Monday, December 31, 2007

Best Aussie Test XI I've Seen Play

I know we've been over this ground before [at least in coffee induced conversations] BUT with extra time on my holidays and the chance to get through a mountain of around the house jobs I have had some time to watch cricket and admire the current crop and reflect on seasons past and my own passion for this silly game played in the hottest part of the year!!

Rob Hanks Aussie Test XI [I have to have seen them play]
1. Matthew Hayden
2. Bob Simpson [c]
3. Greg Chappell
4. Ricky Ponting [I can't believe he's made a convert out of me]
5. Alan Border
6. Steve Waugh
7. Adam Gilchrist
8. Shane Warne
9. Dennis Lillee
10. Jeff Thompson
11. Glen McGrath

12th Man Doug Walters

Well, there you have it!! There's a few good players left out
Those with a Yahoo ID may care to take the challenge and comment!!

Oh and Ian Chappell would be appointed coach but would knock back the position out of the integrity that he doesn't believe in them...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Newcastle Earthquake 10.27am 28th Dec 1989

Some footage might be disturbing though its all NBN news coverage and part of the wrap up documentary some time later!! Including the Newcastle Bus Depot interview in some 9 mins of footage!!

My Story: Earthquake Relief Concert

This week was 18 years since the Earthquake in Newcastle and surrounds which is evident today in new buildings and old stories about December 28th 1989!! It's recognised as happening at 10.27am and amongst a range of remembrances a memorial clock stopped at that time is on the wall at Jesmond Woolworths.

The funniest footage [of what must be remembered as a tragedy which cost 13 lives] was the news story being recorded about possible industrial action by Newcastle Buses where the ground shakes and the Union rep looks around saying "sh%# what was that?" and was therefore 'must see' footage on all the news bulletins.

The city was shutdown, buildings were demolished or haggled about insurance for more than 5 years... awnings fell at Hamilton, Newcastle Workers collapsed... and I for one MISSED IT ALL!!

Friends and I were on an ill conceived bushwalk down the Williams River in the Barrington's which Scouts and other adventure clubs have famously undertaken. That year there was a fair bit of water in the creek-like sections and it slowed us as a group. Personally whilst reasonably fit from footy that year my knees had started to complain and my old faithful comfortable joggers turned to soap from the continual wet walking and wading... more than one of us slipped on a mossy rock you needed to shimmy across to avoid jumping down into a tree trunk covering the waterfall-like section... friend Bernadette slipped and we later learned didn't just injure her side but busted a rib...

I gained some new insights into my own way of being part of a group that day and was also pretty annoyed with our two friends leading the group who in recognition of fading light and us taking a lot longer than planned charged off to set a pace... out of some frustration and with only minimal communication... as others of us with less balance and struggling a bit were left to bring up the rear!! While some of those friends returned again many times since, including this year... I count it as an interesting experience I don't care to repeat!! They were glad of that!

We didn't hear about the earthquake until half the group waiting at 'Bear's' house were joined by the Chinese takeaway buyers who heard about it on the radio and in the take away!!

My flat had water damaged books from a wavy fish tank, fish on the floor a cracked wall and a clothes dryer that had almost fallen off the top of the water heater... otherwise you wouldn't have known anything had happened!!

Simone tells the story of falling off her bike, friends in Sydney remember feeling a shake...
AND in the Barringtons..... NOTHING!!

The earthquake was in part the inspiration for the NCYC 2003 theme of "Shaking the Foundations" which was really about Jesus 'god values' view of the world that turns convention and trend upside down and calls us to live in community and relationship as intended!!

BUT the reflections I do have involve the coming together of people to raise money through the 'Earthquake Relief' Concert and that's what I was reflecting on this week as the 28th rolled around!!

40,000 people packed into the Newcastle International Sports Centre Stadium [since named 'Marathon' and now 'Energy Australia' Stadium...] The concert was put together by lots of Aussie acts and their management with the grunt of Michael Chugg... the black t-shirt is still in my collection somewhere!!

How did you decide the playing order 'Split Enz' and 'Crowded House' were asked...."well nobody could play after 'the Oils' so they'll be last and who cares from there..."

My highlights included:
The Angels entire set as they were just 'on fire' in those days
Ian Moss for the first time live
Neil Finn making a mistake and Paul Hester reaming him mercilessly about it as a turning of the tables on the perfectionist
The people towers rising ten people high
The blanket tossing of small males and females what must have been 10 metres in the air at times
All this in a pretty spontaneous, generous and playful atmosphere considering the alcohol and 'grass' consumption for the day... judging by most punters we encountered!! It had the same kind of unifying feeling as the Sydney Olympics did in the city that September 2000!!

I wonder if anyone had footage they've put on youtube from their archive!! While there was some consternation later about exactly how much money was raised it was one of my most memorable concert experiences!!

As another aside the earthquake experiences and stories of many people effected gave rise to the play "Aftershocks" which was a style of theatre production thats since become very popular in style and is like a retelling 'in their own words' of peoples experience and reflections!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 Most Complained about Advert in Oz

It seems the Nando Chicken advert has earnt the ire of the most people in 2007 according to media reports today... too much nudity in the pole dancing mum storyline apparently...

It seems an honourable mention goes to the clever RTA advert about young men speeding or acting the fool in cars. As it happens this advert was shot in the industrial Newcastle suburb of 'Carrington' and can be seen being replicated by real hoons any given Saturday down the very wide main street!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Two New Storytelling Resources

I spent some expected Christmas dollars in advance on Christmas Eve to add to my 'storytelling' resources!!

FIRST is "Fridge Magnets are Bastards" by Mark Dapin
This is a fun listing of everything quintessentially Aussie and annoying that seems to be flavour of the month here and yet takes us backwards or serves no real purpose. Its a 'list of annoying people and useless things.....'

SECOND is :"Hot and Bothered" by Michael Leunig
A collection of some of Michael's recently published newspaper cartoons which are brilliant as ever!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"Christmas Must Be Tonight" The Band

While I'm impressed with Paul Kelly's B-side cover of this track on the Won't You Come Around EP, this youtube punter has added some Chrissy images to the original from 'The Band'!!

Happy Christmas and have a significant time re-membering all that the story of the birth od Christ represents.... it was untidy, unexpected in location, humble, and representative of the values of God we are called to live out and example in our lives, relationships and community!! bringing HOPE and reconciliation to all!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Give a Better Gift: Betta Electrical Gift Cards

Betta Electrical score my award for Christmas marketing this year and the Anglican and Catholic heirarchy went for it left right and centre. Check out the advertisement for gift cards and see if it would have been as controversial and noticeable if the churches had not made comment!!

Gee at least the story is out there in the mainstream and someone at Betta and at their marketing firm have remembered it has something to do with Christmas!!

Smartartz 2007

In 2006 a group of keen adbusters began thinking and planning for a series of street scape art installations to bring an 'alternative' Christmas focus.

In community not church space
Static with crazy multimedia ideas but safe and interactive unattended
Focused on key words from the advent story
Relevant to the community
Friendly and a new face for 'the church'

We ran out of time without burning ourselves out!!

In 2007 a bunch of those inspired group members picked up the idea and developed the alternative side of the project into advocacy for TEAR Fund Gift Catalogue and Fairtrade products.... we now have some ideas for 'stations' next time having seen the ideas and the space first hand with a genuine passing traffic [between REBEL Sport and Charlestown Square Shopping Centre]

A range of committed Uniting Church folk and UCATSA tertiary students of various flavours wore t-shirts pondering "what I want for Christmas is....." depicting goats, wells, etc on the back!! This was a Uniting Church U-Turn group!!

Live music was our centre piece in the rotunda with the usual rotation of embarrassingly talented muso's and singers on tap in these Hunter networks!!

Thanks go to all who participated... including those excluded from the Centre by Security for their subversion of the consumerist myth of happiness by material possessions!!

Some photos will appear here... others will later be uploaded to our yahoogroup space and a flickr panel in the right column!!
Well done and thanks to the core Team who made this possible!!

NEXT year....
three sided gazebo tents
4 art installations
a wardrobe with holes cut for 34cm tv's
vox pop video about 'what christmas means to me'
invite Juan Mann to join us with his free hugs
maybe move from the Mall to a community hall or space somewhere with through traffic where a bbq and fire twirling could happen
alternative nativity
negotiate one installation to be in a shop window and out real people in a scene as if mannequins
so it goes on......

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Unreliable Idea # 34 "Minute by Minute" Grinspoon CLIP

OK caught the released clip for this Grinspoon song on 'Video Hits' this morning!! The clip adds a dimension to the story of Phil's live performance and interview on Denton's 'Enough Rope'!!

A great Camp Small Group activity would be to take a chart song that relates to the theme and invite each group to write/design/storyboard and then film a clip interpreting the song or the song in relation to the Camp theme and then of course play these clips!!

You need:
A props and costume box
Video camera/s
Capture/edit software
CDs and lyrics of the song
Maybe the original clip
A brief precis of the connections between the theme and the song [use only if groups are stuck]

Monday, December 10, 2007


So here I am at the end of week one of an extended holiday!! I return to work after Australia Day at the end of January!! I decided after 8 years in my role to 'take a breathe' before the next 3 year extension and lets see what we can do.... We are not doing more than day or overnight trips because I can tell you now I just need a huge rest!!

So I find myself with advent ideas and nowhere to use them... some from previous years, some new and crazy!! Though my posts over Dec/Jan will slow down I consider this fun and not work so you'll see stories, news and music IF I feel like it...

1. "Christmas Must Be Tonight"
I am very strong on trying to interpret Christmas in the Aussie climate and culture so Paul Kelly's 'The Band' cover as a single B side on 'Won't You Come Around' is a great tune.

2. "The North Wind"
This carol demands the writing of your own verses to actually introduce some element of Jesus story and to contextualise its singing in a given year.

3. ABC Radio 702 Christmas Carol CDs
Where listeners/groups have recorded music... my favourite is Wiley Park Public School kids doing 'Silent Night' with a little rock a billy piano... I have 2 volumes which are still around...

4. Audio-visuals
Available from [after you wade thru the americanisms] and rather than scamming some of them from youtube which does have other options also

5. "Nine"
From Jonny Baker and the Grace folk... something I will use one year...

Worship around the nine lessons used in 'lessons and carols' services only this time you invite nine participants who volunteer, to choose a piece of music that relates to the 'lesson' or bible reading for them and then to design a worship 'station' or activity connecting both or springing off them... I understand that people are invited to experience all NINE in the worship time and space

6. Upside down Christmas Tree
Bring food and small prezzies for those in need and distribute the to advertised community groups. The UCA links with 'Target' thru our UnitingCare name and local congregational partnerships.

7. Refugees
A valid focus for Advent 2007
I guess people have already started lighting Advent Candles in wreaths.... but you could focus on the plight, struggles and hopes of refugees through the Advent themes of HOPE< ANTICIPATION, PATIENCE and OBEDIENCE

8. Australian Images
While I am no fan of Buck and Champs [Colin Buchanan and Greg Champion] CDs the Holden Ute does evoke some strong local images as transport for Santa. Use crayon and other artforms to draw backdrops, cards, AV slides etc to fit with an Aussie Christmas

9. FarSide
I still rate Gary Larson's Christmas art amongst his finest work and the funniest Christmas images around... I have previously blogged about how "unbeknown to most theologians a fourth wise man was turned away for bringing fruitcake..."

10. Prayer for Others
Here at Christmas time is a chance to have a red hot go at listing all the international situations that need prayer and action for change in 2007. Our best chance to demonstrate our missional sensibilities with mixed audiences of visitors in worship!!

11. U2
"Peace On Earth"
"Wave of Sorrow"
See previous posts on both these songs BUT the second one comes as a brilliant Intercession track reflecting as Bono says on the story of Solomon and on his experiences in Africa those many years ago!!

The 20thanniversary remastered album, and limited edition 2 CD set are out... BUT I have waited and ordered the Deluxe version wit the Paris concert DVD and booklet as an advance Chrissy present from money I believ is on my way... due here 2 weeks ago but always held back by the marketers until 18th December!!

12. BBQ
Hold one in your main street, on the front lawn of your church, or in your own backyard BUT hold one somewhere so your faith community shares with the rest of the community on some level... maybe even be inspired to do what my collaborators in the Smartartz colelctive are doing...

13. TEAR Fund Art Installation and Music
Outside a local shopping centre there will be music, a shanty with advertising for TEAR Gift Catalogue and the plight of refugees the world over... a bbq we hope and t-shirted volunteers reminding people that hyper consumerism is not the entire message of Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Wallsend South Public School Celebration

Wow, after all those reminiscences about Newcastle Workers Club... there I was tonight at Lucy's end of school year celebration. So she's in Kindergarten and perhaps there's plenty of years to catch these events BUT she was one of two Kindergarten 'signers' for the National Anthem and a choir member for the Kindergarten dinosaur songs!! Little did we know she was receiving a certificate for "citizenship" which made sense... she's been a great friend to some other kids and has loved school!!
Even moreso, the night was spectacular... from the matrix clock countdown to start through three or four songs of visuals from the year and then a few other video diaries in between some awards!! It was brilliant... my motto, simple things done well!! It showed the generational difference in short speeches and plenty of images!!
As well as this I had been talking beforehand about how this is one venue where 'mum and dad' used to come to see live bands and especially 'The Oils'... blow me down if song three in the video collage isn't "King of the Mountain" which certainly rocks!! from the Blue Sky Mining" album!!
All in all a terrific if late night and a testimony to a great School and a dedicated and keen staff...
It made me think about children's ministry, worship, the challenge the church faces in the current context, the positive values and participation that were encouraged and what happesn to kids who 'go off the rails'? In this affirming and positive environment they still manage to hit 'walls', struggles, esteem issues etc and experience untold pain that no institution seems equipped to handle!!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Reflections "1000 Miles Away" Hoodo Gurus

"1000 Miles Away" Hoodo Gurus
Estimated time of arrival 9.30 a.m.
Been up before the sun and now I'm tired before I even begin.
(Now you're flying) I got so much work in front of me,
(Really flying) it stretches out far as the eye can see.
I can see.
Spend half my life in airports doing crosswords and attempting to sleep,
And when the bar is open then you'll often find me warming a seat.
(Now you're flying) I never find a place where I can stay
(Really flying) I'd rather be a thousand miles away.
Thousand miles away.
Working for yourself sometimes ain't all that it's cracked up to be.
It can be as lonely at the top as at the bottom of that corporate tree
(Now you're flying) I'm told I'm going places - who can say ?
(Really flying) I might arrive but I'll be gone the very next day.
I must be on my way
A thousand miles away.
Promised to myself someday I'd take the time and try to make sense
Out of all those opportunities I've lost from trying to sit on the fence
(Now you're flying) But right now I've got no time for yesterday
(Really flying) Yesterday's a thousand miles away.
A thousand miles away.
What was that that you were trying to say ?
I guess I was a thousand miles away.
Sing it again.

As I head off to extended holidays for this year [wow, finally taking some of that well earned Long Leave] I was thinking about my reflection time on Saturday as I drove to Canberra listening to my 'mixed tape CD' in the car and drumming along to the Gurus...

This song is not my story, a bizzaro version of it might be... the opposite to the corporate tree, working for myself, wishing I was 1000 miles away etc BUT my reflections were somewhere between what a brilliant guitar/drum rock band the Hoodo Gurus were/are and memories of Newcastle Workers Club gigs maybe 15 years ago... the humidity, smoke, lights, the bass causing your sternum to vibrate and the drums making a breeze blow through your hair whenever the foot pedal was hit!!

Just as your settling in to listen to a brilliant performance the latecomers start wending their way forward and taking up your space, you catch the pungant wiff of a joint fired up nearby as three Merewether surfers push past to get a better position at front of stage.

Its late, your at part time Uni and working fulltime and the chances of you getting to work tomorrow are getting slimmer as the encore lengthens!!

Then when it all ends you shuffle slowly through ankle deep cans and plastic cups to a half open door that only two people at a time can fit through!! Out into the crisp air you suddenly develop a craving for a Haven Burger and large chips with chicken salt down in Darby St [now Hunter St]

Life is full of potential BUT you feel a little stuck, alone and unsure... THEY WERE GREAT TIMES!!

"Promised to myself someday I'd take the time and try to make sense
Out of all those opportunities I've lost from trying to sit on the fence
(Now you're flying) But right now I've got no time for yesterday
(Really flying) Yesterday's a thousand miles away.
A thousand miles away.
What was that that you were trying to say ?
I guess I was a thousand miles away.
Sing it again..."