Wednesday, November 18, 2009

scientology & nick xenu-phon

Comparing the 1996 and 2001 Australian Census:

  ------------------ --Females ---Males --Total
 Traditional - ----------2480 ---2744 -----5224
 Agnosticism - ---------7354 ---10213 ---17567
 Atheism - -------------9219 ---15245 ---24464
 No religion -------- 1314735 -1542569 ---2857304
 Paganism - -----------6612 ----4020 ---10632
 Rastafarianism - -------167 -----899 ----1066 
 Satanism - ------------383 ----1415 ----1798
 Theosophy ----------- 965 -----662 -----1627
 Wiccan/Witchcraft - --6621- --2134 -----8755

 $cientology - ---------866 ----1166-   --2032

In the last census in 1996, $cientology had
1488 professed members, which was 0.01% of the population five years later, they have 2032 professed members, which is 0.01% of the population.

October 2003 - UPDATE: Australian Membership numbers collapsing!

Year - Number
1996 - 1488
2001 - 2032
2002 - 1027
2003 - 741


Senator Nicholas Xenophon

The Anderson Report is the colloquial name of the report of the Board of Inquiry into Scientology, an official inquiry into the Church of Scientology conducted for the State of Victoria, Australia. It was written by Kevin Victor Anderson QC and published in 1965.

In 1983, there was a ruling by the High Court of Australia, in Church of the New Faith v. Commissioner Of Pay-roll Tax. The court ruled that the government of Victoria could not deny the Church the right to operate in Victoria under the legal status of "religion" for purposes of payroll taxes.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

record companies - boo hiss

A PUSH by Australian record companies to make clubs, hotels, restaurants and cafes pay tens of millions of dollars more in fees to play their music has backfired. Businesses have decided to turn off tunes licensed by the record companies and play the music of artists that are not signed to major labels.

The scheme would have increased some license fees from around $500 to almost $36,000.

A Clubs Australia spokesman was unable to say how many central Victorian businesses would have been slugged with the drastic cost hike. “We’re talking about every restaurant, cafe and club being affected,” the spokesman said yesterday.  

The fee changes would have resulted in businesses such as the Bendigo Club, which staff said yesterday had a bistro capacity of about 50, paying $3075.80 instead of the usual $62.04.

Bendigo District RSL staff said their bistro had a capacity of about 120, which would have increased fees by about $8500.

Clubs Australia announced at its annual general meeting a new scheme that would allow clubs to bypass the license fee charged by record companies. Clubs Australia will set up a program to source and distribute the music of artists not signed to major record labels and who are consequently exempt from the restaurant tariff.

As part of the new scheme, local musicians will be given the opportunity to sell their music in clubs, while money earned from the sale of background music CDs will be used to establish a fund for talented Australian musicians.

[read more from the Addy..]

FXH says: Fair enough - but what about the UN-talented Australian musicians - and they are the majority.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

my enemies enemies

From Salon:

Pope Benedict XVI has made some Anglicans an offer he thinks they can't refuse. The pope has opened his arms to welcome, en masse, Anglican and Episcopalian priests, bishops and even whole congregations into full communion with the Catholic Church -- so long as they disagree with Anglican decisions to accept women priests and gay bishops. The Anglican priests and bishops can even bring their wives and kids with them. [ more..]

and from closer to home - well a tiny bit closer - WA. From WA Today:

Pope Benedict has shown himself to be the ultimate short term thinker. He has dealt with his putative partner, Anglicanism, the third largest church after Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, with such sleazy opportunism that he has killed off all hope for a more unified wing of the European higher churches.  
What has he done? After decades of gentle negotiation and muted love calls between these two behemoths, he made a desperate grab for a fringe of Anglicanism – the bells and smell sector. He has offered a deal to the small number of Anglo Catholics to come within his Roman fold (who in Australia will bring no property or assets). As my wry wife observed, this will increase the average IQ of both Anglicanism and Catholicism.

Benedict has shown himself to be a naked empire builder whose friendship cannot be trusted. His avarice is palpable and reveals him to be untrustworthy.

Monday, November 02, 2009


Like zydeco, soul, country, gospel, vocals, harmony, roots, slide guitar? 

Hey Juanita - wishing there was a band around these days like Little Feat to do Dixie Chicken and Fat Man in The Bath Tub?

Why not do what I do - pullout your copy of the subdudes Live At Last and play it loud.

Heres some inferior offerings of subdudes off youtube to give you a taste.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

slim & jim

Listening to Jimmie Rodgers the other night I was struck by how much Slim Dusty was influenced by him. Much the same as you can hear Woody in early Bob.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

dutch productivity

 booksM J Hyland lived in Melbourne long enough for us to call her "An Australian Author" and the book is published by Text. It cost me $36 in Melbourne to bring with me to read.

I hadn't read any by the time we got to Schiphol (Amsterdam) airport, possibly not the cheapest place in EU to buy books, where it was available for 16 euros = aus$27.50.

I do hope that extra 31% or $8.50 the Oz version costs for each book goes to the author as Tim Winton and others seem to suggest.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

book buy bleg

I need a book (probably two or three books really) to read on a 20+ hours plane trip. One or two I haven't read. 

In an ideal world it would be a well written Australia crime novel set in Melbourne. Say Peter Temple's new one not yet released. Or Garry Disher's new one not yet released.

I've read The Slap, and Coetzee's 3 in one novel, whatitsname? Any suggestions I can buy tomorrow. Other wise it will be Nature, Scientific American and The Economist and perhaps a music mag, with a sudoko mag for Ms. at the airport news agent.

Friday, July 31, 2009

end of an era - or not

It’s traditional on blogs that after a hiatus in posting one announces that it’s over. Kaput. Finished. Dead. Old art form no longer relevant. The well of inspiration has dried up. There’s nothing new left to say. Others are doing it better. Life is too short too blog. Some mysterious affliction prevents one from tapping the creative key tapping juices. 

Then after a month or so one announces a return. Without any real explanation but by actions naysay the whole previous rationalisations. So here I go..…..

Nah stuff it. I’ll quasi stick around.

I’m off to Aberdeen on Sunday for a week. Where the current summer temperatures are exactly what we are having here - 16C plus rain. Touring the whiskeries, driving up to Braemar. Then doing a spot of workish stuff and going to see my one of my brother’s bands play at a CĂ©ilidh  or two and a 60th birthday for a singer, this guy, then off to Ireland for a week then over to Netherlands for a week of bicycling around rural areas and Amsterdam and another spot of workish lunching in Rotterdam.

I might post about it or not.

See yas

Monday, June 15, 2009

strine swine flu

I called the Swine Flu hotline today but I couldn't get through... all I got was crackling.

How do you know if you have Swine Flu? You keep getting these rashers.

Doctor, Doctor. I think I have Swine Flu! Don't worry, just rub in this oinkment.

Doctor, Doctor. I've just eaten a bacon sandwich, am I going to die? Depends if the bacon was cured or not.

Doctor, Doctor. My daughter woke up this morning in pigtails. Should I be worried?

The British Government issued warnings of the importance of hand washing, cleaning and general hygiene. Special web sites have been set up to explain to the English what soap, water, washing, cleaning and hygiene are.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

venceremos or whatever

30 something clothing sales person:

“Yeah the print .. it looks like that guy…… y’ know ..Che”

30 something customer: "Che? Who’s he again"?

Sales: “Um.. he’s famous”

Customer: “Oh”

Sales: “Yeah – he was a famous Russian ambassador .. or something”

Sunday, April 26, 2009

the sartorialist is in melbourne

I'm sure you all know by now that the world's best street fashion blogger, Scott Schuman, is in Melbourne for fashion week or something. He's already been shooting and publishing around Chapel Street. Let's hope he doesn't restrict himself to TrakPran area. 

Thursday, April 02, 2009

lucinda live melbourne

Something happens to country singer songwriters as the get older, more established and famous. For one their songwriting and singing gets more mature, assured and to some extent this results in simultaneously, but paradoxically, more risk taking and less need to be different. A fan can often get the freshness of new material and fresh approaches to old material and the artist can feel relaxed enough to do some cover versions of old standards well.

Another thing seems to happen. Singer / writers seem to want to get in front of a good old bar band and rock out, dropping all but the genetic country influence. Steve Earle. Great songs but last time I saw him it was simply too loud and too rocky with not enough light and shade and not enough slow songs. 

Lucinda Williams last night was a good concert. At times approaching very good but never reaching great. Lucinda herself said several times that the venue was great for sound and that several songs were the best live version they had ever played. I’ve no reason to doubt she was sincere.

But therein lies my problem. It was Lucinda rocking out with a very very good bar band. Too loud. At times her vocals seemed to bump the limits of the headroom on the amps and speakers and there was too much rock. Almost no twang. Sure there was a bit of pedal steel on a few songs but it was drowned under a wall of sound.

No mandolin, no banjo, no lap steel, no piano except for one minor tinkle, no accordion, no Hammond, no fiddle. No fun for me. I got hopeful at one time when the drummer/percussionist dude popped up with a Frottoir. But no luck no zydeco.

Lucinda seemed to be enjoying herself immensely with the band and I’m sure rocking out with a group of boys like Buick 6 is super relaxation for her or anyone. 

Sadly even the encore of about 6 songs were all mediocre covers of Fats Domino, Guitar Slim, a few others and weirdly The Faces, (Rod Stewart), Every Picture Tells a Story. Hell almost any other song of Rod’s album I would have enjoyed. She could toast up Maggie May, Tomorrow Is a Long Time, a Dylan song or Mandolin Wind. Just imagine what Lucinda’s voice could do to Reason to Believe.

Even sadder was their ending an all rock out version of Long Way to The Top. It almost works on the album but failed in concert last night. Geez Lou. You are in Australia. Everyone knows Long Way. Grannies, hipsters, nerds, little kids. We love it. But the backing goes Char-unka Dink, Chunk, Char-unka Dink, Chunk, Char-unka Dink, Chunk. Not the strange sound we heard last night. I, and most other people there last night, have heard a million better versions live.

I love Lucinda, she can proudly stand beside George Jones, Willie, Bob, Neil Young as a singer and a song writer. Last night was a good concert but disappointing. Lucinda please visit Kasey Chambers while you are here and may I even be so bold as to suggest you get her, her dad and brother to get you a backing band and do a few gigs. Show off your voice and lyrics. You’ll enjoy and we’ll enjoy it.

Update: Anne at Cat Politics seems to have much the same view as me.

I do disagree with Anne about Buick 6. I enjoyed their opening set as themselves. Intelligent guitar rock instrumentals almost orchestral at times, with a huge surf/ Dick Dale influence. I could see then drifting into Allman Brothers at times too. I’d buy the CD. Backing Lucinda they reminded me of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. Or more likely the time when Bob toured with the Heartbreakers as his band.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

of droughts and flooding rains

I'm off to Mackay at 7 am tomorrow for a week.

"CYCLONE Hamish has become a category four storm as it tracks south towards Mackay and dumps rain on Innisfail, the weather bureau warns.

The tropical cyclone is just off the coast near Innisfail and has already dumped heavy rain over parts of the north Queensland coast. 

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said Hamish could bring devastation similar to that of Cyclone Larry, which wreaked havoc on Innisfail in 2006, if it crossed the coast.

Disaster management groups in Cairns, Innisfail, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton and Gladstone were activated and sandbags were being filled in Cairns after Premier Anna Bligh and Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts were briefed."

And I was wondering what sort of coffee and bookshops there were.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Should I see the doctor or my favourite nurse....

Man, he's got me on milk, cream and alcohol..

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

blossom dearie

I dig
I'm in step
When it was hip to be hep, I was hep
I don't blow but I'm a fan
Look at me swing
Ring a ding ding
I even call my girlfriend man
I'm so hip

One of my biggest regrets, and I have a few, too many to mention, was not going to see Blossom Dearie when she was here in Melbourne not all that many years ago. My conscious and unconscious pre-occupation with last week's heat, flame, darkness and destruction, means I've only just learnt she died on February 7, 2009.

When I first heard her voice I thought that's a very smart, clever, hip, piano playing pixie. I was right.
I've picked this youtube clip because although it's longish it does contain some typical songs. Unfortunately the sound and vision are disconcertingly out of synch a bit. But it does sound great. I'm Hip is at around 6.40 into the clip.

Blossom Dearie live clip on youtube - 9 mins.  (This clip can't be embedded. You'll have to click through) 

Update: Another reason she's great. From NY Times: 

"Ms. Dearie didn’t suffer fools gladly and was unafraid to voice her disdain for music she didn’t like; the songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber were a particular pet peeve."

Saturday, February 07, 2009

thursday feb 5

Leonard Cohen, 2009-02-05 (Thursday, February 5, 2009) 8:15pm AEDT, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

set 1
01. Dance Me To The End Of Love
02. The Future
03. Ain't No Cure For Love
04. Bird On The Wire
05. Everybody Knows
06. In My Secret Life
07. Who By Fire
08. Chelsea Hotel #2
09. Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye
10. Sisters Of Mercy
11. Anthem

set 2
12. Tower Of Song
13. Suzanne
14. The Gypsy's Wife
15. The Partisan
16. Boogie Street
17. Hallelujah
18. I'm Your Man
19. A Thousand Kisses Deep [recitation]
20. Take This Waltz

encore 1
21. So Long, Marianne
22. First We Take Manhattan

encore 2
23. Famous Blue Raincoat
24. If It Be Your Will
25. Democracy

encore 3

26. I Tried To Leave You

27. Whither Thou Goest

Amazing gathering of all crew, stage roadies, lighting etc arms around each other singing humming while Mr Cohen thanked crew, audience, Australia everyone and everything. Went on forever.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

pre lenny

If I was using twitter I'd be saying " off to see lenny tonight". I wouldn't write "woot".

Its a good job I remembered the tickets were electronic and have printed them out after looking for them for 20 minutes. It's also a good idea that I looked up to see it starts at 7.15 pm, yes 7 bloody 15, not 8.00pm or 8.30pm . So I'm cancelling that meal and meetup at the Corner Hotel before the show for 14. I'll be at the Corner though to eat something.

Anyway to keep you busy here is an great interview with the man that not "everybody knows" about:

"Norwegian producer Kari Hesthamar, Cohen looks back over his life and shares some thoughts about earlier days. Along the way he considers the different paths his career has taken, talks about various creative projects he was (and still is) involved with, and sweetly reminisces about a beautiful young woman he shared some time with on a wild Greek island, whom loyal fans will know by the name "Marianne."

We'll also hear a brief excerpt from an interview Leonard Cohen gave to Robyn Johnston in 1985, when he last toured Australia.

Radio National Interview with Mr C.