Simon and Garfunkel

Mumford and Sons cover Simon and Garfunkel

The three albums I grew up with, based on frequency, were Simon and Garfunkel’s The Definitive, Paul Simon’s Graceland, and Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms. Call Me Al and The Boxer were my two favourite songs. Here’s Mumford and Sons doing a live version of The Boxer, which they have also recorded with Jerry Douglas (you can listen to the recorded track here).

I like it. Al hates it. Though he likes this version with Alison Krauss.

I much prefer the Mumford and Sons version.

Though I think we all agree that the originals do it best – even when they’re old…

My Life in Albums: The Early Years

I was born BCB. That is Before Colin Buchanan. So I was raised on a diet of ABC for kids music. This meant Don Spencer, Peter Combe, and those CDs that came out numbered. They had the timetables songs and stuff like the song about the boys who put the powder on the noses of the ladies of the harem of the court of King Caractacus.

Here are some YouTube trips down memory lane…

Apparently Peter Combe now plays pub gigs for people who grew up listening to his music.

Then there was Don Spencer, now Russell Crowe’s father-in-law.

Oh, and who could forget Joe Dolce’s On Top of Spaghetti

And Ross Higgin’s Monster Mash.

I did eventually grow up. And, perhaps more important were my trips to mum and dad’s CD shelf. I grew up with Paul Simon. I’d play Graceland whenever I could, and I have pretty early memories of the lyrics to Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer running around in my head. And Dire Straits Brothers in Arms album was another favourite.

But, perhaps the longest lasting musical memory, is the Motorcycle Song, by Arlo Guthrie (from his Best Of).

List of Songs I would have voted for…

I didn’t vote in JJJ’s hottest 100 of all time (here’s the list). I love the Js, but I haven’t listened to anything other than local ABC radio for months (except to listen to a little bit of the Hottest 100 of All Time).

It looks like the vote was crashed by a bunch of old time rockers with a penchant for Michael Jackson. There are hardly any songs from the last few years, which is pretty awesome.

If I had voted (and you get to vote for ten songs):

  1. I would have voted for one song per band
  2. I would have given greater weighting to songs from great albums or from bands producing consistently good music rather than one hit wonders.
  3. I would have rewarded bands who I appreciated in their halcyon days but don’t like so much any more (hence the inclusion of The Living End and Powderfinger – they really were my introduction to JJJ – even though they went on to be darlings of the mainstream).

These are the songs I think I would have voted for:

  1. Radiohead – Fake Plastic Trees.
  2. Muse – Plug In Baby
  3. Paul Simon – Call Me Al
  4. Smashing Pumpkins – Disarm
  5. Jeff Buckley – Last Goodbye
  6. Dandy Warhols – Get Off
  7. Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
  8. Powderfinger – Day You Come
  9. The Living End – Prisoner of Society
  10. Gomez – Shot Shot

Some of these songs were chosen arbitrarily as representatives of a band’s body of work – I really can’t decide what Radiohead, Muse, Smashing Pumpkins or Gomez song I like the best. Placebo and The Whitlams were unlucky not to make the list on the basis of criteria 3. 

Bridge over troubled water

Ok, ok, so I might be going overboard with my enthusiasm on the Simon and Garfunkel reunion – but humour me. A toll road is not a bridge. But it’s close.

Have you heard the story about Nick Bolton. He’s the shareholder threatening progress on Australia’s biggest infrastructure project.

Nicholas Bolton - From the SMH
Nicholas Bolton - From the SMH

His story is a lesson in always reading the fine print when snapping up a bargain. He thought he’d found one when he bought 47 million shares in the company building the Brisbane Airport Toll Road – BrisConnections. They cost him $47,000. The small print pointed to two future payments of $1 per share. But he missed that bit. Ouch.

Not to be deterred – or overly concerned about the looming $94 million payment he’ll have to make – Nick is trying to close down the company. He’s almost a majority shareholder – and there are others who are in the same boat.

He’s currently in court. It’s a funny story. Shame he doesn’t listen to Muse. Their lyrics may prove prophetic in his case. Ahh Muse. They’ve got a song for all seasons…

“take, take all you need
and i’ll compensate your greed
with broken hearts…”

“Say, it’ll make you insane
and it’s bending the truth
you’re to blame
for all the life that you’ll lose and
you watch this space
but i’m going all the way
and be your slave to the grave”
– Lyrics from The Small Print, by Muse

That 70s Show

It’s 70’s reunion week this week. Apparently. Two of the best duos to come out of the 60s and 70’s (who also both split somewhat acrimoniously) have reformed recently and both have just announced tours of Australia.

Both these duos have been seminal influences on my taste in comedy and music, and musical comedy.

Cheech and Chong – everybody’s favourite stoners – are coming out of semi-retirement for a series of stand up dates around Australia.
And perhaps more importantly – and much more excitingly – Simon and Garfunkel will be touring Australia later this year. They’re playing a show in Brisbane (and a few others around the country) that will no doubt sell out instantly and be exorbitantly priced…

Cheap wine and a three day growth

Keeping with the theme of Aussie Rock and politics from the end of the last post I thought it might be time to again assess the current Australian political climate (we can’t call it an election campaign yet because no election has been called). Big news this week people. Big news. K-Rudd has a MySpace page. MySpace pages are notoriously ugly. K-Rudd’s is no different.

Interested parties will by now know that K-Rudd is a Simon and Garfunkel fan (OMG WE HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON LOL LOL)… note my proficiency with netspeak lingo… I’m like fully l33t.

Here are some highlights from the comments page:

Kyle says:
12 Jul 2007 8:40 A Thanks for the add, didn’t think anybody was up as late as I was. I think all those old men from the Libs who say you’re “weak” because you “backflip” are really just showing how stubborn and unresponsive they are. While I can’t actually pinpoint what policies they seem to be talking about, I’m happy for you to change your policies because Australians don’t want them! Nobody’s shown me why that’s a bad thing, I always thought listening to the people was a good characteristic in a politician!Got a favourite Ella Fitzgerald number? I love listening to “Flying Home” whe I’m studying for uni exams because the mainly nonsense lyrics don’t distract you. Got a favourite yourself?

Against BSL Australia writes:
Hello Mr Rudd! Thank you for the friend add!Seeing as you have so kindly joined the myspace community so young people like myself can connect with you with our political issues I would like to point you towards my myspace page. Specific Legislation is an issue I feel deeply about as I believe that it simply doesn’t work, and punishes responsible owners. I feel that the government should be doing more to protect the community from dog attacks, but I also feel that Breed Specifc Legislation is not the answer. There should be more done to educate the community about dog safety, merely banning specific breeds does nothing to solve the problem. Mr Rudd, I ask you to stand up and address this issue, and to take proper action. I ask you to take measures that will actually help keep our children and communities safe. I ask you to stand up for responsible dog owners, and protect them from being treated as criminals. There is just so much proof out there that says Breed Specific Legislation doesn’t work, so why does it exist in Australia?

I’m now hoping that K-Rudd truly believes that this is a forum to engage with the public and set policy priorities. Stand by for an announcement on Labor’s new dog breeding policy. It’s a vote winner Kev.

On the Howard side of politics – which is on his right because his left ear is deaf… Howard famously had a “senior” moment yesterday when he forgot the name of an obscure candidate in an obscure electorate where they have an obscure chance of winning a seat from Labor. Oops. Not quite as adept with the whole WEB 2.0 thing the Howard Government’s myspace page has only eight friends, no comments and is unbelievably uglier than Rudd’s. This doesn’t really matter – for Howard it’s not web based campaigns (a notorious tool of the left – ala the American Democrats engagement with Youtube, MySpace and Second Life – we all know lefties are much more hip than those codgers on the right…) that will win the election – it’s policy on the run. That’s right people. Indigenous issues are the new black. Howard has taken a stand on fixing a long running, stomach turning, tragic situation in Australia’s Aboriginal communities – and won a bump in the polls for his troubles. The Liberals have still taken the major initiatives when it comes to economic policy announcements – K-Rudd and the Unions are all about WorkChoices, Climate Change, grocery prices, petrol prices, Internet access – hey wait on. They all sound like good ideas, and popular with voters who have probably forgotten the rate of inflation under previous Labor governments. The grocery prices thing is my favourite piece of populist political propaganda so far. Labor’s pollsters are doing a great job of finding the issues that voters care about and exploiting them with eight second sound bites that resonate with the electorate. Howard is coming up with big ideas but failing to deliver the message with the same suave panache. Housing Affordability will be the next policy frontline – and it’ll be a crucial issue for the Howard Government – if they can’t win that one then I can’t see them winning the election. Despite their ability to formulate policy to achieve goals – as opposed to Labor’s goals first policy later approach.

For now – a trip to the Howard Government’s MySpace page is a must – if only to see the banner advertisement for Big Brother – a show Howard loathes.

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