Friday, January 29, 2010

"The Break" to release an album in April

When it was pointed out to me in the weekend papers that some remaining members of 'Midnight Oil' were collaborating with Brian Ritchie from US group, 'The Violent Femmes' and they'd be recording some classic old surf styled music... I was intrigued!! You see The Backsliders, Fuzz Face, Hirst & Green, The Ghostwriters, Ebbtide & the Shorebreakers are just great bands producing good music... so I assumed this would be the same!!

"Their debut album, 'Church Of The Open Sky' will be released in April 2010. The Oils have their roots in the surf pubs of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The Femmes on the other hand hail from Milwaukee Wisconsin. What is not so well known however is that the two bands have shared a history, a friendship and even a tour manager for over a decade. When Ritchie recently moved to Hobart, Tasmania the stars were aligned and the four got together for a jam in Jim Moginie’s studio. Kicking off with an old Link Wray track ‘Rumble’ (made famous in the movie Pulp Fiction) the sound that emerged took on an energy of its own and the new band was born."

They are gigging around Sydney BUT even better news is they are playing on Sunday at "Bluesfest" where I'll be spending my Easter this year!!

Not convinced then check them out here or below...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Little Lion Man" Mumford and Sons


ABCs worst kept 'secret' Number 1 in JJJ Hottest 100 2009

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Movies of the Last Decade

It's that time of year [and of the decade] so my lists continue and hopefully this is a helpful resource list at least in part as well!! I need to be clear that I have only included films I have seen and this is my list of 'memorable' films from 2000-2009 e.g. I haven't seen Pans Labyrinth]...
They are also just the ones I can recall... perhaps you have other suggestions or glaring omissions to comment about...
Some I'm suggesting were: funny; or landmark; or inspirational; or useful in ministry with young people; or just good films whether any of the other descriptors are true or not... you might need to figure out which and as ever, preview any for use with young people!!
Some were memorable but not perfect... good scripts are the making of good films and sometimes a film has that 30mins that makes it different to TV but they could have done without, other times they don't know how to finish and I am definitely a fan of films 98 to 139 mins max...

Almost Famous
Billy Elliot
Bridget Jones Diary
Cast Away
Chicken Run
Erin Brokovich
Finding Forrester
High Fidelity
Keeping the Faith
Meet the Parents
Miss Congeniality
Remember the Titans

A Beautiful Mind
About a Boy
The Dish
Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone
Last Castle
Monsters Inc
Moulin Rouge
Riding in Cars with Boys

Bend It Like Beckham
Bowling for Columbine
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Rabbit Proof Fence
The Bourne Identity

Bruce Almighty
Finding Nemo
Lost in Translation
Love Actually
Matrix Revolutions
Mystic River
Whale Rider

50 First Dates
Batman Begins
Meet the Fockers
Napoleon Dynamite
Spiderman 2
Star Wars Ep III Revenge of the Sith
The Incredibles
School of Rock
The Terminal

Brokeback Mountain
Cinderella Man
Coach Carter
Keeping Mum
Worlds Fastest Indian
Walk the Line
Wedding Crashers

As It Is in Heaven
An Inconvenient Truth
Casino Royale
The Da Vinci Code
The Devil Wears Prada
Happy Feet
Little Miss Sunshine
Night at the Museum
Pursuit of Happyness
The Queen
Rocky Balboa
Superman Returns

Amazing Grace
The Bee Movie
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Bucketlist
Death at a Funeral
Diehard 4
Freedom Writers
Lars and the Real Girl
Reign Over Me
Transformers the Movie

27 Dresses
Body of Lies
Burn After Reading
The Changeling
The Dark Knight
Gran Torino
Incredible Hulk 2008
Iron Man
Quantum of Solace
Rambo 4
The Secret Life of Bees
Seven Pounds
Sex and the City the Movie
Slumdog Millionaire
U2 3D
Vantage Point
Yes Man

500 Days of Summer
The Hangover
He's Just Not That Into You
The Informant
State of Play
Terminator Salvation
The Time Travellers Wife
Transformers 2
Whip It
The Invention of Lying

And now 2010 and predictions...
Edge of Darkness

Wall Street 2
Iron Man 2
Robin Hood
Shrek 4
Sex and the City 2
Toy Story 3 3D
Karate Kid 2010
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Green Hornet
Rambo 5
Walter the Farting Dog [great books]

Sunday, January 24, 2010

1995 Rugby World Cup

The extra bits of the story "Invictus" revolve around the actual rugby of course... Nobody could be sure the South Africans would win the whole thing... the story is all the more remarkable for that... it speaks to the intangibles of team sport and what motivates players and helps teams perform above expectations! I've witnessed paint stripping coaches talks, super hyped up team mates, quiet last minute smokers and those who get motivated by dismissing all of the above... no one method works for every team and I've often pondered how those last 5 minutes before a match or the half time rev up make any difference once you jog through the gate and the ball is kicked off... whatever the crowd, the new South Africa and the internal mental workings of the Springbok side, they did the job on France and New Zealand!
Second and untouched in the film [and left out of my review on purpose] are the rumours about 'Susie' the mystery waitress at one NZ All Blacks meals a day or so before the Final... as a team they would never allow an excuse but the story did the rounds that most of the team suffered very severe food poisoning for the Final... and there is legendary footage of Jeff Wilson coughing up all but a lung on ther field!!
Did it happen, was it a plot... could Luis Luyt actually have organised it? Dunno, but none of that is what the film's story is about... either way!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Invictus" rated M 133 minutes

[Full Row M Seat 30 Resource Paper when I'm back from holidays]

"Invictus" is Latin for "invincible." It is also the name of a short poem written in 1875 by William Ernest Henley, a British poet. The poem was written while Henley was in hospital having to have his stricken foot amputated. Mandela is heard saying lines from the poem.

It's part of a depiction of Nelson Mandela seeking to harness the possibilities of a South African World Cup Rugby victory in 1995. It represented a chance to unite black and white in cheering for the team, embracing a new flag and signing the new South African anthem. All of which Mandela saw as representing much wider issues.

Morgan Freeman and others had laboured with "Long Walk to Freedom" the Mandela story, but spanning several decades it proved difficult to adapt for a film. This film is instead drawn from the John Carlin book "Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation."

Broadly the rugby familiar screenwriter and Director Clint Eastwood are able to capture a series of vignettes outlining the historical and deeper significance of this tournament and it's home teams efforts to win the Webb Ellis Cup. The rugby scenes are great andit works as a vehicle for exploring what was happening in South Africa at the time but more poignantly, something of who this man Mandela was and how he operated. Right down to allowing the Springbok name to continue so as not to further alienate the Afrikaners and their national passion.

Having seen the trailers I was worried about both Morgan Freeman's accent and performance and Matt Damon's stature and ability to 'get inside' the game of Rugby. By all reports when he first met Francois Peinaar he commented that he looked bigger on screen... uncomfortable silence overcome... Likewise there are a few slips and a few times you forget it's an actor playing Mandela.

It's a really good film, not a great film, and I reckon most would enjoy it and learn from it but I can't know what it's like to watch and not be a rugby nut or to remember most details of the matches...

Critics have mostly liked the film but expressed concern over the simplistic depiction of change and solutions to problems. On the contrary I saw a film where a clever Clint Eatwood used various relationships around the story to tell it's underlying themes... there is momentary euphoria surrounding such sporting events [World Cup Soccer for example] but nobosy was suggesting all South Africa's problems were solved... just that in that moment you catch a glimpse of what's possible. Eastwood uses those alongside the main story to tell this tale: the mix of black and white security guards; Peinaar's own family and their black housemaid; Mandela and his family; the Sports Council; and a trusted Rugby commentator keeps you informed of the teams progress or lack thereof...

In all it's a good film attempting to share an important story. I love the inclusion of the emergence of Jona Lomu asa rugby freak [Player of the Tournament] especially as he uses Mike Catt as a doormat in the game v England.

Mandela is a living treasure and this depiction captures his values, ethics, frailty, frustrations and statesmanlike manner really well.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Haiti" A Disaster

Missed all the earthquake happenings while away at Summer Camp except we did use some translucent paper and printed images with a candle for a moment of reflection!!
If you were leading worship this weekend you could do worse than:

1. print some images from the news [not the sensationalist rubbish we've seen] on translucent paper, loop and tape it and place it over some candles as a focus for prayer and reflection
2. Use a world map with Haiti marked on it and some basic facts which would likely revolve around the poverty and health issues a part of normal life there.
3. Use the map for some candle lighting
4. Choose a Scripture/Psalm of lament Psalms 60, 143 as suggested at Rethinking Youth Ministry for discussion/reflection
5. Use suitable songs for audio-visuals or prayer space e.g. "Life Uncommon" Jewel, "Watch Over Me" Bernard Fanning, "The World Where You Live" Crowded House
6. Collect some images including Haiti pre and post quake to offer alternative visions
7. Use small rough stones to symbolise the buildings and invite people to hold a stone, to think of the life and times it represents, to pray and to take it home as a reminder not to forget what's happened
8. Take up a special collection
9. Plan an event within your community in the next month to raise further funds for Haiti
10. Stay with the story in coming weeks unlike local news here which quickly switched to our royal visit

Radio Controlled Hummer Cars

Spent a little of my Christmas money today with small simple radio controlled cars in sale at DSE! For years I've had a remote ute but it's finally given up and the girls love to take these to the local netball complex and drive them around the multiple courts in the late cooling summer afternoon... we'll take the kite and my hovercraft tomorrow and see what fun can be had... ahhh! holidays!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

U2 Rumours as Ban Continues

OK it's now 2010 and after this post I will not mention U2 again until they announce Australian Tour dates... let's face it, that's more likely than announcing they're rejigging their tax arrangements so as not to go offshore with their income and tax!!
I find it hard to believe rumours of Feb/March tour dates in Australia are still out there [with counter claims of football and cricket clashes] BUT I reckon November is still in the running... just in case you need to clear your diary!
Stay tuned for release date of the new U2 album [although that's likely to be made up of unfinished previous music] called 'Songs of Ascent'

My Top Ten CDs from the 2000s

Over at the Youthmultimedia egroup we're up for prizes celebrating the groups 10th year and Comp # 01 is to suggest your personal Top 10 choices of CD from the 2000s!!

I humbly submit the following [I'm not into Sigur Ros or Jazz music enough to have any surprises for those who know me]:

1. Powderfinger "Odyssey Number 5" with lots of memorable aussie tracks
2. U2 "All That You Can't Leave Behind" so many songs for reflection and social justice
3. Radiohead "Kid A" exemplary standout
4. Coldplay "Rush of Blood to the Head" Chris Martin cops it from critics who don't get it
5. U2 "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" scrapes in with some return to form tracks
6. Silverchair "Diorama" Neon Ballroom is better but is 1990s
7. Missy Higgins "The Sound of White" outstanding 1st album
8. Green Day "American Idiot" Green Day perfection
9. Midnight Oil "Flat Chat" sneaks in as a compliation of the Oils loudest stuff as Sony cash in
10. Amy Winehouse "Back to Black" not a bad voice for a skank!!

With honourable mentions to Pink, James Blunt, Spoon, Snow Patrol, The Audreys, John Butler and Ryan Adams

Thursday, January 07, 2010

2009 before it Disappears

My 'highlights' of 2009 as near as I can recall...

Memorable Film: 'The Soloist' out here on DVD today
Sporting Moment: Walking the NSW Golf Club awaiting John Daly while the day was postponed due to high winds... or another Yankees 'World Series' baseball win. Can you tell the 'Wallabies' were aweful this year!!
Favourite time: Homebush Pool with the girls in the whirlpool and watching the dump bucket
Disappointment of 2009: putting some weight back on and being unwell for a month and half at the end of winter
Quotable quote: "Isn't he just great! Tiger Woods, now that's the kind of publicity your sport and your city need!!" [every golf commentator for the Aussie Masters in Melbourne]
Working highlight: NCYC Bible Study with a brilliant team
Political fun: sadly, the demise of Malcolm Turnbull and the musical chairs of NSW Labor politics
Favourite song of 2009: not realeased in 2009 but dominant on my ipod "Viva La Vida"Coldplay
Favourite TV: Grey's Anatomy, Elders with Andrew Denton, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Best Idea: temporary YU website

Goals 2010:
Renewed energy
Experimental Easter at Bluesfest
More time with my girls

Pakistan Defensive Fielding Loses 2nd Test

Can't resist a post about yesterdays Test Cricket from Sydney! Having enjoyed the contest on Day One [with the generous Geoff Smith] from the relative calm of the Members Area I was astonished at yesterdays capitulation by the Pakistan team.
Bowling on a greentop Day One they rolled us for 120 odd and we went into Day 5 with only an 80 run lead. The Pakistan skipper and brainstrust had obviously decided we'd hang in with only 2 wickets in hand and they went ultra-conservative in the field from ball one.
Trouble is they handed the initiative back and the 176 run lead was enough to cause them pressure headaches. While the skipper blamed his shot for caught and bowled the commentators in post match interviews [at least the ones I heard] dogged the question about the field placements, having sledged him mercilessly all morning!!
These days my year only settles don enough to really get into the Boxing Day and New Years Tests so it's been enjoyable to slow down and take it all in...

While on it... here's my Test XI despite the 'success' of the current crop

1. Phillip Hughes
2. Simon Katich
3. Ricky Ponting [until after next years Ashes Tests]
4. Michael Clarke
5. Marcus North
6. Shane Watson
7. Brad Haddin
8. Mitchell Johnson
9. Nathan Hauritz
10. Ben Hilfenhaus
11. Doug Bollinger
12. Steve Smith

Tour Extras:
Shaun Marsh
Moises Henriques
3 to be added