Overland to post-race-riot Osh

February 16th, 2011

It was pitch dark and minus 10 when we left Murghab for Osh – dropped to minus 16 within a few minutes of leaving town.  The car’s heating was fucked so we had to keep the air con on high to stop the windscreen freezing up.  It was a right hand drive car converted to a left.  The process had broken the air vent controls, so it was freezing air on the windscreen, face and feet until the sun got hot enough – four hours in the end.

Crossing the border was easy on the Tajik side.  Bored 18 year old conscripts threw sticks for their alsatian while someone woke the bloke who could speak Angliski up to ask: “Did you buy drugs in Tajikistan?” and glance in my bag briefly enough to demonstrate how easily the Afghans must be moving their opium up the road.

The Kyrgyz border boss wanted money.

Read the rest of this entry »

Raggamuffin and a rap battle beats Laneway festival. Easily.

February 1st, 2010

Laneway festival never took off.  There’s no better litmus test of if an event really gets going than whether the festival cockheads start ruining it.

They seemed trapped by the event’s cool reputation and the lack of FUCKIN’ PARTY! bands.  The cockheads couldn’t unleash and I couldn’t cope with the boys in matching fluro singlets and tights not shitting me – no one was comfortable.

And the sound sucked.  And it rained.  And security kept making people put their cigarettes out.

The next day however, couldn’t have been better. Read the rest of this entry »

Closing the Tote was a symptom of a broader disease

January 31st, 2010

When people bought discs and tapes, fans of smaller bands cheered them on to reach a bigger audience – they spoke to us so they’d speak to other people – they deserved to break through and be heard.

When Nirvana did that it seemed like a victory for underground. The people who believed they REALLY listened to music and knew what rocknroll was about felt vindicated as the mainstream embraced grunge and a degree of alternative chic.

In Christmas 1995 I went to midnight mass with my cousins in Charters Towers then we wandered over to the town’s nightspot, Club 69, to see what was doing. It was cranking – a huge crowd was impressively drunk and there were strippers taking over the dance floor every few songs. It was appalling, but at the same time the wildness of it was pretty fucken cool. Read the rest of this entry »

google cares, China doesn’t

January 16th, 2010

Google isn’t picking a fight with the Chinese government, it’s using a righteous excuse to duck out of a market the company never had a prayer in.

Sarah Lucy at techcrunch.com is arguing that google was failing in China and are attempting to get a bit of cred back in the west by having a swing at the Chinese government on the way out. You can almost smell Richard Gere’s approval.

Google is now a verb in English and so embedded in our culture that people start to assume it must be the same everywhere, but the Chinese won’t give a fuck about seeing it go.
Read the rest of this entry »

Cat Power vs the Gold Coast

January 5th, 2010

The Gold Coast hospital gets a lot of work from the Coolangatta Hotel. Local surfers and assorted derros get liquored up and punch on, then end up in the emergency department.

A lot of bands play there – it’s the pick of the Gold Coast’s live music venues. Its name is a throwback to the 70s and 80s glory days when people still came out in numbers to see live music – most of it Australian.

I’ve ducked it for most of my period of exile on the coast – it causes my wife so many late night work call-ins that ‘the Cooly’ is about as popular in my house as smoking and riding without a helmet.

But I went, for Cat Power. Read the rest of this entry »

Like a baby stillborn…

December 1st, 2009

Abbott being pisstaken by Kerry O’Brien on 7:30 had the twitterers and journos engrossed. No one else noticed.

On A Current Affair Tracy Grimshaw destroyed him with a rude superiority. She taunted and belittled, goaded him to blow up and confirm himself as an aggressive misogynist, for an audience who don’t know or care what the word means.

There was no twitter traffic about that, clever people don’t watch ACA.

I did and it was tragic to see a man who has achieved a position of real significance and stature in Australian life having to tolerate such treatment, but it sums up his still-born leadership: he isn’t in charge, he’s a source of ridicule.

He uses bizarre language –  most people aren’t fanatical or obsessive about ideas,Tony isn’t ‘theological’ about them.

He looks like a cancer patient, having obviously lost a shedload of weight. He’s fucken strange, and the public don’t like that. Grimshaw derided him as a weirdo on one of the only two current affairs shows with large audiences.

Kerry O’Brien will engage him in fierce argument and expose the inconsistencies in his policies and arguments. Tony is clever and eloquent and may perform well in that environment, but everyone who watches will already know who they’re voting for.

Tracy Grimshaw finished him, she highlighted who Tony Abbott is in the eyes of the general public.

Kevin’s a nerdy fella, but that makes sense, people understand nerds, they’ve been around them.

What the fuck is Abbott? Bloke looks like a wierdo. And that is the kiss of death in Australian public life.

Farewell year 12s

November 21st, 2009

When the year 12s leave they often play up on their way out the door. The private schools talk about “muck up day” in their vaguely old world manner, in city-fringe state schools it’s “fuck shit up day”. Read the rest of this entry »

The art of joke telling: same rules, applied differently

August 18th, 2009

Two boys are kicking a football around on a park in inner Brisbane when a Rottweiler jumps the fence, runs in and grabs one of them by the throat and starts throttling him.
His friend thinking quick, grabs a loose paling off a nearby fence and…. Read the rest of this entry »

That ain’t rock & roll

August 4th, 2009

One Saturday night I got a message from Splendour in the Grass stating: “Birds of Tokyo: worst band ever.” Read the rest of this entry »

Malcolm Turnbull-Clinton and the ethics of neo-cons

August 3rd, 2009

Malcolm Turnbull’s handling of Godwin Grech during the ute-gate farce is another example of the way that total, amoral expediency has replaced ideology in conservative politics.

The George W Bush era of American politics will be remembered for the Karl Rove-inspired notion that winning is everything; that the ends will justify the means at all times in politics.

The Howard government endured a nightmare first term in office that culminated in the loss of the popular vote. They were incompetent because the ideology they brought to government was entirely incompatible with the core values of Australian society which are less mateship and the diggers than universal health care and the right to social welfare – Australians like having a government big enough to look after them sometimes.

Having a small businessman’s zeal for the free market and gross self-interest was never going to appeal to the Australian electorate so the conservatives had a serious problem. Read the rest of this entry »