sample conversation to get you started:

YOU: Hey, [insert name of person]?
PERSON: Yeah?
YOU: You are a f*cking self-righteous c*ckhead. I hate you and I hope you die alone from lung cancer.
PERSON (hopefully crying at this point): Oh... god... that's an awful thing to say to me...
YOU: Why?
PERSON: Well, you just abused me and wished I was dead.
YOU: No! You've taken what I said out of context!
PERSON: Well, why would you say that to me? Do you really think I'm a self-righteous c*ckhead?
YOU: No. You've taken me out of context.
PERSON: Well... what context was I meant to take that in?
YOU: Are you offended?
PERSON: Yes. Yes I am. Extremely.
YOU: Yeah, you've definitely taken me out of context then. I didn't mean to offend you at all.
PERSON: But what you said is very offensive. What context did you expect me to take it in?
YOU: Well, whatever context you took it in, take it in another context from that. Take it in the opposite context.

Now, if you don't like this post, please go get f*cked!*



*If you have now taken offense at me telling you to get f*cked, just know that you've taken me out of context. So, good day to you. You c*cksucker. Again. Out of context.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why we call Australia home

Days like this make you happy to be in Australia. These shots were taken on a lazy week day down at Balmoral Beach. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. Get a job.

Only in Australia: A Queue for the Bottle-O

I have spent some time in Melbourne for the last month or so whilst performing at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. On my way home one night I walked past The Exford, a 24 hour bottle-0 in the city centre. This collection of photos was taken at two in the morning. If you look closely, you'll notice there is actually a line to get in, complete with security guard checking people's ID.

Awesome.

Late night Smart Casual


Took these shots of Smart Casual members Nick and Ben Mattick whilst flatting with them at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

Currently touring the country with the Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow. Check them out. They are hilarious.

People who should earn a banker's salary - No. 1: Laura Veirs

Lots of the most beautiful and most memorable things in the world are created for free by people who struggle to make ends meet. For example, Horace, Mozart, Van Gogh and Schubert all died poor.

A couple of weeks ago, I came up with the idea of starting a blog citing people who's professions are financially undervalued by society. I wanted to call the blog, "People who should earn a banker's salary". My sister suggested it be called The Robbin' Hood, as in, robbing from the rich to give back to the poor. The blog would have been full of musicians, actors, comedians, painters, aid workers, volunteers, religious leaders, nursing home nurses etc. Anyway, I've decided to integrate the idea into this blog. It's part of Jamison Inc's world, so I guess it sort of fits.

So get on board with the first addition to the "Should be earning a banker's salary" series: American singer song writer Laura Veirs. Thanks again to Guy Garvey, the lead singer of Elbow, for putting me onto this singer.

Laura is currently touring the states, and appears from the photos on her website to be heavily pregnant. I'm sure that as I write this, she has already given birth. Check out the official video for her beautiful song "July Flame".

Yummy.

Late Night Little Lonsdale

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Australia's image: Are we more than shark attacks and enraged koalas?

An article entitled Let's Ingore Snobbery of Old Europe recently appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald written by German sociologist Jens Schroeder in which the author argued that Australia's egalitarianism (read: lack of culture, class or distinction) is a unique achievement and something to be celebrated. Schroeder intimated that whilst Europeans would be ashamed of such egalitarianism, (and often are on Australia's behalf), Australia can nevertheless afford to be proud.

Sound like a bit of a back handed compliment? A bit like saying, for example, "Hey Stephen Hawking, you are severely crippled, but that's what makes you special"? Well, be your own judge and check out Schroeder's article for yourself.

OK, now you've read it. Let me rant.

Commencing rant... now.

Listen up Australia. Apparently we are, quote, "a vibrant nation in a booming region" and we have, wait for it, "more to offer than beach, beer and (alleged) crassness."

Well, thank god for that.

"Proudly plebeian, Australia has no need to apologise for its egalitarianism and should celebrate its achievements more self-consciously. For Europeans... Australians are the plebeians of the Western World." These are the first two seemingly incongruous sentences of Schroeder's article. The first remind tells us we should be proud of our culture. The second reminds us that according to those that matter, we have none. It struck me as strange that Mr Schroeder should start his self-esteem boosting crusade by characterising Australia through the very Euro-centric lens from which he seeks to encourage us to escape. "Ok, so Australia, you're backward, a cultural wasteland if you will. But you have to stop thinking of yourself like that."

Maybe the idea of an emerging Australia shedding it's post-colonial skin is a convenient and original discourse in "tired Europe" (Schroeder's words not mine), but how many Australians really still consider Europe as the centre of enlightenment, and Australia as a simple beer-battered continent with nothing to offer but sun and beaches? Surely we have moved beyond this Paul Hoganesque oversimplification of Australian society.

I feel Schroeder misses an opportunity to shine a light on a more evolved and elaborate Australia, and instead ends up subconsciously reinforcing the very stereotype of Australia as the simple, happy-go-lucky, slap-on-the-back country that he has apparently come here to dispel. Shark attacks, enraged koalas and bogan beach antics might still be the most easily consumable version of Australia for Europe's media (Film's like "Australia" don't help), but a closer look reveals a much more complex (and potentially less romantic) stereotype than the one Schroeder paints.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Clarke and Dawe: The Great Barnaby

They're back. Clarke and Dawe. The ending to this sketch is so random. Love it.

Check it out here or click on the below image to watch.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Clarke and Dawe: Who is Lara Bingle?

Ok, so posting has been pretty intermittant since getting back from France. But to be honest I have been pretty busy with:

1. Touring with Ronnie Johns and Felicity Ward's Book of Moron.
2. Adjusting to life in Australia (so far from the rest of the world).
3. Crying myself to sleep at night.
4. Eating fresh food again.
5. Getting used to constant sunshine again.

Anyway, here's another Clarke and Dawe sketch worthy of promotion to the blog. I love how dark the ending it. Bryan's last line, "Just wasting my life really..." is genius.

I love the way that Clarke and Dawe often manage say so much about the Australian psyche without actually naming the issue explicitly. Ironically, as a result, I'm sure this sketch is lost on most Australians. To be honest, their parody of the Australian press is not all that far from reality in this country. If you think I'm being cynical, please go check out www.smh.com.au, the online version of Australia's "Newspaper of the Year", and see for yourself how many of the featured stories would not be out of place in a gossip mag. (Ps... also count how many seconds you have to scroll down before you chance upon the "World" section. Genius.)

Check it out here or click on the below image to watch.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Fast Show

I've posted about well known Fast Show character Rowley Birkin QC before. However, the other day I accidentally stumbled across a sketch I had never seen before and was blown away.

If you've never seen a Rowley Birkin QC sketch before, the first video gives you an idea of what he was on about. The second video is the sketch I stumbled across. After watching it, you'll understand why I am posting about it. What a totally unexpected and breathtaking performance!



Friday, January 29, 2010

Who am I being that my player's eyes are not shining?

Voila the first post for a new decade.

Benjamin Zander is the current conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.

He once wrote: "The best review I ever got was not from a music critic, but from my father. He was 94 years old at the time and completely blind. He attended a Master Class I gave in London and sat there in his wheelchair for about three hours. When it was over, I went to speak with him. He lifted up his finger in his characteristic way and said, "I see that you are actually a member of the healing profession." It seemed to me the highest accolade."

In this inspiring talk, he explores what we might all learn from music's inherent capacity to inspire.

My favourite part: Zander was playing Chopin's 4th prelude to a group of schoolchildren. At the end of the performance, everyone burst into rapturous applause. Spontaneously, Zander too stood up from the piano and applauded. So there they were, the children applauding, Zander applauding. And then he stopped and asked, "Why am I applauding?". To which one child responded, "Because we were listening."

Grab a cup of tea, and breathe out for twenty minutes.