Friday, December 31, 2010

Sayonara to the work place

“So its goodbye to the sunshine, goodbye to the dew,
Goodbye to the flowers, and goodbye to you.
I'm off to the subway. I must not be late.
I'm going to work in tall buildings.”

John Hartford - Tall Buildings

For me it’s hello to the sunshine - it’s a scorcher this New Year’s Eve in Melbourne - and hello to the flowers and goodbye to the Department, I’ll no longer work in tall buildings.

Yes, today was my last working day. I’m all set for a 10 month holiday using up recreation leave and long service leave credits, after which I will officially retire from the workforce.

God knows what I’ll do with myself, but I’m sure something will occur to me to occupy my time for however long I’ve got left. But firstly I’ll enjoy winding down , chilling out and forgetting the stresses of training a new person in my job over the past few months, and particularly the past week.

I’ve got plenty of new books to read, having scored a number of books for Christmas by way of gift vouchers, which of course I’ve redeemed.

Anyway, this New Year’s Eve will be a memorable one for me, even though I’m not planning on doing anything special.

Whoopee! No more work.

I also wish readers of this blog just as memorable an occasion and love , peace and happiness in 2011.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Keith Richards Life – the hair raising and entertaining tale of a survivor

Keith Richards book

Over the past week or so I’ve been reading Keith Richards autobiography, Life, and what an amazing reading experience it has been.

I am not usually one to read celebrity bios, but I made an exception with this one as I’ve always been a great fan of the Rolling Stones, and even though my main fascination with the band centred on Mick Jagger, after reading Keith’s Life, I have become a Richards devotee. In fact after reading halfway through the book which took it up to 1972, I felt an urge to run out and buy the DVD Ladies & Gentlemen The Rolling Stones – a live recording of a concert they performed in that year. Instead of concentrating on the antics of Jagger I watched Richards this time.

Not a book for the fainthearted or the easily shocked, Life is grand tale of sex and drugs and rock and roll; indeed Keith Richards lived his life like we all imagine rock stars do.

What makes the book extraordinary as an autobiography, is the up front and personal style of the writing. You feel, reading it, that Keith Richards is talking to you directly. No expletives or details are spared, and you emerge from the book feeling you know the guy intimately. Quite an achievement!

The book traces Keith Richards life from his schooldays to the present and it’s a real page turner, engagingly vivid and interesting throughout. It describes the development of the Rolling Stones as one of the great rock ‘n roll bands, and for all you guitar aficionados, Keith explains his technique in great detail.

He never apologises or makes excuses for his excesses and extreme substance abuse. A real rebel, it turns out that his paternal grandfather was a socialist and civic rights leader. His maternal grandfather was a Jazz musician and was, along with his mother Doris, a major influence on his chosen path as a musician.

Keith Richards Life has gained many accolades in the press, the book being designated as "One of the greatest rock memoirs ever....” and I can only agree. Highly recommended!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Last In Store for the year – A sparkling set by Monique DiMattina

After a week of heat, humidity and also torrential rain – half the state of Victoria, not to mention New South Wales is flooded – the weather today in Melbourne is cool and mild,

However, a sunny mini performance by
Monique Dimattina at Basement Discs was a pleasant break from the intensity and busyness of the season.

Monique has recently returned from a lengthy stint in New York where she worked with the likes of Lou Reed , Norah Jones and Bjork. As well as being an excellent pianist, Monique is a talented singer and songwriter. Her musical heroines are Rickie Lee Jones, Blossom Dearie and Nina Simone to name a few.

It was obvious Monique was pleased to be back in Melbourne and she has celebrated the fact by recording a wonderful album of originals with a cover or two called Welcome Stranger. The first song she sang today was her tribute to Melbourne, Livingest Place - a bouncy jazzy little number followed by another Melbourne referenced song called Joan of Burwood.

She was accompanied today by
Andrew Swan who alternately played drums and guitar and Hannah Cameron who provided backing vocals.

Her music is defined as Jazz/Pop and she is certainly mistress of a range of musical styles.

2011 promises another abundance of top International and Local musical treats. No doubt, Basement Discs will be hosting a few of them in store.

Check out Monique on her website, where she is offering a free download of the Livingest Place.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Mary Gauthier at East Brunswick Club

Each time I have had the pleasure of witnessing Mary Gauthier live, she has been accompanied by a different musician. Back in 2007 wonderful guitarist Thomm Jutz provided superb backing and earlier this year she was accompanied by Ed Romanoff.

This time round young five string violin maestro
Tania Elizabeth, was her partner on stage, so once again the vibe was different.

I had been steeling myself all day for a night of standing at the East Brunswick Club, but surprise, surprise limited seating was provided this time, so we had a great possie up the front at a small table. One brave soul parked himself on the sticky carpet, drawing even Mary Gauthier to remark on the adhesive quality of flooring at the East Brunswick Club.

It was a great show, Mary singing a range of songs from her back catalogue, understandably interspersed with songs from The Foundling.

She began the night with her fabulous cover of the beautiful For Rose, a song written by Jonathan Pointer. She took a request for I Drink – naturally - and obliged me by performing one of my favourites from her album Filth and the Fire, Christmas in Paradise. In fact she sang a few songs from that album including Camelot Motel and Sugarcane.

Tania Elizabeth added another dimension to the show with her otherworldly, eerie violin accompaniment and spooky harmony vocals. She is a Melburnian by birth but now lives in Canada and is a former member of the Canadian band
The Duhks.

Set List

For Rose
Walk On The Water
I Drink
Christmas In Paradise
I Ain’t Leaving
Sweet Words
Camelot Motel
Mama Here Mama Gone
Blood Is Blood
The Orphan King

Hangman’s Reel – Tania Elizabeth solo
Mercy Now