Archive for September, 2010

I want to do whatever common people do.

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

I’ve been here for two weeks now, & I believe this clip is very accurate. I think I’ve done well to fit in, but… if you are… then what am I??  I almost bought a Fixie!?!   Phew!   London, 2010.

Sunday, Friendly Sunday.

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

I am noticing an emerging trend in my travels this year. Pyongyang, North Korea… Prypiat, Ukraine… Choeung Ek, Cambodia… and now this week… Belfast, Northern Ireland.

When it comes to visiting a new destination, I’m not a “See you at 6 by the Pool Bar” kinda guy. I enjoy traveling to places where you need to push your way through and actually ‘earn your right’ to be allowed to visit. To fly 16 hours only to ‘check-in’ for yet another stock-standard spoon-fed westernized “have a nice day” experience feels like I’ve insulted my own intelligence by booking a trip so soulless, hence crashing out for a while in a hostel on the outskirts of Belfast sounded like a great idea! Am I becoming a Thanatourist? By definition, it’s starting to look like it, but I believe that I (like many other travelers) am on the hunt for an ‘informative time’, as well as a ‘good time’.

This brings me to the good people of Belfast and Derry. Having endured over 40 (plus) years of Troubles, I wanted to see what the recovery looked like only 12 years after the Belfast Good Friday Agreement was signed. It’s a real interesting situation they have going on here. Although there are a number of companies which operate ‘Troubles Tours’ throughout the cities, you can also find quite a few like-minded foreigners walking the streets of the ‘higher tension’ areas, looking for “information”. Locals have identified this as an opportunity to welcome these tourists and take the time to have quite involved conversations with ‘us’ about some very deep topics. Their reasoning to invest good time out of their busy day is to provide ‘us’ with knowledge and understanding we are searching for, and in turn, hopefully have ‘us’ send more visitors their way to gain a better understanding of “Why?”. (Why the IRA? Why the bombings? Why the hunger strikes? Why the violence?).

I spent over 90 minutes with a lovely woman I met at a small food store who couldn’t have been more polite or helpful with discussing (in a very thick accent) these “Whys” in great detail, as well as explaining the commercial aspect of “Why tell me”. Locals have identified that people are very interested in their history and what happened (and still happening), and if tourists come to investigate for themselves (as I did) and locals give them what they came for, the richer the experience it creates for the visitors. If the tourist is a happy camper, the more likely they will spread the word to other tourists to encourage them to venture into their neighborhoods (which way off Main Street) and contribute to their local economy. It’s almost like an unspoken joint venture agreement between Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists. As a community still very divided, they have pulled together for the common dollar to improve the lives all who live in it.

This was a rewarding / humbling / informative trip in an amazing part of the world, full of very friendly and passionate people only too happy to give you what you want (knowledge, Guinness, laughter, or whatever it may be). If you’re in this neck of the woods, visit and contribute. Regardless of who you end up speaking with, you’re bound to get your money’s worth.

I also heard one woman talking to a group of kids say “Fuck” three times in four words.

Playlist for September, 2010.

Thursday, September 16th, 2010
  • Tricky – Angels With Dirty Faces.
  • Dexter Gordon – Go!
  • Suicidal Tendencies – Suicidal Tendencies.
  • Regina Spektor – 1999 Demo Cassette.
  • Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas.

“You’re A Robot! You’re A Sheep!!”

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

How quickly a decade goes by.

Ten years ago today this fine album was released, and I believe this L.P still remains one of the most important records in my collection. Although being on the road with At The Drive-In was the highlight of my touring life, playing on the 2001 Big Day Out tour was both physically and emotionally exhausting. I look back on these days with great fondness, but with no desire to relive.

I still get goosebumps every time I watch this.

About five hours after A.T.D.I walked off stage mid set, this happened.

Seven weeks later, the band broke up.

The Guns Of Brixton.

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Giddy Up!

Anyone who vaguely knows me would know that one of my main weaknesses in life is a good gig (or even a shit one for that matter). Given that I’m about to become a student & I’m now living on my good wife’s income, this will be one of a very limited number of music events I will be attending for the coming 12 months. Tonight I cracked the seal for London concerts with Fever Ray at The Brixton Academy, which was brainmelting!! For those of you as young as I, we may associate this legendary live music venue directly with the Faith No More’s You Fat Bastards VHS now of 20 (urgh) years ago.  If not, then I urge you to check it out, as in my opinion it contains the best version of The Real Thing ever documented (and it taught me how rad this killer venue really was)!

The P.A in this place is amazing! The bottom end shook the brass rivets out of my jacket! It sounded like an A380 screaming in my head, yet my ears aren’t ringing? Impressive! The sound in this room shits on pretty much every live music venue in Australia (including the Opera House), and to see a band like Fever Ray (not to be confused with this fuckbag)  put the system through its paces was truly an awesome live music experience. If you’re not familiar with Fever Ray’s self titled album of last year, get familiar! It was my pick for Best Release of 2009, and really deserves more coverage than it has received to date. Ch.. Ch.. Check It.

In other news; I had a lovely walk through Hyde Park today. (I was lost).

During my gentle stroll, I purchased a surprisingly good cup of coffee and paused for a while to watch a crow so fat that he couldn’t take off.

That is all.

Meat Is Murder.

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Welcome to England.

This was my first dinner in the United Kingdom. Kick ass, hu?

And now… In the words of Cheaters’ Joey Greco… “Confrontation!!”

Jules has won. Now she has to deal with why she lost. An oxymoron? We’ll just have to wait & see!

In seven flying hours, I’ll be landing in Hong Kong.

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

Well, Kuala Lumpur actually. This will be the third time I’ve hit K.L in as many months (I think). I’m getting to like the Malay capital quite a bit and I’m becoming familiar enough with the layout to feel comfortable. It’s a cool place, but it’s only a brief layover for the evening before I continue on my way tomorrow to the motherland.

In the quest to further one’s knowledge, today I leave my country of Australia for the sunny shores of the United Kingdom to undertake a full time MBA programme at a pretty well respected University. Ongoing professional development is a part of most business peoples lives, but to completely remove yourself from the working world to become a full time student for an extended period of time is a massive commitment. The question I now propose is “Do you really need a formal education to be successful”? I’m firmly based in the “No” team, which should firmly demonstrate why I am a hypocrite. So why would I do what I’m doing??

That’s easy… It’s the desire for more. More knowledge, more growth, more challenges and more opportunities. Any business professional who doesn’t possess these desires to further themselves is either preparing for retirement, or a fool. I see the latter all the time. With no real desire to do much more with their minimum 8 hours per day than shovel shit while wearing a suit, they are content to collect the pay cheque on Friday afternoon and return on Monday to do it all again. What a waste. Like it or not, business people are some of the most influential people on earth, but only very few will continuously embrace that influence and doing something good with it. If YOU had the opportunity to master your craft and use your new skills to actually make a difference, would you take it? For me, this is that opportunity.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m off to the airport.

De-Loused in the Comatorium / Shout at the Devil.

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Cedric, the iconic Tasmanian Devil died today.

This is uberlameo. Cedric was way cool! For a few years now, Cedric has been the PosterDevil for the fight against the fatal cancer which has now swept over 60% of the Tasmanian Devil population. Other devils showed some resistance when vaccinated, but none had immune responses as strong as that of Cedric. It was hoped by researchers that working with the chosen one, they would crack the code to stop the disease that is wiping out the devil population. It was not to be.

Rest in Peace my friend. May you be biting assholes, in heaven.