The gift of life comes with its inevitable companion, the sentence of death. You can’t have one without the other, there is no choice. You live, you die. As soon as you start living the clock starts ticking. Every life, human, animal, plant, no exceptions. There is no control other than adding the full stop through suicide, self-destruction. The length of the sentence is arbitrary and therefore unknown, unlike the sentence pronounced by a human court sitting in judgement. The sentence though is full of commas and colons and semicolons and capitals and hyphens, all defining the events of our life. But where does the natural judgement on the length of the sentence come from? Continue reading →
441 days. A death sentence, the date set. With the date of pronouncement being the 5th of September 2017, add 441 days and you get 20th November 2018. The finality of an actual date struck me hard. Our vet has confirmed that our little Daisy has a heart murmur and it is more pronounced than it was on the earlier visit about a month ago. Dr Andrea just comes straight out with “441 days is the average prognosis for this condition”. Life expectancy that is, the average time it takes before the condition takes its victory, death. Death will conquer, overcome, the indomitable spirit of our little Daisy with a certain finality. An eventuality we knew would happen at some time, but now that it has a date it is just very hard to accept. Final. Real. No avoiding it. Of course, the 441 days is an average and the good side is that it might take longer than that but the downside is that it could also happen much sooner. Continue reading →
I was about fifteen when I first started to fool my body and brain into a new way of thinking. Thinking that it was actually enjoyable to put burning cigarettes in my mouth and suck the smoke from them deep down into my lungs. It wasn’t easy to do though, to overcome the natural response to this unnatural act. To ignore nausea in my stomach, the severe coughing as my lungs tried to reject the incoming, overwhelming clouds of toxic smoke. But with perseverance, the ingestion of nicotine that got through the natural defences of my body into my system worked its magic completely and convinced my brain that it was, in fact, essential to my continued well-being. Continue reading →
This has not been an easy decision but a decision it is, I have decided to “retire” from doing the weekly AFL sports segment as part of the Alive 90.5 fm radio show “Sunday Sports Roundup”. I have arrived at this so that I can focus fully on the blues scene interviews which I am enjoying immensely and also to improving my writing skills through the blog.
I first started doing the AFL segment on Alive 90.5fm, very nervously, way back in 2012 thanks to the never-failing positive encouragement from the show’s founder Gordon Allen, or El Supremo as he became affectionately known to the team. Continue reading →
Erin McKinnon is a young girl playing in one of the more demanding AFL positions, ruck, for the GWS Giants AFLW team. Last year Erin completed HSC, last week won a Rising Star nomination and this week played a key role in the GWS Giants AFLW team’s first ever win over the highly fancied Melbourne Demons team. Erin is highly motivated and her story of starting on her AFL journey is worth listening to. Continue reading →
Brent Trewin is a trainer with the GWS Giants Women’s AFL team and he chatted to me for the short AFL segment we broadcast on Alive 90.5 (26/Feb/17) as part of their Sunday Sports Roundup show.
It was very interesting to get an albeit brief look at the role of trainers in the AFL and in particular getting an insight in to how much teams use the GPS technology in the player management during the match as well as post-match.
For over 40 years the Baulkham Hills AFL Club, better known locally as “Baulko”, has long been one of the prominent junior AFL clubs in Sydney. The East Coast Eagles AFL senior club is an offshoot of this feeder club. Now it is fostering the new driving force in AFL, girls footy. The advent of the AFLW competition is giving added impetus to the growth of girls footy and Baulko is stepping up to this new challenge.
Prior to the GWS Giants vs Fremantle AFLW game on Saturday at Blacktown International Sports Park, Baulko and a number of other local clubs joined the AFL and the GWS Giants in conducting a pre-match footy clinic which attracted a number of young girls to take up the AFL game. I took this opportunity to catch up with Kirsten Groll, Kylie Stanmore and Damien Phillips from the Baulko Girls crew after the footy clinic.
While at the game I also had a chance to catch up with Greg Talbot from AFL NSW to get some details on the Cumberland Cup event next Tuesday. This event is a pre-season event run each year by the Parramatta Lions and Greystanes Goannas AFL clubs. Greg has co-opted me to host their “Family Feud” segment as part of this event. See the pdf below for details.
The afternoon was capped off for Molly and I by witnessing the first ever draw in the AFLW in the game between the GWS Giants and Fremantle. What a game!!!
In many of my chats we always spend some time talking about the person’s day job but with Fiona Boyes, music is her day job. Fiona has been a professional musician for over 25 years and during that period has won many awards and distinctions. Indeed at the time of recording this Fiona had two nominations coming up in the in the American Blues Music Awards for her latest album “Professin’ The Blues”; one for best acoustic album of the year in America and one for Fiona personally as Acoustic Artist of the year. Continue reading →
Molly and I had the good fortune to attend a “Meet & Greet” function this week put on by the GWS Giants to meet the Women’s team. From this, we were lucky enough to secure this interview with the captain of the team, Amanda Farrugia, later in the week. An abbreviated version of this went to air on Alive 90.5FM on Sunday 12th February 2017.
This is our first AFL podcast for 2017 and it celebrates the first round of the new AFL Women’s competition, called “AFLW” for obvious reasons. An abbreviated version of this went to air on Alive 90.5FM on Sunday 5th February 2017.
I was joined for the first time on a podcast by my wife, Molly, and also by probably the most well-known women in Sydney AFL circles, Amna K-Hassan, who I have chatted to previously, listen here.
You met Stringy Bark last week, now hear the woman beside the man Molly CoddleCream herself (a.k.a. Cheryl Firth).
Molly takes us through her interesting life before Stringy which gets even more interesting after teaming up with Stringy. Molly’s influence is noticeable in the music Stringy is making these days and this chat gives us a lot of insight into how that comes about.
I made a comment when posting to Facebook about my Stringy Bark McDowell podcast that Stringy could be Australia’s equivalent of singer/songwriter Neil Young. As this elicited some feedback I thought it might be worthwhile explaining how I came up with such an idea.
Firstly let me say, yes Stringy is that good! I became so impressed with Stringy, the man, and the musician, during our chat. Continue reading →
Stringy Bark McDowell (a.k.a. Ken Terrington) is a talented laid back musician with a great sense of humour. The humour came through notably in the Muddy Puddles blues band from the 90’s which as Stringy reveals was a bit of a satirical look at the blues from the outset. But it is his outlook on life and the “take no prisoners” attitude combined with his musicianship that makes him what I think is the “Neil Young” of Australian music.
He is living in an off-grid house in South Australia with his lovely partner Molly CoddleCream (a.k.a Cheryl Firth) and still traveling around Australia to play gigs. But not in a city if he can help it, which is a bit of a handicap for a musician.
All of us who meditate regularly develop our own little quirks and idiosyncrasies in our practice. I haven’t tested this personal theory but here is an example of one of mine and I would appreciate any comments you might have about your practice.
As I have stated before, I do open eye meditation from the Zen school of Buddhism. That is, I keep my eyes open throughout the meditation and keep my gaze fixed on a single spot in front of me, usually an image in my iPhone meditation timer which I place in front of me. However, most people in our Western communities learn meditation in the traditional method with eyes closed. This choice to use the open eye method is however not one of my individual idiosyncrasies. But it does lead into one that I do have and that is, that I usually like to face east when I have a choice of direction, at least at home. Continue reading →
Here is the other half of the Blues Preachers, Captain Bluetongue, as promised during the previous episode with Brother John. They are a very balanced duo both musically and spiritually and this shines through in this chat with the Captain.
It is also fitting that this is published on this date, 18th January 2017, which is the 40th anniversary of the Granville train disaster in which 83 poor souls lost their lives, including Captain’s older brother. Please see the link below for more details of this tragedy.
Blues music originated in the difficult social conditions that poor people spent their lives in from the earliest times in the USA. Most musicians attracted to the blues also have a well-developed sense of social justice but my guest this week, Brother John from The Blues Preachers, has more than many. It unashamedly informs the music he creates.
A keen student of the history of music and an observer of the social issues facing us all today, he addresses these from a firm spiritual base and the results make compelling listening in this podcast. Continue reading →
From a 30+ years veteran of Australian blues music last week, Shayne Soall, we have this week a relative debutante, Patty Mifsud, who is just starting to get known around the Sydney blues circuit as a very capable blues harp player.
Patty is also a wife, a mother, and holds down a full-time job as an employment consultant while striving for excellence in her “spare” time as a musician. The Rolling Stones were the first to draw her attention to blues harmonica many years ago and lead her to listen to many of the greats of blues music as you can see from the references below to people mentioned in this podcast. But it is only in recent years that Patty has decided to pick up and learn to play the harmonica. Now she is joining jams and playing gigs around Sydney as she continues to hone her skills.
Saturday night in Amsterdam, Sunday morning in Sydney, the wonders of technology join us together to bring you a chat with the lovely couple known as “Evrin“, Riny and Evi, Riny Raijmakers and Evi Terschegget to give them their full titles.
Riny is the singer-songwriter of the partnership and Evi brings a beautiful presence and voice from a jazz background, smokey as Evi describes it. Continue reading →
Like an earlier guest in episode 18, Keith Nicholson, Pat Procter is a maker of quality cigar box guitars but over on the other side of the country, West Australia. They seem to be a special breed these cigar box makers and the quality of Pat’s work is remarkable as you can see from the gallery of Pat’s examples below. Click on a pic to see a larger view. Continue reading →
Following on from Eric K. Betts last week, Amna Karra-Hassan is another “K” person, quite often being referred to as simply Amna K-Hassan. I first spoke with Amna back in April 2016 as part of the AFL segment on Alive 90.5. Amna’s team, the Auburn Giants, were just entering their first season in Premiership division in the Sydney Women’s AFL competition. Amna was the driving force behind the formation of this all women club which has a diverse range of ethnicities amongst its members, including Muslim girls.
Amna was to her credit a finalist in the NSW Local Hero section of the Australian Of The Year award this year. One of our listeners, Pip Cowan, has pointed out that Amna has also been named as one of 14 young women who owned 2016 by BuzzFeed, see the link below.
I was so impressed by Amna’s enthusiasm and positive attitude that I have been waiting for an opportunity to talk to her in depth and share some of this positivity with more people. So here it is, meet Amna, a force of nature.
Pip Cowan’s website”Busking My Way To Mississippi” sounds like a bit of a challenge but factor into your expectation that Pip is a quadriplegic and the enormity of the undertaking presents itself.
A motorcycle accident on the farm at the age of 17 had left Pip a quadriplegic with limited use of his arms and hands. But the disability has led him to an interest in blues music and he is now starting to master the diddly bow, a one-stringed cigar box guitar. From there it seems a logical step to travel to Mississippi to learn at the home of the blues Continue reading →
Emmett Louis Till was a 14-year-old colored boy who was murdered in 1955 by two white men for the perceived crime of wolf-whistling at a white woman.
Chris O and Jonathan Beckenstein in 2016 collaborated over Soundcloud on a song called “The Lowlands” which honors the relatives and strangers who stood up in seeking justice for the murder of Emmett Till. Continue reading →
Jasmine Beth is firstly a writer who has developed a rare talent through her music and her voice to convey beautiful shared experiences with audiences. Combine that with her social conscience and you have a very interesting person to talk to.
Jasmine was in England when we caught up over Skype but will be back performing in Australia from December 2016. Continue reading →
It’s time for a break away from the “boys only” flavour of the podcasts to date, so my guest on this episode is Chris Okunbor, a musician from the Blue Mountains, better known by her public persona of Chris O.
As you will hear Chris has led a varied and wonderful life, full of exotic experiences, all of which I think comes through in her voice and her choice of material for her performances at gigs all around the world. Continue reading →
It’s not every day that you get to talk to a cigar box guitar maker so I felt privileged having the opportunity to chat to Keith Nicholson. I was introduced to Keith by Mark Bishop who featured in episode 16 and it is Mark playing an original composition on Keith’s cigar box resonator as the opener to this episode.
Keith Nicholson is as he says, “A jack of all trades but master of none”, but after talking to Keith and seeing his work, I beg to differ. As a cigar box guitar maker he is indeed a master of his craft. This is an amazing musical art form which specialises in creating beautiful musical instruments, mostly from recycled parts. You can see some of his instruments in the Gallery below from pictures that Keith sent over . Continue reading →
The community radio station that I am involved with was approached by SANE Australia offering an interview with one of their ambassadors as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. Being a former AFL player Mark seemed the best candidate for me to interview for the Sunday Sports Roundup program and here it is.
I enjoyed talking to Mark and hearing the story of hope and recovery he provides. Better awareness of mental health issues is definitely needed, even in today’s enlightened times. One can only wonder how far he could have gone in AFL had he received the help he so desperately needed at the time. He went through a living hell for nearly 25 years before he did eventually receive such help and get his life back together again.
Survivors are inspirational and Mark Eustice is definitely a survivor. Listen to his story.