Category: Uncategorized

You only know where you are when you move

Start of summer has meant a lot of travelling of late. So much to say, and really, no time to do it. New York was amazing. Boston was heart warming. And me, I am tired.

I came back to a day of paint balling. Who knew pain could be so painful? Short trips, long trips, all sorts of random business to get me through the summer. My first year here, I sat around in Summer, wondering how everyone else got so organised. This year I’m getting there.

Again, no real point, just checking in.

7 and 7 is

A friend told me once, and it’s stuck with me, that men go through crises every 7 years.

Not saying that I’m going through a crisis (any more than usual) but as I approach 28, it’s been on my mind.

28 is a bit of a nothing age.

A bunch of us get married and have kids. A bunch of us start really making good strides professionally. You may lose one or two on the way. This looks like it will happen every few years ago. Maybe it’s just a big circle from here on in.

So is it true this crisis happens? At age 7? I don’t remember. 14 – puberty. A given. Rough times all round I think. 21? Sure. Leaving the safety of home and childhood notions of things. It’s scary.

But 28?

Is this related to what is known as the 27 club? Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones are the most famous. But lets not forget Chris Bell of Big Star, a band I adore. D. Boon too. All haunted men. And to look at a photo of any of them, men I respect and admire, and to think that in any of those photos they are younger than me. Just weird.

Australian author David Malouf talked about a different 7 year theory in his book Johnno. In it, the title character explains how the human body completely regenerates itself every 7 years. All the cells that make you up, none of them are more than 7 years old. For Johnno, this means it will only take him 7 years to shit every part of Brisbane out of himself.

So is that a part of it? It’s because you’re someone new, all over again? Like a mini-version of Saturn’s return. Maybe you’re born again, every 7 years.

The last really odd ting for me about 28 is that there’s a song I love from ten years ago, about being 28 (by Tim Rogers). Funny how the 18 year old me heard that song, and silently became it. I guess I’ll be fully formed next year…



So if you’re wondering why this blog is so blank, it’s because I have been focusing my writing energies on other things. One of which is the online revival of Strum, my old zine. Although revival may be a generous term.

This blog is by no means dead. I have some new pieces of the boil…

But check out Strum and tell me what you think…


I have not written for a while. Here’s what’s going on.

+ I have resigned from my current job and will be starting a new job
+ Doctor Who has restarted and it’s terribly exciting.
+ Winter is over. We had some snow, now the nights feel like they don’t end. It’s great.
+ I am still in love with REM’s Accelerate.
+ Have decided that Creedence Clearwater Revival were the greatest band ever.
+ Spending a lot of my Sunday afternoons listening to podcasts – Enough Rope, NPR Fresh Air, Sound Opinions, Prairie Home Companion are my favourites. I can imagine this quirk of listening to my talk shows will last me well into old man-ville.
+ Just tonight I’ve decided to give up trying to plow through the religious pompous crap that is the Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho.
+ So, I moved onto a book about the founding of Google. Once again, computers are the new Rock ‘n’ Roll.
+ French lessons have begun again. I actually think I’m doing ok. Don’t ask me to say anything.
+ Watched Millions recently and wonder why I ever gave up on Danny Boyle.
+ Catching up with my movies – Sideways, Little Miss Sunshine and more…
+ Saw ‘Jersey Boys’. Need to do more of that stuff.
+ Very much loving, especially columns like ‘When Good Albums Happen To Bad People’.
+ Started mucking around with Muxtape
+ Was good to see a lot of people after SXSW. Looks like this will be an annual thing.
+ Desperately trying to catch up with everyone.
+ Not been keeping up with the blog. Actually, I have been. I have been writing but not finished many things. Will do soon.
+ I’d say, 7 out of 10.


My heart won’t stop

I am so tired. I’ve had a biggish night of dinner and laughing at a tv, some walking and of course a long day at work. I am utterly exhausted.

And I can’t sleep. It’s 2am, and I have been lying here for three hours.

When I close my eyes my brain still feels wide awake. Maybe it’s something on my mind, but this is usually the case anyway.

Its really quite horrible. My body is not in anyway wired. In fact, I barely want to get out of bed to get water or anything. I’m wasted. Yet I know I’m not sleeping.

This happens every so often. A lot less in the past year, but still several times a year. And I’ve eaten well today. No coffee since this morning. No soft drinks at all. Even had a glass of wine with dinner that should be soothing me. It’s not.

I even yawn. My eyes don’t want to stay open. My arms and legs sag, like bean bags in their own funny way. But the vicious circle is I’m trying hard to be relaxed. And after several minutes and I just have to toss and turn a bit. And we’re back at the bottom of the hill.

How do you sleep? Who teaches you? I vaguely remember primary school, and the counting sheep trick. That has never worked for me. how do you relax when you have trouble sleeping? Even more cosmetic things like pillows and what to wear. On your side, or on your back? No one teaches us. So I’m just guessing. I would like to know how my hair gets the way it is come morning.

So writing this has wasted some more minutes. The rest of the night will pan out like this. Around 3, 3:30, I will get really annoyed I’m not asleep. I will roll around and just try and force myself to plateau out. Around 4:30 I will start feeling really guilty about tomorrow and start trying to convince my body that it will be hurting tomorrow, that we have like four hours left. By 5:30 I will be thinking I might as well lie here for a bit longer and then go straight to work, nuking my system with coffee to get by.

Then by 6 I will fall asleep, and wake to my normal alarm, and feel like hell.

I can’t even do anything. I can’t read. I can’t listen to music. That is commiting myself to no sleep. I have to hope that somehow, some way, I will sleep very soon. I can’t miss it when it happens.

So I better get back to it. This could be the moment.


Everybody here comes from somewhere

The new single by REM, Supernatural Superserious, is fantastic.

Biases on the table time. I’m a huge REM fan. I can’t think of the moment where this band got me. At my age, they were already all over the radio by the time I was aware of them. The One I Love, End Of the World, Losing My Religion, Everybody Hurts, Man on the Moon, What’s the Frequency…all songs that were such a part of my language that I never had to study it. I just picked up being an REM fan.

The last couple of records have had moments of beauty, but were generally uneven. They were downbeat, folky and overall dragged on a bit. But the promise of the new album Accelerate is that’s it’s back to rock. The single certainly harks back to Monster era R.E.M.

It really taps into what I love about REM. It’s a thrill ride of guitars and hooks. It’s a song for everyone, with a dash of sentimentality and hope. It hints at what I really love about the albums by the Hold Steady of late. That even a small life should be separated.

The whole thing is over in just over three minutes. We’ve had a stadium winning riff, a brilliant opening line, and a revitalised band crashing into a song. There’s the Peter Buck guitar. Mike’s flawless harmonies. A killer chorus, that riff again, and an ending as wonderful and mysterious as anything they’ve ever done before. Supernatural, superserious? I have no idea what Stipe is on about.

There’s no words to describe it. It’s been a while since I have listened to a song over and over on repeat, like I have with this song. And it’s no “Good Vibrations” or anything. But for me, this is the meat and potatoes of what makes me a music fan. The sustenance I keep returning to.

I can’t wait to hear it live. Stipe, looking over all of us, in the wasteland.

You gotta hear it.


PS. Terrible clip though

Quit this crazy scene

This is the counter argument.

I am in a very, very small town in Germany. My guide tells me you can walk from one side to the other.

Its a cool little modern place. All the mod cons. It reminds me of my though that I won’t move back to Sydney but to Perth, or Brisbane. Younger, smaller, cooler.

This place revolves around simpler things. A horse riding festival. The tragedy of an old lady being hit by a truck this morning is on everyone’s mind.

This is community. Walking down the road and seeing people you know. Shopkeepers that say hello.

So. International city vs. Small town. Tough call.


In (possible) Germany

I’m in Cologne.

This place is not new to me as an idea. I even thought I might come here years ago. Now it’s something else.

I am thinking of the David Malouf idea that your body regenerates itself entirely in 7 years. So the person I was seven years ago, all the things I did, I should have shat that all out.

A hair in the sink is a memory. I like this idea. A new person every seven years. Slowly though.

Some things have, or are coming to an end, in my life of late. I’m thinking of new things to fill it with.

Anyway not much to report other than here I am in Cologne. Doesn’t mean much to you I’m sure. but I’m in Cologne and ready for new things.


The Internationalist

I have a dream that one day I will see a truly internationalist city.

London does pretty well. This weekend has been, just for example, I went down to Soho to see Chinese New Year’s festivities. I met people in an Irish bar and had Vietnamese noodles on Greek St. Got some Indian takeaway for dinner. Spent some time in a comic book shop, which is the most American thing I can think of. It was Waitangi Day (or New Zealand Day) this last week. I’m off to Germany tomorrow.

The most Australian moment was listening to my podcasts and catching up with Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope. He talked to Lindsay Fox about trying to save Ansett. And Jimmy Barns and John Swan, about growing up poor in Adelaide.

I’m still doing French lessons, and downloaded the trailer to The Diving Bell And the Butterfly. And, of course, British things everywhere. Oh, and my whiskey is from Scotland. And Isabelle is in Belgium. And I looked at an Italian suit.

I’ll stop making lists now and get to my point.

My point is, wouldn’t it be great if the best of this, was what the world is like? Or maybe some parts of the world.

Because I don’t like that Star-Trek-y vision of the future where everyone dresses the same. Even though there are all sorts of races and creeds, everyone is the essentially the same. Boring.

I always took languages for granted in school. Now I wish I was forced to learn them a bit more. At the Indian place, I wish I could order food in Indian. Just a few phrases.

So imagine a large cosmopolitan city with a flavour of everything. All races mixing, mingling. The best of everything – great food from all cultures. A place you can get an authentic Irish stew in one place, Wasabi peas next door. Every book shop and CD store has foreign language sections as a given. Not just America and Britain. Your average pop culture fan should know the big stars in Swedish cinema. Churches of all kind. All that stuff.

There are reasons against this. I love fact France, and Paris especially, has laws that has stopped big corporations building big nasty skyscrapers. But my history is I was born in a Commonwealth colony of China, and grew up in Australia, a multi-cultural society (we used to be proud of that…). I’ve had a taste of mixed culture overload. I want more. And I don’t feel strongly aligned with anything, so I want a taste of everything.

I got an email today, a general one, from our Israeli office, with a review of an album from Israel’s biggest music web site. Isn’t that great?

I feel like things like the Euro, budget airlines and the Internet are bringing us closer. I can’t wait to see what kind of world my kids grow up in. Dare I dream this world might actually turn out great?

The Earth

The Emotional Middle Class

We are the spoiled.
The emotional middle classes.
With our minds in the washer,
And our heads up our asses.

When there’s so much to be doing
But we just stay indoors
Taking things as a sign
When they never mean more.

Circling around the airport
We are never going to land
Because our feet can’t touch the ground
Til someone understands.

We should be animals!
We should be engines!
We should not be worried
About the centres of attention.

But we are spoiled
The time in our mind passes
As if it has all day
The emotional middle classes.