One of the magazines I support (by purchasing a copy every time a new copy comes out) is Veritas Magazine.
I don't say that I agree with everything that is printed in it, but I love reading it and mulling over the stories in each edition. Barry Eaton did an audio interview with the Publisher of Veritas Magazine - Brian Creigh;
I was listening to Barry Eaton's RadioOutThereshow and he had an interview withHelen Brown about her new book After Cleo: Came Jonah; http://radiooutthere.com/blog/2012/04/19/program-382/ I met both of these guys at theByron Bay Writers Festivallast year and can honestly say that they are two of the nicest people that you could ever meet ... I'm sure the police will now proceed to find mass graves in their backyards after a wrap like that;-) That last comment was a joke, for those of you out there who don't understand what a sense of humour is (that's a kind of joke as well;-). Anyway, I met Helen last year, knowing nothing about her and her book Cleo, purchased a copy, asked her to sign it, had a chat, and then took it home (with a ton of other books I had bought there) and read it. And I'm glad that I did ... what a story! I wrote a post last year about her book Cleo, Cleo
Well, Gotye has reached the big-time by hitting Number One spot on the US music charts with the above song. I can't believe he was playing the Woodford Folkfestjust a few months ago. I wrote a post about that day/night back in December, Wednesday at Woodford I never would have believed he would be sitting at Number One spot on the US charts in just a few months time, if you had of told me on the night. Not because he is no good ... because he is way talented, but he was on an independent record label and the odds of getting to No.1 in such a short time are astronomical, to say the least.
This guy is great in concert, I can personally vouch for that. The funny thing is though, that I had no intention of going to see him play on the day. I bought tickets to see Buffy Sainte-Marie play, and Goyte just happened to be headlining the day/night, so I stayed to watch, and I'm glad that I did.
But listen to Buffy's song, and tell me that doesn't deserve to be number one. I wonder why it is starved for airplay? Could it be something to do with the political message I wonder?-) If you get a chance to see either of these two performers live, do it. You won't be sorry ... unless you are a Bankster that is;- ) But even then, you still might like the music, anyway.
On a tragic note though,Greg Ham from Men at Work, a band that hit number one position on the US charts with the song Downunder, in 1982, died this week,also ... possibly suicide? He was extremely upset at having to sell his house after losing a copyright court-case over the flute riff in the song Downunder (seeYou Tubeclip below). Men At Work flautist 'cut apart' by plagiarism case And while talking about my day at the Woodford Folkfest and seeing Goyte. The lead singer of Men at Work, Colin Hay was also performing that night and I caught about 20 mins of his show while walking back from Goyte's performance venue and past Colin's tent and then on to the car-park to head home. It's a small world, sometimes.
The clip for this years Splendor in the Grassis quite bizarre, and the backing track to this clip is quite obscene if you can understand the lyrics, but it gives you an idea of what Byron Bay looks like, especially the lighthouse headland at the end of this clip below.
After reading two of the three Jonathan Franzen books that I had bought at the Brisbane Writers Festival, I did a Google search on him and found this interesting blog post about him at 'The New York Times' site; http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/jonathan-franzen/# Which is where I found the above picture, as well. I also found an audio interview with Suzanne Collins about Mockingjay,
the final book in her Hunger Games trilogy, and Sam Tanenhaus and Greg Cowles discuss Jonathan Franzen’s new(at the time)novel,Freedom. You can listen to it here; Book Review Podcast: Suzanne Collins I found it quite an interesting audio to listen to. The latest book that I am reading is calledAwakening Intuition by Frances E Vaughan.
And yes, I did start reading it because it had that bird imagery on the cover, but I had originally purchased it because Frances (or Frank) is my father's christian name, and Vaughan is my brother's ... just by coincidence. I also like the orange orb representing the sun on the book cover, for some reason.
Another book I intuitively thought I should pick up and start reading, for some reason not quite consciously known to me, is a book about the city I grew up in called Brisbanewritten by an author by the name of Matthew Condon, who is one, or two years older than me, and grew up in this city as well ... although he did leave it for twenty years, before coming back to it, while I never did for more than a fortnight at a time, and rarely at that.
I thought that there might be a bird to connect this book with the others here somehow, but looking over the cover I couldn't find that connection. Until I started reading through page 11 and stumbled upon this passage; "When Oxley(the guy who discovered the spot Brisbane was founded on)arrives,'the wild bird of Freedom fled away'. Then, suddenly, there is 'a sweet young city laughing in the sun'."!??! I should also mention that I had this book with me at the time of the Byron Bay Writers Festival in 2011 (the day of the orb photo, above), because Matthew was giving talks there on the day and I thought I would get him to sign this copy (which I had bought at a Brisbane bookshop, but not read, and have only just started reading it today) if I ran into him there, which alas I didn't, and still haven't. There's so much water, so close to home ... as the Paul Kelly song goes. At least I got to meet Paul at the Writers Festival that day; "... And There's So Much Water So Close to Home" Paul Kelly
In fact, it was only through reading the Paul Kelly book How to Make Gravythat I read about Paul's enthusiasm for reading Franzen'sThe Correctionsthat I noticed this guy Franzen was in Brisbane the week I had just read about him in Paul's book and decided that it was a sign to see Franzen speak at the Brisbane Writers Festival.
It's amazing where life can steer you, through these little coincidences it seems to throw out.
I like the little blue bird on the writer's shoulder
"Brisbane writers Matthew Condon and Benjamin Law will talk about the
importance of putting together a professional portfolio to showcase your
work. This session is not to be missed by anyone trying to carve out a
career as a writer."
This artwork was a short walk from Franzen's talk venue
Sorry about the blurriness of the screen shot ... my bad
For those of you out there wondering what Bluesfest is like, I found somebody who has posted four You Tube videos of a summery ofBluesfest 2012, as they saw it ... and some of how I saw it ... even though recording ofBluesfest is prohibited as a condition of entry on the ticket.
All I've got to say to the person who broke this condition laid out by the organizers is ... thanks mate, because I was wondering what some of these other acts were like.
I was at some of these gigs, but a lot of them I missed because I only had tickets for Good Friday and Easter Monday.
Whilst it is nothing like being there to witness it in person, it will give you some idea of the atmosphere ofBluesfest.
Out of all the performers in these clips, I was there at Steve Earl's show(the person filming must have been quite close to my location).
I wish I had of been atSeasick Steve's show, but I wasn't (maybe next year?).
And in the John Fogertysection of the clip I was in front of the right-hand side-screen, with nobody between me and the band, but a security guard. That is probably me you can hear singing with what sounds like the dying cat's voice;-)
I was way outside the tent, sitting on the grass(not smoking it;-)during theZappa plays Zappa set, and same again when YES took to the stage. I was sipping on a wonderful chai tea drink and eating a
New York style pizza that I was glad my son suggested I should try.
I'll be back next year for the food, just as much as I will be for the music.
And if it's one thing I learned from it all, it's that if you have a doughnut stand you will make a killing in sales
when the weed smokers get the munchies. The line up for doughnuts was insane, later on in the night, and whilst I was one of those in the line up, it was only from the effects of all the passive smoking I had done on the night.
I can't wait until 2013. If I can be there I definitely will be.
While down at Bluesfest with my youngest son, wandering around waiting for the John Fogerty show to begin, we wandered into the APRA tent at around 3 o'clock and caught a young talent by the name of Ashleigh Mannix.
She blew us both away with her singing for a whole 60 minutes.
It is always a special joy to stumble across one of the worlds great singers performing in a very small tent at Bluesfest. This lady just oozes talent all over the stage. I thought I was lucky on Good Friday catching James Vincent McMorrow singing in this tent and then lightning struck twice and I discovered Ashleigh Mannix. Bluesfest justs keeps getting better, year after year.
It is one of life's special privileges to stumble across a talent so special and spend an hour among other Bluesfest attendees who are probably thinking the same thing.
Well, I've just finished reading it and have to say that I didn't think a fictitious novel could be so life changing in my outlook. It's not so much the story that is told, but the way the author tells it. The story revolves around a 47 year-old guy called Walter and his quest to save a tract of forest in the States and another tract in South America to help preserve the habitat of the Cerulean Warbler ... the bird pictured on the front cover of the novel.
The part I find interesting about the novel though is how Franzen analyzes all the characters in the novel, giving their motives for nearly all the decisions, conscious and unconscious, that the character makes in their journey through life. Which had me thinking about all my life decisions and just how conscious or unconscious they were in hindsight.
We think that we have a great deal of freedom to choose where we head in life, but how true is that line of thinking in reality? There is always a consideration to weigh up in most of life's decisions, which tend to force our hand in which direction we take down life's road. Freedom shows the kind of thinking that tends to influence our moves through this game of life and just how much freedom we really have.
For instance, when I got married I thought how good it would be to live in Sydney for a few years maybe, or maybe somewhere like Byron Bay. But my wife was very close to her family and would never dream of leaving Brisbane. So, for me to pursue that dream I had basically two choices, stay in Brisbane and raise a family ... or try and move to Sydney, or Byron Bay and probably end up divorced. But we make, or try to make decisions like these on a daily basis when you think about it ... and I'm not just talking about me ... I'm talking about you, too. That's if you are totally honest with yourself. We either comply with other people's wishes, or we rebel against them.
Life is never as simple as spinning a wheel and moving ahead two or three places on the "Game of Life" board. Freedom is more like that elusive carrot dangling in front of us...we better know what is really motivating us to chase it, and what we are going to do with it if we ever catch it.
1. The condition of being free of restraints.
2. Liberty of the person from slavery, detention, or oppression.
3.a. Political independence.
b. Exemption from the arbitrary exercise of authority in the performance of a specific action; civil liberty: freedom of assembly.
4. Exemption from an unpleasant or onerous condition: freedom from want.
5. The capacity to exercise choice; free will: We have the freedom to do as we please all afternoon.
6. Ease or facility of movement: loose sports clothing, giving the wearer freedom.
7. Frankness or boldness; lack of modesty or reserve: the new freedom in movies and novels.
8.a. The right to unrestricted use; full access: was given the freedom of their research facilities.
b. The right of enjoying all of the privileges of membership or citizenship: the freedom of the city.
9. A right or the power to engage in certain actions without control or interference: "the seductive freedoms and excesses of the picaresque form" (John W. Aldridge).
I guess this novel has made me reevaluate my idea of living a life of freedom and what the consequences of all that entails. Life's decisions are a lot harder to make than the spin of a wheel or the throw of a dice.
Yes, in a way I am free to do what I want, but I know there is always a price to be payed down the end of life's toll road and I have to anticipate if I will be happy to pay it when I get there.
Which brings my thoughts back to a Derren Brown video I once saw;
So, even when we think the idea is ours and that we are free to come up with whatever comes to mind, maybe we aren't as free to choose as we thought we were ... without being influenced by the thoughts of those around us, that is?
I found Jonathan Franzen's novel a thought provoking read indeed.
It's like reading about the game of life, while filtering it through your mind, heart and stomach.
It may not be your life that you are reading about, but the same techniques and consequences certainly apply.
On Monday I headed back to the Byron Bay Bluesfest, mainly to see and hear John Fogerty play, this time with my youngest son ... or should I say my 'fortunate son';-)
My son (left) watching John Fogerty belt out a song
I don't like normally being right up the front, but my son suggested that we go and stand right up front on the barrier.
So we did. When we got up to the front with relative ease, I was so surprised at what a great view we had and I remember saying to him something like,"this spot is to die for, it would have cost about $400 a ticket to get this close in Brisbane". We had paid $139 each for an all day ticket, on which we got to see Fogerty,Zappa playing Zappa, YES and a host of other bands.
John played through the whole of the Green Riveralbum, plus most of Credence's big hits.
Tombstone Shadow, stretchin' across my path. Tombstone Shadow, stretchin' across my path. Ev'ry time I get some good news, Ooh,
There's a shadow on my back.
Saw the gypsy man, 'way down in San Berdoo. Said, I saw the gypsy man, 'way down in San Berdoo. Five dollars on the table, Ooh,
Keep me 'way from my tomb.
Said I got thirteen months of bad luck, Bound to be some pain. Don't you do no trav'lin', Fly in no machines.
Tombstone Shadow, stretchin' across my path. Ev'ry time I get some good news, Ooh,
There's a shadow on my back.
The man gave me a luck charm, Cost five dollars more, Said, \"Put some on your pillow, and put some on your door. \"
He said, \"Take a long vacation, Ooh,
For thirteen months or more.\
Tombstone Shadow, stretchin' across my path. Tombstone Shadow, stretchin' across my path. Ev'ry time I get some good news, Ooh,
There's a shadow on my back.
Oh, oh, Lord!
By the time John got to playTombstone ShadowI was already having morbid kind of thoughts passing through my head, like,
"I wonder how old John is now?(he was born in 1945) I wonder how many years John has left? I wonder how many years I have left? I wonder how many years my son has left? I wonder if I will outlive John? I wonder if my son will outlive me?(I hope so) I wonder where my son's consciousness was in the late 60's, early 70's when I was a boy listening to Credence records? Where was my consciousness when John was growing up in the 50's? Which of the three of us will leave this mortal coil first? Isn't life weird when you stand about fifty feet away from the lead singer of a band from the other side of the planet, which made up so much of the soundtrack of my early life and is now in myhometown(well 100 miles from my hometown) playing those songs in front of me and my son? And while there was dope in the air around me, I can assure you that it wasn't being smoked by me ... if that's what you were thinking?-)
I kept thinking how great is this taking my son to see John Fogerty this year, Bob Dylan last year, and who knows who I can take him to see play next year? The day was great all round. We got to see Fogerty, Zappa's son play Zappa's work(can't say I'm a real fan of Zappa's music) and YES. Plus, other less known and unknown (to us) bands and artists.
When I got home, after the 100 mile drive (early Tuesday morning), I checked my e-mails only to discover this; Woman dies at Bluesfest "A 45-year-old Tumbulgum woman is believed to have suffered a fatal heart attack minutes before Bluesfest headlining act John Fogerty took to the stage on Saturday night. Paramedics performed CPR on the woman at the front of the Mojo stage for about 15 minutes before she was taken away on a stretcher. The concert was delayed as a result for around 20 minutes. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances." Even though this happened at the Saturday night concert and our concert was on the Monday night, this was the first I had heard of this tragic occurrence. The e-mails from the Echo newspaper are only sent to my inbox Monday to Friday and since this happened Saturday night, I didn't get to find out about this until Tuesday morning, as the e-mail would have arrived in my inbox Monday afternoon, when I was at the Bluesfest. So, this tragic news really hammered home what I was thinking about life, as Fogerty was playing. And the eerie thing is that this woman probably died in a spot closer to where I was standing (if not where I was standing) than Fogerty was from me.
Fogerty playing his baseball guitar to Center-fieldon the big screen
These are the kind of strange events that stay in the memory for the rest of your life, however long that will be?
Last year when I went down to Byron Bay on the Tuesday, to see Bob Dylan play, the weather was terrible and the grounds were just one big mud puddle. But this year Good Friday lived up to its name. In fact, I would even go as far as to call it Great Friday;-)
Looking out from the food hall/tent
The organizers could not have asked for a better day. And since I'm writing this post up on the Monday, before heading down once more, I can say the weather has been perfect all weekend and hopefully that will continue right through to closing, tonight.
Blue skies for Bluesfest
I love the atmosphere at Bluesfest and there is always great talent to discover, whether it's old bands, or new bands and singers.
If only I have this kind of energy at 75 years of age, if I am still around. Buddy has been coming to Bluesfest regularly over the years, and is a huge crowd favourite, and it's not hard to see why, if you have ever seen him perform.
Here's a funny thing, this clip (above) that I found on You Tube of Buddy Guysinging 74 Years Young, was recorded on 23rd Sept, 2011, at the
Grove Theater, Anaheim,California, which was my 47th birthday (the reverse of74). Although, Buddy was already 75 at the time, which kind of wrecks the sync a little: -(
Then it was time for the big act of the night ... that's if you don't count Earth,Wind and Fire, who were playing in the other tent.
Old rockers fading away ... or a bad photographer at his trade?-)
Crosby, Stills and Nash. Man, these guys can still rock out solidly. It was a pleasure and an honour hearing them play. I wish my sons could have been there on the night to catch this show to see and hear the music I was brought up listening to. Nothing like a bit of nostalgia, is there?-)