Sunday, 15 June 2014

It's Ponderous, Man, Ponderous... just Fucking Ponderous



As a music loving pre-teen kid growing up in Sydney in a house with bugger all money, buying records (singles/45's) was a luxury I couldn't afford.  I listened to the radio. It was free.  And on Sunday nights, on AM radio, 2UW I believe, we'd get American Top 40, followed by the Australian Top 40. Or was it vice versa?  No matter. 
 
I'd sit there and listen, and eventually, when I had saved up enough, was able to afford a Radio Cassette Recorder, and used to record the songs that caught my ear, so I could play them back. Over and over and over and over...  This, kiddies, his what downloading looked like in 1975.
 
I did that till i was about 16, when I had a job, and was able to buy my own fully fledged stereo - complete with turntable and hi-fi tape deck, and so break free from the chains of radio station music programmers.
 
However, way back then, like the rest of the kids in school, we all knew who Casey Kasem was. His intros to the songs, and "long distance dedications" were part of the magic.
 
When I moved to New Jersey in 1986, and started listening to Howard Stern on WXRK, part of Howard's intros was a tape of Casey Kasem, swearing his nuts off at some of the ridiculous back announcements he was asked to make: Syndicated American Top 40 being aired at 2am! Long distance dedications to a dead dog! 
 
All that stuff can be found on Youtube clips, one of which I present to you, below.
 
I'm pretty sure if the big man needs a DJ, then he'd be giving Casey Kasem the gig right about now.


 

Sunday, 4 May 2014

I Learned More From A Three Minute Record Than I Ever Did In School

A redux from RFYP, 2007.   Lest we forget.
 
 
 
Above: "Probably the most important lesson ever learned at an American place of learning" - Neil Young

Don’t ever be fooled into believing rock and roll is good for nothing. Music opened Mountjoy’s mind, and educated me on a universe of subjects I might never have known about. One of the first songs that enlightened me was Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Ohio. Carried by a haunting guitar wail, the simple lyrics suit the anguished cry of Young’s voice to a tee:


Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,

We're finally on our own.

This summer I hear the drumming,

Four dead in Ohio.


Gotta get down to it

Soldiers are cutting us down

Should have been done long ago.

What if you knew her

And found her dead on the ground

How can you run when you know?

If you don’t know the back-story, the song is about an event that occurred 27 34 years ago today, when four students who were anti-war protesters at Kent State University were gunned down by members of The National Guard. The closest victim was almost 100m from the guardsmen, and was unarmed. No one was ever charged, and no one ever took responsibility. The image of Mary Ann Vecchio, a fourteen-year-old runaway and Vietnam War protester, screaming with anguish and kneeling over the dead body of Jeffrey Miller, that illustrates this post, won a Pulitzer prize and is one of a handful of 70’s era photographs that have become iconic symbols of the time.

Apparently written by Neil Young within weeks of the incident, the song fades out to David Crosby’s nasal howls of “Why?” and “How many more?”

Almost three decades later, The West is at war again. Thankfully this time, the students who choose to protest this action are, we should hope, safer than the four causalities from Kent State. Here are their names, lest they remain anonymous:



It could be argued that Neil Young was just cashing in on the incident, but I believe there is enough pain and emotion on hand to nix that theory. And in the end, his work has made millions of people around the world that would otherwise never have known aware of what happened on that May afternoon in Ohio. If you are too young to remember the song, you are probably old enough to go to war. That alone is reason enough for you to go and listen to it today.


Monday, 17 March 2014

Sympathy For The Devil

L'Wren Scott: Painted It Black.


I cannot fathom the pain that someone would feel if their partner took their own life.  Like a separation, magnified 10,000 times perhaps? Therefore, my thoughts go out to Mick Jagger, who has travelled halfway around the world to be told over dinner on his first evening in Perth that his long term girlfriend, L'Wren Scott has apparently committed suicide.


You could forgive Jagger for now having an utter hatred of Perth forever, with the association this city must now carry for him. Not only that, but of course many years ago (1969), his then girlfriend Marianne Faithful overdosed in Sydney and was in a coma for six days.  He'd almost have a reason never to come back to our big brown land, wouldn't he?
 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Vanity Fair!

Okay, today I feel old; Very old.  Blame it on Greta Scacchi.

Confession: Sometime around 1990 I rented a video of a movie called The Coca Cola Kid.  Must have been in the $1 shelf at the video store. Well bugger me.  Filmed in 1985, it featured an utterly stunning young woman, with a magical face, and gorgeous body, by the name of Greta Scacchi.  I defy any hetrosexual male to watch that film and not find her attractive - she played a Lolita-esque nymph to playful perfection...

23 years ago, Mountjoy was mesmerised by this face...

In the decade that followed, Ms.Scacchi appeared in a number of films, and a very "European" sensibility to nudity, apparently - having a penchant for getting her kit off in most of them.  And then I guess she suffered the fate of most aging actresses, and the roles available became fewer and fewer, or she chose to slip into the shadows to raise a family.

Fast forward to this weekend, and it turns out Ms.Scacchi is coming to Perth to do some theatre. Her photo appeared in the Perth newspaper, and I was shocked. If I had not seen the caption, I'm sure I would not have recognised her.  

...and in 2014, I may have walked straight past her without realising it.

The slight, of course, is totally on me. My horrible vanity, of admiring an attractive twenty-five year old almost 30 years ago, and in my minds eye, imagining that she would hold those looks forever. People don't.  I certainly haven't. But you don't expect actors to age, I guess - the screen is so timeless.  

So, yes, I am old. But my memory is young.  I will forever be a 14, 15 or 16 year-old boy, trapped in the decaying body of a middle aged man. I am sure Ms.Scacchi is a wonderfully talented actress, and does not need her youthful looks to be a success any more than I do!  But it's an interesting thought as to how those people who do trade on their looks must fare in their autumn years.  It's a sad truth that men, especially, will always be ageist. And I confess that I am as guilty of that as anyone.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Power and The Passion

Do I Have To Say His Name?

It's Monday morning, and time to exhale.  After four days of rock and roll madness, the Perth Bruce Springsteen odyssey is over, and normal transmissions must resume.  And so comes the drop down to reality....


..and it's only such a drop because of the highs.  Despite the maelstrom of crap that surrounded me for the last 15 weeks, I can honestly say that these three shows have been 9 hours of freedom; freedom from adultery, freedom from separation, freedom from the uncertainties 2014 is about to throw up at me.  My musical hero delivered for me and 14,999 others in spades, three times in four nights.



Starting with me going solo, and a place in the second row from the stage, on Wednesday night, I followed up with seats in the B reserves with Heir and Spare, both getting their first Baptism at the Church of The Boss.  Heir and I then went on a quest for a place on the floor for Saturday, and our queue numbers of 89/90 were high enough to get us in the front row up against the stage, directly ahead of Nils Lofgren and Tom Morello.  Heir particularly appreciated this, as he is a budding guitarist, and loved watch these two maestros carve up some of his favourite songs! We both held request signs: Heir's was for Fire, and that got a massive smile and nod of approval from Steve Van Zant when he walked over our way, while mine, for Two Faces, had Nils Lofgren give me a huge wink and a thumbs up, when he saw it. That made my night - even though The Boss didn't pick either of them.



This double was a highpoint - reworks Ghost of Tom Joad backed up by Land of Hope and Dreams (the latter my favourite tune of Saturday night, I think):

So, out of 10?  For intimacy - 10/10; the front of the GA section is what I imagine flying First class would do to you ~ why would you ever go back to seats in the stands, or economy?  Song choices? 7/10; I had hoped to hear at least one bucket list song over the three nights, and 57 different tunes got played, but the fan classics like Backstreets, Racing in The Street, Jungleland - or for me, anything from Tunnel of Love - did not get a look in.  Cruelly, Darkness on the Edge of Town was listed but not played.  But that's me being churlish - any Bruce is great Bruce. Those songs would have been cream.


There were people flying east to go to 9 more shows - and I envy them. Perhaps as a newly minted single man, it is something I will aspire to Next Time...

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Freedom of Speech (So long as you say what I want)

Mis-truth, Injustice, and The Liberal Way: The Mad Monk speaks.

Our hapless village idiot leader, Tony Abbott, is all over the newspapers this morning, complaining that the National Broadcaster, the ABC, should be more jingoistic, more partisan and less... well, transparent when it comes to reporting possible violations of human rights, Indonesian maritime boundaries, and other alleged transgressions by our Navy.

''You would like the national broadcaster to have a rigorous commitment to truth and at least some basic affection for the home team,'' he told Macquarie Radio on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, he did not detail his thoughts on which of those tenants should be receiving the higher priority when they are in conflict, although knowing how fast and loose the Mad Monk is with the truth, it's clear the former plays a very weak second fiddle to the latter.

Monday, 27 January 2014

You Don't Want To Go There....

I am resigned to the fact I will never be an Olympic athlete,  despite dreams of maybe being one of those ultra cool guys who looks like he spent half his life downing Duff Beer at Moe's, and then strolled onto the skeet range and and cans till snare Gold in the Trap...

So I have no knowledge of the mystical world of Olympic sports, but even I never suspected that an elite athlete's bowel movements occur at such a pace, that one pan could not keep up.











Exhibit A: Laura Cross Country Skiing and Biathlon centre, Sochi

(not shown: the single toilet roll holder, on the left hand wall.  Wiping if you sit on the right is not an option, apparently).

More on this story here.