Saturday, October 25, 2008


Recently The Australian newspaper asked its readers to vote for the top Aussie song of the last twenty years. The Church's Under the Milky Way Tonight topped the bill. Following that thread, here's my pick for the top ten Aussie songs of all time (in no particular order):

1. Icehouse - Great Southern Land
2. Severed Heads - Dead Eyes Opened
3. Nick Cave - Into my Arms
4. The Go-Betweens - Cattle and Cane
5. Mondo Rock - State of the Heart
6. Crowded House - Weather with You
7. My Friend the Chocolate Cake - The Gossip
8. The Models - Barbados
9. Midnight Oil - Redneck Wonderland
10. The Avalanches - Frontier Psychiatrist

What do you think, folks? Send me an e-mail and tell me what your top ten is.

LJ, October 26 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Michael Moore is a hero. He's a defender of the truth and a leader with a moral conscience whom we need to keep the ruthless and greedy in check.

I watched Sicko the other day (following a few trips to a doctor and a specialist, where all consultations were free!). It was a stark, essential insight into America's atrocious health care system, where the wealthy win and the poor loose big time. Some of the film looked at how damn expensive pharmaceuticals, medical appointments and medical procedures in public hospitals are. The overall message was: in the States, when it comes to medical care, it's profit before people; big companies make a fortune from not giving people adequate medical attention or refusing help altogether.

According to Michael Moore's website, there were 50 million Americans without health care n 2006; I'm guessing the majority couldn't afford it. On his site he has written up a 'Prescription for Change' where three things are suggested as remedies for the US health care debacle. He believes 'every resident of the U.S. must have free, universal health care for life', 'all health care insurance companies must be abolished' and 'pharmaceutical companies must be strictly regulated like a public utility'. This sounds so sensible.

On another note, I once showed Bowling for Columbine to a group of Yr. 11 students at Oakhill College, in Sydney's north-west, where I taught English (and, on and off, History, Drama, General Studies and R.E.) for 9 years. At the end of the film, this mob of boys and girls (some of whom were a bit ratty, god bless them) sat completely still and speechless for minutes; they didn't run out the door, on the bell, as usual. So, the world needs Michael Moore (even with his daggy clothes and Kodiak bear-on-Valium shuffle).

LJ, October 24 2008.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I was thrilled to learn, after reading The Australian last Saturday, that 100s of new aquatic species (inc. corals, crustaceans, sponges, sea stars and molluscs) have just been discovered in the depths of the Southern Ocean off Tasmania. 66% of them were brand new to science. It's great to see, in this age and day where it seems we know everything, that nature can still show her unexpected hand. Hopefully, if those in government under Kevin Rudd and Peter (why did he ever leave the Oils?) Garrett use their minds wisely, the home of these creatures will be turned into a marine reserve protected forever from fishing, pollution and disruption. I wonder whether Rudd and Garrett are happy to shake the hands of industry though. Let's wait and see what happens...

LJ, October 14 2008.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
UNKLE - End Titles... Stories for Film
The Art of Chill 4 - Mixed by The Orb
David Bridie - Succumb
Oasis - Dig Out Your Soul
Stereo MCs - Double Bubble
Stereo MCs - Paradise
Thievery Corporation - RadioRetaliation
Salmonella Dub - Feel the Seasons Change
Cassandra Wilson - Loverly

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I have just spent the end of September and the first few days of October at my sister-in-law's property in Bowral, in the middle of the very green and grounding Southern Highlands. It was a time for walking more slowly, breathing properly, dreaming up future biro projects and revelling in the magic of family.

Throughout this time away, it was fantastic to immerse myself in and around the landscape of my sister-in-law's home. Most days, gang-gang cockatoos, yellow-tailed black-cockatoos, pacific herons, yellow-rumped thornbills, straw-necked ibis, eastern whipbirds and lyrebird-imitating satin bowerbirds were my companions as I walked by copperhead springs, lavender plots and giant pines. Mist, rain, perfect cyan firmament, gutsy winds and temperatures from 7 to 34 degrees showcased the schizophrenic nature of Highland weather.

For an hour and a half, one flawless morning by the zen face of the Wingecarribee River, I caught up with Burradoo's wordsmith and teacher, Mark Tredinnick. We talked about the Australian writers we admire and question, Australian geography, Highland bird calls, the heavyweights of U.S. nature writing and the delicate art of penning good poetry well.

LJ, October 4 2008.