Friday 27 March 2020


I thought I'd restart this thing just to get my random thoughts out there during these weird and frankly scary times, and to get my brain muscle working again.

So COVID-19 has destroyed all life on earth and I'm leaving this blog to inform future, possibly alien, archeologists just how an everyday person dealt with it, so they don't have the opinions of just the rich white men who own newspapers to rely on.

I mean, sure, I'm a white man, but I'm very fucking far away from being rich.

But I digress. You'll get that a lot in this blog.

So, I've been self isolating and working from home for two weeks now. Tigerspike, my workplace, encouraged everyone to work from home rather early in the spread of the disease, which was a good idea. So far in our organisation only one person has it, and they're in the American office. So no surprise there really - they fucked up their early preparedness and now have the most number of infections, and STILL their President is saying it will be over by Easter (in two weeks), and still there newspapers are saying it's not as bad as "the doomsayers" are saying.


I was meant to be up in sunny Brisbane, working on a project up there. But instead I'm working from home in (admittedly sunny) Melbourne.

It's not been easy. I've worked from home before, which was good. I was really productive most of the time. I'd get documentation written, JIRA tickets in order, test plans executed and bugs written up. (I'm currently working as a test analyst). During breaks I'd watch TV or play

But this is different. This isn't as easy. I am constantly distracted (hence this blog), I can't keep my concentration for longer than an hour, I can't go down to the cafe to grab a decent lunch or coffee. I rarely leave my room. I've got a constant headache from stress / worry and I feel like crying all the time. (Yeah, I'm man enough to admit it).

Monday 12 June 2017

Migrated to new host

After some issues, I've migrated to a new host.

I'll probably look to upgrading this blog to a wordpress based site... eventually.

Saturday 31 December 2016

Best Live Gigs 2016

It's list time! So without further ado here is my favourite gigs of 2016

11 – Jeff Mills & Derrick May with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, VIC

10 – Weird Al Yankovic – Palace Theatre, St Kilda, VIC

9 – Sleater Kinney & US Girls – Croxton Hotel, Thornbury, VIC

8 – Black Cab  – Golden Plains, Supernatural Amphitheatre, Meredith VIC

7 – The Cure - Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay Parklands, Byron Bay NSW

6 – The Saints – Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood, VIC

5 – Eagles of Death Metal – Croxton Hotel, Thornbury, VIC

4 – King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay Parklands, Byron Bay NSW

3 – Iron Maiden – Hi Sense Arena, Melbourne, VIC

2 – Stone Roses – Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW

1 - Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Golden Plains, Supernatural Amphitheatre, Meredith VIC

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Golden Plains X: Day 2

Yeah, fuck I was tired. I fell asleep at about 5 when the music stopped and woke up at 9, which was actually later than I expected, so I got up, had a beer (hey, I'm on holiday!) and wandered down to the showers and waited for nearly an hour. As an aside, the facilities at the Nolan farm are phenomenal. The composting drop toilets aren't nearly as feral as portaloos, and they're often decorated. The showers have tokens which run for 3 minutes, which is more than enough time really.
This toilet was decorated with wedding notes from a couple who met at Meredith

This toilet print is beautifully 80s
As I lining up to get a coffee from Eric's Bar (which was amazing, particularly for a festival!) and some food (corn fritters and bacon and eggs - again amazing) Melbourne band HTRK were playing. They play some angsty dream pop, and it was quite nice for that time in the morning. Also quite nice was the Bloody Meredith which totally hit the spot. I never used to like tomato juice, but the combination of spice and vodka really does make it a great drink.
For the next few hours, Golden Plains reminded me of Womadelaide, my favourite festival in the world*. (*I've only been to festivals in Bali and New Zealand, so my "world" is pretty small). I wandered down into the Sup and found a good place to watch the Necks. Although it's certainly not to everyone's taste, the Sydney based jazzy three piece played a non-stop 45 minute piece of freeform tinkly piano music that built nicely. Many people commented they were the perfect music to wake up to.
The Necks: Perfect morning music.

Sydney's Sampa the Great kicked this off with an amazing performance. She's a tiny thing, and I'm not sure if she's really small or really young, but either way her voice is incredible, and her lyrics are amazing. Her backing group were funky as hell, and this is definitely someone who should be in the limelight over the other hiphop pretenders in the world.
Sampa the Great: Bona fide hiphop queen!
The next band to play were Songhoy Blues from Mali. They appeared in my Spotify playlist just last week and after hearing just one song, I wasn't going to miss them. Starting off with a slower blues track, the lead singer asked if Meredith wanted to dance, and when a resounding "yes!" followed he smiled and said let's dance. And boy did he dance! With moves like Michael Jackson meets the Soweto Choir, he bounded around on stage as the band rocked out with some sweet funky bluesy rock. A sea of boots went up (When you like a band at Golden Plains, you take a shoe off and hold it aloft... it's a Meredith thing).
Songhoy Blues: He can dance!
The odd one out was the Tyrannamen, who were very non-womad and very aussie pub rock. Although they are very much a band I should like, as they have great songs, great energy and great stage presence, I felt it was a little jarring to be honest, and just couldn't get into the groove of their songs. But they're definitely a band I would see in a pub or similar. Speaking of odd, there was this door. It made its way around the site. I'm still not sure if it was an art installation or if someone just brought along a door. Why not? People bring couches...
The door to the heaven or hell?
Someone who thought he was clearly the odd one out was gangsta hiphop artist Freddie Gibbs. And before I go on, can I just say something? Fucking around like most hiphop artists seem to do nowadays and spending 15 minutes listening to a DJ playing shit music tell you the artist you've paid to see is about to come out isn't fucking cool any more, alright guys? So you can stop - bring your 40 / dope / crack out on stage and share it with us! With that rant out of the way, when he finally did get out, Gibbs was pretty damn entertaining. His banter with the audience was really great, commenting on the sea of white people, the actions of the "cops", the skankiest sprite he's ever tasted, and worried people were going to throw their shoes at him. His music isn't too flash, (too electronic, overproduced and souless for my tastes) but it's almost as if he recognises it and kills the music and raps acapella, and fuck me, he's good at it.
Freddie Gibbs: Needs a clock around his neck so he can arrive on time
Returning to day to the Womad vibe were Koi Child. Hailing from Perth, they're a laid back funky hiphop group. Their cover of Breath by the Prodigy was pretty poor, but otherwise they weren't too bad. Following on from them were Suen Kuti and Egypt 80. Another of Fela Kuti's sons, he started in homage to his late father with a cover of a Fela track, and then went on to give us a decent performance of Afrobeat. It wasn't the most electric of sets I've seen, even with the backup singers shaking their asses in that oh so fabulous manner of Afrobeat singer way, but it was still enjoyable.
Koi Child: Not that coy.
Suen Kuti & Egypt 80: Bad viewing position
As the sun started to dip, I went and grabbed more food and beer and wandered back to see Built to Spill. Here was another band I'd not heard of, but they seemed very at home playing to a crowd in the middle of nowhere. They reminded me of a modern Eagles or Neil Young, but more interesting maybe because I haven't heard them a billion times before. 
It was probably right at the end of their set I decided to take a walk and noticed a large number of people moving towards the valley overlook. This is a tradition as thousands of people go watch the sunset over the valley. It was at this point I felt connected to the millions around the world and throughout history who have partaken in such a ritual of simply enjoying the great ball of gas which gives us life vanish over the horizon, bringing twilight to the world.
The Nolans were also there, so I thanked them for letting us be there and facilitating such a great weekend. Mrs Nolan replied to me "Continue to work at making it great", which was just perfect. It's a festival about US, the people who go, and we have to contribute by cleaning up, respecting the lands and each other, and not being dickheads.
Sunset is truly magical here. And I hate saying this hippy shit.
Although I'm sure I've dismissed them in the distant past, Sleater Kinney were amazing on Friday night and were amazing again tonight. I don't understand why I could have ever though badly of them to be honest - it's four amazing women playing amazing music. There were a few issues with their set at the beginning, but they quickly got past it and rocked out. I wish the screens were on for their performance, but whatever.
Sleater Kinney: I can admit I was wrong.
I don't understand the hate for Violent Femmes. They're weird, funny, you can easily sing along, and they're very talented multi-instrumentalists. I loved every minute of their set, sang along to nearly every word, and the crowd around me enjoyed them too. The other reviews where people are saying they're old hasbeens are stupid jaded cunts who were probably picked on at school. (Incidentally, this is how someone responded to my negative review of a band once...)
Violent Femmes: I'll punch you in the face if you say they're crap.
But the main reason I decided to go to Golden Plains rather than Womad was just about to come on. A band I had been wanting to see for over half a decade. A band who epitomises modern Aussie rock. And boy, Eddy Current Suppression Ring did not disappoint! From the get go they were electric, just playing how they wanted to play and not giving a fuck. The lead singer is fearless, walking out onto the audience who hold him aloft for an entire song. They made me think of how it would have been to see the Saints play back in the late 70s, with a pure punk mentality and energy and excitement.
Eddy Current Suppression Ring: Achievement Unlocked. Mind blown.
 The night wasn't over, and I saw and heard some of the DJs playing throughout the night, but slept incredibly uncomfortably and for an incredibly small amount of time. But still, I had a fucking awesome time, and now am faced with the decision of Golden Plains versus Womad.

I'm glad the festival is only two days, and I've learned what I need to do for next year:
- Go with friends. Although I hung out with a few people over the weekend, camping alone was a silly choice. I need to make sure if I go again next year (or head to Meredith Music Festival in October) that I camp with a big group of people. A base of operations seemed great, somewhere to hang out and chill with others more intimately.
- Take a car. Although I don't drive, I'll be willing to pay for a car, or even a campervan for the weekend. It's the convenience of having a car for your stuff mostly, but also to get out of the weather.
- Take a big tent. Even if I do go alone, I want a tent. To be able to stand up and change clothes, or sit and chill by myself or with another.
- Take a chair and / or rug. Find a decent spot in the Sup and make that a go to place for the weekend.
- Take less food. The food there is good and not too expensive. I took food to share, but didn't really find anyone near me who was in a state to eat.
- Take more beer. I went craft beers, but I should have just grabbed a slab of Dr Tims for half the price, that way I could buy more cocktails and T-shirts.
- Get a Telstra sim. Just for the weekend. Phone reception is terrible for all the other carriers.
- Take thongs. They say not to wear thongs, but having to put my shoes on at 3am in the dark just to take a piss was annoying.

Golden Plains: Festival of the boot.
Read Day One

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Golden Plains X: Day One

2016 and my first Golden Plains is the 10th anniversary of the festival. Normally on the March long weekend I head back to Adelaide for Womad, but this year I decided I wanted to go to Golden Plains because Eddy Current Suppression Ring were headlining. ECSR are a Melbourne punk band who played at the first Golden Plains 10 years ago, and haven't played for over six years.
First of all, I had to get tickets. Golden Plains only offers a certain amount of tickets per year in a ballot and I missed out. Fortunately, my old flatmate Brad got them, and unfortunately he couldn't go.
As usual I asked anyone on Facebook if they wanted tickets, and as usual no one responded in time. So, as usual, I went by myself. Thanks to The Equipment Library, I hired a swag and sleeping bag, got a cooler bag filled with cheeses, olives, stickmeat and Pirate Life and Jack Hammer pales, and caught the Supernatural Express to the Nolan Farm in Meredith, Victoria.
Map of the venue. I was camped in "Elwood".
From the moment I got there, I knew this festival was something special. As I was strolling along people came up to me and offered to look after or help carry my gear. One British guy actually insisted on helping, and walked me about the camp, explaining this at that feature. When I discovered there was a street called Highway To Hell, I knew I found my camping spot.

So I go camp on my own, leave on my own, go home and want to die... due to lack of sleep
It was the British guy (whose name I have forgotten) who suggested I go to the opening ceremony. He said it was very special. And it is.You see, the Nolans, who own the farm, have a son Chris. In 1997 he suffered multiple organ collapse. He is fully cognisant of all around him but now is confined to a wheelchair and can only communicate in blinks, vocalisations and facial gestures. Along with the traditional acknowledgement of Aboriginal ownership of the land, "The Long Blink" signifies that Chris is happy to have people on the farm, and kicks off the festival.
I wanted to get closer, but you can see, the Opening Ceremony is very popular.
Kicking off the music was Melbourne band Gold Class. Most people who know me know that I love the Smiths but hate Morressey; however don't get the wrong idea when I say this - singer Adam Curley sounds like the Morressey (or possibly Ian Curtis), and it sounds great! The rest of the band is great too. I strongly recommend all of my friends go listen to them right now!
Gold Class: In this case, I'm not using Morressy pejoratively.
Wandering back to camp to get a beer, I realised I had chosen the perfect spot. It was 10 minutes away from the stage, so during the band change over I could wander back, fuel up, and then hit the stage again. However, this would turn out to be a problem, as I'll explain later... Getting back to the stage I got to see the incredible Emma Donovan and the Putbacks. I saw this funk / soul outfit led by the Queen of Australian soul music at Womad and they were spectacular once again. 
Emma Donovan and the Putbacks: Because sometimes you need a little soul.
Even though I only ever heard of them just the night before, the U.S. Girls were now a major draw card for GP and were as amazing as the night before. Meg Remy is the creative force behind this music, one of these "DIY" pop maestros with an extraordinary stage presence along the lines of St Vincent. Her colleague whose name I don't know was also a dynamo! So much sass on stage, a punkish "fuck you" attitude backed up with solid talent. 
US Girls: Who's that girl? No, seriously, can anybody help me out?
After US Girls I decided to go back and loiter around camp for a while, eat some food, and do some exploring. In the background Natalie Prass played some nice pop/country/blues stuff. Not my thing really, but I did discover she's done a tune with Matthew E White, who I am a fan of. And that's what is really good about the one stage set up at Golden Plains - you discover music you might not normally listen to. 
One act such as this was John Grant. I'd never heard of him before, but I endeavour to listen to more now. Like the aforementioned Matthew E White, John Grant doesn't look like he should sound like he does. When he started, my friend asked if they were playing Bowie, and when we realised it was John Grant, we were just drawn to the stage. My word, he was phenomenal! Singing live, he's reminiscent of Bowie or perhaps David Byrne, and hits the deep, long notes in his songs seamlessly. 
John Grant: A case study in not judging a book by it's cover
Until this point, I was of the opinion that Golden Plains might be pretty tame, along the lines of Womad. I thought the whole "no dickheads" thing prevent people from doing what others might refer to as dickish things, like mosh and crowd surf. For the record, I don't think moshing or crowd surfing is dickheaded at all - I've partaken in the past, and it's a lot of fun and on the whole people people are nice in the pit. But the Buzzcocks put that theory to bed with a boisterous display of perfect British punk. The band were having it, the crowd were having it, it was frenetic and fabulous for a band who are fourty!
The Buzzcocks: Old but still fucking rocking!

I've wanted to see Royal Headache for a while now, since they released their first album in 2012 in fact. However, for whatever reason, I've missed all of their shows until now. But funnily enough, I've now seen them every month of this year! And they're as great as I expected. Shogun, the lead singer, has an intense energy on stage, prowling back and forth like a caged animal, just waiting to get out of the cage and rip your throat out. 
Royal Headache: Like a tiger. Reow!
After going to see the Jesus and Mary Chain on Monday night, and Sleater Kinney on Friday night, as well as being up early to pack and travel, it was at about this time I started to feel a little tired. I wanted to push on through though, as CW Stoneking's swampy throwback sound is always an interesting and fun set to listen to. I think this was probably the first time I was disappointed in the sound as his voice when talking wasn't all that loud, and he loves to talk on stage, but it was fine when he was singing. 
CW Stoneking: How does a suit stay so white in a swamp so dank?
Unfortunately I hit the wall hard during his set, and wandered back to camp. I wanted to stay awake, but also wanted to see how comfortable my swag would be. I laid down and was up for a bit listening to the beautiful sounds of offtap people talking shit and they "pwssshfar" of nitrous canisters and laughter. I drifted on and off for about an hour or so, waking up to what I think was No Zu's cover of Hunters and Collectors Talking to a Stranger. It could have just been the interstitial DJ, but it was very loud.

However, with music sounding like Joy Division and Sisters of Mercy met in a (black) cab on the way to see Kraftwerk, it was another Melbourne band I had not heard before, Black Cab, which got me out of the sack and down to the Sup dancing again. And boy am I glad I did - these guys were incredible and I hope I get to see them again soon.
Black Cab: Catch an Uber to their next set!
I wandered back to camp where I laid down and discovered one negative thing about my spot at about 4am - the bass of the main stage where the DJs play late night sets is still as ridiculously loud as it is during the day, and carried directly up the hill. And it will wake even someone who has spent the week at gigs and even fallen asleep at a rave before... Which means tomorrow I will be even more tired... or will I?!

To be continued!

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Website is down

So, it appears Mambo and PHP aren't getting along right at the moment, and I can't be fucked troubleshooting and fixing it (although I used to do that very thing for a living ...)

So in the meantime I've taken down and will look at alternatives to Mambo. I'll probably switch to whatever the cool kids are using these days... Wordpress most likely.

My biggest concern is I'm not 100% sure I have all the originals of the articles I had online due to a hard drive crash last year, and if I can't get any of it out of the Mambo db, I might abandon it altogether.

Of course, this sucks in terms of the number of hits I was getting for various articles, which, although old, were still viewed by about 20 people (or more likely robots) per week. Still, pagehits motherfuckers!

Friday 31 July 2015

Splendour in the Mud 2015: Day Three

Although weather wise the morning looked promising, I wanted to explore Byron Bay for a bit. So I headed to the bus and jumped on with a bunch of other campers covered in mud, and to sunny Byron we headed! Except it wasn't so sunny. In fact, it pissed down within moments of me arriving. So my day of walking about in something other than mud and gumboots was a fizzer. I did get to sit at a bar and drink Dr Cooper's finest though, which was a nice break from the Extra Dry.

Heading back to the campgrounds after lunch, I spent some time drinking Matilda Bay beer. It's a fine beer, but at 8 bucks a schooner (425ml) it was a bit rich. They had drink cards, so it never felt I was really spending any money, but in retrospect it's fucking expensive.

One of the first things I watched was a talk on energy in the Guardian tent. It was mostly around fracking, which is a big issue in that region of the world. I liked the balance on the panel, but fuck me, the Liberal politician was a cunt. I get it dude, you're facing a hostile audience, but you sir need some media training! You came across as a rude, arrogant, out of touch prick who can't even think for himself. Which is sad because you are a doctor, and a couple of the things you said were worth investigating. But rather than listen to you, I just wanted to punch you in the face.

Anyway, after this I wanted to hear some music and wandered over to the GW McClennan tent to see the Districts. I'd not heard of them before, and they were playing some really nice, bluesy kind of music which was quite enjoyable.

I noticed there was a ARIA "Songwriters in Discussion" in the Guardian tent, so grabbed a beer and sat down to hear Robert Forster talk about his time in the Go Betweens. The GW McClennan stage is named in honour of the other member of the Go Betweens, so this was a fitting talk. He talked about the start of the band, how much trouble they had getting successful, and even did a few acoustic songs.

As that was finishing up, I noticed a large crowd of people standing around in an odd spot. Moving my way to the crowd, I saw what they were cheering at - a naked man covered in mud in a Sisyphean effort to climb one of the many slopes. The "Mud Monster" as he's since been labelled was a highlight of the festival. (This is not my video)

 After the Mud Monster, I went to see the Swamp Monster, CW Stoneking. Such a weird sounding dude, dressed all in pristine white, andamazing Louisiana style swamp blues which seemed appropriate for the accommodations. Unfortunately I don't appear to have any pictures of CW :(

Jamie T was on the main stage, and I wanted to get a good spot to see Blur, so headed back to see him. I really enjoyed him the first time I saw him - I went on a whim after reading an interview in Beat Magazine. He's certainly grown as a performer, and although he's a little less like the Streets and more like other modern British popular music (give me a break - I don't know what to call it!) he still projected a lot of energy for the last night.

But that was totally eclipsed by Royal Blood. I've never seen so much energy from just two people on stage. Consisting of just drums and guitar (and bass guitar at that!) the sound they bring was incredible, and they truly know how to rock. This was probably the best set of the festival in my opinion.

Tame Impala are another Aussie band I am really enjoying, and their set was awesome. After the energy of Royal Blood, they brought it down but it was a very smooth and psychedelic ride, with trippy projections and effects blasting through the speakers. The crowd loved the shoutouts to them, including to the giant Lionel Richie head. (Which I sadly never got a picture of :( )

And then it was time for Blur. I cannot for the life of me figure out why I didn't see them play in Adelaide in 1997. Either they sold out, or I was doing something else (although what that was I can no longer recall!) and I missed them. So, 17 years later, I finally get to see them.

And they were good. They played "There's No Other Way" as the second song, and I lost it! Every song was played well, and I jumped around like a lunatic to one of my favourite bands in the world.

But, if I'm brutally honest, I was a little disappointed. After the previous sets from Royal Blood and Tame Impala, and the previous night with Florence, they just didn't seem to match the energy of the other performers. I know a lot was to do with my own levels of energy too - I went arse up into the mud right before their set so was muddy and wet and sore, but still, there was just a sense of anticipation with them which was never realised.

And I realise with a band like Blur with so many years and so many hits they're not going to play everyone's favourite songs. For a festival, I thought they played a few too many songs from the new album. I loved the songs, knew all the words, but still - it's a festival. They did play their biggest hits of course - There's No Other Way, Coffee and TV, Tender (and yes, I still teared up during it!), Park Life, Song 2. But they missed out a lot from the era I loved them in - Country House was notably missing. And a band with a song called "Pressure on Julian" should know to play it when they come to this country, surely!? ;)

I did, however, see Blur in Melbourne on Tuesday night, and it was a very different gig. The mud, the lack of sleep, the smell, the munted youths, all of that was gone, and I could see them very well and take pictures without fear of dropping my phone in 3 inches of mud. And they were fucking AMAZING! There new stuff was more appreciated by the crowd, and their energy levels were perfect, and they seemed to be enjoying the gig a whole lot more the second time around.
I know I did!

*  *  *

So, that was my first Splendour experience! If it wasn't for Blur being on the line up, I wouldn't have gone. But I'm glad I got to experience it, mud and all. I did have a great deal of fun, and saw some amazing music, which is the whole reason I put myself through this type of thing.

If I ever go again for the 3 days it would have to have a tremendous line up. If I could be guaranteed of no mud it would make the festival much more attractive. I was there for 5 days, and that does take it's toll. Even Womad is exhausting, and that is a come-and-go festival with lots of grass and trees and very flat.

I certainly wouldn't camp at the venue again, unless is was in the most pimped out RV money could hire. Even then, I'd rather park at a nearby caravan park and travel to and from the venue every day. Being able to escape - the mud, the crowd, the incredibly expensive drinks - is definitely something I need in future.

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Splendour in the Mud 2015: Day two

Second day didn't have rain, but the rain from the night before made everything even muddier.

After returning from what would become a ritual of heading to Byron Bay for breakfast, I caught Dune Rats on the main stage. These guys are always a lot of fun. "We know all you cunts are on drugs so we brought a couple of distractions!" they cried out. There were scores of beachballs, those blowy wind men, and a guy in a zorb ball running on top of the crowd. The band would later encourage zorb ball guy to get naked and run around on stage.

You can see from the photo that any hope of sitting down nearly anywhere close to the stage without getting muddy had vanished, so I wandered up the hill. After Dune Rats, The Smith Street Band were on the main stage. I'd never seen them before, but their Aussie political rock attracted what they called the biggest crowd they've ever had, and they appeared very happy to be playing Splendour.

I retired to the tent for some refreshments and just to escape the mud a little. The Grates sounded great from the tent, and I'm kind of sorry I missed them. Getting off my arse was difficult, but Pond were playing the main stage so I headed back to see the band which is one of my favourite Aussie bands of the last decade. I love their psych rock sound and it was fun stomping around in the mud to them.

The Church were up next in the GW McClennan tent, so I trudged over. I'll admit it, the Church are a band I knew little about until fairly recently - oh sure, I knew Unguarded Moment and Under the Milky Way, but that was about it - thought they were kind of one hit wonders really. I know, I was wrong. Their set was great, full of classic Church songs. They said they had only one song left and launched into Under the Milky Way, and then said they were going to do one more BUT they didn't play Unguarded Moment, which I was devastated about.

But at least that gave me a head start to get back to the main stage to see the Dandy Warhols, in one of their only performances in Australia! Except it was pretty below par. The sound mix was very muted, you could barely hear Courtney's vocals, and there was very little energy from the band. Which was sad, because they have been brilliant the last two times I saw them.

Geri and myself managed to get a pretty good spot to see the Wombats. I had heard only a few songs, and whilst they're ok, it's not really my thing. The morose, depresing lyrics juxtaposed with happy melodies has been done to death recently. And I'm still confused as to why so many kids would choose to take ecstasy to the band, but there were lots of munts about, like the girl who power hurled right next to us...

Final set of the night was Florence and the Machine. It looked like EVERYBODY was there to see her, as the whole amphitheatre was rammed packed with people. But my gosh! What an amazing performer. So much energy! She runs out onto stage and dives almost immediately into the audience, singing to one girl, making her festival no doubt, and then bounding back and forth without dropping a single spectacular note. She also pulled a guy up on stage who was wearing a wedding dress to dance with her, which was hilarious! I thought I would take more photos, but I was just awestruck by her stage presence.

And so day 2 of Spendour ended on very much a high.

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Splendour in the Mud 2015 - Day One

In a year of firsts, my Splendour In The Grass experience was the first proper camping festival experience, complete with mud and wellies!

First of all, thanks to Geri for being my tent partner for the weekend. It's great going to a show and have someone to talk shit to and laugh at all the inappropriate munts. And considering I was staying in the workers area and not actually a worker, I felt pretty chuffed I never got asked if I should be there or not. *ninja*

On the first night, we just chilled out to some comedy and drank some very horrible mid-strength beer. Seriously, Australia is fucked in the way it nannies it's beer drinkers. I like strong beer, because I can drink a few, be pissed, and then simply STOP. Just because others can't do that, doesn't mean I should be punished. Anyway, here's a "Nicolas Cage in a Cage" jumpy castle.

On the second day, I started early and headed to Byron to see what all the fuss was about. It's got a great laid back vibe and a nice beach and all, but it's not really different to any other rural-ish seaside town in Australia. After breakfast, I returned to the North Byron Parklands and plodded up to the main Amphitheatre Stage. It was still grassy at that stage, so I sat down and enjoyed Ecca Vandal, who I would compare to No Doubt. She did this cool mashup of Tricky's version of Public Enemy's Black Steel and Missy Elliot "Freak On" which got a good cheer.

After she played, I went for a wander and saw Genghar. This was their first time in Australia and they were alright. A bit RadioHead-ish, and a bit boring to be honest. I wandered back to the main stage to catch Marmozets, who were fucking rockin'! They reminded me of Hole at first, mostly because there was a skinny blonde girl on stage screaming at me. Musically though, they sounded like early Black Sabbath - and literally as I thought that they broke out into a cover of Sabbath.

DZ Deathrays were up next, and played some great hard rock, including a great cover of Daft Punk, which was unusual to hear in guitars, but great fun.

After these guys, I decided to go for a walk to get a drink, take a piss, and see if I could discover anything weird or fun. I found whatever the fuck this is. I'm pretty sure the music playing was Lionel Richie.

I wanted to see San Cisco tosee what all the fuss was about. San Cisco were ok, but they did sound like every other Triple J band from the last 5 years. Given the size of the crowd though, they are very popular, and the age of the crowd has made me label that music "Jailbait Pop". Feel free to steal that. I started to feel a little like a dirty old man, and decided I wanted to walk up the hill, because it was there and I stupidly thought the line up to the bar would be shorter. It wasn't, but the view is great.

They were followed by the Rubens, who were OK, but a bit of a dip in energy after San Cisco. So, and speaking of old men, Johnny Marr was on next, so I trekked over to the GW McLennan tent. 

Oh. My. Gosh! It wasn't the Smiths, but who cares, it was Johnny Fucking Marr! I didn't really know what to expect from Johnny Marr to be honest, but was incredibly entertaining and a consummate performer. I even got emotional to the Smiths songs.

After grabbing some food, I watched Spiritualised. I thought I knew more of their stuff, but I did really enjoy what I heard. It was very soulful, bluesy and almost psychrock at stages. 

My energy levels were draining fast, and it started to spit a little, so I wandered over to Of Monster and Men in the hope of finding a good spot to sit and chill before Mark Ronson. No dice as the main area was packed. OMAM were really quite folksy and not really what I wanted to hear at that time of the night, and the rain started getting heavier and I discovered my rain jacket was called that only in name, and offered very little in the way of water protection.

As an  aside, this is the second time I have gone to see Mark Ronson and it has pissed down with rain. I'm starting to think it's him.

Because I had two more days to go, I thought I'm not going to miss Blur because I'm all sick and shit because I stood in the mud and rain, and besides, I had seen Mark Ronson before, so I bailed to the tent. I heard a few Mark Ronson tracks from the tent, but it was raining pretty heavily by then, with the pitter patter drowning out most of the sound.

The rain did, however, result in one of the greatest incidents of the first day. Escaping the rain in the hope it would ease up I stood in a little shelter which was the busker stage, where this off tap girl was sitting and being off tap, wearing inappropriate for the weather clothing that only young off tap girls can wear, chatting to people with the abandon of a young off tap girl. Then this super munted guy walks in and plonks himself right next to her, and she starts chatting away to him. This is how the conversation went:
"What's your name?" She chirps.
The guy doesn't answer, just sits there, gurning.
"Wow, you're like, totally off tap. What's your name?" she asks again.
Again, the guy doesn't answer. She turns to her friend and squeals "This guy is so off tap he doesn't even now his name!"
She turns back to him and says more slowly, as if talking to a foreigner or deaf person "What. Is. Your. Name?"
He mutters something, neither of us really hear.
"What do your mum and dad and friends call you?" she asks him, at which point I start laughing.
He still doesn't answer her with anything coherent, so she says "I'm going to start saying boys names and if you answer to one, that's what I'm going to call you. Bill, Trevor, John..." she starts listing boys names. At this point I'm about to lose it completely so I make a move back to the tent.

Tuesday 23 June 2015

So, I am playing Secret World

So, I wrote this post almost 3 years ago now... Why I won't be playing The Secret World

So much has changed since then!

Not only do I now have a computer which can run The Secret World quite nicely, they've made substantial changes to the game which make it far more playable.

Enemies are easier overall, and characters are tougher overall. This means although the grind and constant death are still issues, they're much less apparent now and you fly through the content at a much nicer pace.

There's a great in-game player created resource called "Sanctuary" where plenty of people can help you with various issues, and unlike other MMOs it's not full of bullshit politics and stupidity. The builds people share through this chat are really good, and learning how to construct good builds from the sharing of builds means there's less head scratching and more scary stuff killing.

My main character Johnny "PunkFunk" Barrett is now QL10, which is near the end game kind of build. I've completed the main story which was great, and just finished Issues 5,6 and 7, which were very fun.

If you've ever been interested in playing I suggest now is the time to jump on and give it a go.

The Secret World Ultimate Edition is less than $50, very much worth it.