Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Movies 2017

It's that time of year... here are the movies I've seen in 2017!!
You'll be able to tell from the expanded number that I took a flight to the US return and had collectively about 4-5 hrs sleep in 36hrs... 
I think I've remembered them all, far fewer in the cinema than some times.

Best film I enjoyed in 2017: jury still out...


Films:
"John Wick 2" ludicrously great, love the premise of contract assassins not doing business in the hotel 
"Logan" close to great X Men finale story
"Before I Fall" thoughtful
"Beauty and the Beast" filled in 3hrs
"T2 Trainspotting" a couple of stunning cinematic moments
"Ghost in the Shell" derivative but hey
"Backburning" short film, great insight into the Oils time in the outback talking reunion
"Step" doc-film about a School for struggling students with a hip hop program
"The Zookeepers Wife" stunning
"The Fate of the Furious" better than some but sign of Hollywood in need of some inspiration
"The Circle" almost a great film and premise
"Guardians of the Galaxy 2" even better than the first one
"King Arthur Legend of the Sword" stunning special effects (code for dud story)
"Snatched" I want my money back
"Alien Covenant" I liked it a lot more than I expected to but always feel dudded by the sequel set up
"Atomic Blonde" almost great
"Wakefield" I loved this, would have enjoyed more story development
"Baywatch" air flight fodder
"Wonder Woman" a good start finished with a whimper 
"The Mummy" surprised how good this was
"Cars 3" give it up
"Transformers The Last Knight" it was OK
"Spiderman Homecoming" 5/10
"Going in Style" air flight fodder
"War on the Planet of the Apes" hard to get into, lost it's way, so much potential
"Dunkirk" hmmmnn, The cinematic technique didn't grab me and the film made me angry
"McLaren" great insights into F1 and Bruce McLaren'd driven genius
"American Assassin" 2hrs of my life I won't get back
"American Made" Tom Cruise mis-cast but it did work and is a cracking yarn
"Blade Runner 2049" proving yet again dystopia isn't my thing
"Thor Rangnarok" Moments of brilliance mixed with schmalz...
"Justice League" An OK start, great escapist day off material

2017 was the year of leaving the cinema or turning off the film early:
"The Lego Batman Movie" I just couldn't get into it, I thought why bother
"The Boss Baby" started watching and just thought... I just don't care about this story
"Kong Skull Island" Just not interested at all

Catch ups ahead:
Have pre ordered Ben Elton’s "Three Summers"
"Star Wars The Last Jedi" 12.20am session tomorrow night Thursday early hours
"I, Tonya" with Margot Robbie
"Pitch Perfect 3" cringe worthy entertainment
"Kingsman: The Golden Circle" appeals to my humour
"Wonder Wheel" sounds interesting, not great reviews but that's Woody Allen
"Downsizing" like the premise, hope it works
"Murder on the Orient Express" willing to try it

"Flatliners" I like the actors for this remake 

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 12th December 2017


The Edge
   It's been a busy day despite taking some space after Monday. It finished at the annual Dance Studio "Showcase" with the girls lightest workload since they first started but nonetheless a full program that went smoothly, had some great music and reasonable costumes (which has not all been true of every year in the past). This photo is the blackened spotlit stage with the line of blue LED lights to make the edge of the stage before the rope safety net over the orchestra pit!!
  We sat there with time to reflect on the day and await the dance numbers... on the edge of the night, hoping all the dancers would stay away from the edge of the stage... note to HSPA, there's a few dud globes there...
   The blackened stage is like the potential... it could have been a long drawn out ordeal, it turned out to be quite entertaining. Each day has potential, how do we make sure each is the best to can be, how do we go the edge and serve, live and build?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 11th December 2017


Uniform
   Today was a pretty big day, symbolised by taking three shirts and three ties to fit two separate Funerals of different nature because of the people and their story. In fairness I mostly chose according to comfort and the weather, switching ties, my jacket was never going to rate...
   These shirts reflect the changing nature of my vocation in recent years and find me still stashing  shorts and t-shirts in the car for 'after' so can I be comfortable and leave my 'uniform' behind...
   Today was made even busier by being Advent and the time in the lead up to Christmas... with it's many events and parties!! I also had significant computer issues unfolding last night that kept me awake for hours (hence a few mangled sentences today with a brain in neutral at times. I suppose in a round about way these clothes are about choices, identity and engagement with a bigger story... yet they still aren't really ME... perhaps that would better with a loss of 25kgs or more... wait, what...


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 10th December 2017


   Today I scarcely have a few minutes to stop and think apart from my preparations for a big day tomorrow!! In a way it reminds me of standing in Times Square Manhattan on a Friday or Saturday night in warm weather (as we did at the end of September). Bustling isn't a strong enough word and the crowd is a just a sea of multi-cultural wonder!!
   If you're walking you just need to keep moving, if you've stopped you need a spot to sit and escape the mayhem. I love the schmaltz, the neon and LED advertising and signs. It's one of my favourite places in the world... but it's busy!!
   This Advent as we ponder the madness of recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel pre-emptively, I am reminded of the visible signs in Times Square of tension and fear... the helmeted special Police Squad carrying heavy weapons and the concrete blocks on corners regulating foot and vehicular traffic in such a busy place.
   Standing here was exhilerating and had been a long wait... still we wait...

UCA Hunter UYF Equipment Clean Up


   Finally we got a team of 13+ volunteers together to sort out the gear that previously needed to be dumped in the Presbytery Office. Earlier garage sales and clean ups left gear that could be useful but we no longer run events they're needed for and this was a chance to see who else could use it!!
   Nice serendipity for a bush site, the accidental 'garage sale' sign on a nearby post and the price of scrap metal!!! Thanks to all helpers and the opportunity to donate a small amount of money to Merewether Kitchen from passers-by!!
   It was poignant to give away lighting and pots n pans that have served for over 30 years. Dishes for tuna mornay, frankfurt's and soup at easter Camp etc etc. Not to forget the remaining collection of rubber mats from the Car-thedral at NCYC 2003 at Newcastle Uni carpark!!

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 9th December 2017

 
   I've been waiting to use this photo (not one of mine) with a 'Back to the Future' Doc Emmett Brown Delorean crashing the Nativity. It's a good Saturday pick. I've been reading background and commentary on the Christmas story. The story of 'one of us' born into a poor family who were rendered refugees from Herod's genocide. The story of how another world is possible and the unfolding story of 'peace' and hope in opposition to the Roman occupation. Into that scene comes inventor and explorer Doc Brown at 87mph. Just wondering who was a ancestor of Biff Tannen and where the McFly family fit in... anything to do with the Inn?

Friday, December 08, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 8th December 2017


"Finished"
   That's a much enjoyed mug of Latte from Biv's Coffee House at Morisset!! An oasis in a busy week. Free wifi, wonderful staffers and space to type, create, catch up and just get work done on a day when the internet had been patchy down the road so I knew I could get the tasks  done and create space later to both go to my Office but also eventually stop, walk and letterbox drop and just sit!!
   Thinking today of the people of Palestine, the contested nature of Jerusalem at the centre of the Christian story not just the Jewish and Palestinian conflict (Oh Father Abraham, what have you done?). My coffee, finished...

"Bullet the Blue Sky" U2 from the 360 Tour



   Many months ago I commented that I couldn't react to every twist and turn in the Trump fiasco as it would be relentless. From time to time it's apt to take pause and ponder the carnage. That includes this week's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's Capital.
   How appropriate in Advent, to highlight the trauma and turmoil from "the many sons of Father Abraham" reflected on so starkly in U2's 360 tour with the theme of 'coexist." The world is a more dangerous place today thanks to the Republicans...
   The connection is that this song reflects on the US secretive but robust and invasive 'foreign policy' and especially the 1970s and 1980s in Central America and other parts of the world. As U2 always do, they reframe their songs to speak the same message into the current day content, hence taking on religious differences, tension, terror and the impact of behind the scenes and out front interference in the name of freedom, democracy and reliable oils supplies. We pray 'peace,' God hear our prayers...

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 7th December 2017


How's the serenity? Only a day late!! 
   This photo makes me laugh. It's from Myuna Bay and on the right day, like yesterday, the water is glassy and draws your eyes in as though it's metres deep. I sat here in the busyness, but what makes me laugh is, I didn't feel I had time to get out of the car. In truth it was great to stop for 5 mins but in haste to take the picture I parked side on and hit the window down button, took the snap and drove off. Only after I drove off did I realise the drivers side window had gone down, not the passengers. So my picture has dust and grime and spots from the window. A great contrast, a serene space for reflection, taken so fast it's through a car window, through the tinted dirty glass.
   I will remedy this later today with a trip to Newcastle Harbour for a walk and maybe fish n chips!! The girls are shopping in Sydney and doing the annual concert thing with cousins. 'Max' and I will crash after a busy day and lots of preparations for the weekend and Monday!! Advent!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflections 6th December 2017


"Renew"
   When I get the chance I enjoy heading into the city of Newcastle. I bike or walk at the Foreshore, spend time at Six Degrees when I need to write creatively, chill at Honeysuckle or just sit and enjoy the Harbour. It's a spiritual discipline for both time out and work.
   I'm out of step with a few friends in believing the light rail will be the making of this part of Newcastle. At the moment it's a nightmare of course and my support is conditional. The best scenario will, be the ability to alight from your train, cross the platform and hop on light rail to carry on. It's great it'll stretch to Pacific Park but I'm not sure we've got any more infrastructure to trade away to pay for the obvious extensions to the Stadium and the Uni.
   It's already opening up the Harbour and enabling a stroll from Hunter St and back... there is green amongst the development that wasn't meant to be going onto the old corridor (never did believe those assurances)...
   Here in the picture is the outer edge of Newcastle Railway Station. I expect any Market and Arts District will flounder around for years until they finally work out what will be popular, the nearby lawn will be great and who knows what else will go in. It all reminds me of the change agent task and the need to give permission for experiments, not failures, attempts we learn from and move on from in the pursuit of substance over form... renew, certainly an Advent task!!

Advent B&W Photo Reflections 5th December 2017


 'Deep Water'
  This is one of my favourite photos from the time when I was regularly swimming laps for exercise and for enjoyment of the space it offers. 
   This is Mayfield Pool, then owned and operated by Newcastle Council. I wanted the pool to be empty of people to have space to be there but with enough activity it wouldn't be closed and about 9.30am was the perfect time. Now run by Lane 4 Aquatics my own schedule and focus mean finding other places to swim... 
   DEEP WATER isn't about it being scary, it's about immersing yourself and pushing through!!! It's a picture of the ability to get lost in thought and to enjoy sun, effort and thinking... It's from the vantage point of putting on shoes and socks after a swim, adding a post to a Facebook group of folks encouraging each other to exercise and then finally heading back into the day... 

Monday, December 04, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflections 4th December 2017


   The idea behind these photos is to 'take time' to intentionally be 'waiting' for what the Christmas Season can be all about. Today's photo is from September but it represents a reminder that I went this morning into town and spent a time sitting in the park and reflecting on life, the universe and all things... that park reminded me of this for more spectacular one. This garden is at the beginning of one end of the NYC 'Highline.' This is a disused raised freight rail line from about 13th St up to the late 30, early 40 Sts. It's been turned into a Trust managed walk and Community Garden that is just unique and spectacular... I loved being there on a warm day and walking it's length with my family!!
   It had not existed on my previous trips so it was new for all of us. Advent should be about doing new things!! There are sculptures, gardens, paintings, seats, bleachers, viewing platforms and the 10th Ave overhang that make it a varied and interesting way to see Manhattan.
   It reminds me of what people can do with intent, cooperation and listening, with a common will and the imagination to work positively!
 

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflections 3rd December 2017


   "I put up the Christmas Lights" yesterday at home and when I say "I" of course I mean, with "the helper" who this year took on design work and the rope light tasks and did a great job! With two teenagers in the household it's still a fun task and a feature of this season of celebrations!!
   For many years my budget is about $100 which has been spent replacing worn out or dodgy light strings or where possible adding features, including last years laser ball. Other strings are now LED and so there may be a few additions in the next few years!! This pic includes a tree on  a stick that flashes different colours. Our front porch features LED icicles and a red rope light that made the task so simple. We won't win any awards but the whole shebang works on solar or two timers so it's seamless...
   Christmas holds so many life memories of Nanna's place, cooking, roast lunch, pressies and backyard cricket. It's a story of engaging in the story of hope and humanity it's about. I love summer so it's always a special time... In more recent decades of course there's new family connections and traditions and the tension around arrangements and how the day will be spent. Fortunately the focus on kids takes some of the pressure off for an introvert who works over the time... then able to crash in January for much needed recreation when the cricket seems to genuinely come into it's own.
   In that sense this photo speaks a lifetime of memories...

Advent B&W Photo Reflections 2nd December 2017


   Tradition is something I'm used to reframing... in sport, my attitude to community and my vocation. But sometimes simple homemade 'practices' unique to a time or place carry on and create their own meaning. So it is for myself and a bunch of mates who maybe 25-30 years ago started to wear red socks to friends Weddings and to offer the blokes involved a few (read a few packets) of "Fruit Tingles." On occasion one of our number would walk to the front of the church 'just before' the arrival of the Bride and make a point of handing over the packet/s... I varied only in my era of mixed socks, which still gets a run today, by wearing one red and one orange sock...
For a few years, through a variety of life circumstances taking me out of my friendship circle, I gave up the practice and I haven't been to a Wedding for years... Today, officiating, I wore my red socks and provided the groom and groomsmen with a last moment lolly!!! I laughed!
   It takes me back to great times, to seminal life shaping times and to stories and experiences that shaped who I am... for me that's Advent, "staying awake" to the story we know, looking forward to ho it will be in the future... reframed, not lost, relived and significant!!

Friday, December 01, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflections 1st December 2017


   I decided as a reflective practice this Advent (waiting & preparing) to post a b&w photo each day. I'd be happy just to have time to either take the picture or to stop and look. I get to make the rules so I don't have to take the picture on the day or at all, but I will try to do that for most of them. I'm also doing this to journal so it may have people and explanations. I lost the credit to this one but I will find it and add it later.
   This is Aussie band Midnight Oil of course, apart from drummer Rob Hirst. In this image a "Great Circle World Tour" comes home!!! After getting back together and absolutely nailing it for energy, timely messages and as you can see they just loved doing it. To me it reflects finding your groove or your vocation and putting everything into what's required but also being able to step away from the stage and enjoy life.
   For a band where both Martin and Jim have their statue-esque nights I think the energy or the crowd and the songs carried them along many a night from video and images I've been following. Over many years I've had these moments in work and sport, but there have also been frustrations, periods of disappointment and times of question. At the moment I love what I'm doing, with very few exceptions. There's opportunity to build community, to focus and to be around for things to grow. There are experiences bringing 30 years to bear and other times of learning for and from firsts. The energy carries me along and the challenges are just that... not the relentless disappointments of other times and places.
 

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!!!"

"Hercules"
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..."

"Kosciusko"
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..."

"Dreamworld"
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.