Saturday, July 25, 2015

Song of the Week #358

There's a theme running through all of the tracks in this week's episode. See if you can pick it. Other than that who knows what might happen? Check your health insurance before you read on...

Let's begin with one of my favourite performers. Tons of energy and a great guitar sound.

Elvis Costello - Pump It Up (live 1978) - https://youtu.be/3oi1-S6UPNc

Every now and then I hit you with a John Denver song. Maybe it's a bit mainstream but I really like his voice, attitude and songwriting. This is a cool story about an instrument handed down through his family.

John Denver - This Old Guitar (live) - https://youtu.be/zlKLtnbU0xE

Roy Orbison had one of the best voices ever in popular music. His songs have an almost uplifting sound to them that is instantly recognisable. Roy also plays absolutely stunning instruments. I think I was initially attracted by the mystery that the shades create as well as the big beautiful guitars.

Roy Orbison - You've Got It - https://youtu.be/QNAVrQ96mpA

Elton John writes a really good rock and roll tune. Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting is one of my absolute favourites. But this week I've chosen a rather lively version of a classic...

Elton John - The Bitch Is Back (live) - https://youtu.be/Rig3tgyYiAM

In my opinion, Weezer as a band is almost the definition of alternative music. They might be a little too popular for that these days but the sound is still there. They have a talent for switching tastefully between jangly pop and all out fuzz which is something I really like. Nirvana were pretty good at that too but they don't fit this week's theme.

Weezer - Island In The Sun - https://youtu.be/erG5rgNYSdk

Here's a guitarist who has to be one of the most influential ever. Millions of guitarists play the guitar he came up with and that is named after him. Amazing footage of him playing on his 90th birthday.

Les Paul - Sleepwalk (live) - https://youtu.be/HH8vjxFIUC4

DJ Z-boots is in Scotland now whilst Vanuatu recovers from her visit! Whilst waiting in Abu Dhabi to fly to Edinburgh she sent us a message saying that the place was full of Scots. A little girl had opened her mouth an "out popped the Proclaimers"! Pretty funny. I'm sure she's got her ear in tune by now. I'm pretty excited as today she's off to visit my Granny!

The Proclaimers - Throw The R Away - https://youtu.be/VUE2jeSaHeM

Just before I finish; one short political statement. It seems as if the Australian Government and the opposition are going to agree on a policy to turn back refugee boats. This isn't a solution, all it does is move the problem elsewhere. It's illegal and immoral. We're a better country than that even if our politicians seem to have forgotten.

Don't forget to come and see the band on Friday evening at Radford College. I guarantee that we'll be rocking as hard as we can; no slow songs in this show. This next track isn't within the theme of this week's episode but it sums up our attitude towards the upcoming gig..."this computerised crap ain't getting me off, everywhere I go, the kids wanna rock..."

Bryan Adams - Kids Wanna Rock - https://youtu.be/oYi2lqG2u9I

DJ Rob

"...mama said the pistol is the Devil's right hand...", The Devil's Right Hand, Steve Earle.




Saturday, July 18, 2015

Song of the Week #357

Spotify playlist this week: https://play.spotify.com/user/1233409237/playlist/7fLdPvy8N4NSgwjgcp4eZk

This week; more music and less blethering.

Here's a stoner rock band from Melbourne. This track is from their first album. Definitely one to add to the collection for fans of fuzzy riffs. The album is available from their webpage and all major online purveyors of sonic mayhem. Oldies like me can order physical copies too on CD or vinyl.

Don Fernando - Haunted by Humans - https://youtu.be/tHsIAE7AybM

If you like your punk rock with a healthy dose of keyboard madness, boundless energy and a rhythmic approach seemingly fuelled by too much black coffee then the next band might be your thing. Ramones meets Talking Heads with the B-52s and Blur thrown in too. The album was released last week.

White Reaper - Make Me Wanna Die - https://youtu.be/jccJA4qT9pM

Bluestone 42 is a BBC TV show. It's a bit of a black comedy and worth a look. The show centres around a British Army bomb disposal unit in Afghanistan. The first episode is a little slow to get going but persevere. Plenty of laughs. If you like Red Dwarf or Dad's Army then you'll like this. Available on iView for Australian viewers and perhaps on YouTube for the rest of you but you didn't hear that from me.

Bluestone 42 trailer - https://youtu.be/fQZTIDOOz48

Remember this next song? I can't get it out of my head this week and it's driving me mad. Everywhere I look I see London, New York, Paris, Munich....everybody talk about...


Black Label Society, and former Ozzy Osbourne,  guitar hero Zakk Wylde is releasing his own brand of guitars, pedals and amps. They look pretty cool but are very, very close to the Gibson, MXR and Marshall gear he already uses. Hopefully the price point will mean that quality gear is more affordable for mere mortals. Have a look at the price of a good Marshall amplifier sometime. Zakk is a really good guitarist and plays with passion...

Black Label Society - Fire It Up - https://youtu.be/O3-Wjmb9PBA

When this next track rolled around on the shuffling playlist of 20,000 songs I wasn't sure if this next song was the Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones or the Black Crowes...it's none of them. It's better. This was their first album to feature Jason Isbell on guitar. 

Drive By Truckers -  Marry Me - https://youtu.be/VlcOs3fCN3M

Cover version time...Swedish indie folk sisters doing a predictable but fabulous version of an ABBA classic. If you like this then search out their live attempt at Paul Simon's " America". 

First Aid Kit - Chiquitita (live ABBA cover) - https://youtu.be/IuuR0-_xZKw

In the mid 80s I purchased a WASP album on the strength that I liked the title and that it was cheap. It was a radio station promo LP that had made its way into a second hand record shop in Wellington, NZ. I'm not always enthused with WASP's lyrical content but Blackie Lawless sings in tune with a voice that makes AC/DC's Brian Johnson sound like a choirboy. The guitars are bluesy too in a metal kind of way. It's still a great album and the intro to this, the title track, is pretty cool.

WASP - Inside The Electric Circus - https://youtu.be/JTLHpd-5Qgw

Yesterday US alt-country-indie-folk rockers (yeah, hard to classify) Wilco released a new album. So what? Well firstly, no-one knew it was coming and secondly it's available to download free from their website. Physical copies will be in stores later on apparently. Wilco can be hit and miss for me but at this price you'd be mad not to give it a spin. Better than it appearing magically and perhaps unwanted in your iTunes account...cough, cough, U2!


How's that then? Plenty of new tracks to keep you busy.

Rob




Friday, July 10, 2015

Song of the Week #356

Spotify playlist for this week: https://play.spotify.com/user/1233409237/playlist/2KbhOJKLtk15uWsg6ziVRS

It's cold, it's raining and that's no fun. Snow is forecast next week. I can't wait to get out on my bike in that. Oh, hooray.

Listen To The Pouring Rain - Jose Feliciano - https://youtu.be/afCB3wlgtWA

I remember being taught that song when I was in the very early throes of learning to play the guitar. It was the first song I knew with anything but the standard three chords. The second, and much harder, tune with a million chords was this one...

Roberta Flack - Killing Me Softly - https://youtu.be/O1eOsMc2Fgg

Only the teacher was good enough to play Proud Mary!

Having pay TV means that there are more channels to choose from with nothing on. Other than for football it's pretty much a complete waste of money. Fortunately DJ Bogus and I watch a lot of football! Once in a while the music channels have something worth watching but not often. I did catch some old Black Sorrows tunes recently which reminded me what a great band they are. Bluesy, funky, Aussie...

The Black Sorrows - Never Let Me Go - https://youtu.be/j_ejDoJ5Kns

The Black Sorrows - Money Talking - https://youtu.be/iTDs01QWZ54

The first Black Sorrows track is one I used to play live back in the Mr Walker days of the early 90's. Money Talking is a lot more recent and I really love that razor sharp guitar in the introduction. 

Sammy Hagar (Montrose, Van Halen, Chickenfoot) has a new band and a new album out. The Circle includes Hagar, Michael Anthony (Van Halen, Chickenfoot), Jason Bonham (Black Country Communion, Led Zeppelin, Foreigner) and Vic Johnson. The album is a double live outing and features tracks from all of Hagar's career and a couple of tasty cover versions. I've said my piece about David Lee Roth's voice...Sammy's is still going strong. I know that DJ NotSoFatRollins has the album and gives it the thumbs up.

The Circle - When It's Love (live) - https://youtu.be/FOHLG2P-7_M

Only one week until the official release of the new Jason Isbell album folks. As is the trend in these high-tech days, it's available (free and legal) to listen to online. Go hear and see what you think: http://www.npr.org/series/98679384/first-listen I've only had a couple of spins but it's sounding rather good.

I haven't played any Johnny Cash for at least a couple of weeks so I think I'll rectify that situation now. Here's a track I heard this morning whilst coming to work in the cage...it's a cover, sure, but Johnny makes it his own. Better than the original I think.

Johnny Cash - Highway Patrolman - https://youtu.be/1biKak4BI9E

In a couple of hours DJ Z-boots will be home from her adventure in Vanuatu. I imagine she'll be reaching for some thermal clothing fairly quickly! Only 10 days until she's off again. I hope the UK and Europe are well prepared. Her families in Vanuatu already miss her if the phone calls and text messages are anything to go by. Our work assisting Level and Atavtabanga Schools continues. Sign up to follow Project Pentecost on Facebook for all the details. Sports clothing has arrived in Vila en route to Level, money has been sent to Atavtabanga to help install electric light into all classrooms and we are working on stationery packs too.

Brada Cloud - Vanuatu Smile - https://youtu.be/j2lnFnDObYg

Once in a while I hear a song that makes me tap my toes and nod foolishly. This is one of those songs and I don't think I've heard it for years.

Slade - Run Runaway - https://youtu.be/ikMiQZF-mAY

I've taken a bit of a jump and applied to do some study at university. Online stuff because really I can't be bothered or find the time to sit through lectures from academics who generally have no idea how to teach. I'm hopefully studying TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages). It's a bit different but you can probably work out my motivation. I've almost finished my course about the music and art of the American South and I'll keep up with my Bislama as well. It's good to be busy.

The Godfathers- Birth, School, Work, Death - https://youtu.be/QO5dcW0P75M

I wasn't going to comment about the flag controversy in America but I can't help it...it's gone too far when The Dukes of Hazzard is taken off the air because the car has a Confederate Flag on it. Good grief. Let's ban all WWII movies that might show a Swastika. It's sad that the Confederate Flag has been hijacked by racists but it has and that's a fact. Instead of maybe going off like a bunch of loons people could actually think sensibly about the issues. But then again probably not.

Waylon Jennings - Dukes of Hazzard theme - https://youtu.be/hBlNNlSgxxE

Watch this space...Stryper have a new album coming soon. Previews are appearing here and there but only little bits. It's almost time to ROCK!

Hello Tingha!

Rob

"I'm still mad as hell and I don't have time to go round and round and round", Dixie Chicks, Not Ready To Make Nice, 2006.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Song of the Week #355

During the week I wrote more about the continuing quest for the most excellent rock music. If you're interested just click here.

Well hello everyone and welcome back for another episode. This time around we've got some classic Oz Rock, a couple of new tunes, a nod to a prog legend and of course the usual drivel, nonsense and information of no consequence. Please place your seat in the upright position, ensure your tray table is stowed and all electronic devices are set to LOUD.

This week I watched the second episode of the ABC series "Blood and Thunder". It's a documentary about the Albert Music company. Along with Mushroom Records they would have to be the iconic Australian music recording and publishing companies. Albert's is famous for bands like The Easybeats, Ted Mulry Gang, John Paul Young, Rose Tattoo, The Angels and those relatively unknown, vertically challenged former Scots called AC/DC. The show is only two episodes but the stellar footage, production, interviews and information guarantee that it is worth watching online via iView or the ABC website. For music fans it really is Oz Rock History 101.

The Easybeats - Sorry - https://youtu.be/drNqZWzj5GY

Flash & The Pan - And The Band Played On - https://youtu.be/0uiIxAUmPMA

Those paying attention will have recognised George Young (dark hair) and Harry Vanda (the tall one) who wrote, sang, and produced that song. They are in both of the above clips.

One of my favourite songs and video clips of all time was featured on the show as well. Rose Tattoo's "Rock 'n Roll Outlaw" has been around the top of my list for years and years. The song is abrasive and urgent whilst the clip has Angry Anderson looking like he just wants to shout a big "up yours" to the world.

Rose Tattoo - Rock n' Roll Outlaw - https://youtu.be/wnplgWkI6nM

English progressive rock band Yes made 21 albums beginning in 1969. Chris Squire played bass on all of them. Sadly he passed away recently. Along with Lemmy he's famous for using a Rickenbacker bass guitar - always a good look if you ask me.

Yes - Starship Trooper (live) - https://youtu.be/s0p9SGPaRAc

On Friday morning DJ Hamertime and I paused during our morning cycle. It wasn't the apparent temperature of -11 degrees although that may have been a minor factor. Anyway, in the coffee shop there was some music playing...someone was murdering Def Leppard's "Bringing on the Heartbreak". After a quick spot of investigation I discovered that the singer was Mariah Carey. Whilst I hated it I have read that Joe Elliott, Del Lep's singer, thinks it is pretty good. Here's a really good version that I stumbled across...

Tempt - Bringing on the Hearbreak - https://youtu.be/GcYPf1bHHlw

Veruca Salt have a new album out next week "Ghost Notes" is their first since 2006 and the first since 1997 with the original lineup. A solid beat, great guitars and enthusiastic vocal delivery with harmonies have always been hallmarks of the band and they still sound like they are in top form. For fans of indie rock, Liz Phair, The Clouds and probably The Superjesus.

Veruca Salt - Laughing In The Sugar Bowl - https://youtu.be/bMeYDS9kZcE

Keith Urban is a New Zealander. He may well be an Aussie these days since he came here as a teenager. Regardless, he's a fantastic guitar player and has made it big worldwide. Here's his latest song and it's pretty cool but the lyrics are clearly aimed at the US market. More guitar please Keith.

Keith Urban - John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 - https://youtu.be/WThkOEldKBA 

Duff McKagan is most famous as the bass player for Guns 'n' Roses. He's got a book coming out shortly and an EP to go along with it. Duff is the one responsible for the majority of the punk influence with GnR. On this new track he teams up with former bandmate Izzy Stradlin and Jerry Cantrell from Alice In Chains. I don't know if this is the final version or a demo but I like it a lot.

Duff McKagan - How To Be A Man - https://youtu.be/aZZtXZb7LCw

There are a whole lot of extras coming out with the Rolling Stones expanded version of "Sticky Fingers". Five alternate mixes and some live tracks as well. I'm not sure I like "Brown Sugar" with Eric Clapton. Here's the alternate version of "Dead Flowers". Good stuff.

Rolling Stones - Dead Flowers (alternate version) - https://youtu.be/wrsToLa3XEo

Z-boots flies out of Pentecost tomorrow. She'll be home about a week later. From what I can gather the farewells have lasted a few days and little Gordy (age 4) is furious that not only did I leave but Zoë is too. I've been in contact via phone and email with both Atavtabanga and Level during the week and my sincere thanks go to everyone who continues to support our efforts to help them out. It looks like we'll be able to get an electric light into some of the classrooms at Atavtabanga and we're well on the way to organising some stationery packs for the students at Level. I've got some longer term projects on the go as well. If you're interested let me know. I'm blown away by how generous and caring people are.

The band, as you know, plays Dirrum Dirrum on 31 July and Coonabarabran on 26 September. We've now added a "Crazy Night" gig on 12 September in Canberra. It's a big party evening with no slow songs so hit up the band's Facebook page if you're interested (www.facebook.com/junksculpture). Crazy Night will be a lot of fun and all the proceeds go to the Crossing The Divide programme out of Bundarra School. The aim is to help the students there get their forklift licenses. Come along and help us close the gap. Also please watch this space as we'll be doing a low key afternoon show in support of the schools in Vanuatu. We're not begging for your money, just come along and have a good time. The Vanuatu gig is a chance for me to say thanks to all that have supported by playing a few songs.

I probably pull this song out too regularly but it says a lot...

Joe Cocker - With A Little Help From My Friends - https://youtu.be/bRzKUVjHkGk

See you all next week...guitars to play...

Rob

"Le peloton est regroupe
Camarades et amitie" - Le Tour de France, Kraftwerk, 1983

Monday, June 29, 2015

The continuing bodacious quest for most excellent rock music...

For those of you that came in late...

DJ DJ, DR Dr and myself are on a most excellent adventure. We're scouring the Internets, blogs, record shops, friends' music collections and anywhere else in search of new(ish) rock music that needs a wider audience. This quest stemmed from a discussion around the sad state of rock music as we saw it...or at least the difficulty for bands in getting any publicity in a market crowded with manufactured, auto-tuned drivel. So far we've looked at Vintage Trouble, Kingswood and Airbourne.

Today's recommendation is not really a new band. But I'd never heard of them and their new album is their first release since 2004.

Goatsnake are from LA, California. If you believe Wikipedia they are a doom metal band. I think there is much more to this release that that.

The album is called "Black Age Blues" and to me sounds like a mixture of early Black Sabbath, Kyuss, Monster Magnet and Soundgarden. The vocals are clear and easy to understand (no growling or screaming that I've heard thus far) and in amongst the brutal, sludgy guitars is a really cool bluesy harmonica. 

Here's a Spotify link to the entire album: https://play.spotify.com/album/6gR8eifCDVQ8u73JeqSGkP

Goatsnake - Elevated Man - https://youtu.be/WK7DGwCqH6k


Until next time, be excellent to each other.

Rob

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Song of the Week #354

Coming up in episode #354...old tunes, new tunes, loud tunes, louder tunes, guitars and maybe a few political comments. Strap yourselves in.

Spotify link for all but one of the following songs: https://play.spotify.com/user/1233409237/playlist/0l9QXV7JNxdSeWJdDFZX8Y

Last week was grey, wet and a real downer. This week it seems as though normal programming resumed with blue skies, freezing mornings and smiles all round! As a result the madness of the 1000km per month cycling continues to be on track. That's assuming that I can ride about 30km before Tuesday and I can't see that being a problem! In reality I can make a start towards being back in "surplus" the way I was prior to my Vanuatu adventure.

Seasick Steve - Keep On Keepin' On (live) - https://youtu.be/RAHmEWim3to

You have to love Air Vanuatu. They changed Zoë's flights home (there are three sequential flights to get from Pentecost to Australia). Not only did they just email her (how very useful, lucky Alison is monitoring her inbox) some changes, but the changes had the second and third connecting flights BEFORE the first one. There was every chance that she would've turned up at the airfield on the wrong day. That's a big problem when it's a rather long hike or an expensive truck ride. It's fixed now but really you have to wonder what level of thought went into the changes.

Canned Heat - On The Road Again - https://youtu.be/qRKNw477onU

As a result of my friendship with DJ TeeCeehe introduced me to American punk band The Dollyrots. I've played some of their track before here and if you like band like The Ramones, The Runaways or Good Charlotte then cue up some Dollyrots sonic mayhem! But last week DJ TeeCee and his prodigiously talented musical son were on tour with the band who were in turn out supporting Bowling for Soup. Like most people I know BFS from the song "1985" which is fantastic. As a result of seeing some tour photos and reading StalkerBook updates I headed to the Internets and tried out a whole swag of Bowling for Soup tunes. You should too; they are awesome! Here's a couple to whet your punk rock whistles!

Bowling for Soup - High School Never Ends - https://youtu.be/jrxI_euTX4A

Bowling for Soup - The Bitch Song - https://youtu.be/zwsIoZt6vGU

Bowling for Soup - 1985 - https://youtu.be/K38xNqZvBJI

DJ Ducky pointed out that there is a huge David Bowie exhibition on in Melbourne at the moment. It's not going to any other Australian cities so fans will need to save their pennies to get there. It's on until the start of November and looks well worth the effort. Details here: https://www.acmi.net.au/exhibitions/bowie/

David Bowie - I'm Afraid of Americans - https://youtu.be/DlwAkiBAotM

Little May are described as a "Sydney Folk Trio". I'm really not sure about the folk moniker but there are three of them and they are from Sydney. It's more dreamy indie pop than the channeling of Dylan or Guthrie but it's still worth a listen. Here's a song released just over a week ago from them. If you like bands like First Aid Kit or The Clouds then this might be your kind of tune...

Little May - Home - https://youtu.be/mCshZQnotb8

If you thought that was OK but you want a bit more of a beat then maybe The Mynabirds will be of interest. This one came out on Thursday and I like the vocal delivery which is still in the out of breath girly style but with a bit more power and depth. The lyrics are inspired by Kerouac I'm told. I haven't managed to finish "On The Road" at this stage so I'll take a real reviewers word for that. There's a good bass line that burbles and thumps along in places. I might be tempted to buy their album when it is released. Dreamy.

The Mynabirds - Wildfire - https://youtu.be/R5BuvQXARTU

I was going to write about flags, guns, marriage equality and the truth in this episode. But without wanting to take away from the importance of many current issues I think you can read about them elsewhere. What I say about the madness of worrying about flags, the lack of resources to enforce gun laws or the marriage equality debate isn't going to change anyone's mind. As for the truth, it seems to be a concept that our politicians are far too free and easy with. 

The Wallflowers - Lawyers, Guns and Money (Warren Zevon tribute) - https://youtu.be/LzlYpaFMO84

Somehow during the week I stumbled across a 2011 album by the Scorpions. Half of it is re-recordings of some of their classics and the other half contains covers. It's no secret that I enjoy a good cover version and these are pretty good. Scorpions have always been a good band who play well and have fantastic vocals. The album is called "Comeblack" and if you like melodic rock then fire up your internet connection and listen somewhere. They sound great for a band that have been kicking around since 1965...

Scorpions - Children of the Revolution - https://youtu.be/eV2YytfbYUg

Just a quick note for you guitar lovers out there. Yesterday I took delivery of a "Lil' Big Boost" pedal from John Kave Audio who are from Melbourne. John makes high quality hand made pedals and they are simply amazing. This one does one thing...it makes your guitar louder for playing solos. DJ Chief asked me to sort out something to boost the level of my solo work and this is the solution. I can't wait to plug in later on today and make a lot of noise! 

Have a great weekend,

Rob

"Get used to my face, I'm rockin' like Ace...", Too Much Rock & Roll, Rollins Band, 2001.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Song of the Week #353

I wrote down some thoughts during the week about my trip to Vanuatu. They are here if that kind of thing interests you: http://robwoozle.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/mi-bin-go-long-vanuatu.html

Other than my family and a hot shower one of the main things I missed when I was away was my bike. It has been so wonderful (can you hear the sarcasm?) that the weather here in Canberra has been so wet that riding would've just been silly. Thankfully, today (Friday) the skies have cleared and I can ride again. I know that I could have ridden in the rain but there's a fine line between obsessed and stupid. Even with the trip away, being sick and the bad weather I should be able to maintain my average of 1000km per month as long as next week is mainly dry!

The Church - Already Yesterday - https://youtu.be/OSKO_u-MsgQ

In preparation for our gig on 31st July the band had a rather loud hit-out on Tuesday night. I must admit that with only a quick run through of the songs over the weekend I felt very underdone. However, there was plenty of energy then and it should be a very upbeat show. Check out the band's Facebook page here if you'd like more details; all welcome. Stay tuned for an announcement of a rather big gig in September...

Scorpions - Rock You Like A Hurricane - https://youtu.be/sxdmw4tJJ1Y

Iron Maiden have just announced the impending release of a new studio album. "The Book of Souls" will be their first double album (other than live ones). It's a bit of a relief that there is even a new release since singer Bruce Dickinson has had cancer but is now apparently fine. September 24th isn't that far off.

Sign - Run To The Hills - https://youtu.be/c15yM77xkP4

Neil Young was in the news recently asking Donald Trump NOT to use his song "Rockin' In The Free World" as part of his political campaign. Fair enough too. Neil has a pretty good track record of keeping his music to himself. That Trump is running in the first place probably plays into the hands of the Democrats. Surely even the most delusional American wouldn't want Donald as the President?

Neil Young - This Note's For You (live & acoustic) - https://youtu.be/dYbjghF4dgY

Ghost also have a new album ready for release late in August. Entitled "Meliora". The first single, "Cirice" is out now with a rather cool music video. See if you can spot which famous film the clip is based on...


It looks like Ghost have a new singer under all that makeup but who knows? The anonymity is a big part of their schtick and unlike KISS no-one knows who they are. Plenty of rumours abound but they are just that; rumours.

If you like a good action movie then I can heartily recommend the latest Mad Max film. It has plenty of nods to the old school movies and hanging around for the credits to see what all the characters are called is definitely worth the time. It was pretty cool to find out that Australian musician iOTA played the part of the "Doof Warrior". Hanging off the front of a huge semi trailer playing riffs on the guitar looks like fun! John Howard (not the ex-PM) as "The People Eater" was a real hoot. I just thought it was a bit sad that the actor chosen for Max wasn't an Aussie but then technically neither is Mel Gibson.

In 2013 I read a new release series of Star Wars comics. They were set between episodes IV and V and, well, they weren't all that great. The other day I had an email from the comic shop telling me that although that series had ended, Marvel comics had now started a new one and they'd put them aside for me as a result of my previous order. Well I'd just finished the book I was reading so I headed off to pick them up. Still set in the same time period these are much, much better! I'm not a comic reader at all but I'll stick with these ones. I guess it'll continue to ramp up as we wait patiently for the release of the new movie towards the end of this year.

I knew that in Vanuatu I'd have a fair bit of free time so I took what I hoped would be a good book. I was inspired to read John Steinbeck's, "The Grapes of Wrath" after listening to Springsteen's song, "The Ghost of Tom Joad". I'm sure many of you had to read it at school but I didn't. I thought it was a great read. Maybe slow by today's disposable literature standards but I really enjoyed immersing myself in the way the story was told. It linked it pretty well with my study of the American South in terms of setting the scene of another part of America. If you haven't read it then I doubt you'd be disappointed. America in the book is nothing like Vanuatu but some of the feelings of dust, dirt and a hard life did resonate slightly. My copy is a bit bruised and battered now after being in and out of a backpack, read in huts, airports, planes and on the seawall but I guess that just adds character.

Bruce Springsteen - The Ghost of Tom Joad (solo/acoustic) - https://youtu.be/rF9jQHwRbDk

Oh look....the sky is blue! I'd forgotten what that looked like. Anyone would think we were living through a Scottish Summer.

That's all,

Rob

"I just wanna shake, shake, shake...", Shake It Off, Screaming Females (T Swizzle cover), https://youtu.be/Zm1-bVYio1k, June 2015. Betcha didn't expect that.