Monday, February 26, 2007

The 79th Annual Academy Awards

They've been run and won [so too the Razzies for worst film etc]!!
I don't know what you make of awards ceremonies [especially on TV] but the Oscars are top of the tree whichever way you feel!!
I don't like:
The arty approach
The focus on Host
The cost of dresses, sets, tech etc
The indulgent verbal rubbish from the 'industry types'

I do like:
Seeing Actors as themselves, nervous, humble or quirky!!
Actors and Crew being rewarded when deserved
Acknowledegement for the power of good storytelling

Martin Scorsese wins an Oscar
Forrest Whittaker for Best Actor
Great actors sometimes get recognised.... Forrest Whittaker made a terrific speech...
And "Little Miss Sunshine" recognised for what a great little film it was...

I must get a copy of Melissa Etheridge's song from 'An Inconvenient Truth'

The less said about the dresses the better!!

I think testament to the temporary and false nature of Hollywood is that the Awards are in a run down part of LA full of 'characters' and its a place you aren't always safe in.... until the Wards roll in and set up a limo service where you get yourself to a Lot a few blocks from the Theatre and then the limos drive you around the corner as if you've come a long way...

You walk the carpet and if you're on early you duck out to the party and watch the rest on TV!!

Worship Unplugged # 42 Milton Tablets

Having used bowls of water to trace in, add rocks to, pour jugs of water out of and float candles in...
How about using a bowl or a pool full of water and inviting people to drop in a tablet and watch as your concern, confession, or the thing you were holding onto so tightly is dissolved by God!!

I was at the Far North Coast this weekend and we were invited in worship to do just that... unlike alkaseltzer, disprin etc the Milton water purifying tablets [from your local chemist in the baby section] completely dissolve!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Tropfest 2007

Its come a long way since they closed the street outside the Tropicana Cafe and put on a few short films!! John Polson continues to foster young talent with hundreds of entrants narrowed to 12-16 finalists for the show in the Domain in Sydney every February [still broadcast in other capital and regional centres and now taking on the legendary Tribeca Film Festival in New York].

This year "An Imaginary Life" wins the top award and prizes!! A story about a forgotten imaginary friend and the first animated film to win!!

You can see the films on the website, some will come to mobile phones this year and next Saturday they'll give away 600,000 copies with the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age... later Sanity will stock a DVD...

They are great as group starters, discussion prompts, wallpaper for other events and very ocassionally exceptional for youth issues or life!!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

And the Archibald view

The artist makes an interesting observation through the storm clouds and an expression not normally associated with the Member for Kingsford Smith... Peter Garrett

"US Forces"

US Forces
by Jim Moginie and Peter Garrett

US forces give the nod
It's a setback for your country
Bombs and trenches all in rows
Bombs and threats still ask for more

Divided world the CIA
Who controls the issue
You leave us with no time to talk
You can write your own assessment

Sing me songs of no denying
Seems to me too many trying
Waiting for the next big thing

Will you know it when you see it
High risk children dogs of war
Now market movements call the shots
Business deals in parking lots
Waiting for the meat of tomorrow

Everyone is too stoned to start emission
People too scared to go to prison
We're unable to make decisions
Political party line don't cross that floor
L. Ron Hubbard can't save your life
Superboy takes a plutonium wife
In the shadows of Ban the Bomb we live

Sing me songs of no denying
Seems to me too many trying
Waiting for the next big thing

Mmmm, herein lies the difficulty of public life and politics. No we are not in the cold war situation anymore but Peter seems caught in that commitment to 'toe the party line'

No way does he really think its a simple good idea... but what do you do?
It begs the question on how far things have to stretch before your personal view does put you truly at odds with party policy... yet is the greater good to do the best you can as Environment Minister and maybe one day Prime Minister?
... tough call!!

Anyway... above is a bit of YouTube fun and the clip all the fuss is about... one of the great aussie rock songs of all time!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"

I have just been invited to lead worship in my home congregation of Adamstown on the theme "WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR IN MY LIFE?"

The classic U2 track has been chosen as part of that focus.... While I have several versions to choose from I like the idea of using this new live clip in some way simply because of the modern rendering of this tune... the definition of yearning...

I'm thinking "Life Auction" and lots of newsprint and crayons for scribbling thoughts and responses through the worship!!

Sex Lives of Australian Teenagers

Joan Sauers is a successful script editor and author who embarked on a research project after spending lots of time trying to edit scripts and/or write dialogue from the perspective of teenagers heavily engaged in exploring their sexual identity and relationships.

She discovered little work had been done in the area of attitudes, knowledge and experience of teenagers.

She had teenagers and a small crew of helpers handout fliers about an online survey and has published the results through random house....

Read about the book here at

I look forward to a read beyond the brief sumary I've heard as it reinforces my views about the prevalence of: experimentation; the view that intercourse = sex; the high percentage of girls who feel pressured into activity they are uncomfortable with; and the general impression that way too much is being gleaned from porn and not enough from serious, simple, honest conversation with older role models, professionals and people that young people trust.

For many years I have blanched at camps and events where the rules simply include a reference to boys and girls staying out of each others rooms and/or simplistic messages about "just don't do it" or people taking offence when a safe sex guide advocates any thing beyond that... they are not theological documents [or are they?] and need an ounce of reality in the advice offered...

I expect this research could be a powerful tool if we honestly engaged in dialogue around the issues...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"How To Save a Life" The Fray

Colleagues have been e-talking and reminded me of this song [as a Grey's Anatomy devotee] and here at YouTube is one of the three clip versions thats taken on a life of its own as part of the "Save a Life" campaign.

What a brilliant song for young people to access and discuss friendships, loss, grief, and the struggles in life..... It's just one of those guitar rock tunes that catches you and whether this clip or the Greys Anatomy scenes one its a tear jerker from start to finish...

If you are fortunate enough to know someone who could play it live you could shoot some of your own film or still footage!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Worship Unplugged # 41 Digital Clock Radio

If what time it is would be relevant to your darkened worship space, here's a neat little gadget to project that onto a wall or the roof from 1 to 3metres away...

The latest in didgital clock radios comes with a tiny projection unit on top and the time is seperately... the model pictured does need it to be quite dark but presumably more expensive versions would have brighter images...

It could easily be part of a worship station reflecting on time, time left, taking time, time for others, time for the world.....

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Tragic life ends in tragedy

Anna Nicole Smith was many things and who am I to comment who knew here not at all! What can be said is that her life and death both represent everything thats wrong with the culture of "celebrity" or being famous for being famous!!

Smith's splash at the MTV Australia Music Awards a few years back was funny in an uncomfortable 'I'll do anything if the money's right' sort of way...

At a time when films like "Pursuit of Happiness" bring one sort of reflection on "the great American dream" her life stands in sharp contrast... I just feel really sad that someone's life can be so wasted and exploited. Even in death the suitors will now wrangle over her billions [sorry I mean paternity of her child]...

Some photo shoots managed to capture what a warm and inately beautiful smile and personality Anna Nicole had... others had a different focus!!

Who are we that this stuff sells magazines, what's our response, what's our call as a community of people, to the stupidity of such values and priorities... this is not about the hundreds a day starving in Africa by comparison.... this is a symbol of how everything is screwed up in a drug soaked, short term, consumer driven nihilistic pursuit of the quick fix..... we're nowhere near really thinking about genuine solutions to world hunger and the nature of a world lived according to the values of its creator... when they needed a neighbour were we there were we there?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

"Cannot Buy My Soul"

Tribute to Kev Carmody

Australian singer/songwriter Paul Kelly's next project is a labour of love –
a tribute album to indigenous Australia singer Kev Carmody.

Kelly has brought together the cream of Australian performers to record
'Cannot Buy My Soul - The Songs Of Kev Carmody'.

Kelly himself performs 'Droving Woman' with Missy Higgins and Augie March. The line-up of artists includes John Butler Trio, Bernard Fanning, The Waifs, Tex Perkins, Steve Kilbey and Troy Cassar-Daly.

Carmody released his first album 'Pillars of Society' in 1989. His music has crossed various genres including rock, country, folk and reggae.

'Cannot Buy My Soul – The Songs Of Kev Carmody' will be a 2CD set. The first album will be the covers, the second CD the originals.


The tracklisting is:

Dan Kelly – 'I've Been Moved'
John Butler Trio – 'Thou Shalt Not Steal'
Bernard Fanning – 'Elly'
The Last Kinection – 'The Young Dancer Is Dead'
The Waifs – 'From Little Things Big Things Grow'
The Drones – 'River Of Tears'
Troy Cassar-Daly – 'On The Wire'
Archie Roach – ' Cannot Buy My Soul'
Sara Storer – ' Moonstruck'
Dan Sultan & Scott Wilson - 'This Land Is Mine'
Tex Perkins – 'Darkside'
Clare Bowditch – 'Blood Red Rose'
The Herd – 'Comrade Jesus Christ'
Steve Kilbey –Images Of London'
Augie March/Missy Higgins/Paul Kelly – 'Droving Woman'
The Pigram Brothers – 'Eulogy For A Black Man'

Kev is the artist most mentioned when people try to talk about popular songs from other indigenous artists and refer to the track as that artists song... there's always some tout in the room to remind them "no actually that's a Kev Carmody song" e.g. Big Things Little Things

I read about this album a few weeks back and have now heard two tracks on ABC radio... its due for release approx Feb 17 and sounds great!!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Joan of Arcadia

AND while I'm having a whinge.... not my favourite thing to do or hear strangely...
Oz TV 9 network braniacs are playing Joan of Arcadia at 10am weekdays.... at least I'm getting to see them... If you missed series one in summer prime time ages ago... then check this out...

God gives Joan tasks and the stories unfold with the help of God in the form of all sorts of interesting characters she bumps into.

The "Mexican" Wave

While the origins of 'the wave' are disputed its clear that Cricket Australia has learnt little from the Big Day Out's experience of trying to discourage the aussie flag as a weapon of crowd pressure and racial tension [made all the more difficult by it being the second summer a major surf label produced a whole range of gear].

How can you tell a crowd of 40-60,000 Australians NOT TO do "the wave"?
Good luck top them, people have been ejected for starting it... but Melbournians answered by purchasing extra large numbers of those cheesy sombreros... and getting into the wave enthusiastically... at first deated and then in full throttle!!

Yeah yeah... not the spontaneous celebration, not the boredom relief, not the boo-ing at the Members...

What I hate is the plethora of idiots who have half a pie in one hand and half a beer in the other which then ends up in my lap because some bored drunk down the row decided to big note themsleves by starting a mass crowd action...


Only trouble is I don't believe it'll work...

The other reason is that it started as a creative and spontaneous unifying action and has instead become the preserve of buffoons.... it used to be clever to try to get the wave going fluidly and in time... now its a race to throw your salad roll into the lap of the most compliant nearby cricket geek you can find...

Whether at the World Cup Soccer in Mexico, the National Hockey League or Major League Baseball in the US both 6-8 years earlier.... I find it hilarious that Aussie's will so vehemently defend their national right to continue a trashy US cultural sporting practice as though its a significant part of indigenous culture!! Yo!!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

"Amazing Grace" about William Wilberforce

This is a film Tim Costello gave us a 'heads up' about at NCYC [our Uniting Church national youth event] in Perth in January!! I see Sojourners are onboard while co-promoting a new David Batstone book about 'modern day slavery.'

Check out the film here at

It looks a great cast under the Directing of Michael Apted with Wilberforce played by Ioan Gruffudd [Hornblower, Rubber Man from the Fantastic Four... just to show what happens when Hollywood calls] and others of note including Michael Gambon.

The website details 'The Amazing Change' modern day campaign, study guides to the issues and characters, faith etc and sheet music for the hymn!!

"They" whoever 'they' are, seem to have chosen Sunday Feb 18th as 'Amazing Grace Sunday'
[I know, I know there'll be some reason I'm totally unaware of... especially with the songs anniversary being March BUT anyhow] THOUGH I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO FIND AN AUSSIE RELEASE DATE which was a bit the same as the lack of fanfare for 'The Nativity Story'

Stay tuned!!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Silverchair "Young Modern"

I previously wrote about five new tracks heard at 'Homebake' and now you can check out 'the Chair's' upcoming new single "Straight Lines" at or their myspace page!!
The clip is shot at Homebush Railway Station by the Director of the film "Suburban Mayhem"!!

It's a bit lighter and more falsetto than I remember the live version and seemed to be about attitudes, judgement and feeling pressured to confirm....

The whole album is about being a "Young Modern" in the world as we see it...

Single March 10
Album March 30
And Silverchair traditionally attract huge press and hoopla!!

I am really looking forward to this gifted bands new sounds and listening to one of my top 3 drummers in Ben Gillies!!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Church Noticeboreds

Seems like a great week to promote my effort alongside hundreds of other similar sites... devoted to the task of showing how we the church confirm all our own worst stereotypes with the ridiculous 'humour' we put on our noticeboards...
I collect relevant pictures and happily promote those which are evidence against my premise!!

check it out at

'Jesus loves Osama' is one of those 'Outreach Media' series... most of which are dreadful in my opinion with the ocassional clever offering!!

A church at Petersham has the 'Thank God You're Here' blue wall and door like the TV Show on their outside wall.... an example of good evidence against my theory... very clever!!

The Aussie Flags BIG DAY OUT

So the modern day "spin doctor" might have a helpful place in the scheme of things after all!!



Last years HSC artworks selected for ArtExpress displays are currently in use by David Jones city store as window displays in Sydney... there are a number of remarkable works and my favourite is posted here...

At DJs each is added to by a fashion or product display that 'fits' but you can still see the works fairly uninterrupted!!

For National Youth Workers Conference we didn't have enough lead time a few years ago to get the display for our opening night BUT would like to host a showing in the future!!

More on Tim Flannery

Tim is a controversial figure in some scientific circles and certainly others thought the previous Director of the Australian Museum was doing a good job... BUT

What about one of his first press conferences....

Suggesting, wouldn't it be great if our government announced a carbon tax or trading scheme [a scheme to reflect the cost to the environment of industry and consumers continuing to use coal fired technology] and a long term say 20 to 50 year plan for the development of fair dunkum renewable energy sources...

In this age we have governments fixated on the three year term, the economic indicators and flip flopping with public focus year by year... like how annoying must it be for the Greens that the major parties are 'talking' water and climate change... stealing their entire appeal out from under them...

Given the air these issues are getting, imagine if a government or opposition actually outlined a 20 year plan for solar, wind and water powered energy the size of the Snowy scheme and simply said... we're doing it!! How inspiring would that be... likehood... zero!! Unless Peter Garrett and Malcolm Turnbull continue to get the space they currently have...

Bring it on.... we could all keep the momentum up by making the switch to Green Power like that excellent example brought to our state level Uniting Church Synod meeting by the mob at Maroubra Junction Uniting!!