Thursday, November 02, 2017

A Midnight Oil Kind of Day

Much as I dislike Leno...  
   With the news from Manus Island and Australia's mishandling from beginning to end of a humanitarian crisis, I despair of this place. Vulnerable people, our neighbours, ventured to us for help [still finding 89% with genuine claims as refugees]. Given a smack by the Courts our Government abandons those they've held captive and sets up new facilities at risk of the locals ire and abandons our responsibility for these people, like a scolded child throwing a tantrum!!...
   It may be my country right or wrong, but this is wrong!! #bringthemhere I am ashamed to be Australian today!!
   Like the 1970s, like the UNHCR processes, like the 12,000 Syrians, like the former government community resettlement partnerships with host families... we must be better than this...
Let the clip run to see the genuine article late night host...
Who is our neighbour?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

"Scattered Thoughts" A Journal

  I'm going to get back into writing about my vocation and my week. It helps to remember things, to learn and to share. I find if I write stuff down or mention it to others, even if it's pipe dream or a crazy idea, it's one step closer to happening!! It breaks up the Midnight Oil euphoria as well. 

Learning from Funerals
   I'm in this weird space of being 'in' what I do for 30 years. Although I was involved in Resource Ministry only 15hrs a week for 4 years I'm now 2 full time years into being a Minister of the Word with a local congregation. Engaging with bereaved families and leading Funerals is brand new. Like most things I've had many years of experiencing the leadership of others [best and worst].
   The words that come to mind as I type are pretty superficial, so the value of this journalling is to dig while I think about it all and get back into the habit of not just recounting but working through my story. One thing I'm learning is that each conversation with family members teaches me more questions to ask next time, about the persons story, the circumstances of their death, how different other family members are coping. There are questions about divorce, family bust ups, arguments and dynamics that effect who will be present, stressed and where everyone might sit.
   Not everyone is in the same space... 
   Not knowing someone was divorced lots of years earlier and the ex is 25 mins late but is parent of the grieving children. Asking the people your speaking with to draw the family tree, rather than sketching it yourself and sitting with gaps. Sticking to your insistence about visuals and music being ready ahead of time because that's best for everyone, not just you! Asking how many people are expected, not just how many printed copies of any material would be helpful. This happens when the people think only 30 people might want the printed Order but they say that expecting 170 people... 
   I had a conversation with a grieving daughter who took lots of responsibility for the Funeral plans. As we began to talk it was clear she didn't know where to start and in her mind that included what I might need to say on the day. I sought to start by hearing her story and then explaining how we might go about planning and what I would bring to that and invited her to tell me about her parent. I didn't ask enough questions about her sibling who wasn't present. I heard some cues about how they both came to discover the loss, but missed the chance to ask a couple of things that would drive what I said in the closing stages of the Funeral... it is hindsight... and that's a focus for me as hardest marker of myself. I have some added thoughts for my 'clip sheet.'
   Every person is different, every situation is different and we all deal differently. Sounds pretty basic but as an intuitive person I have to remember it means my 'radar' will be going berserk as I observe, listen, plan and as the realities unfold. 
   Finding it hard to say goodbye and let go, especially having requested a Funeral at the Church buildings with my leadership, while being strongly atheist or spiritual but just not quite "getting" church... some version of this in increasingly the most common situation. Two people I'm thinking of reacted differently. One person needed to control how everyone or anyone interacted with them as they wrestled with their own grief... then delivering a stunning piece of prose, so suited to the occasion, so it was like needing the space to get there. The other, reflecting on a previous bad experience, combined way too much spoken material with determining an ending that would allow them the last words. In doing so they missed the chance to let someone else make the space for their goodbye and they knew it in the end. The clever humorous plan didn't quite come off and after 85mins the wrestle was over. I also learned that both are well and truly responsible for their own journey and both did and will find their way... We offer what we can, we do what we can and also we recognise that at times we miss the cues for the same... I'm not explaining that well!!
   I agree with a colleague, who came to lead because of strong past family connections, that we as church need to do some serious reflection/work/resourcing in this area. It ranges from a 'not religious but Bible Reading and Prayer are expected and OK to not necessarily looking for a Reading but having asked for prayer or definitely requested your personal leadership [which acknowledges who you are and your ministry identity] and the possibility this situation might give a glimpse of hope or help...
   I must acknowledge the work of Dorothy McRea McMahon in her writing and the backbone of my template is her simple Funeral. The thoughts offered when the person may have been homeless, known only to a handful of people or without the luxury of a big budget [simple means poignant, open, inclusive, spiritual, powerful, good news and a great start, it does not mean easy, lacking substance  or avoiding] and help when I reached out with a Welcome and Prayer given the presence of Christians and Buddhists in the one family. In this context Geoff Smith, Nicole Fleming, Graham Anson and those who shared resources with them have been invaluably helpful when I asked for material in my 2 week settling in at Morisset because I somehow knew this area would be my biggest learning curve. In all this I started my own ritual. I believe strongly in taking space for yourself after a Funeral [it's exhausting] so I do take time to enjoy a cold beverage and a read of the newspaper in an enjoyable out of the way location [or just back at home if space is not an option] Even if something else needs to be done, I catch it up later. I post my 'job done' picture on Facebook for myself. It's an important 'spiritual practice.'
   Aaargh, I'll learn much more from reflecting on how this could be better written. I'll continue to attend to those I'm speaking with, to wrestle with who this Funeral is for and I'll take time to learn from every encounter. I'll ask more questions, take more space to reflect, ring back when unsure AND hope that as I get the hang of this I can leave space on the page to say things 'off the cuff' more than I have so far, for those 'aha!!' moments sitting up the front mid service... after all I can still count the number of Funerals on my fingers and thumbs... Oh and when the outdoor portable PA didn't get charged up, know that the Funeral Director has a plan B and can play that CD on the car stereo in the hearse!!!


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Midnight Oil: Any Setlist is Great But...

Of course, just to be clear, if I was asked this would be my choice setlist, it's imaginary...
In truth any songs will be dream... this one has the luxury of probably three extras...

1. Redneck Wonderland
2. Powderworks
3. Stand in Line
4. No Time for Games
5. Back on the Borderline
6. Don't Wanna Be the One
7. Power and the Passion
8.. US Forces
9. Read About It
10. Armistice Day
11. Dreamworld
12. Only the Strong
13. Short Memory
14. My Country
15. Kosciusko
16. Beds are Burning
17. Warakurna
18. The Deadheart
19. King of the Mountain
20. Blue Sky Mine
21. Sometimes

22. One Country
23. Trugannini
24. Best of Both Worlds

25. Forgotten Years
26. Hercules

Midnight Oil: A Reminder

Hat tip Cameron Sundblom, who's blogging about significant gigs and Oils experiences, for this...

"The show was another gem that reinforced how hard the band were working this tour. It’s difficult to quantify the energy of a band with as much relentless energy as the Oils, but there was something extra special about the Capricornia tour. There were no lifetime debuts this time, but we scored rare performances of Outside World, Hercules and Tin Legs and Tin Mines. Pete also issued a heartfelt thank you to the people of Sydney’s Northern Beaches for supporting them so loyally for more than 25 years. When Pete thanked the Melbourne crowd six days earlier, I took it for what he literally meant – a simple thank you. But my ears pricked up this time. This was the Oils’ spiritual home and I felt there was more subtext beneath tonight’s gratitude. I remember speaking to Martin about it after the show, but we never concluded that the end was approaching. Officially, it was now just 18 days away."

   This is the gig we NCYC 2003 mob took in as recreation and unwind from the stresses of planning and work. I've recounted elsewhere, my profanity included push in the back of the punter in front of me with his girlfriend on his shoulders, inviting them to "move away."  For goodness sake, rock festival 10,000 deep in the crowd, dating a 4' tall blonde, OK, but please... not right in front of me in Manly Leagues small room about 20m from the stage... He got one sight of me behind him, perhaps faux rage in my eyes and just said "sorry mate" as he sheepishly put her down on the floor.
   Asked later "what did I think of the gig?" I commented that when I heard how great the sound mix was for 'Diesel' I knew it would be something special but I felt I had just seen the Oils for the last time... just felt it... apart from a Tsunami and a Bushfire it was true... and now of course "The Great Circle Tour." When I told Rob Hirst about this he said he wished I'd warned them because they had no idea!! Just over 2 weeks later Pater announced he was leaving and headed off to Greenpeace AGM with Tweed Heads Leagues the final gigs!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #42 "Hercules"

So, here it is...
Although I originally planned to post daily songs right up until this coming Saturday morning, I made that decision to end today [Tuesday] because as much as you're all enthralled and my friends are just loving the resurgence of my obsession... I want to spend the next couple of days listening to full albums... in the car, at my desk... Then on Friday... silence, just to wait!!

I love good music. Although I wish I could make some I never prioritised trying to learn [too much sport, too little time] instead preferring to listen, to be inspired, to find lyrics and tunes that mattered, that transcended and made community and fun!! I've tried to share insights, song poetry and stuff that matters in my youth work and I've enjoyed the responses, debates and arguments that's led to... and occasionally seen others share my discovery...

My upbringing didn't include pubs and clubs... I've had to venture across cultures to go out and hear bands. I've found my favourites and I've listened to a diverse range of acts. I used to enjoy watching music video shows with my girls until the charts were filled with dross and the clips became soft porn, predictably fading from our screens!!

Above all else, coming to this band because I was made to listen to 10, 9, 8... and was hooked, I love that the Oils are: Australian; rock; unique; have superb musicians; harmonies and the spoken word poetry of Peter Garrett. I'm really glad he turned up for that audition and left his other band to join this endeavour...

I enjoyed seeing them live in multiple cities any tour...
I will be euphoric listening to them again, if leg weary and worried about standing up for hours.
That the songs tell stories and are about issues that matter is crucial.
I hope the 'Great Circle' isn't the end but the Oils won't pre plan, it'll be totally up to them when they discuss it, if they do. I'm so glad from everything I've seen that this is no nostalgia tour. My one reservation about heading to the Vineyards was how it's become a venue for sad imitations of former powerhouses with an audience hoping to recapture their youth and ending up thinking how old that band looks... well not this week!! From Selina's onwards it's been about rolling out the relevance, cranking up the performance and delivering to crowds who know how lucky they are [all around the world]. It hasn't been a trip down memory lane so much as a revisiting something special. Have you seen how many 'powderworks' and other punters have been taking their long suffering kids along to see if what the olds have been banging on about is anything like the folklore. I reckon I'll post my ideal setlist later [23-26 songs] and that'll do for now...

"Who'd like to change the world, who wants to shoot the curl..."
There you have it, the mix of surf loving fun and making a difference through justice and values
Thanks Midnight Oil!!!
Something I've had the chance to say to Pete and Rob.
Something I'll say in the next two weeks!!!
Singing myself hoarse, making a fool of myself, and loving it!!!

"This is something I will remember!!!"

My life is a valuable thing
I want to keep it that way, I won't cry
My life's such a valuable thing
Some things don't fade away, I don't mind
We give the best we can give
We won't forget, we can't forgive
Keep us radioactive free
Strike a bell in Hiroshima park
You know that we can't see in the dark
We try and we try and we try

Who waits for the planes to come
When everybody's got you on the run
South Pacific carry on

It seems to me that what we're saying
Nobody really wants to talk about it
This is no time to be wondering why
I do the best I can do
The human jungle and the global zoo
I'll find my way it's a very special way

Why wait for the planes to come
When everybody's got us on the run
South Pacific carry on
Here come the Hercules
Here come the submarines
Sinking south pacific dreams
This is something I will remember...

Oooiiiillllls!!  Oooiiiillllls!!  Oooiiiillllls!!

The 42 'Song a Day' List
1. Lucky Country
2. Only the Strong
3. Redneck Wonderland
4. Stand in Line
5. Profiteers
6. Section 5 Bus to Bondi
7. US Forces
8. My Country
9. Armistice Day
10. Power and the Passion
11. Read About It
12. Best of Both Worlds
13. Tin Legs and Tin Mines
14. Wedding Cake Island
15. Outside World
16. Short Memory
17. When the Generals Talk
18. Earth and Sun and Moon
19. In the Valley
20. One Country
21. Jimmy Sharman’s Boxers
22. No Time for Games
23. Sometimes
24. Progress
25. Koala Sprint
26. Luritja Way
27. Beds are Burning
28. Deadheart
29. Warakurna
30. Truganini
31. Bullroarer
32. Dreamworld
33. Blue Sky Mine
34. King of the Mountain
35. Don’t Wanna Be the One
36. Cemetery in My Mind
37. Wedding Cake Island
38. Put Down That Weapon
39. In the Valley
40. Forgotten Years
41. Koscuisko
42. Hercules

Monday, October 16, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #41 "Kosciusko"

Top 5 on my list of favourites this song is just brilliant live, whether in full blast or [as on this tour] beginning front stage and building to a full assault in the back end of it... here from Oils on the Water!!!
   It shows the strength of the tuneful melody provided by Rob First as the counter to the spoken word poetry that is PG's 'singing.' For me this song is about the struggle of aboriginal people, culture, language and land that's "older than Kosciusko."
   Threatened by European arrival, mining, business and all the policy over decades and decades, the song still resonates today. The strength of this song is it's descriptions of the violence and struggle and the driving guitar and drum rhythm make it a powerful track. It's a song about how we treat our most precious people. I suppose if you're not invested in or committed to recognition, what sovereignty might mean or at least appreciative of indigenous culture, story, language and the future of aboriginal people in this country, then the song probably isn't quite as powerful... and you'd be wrong!!

"Bind up the brokenhearted, No don't turn away, Call off the ultimatum until yesterday..."

Older than Kosciuszko
Darwin down to Alice Springs
Dealers in the clearinghouse
The settlements explode
High up in the homelands
Miners drive across the land
Encounter no resistance
When the people block the road
Older than Kosciuszko
Dry white seasons years ago
Darkness over Charleville
The fires begin to grow
No end to the hostility
Now they want to be somewhere else
No stranger to brutality
Now they'd like to be someone else
Older than Kosciuszko
Driven back to Alice Springs
Endless storm and struggle
Marks the spirit of the age
High up in the homelands
Celebration 'cross the land
Builds up like a cyclone
Now the fires begin to rage
Call off the ultimatum
No don't turn away
Call off the ultimatum until yesterday
Call off the ultimatum
No don't turn away
Bind up the brokenhearted
No don't turn away
Call off the ultimatum until yesterday

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #40 "Forgotten Years"

Watching brilliant snippets from River Stage in Brisbane and just marvelling at the crowd, like last night's epic gig at the Big Pineapple!! This song speaks for itself and always reminds me of two nights "for the homeless" at Newcastle's old Palais, well before it was knocked down... small venue, meat market length of venue bar, one flat floor, no seats, Oils just blitzed it!!!!!
Searing clip from 8 deep in Canberra... a few years ago now...

"Forgotten Years"
Few of the sins of the father, are visited upon the son
Hearts have been hard, our hands have been clenched in a fist too long
Our sons will never be soldiers, our daughters will never need guns
These are the yrs between
These are the yrs that were hard fought and won
Contracts torn at the edges, old signatures stained with tears
Seasons of war and peace, these should not be forgotten yaers
Still it aches like tetanus, it reeks of politics
How many dreams remain? This is a feeling too strong to contain
The hardest years, the darkest yrs, the roarin' yrs, the fallen yrs
These should not be forgotten yrs
The hardest yrs, the wildest yrs, the desperate and divided yrs
We will remember, these should not be forgotten yrs
Our shoreline was never invaded, our country was never in flames
This is the calm we breathe, this is a feeling too strong to contain
Still it aches like tetanus, it reeks of politics
Signatures stained with tears, who can remember
We've got to remember
The hardest...
Forsaking aching breaking yrs, the time and tested heartbreak yrs
These should not be forgotten yrs
The blinded yrs, the binded yrs, the desperate and divided yrs
These should not be forgotten yrs, remember

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #39 "In the Valley"

  I wasn't going to include this song in my walk through the Oils catalogue BUT that's only because such a deeply personal recording of a life lived needs just the right venue and occasion.
   I actually loved this song when I first heard it. In the pre social media age only a 'tragic' who pursued the story knew much of many band members lives and Peter's especially. It's only since that time I've met people who were at school with him... but if this 42 song setlist were real, then it fits after 'Put Down That Weapon' and serves as drinks break for the rhythm section ahead of blistering three song close... Read about these things in PGs memoir, hear of his brother Matthew and this song is all the more rich...
   Over obsessing with the band [and a couple of others like U2] in my Youth Work I was always keen to use their songs 'about something' to promote thinking, discussion and active choices about ethos and values... any sharing of motives, story and choices would do... even Sting, the Beatles, and goodness me 'Oasis' but as Liam would tweet "as you were"... In more recent years Mumford & Sons, Vance Joy, Missy Higgins, Paul Kelly et al would get a run...
   Not sure why but this song reminds me of a night with a few mates at the famous 'Tivoli' pub at Cabramatta. Flourescent mid riffed waitresses and decor. Front End Loader, Tim Freedman and the Oils on a week night... A bloke who yelled and interrupted the band some time later at Newtown [I think he was one and the same] took to the stage before the Oils, checking gap tape, adjusting cords etc... by the gesturing from security and the sound desk it was soon clear he was not a roadie but more likely a bipolar sufferer with delusions of grandeur. We stood at the front and I was next to a bloke I'd seen a few times before. Blonde, black t-shirt, solid and a little over excited. It's the night I caught a drumstick just before he did and he was happy for me and told me to stick it down my jeans because some idiot would try to snatch it from me on the way out [he was right]... but I saved it!!
   At one point mid song he's screaming his lungs out, we all are, and he knows all the lyrics on the night better than me and everyone else. Peter loses track and as he's looking straight at my new friend he gets the cue for the right verse and as he sings it gestures to the bloke a thank you, a sign he's an idiot for forgetting and a pointing to the guy for credit that the song wasn't derailed!!! The fella next to me just grinned and sang on... he was also flawlessly correct with the lyrics!! It wasn't this song...

"In the Valley"
My grandfather went down with the MonteVideo
The rising sun sent him floating to his rest
And his wife fled south to Sydney seeking out safe harbor
A North Shore matron she became with some paying guests
My father went down with the curse of big cities
Traffic tolls and deadlines took him to his peace
Now Bob Dyer glued us to our seats
And lawns were always Victa neat
Whilst Menzies fawned at royal fleet do you remember?
In the valley I walk, I took some comfort there
In the valley I walk, cold comfort I can hear you talk
In the valley I walk, who will take me there?
When my mother went down it was a stiff arm from Hades
Life surprises and tears you like the southerly
She always welcomed the spring always welcomed the stranger
I don't see too many around like this
Oh no, that's what I'm looking for, yeah, what we're looking for
In the valley I walk - who will take me there
In the valley I walk - cold comfort I can hear you talk
In the valley I walk - I took some comfort there
In the valley I walk - oh rough justice I hear you talk
In the valley I walk - to meet my watershed
I hope virtue brings it's own reward
And I hope the pen is mightier than any sword
I hope the kids will take it slow
I hope my country claims it's own
In the valley I walk - I cried yes I cried I was down then I crawled
Mercy's arms all around me when I was down there
In the valley I walk - do you read me they can hear me in the valley

Friday, October 13, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #38 "Put Down That Weapon"

   My generation lived at a time and with a feeling of the the genuine nuclear threat. It was the era needing a non proliferation treaty and the 'doomsday clock' was "minutes to midnight" another Oils lyric... This song says it well and urges a rethink "can you tell me will our freedom remain". It's a classic Sydney song with garden Island and Jervis Bay nearby, with Pine Gap station and a world seemingly plunged back into this space by the lunacy of Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump...
   This was an interesting single from 'Diesel and Dust' as it formed a link to an album like "Red Sails in the Sunset" with it's post apocalyptic album artwork of a crater in Sydney Harbour!! It's a great live track whether in unplugged mode or full on rocking.
   For my list it marks heading into the last five tracks... Hope Estate in October 21st and I've decided to stop my list mid week, rather than run right up to it!! I want to spend the final few days just listening to my music writ large and getting ready for something words can't describe about how excited I am to again see the Oils live... there really is nothing like it... I've seen some great bands, but the intimacy and immediacy of this music I love, the power of the rhetoric and the lyrics, the musicianship and creativity across 180+ songs... I think the Oils are down to only 20+ unplayed from their pre-tour whiteboard exercise, that's amazing!! This includes the newly announced benefit gig in Fremantle where they plan to play [10, 9,8... 10 to 1] in full!!!

Anyhow, for this song, google a current tour version and see what you think.
1987 sounds pretty good still!!

"Put Down That Weapon"
Under the waterline
No place to retire
To another time
The eyes of the world now turn
And if we think about it
And if we talk about it
And if the skies go dark with rain
Can you tell me will our freedom remain
Put down that weapon or we'll all be gone
You can't hide nowhere with the torchlight on
And it happens to be an emergency
Some things aren't meant to be
Some things don't come for free
Above the waterline
Point the finger yeah point the bone
It's the harbour towns
That the grey metal ships call home
And if we think about it
And if we talk about it
And if the seas go boiling black
Can you tell me what you'll do about that
Put down…

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #37 "Wedding Cake Island"

Thanks youtuber wilson mcphert

  Not only is this on rotation for the daily surf report on ABC Radio Newcastle BUT it's just a great piece of instrumental music [but is it?] Even suitable for weddings, say EXIT music...
   That connection with the island visible offshore at Coogee, Selina's music venue and all things Aussie beach. 'The Break' side project after PG left the Oils showed the boys connection with surf rock and instrumentals... I loved hearing them play this at Queens Wharf New and especially at Bluesfest!! I'll never forget the first time I felt really old when I heard this on the 'musak' at my local supermarket!

"Wedding Cake Island"
“There's lines of swell down at Byron Pass mate”

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #36 "Cemetery in My Mind"

Change of tack but same reflection on the grind of daily life in this inhospitable continent we seem to be still trying to tame, at least around the coast... A newer track from 'Redneck' that showed the Oils capacity to still craft a memorable tune!! That's to say nothing of this Tropfest film makers mind mend in this clip featuring the Oils in and around Sydney in various guises...

Something different for the list...

"Cemetery in My Mind"
Locked in the mall in a state of fright
Looking for salvation in a car headlight
But you can't have what you can't buy
Tomorrow is better than yesterday,
Tomorrow is better than today,
Tomorrow is better than yesterday they say
Cemetery in my mind
Cemetery in my mind
This must be my time
Wake work drink sleep retire
Tide comes up way too high
You can fall but can you rise
Cemetery in my mind,
You can fall but can you rise
There's no pulse no sign of life,
Cemetery in my mind.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #35 "Don't Wanna Be the One"

Such a brilliant rock song about Australian life...
Still just as funny to think about the fight breaking out at Newcastle Workers that stopped just before each Security foray into the crowd... where eventually Peter was singing the chorus and pointing at the instigator "I don't wanna be... the one" so he could be collared and removed!!

This far into a list of songs it reminds me I'm not one to have a wish list for upcoming concerts, the "I like their old stuff better than their new stuff" by another name... I'm probably lucky that my absolute favourites will get played between two gigs and I'll be more excited just to be in a space I never expected to experience again... songs about stuff that matters, on the right side of history, creative, poetic, timeless and reminiscent of younger days... I get it, but I'll just be ecstatic it's happening at all. Right back to when Peter left the band [an ending I felt was imminent] when friends asked I said, "no, they're not the farewell tour band" but if some natural disaster of an East Timor Appeal happened, then maybe... even for the Canberra warm ups ahead of the Bushfire Concert it was literally Peter asking out of Parliament House, changing out of the suit and getting into it... on the strength of a jam at his Canberra digs...

Of course I'll have 5 or 6 songs I wanna hear... but I won't be thinking about it in the moment...
I may even finish this list with my dream setlist, but for me, academic only!!! I do think a few new songs will emerge and some gigs will happen next year, maybe in the second half... but hey, enjoy!!!
In terms of standing there listening to a brilliant blistering 2hr set but instead being focused on what's not being played... "I don't wanna be the one..."

"Don't Wanna Be the One"
I'm an innocent victim, I'm just like you
We end up in home units with a brick wall view
I can't believe the perfect families on my colour TV
If I don't make it to the top it'll never bother me
And I don't want to be the one
I don't want to be the one
I'm an innocent bystander caught in the path
Waiting out the back while the corporate attack
Assaults the senses with relentless scenes of passion and delight
I cut up all the options and went running for my life

Monday, October 09, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #34 "King of the Mountain"

Hat tip to Powderworker Richard for the pics from one who was there...

The ideal pairing with Blue Sky Mine and another of my fav. tracks live...
The lyrics speak of Far North Queensland and although 'King of the Mountain' is a Festival involving horse riding it does get a run in connection with motor racing legend Peter Brock and it kinda works,. Jim Moginie used it himself in soundtracking the TV two nighter last year dramatising Brock's life and story...

All that aside it's one of those songs if you stop and really listen at a gig you'll hear almost the entire crowd singing along to every word [with some unusual versions where the lyrics haven't necessarily been clear]. There's only one clip to use, the EXXon protest clip the Oils made juxtaposed with their own filming alongside...

"King of the Mountain"
Walking through the high dry grass, pushing my way through slow
Yellow belly black snake, sleeping on a red rock
Waiting for the stranger to go
Sugar train stops at the crossing, cane cockies cursing below
Bad storm coming, better run to the top of the mountain

Mountain in the shadow of light, rain in the valley below
Well you can say you're Peter, say you're Paul
Don't put me up on your bedroom wall, call me the king of the mountain
Blacksmith fires up the bellows, cane cutters burning the load
Workers of the world, run to the top of the mountain

Mountain in the

I can't take my hands from my face, there are some things we can't replace

Mountain in the

Over liquid tarmac wastelands of cactus and heat
Down cobblestone alleyways of washing day sheets
Up ghost prairie mountains of sunset and space
Down the road at a familiar place, across the wilderness
Out further than the bush I will follow you

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #33 "Blue Sky Mine"

Classic Oils own clip!!!
   I remember wondering how the Oils could follow up Diesel & Dust, such a unique record, let alone world wide smash hit!! Then came this album and to me it was a different sound, more lush and commercial [but in a good catchy way] and some brilliant tunes. Many long time Oils fans don't rate this record and prefer early albums and EPs... I love this album and this song, even after the D-Gen parody "Who's Gonna Shave Me."
   The Oils decision to not relentlessly tour the world with this album but instead to take a year off and stay at home [families, tiredness etc] is well documented. Would they have been as big as U2 if they had... don't know, but ti was typical them to focus on the music and let the image and fame look after itself!! The other great story is detailed in the 20,000 Watt sleeve with Tim Winton talking Oils fandom and the WA pub eavesdrop from local miners, no Oils fans normally, reckoning at least those '^&%kickers' got that right...

"Blue Sky Mine"
Hey, hey-hey hey
There'll be food on the table tonight
Hey, hey, hey hey
There'll be pay in your pocket tonight
My gut is wrenched out it is crunched up and broken
A life that is led is no more than a token
Who'll strike the flint upon the stone and tell me why
If I yell out at night there's a reply of bruised silence
The screen is no comfort I can't speak my sentence
They blew the lights at heaven's gate and I don't know why
But if I work all day at the blue sky mine
(There'll be food on the table tonight)
Still I walk up and down on the blue sky mine
(There'll be pay in your pocket tonight)
The candy store paupers lie to the share holders
They're crossing their fingers they pay the truth makers
The balance sheet is breaking up the sky
So I'm caught at the junction still waiting for medicine
The sweat of my brow keeps on feeding the engine
Hope the crumbs in my pocket can keep me for another night
And if the blue sky mining company won't come to my rescue
If the sugar refining company won't save me
Who's gonna save me?
But if I work all day...
And some have sailed from a distant shore
And the company takes what the company wants
And nothing's as precious, as a hole in the ground
Who's gonna save me?
I pray that sense and reason brings us in
Who's gonna save me?
We've got nothing to fear
In the end the rain comes down
Washes clean, the streets of a blue sky town

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #32 "Dreamworld"

I couldn't help but choose this Marrickville Bowlo mobile phone cam version... such typical energy, even after all this time!!! This is no nostalgia tour...

#32 and now really counting... a couple of bigger venues coming up to show our UK/Europe and US 'powdies' just how crazy it's gonna get!!!

   When my youngest daughter was still being driven around in the car in a booster seat 7-10 years ago this was her song of request on the iPod plugged into the car stereo... "... the breakfast creek hotel is up for sale..." would be sung from the back of the car as we drove around trying to get her to have a nap. Here it rounds out a segment of the setlist of D&D classics... I share it today on #stopadani day in the wake of the Oils Reef Benefit gig last night with a small crowd in Cairns ahead of their bigger venue concert...
   It's a song about the 'cost' of development and the need to get out and experience and enjoy the wide open expanses of Australia's bush, space to breathe and connect with the creation and the 'dreaming' or ongoing natural story of the land as opposed to over developed urban wastelands...
   IT's just a great singalong song of warning, lament and protest!!
"Your dreamworld is just about to fall..."

The Breakfast Creek hotel is up for sale,
The last square mile of terra firma gavelled in the mail,
So farewell to the Norfolk Island pines,
No amount of make believe can help this heart of mine.
End, your dreamworld is just about to end.
Fall, your dreamworld is just about to fall,
Your dreamworld will fall.
So shut that buckle and turn that key again,
Take me to a place they say the dreaming never ends,
Open wide drive that mystery road,
Walk through eden´s garden and then wonder as you go.
Sign says honeymoon to rent
Cloud-land into dreamland turns,
The sun comes up and we all learn
Those wheels must turn.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #31 "Bullroarer"

   I love this clip because I was there and because it's so reminiscent of the same song at Newcastle Workers many times. The recording generates the unique sound of the piece of wood swung around in a circle as used in indigenous culture for a variety of purposes... I assume by now the Oils have sorted out another potential source of offence to the central Australian indigenous community it's from. I particularly remember learning about them in primary school so I'm not sure how 'secret' or tied to ceremony they are... This song is a great compliment to the others from Diesel & Dust that hang together as a brilliant trip to the red centre and it's communities...

In the desert in the dry
Before the breaking of the rain
The temperature in the shade
Had reached a hundred and ten again
In the desert in the dry
On the overland telegraph line
Don't take the law into your own hands
Don't go looking for a fight
I've heard the bullroarers
In the desert in the dry
Sun sits so high
Long day's mile and the
Radio crackles and the bones bleached white
It's a knock-em-down storm
See the tin roof shake
Wild dog howls and the long grass
Whistles and the tall trees break
I've seen the wild horses
I've heard the bullroarers
I've seen the wild horses
Shifting sands and broken plans
Lead me on to my homeland

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #30 "Truganini"

From 1993's "Earth and Sun and Moon" this song quickly became a set list standard! 
   It galvanises the crowd but also show the common links between 10,9,8... Diesel & Dust and the later Oils inspired passions. For me it's a song reflecting on the identity of our unique country and it empathises with all who struggle. In my circles it's the song that inspires me to speak about the scar on the soul of this country, our failure to embrace indigenous culture, story and people fully, that prevents us from being fully who we can be...
   Truganini was a Tasmanian aboriginal woman and like Albert Namatjira their stories may be known, but their culture, community and lives were impacted by European settlement in Australia. Peter Garrett apologised to the small remaining indigenous community in Tassie that the single liner note names the widely held view that she was the last surviving indigenous person following the genocide in that place...
   In a sense this song asks "what for?" This harsh land of drought, struggle, the 'treadmill' and all of life's challenges is seen as still being focused on our white UK heritage while failing to fully embrace rich indigenous cultures and life or in forging a prosperous future for all... who are we?
   It's timing fits the failed 1991 Referendum on Australia becoming a Republic with an Australian Head of State thanks to the lack of bipartisan support for any one model of choosing the Governor General. Rugby fans will know of the banter between the Queen and John Eales as she presents him with the 1991 Rugby World Cup... her congratulations were met with the response that apparently she had a win recently as well... 
   I've always been amazed at the lack of controversy as the audience joins in the shouts for flag burning and the more nuanced hope that Truganini and Namatjira's lives might be appropriately mourned and celebrated and the whole story told... maybe some are hearing the solidarity in the struggle no matter the circumstances. The shoulder to the grindstone image is solidly picked up in the Oils own clip for the song!! They are likely to play it at Hope Estate and also at the Domain in Sydney in the shadows of the Governor's residence and Macquarie St...
There's a road train going nowhere
Roads are cut, lines are down
We'll be staying at the Roma Bar
Till that monsoon passes on
The backbone of this country's broken
The land is cracked and the land is sore
Farmers are hanging on by their fingertips
We cursed and stumbled across that shore
I hear much support for the monarchy
I hear the Union Jack's to remain
I see Namatjira in custody
I see Truganini's in chains
And the world it won't stand still...
Blue collar work it don't get you nowhere
You just go round and round in debt
Somebody's got you on that treadmill, mate
And I hope you're not beaten yet

I hear much support for the monarchy
I see the Union Jack in flames, let it burn
I see Namatjira with dignity
I see Truganini's in chains

Gruen on Bank ATM Fees

   Loved episode 4 of this series of Gruen on ABC TV in Oz!! The show is always an insightful exploration of advertising and consumerism more broadly with a focus on Shopkins [an aussie success story] but of more interest to me was the Sunday announcement of Comm Bank removing fees for use of ATMs by non customers! The other big three followed suit...
   Crafting this as a exercise in listening and a great thing for customers seems to ignore 20 years of annoyance and feedback from said non customers. The truth would be somewhere between avoiding a royal commission and the shift in behaviour to supermarket cash out and pay wave... providing profits for EFTPOS and rendering bank ATMs less useful. This move will make them more useful and place less pressure on banks to have their own 'brand' present in the lineup!! In my own little local shopping centre it's been 70m from 2-3 ATMs and simply seeking cash out at IGA... both are now options with the newsagent half way between. It'll also be good for health as the cake shop is closer to IGA!! I assume though that fees will rise for places like pubs or small shops to host machines... Note: image is not my local shops, but it typical of larger centres...

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #29 "Warakurna"

Check this song version from the anti-logging protests in Canada in 1993!!

We are in that part of the set where 'Diesel and Dust' features and sets the tone. If I close my eyes I can still see myself sitting in the share house on the lounge listening to this CD for the very first time. I was scanning the lyrics, amazed at it's clarity and themes as this campfire songbook unfolded and invited me on the journey through the outback and into the story and struggle of our indigenous brothers and sisters!! Later reading Andrew McMillan's "Strict Rules" the story of this album would be clear. There are lines in these songs that conjure immediate images, like...

"In Redfern as there is in Alice..."

"Some folks live in water tanks

Some folks live in red brick flats..."

I remember thinking how gutsy it was to name these issues around European impact on indigenous culture but also the need that one way or another change is needed and however flawed, it's images and advocacy like this that led to focus on the "Close the Gap" types of programs...

It begins with the ethos or value that "There is enough for everyone..." a clear message to dominant culture that our attitude, laws and responses need to be challenged and changed!!

Many a concert as the music goes acoustic all you can hear is a room full of very bloke voices singing out every line... "Diesel and dust is what we breathe..." it always makes me feel very Australian and brings back vivid images of the red dust of WA...

There is enough for everyone
In Redfern as there is in Alice
This is not the Buckingham Palace
This the crown land
This is the brown land
This is not our land
Some folks live in water tanks
Some folks live in red brick flats
There is enough, the law is carved in granite
It's been shaped by wind and rain
White law could be wrong
Black law could be strong
Warakurna, cars will roll
Don't drink by the water hole
Court fines on the shopfront wall
Beat the grog and save your soul
Some people laugh, some never learn
This land must change or land must burn
Some people sleep, some people yearn
This land must change or land must burn
Diesel and dust is what we breathe
This land don't change and we don't leave
Some people live, some never die
This land…

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #28 "The Deadheart"

It's not a contest for which song today as Midnight Oil follow their Kintore school gig with a continuation of the 'Great Circle' in Alice Springs and by all grainy mobile phone videos, reports and setlist grabbers versions, it rocked!! Why not, songs with spirit inspired by the red dust, in that dust!!

It looked like a concert for the fans and the 'powderworkers' were out in force!! I knew a few in the crowd... some in the front row and a few at the back... no doubt. It looked like a lot of fun!!  That includes appropriate respect for traditional owners and support of local and other musicians and singers as this tour is doing...

I've written plenty about this song in the past and the chant that begins as punters recognise the jamming that leads into it and invites a whole of crowd participation... how great to be able to sing about "The Deadheart" in The Deadheart!! I am not certain non members will be able to see this one clip I picked out for fandom, a glimpse and because I potentially know at least two of those backs of heads in the front!! Maybe you'll see it here
With thanks to Alexander Kesselaar for sharing the highlight!!!

The song was a crowd favourite from the very first play but has only become more and more that moment in a gig when everyone is engaged, whether wondering how everyone knew to start that chant or joining in on it!!!

For the semi interested playing along and wondering what I'm doing with these posts, it's all controversial and provocative because not all Aussies would agree with it's premise, sentiment or what this song calls for... I wholeheartedly stand by and support what it's saying despite finding it challenging as I am complicit in the problem to the extent I need to do more to support and advocate for it's key message... that indigenous lives, story, culture, language and future all matter and need to be not just protected but redressed, redeemed, recognised and compensated as well as celebrating dot art we need real reconciliation and an ongoing relationship that restores indigenous sovereignty in whatever ways we can today!!

This clip for Bushfire Benefit!!

"The Deadheart"
do do do do do do do do...
We don't serve your country
Don't serve your king
Know your custom don't speak your tongue
White man came took everyone

We don't serve your country
Don't serve your king
White man listen to the songs we sing
White man came took everything

We carry in our hearts the true country
And that cannot be stolen
We follow in the steps of our ancestry
And that cannot be broken...
do do do do do do do do...

Monday, October 02, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #27 "Beds are Burning"

Back from holiday and working out of my planned order...
From the Sydney Olympics Closing Ceremony "Sorry Suits" [October 1st 2000] to gigs all over the place this song is a special part of the Oils story. Inspired by their relationship with Australia's indigenous people and central Australia I'm so proud such a band and a song exists... It costs us very little to offer Acknowledgment  of Indigenous connections with the land wherever we gather for events/community but it speaks volumes for those who go further and build genuine relationships with those who hold custodianship of the land where they are...

"Last night Midnight Oil played a special gig at the Walungurru School in Kintore with local group, The Running Water Band. The small desert town is located about 10 hours drive west of Alice Springs. While the show had not been announced formally, word had spread through surrounding remote communities via the bush telegraph since local elders had invited the Oils to return. 
This part of Australia has held a special place in the hearts of the band since they first played here with Warumpi Band back in 1986 on the tour which inspired "Diesel & Dust" and lead to Kintore being namechecked in the lyrics of "Beds Are Burning". The highlight of last night's gig was an impromptu mid-song performance of "Wipeout" in which kids from the local school were invited onstage to help with the drum solos. The Australian leg of "The Great Circle 2017" formally commences tonight in Alice Springs." 
Midnight Oil

"Beds are Burning"
Out where the river broke
The bloodwood and the desert oak
Holden wrecks and boiling diesels
Steam in forty five degrees
The time has come
To say fair's fair
To pay the rent
To pay our share
The time has come
A fact's a fact
It belongs to them
Let's give it back
How can we dance
When our earth is turning
How do we sleep
While our beds are burning
How can we dance
When our earth is turning
How do we sleep
While our beds are burning
The time has come
To say fair's fair
To pay the rent
Now to pay our share
Four wheels scare the cockatoos
From Kintore East to Yuendemu
The western desert lives and breathes
In forty five degrees
The time has come
To say fair's fair
To pay the rent
To pay our share
The time has come
A fact's a fact
It belongs to them
Let's give it back
How can…

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #26 "Luritja Way"

Back from holidays and trying to stay awake for a bit longer!!
The album that grows on you, inspired by the novel "Capricornia" by Xavier Herbert, contains this track that was a staple live track in those solid final Oils years first time around...

Described as a project with some songs the Oils had worked on for years, it felt to me like a final chance to finish them and get them out there... I really liked it but felt the end was close!!!

Anyhow, who ever truly thought they'd be back... not a band fit for the baby boomer 'Day on the Green' nostalgia tours, the Oils would always need something like an ambitious world tour or another huge national disaster or indigenous cause to fire them up!!! The Great Circle perhaps...

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #25 'Koala Sprint'

Audio link from Tanelhorn here
I had the chance to attend but chose not to and always mostly regretted it. Struggling at Uni, hated camping, lonely and yet could have discovered the Oils much earlier!!!

Lyrics posted later

See you Monday Aussie time with post relevant to Alice Springs!!!

Pumphouse: Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #24 "Progress"

Pumphouse: Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #24 "Progress": In honor of last day in NYC here is the Exxon clip... Sorry I can't see embed code on phone viewing but watch it here I remember my...

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #24 "Progress"

In honor of last day in NYC here is the Exxon clip...
Sorry I can't see embed code on phone viewing but watch it here
I remember my first ever listen to this frantic EP and excitement about a band whose songs were about justice, warnings and stuff that really mattered!!
I'd studied 'manhattanisation' in youth culture and used this song to talk about bigger values!!!
Might be on a break out of wifi for a week... will catch up!!

Say yes to a real life ambition,
say yes to our hopes and our plans
Forget about your indecision, 
let's get the beast off our land
A tree that can grow no longer, 
a beach that has got no sand
I would pay out a king's ransom, 
if we could just understand
Got your last meal, filled up with pesticide
Hamburger chain third world infanticide
Got robot car your jobs will disappear
It's the politics of a brand new year
Manhattanization is coming, 
open your eyes if you dare
Carry us on to the crossroads, 
come to your senses and care
16 million, I can't hear you at all*.  *23 million

Some say that's progress
I say that's cruel

You may be safe in your hemisphere
But there's so much junk in the stratosphere
We got our eyes on the firmament, 
hands on the armaments
Heads full of arguments, 
and words for our monuments
I won't deny it, can we survive?

Some say that's progress
I say that's cruel.....

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #23 "Sometimes"

I know that the sunset empire shudders and shakes
I know there's a floodgate and a raging river
I say the silence of the ribbons of iron and steel
I say hear the punch drunk huddle drive hammer and steel
Sometimes you're beaten to the call
Sometimes you're taken to the wall
But you don't give in
I know that the cannibals wear smart suits and ties
I know they arm wrestle on the altar
I say don't leave your heart in a hard place
Sometimes you're shaken to the core
Sometimes the face is gonna fall
But you don't give in

One of my absolute favourite Oils tracks EVER...
A bit soft I guess, but it often makes me cry at a concert in he way it captures the emotion of struggle and I can almost visualise the faces of those I know 'doing it tough'...
I too have had moments where this song has encouraged "But you don't give in"

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #22 "No Time for Games"

This Capitol Theatre clip is another showing the power of the Oils and the energy they draw from a  crowd. "NO Time for Games" seemed to 'strike a chord' with throngs of young people and young adults in many a darkened venue I've been to over the years. It echoes the Oils early sound, it rocks but it also demonstrates the Oils musicianship. Finally, it's the kind of song that highlights  the uniqueness Pete brings to the band!!

"No Time for Games"
The raising of children, the rearing of young
Used to be simple but look what it's become
The choice of career, the proper vocation
Out of your hands, all for the needs of the nation
No inhibitions with the modern child
Wasted lessons or pleasure or pain
Easy to follow your natural instinct
Easy to follow, much too hard to learn
Useless expressions and sporting aggression
Don't waste my time, I can't wait for the end of the session

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #21 "Jimmy Sharman's Boxers"

"Jimmy Sharman's Boxers"
From the red dust north of Dalmore Downs
Sharman's tents roll into town
Twelve will face the auctioneer
Sharman's Boxers stand their ground
Their days are darker than your nights
But they won't be the first to fall
Children broken from their dreams
But they won't be the first to fall
Fighting in the spotlight
Eye's turn blacker than their skin
For Jimmy Sharman's boxers
It's no better if you win
Standing in the darkness
Lined up waiting for the bell
The days are wasted drinking
At the first and last hotel
Why are we fighting for this?
Why are you paying for this?
You pay to see me fall like shrapnel
To the floor
What is the reason for this?
There is a reason for this?
What is the reason they keep coming back for more?
The blows now bring him to his knees
But still the crowd calls out for more
The drums are burning in his ears
The man keeps counting out the score

Why are we fighting for this? Why are you paying for this?
Great questions about entertainment v exploitation, talent v stereotyping

It's a haunting reflection on the costs to the participants of this kind of 'entertainment troupe'
Powderworkers will be familiar with the brilliant t-shirt doing the rounds!!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Song a Day' #20 "One Country"

Brilliant band clip for an inspired and reflective song that would be a great candidate for national anthem!! Before data projectors it was a feature clip at my wedding, courtesy of a huge TV perched precariously atop the piano!! Ken Duncan's photos aren't bad either!!

It's a rallying call designed to inspire action for the 'common good'

“One Country” Midnight Oil
Who'd like to change the world
Who wants to shoot the curl
Who gets to work for bread
Who wants to get ahead

Who hands out equal rights
who starts and ends that fight
And not rant and rave
Or end up a slave

Who can make hard won gains
Fall like the summer rain
Now every man must be
What his life can be
So don't call me the tune, I will walk away

Who wants to please everyone
Who says it all can be done
Still sit up on that fence
No-one I've heard of yet

Don't call me baby
Don't talk in maybes
Don't talk like has-beens
Sing it like it should be

Who laughs at their nagging doubts
Lying on a neon shroud, running around
Just got to touch someone
I want to be

So don't call me the tune, I will walk away

One country one
Country one country

Who wants to sit around
Turn it up, turn it down
Only a man can be
What his life can be

One vision
One people
One landmass
We are defenceless
We have a lifeline

One ocean
One policy
Seabed lies
One passion
One movement
One instant
One difference
One lifetime
One understanding

One country
One understanding

One island
One placemat
One firmament
One element
One moment
One fusion
Yes, and one time

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Midnight Oil 'Some a Day' #19 "In the Valley"

"In the Valley"
My grandfather went down with the MonteVideo
The rising sun sent him floating to his rest
And his wife fled south to Sydney seeking out safe harbor
A North Shore matron she became with some paying guests
My father went down with the curse of big cities
Traffic tolls and deadlines took him to his peace
Now Bob Dyer glued us to our seats
And lawns were always Victa neat
Whilst Menzies fawned at royal fleet do you remember?
In the valley I walk, I took some comfort there
In the valley I walk, cold comfort I can hear you talk
In the valley I walk, who will take me there?
When my mother went down it was a stiff arm from Hades
Life surprises and tears you like the southerly
She always welcomed the spring always welcomed the stranger
I don't…

What Pete describes as 'this song about my family' shot in a community they enjoy visiting and felt like staying with. A raw song where after exposing the tough stories of losing his mother and father, Pete tossed in not only the idea of hope, but mentions a few

I hope virtue brings it's own reward
And I hope the pen is mightier than any sword
I hope the kids all take it slow
And I hope my country claims it's own


Not sure if I'll keep up the pace on holidays for two weeks but we'll see