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!!