Monday, November 29, 2004

Carnivale

Woohoo!!! The ABC is going to be showing Carnivale in December. I've really been looking forward to this since hearing about it a few months ago.

Carnivale was described to me as a American Gothic set in the 1930s, done by David Lynch! Which is pretty much my version of TV heaven outside of anything by Joss Whedon.

This is just more proof that the only place for high quality scripted TV is on premimum cable like HBO... After watching a Seinfeld "making of" docco, this is even more evident. There is NO WAY that a network will air (or even pilot) "a show about nothing" today.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Leaning To The Right

Anyone else finding their political leaningschanging as you get older? I've always been interested in why people changetheir ideology as they get older, now thatit's happening to me, I'm still not surewhy...

I was watching a discussion on Insight(SBS Tuesdays 7:30) about the level of debt inAustralia.

Five years ago I would be right there in thecamp of people saying that credit companiesand banks are bleeding people dry. Now I find myself with the other camp that saysthat people should take personal responsibilityfor their actions. I find myself saying "you got what you deserve"more and more...

So, what's causing this? Is cynicism unavoidable?Am I reading too much Ayn Rand?

Monday, November 22, 2004

Aussie Air

No, not air like in the stuff we breathe, but Air, as in the French electronica outfit.

There have been many Australian artists popping up in the image of Air - laid back, atmospheric elctronica. Decoder Ring made a splash with their soundtrack to the film Somersault a few months ago... I remember seeing them supporting george a couple of years ago... they were the first support act, and the audience was louder than they were! Maybe not the best live act at a rock concert, but they are simply sublime when it comes to a quiet night in at home.

Other groups I've been listening to are Architecture In Helsinki and Art of Fighting - who have released an absolutely brilliant album - Second Story.

In the realm of decidedly non Air-like music, I've been really getting into the compilation by Jordy Kilby - Blues, Roots and Beyond. Particularly love the songs by Abbie Cardwell (Aus), Joss Stone (UK), Jodi Martin (Aus) and Jim Moray (UK).

It's heartening to know that we have such a depth of talent, even though the attention of the public is tied to an imbecilic karaoke contest.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Dylan - Chronicles Volume I

Finished reading Bob Dylan's autobiography - Chronicles - Volume 1. It's an interesting read, though certainly not a "reveal all" account of his life.. which is completely in character for Dylan. I thouroughly enjoyed the first third or so of the book which explored his early days in New York - the people he associated with, his influences and the atmosphere of Greenwich Village in the early 60s. I particularly liked the style he wrote it in, which was very poetic and reminded me of his songs from that time.

The book then skips a decade, when Dylan is a married man and being harried by a public wanting him to be "the voice of the generation" - which he definately didn't want to be. It gives a small insight into the fugative life he had to lead in those times, and the extent he went to (recording lots of intentionally bad albums) to get people off his back. The latter part of the book covers his artistic recovery after years of stagnation (which he is remarkably frank about). However, the second part of the book didn't appeal to me too much.. it's mostly since I knew a bit more about that time, and also because of the conversational style it's written in...

Dylan hardly mentions any of the events or songs he wrote which literally changed the face of music, and you get a distinct sense that he doesn't like hyperbole like what I've just said.. :) Of course, it's not like there hasn't been libraries worth of books written on the great Dylan songs, though I'd like to have heard more from the man himself.

In the end, the book is a satisfying read, though I'd only recommend it to other Dylan fans and fans of 60s folk music in genreal (the book is worth it just for the few pages on Dylan's relationship with Woody Guthrie). Hopefully we will hear more about Dylan's story, as the title hints at more to come... or it could just be Dylan playing with his audience...

Monday, November 15, 2004

The "Abortion Debate"

I'm getting quite pissed off about this whole abortion issuein politics. Besides the conservative right highjacking the politicalagenda for their moral crusades, I have a problem with a bunch of(mostly) old men pontificating about what is right and wrong.

Least it's provided a clear indication of the type of arch conservatives Howards policies have attracted to the Liberal Party.

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Glass House

Just finished watching this week's episode of The Glass House. It was a bloodu funny episode. The Glass House can sometimes be a pretty hit and miss affair, but tonight's guests Molly Meldrum and Andrew Denton just hit it off perfectly. Many hat gags on Molly's behalf, and lots of funny stories about Elton John.

I just wish they would give it a more stable timeslot. Oh, and the ABC have an RSS feed of their program guide. Cool.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The River

I've been listening to Missy Higgins' album "The Sound of White" (great song, not too flash a title for an album). It's really grown on me over the last few weeks, and I'd say I'll rate it as the best Australian album of the year.

Favourite song off the album is definately "The River", which sounds pretty innocent, but is a pretty dark tale. I absolutely love the narrative, and the imagery is just hauntingly beautiful. I wonder how much of the song is by Missy, and how much by producer Clif Magness, who shares a writing credit. Magness is one of those all-star producers record companies haul in... so I'm wary. I definately think that a lot of the songs are over produced, so looking forward to seeing Missy live.. Haven't seen her since she did support for The Waifs.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Guthrie, Dylan, Bragg and Wilco

I've been reading more of Bob Dylan's autobiography of late, and came across a section where he writes about going to see Woody Guthrie while he was at the Greystone Psychiatric Hospital and playing songs for him. He mentions how Woody told him about a bunch of unpublished lyrics, but Dylan didn't end up getting them... Anyways, then he says:

Forty years later, these lyrics would fall into the hands of Billy Bragg and the group Wilco and they would put melodies to them, bring them to full life and record them... These performers probably weren't even born when I made that trip out to Brooklyn.

Funny enough, it just happens that I purchased a copy of that album and had it on my iPod. So I've been listening to Woody's lyrics all day today... I never knew about the connection between Guthrie and Dylan, but guess the folk scene in New York in the 60s was pretty close...

Saturday, November 6, 2004

Veronica Mars

After the near unanimous recommendation of fellow Whedon fans I decided to give the new UPN show Veronica Mars a go.... and I liked it. A lot.

I can see why people are comparing it to Buffy, though I think that it's a bit early to make such a big call.. but I definately like the writing (very Whedonesque dialogue at times) and Kristen Bell as Veronica.. I def agree that there are some holes in the plot, but they are easy to look over. Lets hope this doesn't end up being another Wonderfalls

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Reading

This is a list of books I'm reading, waiting to read, and have read recently... It will move to the top of the list whenever I update it.. I'd also like people to provide feedback and make suggestions on other titles I might try.

Currently Reading

Waiting to Read

  • John Shaw - Nature Photography Field Guide
  • Stephen Erikson - Malazan Book of the Fallen (series)
  • George R. R. Martin - A Song of Ice and Fire (series)
  • Gollancz SF Masterworks
  • Brian Greene - The Elegant Universe
  • Lee Smolin - Three Roads to Quantum Gravity, Life of the Cosmos
  • Dylan Evans, - Introducing Evolutionary Psychology
  • Daniel Dennett- Consciousness Explained, Darwin's Dangerous Idea
  • Marvin Minsky - Society of Mind
  • Hofstadter, Dennett - The Mind's I
  • George Dyson - Darwin Among the Machines
  • John Brockman - The Next Fifty Years
  • Hans Moravec - Robot : Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind
  • Douglas Hofstadter - Metamagical Themas
  • John Ralston Saul - The Unconscious Civilization
  • Richard Dawkins - The Selfish Gene
  • Steven Pinker - The Blank Slate
  • Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson - Illuminatus!
  • Katie Hafner & John Markoff - Cyberpunk
  • Clifford Stoll - The Cuckoo's Egg
  • Morris Berman - The Twilight of American Culture

Recently Read

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Watching the Vote

It looks like everyone here (IBM offices in Sydney) are keeping an eye on the US election results. Almost every other computer screen shows either CNN or PBS websites..

Bush has just been awarded Florida, and Kerry has Oregon. Bush needs 24 more votes to win. Not too many happy people around here, it seems.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Indecision 2004

Yup, it's almost time to decide the next President of the Greatest Democracy on Earth. Good thing they have all those lawyers to make sure everything is ok.

The Electoral-Vote website (run by Andy Tannenbaum of MINIX fame) calls the result in Kerry's favour 298 to 231. Of course as Andy says, according to Charlie Brooker of The Guardian, this means that Bush will win, proving once again that God doesn't exist. :)