Nightclub Butterfaces

October 21, 2013

gracejnes290I’m not what you call a clubbing type. No, not seals on ice but nightclubs. I have no particular aversion to them, but neither have I ever had any particular attraction to them. I do regret not being in one in Elizabeth in 1980. Or was it Gawler? Fozzie leapt for the wagon wheel chandelier and brought the whole thing out of the ceiling onto the dance floor. Fortunately his leaping lunge at it meant he swung underneath the wheel and it landed behind him though legend has it Fozzie was still gripping the thing when the bouncers went to sort out the commotion.  Fortunate, for surely the weight of the thing would have taken his life had it landed on him. And to this day those who were there wonder that there were no dancers killed. Doubly fortunate. The club was put off limits to all of us but I don’t think we were supposed to be off base at that stage anyway.  But a good time was had by all who were there, though everyone agreed the clubs in that town were dangerous places. Best we not have access to them or one might end up hitched to a camp follower. In the minds of my boot camp colleagues that would have been far worse than death or injury from a falling wagon wheel.   Read more

Sunday Jazz

October 10, 2009

geoff-bull-blues.jpg‘I have got a lolly here if anyone needs any sugar. Pass them down to the really old people’.
‘None old here. Not when I was playing with Thomas The Tank Engine this morning’.
‘By yourself?’
‘Yes, actually. Grandkids left it lying out last night. Couldn’t help myself this morning’.
I was delivered from more of this wandering conversation between the two old girls sitting next to me by the piano that led us into some jumping 12 bar blues.  Though it did take a while for my neighbours to wind down and I heard about her 94 year mother making quiche even though she has had a fall and should not be on her feet.  The drummer joined in and added to the jump, then so too the curly headed chap with the profile of Baloo the Bear who picked up the double bass. By now Thomas the Tank and quiche recipes had faded into the background and the trumpet of Geoff Bull finally put the lid on it completely. Such are the vagaries of attending a jazz concert at a retirement village! Read more

Putting Your Heart on Your Sleeve

April 23, 2009

mirage290.jpgNot every “bloke” is keen to put their heart on their sleeve, let alone doing so by writing a poem about how he feels. It’s not something we do well  – as a rule. So a feather could have knocked me down when one of my colleagues let me read (and now publish) the poem below. What is especially interesting was that he wrote it in response to the “Push the Limit” video on the right hand side of this page. He was responding to the words of the backing track, as much as to the images. “Bring me to Life” by Evanescence is a powerful song which arguably refers to an appeal to Jesus (that is another debate altogether but the words certainly fit that context, and it works for me). Damien’s poem below, words to the song below that. Read more

The Hot Spot

November 28, 2008

hotspot.jpgEarly hours of the morning. My online Scrabble opponent has retreated. The novel is being tweaked. The silver music of Miles Davis supported by the driving blues of  John Lee Hooker has me begging for more. Thanks Clyde for swearing on a stack of Bibles that this was the best sound track of any movie. Damn shooting straight it is. (Some Texas talk there). Can’t go past “Bank Robbery” or “End Credits”. Someone needs to make music like this again. Or I need to get out some more.

Emanuel Ax LipSync

June 27, 2008

emanuel_ax_290.jpgThe third row in the main hall of the Sydney Opera House is a good place to be if you want the music, in this case Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.22 in E Flat, K482 to wash over you. It does so literally and figuratively and the sound cocoons  you up, inviting you to close your eyes and to be lost in it. And, if you are not careful, to start nodding off. It is 34 minutes of relaxation, through the seats prevent you from completely slipping away. The third row is also a good place from which to be distracted by all the movement happening in the violins and  cellos (you can’t see much orchestra beyond that)  and to watch the disheveled Emanuel Ax, Ukrainian (now American) piano magician run his fingers over the Steinway. But it was his mouth that caught my attention. For a moment I thought he was counting time and maybe he was. But it was pretty clear he had something else he was singing to the concerto as he got lost in his own music. I gave up trying to work it out and closed my eyes in order to enjoy it all the more, and did so hoping he was not simply running doh re me scales in his head.

Weeping With Mavis Staples

March 18, 2008

mavisstaples1.jpgYou can’t help it. You sit in the front row of a Mavis Staples concert and you are conscious every now and then of the grin you can’t wipe from your face. You wipe the tears as well but in the end you give up and let them run. Read more

Buddy Guy Live

March 14, 2008

buddy-guy.jpgKeb Mo warmed us up last night at the Enmore Theatre. 45minutes felt like two, such was his ability to mesmerise us. A lanky blues guitarist who could rip those blues off just as easy as you please.

Read more

Emanuel Schmidt Trio

December 14, 2007

Emanuel SchmidtI am a fan of Emanuel Schmidt. Not his biggest fan. I think that medal goes to his wife who is a pretty vocal supporter when she attends any of his gigs. And I am in line behind a whole bunch of others. But his passion for good music is infectious. Read more

Bastille Day in Dunolly

July 15, 2007

The discussion about small towns is entirely appropriate given I have spent the last week visiting a few of them. On Saturday evening I had the good fortune to sit around an open fire in the Cockatoo Cafe in Dunolly. It was near freezing outside so the fire was a good start. Even more rewarding was the warmth of the company, and the sparkling atmosphere created by the trio called Continental Drift – their range of folk and gypsy music from Turkey, Araby (!), Russia, Ireland and any other number of points had our feet tapping. And of course songs from France and some lyrics in French to suit the occasion of the 14th of July. Mix all that with the general din of chat, families connecting, children playing, good food and wine, and reminiscing, without being maudlin, about our good friend, son, brother, partner Jonathan, and it crossed my mind on more than one occasion during the evening that there are things country folk know that city folk never do (apologies Banjo). If we could recreate that family warmth, connection, hospitality, and joy of life found this evening in the Cockatoo Cafe in our cities we would probably never want to leave them!

Nessun Dorma

June 17, 2007

What on earth is the Nessun Dorma? We all associate it with the 1990 World Cup when Pavarotti sang it. But with Paul Potts singing it last week to get our attention I wondered what the story behind it really was. There you go, my Opera roots revealed to be as shallow as those of a stream side willow!

Turns out it is an aria from a Puccini opera titled Turandot. The “Classical Music: The Rough Guide” tells me it is a “disturbing example of Puccini’s affection for violence against women.”

Turandot is an evil Princess. Resident of Peking no less. During legendary times (that is such a cute piece of authorial licence aimed at defusing offence). She announces she will marry the first man who can answer three riddles. Fail the Q&A session and its off with your head. A besotted Calaf, who does not reveal he is a prince, is in the crowd watching the execution of one of the unfortunate quiz contestants. He thinks he is up for the quiz and answers the questions which puts Turandot’s nose out of joint. Calaf is a gentleman, even if a stupid one, and suggests he will submit to execution if Turandot can guess his name by dawn (shades of Rumplestiltskin).

Turandot puts the wheels of government into motion overnight and starts mass executions to tempt someone to give up Calaf’s name. Turns out Calaf has a lady admirer who kills herself rather than give up Calaf’s name. Calaf gives up and confesses not only his name but his love for Turandot, who then falls in love with Calaf. Go figure.

Convinced? No, I am not either really. Nor is my Rough Guide which advises “the sadism of the opera might leave you with a bitter aftertaste”. I think I will stick with travel. Enough sadism in the design and layout of cattle class seats at the back of the plane for me to sate any idle interest I might have in that subject.

Next Page »