Monday, December 12, 2011

I'm all over your action!

Mudhoney live at The Brisbane Hotel, 7/12/2011. /with support - Precious Jules, Moe Grizzly.

If music is meant to be healing, then I could only imagine Mudhoney as a circular saw cutting through a gangrenous limb before the necrosis takes hold. That's healing, right?

Upon entering the Brisbane Hotel, I could have forgiven myself for a night of pure indulgence, having never seen a gig at the Brissy before, it was somewhat like entering a time-warp. But I resisted the urge to go ‘all retro’ and had a few beverages before Moe Grizzly brought the noise. They didn’t help, mind. Their sound took me back to many a pub-gig from the nineties (the trombone being an added feature). The growing crowd numbers seemed to appreciate the art/noise/rock and while they didn’t really take the bull by the horns, they did show a rich palette and oozed credibility.

Next up, Precious Jules took a no-fuss approach. Kim Salmon - looking like a bearded Brett Whitely, dressed in a sleeveless T-shirt and tie - and drummer, Mike Stranges blasted into their set with serious intent, trying to revive the spirit of The Sex Pistols or maybe the New York Dolls with an avalanche of short, acerbic tunes. Although interestingly, it was the track Too Uptite, with its more architectural, circular riff that had the Doc Martins and Converse sneakers tapping and even brought some shimmy to the fishnets. Salmon was engaging between songs and as expected, perfectly at home. Mudhoney lead-man, Mark Arm even took time to watch from near the desk. Despite only being a two-piece, Precious Jules kept the crowd interested throughout, aided by Stranges accomplished stick-work and solid counter-lead vocals. Was a fine, fine treat before the main course.

Mudhoney eased onto stage after an introduction of chamber music played on church organ (that’s my recollection), launching into a tight routine, combining quick jabs of newer material, followed by the big right-hooks of one of their ‘classics’. And despite mainly being a fan of the first EP and album, I really enjoyed the compact, more neurotic nature of these latter songs, but they still couldn’t match it with the Supernova explosions of tracks such as You Got It, This Gift or Touch Me, I’m Sick. These cornerstone songs have a magical quality, the sound loose and visceral. For mine, it’s not just because these songs have seminal status in the grunge pantheon that they received the most rapturous reception.

It seemed, for the most part, the band was enjoying themselves, although the mask of sincerity got broken from time to time, tracks like Sweet Young Thing (Aint Sweet No More) and Here Comes Sickness are in retrospect, David Lynch/Garage goofs - but that’s okay! The last third of the set saw Arm put down his guitar and play a more traditional front-man role, sonically, the band lost a bit, but by that stage it didn’t matter, minds had been blown! The crowd settled into a sweaty, engorged reverie.

The main realisation, from not having seen Mudhoney for many years, was the power of Mark Arm’s vocals. And I feel a need to compare, while Kurt’s voice was an emotional full-spectrum roar, Mark Arm seems to have this zero-point energy, engaging a spot on his vocal chords and making it just distort-to-buggery: but with depth and menace, always cutting through the chaos. And Mudhoney still are, and always have been, a very loud band. In an alternate, Alternate Universe, Mark Arm could have been the Iggy Pop, even *cringe* the Billy Idol of Grunge with just one awesome single and promotion etc. But as he steered everyone through the final bends, it became obvious, Mark Arm is a better performer with guitar-in-hand, most notably, as Arm and his Comrade-in-Muff, Steve Turner brought it home with their best impression of back-masked duelling guitar solos, propelling In and Out of Grace from a crowd favourite, double-time breakdown into face-melt overload. Guy Maddison was a big presence throughout the night on bass, but without a drum-riser it was harder to fully appreciate Dan Peters, although the drum-fills still came as thick and fast as ever.

There was a short encore, and with a quick verbal assassination of The Smashing Pumpkins, it was over. Expectations met: pure and simple.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Missing the bigger picture.

First of all, I recommend you get onto Youtube and search for Cricket fighting. I think you will be enthralled, and also get an appreciation for how the Advertiser has missed the boat on this sensational story. Although, I think 'blood sport' may be slight exaggeration. Still, I believe there needs to be an in depth and thorough investigation of these events. By sending a couple of cadets off to Shanghai to pick up the trail, Rupert will surely end up with the most incredible story to come out of China since Marco Polo nicked the noodles.

Of course, you're thinking, God bless China for coming to the rescue of these poor, 'roided up crickets. The Olympics were worth it after all. Or, you are thinking Mmmm, tasty. Column A, Column B. Who can decide? And while I can't be sure as to why Chinese authorities have come to the rescue of these fighting bugs, I have a few hunches. So, with the Advertiser failing me yet again, I shall do their grunt work. Like all super-sleuths, I'm going to follow the money trail. Could it be that this cricket fighting is taking revenue away from the State sanctioned casinos and into the pocket of sidewalk shysters? It wouldn't surprise me. Try some scorpion fighting outside Sky Casino and see how long it lasts.

Finally, I'd like to thank the Advertiser for increasing the print size yet again. Though, it seems that as the font, kerning and typesetting increases, the quality of the ink diminishes at a much faster rate. My scanner flails about and throws up an arm in disgust and does a generally crap job of rasterizing. Oh, is that your plan, Rupert?

Mmmm, crickets.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

No doubt on drought.

First of all, who was this madman who thought the drought was over? Shame on you, Mike Rann.

Okay, to the main game. Wouldn't you think public opinion on this kind of issue to be patently irrelevant? Well, I guess not for the 31 people who voted. But why was this even posed as a question in the first place? What could it possibly achieve? Isn't the drought a serious enough issue that objective data should be the only way to measure the current rain's impact on water levels? I think there is this organisation, umm, The Bureau of Meteorology, wouldn't they be more informed than some local news poll desperadoes?

I have been observing this trend for a while and I still can't tell just how far it's going to go. Public opinion being used to decide the daily maximum temperature, the price on carbon emisions, whether frogs have become extinct, the diagnosis of cancer, our most promising new artists, oh, hang on.

You see my point.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A man and his metaphors.

Mike Driscoll wants to sterilize - I’m being kind here, he may actually want to kill off – a vast number of people currently co-habiting Mother Earth to alleviate the current energy crisis. This argument, so elegantly framed within Mike’s metaphor, is not a new one. Eradicating a segment of the population to solve a social problem has been popular for untold centuries. As a course of action, it illustrates some measure of logic and for those not chosen to be ‘dealt with’ it gives them something practical to do, to take their minds off what it is they are actually doing. Why it doesn’t happen more, I have no idea . . .

Except, it is never really an issue of population. It’s not about numbers, but how people choose to live.

Some people choose to live in the most appalling conditions imaginable. They do not choose the conditions, mind. But they do choose to live. And they also choose to have families. This is a privilege and a right for all humans, if able. So any person or group that want the power to decide who can, and who cannot have children is violating that right. And on a slippery slope they must also venture: who, how many, how? It is on this basis alone that such a proposal must be rejected. However, I’m afraid a more potent solution to this latest crisis needs to be found, as those proponents of population control will argue that the current situation is so unique, unprecedented and grave that we must take drastic steps to save the human race. They will say it is us or them.

This issue gets to the heart of human nature: good, greater good, evil. These concepts, while often presented as absolutes, are really a matter of perspective. In reality, Human Beings are opportunistic by nature. With each opportunity afforded to us, it is left to our moral filters to then define what can be considered proper or improper. What we consider to be an immoral opportunity is commonly referred to as evil. Opportunities that are considered good tend not to violate our morals. This is how good vs. evil plays out, unless you are a saint or a psychopath. So, in this crisis, just like those that have come before, it is opportunity that is the real commodity at stake, not oil or food.

To return to Mike’s metaphor, to this boat that we are all traveling on, lets call it the Titanic. Just for argument’s sake. The lower decks house the developing world, the decks that are closest to sinking into the abyss. What these people desperately need is the opportunity to be lifted out from their current situation, to higher ground. In a localized disaster we open our doors to the dispossessed, feed them and provide shelter. This is how a community works. And we now pride ourselves on having a global economy, but currently fail to live up to the obligations in this global village. So, rather than people turning their backs in despair, we need to open our doors.

Air travel too expensive? Want to experience how others live? First, there needs to be an inversion of attitudes and policies. For what I’m proposing, instead of sterilization or population control, is a massive increase in immigration throughout the Western World. The planes should be bringing people to our shores: every country, every home. Let them come, every single person that wants to grasp the opportunities that the West can provide.

In this increasingly corporate world, immigration is one of the few things that The State still has sovereign powers to manage. Let them flood in! Our way of life must change, but we are currently unable to do what is necessary: too little, too late. Immigration is the magic bullet. We need to come together in a way that is beyond this generation’s imagining. Invite everyone to the deluxe cabins and throw a party! If ‘they’ stay over there and ‘we’ stay over here, then no significant change will ever be achieved. And we all know it.

So the change must be radical and it must be confronting. When you are looking into someone’s eyes it’s harder to say no. Once they are here, we must look after them. Let necessity be the mother of invention. But the real necessity will only come if they are on our doorstep, in our own countries. It would be impossible to predict the effects, but at least we would be assured of reducing famine and war. And here I’m referring to Africa. But Africa has little to do with our current energy crisis. It is India and China that are gobbling up our energy and polluting our atmosphere. They are hungry for development and there is no sign as yet that they will alter their current strategies to achieve this end. So, if these people of India and China our so set on development, even if it means plunging our environment into peril and driving up the cost of energy, then let them come to the developed world right now! If a massive number of people from China and India were allowed to immigrate to the Western World it would immediately satisfy their desire for modern living and greatly reduce the need for unsustainable development in their home countries. What I’m talking about is a billion people. Yes, a billion people immigrating from the undeveloped to the developed world, and quickly. The global economy is supply and demand. If we reduce demand by taking a few (multi) million off their hands, then there will be less pressure on supply.

Okay, the obvious reaction. What country is going to allow a massive influx of foreign nationals into their country in this age of terrorism and international insecurity? My answer: is what choice do we have? Something drastic needs to happen. No country is currently able to really reduce their emissions and even if they do, it will only drive the price of oil up higher. The main difference between the developed world and the undeveloped world is infrastructure. The developed world has infrastructure in place. Granted, with a massive influx of people it will put this infrastructure under enormous stress, but this challenge is better than economic and climate collapse as China and India try and provide infrastructure for their enormous populations. The West must take on some of this load.

While in Africa, if we give real opportunity to the people of the third world then they may be less inclined to have so many children. And it will be their choice. In the prevailing global situation, opportunity is strangled for those less fortunate. For the poorest people in the world, one of the only opportunities involves having a lot of children in the hope of sustaining low-yield, intensive agriculture. With the opportunities the West can provide, they wouldn’t be driven to such desperate measures. The West needs to recognize the crisis that it faces. The options of ‘staying the course’ or becoming more and more insular will not help, no matter how convenient they seem. China and India will not be denied. So, let’s be pre-emptive and give these people what they want, now.

Fareed Zakaria in his book, The Post American World states that the economic genie is out of the bottle. Most governments now know how to structure their economies to be stable and competitive. Most countries in the world are at 4% + growth. Australia isn’t that special. We all have growth but are struggling to secure the infrastructure, resources and energy. So, how can this be viable? What measures will countries go to in their quest to become like America? Is China already squirreling oil to secure their energy needs? The developing world is coming, using the economic tools that we have provided. Didn’t anyone foresee this? They are hungrier than us. All we have is a big fat sense of entitlement.

No disaster, no matter how great, is going to jolt us into being charitable in a signifiant way. No amount of climate fear will make us radically reform our own economies. But that is not the issue. The rest of the world is now the elephant in the room. We need to make some space, re-arrange the furniture and stop being so precious. We have done this before, after WW2. It can be done again. The current population and energy crisis will not be abated easily. As we recognize the gravity of the situation then we must take radical action that works within supply and demand. We need to move a mountain of people.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Anatomy of the crime.

Granted, this might be an old story. But I'm pretty sure I have a few very good leads. In fact, I may be able to name these people who took Adelaide from a utopia of pious conservatism to a cesspit of depraved drug debauchery. If any individuals could be held responsible, it must be this lady and gentleman who brought us their new brand of sin and salaciousness. But who were they, what illicit material did they bring and of what quantities? 75 years later, these are still vital questions.

I have been in regular contact with The Advertiser about whether they are still investigating this incident and if they are working on any fresh leads. At this stage, they can't 'officially' confirm or deny unchecked material, but my inside sources tell me that they have absolutely no idea about the identity of these modern(ish) day, Adam & Eve who brought our Eden into disrepute.

Adelaide was meant to be a Utopia. Colonel Light designed the city that way. Victoria Square - smack bang in the middle of the CBD square mile - was meant to be its commercial and cultural centre, however, traders and suppliers were too lazy to go the extra four hundred feet and so Rundle Street became the false centre of Adelaide. Could it be that our rejection of this true heart of the city and the focus on this figurative 'top end', has also become a symbol of our own individual 'loss of heart'? Does Adelaide lack heart? Are we too cerebral? Or just paranoid and insecure? (Which are still cerebral functions) As we breath new life into Victoria Square, as it makes its current transition into a more vital part of the city, will that also change our attitude? But I digress. These original sinners should be lined up and . . . Is this woman still in custody? If so, she should be made to tell us the truth. God damn, we deserve it! Where did Adelaide go wrong? Was it reneging on the canal that was meant to go down the middle of Port Road from the docks to Victoria Square, or the destruction of the Swimming Centre next to Parliament House to build the Festival Theatre, was it the fact that our delivery men were just too slack to take the goods to where they were bloody well meant to go or was it these two reprobates from Melbourne?

Well, obviously it was these two scum bags from over East. So, with my investigations coming to a close, I can tell you these two were none other than . . .

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Objectionable neighbours outraged by Advertiser headline.

Sure, these three people can't be bothered getting to know their neighbours, but do they deserve to be called tiny parasites by the only newspaper in town?

A class action (Low class in this case), will be launched against News Limited for slander and deformation, after Advertiser journos went for the jugular in yesterday's Letters page. Rupert refused to comment when I tried to contact him last night, but I will continue to SMS until he finally relents.

I say, someone as thoughtful and generous as Cicilia deserves better, read on to see how this good Samaritan sends a gentle blessing to her neighbours when asked how well she knows them: "Not very well. I don't want to talk to them and I don't see why I should have to. I don't see them much. I prefer to keep to myself."

God bless her soul.
I will endeavour to keep you posted on poor Cicilia (and the other two), and unless you happen to live on the other side of the fence from these 'alleged' parasites, I'm sure you will be enthralled.

(If you do happen to be dear Cicilia's neighbour, maybe get yourself a large ripened turd, put it in a paper bag, pop it on her doorstep, light it up and ring the doorbell. Just to let her know the feeling is mutual. Right back at ya!)

Friday, May 23, 2008

A stand-up Cartoonist.

Doesn't really matter if you know the story behind the cartoon, grrh, I suppose it might help.
A bunch of entertainers, in this case, entertainer is defined on the broadest possible terms, including Tania Zaetta from 'Who Dares Win' fame (???) were sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to cheer up the troops. Anywho, a memo was leaked that claimed that she had sex with some of our fine SAS boys while OS. She denies the claims and why wouldn't she!
So, to the cartoon from the Advertiser, Fri 23/5/08. Now could Valdman include any more phallic imagery in this funny, funny, funny, god, I'm exhausted, funny cartoon?
One phallis may have got the point across, but I can count at least four and you may be able to do better.
So, spot the dick.
No, not Rupert.