The United States vs Billie Holiday (MA 15+)
Great 20th century female jazz and blues singers often formed strong bonds with violent and controlling men. Billie Holiday, one of the greatest of them all, was no exception. She’s bullied, hurt and financially ripped off by a succession of husbands, managers and lovers. But Billie has a largely supportive male entourage who tour with her on the road from the small town, smoky bars to larger jazz clubs. Continue reading
Dave Warner is a Western Australian living treasure. He is a successful writer with his latest two – yes, two! – books (crime novel, Over My Dead Body and the Marlion Kickett bio, Belief) released in the last few months! Continue reading
If you leave the soggy snot green south coast and head north east for about 400km you cross through the guts of Western Australia‘s wheatbelt. In those 400km you cross isohyet after isohyet of diminishing rainfall. A rainfall believed to be so low by the early European explorers that no crops would ever grow here. Continue reading
A once in a century pandemic needs a hero. A Martin Luther King, a Don Bradman or even an unsung Brigadier Arnold Potts from Kojonup. Sadly world leaders have been lacking in any form of leadership and even Lassie or Captain Pugwash would have done a better job. Continue reading
When I was young, growing up in the suburbs of Perth, everyone kept chooks. Continue reading
I’m devastated. John Prine’s death has hit me hard. It’s funny how we relate to musical artists, follow their lives vicariously through their songs, concerts and in this time, our connection to them through social media. So, when a favourite passes it feels like a family member has died. Prince hit me hard. Maybe it was his age. David Bowie too. Joe Strummer, Johnny Cash (huge sigh as I type) and Slim Dusty. Continue reading
You could call it an illusion, a trick of the stage lighting. Or maybe it was just tiredness that created the moment.
Hamer Hall. October 2001. Paul Kelly is onstage. His grey hair, what little there seems to be of it, is close-cropped. His face appears gaunt, his eyes in shadow. He has looked like this for some years now but it is only at this moment, late in the concert, that for some reason, perhaps merely a blink of my eyes, I think the songwriter bears a passing resemblance to one of Australia’s most popular writers. Continue reading
Since way back in 2004 a couple of good mates and me have had a Top 10 Songs of the Year night. Our friendships stretch back to the dawn of the 80s (and even earlier) and we know each other pretty, pretty, pretty well. Comfortable just hanging out, sharing laughs and curious to hear what songs have caught each other’s ear. For some reason our Top 10 is a Top 12. I can’t even remember why. We also include another five songs.
The five “extra” songs thingy is not meant to imply that they could not make the Top 12. We added this dimension to the night back in 2014. You see, Dylan had recently released The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes Complete. So we decided we needed to hear each other’s five faves from that magnificent stew. Since then we have treated the five extras as a chance to play some songs that had a more personal connection or that might distract the flow of your Top 12. Or whatever.
So, without further ado, here’s my 2019 “extra” five… Continue reading
It’s taken a while but here are my live musical highlights of 2019.