Still here

May. 29th, 2011 10:33 pm
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Zelda should now be on a flight on her way back from Singapore, where she spent the weekend for work. So it's been Georgie and I for the weekend. And when she's been asleep, I've found I've written more than I have for months, plus got a backlog of radio admin up to date. The writing has mostly been a concept for a series of music articles, plus some bloggy bits. (If anyone wants to see the radio side of things, jsut head to, which is where most of my limited spare time is held.)

Oh, and I completely failed to see a free live gig with The Black Sorrows. I was there, at a new open air stage in a new park in our parts, which they were opening. But Georgie was scared by the Scooby Doo show, is off-colour anyway, and it rained. We were sheltering in a barbeque area, but this created consternation in the mind of the almost 2 year old, who wanted to BE OVER THERE, over there being in the cold wind and rain.

We went home. No Joe Camilleri for me.

I've also checked up on some old blogs I haven't read in ages - so long one of my favourite Doctor Who novelists got pregnant, had a baby and called her daughter Georgina. So there you go.

Otherwise the year is flying past, this fulltime work thing is like water off a ducks back in terms of stress (ie none) and we'll get around to doing things to the house soon, promise, really.

(Oh, and Georgie has a nice line of vocabulary: yellow, toast, wall, toes, nose, ears, mouth, doggie, play-do. Well in some cases a partial match, but that's what she means.)
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If 2010 was one of the most rewarding and also worst years I've had, 2011 has been surreal. The flood waters came within four house blocks of home. I've made some more radio for JacRadio (Musicality still lives y'know). And I've been sick for four of the last five weekends. All par for the course. Oh, and I'm back at work full time - a love/hate situation, as in no longer spending week days with Georgie, not with work - we are up to the stage of hour long tanrums over nothing - that's Georgie, not me.


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This year has been one of the worst on records. Maybe not the worst - I've lived through a few things - but it's overstayed it's welcome.

It started with 3 months of pallative care and finally death of my father-in-law (or whatever the term for a de facto is). All this with a daughter under 1. And then he died.

A short reprieve before Georgina started child care. And one of herself, Zelda and mostly I were sick for the next four months. Feeling run down for months on end is not fun. 

And since June things started breaking. Actually this started off not too bad. The hand-me-down TV died. Both Zelda and I have only ever had hand-me-down TVs, So we bought a new TV just in time for the World Cup. But then the clutch went. And the shocks. And the travel cot just as we arrived on holiday in Hervey Bay. Then the car door handle. And ceiling fan in Georgie's room. Then my wisdom tooth. And the... And the... etc etc.

It's been a constant year on interruption, no rhythm, only the unexpected and mostly not nice.

Christmas was actually fun. I was determined to have fun. We had a great day. Georgie opened her first Duplo and I've played with my new digital radio and Lego. My mother cooked us a lovely lunch. Then on Boxing Day Mum and Zelda's family came around to our place for a lunch I cooked. The Ashes was engaging and Forest stuffed Dervy 5-2.

Then the tyre in the car started going thankfully I stopped before we blew out and crashed on the freeway. So even this lovely holiday period has become hasn't been smooth.

So sod you 2010.  Don't come again.

And on to 2011. Please be beige.
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Saw The Fall on Thursday night. Dave Graney supported. 24 hours earlier it was U2 and Jay Z.

U2 at Suncorp were ok. They new stuff is bland, like everything since Pop. Their classics were brilliant, as much as the atmosphere as the songs. Adam Clayton's posing with tong firmly in cheek was what I expected. Overall they were okay but nothing special. Glad I saw them, but not in the top sets I've seen.

Jay Z had more energy, and his band with its double drum section and real live brass was hot. I only recognised about 4 songs, and I'm not really into his genre, but there was a palpable energy in his performance, like he and his band knew they had to work at it. It was funky, and the only way to get funky on stage is to work damn hard.

Dave Graney was the expected support act to the Fall. The Hi Fi bar is a good venue - smal to medium, with a small enough crowd to let you sit on a step if you wanted. Graney has been on my to see list for years. He was what I expected - a mixture of Soft 'n' Sexy and bland. He didn't play any song I recognised except I recognised the template of every song from the post-major label albums I've heard. I'm glad I saw him, it was a pleasure, even if it wasn't one of the top sets I've seen.

The Fall though. Like Jay Z's band they had energy and they were tight. Unlike Jay Z, Smith didn't speak to the crowd but was just as charismatic by wandering the stage when not singing and turning up the bass amp or hitting the keyboard with his mike. Yet again I only recognised about four of the songs - I've missed the last 3 Fall albums, and frm what I've read Smith pefers to keep to recent material than an endless revisitation of past glories. Full credit to him.

U2 did the same of course, playing a lot of songs from their newest albums, but unlike the Fall, there is a dramatic drop in quality with U2's newer and older material. Also, the Fall's continued momentum and 28 studio albums have meant it is hard to focus on a small number of older songs when so much new material is released every year. U2's scarcity means it's poor quality comes into sharp focus. Their most powerful song on the night was Miss Sarejevo, and I was wondering why they haven't released more side-projects in the intervening years. They deserve to keep releasing new music, but maybe a continual flow of lower profile releases would mean they can properly relax into their musical dottage, rather than releasing high-profile but ever poorer major albums.

U2 are now in the stage of their career as the Eagles and Rolling Stones. The Fall have been a working rock band since the late 70s, who have to continue to release music and to tour to make enough money to live. Maybe that's the difference. Or maybe Bono + The Edge (with Eno etc) just ran out of ideas, while Smith has always had a unique of lyric writing and while working with 60-odd different musicians over the years has kept the music fresh even if not necessarily revolutionary. A friend of mine reckons The Fall have written the same 3 songs for 30 years - if so then it is the differing musicians and dabbling with different technologies over the years have made them sound continually new. The Fall will never be The Eagles or Rolling Stones. There is no expectation of being anything other than what they are. And they are pretty much as they always were. U2 have an expectation based on who they were but can't convince me who they are is anything interesting. I am interested in who they were, and it was great to hear that in the gig, but new U2 I can leave.

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Georgina is asleep, and Zelda is out, so quietness is only accompanied by the whirr of the fans. It's almost summer. Spring has a habit of passing me by, partially because I have one eye on the holidays I can take around Christmas, plus the oncoming cricket season, and partially because I still have an Armidalian mindset that Spring is when the University winds down and a good proportion of the interesting people are about to leave town, to return in the Autumn, if at all.

I honestly can't remember too much about this Spring, except for being sick again with baby-transmitted viruses. The poor mite even got hand-foot and mouth and had to stay home from childcare for another week. But otherwise it has been unexpected bills and work.

I did, however, get to throw out some episodes of Musicality. Having bought a microphone, I could churn out some proper home-recorded radio which got pushed out through the web on UQ's own student radio station. It's not quite as good as UNE's actual-real radio with online streaming thrown in for good measure (with thanks to the University of Nottingham and ADM). But UQ's JacRadio is going along quite well, though is now on hiatus for the summer. Which means I can relax during the last couple of months of working part time instead of workign to weekly radio deadlines. Pre-recording radio is fun, but not as good as just sitting in a station for an hour or two and doing everything live.

Ah, it's the phone. Who disturbs the quietness.
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Well, where have the months gone. Well, they's gone in sickness. If Georgina hasn't been losing her breakfast, she's been passing sickness to me, and occasionally Zelda. It's been persistant since May. Hopefully the coming Spring will make everyone better.

Georgina is now walking. Her record is now a two meter trot (far longer if she is holding onto furniture).

And tomorrow I'm off to Armidale for 2UNE/Tune FM's 40th birthday bash. I'm taking Mr Kimball down, and meeting up with ADM and Hayley. Hopefully some others will come out of the woodwork. I haven't been to Armidale since, what, Christmas of 2006, and that was just staying a night. I'll be interested in seeing the changes.


Jun. 15th, 2010 10:26 pm
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We are still alive, though after a bout of gastro and a seperate virus, all thanks to Georgina, I haven't always felt it.

I am back at work next week. Where did the last six months go. The World Cup seems like ages away, and here I am watching New Zealand and Slovakia poke the ball around. That said, I am a bit annoyed. This may sound materialistic, but I may need to buy a new TV, as the picture on our giant CRT TV is skrinking slowly but surely. The problem isn't the potential death of a TV in themiddle of something good, like a great goal or the latest episode of QI, but I will no longer be able to utter the words, "I've never bought a television." It's All of mine have been hand-me-downs, or in the case of the safe-sized one we have, inherited. This amazing run after fourteen years of independence will soon come to the end. Unless we win one, or an unlikely benefactor gives us one. So heckle me, I will be buying a TV. For some people that is the height of everything which is wrong with the country. But damn if I am going to miss Time Team.

In other news, Georgina is 11 months old, standing everywhere and threatening to walk. Nothing is safe any more.

Oh, and I'm back on radio, or at least online radio, at the UQ-run Yes, it is Musicality again. And at the moment there are no talkbreaks - just a music mix until I get to a microphone. Each episode gets three broadcasts: Friday 9am, Monday 10pm and Wednesday 7pm - all Australian Eastern Standard time. See:


Apr. 10th, 2010 10:36 pm
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Georgina is nine months on Tuesday. She will probably mark the occasion with giggling, pulling her mum's hair, and being grumpy due to teething. She has three now, all on the bottom, which was a problem as I put the Bonjela on the top expecting those incisors to come through next.

She has also received her first bruise aided and abetted by Dave, though the fault was hers. She decided to headbut a wooden floor from the distance of about an inch. Dave was holding her while sitting on the floor, and she decided she had to reach for something NOW. She, needless to say, couldn't quite reach. There were tears for about a minute and, after rocking her and checking she was okay, she quickly decided she was interested in something else other than pain, and reached for that, so I knew she was okay. I'm rather proud of the bruise and a little relieved because it was inevitable it would happen sometime. She's strong and strong-willed, so it won't be the last.

I have a bit over two months of leave left. Now the terminal illness in the family has run it's course, I can relax and enjoy the time with Zelda and Georgina. Plus we have started to do up the house again, having now prepped two walls in the loungeroom for painting. They are the only two which don't get natural sunlight, so they get a lot of mould, and we get allergies to it. And they are pink. That will soon change. The other two walls will be done after a window is put into a boarded up pane on which is mounted the world's least powerful but also most broken air conditioner. I've also moved a free-standing kitchen cupboard which the previous owners decide to attach to the kitchen bench with screws, and then fill/glue the side of the cupboard to the corner of the wall. I broke a kitchen tile removing it but the kitchen is far more open as a result.

Otherwise nothing is happening. Blake 7 watching has stalled midway through series 3. I've almost finished a Tom Clancy novel and am also reading a collection of Robert Fisk articles. Bill Bailly and Sandi Totsvig in the same room for QI was hilarious.
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The funeral was on Thursday. That night, Georgina awoke, so I went in to settle her. Classic FM was playing softly from when we got her to sleep that evening. Whilst shushing Georgie, my attention was distracted by the radio. They were playing Chopin's Funeral March.  
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Zelda is reading Georgina pirate stories. Sarah, I presume you approve :)

Sad News

Mar. 25th, 2010 07:29 am
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Just a note to say Zelda's father died on Sunday. He had been first taken to hospital four days after Georgina was born. His suffering is now over.
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Georgina was 6 months on Wednesday. As a present she received a Dave, and the next day a Tao. She's currently rolling all over the loungeroom giving me cheeky smiles and hunting down her toys. She's not quite sitting, and trying to work out this crawling business, but she does have a marvelous vocabulary of raspberries, calls and coos. She's not quite sleeping through, though on the best night there was merely a 15 minute feeding break. She loves wolfing down pumpkin and sweetcorn.

The last six months have been a blur, and now she's all big. We saw a newborn a couple of weeks ago, and I forgot how small Georgie used to be.

And now she's crying out so I'd better rescue her from whatever is going on.


Dec. 31st, 2009 05:15 pm
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What a headrush of a year, dominated by life and (upcoming) death. For the first six months I was busily spending most weekends preparing the house for a baby. Four days after she was born my defacto father-in-law was taken to hospital, diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour. The next six months were spent juggling baby with trips of hospitals and fighting beaurocracy in trying to find him a place in a high-care nursing home. This has simply been the most intense year of my life.

Still, for what it is worth:

Best moments of 2009: Georgina's birth (and every smile she gave afterwards).

Otherwise the rise and rise of Nottingham Forest. Escapign from relegation was a thrill, while form this season has been brilliant. Actually seeing them thump Preston on the television was unexpected and a wonder to watch.

Worst moment of 2009: Guess.

Best gig of 2009: Well we only went to one by finally seeing Machine Translations at GOMA. Next year we are seeing the Pixes though.

Musical discoveries of 2009: Dizzee Rascal, definitely. And late Future Sound of London in proggish mode. But I don't think I actually bought a CD released this year.

Television in 2009: Plenty of Time Team and Top Gear of course, and some Doctor Who, though to some extent I have to agree with Lawrence Miles idea Tennent's Doctor is a little bit of a white middle-class male telling human's how to live their lives. Seeing more and more football (soccer) on the free-to-air thanks to One, and Stephen Fry in America was a wonder. And the ABC showing QI. Definitely.

Books in 2009:  Nothing from this year, but Alistair Cooke's account of in America in 1942 is enthralling. I finally read some Chrispher Hitchens, and I'm sure I started the year with Robert Hughes' Goya. And loads of Doctor Who and Ian Rankin as well.

And also in 2009: Able to see Dave and ADM. So good to see absent friends. Sarah's wonderful knitted jumper for Gerogina, it is beautiful. Hommus - yum.

So a scant year, dominated by other things. I am now in 6 months leave with Georgina, so hopefully next year will be better and more productive.

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I've been doing a 100 tunes from the Noughties over at Bedraggled. Not the best tunes or anything, just a collection of tunes from the decade which have, on listening to them again, made me smile and remember.

It's all a warm-up and cobweb clearing exercise for more writing on my 6 months off. Of course, I say I'll be writing, when I'll probably be completely tied up baby-wrangling, but I can hope for a few minutes now and again.
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The plasma TV has come to represent not luxury, but waste. The ongoing decrying of Rudd's stimulus packages, along with the baby bonus and other government payments, has been that it would be wasted on plasma TVs up and down the country rather than essentials.

Another plank of the conservative economic message has be to support small businesses, though bastions of hard-work and achievement. It's a pity by attacking plasma TVs, these same commentators are also unwittingly attacking small business.

Australia is a consumer economy, and as such a large percentage of the working population is employed in selling goods to consumers. The counter argument to people buying plamsa TVs, is that while the product originates in Asia, the purchase employs Australian sales staff. In fact, a lot of what is available for purchase is inessential in a purely survivalist sense, or in other words, a large percentage of Australia's economy is based on the purchase of "inessential" items.

Small business sells a lot of "inessential" items; from household nick-nacks to scrap-booking to fairy costume hire, small business survives by finding niches, and many niches are hardly inessential. Even more main stream stores like books shops or clothing stores can be though of as inessential when considering the availability of libraries and clothing above a certain practicality (ie fashion) can be argued as inessential according to the plasma TV model.

Of course conservative proponents of small businesses, while praising hard work would also agree with those shops no longer competing to wither on the vine - it is free market thinking after all - but overall an attack on a plasma TV is an attack on their own constituents. If government handouts were not allowed to go on what is not inessential, a lot of small businesses would simply miss out.
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The bub is due on Thursday week, in reality this means she can appear at any time, or indeed go over and have to be tempted out. At least the nursery is now clear of our miscellany - in fact I believe we no longer have any boxes marked miscellany. The only outstanding item is a car seat, but I've been holding off due to a promise of borrowing a capsule from an in-lawed relative who's own bub is almost out of it. At the very least I can buy one when Zelda is in hospital.

Oh, and I've been shoveling shit. Seems like the plumbers who cleared the drains didn't do it properly, and it burst up through a vent outside which they had weakened. Another plumber has now cleared all blockages and will soon replace all the remaining clay pipe, as it will all happen again soon if we don't. I have buried the shit near the gum tree, which should happily chow down on it in no time.

In other news, I'm still going through the videos I've been carted round for 20 years. Watched Doctor Who - Leisure Hive with Zelda - she even enjoyed it. Now watching Destiny of the Daleks, in which the Movellens' hair-style Zelda reckons is the prototype for Milli Vanilli. They rank up with the worst fashion disasters Doctor Who has ever produced.
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Not many writers of the television series had as a strike rate as Chris Boucher: two great stories and a classic in “Robots Of Death”. more )
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“Planet Of Evil” has recently been shown on free-to-air in Australia for the first time in many years.more )
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And so I finally tracked it down. This was the book that I saw for 50 pounds on eBay. more )
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In “Dominion”, Nick Walters has thrown three genres in one book. more )