Tag Archives: The Whitlams

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My Life in Albums: 1999: Powderfinger, Pumpkins and an Eternal Nightcap

1999 was a big year for me. We moved to Brisbane. I started year 11 at school. I was suddenly meant to be taking things seriously. And I started earning a little bit more money than the $2 a week we were previously entitled to. So I could afford to buy a few more CDs.

For the first few months of our life in Brisbane we were living in a modernish rental house in Keperra. With a pool. Bells, and whistles. And I remember this song was doing the radio rounds…

Eminem didn’t really do it for me in a big way. I do remember enjoying Cake in that year…

But the defining album for me from 1999 was Powderfinger’s Internationalist. I bought it with the proceeds of an afternoon spent cleaning the fence at our new house (where my parents still live).

I also discovered the Whitlams, properly, in 1999, when I got me a copy of Eternal Nightcap (incidentally, we saw them two weeks ago with the Queensland Symphony. We had second row seats and they were amazing. Playing through Eternal Nightcap plus some more recent hits)…

This was also the year I discovered the Smashing Pumpkins. Thanks largely to my obsessive friend Benny. And my friend Damien who brought me a pirated copy of Siamese Dream back from China. Disarm has embedding disabled – and I think it’s the best song on that album, followed by Soma…

And Today…

This Ben Kweller cover of Today is pretty cool.

106 billion snowflakes

Chuck Palahniuk may have been a bit of a nihilistic fatalist when penning this line in Fight Club.

You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile.

But he’s right. In a way.

Have you ever wondered how many people have ever lived on earth?

I have.

The modeling here is interesting. And here’s an infographic from Flickr that seems to be based on the same research.

This means, as the Whitlams famously suggested, that if someone is one in a million there aren’t just five more in New South Wales – there are in fact 106,000 people just like them who have lived throughout history.

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l’esprit d’escalier [the perfect witty response]

I was reading the Sydney Morning Herald online today for my fix of culture and intellectual stimulation (not that those things are in short supply up here but News Limited Papers in general are pretty horrible) and I came across an interesting interview with Tim Freedman the singer from the Whitlams. Tim Freedman is one of my favourite Australian songwriters. He’s responsible for some of the greatest song lyrics ever written, eg “she was one in a million, so there’s five more just in New South Wales” from Up Against the Wall. He’s also one of the worst anti-drug spokesmen in the history of the “say no to drugs” campaign. I remember seeing a TV special where he basically told people the only way they were going to learn about the effects of drugs was to take them. Thanks Tim. Anyway, having firmly established his credibility as a role model I’m now going to direct you to the article here. He makes an interesting point about conversation – and missed conversational opportunities – particularly l’esprit d’escalier. To sum it up for people too lazy to click a link – he is haunted by missed opportunities. He’ll even call a journalist who interviews him two weeks later to amend his answers. I’m wondering if this is just a luxury for the rich and famous. Can we all buy an opportunity to add to past conversations? As someone who often misses great opportunities for witty (or even non-witty but effective) responses – only to think of them at some later date – I think it would be of some benefit to bring in a system where amendments to a conversation can be made in another time and another place. I propose to make this the time and the place for such comments. If you feel like you could have, or should have responded to me, or anyone else, in a more witty or appropriate manner then post a comment.

In other, less Whitlam related news…

I spent Friday night on Magnetic Island with a Sunday Mail freelance writer and her husband. If you’re ever on Magnetic Island I can now highly recommend the barefoot: food, art, wine restaurant. They did the best steak I’ve eaten in a long, long time.

I now have internet at home – if you desperately want to see how I’m going and are too cheap to call me and don’t like reading through the random stuff on my blog you can now find me on MSN at nathanc32hotmail.com you need to put the @ symbol in there – that’s to ward off the evil spam harvesters.