Thursday, July 27, 2006


Andrew and I have a long history, having moved into the same share house in Forest Lodge/Glebe when he was seventeen and I was twenty-two. He was just learning the guitar then so I've been around since the very genesis of his musical endeavour (although he probably could play piano before that)

We were in bands together. Well, one band: The Outofitsideofit who metamorphosised into Catch Him and Eat Him. We wrote all original songs and recorded the majority of them in one session, with limited takes. We make a good songwriting team.

Now Andrew has played in various bands like Bastard Rust (with Zeb Olsen), the Time Wasters, Azmodeus.. in and around the pubs of Sydney but his current band is the first, to my knowledge, that are playing songs I've written. Yes folks, if you head down to a gig where Nogudnik are playing, you'll get to see them perform "Face The Music" and/or "Just Like Daddy". Andy's also currently working on another of mine; "Anodyne", with some lyric changes to fit the tune.

It's all very exciting: with a name change from The Pits last year (when they realised there were half a dozen bands already with that name) they currently have a u-beaut manager who is getting them plenty of gigs. They've played the Excelsior, the Cat and Fiddle in Balmain (twice), the Hopetoun and the Mandarin Club; all since the start of this year. You can see their website here and get a real sample of what they sound like on their MySpace site

Incidentally, I will be getting a My Space site of my own and advertising my services as a lyricist. Nogudnik will feature prominently as friends.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Beauty nuke

In my younger, more idealistic, days I was a member of People For Nuclear Disarmament. I manned stalls, I protested nuclear ships in the harbour, I stuffed envelopes. I look back at those times with some admiration at such grassroots selflessness.

The Cold War has ended, and with it Mutually Assured Destruction, but, just as the evangelicals would have it, the Revealations are come to pass as the battle has shifted ground and is waged with the Middle East. It strikes me that Islamic extremists carry out campaigns far removed from nuclear technology. September 11 was all about strategy, and relying on an entire nation; a superpower, being unprepared.

I'm not suggesting that you can't surprise someone with a neutron bomb or a thermonuclear device of any kind. But the corresponding fallout changes the equation. If America's response to being slammed for puffing their chests out too much, was to puff their chests out further still then we have, nonetheless, to consider the danger they pose. Basically all the nuclear powers pose a threat by their existence. In most cases the enemy has to come to you but with nukes, the radiation from a targetted nuclear site in the US or North Korea or Iran will affect a much wider area. It will make regions uninhabitable. Could even the biggest meanest zealot with a noisome network of nutters compete with the atomic bomb? Not unless he has a bomb of his own.


There are more windpower stations being built in Australia but the government are grizzling about it and now our ever popular shyster Prime Minister is openly promoting nuclear power.

Now don't you think this is strange? We live in a climate that has a plentiful supply of both wind and solar energy. This is a free resource and it's non-polluting. Why don't we pour our research and funding efforts into these? In what possible way could something that:

be seen as preferable? Surely the piddling problem of finding ways to trap and store the energy generated by non-polluting natural resources is worth pursuing ahead of spending vast sums of our money on a volatile energy source that stands to cause major social and environmental problems well into the future.

And I'll tell you something about solar energy that you will think is brilliant: once it stores enough to power the house for the day IT FEEDS BACK INTO THE POWER GRID

I don't know about you, but it seems to me solar already has efficiencies worth developing. If everyone started using solar energy tomorrow, there would still be a plentiful supply the next sunny day. We won't have changed the course of streams or dumped tailings in them. We won't have gouged Mother Earth or displaced her indiginees. We won't be spreading toxins or pollutants. We will be treading lighter at no loss to ourselves. And that paradise is possible in the here and now.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I wanted to get back amongst wildlife and was quite looking forward to propelling myself into a different environment; one with music our only electronic distraction to getting down with nature. The house is built on sound principles; mud brick, composting toilet, fire drum and wood stove for heating as well as cooking (though there is a gas stove for those back from a night out cuppas.)

Not that we went into town much either. Friday night our one night where we ventured in to see 'Kinky Boots' starring Joel Edgerton at the community hall. The people who volunteered to run the pictures this weekend were coincidentally the couple who kept an eye on the property normally. I think we left the place in good repair as we gathered firewood and tended garden beds. We also went on lots of walks and climbs and walks that turned into climbs as the place is predominantly volcanic rock which means you can look out on a stunning vista with reliable frequency.

We saw grazing kangaroos at evening and there was plenty of birdlife around the house and in the bush. There seemed to be a nest of yellow robins as a few flitted past as you drank your coffee on the verandah.
Our best wildlife experience came the Friday when we braved a day turned wet and chilly to drive into the nearby national park. There we saw roos that would bound off but not so far nor as quickly. We got good views of mothers with joeys in the pouch - headfirst and feetfirst - seven emus contentedly grazing near kangaroos and taking no notice of humans however brightly coloured. The highlight though came when
two kangaroos decided to take being toey literally and started into a fullfledged fight with just the two of us having ringside seating. If you've never seen a roo fight (and, despite spending the first seventeen years of my life among the kangaroos, that was my first), they hold their heads back and they mainly box each other with their paws, but they do kick either the stomach or lower down. It's not a bloody fight to the death and, once the matter had been resolved, they return to calm positions.

We saw an echidna cross the road (my third) on our drive into 'Coona' and the peregrine falcons were in plentiful supply, so perhaps their prey are as well. It was an area to remind me just how much a feature of the Australian landscape the pine tree is. Nobody paints them like they do the river gums and ghost gums; eulogise them in folk song like the mallee; and this could be because they're not a species that is particular to us. There were plenty of gum trees as well so I guess it doesn't matter.