Friday, August 27, 2004

32 Songs - Track 5

Where is My Mind - The Pixies

Your head will collapse if there's nothing in it
And you'll ask yourself

Where is my mind?

I came very late to The Pixies. It was a fascination with the song Cannonball by The Breeders (off the album Last Splash) that set me on the path. The Breeders bass player was Kim Deal and the terrific bass line that opens up Cannonball, and then runs underneath it, is one of the beautiful things of the universe. So I wandered into Impact Records here in Canberra and said "Have you got anything else where Kim Deal plays bass?" Mick looked at me and said "Do you know The Pixies?". After my negative reply he wandered off and came back with an album called Surfer Rosa. I was also just starting to surf at the time and was intrigued by the name of the album. I took it home, whacked it on and then had to scrape the grey matter off the wall and find out some way to get it back in through my ears.

I was back for Doolittle, the following album, fairly promptly. It was one of those strange things where I discovered a band just after they had called it quits and so had an entire back catalogue to explore and did so extensively. I've been a massive fan ever since and have gone through two copies of Surfer Rosa in that time. The possibility that they may tour Australia makes me giddy as a schoolgirl. But I haven't explained about Where is my mind.

Where is my mind is one of two songs that are tightly bound to a period in my life. The slow start winds up into crunching guitars, thudding bass, beaten drums and the plaintive cries of Frank Black. The lyrics talk about fish and oceans and feet in the air and heads on the ground. It all seems like a massive acid trip now, but for me in 1992 it was all about dissociation and not knowing what the hell was going on in my life. Screaming out “Where is my mind” at the top of my lungs allowed me to get all the emotion and confusion that was built up inside me over many months out of my chest where it was crushing me. Other people exercise, eat chocolate, punch walls or drink to cure what ails them. I turn to music and singing. . I’ve never been very good at displaying my emotions let alone dealing with them and finding something as simple as a song as an aid is fairly astounding to me and perhaps hints at the power that music and even a song can have.

I still love the track and play it at such a volume that the walls shake and my knees tremble and my throat almost gets ripped out as I help out Frank, and just like it did all those years ago it always gives me that sense of emotional release.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


I am a failure as a human being.

Not because I don't believe in God. Not because I hate cats. And not because I am not as good as I could be. I am a complete and utter failure as a human being because I have yet to do the one thing that my entire existence is based upon.

I've yet to assist in bringing forth the fruit of my loins, so nature has no other choice but to brand me a failure. I have displayed complete disinterest in the ultimate meaning of life - reproduction.

Those 20 year old men and women who are on to their third or fourth child are much better examples of humanity than I could ever be, unless, of course, I decide to put in some prodigious effort for the next few years. Thankfully the Australian Government seems to have a firm grasp of the real purpose of the species since they are forking out $3000 for every child born in the near future. They should be applauded for their foresight. As should the religious groups who protest about condoms and sex education in schools. We need to keep the human species going. The last thing we want is to have people having safe sex.

But is it just me or is there a slight flaw in their plan?

I haven't had kids yet for two reasons. Reason number 1 - I haven't found, or been able to hold a relationship together with, someone who I want to have kids with. Reason number 2 - I don't think I've been settled enough in my career choice or achieved the financial stability to afford to have children. To me these are fairly important reasons. I've been careful to have safe sex because I don't want to suddenly have a child I can’t care for properly. And apparently there are a large number of people who feel the exact same way I do. Funnily enough all these people tend to be what is called middle class.

So it seems those who are having kids are either safe enough financially, have found the right person or are just having kids because they haven’t thought about either of these things. And I've got a funny feeling that the latter outnumber the former by a fair amount. Which begs the question 'What does this mean for the future of the human race?'.

Is it possible that people who are unable to comprehend the consequences or have been unprepared due to certain pressures, i.e. $3000 and a lack of sex education, are having kids because they just don't understand? Will it be possible that people with economic difficulties and socially deficient environments and perhaps less education are the ones producing the majority of the human beings a couple of decades into the future?

To take this to it's most extreme consideration - Will only the stupid survive?

Will the future be filled with people who have no understanding of economics, social and cultural sensitivity, foreign countries and cultures, the operation of simple electrical devices and have only a minimal education? Will these individuals be in positions of responsibility and power? What will happen to the world?

I'm sure you are thinking that there is something you can do. You may have readjusted your priorities and are thinking of getting down to some serious bonking or adopting or turkey basting. And that's good! I'm glad to see that you are thinking positively. However there is one more thing I have to tell you.

It may be too late.

Monday, August 23, 2004


Canberra showed its' true self over the weekend with thousands flocking out on Friday night to just about everything but failing to appear at anything on Saturday night.

The result was that Owen, myself and about thirty of our closest friends were able to attend the Greatest Party That No One Was At. A three hour set was provided by two progressively drunker English Gents that covered Hip-Hop, Horny Horns, Funk, a massive amount of soul and reggae and a smattering of rock.

We are the blessed and we are the few.

Friday, August 20, 2004

32 Songs - Track 4

Pour Some Sugar On Me - Def Leppard

“Love is like a bomb, baby, c'mon get it on”

The 80's. Tight leather pants, big hair, falsetto voices, over produced guitars and thudding drums. Van Halen, Poison, Warrant, Guns n Roses, Motley Crue, Metallica, Iron Maiden, the list goes on. Def Leppard’s Hysteria album opened the door to a whole new world for me after a bloke named Michael on a morning walk to High School thrust a tape into my hand.

The next morning I handed the tape back to him. He asked what I thought. I told him I was amazed, it was like nothing I had ever heard before and I thought the drums were so cool. He then told me that the drummer only had one arm. Which blew my mind even further and started a fascination with drumming that is only eclipsed by my inability to hold a beat for more than two minutes. I did start the long practice sessions and devotion that has turned me into the master air drummer and air guitarist I am today. Needless to say i made a detour on my way home to pick up my own tape copy of Hysteria. I didn't buy the vinyl because how could I listen to that on my way to school? My fascination with flat, black plastic was another four years away.

Pour Some Sugar On Me is pure indulgence music, a saccharine overdose that leaves the head buzzing and the muscles burning. Def Leppard were never ones for high-class lyrics, they were all about the guitar, drums and the incongruous vocal harmonies. The harmonies places them is a different sphere tall the other big hair bands that were going round at the time.

While I’ve singled out Pour Some Sugar on Me, because it was the first song of theirs that got me. The whole of Hysteria is responsible with the tracks Animal, Rocket, Love Bites and Women. In a splendid piece of ignorance it took me another five years before I realized all the name checking in the song Rocket. The tape was long discarded from overuse but the CD still lurked in the collection until vanishing along with many other CDs in the last Adelaide-Canberra move.

Def Leppard brought to my attention early Metallica and Iron Maiden, how good is Run to the Hills?, and the desire for a requisite denim jacket with patch on the back, for those keeping score it was the icescape off the Iron Maiden cover to Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.

Ah, those were the days.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

32 Songs - Track 3

Sweet Transvestite - Frank N Furter & Rocky Horror Cast

"I'm just a sweet transvestite,
from transexual,

My Dad is a drama teacher and my mother an ex-NIDA student and actress. They met while involved in the Adelaide theatre scene of the late sixties. The result of this was they managed to produce a son who has a comprehensive knowledge of show tunes and musicals while also being heterosexual.

I grew up with Jesus Christ Superstar , Evita, The Man of La Mancha, Camelot, Oklahoma, Oliver, Zorba the Greek and, most importantly, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Though I didn’t see the movie until a teenager I’ve been singing the lyrics to the various songs off the Rocky Horror soundtrack since I was much younger, much to the horror and psychological discomfort of my primary and high school teachers. A fact that is to be blamed entirely on the original cast recording LP that was in my parent’s record collection.

Rocky Horror is a gender and music bending musical from the brain of Richard O’Brian (who played Riff-Raff) that went from being a small musical to a Broadway, West End and Film production in just 18 months back in 1973. The film was released in 1975 with Tim Curry reprising his stage role of Frank N Furter and Suzanne Sarandon and Meatloaf as Janet and Eddie.

Sweet Transvestite is the introduction number for Frank N Furter and is a song that needs to be done hugely over the top. From the opening lines of “How dya do?/I see you’ve met my/ faithful handyman./ He’s a little brought down because/ when you knocked/ he thought you were the candyman.” through to the fantabulous “I’m not much of a man by the light of day/ but by night I’m one hell of a lover” the song is full of some of the greatest lyrics ever written in history.

I rescued the album from my parent’s collection a while back and also have the original movie soundtrack on vinyl and CD. And while it has been revisited on stage with Jason Donovan, Craig Mclachlan and Tim Fergusson in the role of Frank I’ve never been to see it. Because it is the soundtrack that does it for me, and not the visuals.

If there is a song that never fails to bring a smile to my face then it is this one. If you haven’t seen the movie then go and get it.

And yes I have always wanted to get into the fishnets and do it the way it was meant to be done.

Friday, August 13, 2004


While Dallas Crane were in fine form last night at the Green Room the sound guy was afflicted with both a frontal labotomy and chronic deafness. I'm getting sick and tired of sound guys who think distortion level is the only way to listen to music. Despite the bleeding ears Dallas Crane proved themselves, yet again, to be the best rock band in the country with a show that meandered amongst their catalogue and finished with a hard rock version of the Plastic Bertrand classic 'Ca Plane Pour Moi'. From the way Carms was throwing her hair around i think she was having a good time too.

Thursday, August 12, 2004


Almost enough to make me sit in front of a PS2. Chuck, no doubt, gave himself a prolapse while laughing all the way to the bank. I hope he died from it.

Monday, August 09, 2004

32 Songs - Track 2

Billie Jean - Michael Jackson

"BIllie Jean is not my lover,
she's just a girl who claims that i am the one"

Like Gra I have fond memories of the Jackson 5 cartoon. The bright colours, the big 'fros the funky songs and dance moves. There was something innocently cheerful about it all. Now look how it all turned out for them.

The album Thriller is the point where Michael went from the child star to being the man and Billie Jean delivered a prophetic warning of what was to come, the trouble with the law, crazy women and the kids that may, or may not, be his. But it was the first line that got me "She was more like a beauty queen/ from a movie scene." I wanted to meet a woman like that, one that was so far out of reference for my teenage mind to handle.

It isn't just the lyrics that do it, though I think that will be the case with most of these songs, but there is something in the simplicity of the music. The hook just picks up and goes and Michael throws in his now characteristic 'yee-pa' and 'yee-hee' yelps. I've been listening to the song now for more than ten years and always in hard core sessions of repeated listening with me singing along.

I admit recently to having ditched Michael's version for Shinehead's dub one at the end of the Back To Mine CD mixed by UK artists Faithless. It is much too short but damn it's good. Plus the first line has been altered to "She was more like a beauty queen/ with an M-16" and that's just gold.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Track 1:

Return to Sender - Elvis Presley

"This time I’m gonna take it myself
And put it right in her hand.
And if it comes back the very next day
Then I’ll understand "

When I was very young I spent at great deal of time at my Bapcia's, the Polish word for Grandmother, while my Dad worked and my Mum was studying. Most of my early memories involve being at her house and down at the beach. I remember afternoons spent watching 50's and 60's films that the networks would show and staring Hope and Crosby, Astaire and Rodgers, the Marx Brothers, Abbot and Costello, Laurel and Hardy and Elvis. My Bapcia had a big thing for Elvis and she made sure we always watched his movies. I grew up with Elvis songs and know the words to so bloody many of them, heck most of us do without even owning anything more than a single best of cassette tape for many year.

In my humble, and recently reached, opinion Return to Sender is the best track he ever did. It has more depth than the Marianas Trench. It says more about the breakup of a relationship in 2 minutes, yes it is only that long, than most other bloody songs do in three times that. The characters plaintive attempts to make up with the girl only to be rebuffed continuously just pull on my heartstrings. Had the bloke gone around to her place right after and made it clear how sorry he was he wouldn't have lost her, but no he had to play it cool.

It's a simple, beautiful song with a message. No wasted time dicking around with guitar solos, long winded drum intros and odd noises. Just two minutes of emotion. Glorious.


It is important to help out your friends in their time of need.
So here is what I'm going to do. I'm going to match Graham track for track on his odyssey.
I haven't read '31 Songs'. I tried to get one of the limited edition copies with the CD but failed and never saw the point of buying just the book. I'm not aware of the rules, if there are any, or the tracks chosen by Hornby but considering how much High Fidelity speaks to me I wonder how many tracks all three of us will hit on.

Gra, I've got your back.

Now what say we make this interesting and go to 32 tracks?