around the traps

photo: buzz the towers

buzzed by choppers

With APEC approaching, the usual sound of Sydney is being changed to include constant helicopters. Apparently they're practicing flying between city towers at pretty decent speed.

Which is weird when you've just moved to a new office on the 30th floor...

See also... the view from my new desk:

view (left) from my desk view (right) from my desk


around the traps

brilliant smackdown

Making Light: Bookstore chain puts the screws on small publishers: A&R Whitcoulls Group, a.k.a. the Angus & Robertson bookstore chain, is Australia’s largest bookseller, with 180 bookstores and about 20% of the retail market. A&R’s owners, an outfit called Pacific Equity Partners, are thinking of taking it public. This may or may not have been why A&R’s commercial manager, Charlie Rimmer, sent a startlingly arrogant letter to Australia’s smaller publishers and distributors, demanding a substantial payment from each by August 17 (reportedly ranging from AU$2,500 to AU$20,000) if they want A&R to keep selling their books. Among the recipients was Michael Rakusin of Tower Books, who made the letter public.

What follows is not only A&R's extraordinarily arrogant letter and the reply from Tower books, but a section-by-section explanation of how it all works.

Hat tip goes to Nick for powncing this one.

cure fanboyism ensues

cure ticket

This gig had been a long time coming - in fact I didn't truly believe I'd ever see The Cure live again, nor ever get the "real" experience of a three-hour show.

We saw The Cure at Livid 2000, a disappointingly short experience where they were forced to leave the stage after about an hour and fifteen minutes. The reason, ostensibly, was the concert had to stop due to noise restrictions - yet Lou Reed droned on for another 45 minutes on another stage. On the flip side, we did get to see 10:15 Saturday Night at 10:15 on a Saturday night (cheesy but fun!). Plus Green Day beforehand were actually quite amusing, including the legendary "Fuckin Dan!" moment.

(Set list from 2000... Main: out of this world, watching me fall, want, fascination street, open, the loudest sound, shake dog shake, from the edge of the deep green sea, inbetween days, trust, the kiss, prayers for rain, one hundred years, 39, bloodflowers. Encore: 10:15 saturday night, killing an arab.) From The Cure Concerts Guide

So anyway, last night's gig was just about everything I'd hoped for. It was a set list to please old fans, with tons of old songs I just didn't think would get played. I kept recognising the song they were about to play from the little tuning twangs while they swapped guitars :)

Sydney set list, updated as per the cure concerts guide:

(Tape as intro)

Main Set

  1. Open
  2. Fascination Street
  3. From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
  4. Kyoto Song
  5. The Blood
  6. The End of the World
  7. Us or Them
  8. The Walk
  9. Alt.end
  10. Lovesong
  11. A Letter To Elise
  12. Pictures Of You
  13. Lullaby
  14. A Strange Day
  15. The Figurehead
  16. Push
  17. How Beautiful You Are
  18. InBetween Days
  19. Friday
  20. Just Like Heaven
  21. If Only Tonight We Could Sleep
  22. The Kiss
  23. Shake Dog Shake
  24. Never Enough
  25. Wrong Number
  26. One Hundred Years
  27. Shiver & Shake
  28. End

Encore 1

  1. Plainsong
  2. Disintegration

Encore 2

  1. Hot! Hot! Hot!
  2. Lets go to Bed
  3. Close to Me
  4. Why Cant I be You

Encore 3

  1. A Forest
  2. Boys Dont Cry

Robert closes with "See you again"

The lineup was three guitars plus drums. With no keyboard I knew from the start some songs would be out, which was a little disappointing (I have a dream of seeing them play Homesick). But then Porl produced sounds that weren't really meant to come out of a guitar, filling in for everything from violin to accordian. Impressive, although we did have to laugh at some of his fuckups - he wasn't having a perfect night :)

They teased me by not playing A Forest until the last encore. Price of admission right there. Sure, it wasn't one of their 20-minute jam versions, but I realised last night that I've wanted to hear A Forest live ever since a mate at high school described A Forest as played at the Wish Tour gig. That's over fifteen years ago!

Why yes, I am a huge Cure fanboy, thanks for asking :)

Last night also clarified something. I like the cure when they're boppy, I really like them when they're mopey, but I love them when they're angry. The Kiss + Shake Dog Shake blew my socks off. There must have been some trendies there last night who only knew the radio-friendly happy stuff, wondering what the hell was going on (and fuck them, eh!).

So anyway. Last night was about 3hrs 15min of pure treat. I was surprised when I looked at the Brisbane set list and realised there's still a stack of songs I'd dearly love to see live - Jumping Someone Else's Train, Fire In Cairo, Grinding Halt, At Night, M, anything off Faith... actually seeing them play their cover of Purple Haze would also be cool. They have such a massive back catalogue, no wonder their gigs run to three hours ;)

Robert Smith last night: "Never thought three hours would be too short..."

Couldn't agree more. I reckon another two hours might have just about done it ;)

Other random notes...

  • Could have carried a small nuclear weapon in - no bag check whatsoever. If I'd known I'd have taken my camera and got some shots!
  • Despite zero security check, they wouldn't sell you a bottle of water with a lid. What's up with that?
  • Lots of people wearing colour. That's just WRONG, people ;)
  • Overheard in the merch lineup: "The tshirts are all so goth, but I'm going to get one anyway." Colour me fucking surprised, the tshirts are a little goth! What gig did these people think they were attending? :)
  • I am utterly tickled by the fact I now own a Cure stubby cooler. Cure stubby cooler, people! I can now be a goth yobbo.
  • Best surprise of the night: old friends from Brisbane sitting one row away from us!
  • Speaking of old friends... Nick has so firmly mashed The Walk and Blue Monday in my head that even at the gig, I couldn't help thinking of it.
  • Weird thing about the gig: constant stream of people going in and out. I've never seen a gig where people so constantly churned in and out - some people must have spent more time at the bar outside than in the gig. Apparently though with the sheer volume, you could still listen perfectly well out there. It was loud, like LOUD.
  • There was a woman a couple of rows down from us... conservatively dressed, looked like she was in her fifties maybe. But she went off, danced her butt off and had a whale of a time. Rock on!

Can't wait for them to come back :) Currently auditing the ipod and working out what I need to go and buy to replace the tapes which wore out years ago. Yep, tapes. I'm a Cure fan because of all the cassettes we traded at high school...

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photo: the farm

the farm

The farm... a loop of the driveway, the old church, the deer handling sheds and the huge old gum tree. Taken while we were up there in April.

the farm

an awful lot has happened in this small frame.

  • I spent endless hours playing pool in the church (and had my apparently-legendary 18th birthday party in there).
  • I raced friends around the track on our BMXes.
  • I learned to drive the ute around the track (yes, just as soon as my feet could touch the pedals). I also learned to drive the tractor.
  • I played with our dogs when they were puppies; and many many years later we buried them under the huge old gum tree.
  • I cleared flood debris off fences behind the church and fought a grass fire which started on the right of this picture.
  • I helped ferry ute loads of hay down to the deer paddock from the machinery shed.
  • I helped pen deer in the handling shed (I was too young to actually get in with the animals, so my job was to pull gates shut).
  • I rode horses in the yards behind the machinery shed, and in fact all over the property. My pony once dived under the church while I was still on him.
  • I ran amok (and occasionally sang) at the bush eisteddfods held in a marquee to the left of the gum tree.

yep, it's a quiet life on the farm.

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