All posts for the month February, 2005

Too soon to write on Perth, except very mild, even chilly yesterday, and everything closed early on Sunday. More later.

Catching up on Melbourne … excuse my indulgent diary …

Never did mention the bird-life. Even first day in Victoria Garden … Magpie Lark, Magpie and various other Crow species, not to mention various Gull and Waterfowl species not seen in Europe, plus the ubiquitous Moorhen. Familiar sparrows. Large slim thrush-sized brown / grey with white wing flashes and distinctive yellow eye and beak, and several fly-catcher / wagtail types. Long-tailed wren. Kookaburra, at least three different red-green Parakeet species, plus large raucus Cockatoos. Several different soaring kite / buzzard type birds of prey. Must buy a book to get all their names right. Could easily get into twitching in a place like this.

Read 6 or 7 chapters of Sue Blackmore’s Introduction to Consciousness. Actually written as a teaching text-book, and in a very simply worded style. We’d noticed earlier that she’s been rubbing shoulders in recent years with everyone who is anyone in the philosophy and science of mind arena, so I’ve already read just about everything she refers to. What is good about the no-messing matter-of-fact style is that she easily confirms views I’d already formed – like Dennett I do not believe in qualia, and therefore disagree with Chalmers. I see a big problem with the words “exist” and “entity” in so many things I’ve read. No wonder dualism stuck, just another false dichotomy. Need to write that up.

Re-developed / developing south-bank and docklands areas.

Trams. The “hook turn” for drivers. For right turn over tram lines, pull left, indicate right and wait for gap in traffic-light phase. Which reminds me, traffic lights and roundabouts everywhere, and rules / instructions and enforcement cameras.

Took hire car (out past the Doncaster office) up the Yarra valley, through “wineries” (vineyards), up scenic roads through sub-tropical forest jungle of mainly eucalypts and tree-ferns of many different varieties, eventually up to the skyline drive of the Eildon Lake park. Making too slow-winding progress to continue eastward drive through mountains to the east coast and back to Melbourne (in under three days anyway, according to friendly biker in Marysville !). So, took quick freeway route back west round city via Geelong, past the old oil refinery, and the coastal route through Torquay and Anglesea (a mix of surfing beaches and rugged coastline) eventually to Lorne. Ate there in the Greek fish retaurant on the end of the pier. Spiros (really !) the proprieter apolopgised for shouting at his staff, then proceeded to explain his life story starting with growing-up in a place called Nidri on an island called Lefkas / Lefkada, which I’d obviously never heard, had I ? Well actually, been there, got the T-shirt … no, really I do. Small world.

Last night in Melbourne, took in the showcase final night of the Australian Music Week unsigned-bands event. None of the bands that’d previously impressed me made it to the final so far as I could see (Sin City, Sojourn mentioned earlier)

Charlie & Silo, both bands of girl goths, the former very young, raw, theatrical, with a diminutive ballsy lead guitarist whose style impressed, the latter more sophisticated, arrogant, tall Chrissie Hynde look-a-like lead. Both interesting, and would improve with production and rehearsal.

Gut & Love Addicts, both bands of gentlemen of a certain age. The former, Buster Bloodvessel / Iranian-comic (Omid Djalili) cross meets Motorhead, the latter fronted by croaky-blues singer whose combined age-plus-tabs-smoked-per-day easily exceeded 125, proved you can keep a bluesy groove going with just a couple of deadened strings just as well as 16 crashing in overdriven unison.

Animal Simpson & The High Stakes reputation preceeded them from earlier nights, and I got to see this time. The former a drum / guitar two-piece dominated by Jeb’s virtuosity, but not interesting enough for me except on his slide-guitar opus. The High Stakes stole the show for me and just about everyone else, including other bands in the audience (Tommy and Barbie included). Such energy and so accomplished and tight with it. Real rock’n’roll, clearly pollished by time together on the road. Bought a copy of their demo CD.

Sadly, the professional, practiced delivery and audience response of neither Sin City, nor The High Stakes took the prizes. The judges (understandably) were looking for creative, novelty and sophistication to represent Australia to a future world. Moscow Schoolboy were certainly different. Leading red-head lady in Laura Ashley with tuneless guitar licks and dirges, just didn’t do it for me. Creative, different certainly, but is it rock and roll ?

On the plane over to Perth, listened to The High Stakes CD … Tommy and Barbie (of Sin City) behind me, by coincidence … and the lady in the seat next to me teaching marketing in the Australian wine industry, gave me a few names and labels to look out for. Damn, wish I’d been taking notes.

Obit – the beat-generation guy that gave Kerouac his roll of teletype paper on which he wrote “On The Road” in one continuous stream …. name …

I blogged several times before about holochory (holography) being closely related to the idea that the world is fundamentally information behind all those things we might think of as particles, waves and forces. (Particularly compelling thought if you ever wonder about communication bypassing the world we conceive as “physical” – ie paranormal stuff, but not half as daft if you think of quantum non-locality and entanglement – everything, everywhere, all at the same time.)

Even after expressing wonderment at the possibility of that very point, just a year or so ago, I remember noticing in a re-read of Michael Talbot’s “Mysticism and the New Physics” from years earlier (1976/81), that he already mentions the fundamantal nature of holography, suggesting, in about as real a sense as it is possible to suggest such a thing, that the world we see really is a hologram.

What I didn’t spot until reading this cross-hit link from The Irate Scotsman (Matt Gemmell) that Michael Talbot had also written “The Holographic Universe” (1991). Matt also picks up on the William Blake quote “to see the world in a grain of sand” – an allusion I recognise from earlier forays into this space, I’m sure.

Actually Matt’s ongoing blog looks extremely intelligent and interesting all round from my Psybertron prespective. And whole new set of linked people in the blogroll. More reading to do ! (A feeling Matt seems to share – too much to read, too much to write, too little time.) Young Matt’s “about” page suggests he’s no shrinking violet (!) but his “belief creates” adage is a nice terse abreviation of “some things have to be believed to be seen”. Can’t help thinking that brain is wasted on “scrolling pie menus”.

With inspiration taken from David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”, last December, Dave Pollard outlined a simple methodology for organising and prioritising tasks. Particularly liked the recognition that frequently procrastinated tasks on the old to do list, hide dependent tasks, better exposed like mini projects in their own right. Difficult task = Assembly of several easier ones.

As I say, it’s not rocket science but simple methods are always helpful.

Is the medium really the message ? Need to separate the politics and content of “free” publishing from the technology used.

This might show two things – (a) this kind of censorship and repressive punishment happens, and the blogosphere simply helps make it more publicly apparent. (b) Repressive authorities may choose to repress the freedom of the blogging medium irrespective of the actual message.

I’ve not read the “offending” blog (see here too), so I have no new opinion on the politics of the content. We already know authoritarian cleric regimes suppress anti-authoritarian criticism – that’s why they’re authoritarian, that’s what Amnesty International has always been about isn’t it.

Yes, condemn repression, but let’s not confuse blogging with a cause, the subject, the target. (Too late of course, just another toxic meme out there.)

Some of you will have spotted I did some research on live music before coming to Oz. Both Perth (where I’m headed) and Melbourne (where I am now).

But neither “The Green Room” (Elizabeth and Flinders) nor “Australianmusicweek” hit my radar. The final event is not until Saturday, and I didn’t even see the band (“The High Stakes”) that won tonight’s heat. Nor, by all accounts, did I even see the band with the best musician (Guitarist, Jeb, of “Animal Simpson”)

I did see “Sin City” and “Sojourn”. Chalk and Cheese. My white sneakers were the only non-black attire in the place, apart from Sojourn lead’s boy-scout neck-chief. If I had a pound for each Lou Reed inspired T-shirt. You get the idea. (Reminds me of Keith Allen doing “Perfect Day” every time.)

Last first. Sojourn’s complexity of structure (and hair cuts) reminded me of The Cooper Temple Clause. Worthy, clever, accomplished rock, and very good entertainment, Sojourn are local Melbourne boys apparently.

Sin City on the other hand – were 100% cliche, but also 110% professional at their RnR craft. Goth hair, facials – eyes, lips & teeth, identikit fans, skull’n’crossbones motifs, bare-chested bassist (you know who), the most contrived stage monikers ever, lead guitar who needn’t have exerted himself beyond the crash riffs, lead chick (goth, natch, loved the leopard-skin handbag atop the Marshall, nice touch), almost-thirty-something, finger-less lace gloves, external corset & suspender-belt, simulated mike and stand sex, audience-participation-with-tongues, the works – married to the absolutely truly amazing drummer that is Tommy Gunn (one of those monikers). All four ex-Perth apparently, where I’m headed next. Add 5% humour and they could be …. As the pomme organiser said – you may not have won, but don’t take it too seriously and don’t ever stop what you’re doing.

It’s only rock and roll, but it’s vital.
It’s such a perfect day.
I’m glad I spent it with you.