Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hallelujah!!! A Chance to Post

While the brainiacs at Google and Blogger have been frigging around with the site, tools and format of our blogs I have missed the opportunity to join colleagues in the blogasphere in:

Naming my Top Five Crap Movies I Still Love to Watch
Passing on a Tag about Five Things the World Doesn't Know About Me
Inviting my readers to contribute to naming the 100 artists featured in the new clip for U2's single "Window in the Skies"

If I ever get back on I'll include details of the above....
If you don't see anthing new until about January 20th you'll know I'm in Perth for the Uniting Church's national youth event NCYC "Agents of Change"
and then The Youth Unit's Summer camp here in NSW/ACT... and follow the links to register etc

See ya soon.... maybe later maybe sooner!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Rob Hirst' ARIA Hall of Fame Speech

By popular demand, here it is...

"Not so long ago we were the latest models on the showroom floor. Shiny and new, no rust, ready for the road, good for 500 gigs before needing a service. Of course, we needed a bit of polish.

By the mid-80's the car was left in the garage, while we toured Europe and North America in buses and flying machines. We played in some unlikely places: a bullring in France, an old U-Boat factory in Germany, a major traffic intersection in NYC. And we recorded albums on a farm in England and an office block in Tokyo.

But all the travel simply made us cherish our own country more.

We made friends in the desert, and wrote songs about the beauty and tragedy of the Aboriginal Nation. We joined forces with the millions who see the potential, and the perils, of the Australian destiny.

2000 came around, a rare moment of peace and goodwill. Yet even before the thrill and the smoke of the Sydney Olympics began to fade, great changes were being made.

Last week GW Bush finally admitted that Iraq may prove to be his Vietnam, but Vietnam inspired some of the greatest protest songs ever written. Not so now, surprisingly, even when hundreds of thousands of Australians crowded our streets to demonstrate their opposition to another senseless war. Maybe complaint rock is still being written, but is ignored by an industry hypnotised by get-famous-fast TV shows. Bless you, John Butler, but you shouldn't have to do it all by yourself.

Of course, everything eventually turns around, as Bush's predecessor of two centuries past, Thomas Jefferson, observed: 'A little patience and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles'.

There are so many to thank on this amazing journey, this strange fantastic dream. Thank you Denis Handlin and everyone now and then at CBS, Sony, and Sony/BMG. Our history is tied to yours - in fact, Denis was still packing shelves at Artarmon when we were packing shit at the Antler.

Thanks to our own cheer squad, past and present: our manager, Gary Morris, our office bearers, particularly Arlene and Craig; our crew, especially Michael and Nick; our tour managers, from Constance to Willie; our producers, chiefly Nick and Warne; and our first two bassplayers, Bear and Giffo. And thanks most of all to our families, who put up with long-absent husbands and fathers, and who graciously accepted our middle-distance stares and our long-distance phonecalls. They've seen us at our worst, trying to dial room service at home, or complaining that there's no TV in the bathroom. But they might also have to admit - like us - that when it's all been said and done, it's been lots of fun."
Rob, Oct 06

Silverchair Salute the Oils

Sunday, December 10, 2006

U2 "Window in the Skies"

"Window in the Skies"
The shackles are undone
The bullets quit the gun
The heat thats in the sun
Will keep us when there's none
The rule has been disproved
The stone has been moved
The grain is now a groove
All debts are removed, ooh
Oh can't you see what our love has done
Oh can't you see what our love has done
Oh can't you see what our love has done
What it's doing to me
Love makes strange enemies
Makes love when love may please
Soul in a strip tease
Hate brought to its knees
Sky over our head
Can reach it from our bed
If you let me in your heart
And out of my head
Oh can't you see what our love has done
Oh can't you see what our love has done
Oh can't you see what our love has done
What it's doing to me
Oh oh oh hhhhhhhhhhh
Oh oh oh hhhhhhhhhhh
Please don't ever let me out of here
I've got no shame oh no oh no
Oh can't you see what love has done
Oh can't you see
Oh can't you see what love has done
What it's doing to me
Oh I know I hurt you and I made you cry
Did everything but murder but you and I
But love left a window in the skies
And to love I rhapsodize
Oh can't you see what love has done to every broken heart
Oh can't you see what love has done for every heart that cries
Love left a window in the skies
And to love I rhapsodize
Oh can't you see

Greetings all from sunny and warm Perth, Western Australia
Over here to help with Small Group Leadership Training for NCYC 2007 Perth.
The place is overrun with distraught POMS from the Barmy Army!!

Note above, the provisional lyrics for the fascinating new U2 single to be released in various formats on January 1... see for details...

The YouTube video previous post is atop a Japanese sky scraper and Bono's voice sounds just about shot.... ggod luck all those in Hawaii at the combined gig with Pearl Jam...

I feel an Easter song coming on!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Festive Stocking Stuffers

I'm on the path of an Aussie distributor for some of these great products for an inspired Christmas gift here and there!! Same US distributor also sells Jesus Nodder and Jesus Pencil Tops..... table friends had these with orange and blue cards as "Consensus Jesus" at Assembly last July!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Homebake 2006

Music fans rock at Homebake festival
Saturday Dec 2 19:22 AEDT
Thousands of eager Australian music fans have converged on Sydney's Domain for the annual Homebake Festival.

Around 20,000 fans have rocked through patchy rain [patchy rain... it bucketed down!!]
to a line-up of Australia's best home-grown talent. Perth Indy rock band Little Birdy, which is playing at the event's main stage for the first time, said it is "pretty cool" to be involved in an Australian music festival.

"There's so many others that the majority of drawcards are international bands," said Little Birdy drummer Matt Chequer. "And to be able to have a festival of 20,000 people that is just all Australian bands is great."

This year's festival will be headed by Newcastle band Silverchair, which played at the very first Homebake in 1996.

Other acts include Eskimo Joe, You Am I, The Vines, Toni Collette and The Finish, Something for Kate and the Hilltop Hoods.

A St Johns Ambulance spokesperson said there had been no major injuries so far at this year's event and expects the day to remain incident free. "We've got it down pat," he said. "We don't expect anything out of the ordinary." Police said while there were no serious incidents, praising the general behaviour of revellers, they had seized drugs with a street value of about $5,500.
Police dogs sniffed out drugs 72 times, leading to 48 people being arrested and charged, police said. Among those arrests were 17 people charged with supplying a drug and two with having goods in custody.

Police seized 79 ecstasy pills, more than 80g of cannabis and a quantity of cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine. Mmmmm that's HOMEBAKE alright!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Belinda Emmett's song

I'd normally just want to say how sad it is that Belinda Emmett [aged 32] has died from the cancer she bettled for eight years and then I'd want to spare a thought for all the Rove's and Belinda's out there who aren't famous and who this happens to every day... reminding us that we don't actually know celebrities but that their lives and examples can reflect what's happening for so many other people we do know. In this way if they teach us anything its that the world is sometimes a tough place, we don't have control of everything and the need for community, meaning and belonging have never been greater.

BUT let me go on to add that you will discover, see and hear Belinda Emmett's song relased by her family and downloadable froma number of sources... the words for which leave me catching my breathe... like a good REM lyric she captures her own story in simple yet deep language and imagery, shouldering the burden of the life she's been given and pondering its nature to the very end... Vale Belinda Emmett!!

Less Than Perfect
Looked into the cards
My fate amongst the spread
Following my stars
And analysing what's been said
Been writing down my dreams
Which later I'd dissect
Just trying to find some meaning in this life
Less than perfect
This life less than perfect
Looking for a signal
A sign amongst the throng A
glance into my past
To see where I went wrong
Been writing down my feelings
Which I fiercely protect
Just trying to find some meaning in this life
Less than perfect
This life less than perfect
Have you ever wondered
What it would be like
To be somebody else
With their perfect, perfect life?
But it's mine to carry
Mine to own
And it's not so scary
To carry it alone
And the wonder of it all
Sometimes it's hard to see
Sometimes I wanna crawl away
And go to sleep
In this life less than perfect
Have you ever wondered
What it would be like
To be somebody else
With their perfect, perfect life?
But it's mine to carry
Mine to own
And it's not so scary
To carry it alone
So here I am with my
Less than perfect life
Here I stand with my
Less than perfect life
Less than perfect life
Less than perfect life.

Hear and download at
and the Sydney Morning Herald site

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

U2's Third Show in Sydney

Well, I could have joined mate Foxy and friends inside the elipse tonight BUT was happy with getting a few things done during the day and getting a position infront of the wheelchair ramp and near the VIPs enclosure with reasonable undrunk punters around me!!

You know I've figured out some of my experience but I can say that the stage was too low... I am 6' 2" [in the old money] and could only just see half of each character over the crowd. The screen on the other hand was the full experience and the sound was way less echo-ing!!

What a remarkable band...
BUT I know its seems ridiculous given my still sore ears BUT it wasn't loud enough... I felt the whoosh of the bass in my ribs a couple of times and certainly couldn't fault the quality BUT songs like "Where the Streets Have No Name" [my fav.] should blow you away... it was great but it didn't knock me over... maybe I'm old and tired?

What I am glad of is that I went with no expectations... I did not pine for the experiences of previous times, I was open to what this show would be... still felt like a spectator at points... but across the two shows saw a band having fun, not sounding just like the CD by any means and even Bono completely losing the words to "Party Girl" was very funny... as ever the crowd could sing the refrain and get him back on track!!

What was great:
'Pride' and 'Streets' [what a great blend]
'Love and Peace'
...... and a few more...

the screens
the brilliant focus shifting U2's concerns and invitation to us from the troubles in Ireland beyond consumerism and into globalisaton... reminding us all that Jew, Muslim and Christian are all connected via the sons of Abraham!!

The invitation was given to add our voices and names to the global campaign against extreme poverty! We were exhorted to see selfishness as a poor alternative to grace and got a glimpse of the honest connection between these lads and Sydney!! I've never heard Bono's voice better courtesy of the return trip and delay!!

They even teased us by adding 'Mysterious Ways' so people were betting on a reciprocal visit from Kylie [I had wondered about a duet to 'One' filling the May J Blighe part...
but it was not to be!!

The photo above gives you a perspective [courtesy of 'Foxy' Andrew Fox] from inside the elipse shaped stage that allows U2 to wander further out into the crowd!!

A couple of days on I will have better feedback about my insights and what happened!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Simpson's Movie July 27th 2007

Catch a special trailer here...

Kylie and Bono Doin' It for the Kids!!

SMH 13.11.06
By Viva Goldner
November 13, 2006 12:00
KYLIE Minogue fans were treated to an extra special showbiz moment last night when U2 front man Bono joined her on stage for a duet.The audience leapt to their feet when Bono made a surprise appearance on stage during the second concert in Kylie's extravagant Showgirl Homecoming tour at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. The duo sang Minogue's hit, Kids, which she originally recorded with Robbie Williams. "Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the company of greatness tonight," Minogue said. "Let me hear it for Bono." Minogue was wearing a leopard-print cat suit while Bono rocked it up in a black suit and sunglasses. "It's such an honour for you to sing with me," Minogue said. Bono then jumped in and said, "You're perfect". The pair danced around the stage and Bono got down on his knees, kissed Minogue's hand and thanked her at the end of the duet.

Check it out on NineMSN

Saturday, November 11, 2006

U2 in Sydney after 8 Years!! 10.11.06

OK.... wow!!
What a screen... the whole end of the Telstra Stadium from roof height to stage covered in vertical strings of globes [that I'd read about and seen on DVD over the last 12 months] making up a low pixel projection screen with flash animations, live camera shots, colours and loads more... then four big screens and U2 signature stadium sound!!

BUT none of this could dwarf the four piece rock band who've risen through the 80s and drew a crowd of old and young to Homebush last night!! What an a amazing spectacle having waited since March for these shows!!

I will write a full review in coming days...
lets face it I have to wait until Monday because I'm going again...
this time standing room only!!

In the meantime here are some shots from the imate!!

A brief beginning would be that between 'not the best seats in the house' and a disjointed playlist I didn't find this to be the transcendent experience that was ZOO TV, PopMart and particularly Lovetown!! YET with standout tracks that I simply 'was peaking' from hearing live I came away happy but not ecstatic or speechless the way I was eight years ago!!

Hearing 'Beautiful Day', 'Walk On', 'Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own' and 'Yahweh' live was the closest I came to "top marks" for the lads. "One" was the absolute highlight for me and "Pride:In the Name of Love" slid beautifully into my favourite all time U2 song "Where the Streets Have No Name"
... BUT for me the brackets from different eras broke up the flow of the experience and left me feeling like a spectator at times!!

We sat where the speaking echoed so apart from seeing the DVD and occasional moments I have few clues what Bono said...

I was impressed by the 'Coldplay like' squeeze in of Kylie lyrics and the refrain from 'Never Tear Us Apart' as a brief reflection on mate Michael Hutchence... ask anyone about the tribute song last tour when the heavens paused poring rain down and the sky turned pink just at that moment!!

We were in the new seats for the rectangular configuration of the playing field and they were 2 metres lower than I expected and the sound tent added a barrier to the speaker tower I knew would block a portion of our view... we survived that after the whole bay infront of us took up the offer to move to a balcony [risky move]... there was some frustration in that at $200 a pop!!

The big screen certainly helped.... images of John Howard and Peter Garrett were a winner, along with Kylie and the indigenous art [plus didge player for 'Kite' as an odd but interesting show closer]. Including indigenous focus for Aussies into the 'Make Poverty History' theme was a clever and appropriate part of the show.
Did you see your name on screen by texting the MPH number???

"...I know that this is not goodbye!"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Well, what do you do when two ruptured kneecap tendons [though repaired] stop you from breaking out of a walk, and if you walk your knees give you stick from 22 seasons of rugby union? Looks like my new sport/recreation is swimming... which I've tried and been bored by before BUT I guess there's nothing like necessity to drive you along!!

Its actually quite refreshing and a challenge so it fills that gap missing from competing to win at football!! While I won't be setting records anytime soon I'm just happy to have focus!! If my knees get stronger I may add walking the golf course into the mix later on...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Snaps # 3

1998 and its the Cricket Museum at Lords in London!!

We did the ground tour, sat on the players balcony, spotto'd Jonathon Coleman [who?] walking past the tavern wher we enjoyed bangers and mash surrounded by Fosters logos and lager[eerie].

It's a very small brownish bakelite looking urn which I had also seen at the CBD Westpac Bank HQ in Sydney in 1988 BUT nothing compares to seeing them at Lords!!

Hostilities resume Thursday 23rd November in Brisbane!! [Australia 3-1]

Not everyone knows I played cricket from Year 10 in High School until I turned about 37...

I enjoyed bowling early and long plus batting in the middle to late order scoring either 0 or 50!!

Perhaps my favourite match was one day at Mt Pleasant St in Maitland where we played with 7 players. We batted and didn't go too well making approx 130 off our 35 overs. In an inspired hour we had the opposition pinned down and came close to winning the match!! Until we just couldn't sustain the accuracy we were well in the hunt...

Yours truly had 7-30 when the opposition had scored say approx 70 runs but we couldn't keep taking wickets and they krept up to the required target!!

Second on the list would be playing Newcastle C&S at Greenleaf fertilizer company oval [you can imagine how good the grass was] with a shiny factory floor bright green concrete wicket!! We needed between 10-12 runs per over for 10 overs with only 3 wickets in hand... we were on track right up until the final two overs [taking 18 and 21 off a couple of overs] and dispatching Australian Schoolboy cricketer and future Newcastle senior rep bowler John Alanson for boundaries all over the ground! It was an exhilerating and proud day... the bowler at the opp end was a skilled and tidy operator who had to resort to a legside full line to restrict our scoring in the final run home.... we got within 15 or 17 runs from memory... though the details fade with age...

I also remember 98 not out at Chinamen's Hollow [though the last 12 or so were extras past the opp score!! and being sent in outright and batting for 2 hours for about 3 runs but holding on at Tomago...

Finally choking off the runs for my Science teacher who was a renowned opening bat for our arch rivals and I kept him scoreless for 45 mins before he skied a desperate shot and was caught and bowled!!

Those were the days...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

2006 ARIAs and the Hall of Fame

"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 wanna be the one
And I don't wanna 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

Midnight Oil

With a brilliant rendition of an Oils live classic from the album 'Place Without a Postcard', Silverchair, Dennis Handlin [Sony BMG] and Bono via video all played a role in inducting the unique, the marvellous, the inspirational and the no longer together 'OILS!!!!'

Rob Hirst was suitably emotional, Peter flighty and Gary Morris [speech cut from the broadcast] was Gary Morris!!

Musical legend Stevie Schubert shared the occasion as we trooped along to a very interesting event that stops during commercial breaks and has a 45 min dinner break in the middle. It runs 5.30pm to 9.30pm with a 7.30pm delayed telecast!!

The screens, sets and band set ups were interesting to watch.. with the 'Human Nature' set the most elaborate!!

We enjoyed Bernard Fanning with Claire Bowditch and Kasey Chambers, Wolfmother, Eskimo Joe [disowning their cardigan past], Pete Murray and John Mayer...

BUT the reason I went was to pay final homage to the band I miss seeing live all the time, who inspire my faith, keep me challenged, produced 25 years of great aussie protest rock music!!...

I sent a brief message to Arlene Brookes at the Oils old email address and blow me down it got there...

To Peter and indeed all the Oils,
I just wanted to use this most obvious of forums [PG's website that didn't go through so I tried their old email address] to congratulate one and all on the Induction into the Hall of Fame at the ARIAs yesterday. It even dragged an old Oils fan and Youth Worker along to the culturally interesting event for a one off attendance!!

I thought everything was brilliant, I was disappointed you guys hadn't found time to rehearse but knew the Chair would do a great job and thought it was an inspired choice of song!!

Congrats on an inspiring, entertaining and sustaining career... I have been reflecting this week on how much I miss the 'down time' of seeing you all live in Newcastle and Sydney and get renewed energy from those special nights of music and power!!

I salute your activism, am made variously motivated and uncomformatble by the lyrics... moved to act and be better!!

I am also inspired to do my part in building a world according to the values it was intended to operate by and only hope to pass on a sceric of your energy to young people I work with in my role as a Youth Worker in the Uniting Church NSW Youth Unit team.

I guess Gary Morris will always be Gary... but I was so impressed by Rob's emotion and words and your kind thoughts for us punters Peter!!

I have my copy of Flat Chat [rather than reading the set list and burning my own compilation!! I have been driving around the F3 in tears of joy at the memories of times I've heard those songs 'live' and tears that this phase of connecting with the Oils in over [tho the DVDs remain!!]

As a veteran of more than 30 or so Oils gigs since before Diesel and Dust!! My story was remarkably similar to Tim Winton in terms of surfie mates I ribbed about their music, telling me to sit down, shut up and not speak again until I had actually listened to 10,9,8... on their crackly cassette walkman...

I have never looked back...

Your number one promoter
in the Uniting Church,
a fan who's been there at Speers Point Park, Newcastle Workers, Selinas, Newtown Theatre, Sydney Ent Cent, Newcastle earthquake Relief, Tsunami Benefit and Manly Leagues...

Cheers one and all,

Rob Hanks
UCA NSW Synod Youth Unit Coordinator

OK.... normal transmission will now resume!!
I was even motivated to go out and buy 'The Hilltop Hoods' CD but couldn't find their debut one... maybe next week!!

The less said about Axyl Whiteheads display the better...

Yep, you'll be sick of it by three weeks from now...

Daily Telegraph tells us today.....
U2 lands for Vertigo tour
By Kathy McCabe, Music Writer

IRISH supergroup U2 arrived in Australia yesterday for the postponed leg of their Vertigo tour...

Bono, Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr flew into Sydney from their Dublin base before heading to the Gold Coast in a private jet to prepare for the tour which opens in Brisbane on Monday night.
The Daily Telegraph is giving you a chance to win one of 10 double passes to the band's Sydney gig at Telstra Stadium on November 10.
Just email your name, address and daytime telephone number with "U2 concert" in the subject line to
The band's legion of Australian fans have been holding their Vertigo tour tickets since March, when U2 suddenly postponed the concerts to allow one of the members to be with his family as a relative battled a serious illness.
The eight-month break from the world tour also gave Bono an opportunity to launch his new initiative (RED) in the US, which will raise further funds for women and children suffering HIV/AIDS in Africa.
The band also recorded a cover of punk anthem The Saints Are Coming with Green Day to assist those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Negotiations continue for Bono to make a guest appearance at the inaugural make Poverty History concert in Melbourne on November 17.
Vertigo will hit Sydney on November 10, 11 and 13 at Telstra Stadium.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Row M Seat 30 'God On My Side' Andrew Denton

Andrew takes a right turn and attended an National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Texas last February... this extended doco is the results and its getting good reviews from people worth trusting!!
Sydney Film Festival buffs loved it...

Andrew was motivated to 'check out the other side' in terms of the way we sometimes see or feel we understand how extremism comes out of Islam or other belief systems... this time we see the serious exposition of the beliefs of the religious right... deliberately not parodied or cheekily unpacked by Denton... clever approach to shining a light on a much talked about but perhaps underexplored idea!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Signs of a Deeper Problem ?

Sunday Telegraph 29.10.06

GRAFFITI gangs are spraying 1200 tags a day on Sydney's trains in a vandalism spree costing taxpayers $15 million a year to clean up.
Official figures show there are 30,000-50,000 graffiti attacks removed from CityRail trains every month.

The attacks have continued despite costly measures introduced by the State Government, including a new rail vandalism task force, stronger graffiti-removal chemicals and surveillance cameras on the rail network.
The extensive graffiti damage has triggered calls by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union for the Government to publicly name and shame offenders.
Vandals are also slashing seats and breaking windows on trains with data showing that, in August alone, 1043 train seats were damaged and 245 windows broken.
"It's unfortunate that a few bad individuals spoil the hard work of rail cleaning staff for the million people who use CityRail per day,'' a RailCorp spokesman said.

"Vandalism on and around trains is dangerous, unsightly and expensive, costing taxpayers around $15 million a year to clean up.''
Surveillance footage shows that some offenders spraying graffiti on trains are as young as 12. Union president Nick Lewocki said teenagers who attacked the rail system with graffiti were usually part of a gang.

"We've seen CCTV footage where some kids look to be 12 years of age. They are generally in the 14 to 18 bracket,'' he said.
While Mr Lewocki sympathised with the Government in the difficulty of controlling graffiti artists, he said high-level security would help act as a deterrent.
"The Government should name and shame offenders. They (offenders) should be required to clean their graffiti up,'' he said.

"The Government should look at increasing penalties for people convicted of defacing public transport.''
Psychologists and police should also look at other ways to stop people spraying graffiti on trains to save taxpayers millions of dollars.
Premier Morris Iemma set up a rail vandalism task force in May where police and RailCorp transit officers work together to crack down on graffiti and vandalism.
While the Government is strengthening its response to vandalism on trains, with a rollout of 6200 CCTV cameras planned, the issue of graffiti has become a problem in the wider community.

Federal Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull said there had been an increase of graffiti and malicious damage in the eastern suburbs.
He said police were powerless to punish graffiti offenders if they were under the age of 18.

School Chaplains

PM John Howard is a master politician so in answer to the religious right, political forces stressing values, ethics and faith... we have the announcement without any consultation that the Fed government will invest $90 million in School Chaplains to guide students.

Schools can apply for up to $20,000

These moves always generate:
1. stern opposition
2. scaremongering about fanatical Christianity and the bias against people of other or no faith
3. former politicians with agendas coming out of the woodwork
4. the counsellor vs chaplain debate
etc etc

In truth this scheme could be a debacle... but if handled correctly it could be a great thing!!

Like effective hospital and university chaplaincy its offered as spiritual and pastoral care for all comers, with regard to their personal choices. This is a helping role, an empathic pursuit.

If the church embraced this well it could be a missional revolution!!
We might "be" Jesus for others...

Anyhow, thinking caps on.... Youth Workers, part timers, tertiary mission workers, volunteers with two days a week to commit to making a missional link with the local school...

Check out the Federal Government website 'Dept of Education, Science, Training'
and related stories...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Worship Unplugged # 33 "Hats & Photos"

One of the key elements of meaningful worship is context or how people can connect their everday experience with their worship experience!

Sharing about ourselves with each other can happen in prayer, discussion & reflection. We can also share stuff like what we do for a living or how we spend our time and delve into stories about each others lives.

Entry points into this with immediate meaning would include:

Invite people to display these, ask questions and prompt sharing ina smaller or the wider group in relation to the theme of the worship in question!!

Some people will share remarkable deep and important insights using such personal triggers!!

Take turn, take time!!

Maybe display the photos or scan and keep a collage and return the original...
Project the scans on screen

The bottom line is here's another activity around the value of stories...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Whats Worth Watching or Hearing

Check out:

"What the Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have" Sarah Blasko
"Shine On" Jet
"How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" U2 [getting ready]
"Hanoi" The Backsliders
"Flat Chat" Midnight Oil going...

"Worlds Fastest Indian" DVD
"Little Miss Sunshine"
"Cars" DVD
"The Nativity Story"
Keisha Castle-Hughes from the new Fox Faith Film section...
Opens 30th November or thereabouts in Oz!!

100 to Go!!

Hey all,
Whatever it means...
There have almost been 7000 hits [careful how you spell that] on the pumphouse weblog...
It just means that hopefully somebody is finding the info, ideas and recommendations interesting.
Based on my stats about 700 of those hits might be mine so I suppose I should wait until 7700... but there you go!!

More to follow today... and of course ARIAs news later in the weekend, early next week!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

 Posted by Picasa

Bar Beach Kiosk [Newcastle]

Two weeks ago it was still 27 degrees C when Simone, Lucy, Ellie and I headed into Bar Beach [a liesurely 10 minutes from home] here in Newcastle!!

After some paddling and cooling off we fronted up for Calamari, Fish and Chips... tell you what...
The Kiosk was open until a non specified 7.30/8pm and the chips were legendary... we all agreed, the best chips we'd ever tasted. They were fresh, hot and did the double trick of having crispy bits but they were still filled with potato instead of air!!

10/10 Bar Beach Kiosk!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Clip Bandits

Great Youtube concept!! A band playing a tune when none are in the same room... via internet cameras!!

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Gap Year The Order of St Stephen YMin Interns

It's that time of year again, while in Oz NSW the students are focused on the HSC exams, others are thinking about what they might all do next!!

The Defence Minister is suggesting a paid 12 month military exposure to training, some take off surfing and backpacking, others fruit pick and some take any job going to have a break from the rigours of full time study!!

Some work needs to be done BUT we in the UCA NSW Synod are keen to offer productive faith and discipleship experiences while fulfilling the hope of a brain break...

The Order of Ste Stephen is under some threwat from the church' commitment to minimum wages but essentially this is about a person with skills wishing to contract a year of service in relturn for subsistence funding from the body who engage their service [i.e. the Youth Unit does not have a fund to make this happen... it still relies on an employing body giving it a go].

It will take an emplying body $17,000 to $20,000 to fund living, food, accomodation etc

People of any age can actually serve as candidates for the Order....

We would also like to specialise this and offer 'Youth Ministry Internships' for 12 months on the same financial deal!!

What it means is a person gains 12 months experience in working towards a realistic job description [i.e. start one new group, train one set of leaders, start one new worship] and the person receives enough money to survive 12 months or two years... and tests their sense of call to this long term!!

Win/Win potentially as the employing body gets a realistic outcome for minimal fair investment!!

UCA groups in NSW/ACT interested or individuals keen to have a go, email

Sunday, October 15, 2006

DVDs Coming Soon

These films or shows are all worth a look for a variety of reasons!!

Monday October 16th "Steve Irwin He Changed the World"
DVD of the Tribute from September 20th
Many elements of this tribute demonstrate the dilema we face as 'church' in terms of what unique thing we offer in relationship with Jesus Christ vs peoples own ability to pursue a grba bag of spirituality and move through grief as they say 'farewell' to an icon!!

Be challenged and use this tribute as a challenge to push yourslef about secular vs sacred, creative arts in worship, simplified liturgy, what people are looking for and how to lead people in worshippping God not the Crocodile Hunter!!

October 25th "Cars"
Great story of the journey of life and surprises awaiting down seemingly sidetracks!!

November 6th "Lano and Woodley: Goodbye"
Prounced Lane-oh....or Lay-no how else would you shorten Colin Lane??
The farewell performance of two great visual comics!!

November 8th "World's Fastest Indian"
Great folk tale of old values, warm story and inspirational tale of perseverence!!

"Seinfeld Series Seven" with complimentary Thermos if pre-ordered from
Contains some of the best episodes ever including "The Soup Nazi"

November 16th "Love My Way Series 2"
earthy and greaty aussie series from Foxtel

December 6th "Click"
Adam Sandler with the remote control he wished for to get a handle on his life.

"Superman Returns"
A must for all students of christology

"Dawsons Creek Seasons 1-6" Boxed Set
Do yourselves a favour!!

It's Official!! Midnight Oil join the ARIA Hall of Fame!

Australia's best ever rock band will be inducted at the ACER Arena ceremony on October 29th!!
Better still, I'm gonna be there!!
Of course music is a matter of personal taste, some are even disappointed in Peter Garrett's 'politics' of late BUT I return to the story of the 1990 Earthquake Relief Concert held at Newcastle's International Sports Centre [now known as Energy Australia Stadium] where a massive crowd witnessed a full day of Aussie rock and roll from the likes of: The Angels, Split Enz, Crowded House, Barnesy, Ian Moss. It was a brilliant day and anyone there will remember the human towers reaching 20m into the air of the group blanket tossing where the smallest female in any group was hoisted aloft by ten or twelve close mates all grabbing a corner or side of a blanket and flicking them skywards.

At the press conference the groups were asked "this is the cream of Aussie rock, its a great cause and its going to be huge... how did you decide the running order... as one they all said... well, the Oils will go last, and before them its a matter of who cares, we'll just work it out!!"

12 million albums worldwide, only missing fame of Silverchair/ACDC proportions because collectively they came home after 18 months on the road and took a year off... crazyness by all measures... except the value of family, sanity and longevity!!

Disneyworld Florida must have seemed an awefully low point after that and I for one am glad they bailed on the mooted US Tour with INXS and did another 12 months run of shows at home before Peter announced he was leaving...

I have reflected a few times this year on how much I miss the buzz of seeing these boys live and how it feeds my soul and keeps me hopeful to know that a gig was always not too far away!!

I was only sharing the story of the all night drive to Parkes to lead a workshop after a Friday night at Newcastle Workers... it was either the second last or last time I saw them there... I must check that diary!!

Eskimo Joe are good, the Chair are inspired... Missy Higgins is great!! BUT none comes close to the affinity, power, transformational energy and passion of the Oils!!

Oils!! Oils!! Oils!! Oils!!
I hope whoever it is has a good speech [Tim Winton comes to mind also] because if not they will likley be drowned out by the call!!

SMH October 15, 2006 12:01am

LEGENDARY Australian rockers Midnight Oil are to be recognised for a long career that combined worldwide musical success with strident political activism.
The five-piece group will be inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in Sydney later this month.
Midnight Oil sold more than 12 million copies of their 14 albums worldwide, using their fame to bring global attention to issues such as Aboriginal rights and the plight of impoverished workers.
ARIA Awards committee chairman Ed St John said Midnight Oil "is one of the greatest rock'n'roll bands this country has ever produced".
"They were incredibly successful all over the world, but much more importantly, they made music that mattered," he said today.
"They covered subjects that had rarely been addressed in a rock song before: land rights, the environment, social justice, war, human rights and Australian history.
"The sound of their music, created by five supremely talented singers and musicians, evoked the very essence of Australia."
The band's lead singer, Peter Garrett, now a federal Labor MP, said being chosen for the Hall of Fame was a "mighty honour".
Midnight Oil are the final musicians to be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame this year, joining Divinyls, Icehouse, Daddy Cool, Lobby Loyde, Rose Tattoo and Helen Reddy.
Previous inductees include Dame Joan Sutherland, AC/DC, Men At Work, The Bee Gees, INXS, Olivia Newton John and Split Enz.
Midnight Oil's induction will take place at the 2006 ARIA Awards event at Sydney's Acer Arena on October 29.

So, there you have it... I am looking forward to surviving the teeny bopper screams and boorish pop star behaviour just to pay homage to the incredible work of Moginie & Rotsey, the rythms of Hirst and more recently Hillman and the distinctive "he can't sing but he's got 'something'!" tones of Peter Garrett.

Inductees don't usually/always perform but we'll see...
Maybe Powderfinger, the Chair, or one of the tribute album bands will do the honours....

BUT please, please join me in wishing that for all the buzz it would create, ARIA resist the temptation to ask Bono to induct the Band.... Bernard Fanning, John Butler, Paul Kelly please...

Instores October 28th 'Flat Chat' a compilation of a few of the Oils 'faster' tracks!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

What would Jesus Play?

Came across a great gif file doing an image search for the Che Guevara styled "Jesus. Meek. Mild. As If." advert....

'What would Jesus Play?' which may offend some and make others laugh out loud... but email me your 10 song playlist suggestions over the next few weeks and I'll post them here..


Friday, October 13, 2006

Unreliable Idea # 29 Homemade Cold Rock

Cold Rock ice cream is brilliant if expensive!!

The concept is simple, the queue is a long one...
If you mash icecream as a rule it will melt... enter Cold Rock with a refrigerated strip of rock on the servery counter. This allows them to crush in and knead crunchie, M&Ms, Snickers etc, to belnd flavours and for the ice cream to remain cold and hard in the process!!

Youth Groups have been known to use lumps of dry ice inder cake or slice tins to give a metal surface suitable for the task... great adaptation!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Worship Unplugged Resource

Worship Unplugged Volume One is on its way to the printers!!
Anyone whose interested is just as likley to find and idea within its pages that was originally stolen from YOU!!

Volume One is my way of tentatively putting my work out there and we'll see what needs to go into Volume Two to justify the paper and ink!!

So keep those creative ideas coming and you never know where they'll bob up!!

"The Sunday Age SMH [Fairfax] Family DVD Guide" Rob Lowing

Looks a good guide for youth ministry groups and families and is available at most large bookshops!!

McDonalds Dinners

I've been meaning to post this one for a while....

From the SMH Friday August 18th
PLASTIC money, Tiny Teddy biscuits and Colonel burgers all share a little-known fact.
They were all trialled in the Hunter region in northern NSW, writes Paul Scott.

With a range of other products, they initially were subjected to the considered opinion of discerning Hunter consumers before being released to the nation's wallets and stomachs.

And this year the region is celebrating its 50th anniversary as Australia's top test market.
The Hunter has held a special place in the arteries of advertising hearts since Cyril Renwick, an economics professor at the then Newcastle University College, formed the Hunter Valley Research Foundation in 1956.

Professor Renwick's market research in the region, backed by figures and statistics, was well ahead of its time and attracted advertisers from Sydney and Melbourne.
Following Professor Renwick's lead, marketing gurus believed the place was a demographic microcosm of the entire country.
But while not all test products enjoy longevity after a successful launch in the Hunter, the general rule of the marketing thumb is: "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere."

A McDonald's launch of four new dinner meals will involve the products being test-marketed in 19 stores in Newcastle and the Hunter for the next three months before they are rolled out across the nation next year. Australian companies have used "live" test markets for decades, using locations such as Newcastle to test new products in what they believe are controlled and isolated environments typical of the national market.

"Newcastle has a self-contained media market and is close to head office, so the organisation is able to maintain a very close watching brief on product performance," a McDonald's spokeswoman said.

Last January, 12 members of a South Korean sales team came to Newcastle to work with the local sales team of global giant Coca-Cola Amatil for the launch of Coca-Cola Zero.

Chapman Meats, Greg Norman's Pasta Sauces and KFC have also tested new ranges on Newcastle and Hunter tastebuds. It was also where Arnott's Tiny Teddy biscuits first received the thumbs up from consumers.

But not everything launched in the Hunter has been successful. The Quicklink smart card (or computer money card), launched at the University of Newcastle in 1995, was marketed as the "missing link" in the shift from cash transactions to a fully electronic system.

Students boycotted the cards as "Big Brother's helpers" and the NSW Privacy Committee viewed them as "a potentially privacy intrusive technology".
First rejected in the Hunter, they are yet to be embraced in Australia.

Hunter Valley Research Foundation economist Robin McDonald said: "The Lower Hunter tends to have an older population . . . and a lower education attainment than Sydney."

Tried first in the Hunter
· Chapman's Naturalean low-fat meats
· Greg Norman's pasta sauces
· Arnott's Tiny Teddy biscuits
· The polymer bank note
· McDonald's breakfast menu
· KFC Colonel Burgers
· McDonald's salad plus
· Office supplies in Australia Post stores
· Quicklink Smart Cards
· McDonald's dinner meals

So, there you have it...
Beef Bolognaise, Beef Rendang etc...

The second batch of local adverts have couples invited to taste a sample while the second celebrity wheels up a set of Golden Arches behind the people. I have to say, unlike the low fat burgers, salads and wraps... these are a winner... low cost, good serves, nice food...

As someone who struggles with choosing healthy food options on the run/road these actualy work!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Worship Unplugged BOOKLET

It's final drafting time for a booklet that's been three years in the making!!
Worship Unplugged is a workshop planning process fostering partcipation
and the reinvention of worship...
a raft of creative ideas and some thoughts about mission...
context and underlying stuff behind the need for change!!

Many colleagues, e-groupers and others ideas get a spot in the 150+ ideas...
It should be printed within the fortnight!!

It's near completion had a page of text added today as I caught part of the
Memorial Celebration for Steve Irwin!!

It's one of three examples I'd cite as evidence that:
  • there is little seperation between the secular and the sacred
  • that the church is on the margins of our community
  • we must worship in our context and access real issues and liturgy in doing so

1. The Bali Tribute following the bombings

This event led by Geraldine Doogue [albeit a Catholic by background] and included stirring and teary music from Wendy Matthews [The Day You Went Away] and Iva Davies [Great Southern Land] .

There was everyday 'liturgy' [defined as the work of the people] and the deep symbolism of a reflective pool for the placement if flowers.

It was not a religious observance an clergy [ecumenical or multi-faith] were not in leadership.

2. The second was Kerry Packers State Funeral [with Peter Faiman as Producer] and the speeches, choir, use of audio-visuals and the clear processes of moving through a grief assisting process.

3. Third was today:

Steve Irwin's memorial was a stunning event. His mate and Manager John Stainton combined brilliant stuff to make it all work!! Aboriginal greeting, spoken liturgy, the music of John Williamson and others, appropriate use of audio-visuals. The symbol of his Toyota 4WD that was packed up to the strains of 'True Blue'. The bloopers reel was great. With Stainton as curator, the two worship leaders were Anthony Field 'The Blue Wiggle' and Steve's mate Wes who ran the Zoo!! Anthony was a great choice to help kids and adults alike, grasp the sense of the occasion!!

As well as being a remarkable event [not a dry eye anywhere] its a reminder that if we as 'church' do not access real life, its symbols, issues and flow and bring them to worship with authenticity and integrity THEN we will be left behind!!

Not an alb in sight!!

Worship Unplugged # 40 Everyday Symbols

Symbols are useful to promote reflection, to provide a visual cue for memories and as objects to focus thinking on a theme. They don't just need to be pieces of paper, religious relics, crushed leaves or silver goblets!!

Everyday symbols can represent a theme, location, person or story!!

For example:
small rocks

What you choose depends on the focus and the point you want to invite people to think about.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

They nearly did it!!

After denying the Slime a few times in the last decade except when we didn't make the GF...
the two blues almost pulled it off today!! They made personnel changes specifically to cover the defensive lapses in the backline and it worked, they toughened up in the forwards and went straight down the middle in patches BUT just couldn't sustain their pressure for the full 60 minutes. Their lineout, general handling and choice of options let them down just a little and gave Merewether enough ball to pull out two fortunate tries. If only they had caught the second half kick off on the full it may have been very different. Merewether were in a bit of frustrated trouble not being able to dominate the way they had all year... this year their backs could actually catch but when the ball went back inside they struggled!!
In the end the killer was an attempted chip kick over the head of a 190cm plus Jason Toby which he gloved well and raced away to score from... up til then I thought Wanderers were going to win it!!
They lost by 6 points... There's always next year boys!!

Jim Moginie and The Family Dog

Well, I never made it to Newtown last month [too tired on the last Tuesday of] but I am looking forward to the sounds and wizardry of Jim Moginie [largely responsbile for Midnight Oil's guitar sound and planety of their lyrics] steps onto CD with his new band. My copy of 'Alas Folkloric' is as they say 'in the post'. Stay tuned!!

In other music news U2's ZOO TV on DVD is out Monday...
U2 are recording new tracks at Abbey Road in London
Eskimo Joe are set to scoop the awards this year at the ARIAs [29th October]

I have been impressed with whoever does their A&R work ever since they're need to move beyond what became known as 'the cardigan song'... "I could ne-ver wear that sweater!"

The latest album could be INXS in their heyday, could be Icehouse at their best etc...
and yet has that haunting rock pop sound that's so popular at the moment...
they left bands like Palladium & Lo-tel in their wake after the initial success!!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Oils!! Oils!! Oils!! Oils!!

For the last few years I have threatened to buy a ticket to the ARIAs on speculation that Midnight Oil would be inducted into the Hall of Fame!! I believe it will happen this year!!
They have sidestepped the now stand alone event mid year and one or more are still held back for the last Sunday in October... don't be surprised if Bono is present to induct them..
AND standby for SONY to cash in with or without the direct involvement of the band
with a new 'Greatest Hits' release called "Flat Chat"... check out below!!

"Power and the Passion"
People, wasting away, in paradise
Going backward, once in a while
Taking your time, give it a try.
What do you believe
What do you believe
What do you believe is true
Nothing they say makes a difference this way'
Cos nothing they say will do
Take all the trouble that you can afford
At least you won't have time to be bored
Oh the power and the passion
Oh the temper of the time
Oh the power and the passion
Sometimes you've got to take the hardest line
I see sunburnt faces around
With skin so brown
Smiling zinc cream and crowds
Sundays the beach never a cloud
Breathing eucalypt, pushing panelvans,
stuff and munch junk food
Laughing at the truth,
'cos Gough was tough till he hit the rough
Uncle Sam and John were quite enough
Too much of sunshine too much of sky
It's just enough to make you wanna cry
I see buildings, clothing the sky in paradise
Sydney, where the nights are warm
Daytime telly, blue rinse dawn
Dad's so bad he lives in a pub,
its underarms and football clubs
Flat chat, Pin Gap in every home a Big Mac
And no one goes back, that's that
You take what you get and get what you pleaseI
t's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees

Wanderers v Merewether Carlton [The Slime] 2006

My old team as player coach [I'm having a break] plays their Grand Final on Saturday 10am... and the Slime are better than last years version... their backs can actually catch and run and one or two more old stagers in the forwards keep them rolling!!

Here's the thing, if the inside backs can communicate and move up together in a better line the Slime's former Australian touch footy rep at 5/8th will be as frustrated as last year and run out of ideas. The forwards need to up the pace of the game and keep it there and some of the old legs need to be subbed a bit earlier and get the fresh troops on... all the best boys!! Turns out I'll be there to look on now!!

Go the Knights!!

Up against it with Brisbane BUT if the coach has a good plan and the defense is on song they can do it... Knights by 7!!

Twin Lights

Afganistan, Iraq, Central America, you name it... the United States takes its 'God is on our side' attitude and funds despots, trains militia, sets them up with too much temptation for corruption, drug trade or simple hunger for holding on to power and then has to invoke military action to correct previous policy!! Democracy and the War on Terror are the terminology this decade, communism, independence, freedom have had their turn...
If its not military action or intelligence its consumerism, TV, values and 'manhattanisation' AND STILL there's lots to admire, love, tour or enjoy!! LA, New York, sports, movies etc

BUT regardless of all this... whatever the opression or big picture issues... whatever the trashy pop culture...
Nobody should be hijacking planes and flying them into buildings... 5 years on not much has been learnt but its still a human tragedy on a huge scale... the people of that city are unique, compelling and attractive in their diversity, humour and grunt!!

Worship Unplugged # 39 M&Ms Prayer

Use colour specific M&Ms or alternatives sweets to symbolise types of prayer points and share from a bowl or cup for each group.
RED something you're concerned about
YELLOW something about God
GREEN something you are thankful for
BROWN something you own up to
ORANGE something about others
BLUE something you'd like to change

Monday, September 11, 2006

Snaps # 1

I'm introducing a brand new feature to pumphouse from now on...
called Snaps #
These will be photos I have or get hold of that are significant because of
some story or sense of occasion...
I'm doing this to 1. share my story and 2. to build up a memoir of stories for talks, input etc.

I suspect like these first pictures, the deeper meaning won't be immediately apparent
but will be about me putting pics out there and continuing to reflect on what they mean to me. This may well only ever be expanded upon in other places!!

Sometime I'm sure I'll have a timely reason for including them in this blog!!

Today you'll see 3 images:
All from November 2000 Thanksgiving in New York and it was friggin' cold...
One is me in one of my favourite places in the world 'Times Square'... what it says about me is this is not a bush track, the Grand Canyon, or Koscuisko... its a cold footpath at the centre of the pop culture universe... the US culture I like many have a love/hate relationship with...

It's vibrant, trashy, alive, as significant as hearing someone speak Chinese, the royal jewesl in the Tower of London, some leaning Tower in Italy etc etc... but that's just me...

I think I bought about 12-15 t-shirts on this one short trip. We followed up our 1998 Autumn visit with a 2000 winter before starting a family... it was about -8 degrees C.

Another is Simone and I at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for which our visit was timed.... we headed to the naerby McDonalds for lunch and stayed in NY long enough to see Destiny's Child at the switching on of the Christmas Lights in Rockefeller Plaza...

Another is the famous Soup Kitchen suggested by Late Show staffers as a good place for a story to the writers of Seinfeld!! That's right... I'm the customer with the Triple J radio backpack paying for my soup from the guy who inspired 'The Soup Nazi'.

It is exactly like the show and he is not impressed, especially with the banner on the wall advertising Kenny Kramer's [The real Kramer] Seinfeld Reality Tour where the bus stops off on the way round. It was a spin out to have been past two years earlier on the bus tour when the shop was closed and then to come back and buy soup from the 'Soup Nazi'. Everyone in the line is talking about the impending ordering and their memories of the Seinfeld episode [even wishing others with complex orders luck] and then standing in virtual silence within earshot of the front counter. The shop is virtaully a hole in the wall with big stoves, two assistants and the boss tasting and serving up soups at a fair rate from about 11.30am daily!!

You stand in a line that stretches around the block, we were early but, people do wait an hour... you order and step to the right, you pay and then move off with your brown bag of thick soup in a milkshake container, your bread and piece of fruit!!

I got bread!! Cop that Costanza!!

The beef soup was enough for breakfast and lunch!!
The poor woman ahead of me had bought soup for herself and a sick friend and their partner and she got flustered ordering different soups....
I was waiting for "NO soup for you!!"

Everyone knows what each person in the exchange was thinking BUT nobody is game to comment!!

I recommend a visit to the Soup kitchen in the cooler months [he shuts up shop and holidays in Italy in summer by all reports]

This and our previous trip taught me about the charm and attraction of the city of New York. It's busy, open all hours and full of trashy pop culture, characters, theatre, sports, merchandise and TV HQs for all kinds of networks and programs.

Our summer visit took in a successful stint at the front of the Letterman Late Show standby audience where 20 people didn't turn up and we got to see John McEnroe and Chrissy Hinde perform!!

We certainly visited the World Trade Centres, the Empire State [playing Midnight Oil on my walkman in our 9th week away from Oz], saw the Lion King on Broadway, the Met, Starbucks, Tower Records and Barnes and Noble at the neginning of the Cafe in a bookshop trend...

Statue of Liberty, Statton Island Ferry, a game at Yankee Stadium [I've been a follower of baseball and the Yankees since childhood], NBC Store, Planet Hollywood, NBA Store, Macy's, Tom's Diner and even Flushing Meadow and the New York winter Rugby Sevens!!

Staying at the Westside YMCA was a unique way to meet New Yorkers [and to have one shot by Police whil we were on our way back to the building to get jumpers for the baseball game that night!!]

Stood outside NBC over breakfast and met Al Roker and Mat Lauer...

There's so much more... Central Park, Wolman Rink, SOHO, Tribeca, Ranch #1 Chicken...

The metling pot of cultures and lots of evidence of getting most things about multiculturalism right is palpable... and the bagels aren't bad either!!

They know how to do a celebration and the Police are like no other I've seen [and are pretty much exactly like most US shows you see... except a heightened sense of not overstepping whoever is in charge and an almost obsessive need to delegate that authority to someone else until its time to pull out a gun... I kind of get the whole "NY's finest and bravest" as they call the Police and Firefighters!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin

It was very surreal to be at the taping of 'Enough Rope' today awaiting Ian Chappell and others and looking forward to the interview with Raelene Boyle later tonight!! First of course we knew that the Don Chipp interview was to be replayed and now the interview with Crickey Steve Irwin would be also!!
The studio was in a slightly shocked and tense state as Andrew Denton recorded adverts, intro's and outro's for the various aspects of tonights show before returning to the days schedule!!

Mmmm, remarkable!!
Anyhow, got to talk to Andrew and thank him for his inspirational belief in the power of stories... and got to personally hand him an invitation to send in a pair of shoes for 'Meaninful Soles' mentioned earlier in this Pumphouse blog!! I hope its a positive response when Andrew has time to get back to me in November!!

Like him or hate him!! RIP Steve Irwin

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Planet Earth BBC series

Picked up a copy of the series I'm sure others are well aware of, but the cinematography is magnificent. I decided not to wait until the next time I need a visual feed to a screen that just plays through on mute... but if I had the DVD maybe I'd design something to do with it first...

Attenborough narates of course and ther'd be use for that too, but my primary thing is some footage you don't see everyday!!

I think it'll be too distracting in a more normal yet creative worship space so I won't use it this week!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pearl Jam to play Newcastle Ent Centre!!

Having caught Pearl Jam on their last trip to Oz [stunningly brilliant!!] I was content to not make the drive down the F3 one more time later this year... then comes news that three Newcastle punters petition has been successful and the boys will play Newcastle for the first time!! Pity about the barn-like sound of the Entertainment Centre BUT it is definitely good for local fans!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Tassie YouTube star calls it quits

Louisa Hearn SMH
August 28, 2006

"Emmalina, an 18-year-old YouTube hit from Tassie, has bowed out of internet stardom
for good after her computer was hacked and her privacy invaded, sparking fears
for her own safety.
The chatty video blog entries recorded from her bedroom first began to appear
in the "most viewed" rankings on the popular YouTube video in June and some
of her more controversial posts attracted more than 300,000 views. She even
has her own Wikipedia entry.
Emmalina's video blog, however, came to an abrupt end earlier this month when
she stripped her profile and all of her video content from YouTube. The explanation
for this, written on YouTubetalk, was that someone had hacked into her computer
and obtained recent pictures and videos from it that had never been posted online
as well as "incredibly private files".
Although she operated under a pseudonym, another determined follower had
uncovered her personal details and circulated them online.
Emmalina declined to be interviewed by us this week because she said things
had already got way out of control.
"People forget that I'm a real, normal young girl with a life, feelings and a right
to privacy," she said.
Her spectacular rise to internet fame gave rise to a multitude of YouTube
dedications, spin-offs and spoofs, as well as a rap song dedicated to her popularity.
But, as many new-found celebrities discover, along with the adoring fans came
the critics and the creeps - a fact that Emmalina admitted to us, in an interview in
June, that she was struggling to accept.
She said at the time: "When you put something on the internet, it's there for
everyone to see. But the nasty comments are pretty discouraging and you do
get a lot of them."
Max Markson, managing director of celebrity agency, Markson Sparks, warned
that the openness of the internet represented a double edged sword for those
seeking notoriety.
"If you put yourself out there on YouTube or MySpace you are moving into
open area and giving your privacy away. If all of a sudden fame comes upon you,
all the negatives as well as the positives come with it," he said.
Part of Emmalina's appeal was her lack of pretension and the witty, self
deprecating captions that she dotted throughout her video blog. Although
her focus was on everyday and sometimes mundane topics ranging from
her pet guinea pigs to her interest in yoga, her occasional raunchy dance
routines often ranked highly among viewer ratings and attracted a lot of
public commentary.
In some of her most highly viewed posts, she boldly took some of her
critics to task, chiding the email responses to her videos from those she
described as "haters" and chastising the "creepy old men" who posted l
ewd messages on her own and other YouTube videos featuring young
However things eventually became too much for Emmalina and she
claims there was no choice but to leave YouTube once her personal
privacy and security had been breached.
"Every day I logged in and discovered more and more cruel spoofs,
harassing videos, death and rape threats, incredibly nasty comments
and God knows what else. I can't take it anymore. YouTube 'popularity'
is hell unless you're a f---ing saint with nothing to hide, or you have
indestructible confidence," she wrote in her last post on YouTubetalk."

Monday, August 28, 2006

YOU Tube Guitar Whiz!!

From colleague Bruce Mullan...

The YouTube mystery guitar whiz.
Another YouTube star, with over 7.5 million hits already.
An anonymous guitar whiz playing "an exceedingly difficult rock
arrangement of Pachelbel's Canon". But who is it?

The NYTimes<
reveals his name (Jeong-Hyun Lim) and reports on the background to the
arrangement of "the great one-hit wonder of the baroque period".

See the video first <

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Worship Unplugged # 37 Lollies

This is probably listed amongst the first 20 or 30 Unplugged's BUT a plastic tub of lollies used as part of the invitation or call to worship goes a long way towards settings an informal and friendly atmosphere and beginning for worship!!
I recommend: party mix, snakes, milk bottles, fredo frongs and jaffas all mixed in...

Keep them handy or keep them circulating!!

Friday, August 25, 2006

YOU Tube

Up there with MySpace.... Since last mentioned here YOU Tube has taken off as a crazy space for uploading all kinds of personal or captured videos... including the old guy recently made famous by his musings and whinges each week!!

Here is the Chaser take on Hillsong as an example...

Of course I can't vouch for all the content!!
Pop culture that is impacting free to air and pay TV future...
because YOU can choose what you watch on the Tube!!

Row M Seat 30 "Snakes on a Plane"

Just like asking for a lilac lightsabre... Samuel Jackson signed up for this film based solely on the title... if you believe the media hype that is!!

It's generating spoof posters, sequel titles and will no doubt find its way into "Scary Movie 8"

More once I've seen it of course!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Jonny Baker came across this site that would be of interest to supporters of fairwear or anyone wanting to end the injustice of sweatshop footwaer and clothing production!!

Not a bad virtual intoroduction to the issues and the plight of many people across the globe!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


At the risk of repeating myself here's a list or songs I'm enjoying as well as finding useful in worship, reflections, as backing or playlist tracks...

Diesel 'coathanger antennae'
Kasey Chambers 'Nothing At All'
Shane Nicholson 'I Know What You Want'
Alex Lloyd 'Sometimes'
Missy Higgins 'Sound of White'
Bob Evans 'Don't You Think It's Time'
Eskimo Joe
Youth Group

Geez... I miss the Oils...

Oh well, Powderfinger are going back to the studio later this year and Silverchair have done the hard work.... there's hope yet...

Row M Seat 30 "Boytown"

Not released until 19th October you can't miss the pre-publicity for Mick Molloy's new film "Boytown." It's a story about the reformation of an 80s boy band attempting to revive their success!! Mick and his brother Richard have a pretty good track record of funny films [if a little stereotypical]...
Glen Robbins is reportedly great in this flick!! [as ever]

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"Sunshine to Rain" Dragon Liberation Blues Acoustic Series

Today I picked up a copy [recent CD embargo broken] of the Liberation Series latest from Dragon with the very capable Mark Williams singing for the late and lamented Marc Hunter!!

It's brilliant... at rendering these Dragon classics
at breathing new life into some inspired lyrics
at reminding me of my angst driven and simpler days in late High School and early work and part time Uni years!!
Confusion over who I wanted to snog, spend time with, have as a friend [as if in rewriting history it were only up to me] time on our hands, lazy days listening to vinyl on turntable and a memorable Civic Park Mattara Concert!!

Plus the ill fated foray into Dragon of Tommy Emanuel who fitted "like a fish on a bicycle" and the ego of Alan Mansfield and his Toto inspired keyboard dominance of their last couple of half decent recordings!!
I was and am an unashamed Dragon fan... including their the heady days of drink, drugs and appearances on "Countdown"...

1 Sunshine
2 Speak No Evil
3 April Sun In Cuba
4 Are You Old Enough?
5 Body & The Beat
6 Wilder World
7 Still In Love
8 Dreams Of Ordinary Men
9 Get That Jive
10 Magic
12 Promises
13 This Time
14 Young Years
15 Celebrate
16 Rain
17 Age Of Reason (Hidden)

While Michael Gudinski invented this idea out of the necessity of a shrinking CD market, it has been a masterstroke and has enlivened the careers of a number of performers and bands as featured on

Michael Spiby, Jenny Morris, and Choirboys have recently toured with Dragon to promote releases from all the above!