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20 July, 2011

Top 5 Gigs I've Ever Been To

I'm not going to lie, I've been updating this more than usual.

I put this down to two reasons. The first, is that I've had the book at the back of my mind a lot lately, and I'm keen to step things up a notch and get things finished. The way I can get back into it is by getting into the habit of writing more regularly, and hopefully this habit will transfer to the book. It can't hurt anyway!

The second reason is thanks to a program I've had recommended to me for a while, but have only just picked up. Evernote has been fantastic. If something jumps into my head while I'm out and about or at work, I can simply jot it down and then re-read it at work, home or on my phone. It reminds me very much of the Pensieve in Harry Potter. Although not quite as magical. More techno-ma-logical.

But I digress, I wanted to list out my Top 5 gigs of all time. Why? Well I've recently completed the list. It may change in the future. For example, New Order might reform and I will go to their concert, but for now here it is. Insert something here about no preferential order or some such.

1. Matias Aguayo, Pirates of the Underground Boat Cruise III, Sydney Harbour, 19/12/09
Who is this guy you ask? You might even listen to some of his music on Youtube, or note that his debut album made Resident Advisor's Top 100 Albums of the 00's. None of that knowledge mattered to me, as I had never heard of the guy prior to stepping on the boat. I got on the boat and all preconceptions about what good dance music was were thrown out the window. The boat, a piddly little thing next to the super-yachts of Sydney's elite, was heaving. And it was all thanks to one man. The guy completely blew my mind. He actually sampled an obnoxious guys horn-blowing mid-set, and sampled it back into what he was playing. I raved about it after the event. My friend wrote an even better review. It was all such a pleasant surprise, I wish I was back there.

2. Daft Punk, Sydney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, 14/12/07
Personally, I didn't care for the hype surrounding this act. I got my tickets a couple of weeks beforehand off a reseller, listened to their Alive set prior, and was prepared for a good show. That was pretty much it. I had a couple of vodka Red Bulls, lost my friends, then they started... I didn't stop moving until they finished. This Youtube doesn't really do it justice, but I was there that night, and hearing 'Music Sounds Better With You' towards the end was something else. I blogged about it then and the comments still stand. I did end up finding my friends at the end of the gig, their grins were as large as mine.

3. Gabriel & Dresden, Zouk Nightclub, Singpapore, 03/06/11
I had built this gig up in my mind bigger than it was ever going to be. Imagine falling belatedly in love with an act, whose very first remix was of one of your favourite songs from your favourite group. Only to discover they have broken up before you ever get a chance to see them. But then, it gets even better, you get offered the opportunity of the lifetime, a chance to move overseas and develop your career, and then discovering that the act you fell in love with are touring in Australia after you leave. There was a tale of redemption, they played at Zouk Club, Singapore, I was there middle and centre. The highlight for me was counting down to a fresh edit of this track and getting blasted by an ice cannon. You can't script better experiences. The gig wasn't the best in this list, I was disappointed to hear them play a dubstep track, but it was the finale to one of the greatest musical journeys of my life.

4. King Unique, Musica @ The Forum, Sydney, 09/10/10
It was a good friend's 30th and we'd already had a big day, we had a house party in the afternoon, and then made our way to the conveniently timed Musica party that started at dusk. The day was already good, and anything that we got out of clubbing that night was just going to be icing on the cake. The headliner played a warm-up set, there was some noise and some dancing, and then King Unique came on. He ripped the venue a new one. Completely smashed and destroyed the place with tune, after tune, completely devastating people who hadn't expected someone listed 3rd on the billing to completely own the night. I was an instant convert. It was a gig very worthy of this list, he held a broom aloft at one stage like a crazed gorilla. What more can you say?

5. Robbie Lowe, Extrawelt, and Michael Mayer, Subsonic Music Festival @ Barrington Tops, 3-5/12/10
Festivals are a tough one. They're generally a disappointment. Too many acts to choose from, massive crowds, and they tend to attract douchebags. Subsonic was a stupendous exception to the rule. The festival ticked so many boxes you'd need a new warehouse, and the crew we partied with were some of my nearest and dearest friends. The music on this weekend though, was exceptional. Seeing Sydney-local-hero Robbie playing at 1am, outdoors, next to a river on a hot summer's night with a very refreshing light drizzle of rain was delightful. Hearing warped progressive from a duo you've admired on centre-stage held me absolutely captivated. And just when I didn't think it could be topped, having an epic, Sunday afternoon set that moved me to comical interpretative dance for the following hours capped off what was truly an amazing weekend.


So there you have it, my Top 5 gigs. You can see that they are from within the last five years, I can only hope the next five are as special.

18 July, 2011

Charleson Farm and the Triple M Adventure

Sometimes when you're drinking with friends the topic of 'best' comes up. Best movie is a fun one to talk about while drinking, as is favourite actor/actress or good TV shows. I find when I'm having these sorts of conversations I get a myriad of suggestions that I should follow up on, yet never do. Despite 1,001 people suggesting I watch Dexter and myself stating "I'll give it a chance", I never do, and it gets relegated to the pile of things I'll never do, for better or worse (I'm told it's REALLY good).

But back to the original topic, one 'best' came about that sounds simple enough, but you don't hear that often. Someone in the group asked 'what was your best holiday?' Immediately a slew of arguments emerged, with the overall theme being that the question was very subjective. You could have the most relaxing, but it wouldn't necessarily be the best. You could have the trashiest, and it wouldn't necessarily be the best. And so on.

I have the privilege of not even having to take all these facets into consideration. I already know what my best holiday is. I'll call it, Charleson Farm and the Triple M adventure.

How did this escapade come about? Through furious organisation by friend 'A'.

Back in the day, we had an email chain of a group of friends that included friend 'A' and a bunch of people from both Sydney and Melbourne. We had all come to know each other via my perennial reference Inthemix, and exchanged banter on an ongoing reply-all chain. Talk had come to a head, and the topic of a big get together was mentioned. Friend 'A' ran with it. From researching, to getting interested parties to contribute, to arranging who was cooking what on each night.

It was a formidable task getting a dozen of us to get our shit together, and friend 'A' performed admirably. Soon enough, we had a destination, Charleson Farm.

----Aside, holy crap! A quick Google Search just revealed that there's a video of the place!

Anyway, now that I've painted a vivid picture of what the place looks like, here comes another complicated logistic. The place was outside of Geelong, myself, friend 'A', and friend 'B', all lived in Sydney. We had to fly or drive down there.

'A' crunched the numbers and it turned out cheaper to drive. Our names all begin with 'M' - thus the Triple M adventure was born.

Now I knew these guys fairly well. After all, we'd been exchanging email banter for a year or so, and I'd recently relocated to Sydney with some help from 'A' and 'B' as well. But still, this was a 12-hour drive we were looking at, each way, and even the best of friendships can unravel being in such a close proximity to each other. Add to that, 'A' and 'B' were a couple, and I was looking at a potentially tough journey.

I got the extra time off, and we departed early Thursday morning. They picked me up and we were away. The mood was buoyant and we all knew we were in for a treat. There's certain rules that one should adhere to when travelling with people for such a long distance, and for this journey, the rulebook was thrown right out of the window.

There was a temperature gauge in the car. It told the temperature. It was cold outside. The gauge reflected this. Fascinating stuff. At least it was to 'A' and 'B'.
"Hey 'A', look at the temperature - it's 4 degrees".
"Hey Marshy, you see that? It says it's 4 degrees", said 'B'.
After about half an hour of this shit, I'd had enough.
"Hey guys, why don't you talk about the temperature more."

And it was on.

While I wouldn't say the 12-hour journey consisted of temperature references exclusively, these two went out of their fucking way to let me know about the weather at every point of the journey. First of all, these guys didn't know me that well, that I'd let them get away with this shit. Secondly, these guys knew that fact and ran with it. These were friends for life.

We arrived at Charleson Farm, and it was like the opening scenes of Big Brother where they arrive at the house. We ran from room-to-room, marvelling at what we'd scored. The next order of business was to put on the fire, put our legs up, and revel in resplendent, blissful peace. While I was new to my job, there had been a lot of stress with the loss of an account, and it was good just to switch off and forget about it.

And that's what it was like until the Friday night, a relaxing time of doing nothing. Every time I thought about checking my phone, I didn't. And it felt good.

The next phase of the holiday was like a slow-release birthday present. As time ticked over, the rest of the dozen started arriving. Each time a new member arrived it was exhilaration and joy as we hastened to show them the surrounds and where they could put their things. This was our holiday and we fucking owned it. There were high-fives and pats on the back all round.

Once everyone arrived we drank and were merry, and good times were had.

Saturday was the calm before the storm. During the day we bided our time, some ate, some started drinking early, others cooked and cleaned, but all knew it was game on once the sun set. We were in an isolated part of the world with DJ decks, accomplished music aficionados, and the perfect mindset.

I can't go into details about what went down that night, that would be outside the spirit of it, but let's just say there's video evidence and if it ever saw the light of day there'd be some members of the group that would null and void their chances of ever getting into politics.

The recovery day was all it could be and more, we snuggled with doonas and watched old movies like The Goonies and The Lost Boys. One of our friends even made a delicious zucchini soup (something I always considered an oxymoron). The holiday wound down and by the next morning everyone pitched in with cleaning the place up.

The trip home had a different mood to it, it was one of kinship, there was less talk, and more comfortable silence. The clincher for me was when I was dropped off and instantly missed my companions, and then gasped with pleasured surprise when my phone beeped and it was them thanking me for an awesome time.

I've been on holidays since, and I'm sure I'll go on holidays that will be better in other ways, but Charleson Farm and the Triple M Adventure will be hard to top for me.


I recently went back to Australia, and without realising it, spent a night partying on with a good half dozen of the members that we holidayed with that time, when it was realised it didn't come as a surprise. It was good times with good friends.

Oh yeah, and the temperature gag? It still lives, just check out A and B's JurkTurtle blog and scroll down to the bottom.

Yeah, very funny guys.

17 July, 2011

Silly Sayings and Their Origins

I hail from a small town in Eastern Victoria, nestled within Gippsland, called Traralgon. I'm fiercely proud of my background, and love letting strangers and friends know about tidbits of information that have filtered through my upbringing and beyond.

Maybe because of my heritage, maybe for completely other reasons unbeknownst to me, there are a few sayings that have resonated with me, and that I continue to utter to this day whether it be verbally, while drunk, or cryptically as a status or Twitter update.

They'll always have an air of mystery for me, but today I feel like deciphering the nonsense, or attempting to.

1. Safest hands in the west
This is a favourite of mine to trot out after catching something. To me, it resembles a brag - these are the safest hands in the west - and I can catch unerringly and with great skill. But I'm not quite sure where I got it from. I barrack for an AFL team, the Western Bulldogs, and I'm fond of likening my ability to catch to that of an AFL footballer. But I can't be sure, I'm more fond of it now that I live in the East, I can cite the silly statement when catching something here, as if I have all of the ability of the Western world behind me. Maybe one day I'll meet my Eastern coounterpart?

2. Kick this one for st. paul, and this for minneapolis, and kick this one here for me and my super hero complex
I really enjoy this phrase, and is one that has resonated with me upon first hearing. I first heard it as an excerpt from a remix I heard on Triple J, but it is take from a oft-sampled spoken word called Pride's Paranoia. The entire verse is pretty mesmerising for me, much like Wear Sunscreen, but this particular verse stands out in my memory - why? I don't know. I'll probably never go to St. Paul or Minneapolis and I'm not altogether certain what a superhero complex is or whether I have one. But sometimes, at particular moments in my life, I've felt these words spill out of my brain.

3. Strike me a kipper, I'm all out of lemons
This statement is probably the most nonsensical of them all, as when you break it down it really doesn't make an ounce of sense. In recent years, it's been my most oft-repeated, now as a deliberate source of good humoured banter amongst friends. I've thought long and hard about where it came from, and did some research this morning. I'm pretty sure I heard the term or something similar on Martin/Molloy's The Brown Album back in 1995, but I don't have a copy of it anymore and the excerpts I listened to on Youtube bore no fruit. A Google search of the term revealed a similar catch-cry from a Red Dwarf episode, with the phrase 'Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast.' I used to watch the show religiously, so it's entirely plausible that my memory has played Chinese Whispers and adapted it to the nonsense it is today.

4. Give me, a kiss to build a dream on
I love this phrase, and every time I hear it I smile. It takes me back to my teens, and my exposure to the game "Fallout 2" - it's from a beautiful Louis Armstrong song and my heart melts every time I hear it. I've uttered it in all sorts of incantations, and it still resonates with me today. It's a magical song.

So there you have it. An explanation of the unexplainable. It's funny though, how certain turns of phrase just sound appealing, but may come across as rubbish to someone else.

I guess this means I can no longer knock Megan Fox's tattoo.

I'm comfortable with that.

05 July, 2011

Those Rash Decisions That Seem Right

I just deactivated my Facebook.

As little as a month ago, this would have frightened the hell out of me. But now, it feels right. You know when you have those decisions festering in your head, and it could go either way, and you end up going one way and feel an immediate sense of relief?

That's how I feel at the moment.

I proudly displayed my electronic act of rebellion on the new Google+. One of my friends questioned whether this was premature - after all - there are friends on there that won't be transitioning on to the new platform for years to come, if at all.

I'm pretty comfortable with that. As big a fan as I am of the new Google+, I don't see it as a Facebook replacement. It may eventually end up replacing it, but for now its a nifty new platform for sharing, getting the attention of some people I admire, and has connected 64 of my friends.

A digital agency I admire, mentioned at the start of the year something called social media fatigue. It was the first time I'd heard of it and I almost scoffed at the idea. Yet halfway through the year some of those 64 of my friends did deactivate their profiles, citing pretty much the same reason.

But am I fatigued? After all, I'm an enterprising social media whore (see About Me). I don't think I am, but I'm ready to bank against the house. It's not a huge statement, but it's mine.

We'll see who wins in the end.