Sunday, November 27, 2016

Crowded House 'live' at the Sydney Opera House ABC TV

   It's wonderful to sit and share the joy of Crowded House with our girls twenty years on from the entire collection on high rotation in the car, the house, anywhere!! Neil Finn is just a masterful lyricist, composer and musician...
   I'm reminded of the concert twenty years ago because we didn't go!! I know!
Not for the first time or the last I chose to be where my vocation called for me to be [though on that occasion I was less than impressed with the turnout] but the quality of relationships with those gathered was a wonderful thing!! It was a UYF Christmas Party at Charlestown UC and I and others were on BBQ duty!! So I have the double VHS collection instead...
   That's why [apart from being away, since booked] I decided not to go this time... It's hard to relive something you missed first time around!! It's different to why I don't go to the vineyards, which is about it never being the same as it was... or the risk it won't be!! Nice though, to read friends FB messages across the last four nights!! They are still a great band... 'Beatlesesque' when there were then too many good bands for that to be quite as unique!!
   So here I am in the lounge room fighting back tears for songs that speak of life's pains, decisions, good times and grief. There are songs reminding me of: so many venues and gigs seeing this band live; strong albums; Neil's perfectionism; Paul Hester's jester act and just the magic of storytelling through song...
   There's also something wonderful about the Aussie/Kiwi battle/wrestle/market size that means Crowded House reflect our brashness and Kiwi humility and creativity.
   I'm reminded too of Newcastle's Civic Theatre with the Finn brothers plus Liam and Elroy Finn as the players rotate around instruments for several songs... showing off, no, showing sheer talent. Then there's the 'Sound Relief' gig with Neil playing guitar and singing and Tim on guitar, voice and foot drums!! Wonderful! Tim will be onstage soon... and as I'm in QLD, there he is right on cue I kid you not... "It's Only Natural"!!
   I'm also sad for Paul Hester who lived with such anguish and who died so alone at a time of his own choosing. A reminder to me that if the one whose example I try to follow, the community we are called to be in response and the Christ we are meant to bring, means anything it has to mean something in those times and places. We have to actually be a people tuned into those voices from the struggling edge of ourselves and our community... places of hope in bad times, of joy and of so many more things...
   It makes me think of Neil at the Opera House [inside] after Paul's death and we'd gone to hear him play and he asked for the PA to be turned off and he just sang for Paul a capella in that space and it was not just a 'thin place' but the shared grief was palpable.
   So there you go, that's what I'm thinking of and tearful about in a time share lounge room as the grainy reception on the Unit TV offers some glimpse of creativity, joy, talent and celebration that's always been Crowded House!!
   Looking forward to "Weather With You" and so many more...

Friday, November 11, 2016

"Carols for Compassion" #lovemakesaway

  "Love Makes a Way" is a movement of people who believe it!! That there's got to be a better alternative to the hopelessness, mental anguish, exploitation and punishment of already distressed people seeking asylum in Australia by 'leaky boat.'
   There's no doubt the global problem needs complex solutions but it ought to start with compassion and relief of post traumatic stress. In the 1970s Australia embraced 'the boat people' and we are a richer country for our multiculturalism. What irks me most is not the rhetoric about 'stop the boats' or the drownings BUT it's the fact that suits a political wedge agenda. The Howard Government saw a political opportunity, lied about children overboard and have kept ramping up the hype. Then Labor relaxed the approach, for the right motives, and yes their 'soft on border protection' blah blah blah!!
   This country needs a Forum of skilled people to develop an alternative response, involving the UNHCR and our near neighbours, to replace that awful militarily inspired "Operation Sovereign Borders."
   Leaving all that aside "CHILDREN DON'T BELONG IN DETENTION"  and "CAROLS FOR COMPASSION" is an opportunity to gather with others, to sing and to stand for a better way!!
   Even if you believe our current approach is right you can't possibly be OK with what's happening refugees and asylum seekers in our Detention Centres... if otherwise I'd love to hear how you find those values earthed in the Christian story and the arc of God's siding with the poor that bends towards justice!!

In short, like minded souls can gather for "CAROLS FOR COMPASSION" from 4.45pm Thursday 8th December at Hunter St Newcastle [Office of Federal MP Sharon Claydon]!!

Monday, November 07, 2016

Movies 2016 [too early?]

“The Nice Guys” most entertaining, funniest film I saw all year
“Hunt for the Wilder People” my favourite film for 2016
“Sully” divides opinion but I really liked it for the clever angle to tell the story
“The Girl on the Train” best intrigue of 2016
“Eddie the Eagle” loved it, funny and inspired
 “Batman v Superman” um yeah it was OK if a little underwhelming!!
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” held up well, great laughs
“Captain America Civil War” yeah, tired!! You need a reason to tell a story
 “The Divergent Series: Allegiant” OK as a terrific suspend belief brain break
“Jason Bourne” a fine return but they still don’t resolve as they set up the next two
“Suicide Squad” entertaining distortion of the story in editing
 “Bridget Jones Baby” as good as ever, love it or hate it
“The Magnificent Seven” great remake, tense, violent, good cast
 “The Accountant” surprise packet
“Jack Reacher 2” aside from 5’ 8’ non blonde, entertaining
“Eight Days a Week” showcase for Ron Howard’s craft, youth & enthusiasm & talent on show
“Eye in the Sky” caught up with this to remember Alan Rickman
“Money Monster” great effort, George both inspires and frustrates
“The Secret Life of Pets” surprisingly entertaining
 “The Jungle Book “ terrific memories of my fav. childhood storybook
“X:Men Apocolypse” OK for a morning off
 “The Man Who Knew Infinity” almost a great film
“Dr Strange” like the title says
  “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2” 2 hours I’ll never get back
  “Finding Dory” Good but unecessary
“Independence Day 2” shlock laughfest
cast will obscure what a terrible film this was
 “David Brent: Life on the Road” Funny but uncomfortable, which is what Ricky is shooting for
 “Grimsby” crude and disappointing
Unfortunately the ‘chip on the shoulder’ about backlash against rebooting the original with a female

Swiss Army Man
Captain Fantastic
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Rogue One

Hail Caesar
Dads Army
Whisky Tango Foxtrot
Florence Foster Jenkins
Star Trek Beyond