Saturday, 31 December 2011

Is it a coincidence I believe in synchronicity?


Is it a coincidence I believe in synchronicity?

“I get up early in the morning
no matter how disappointed I was
with the day before
it feels new”

Mark Everett (E)
From the EELS Album

The above are lines from one of my favourite songs by songwriter Mark Everett from the Eels. I never knew how much I believed the sentiment expressed in those lines until I heard them, maybe I grasped the concept so long ago that I needed it sung to me for it to come to my realisation.
Mr Everett (or E as he is commonly known) has this effect on me with a lot of the songs he writes. Coincidently the song above explains how as he gets older Mark Everett is more acceptable of the person he has become and how he now understands the actions of his deceased father and forgives him for their strained relationship when he was younger.
Coincidently this is something that happened in my own life and I can relate to.
It’s funny I chose to play this album on the long drive to work recently because I had just finished a book I picked up by chance in a bargain book barn titled The Selected works of TS Spivet
It is about a 12 year old prodigy who creates maps to explain all manner of things, both scientific and those of the everyday who wins an award from the Smithsonian Institute, who believe he is many years older.
TS Spivit lives in Montana and is the product of Scientist Mother and a Cowboy Father.
TS Spivet is very distant from his father and believes he does not understand or even love him very much because of his academic bent and runs away to Washington without telling his family to accept the award believing they wouldn’t let him or even believe he had won it.
TS Spivet hitches a ride on a train and during the long trip he awakens to find himself in void that he can’t explain with no sound or sense of place. This reminds him of an essay he discovered in a Library back home that explained worm holes existing in the American Midwest and were responsible for many disappearances during the ages. When explaining the worm hole theory TS Spivets (who is probably one of the few 12 year olds in the world who could understand such a theory) refers to Hugh Everett 111 who first theorized about the Many Worlds concept which the worm holes refer to. Coincidently Hugh Everett 111 a giant in the Quantum Physics field is Mark Everett’s father.
This theory was also the topic of one of my favourite authors Michael Crichton , himself a child prodigy who wrote for the New York Times at the age of 14.
In his techno thriller novel Timeline Crichton uses the same theory to explain how people go back in history but not time because the move to dimensions that are infinitesimal different to our universe and thus people can come back with out disturbing current history.
TS Spivet doesn’t disappear into the worm hole, he wakes up and finds himself in a huge rail switch yards in Chicago, coincidently where Michael Crichton was born,
TS Spivet eventually gets to Washington and receives his award, he is however used by ambitious bureaucrats who try to hijack his fame.
TS Spivet’s father meanwhile has driven half way across America to rescue TS and goes as far as storming into the Capitol Building to find his son.
TS Spivet realises his father loves him unconditionally – his love was expressed in actions rather than words.
I believe all parents’ love their children unconditionally, I know I do, others just have a very hard time showing it.
Mark Everett eventually found out his father did and wrote a wonderful song about it.
I have a clear recollection of the day I first time I heard the song because it was the day my divorce became final and on the way home from the courthouse I went into a record shop to buy something to cheer me up. I didn’t even know a new Eels album was due out and the man behind the counter said it had only arrived that morning. I saw it as a good sign, on arriving home I found an envelope with a cheque in it , payment for a story I had submitted. These events led me to start writing again.
I believe Michael Crichton received lots of cheques in the mail in his life but they are no use to him now because he died several years ago of cancer, same as my dad.
He lived a full and rewarding life and I believe my dad did too.
I still wake up every morning feeling as if every day is new but now I am more aware of it and still believe my dad did great things and I hope my children think the same when they get older hopefully with out all the bullshit that clouded it like Mark Everett TS Spivet and I had to endure.

Monday, 19 December 2011


Merry Christmas to my regular readers
Let's meet up next year for more of the same.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The night before Christmas

The night before Christmas
a special Christmastime tale

Duane and Sharon were preparing to go home, it had been a fun Schoolies week.

It was great to be away by themselves and get up to a bit of harmless mischief.

Fart the third planet in the Troll solar system had always been a favourite get-a-way spot. It never got boring taking the run-a-round down to the surface and buzz some lonesome vehicle or campers in the desert, wilderness or any isolated place for that matter and then betting how long it took to make it onto a news broadcast.

Duane’s personal favourite was doing “wheelies" in the wheat and barley fields whereas Sharon loved chipping off large pieces off the ice-flows to see how far they had travelled next time she visited. All round Fart was a great holiday destination, the people were backward but they had  great imaginations.

Sharon prepared the ship for take off; she manoeuvred the vessel over the Northern Pole to hide the tiny but traceable accelerator blast. Duane sat down next to her.

“OK everything’s secured let’s go” He said

“Roger that.  Initiating preliminary vacuum thrust….now, hang on what’s that?”

Shannon turned to Duane as the vacuum engine started then died interrupted momentarily by a very loud clunking sound .

“Sounds like something got sucked in to the drive, probably one of those old satellites not on the chart " explained Sharon.

“Let’s have a look-see” replied Duane.

They both unbuckled and went to the back of the ship. Duane opened up the inspection panel that revealed the drive.

“Awww gross” he said in disgust

“Give me a look” Sharon said pushing him out of the way.

Oh yuck” she said. The vacuum drive was clogged with fur, antlers and twisted metal, tracers of toys and red cloth were everywhere. Intermingled within  all this mess were traces of meat and blood.

“Oh Shit , you know what this means don’t you? Sharron said looking back towards Duane.

“Yep” he replied “ Dad is going to be so pissed, I’m going to have to use his SAAA card and get a tow. That’s going to cost a bit”

“Oh well you make the call I’m going to carve my initials in that lump of ice the locals call Greenland”

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Vampaids and the decline of the People in the 21st Century

Vampaids and the decline of the People in the 21st Century
Something different,amazing art by the uber talented Scott Robinson

Vampire are a dying breed and it was the humans who were responsible.
The same men and women _the People_ used to herd like cattle for their meat.
Mankind got smart and sneaky.

Do really think AIDS was an accident?

Sure it got out of hand but they seemed to think the attrition rate was acceptable to be rid of the Vampires.
You see Vampires like their distant relations - the Dragons were too promiscuous, it was their downfall.
Mankind had figured that out in the 1940s after the war. You don’t think the United Nations was set up to stop wars do you?
They managed to get something from a monkey’s blood and found it turned their inside to sand, not right away it took about six months.

Six short sharp months.

Trouble was they didn’t know they had it until the fifth month and the way those guys root around it was plague city pretty quick.
The Vampires biggest problem was they gathered in clans and even though they socialized they kept matters to themselves so no one really cottoned on until the late 1980s and by then the damage had been done.
One of their biggest problems were the _Plague Johnnies_  - Typhoid Mary’s of the Vampire world, somehow unaffected by the disease but spreading it around at great rate of knots.

They almost impossible to trace because Vampires are creatures of habits that are very hard to change.

Flora had been at the party for hours, she was still disgusted by the fact that her kind still carried on like nothing was happening.
“For the undead we sure as hell try a lot of reproduction practice” she thought.
“Vampires addicted to blood and sex”.
Flora had been approached several times by both some rather stunning Males and Females but brushed them aside, which was their very good fortune. She had someone else in her sights.
Just when she thought she was wasting her time he came in through the front door, dressed as sharp as a razor with teeth and a smile to match. The teeth part not being a metaphor.
“Now that’s worth waiting for” she mumbled under her breath and made straight for him before she feared he’d be swamped by half a dozen other love sick vamps.
Flora sidled up to her prey being as forward as any of the People were when they expected something. He was quick to respond.
In usual Vampire fashion hardly any words were spoken before they were alone in a comfortable place and position.

“He doesn’t even remember me the bastard” thought Flora as they tore at each others clothes.
Flora in the tangle of bodies and clothing managed to jump on top and start kissing his chest all the time busily removing his trousers. When they were clear to his knees Flora started tongue around his groin and felt his hands on the back of her neck.
She hungrily put his penis in her mouth and felt him becoming more rigid with every down stroke of her lips then as she deep throated him she snapped her teeth like a vice around the base of his cock and tore it from his body in an angry animal like action.
Of course there was screaming and people burst into the room en masse to find out what the hell was going on.
Flora just lent over his chest and spat his cock onto his head as he lay in the fetal position whimpering.
She looked at the audience that had gathered and started to dress.
It’s not often you see Vampires shocked or stunned by an action.
“This is the prick who gave me and probably dozens others a death sentence”
She kicked the penis with the bloody stump aside.

“Say hello to our own little Plague Johnnie. It took a while but I found him. At least you can be safe in the knowledge he wont be spreading it around anymore”

With that she pushed through the crowd and left the room and into the night to await her pending death.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Pulling the piss out of Pooh

Something I did a long time on redbubble.
Still makes me giggle.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Captain Goodvibes revisited

Growing up in the outer suburbs of Melbourne in the 1970s was pretty much a waste land.
Magazines like Tracks showed a world a million miles away aesthetically and socially.
It was the mag where even the ads took you somewhere else.
Besides the articles and photography of unattainable places there was the regular Captain Goodvibes strip.
Tony Edwards and the Captain

Creator Tony Edwards had a unique style that made hard lines obsolete, Each panel was a wonderland of dots and shading.
Each month the Good Captain with his faithful dog Astro managed to be disgusting, violent and hilarious all in one big mad adventure.

This gem is a short film from where I'm not sure but it faithfully reproduces the comic strip.
Conjures up what Yellow Submarine would have been like if the creators hit the gin and heroin instead of the acid.

A previous article

Friday, 18 November 2011

Flashback 2011

It's that time of the year again when the Flash Fiction group over at the rather less important than it use to be Red Bubble thanks to their absolute lack of support for writing.
But somehow even under those repressive conditions the group has managed to  thrive and thanks to the many wonderful contributors another volume of the Best Of has been published.
I actually had a hand in this one but most of the glory sits squarely on the lovely Anne van Alkermade's shoulders who edited the whole book and supplied her ISBN for publishing immortality in the National Library.
Catherine Swanson supplied some inspired cover art as well as some of the most clever stories.
I did some proof reading, which is like asking a five year old to look after a sand castle, if you get my drift.
So check it out here and buy a copy if you feel the need.
There are some wonderful and rather witty works in there.
The must see section would have to be the Barbara Cartland Challenge.
It will bring tears of laughter and may  stir a loin or two.

Here's a couple of my stories.

Everyone reacts differently

He’d been at the door for hours now.
Just standing in the doorway with his “army” hat he’d made so that it looked just like his dad’s.
His mother was still lying on the bed sobbing uncontrollably clutching the official letter that arrived that afternoon.
In a scene of subtle synchronicity, the boy saluted the sun as it set in the mid winter sky just as his mother dropped the letter onto the floor.
As of tonight the world as they knew it would take a whole new course, meanwhile the cat went from room to room trying to get either’s attention so it could be fed.

Route 66, Critters 0

“I spy with my little eye something begging with E”


“I spy with my little eye something beginning with K”



“I spy with my little eye something begging with W”

BOOMP! BOMP! Thud Thud Thud


“Right I hope you two are happy now “ cried Mum “ If you were that bored we could have stopped for a while gone for a walk. That Wombat has done some serious damage.”

Barbra Cartland NOT

He couldn’t stand it any longer.
It should be paradise.
The four poster bed, the silk sheets, the lace pillows and beautiful views from the second floor balcony just two steps away.
But it wasn’t, it was a hellish experience.
Here he was, the world’s most eligible bachelor in a villa surrounded by middle aged housewives .
The collective sound of heaving breasts making it impossible to sleep on his first vacation in years.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Dr Dee

Checking out Damon Albarn's new English Opera and getting acquainted with John Dee

The sixteenth century in England (and Europe in general) was an amazing time in modern history. It is regarded by historians as the century in which the rise of the West occurred.
With the likes of the Protestant Reformation, the Spanish Armada, circumnavigation of the globe. Important characters of history appear everywhere, there names instantly recognizable Henry V111, Elizabeth 1, Sir Francis Drake, William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raliegh add these names to others from Europe
Copernicus, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci , Nostradamus, Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther, you get a feeling that modern civilisation began in 16th Century.
One name that keeps popping up recently is the name of John Dee.
A former confidant of Elizabeth 1 and inspiration for characters for the plays of Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, he led an amazing life as a scholar, mathematician, occultist and alchemist.
He is recently the subject of a modern opera by Damon Albarn on the recommendation of Alan Moore.
I highly recommend you look him via the list of links below.
Also linked are a collection of songs from the opera as well as several interviews with Albarn.
Very Interesting reading and viewing.

This is a 48 minute doco from the Hallmark channel which is a bit dramatic but still very interesting. It concentrates a bit too much on the occult side.
It also features Alan Moore.

John Dee Wikipedia article

John Dee Society

Download 10 songs from the opera and a rather interesting interview with Albarn

Saturday, 5 November 2011

A story about me (sort of)

100% Danny Nolan
Written a couple of years ago by the very talent T Shirt prodigy Lucan Industries
Sadly not very productive these days but still worth a visit to check out his innovative and thought provoking designs.
This is the story but the original can be found here.
I was responsible for the Ralpph Steadman knock off.

100% Danny Nolan

Nolan stared back down the road, the bike’s dust trails disappeared quickly around the bend but the growl of the engine took longer to subside, he walked, unsure of his next move, to what passed for a kerb to avoid being cross-bred with another speeding bike. He was somewhere south of Arambol and the sun was setting fast through the palm trees to his west. A man walked past eating an onion as if it were an apple, nodding in Nolan’s vague direction, but it may have just been a twitch, Nolan started to whistle the theme tune to The Six Million Dollar Man, stuck his hands in the pockets of his dusty shorts and walked off the embankment the road monopolised and through the rice field to the beach.
As he reached the foot of the dunes he passed a hut, four individuals sat within, silently staring at the horizon, a chillum made it’s way around the group, ritualistically smoked without comment, music escaped from a small indian-made stereo wedged in the sand, any trace of the warm wholesome bass that the producer intended to deliver had been robbed by the 500 rupee sound system, but no one seemed to mind.
Nolan continued his route towards the shoreline, a Rajdoot coughed into life 50 yards ahead, the driver struggled to get the bike moving forward as it fishtailed in the soft sand, but eventually it bit and roared up the beach, past Nolan and on towards the road.
He reached the water and sat down amongst the thousands of dead bodies littering the coastline. The sun was just reaching the horizon, and was casting a pink light across the decaying corpses, glinting off fake jewellery and motionless watches. Nolan kicked a stray arm away from him to outstretch his own legs, then stared at the burning sphere and counted the seconds until it disappeared from view, wrinkling his nose involuntarily from the smell of rotting flesh.
When Helios had ridden his chariot over the horizon Nolan jumped to his feet and walked through the putrid human mass towards a makeshift bar. When he reached it’s entrance he kicked his sandals off and walked up onto the carpeted bamboo frame. He surveyed the other patrons, one man asleep on the floor, another old woman coveting a plate of rice and deeply engaged in conversation with someone who hadn’t turned up yet, and a twentysomething ponytailed man wearing only a cloth around his waist shouting something foreign into a cheap mobile. Nolan ordered a pint of vodka from the boy and, after selecting a table with a prominent view, settled back on a cheap, white plastic garden chair.
The boy returned with his drink, Nolan removed the unnecessary straw and tied a knot in it before throwing it onto the sand below. He then poured a third of the firewater onto a day old burn on his thigh before draining the rest in one mouthful. It scorched his throat, and burned his stomach, his eyes began to water and he laughed, noiselessly. Nolan turned to the man at the next table who was still busily barking orders into his phone, “Shut the fuck up” Nolan explained casually. The man stopped talking and looked at this red faced, watery-eyed newcomer, confusion dripping down his arrogant face. “Huh?” he unimpressively retorted. “I said, shut the fuck up” Nolan reasonably returned, then standing, slowly, he threw up over the man with the mobile, litres and litres of blood streaked, vodka saturated vomit, chunks of the last meal that had found it’s way into his stomach snagged in the man’s ponytail. Phone man stood sharply, yelling, pushed against his equally cheap chair, which folded under the pressure and both collapsed in a putrid mess on the floor. Nolan kicked the man’s phone away and then slowly, and not too steadily headed back to the entrance to retrieve his sandals.

cheers nolan
As he trailed his feet in the sand trying to locate his footwear, his eyes no longer being of much use, the boy appeared with a yard long, 3 inch thick piece of bamboo, and brought it down, squarely on top of his head, Nolan fell forward and broke his nose on the step, but it really didn’t matter, the bamboo had split his skull and blood was rapidly filling his corpus callosum, he had about a minute left to breathe. It hurt, incredibly, but the vodka numbed the worst of it. “Should have stayed on the bike” he thought to himself. Then he stopped thinking altogether.
At some point today became tomorrow, but no one really noticed.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Gas Mask

Back in January 2009, my cousin Nadine committed suicide by putting a hose on the tail pipe of her car.
This had quite an effect on me.
It's funny the first thing that entered my mind on hearing the news was a gas mask and it started a burst of writing, drawings and designs based around this symbol of danger and fear.
SO here is a collection of the stories and images starting with the story I wrote about Nadie pretty much the same day I heard the news.

Life in a Gas Mask

It was hard to live your life with a gas mask on.
Distorting the words you wanted to really say and clouding the sights you wanted to see.
Nadine knew this.
For the last 30 years it had destroyed her marriage and alienated her children.
Alcohol seeped through the mask and diluted the bondage and made the mask a little easier to ignore.
Medication didn’t work when she took it and everybody told it did when she didn’t.
Then one day Nadine took the mask off and it was all so clear .
In her car with the windows up and the hose connected to the tail pipe.
As the cockroaches, mice , spiders and rats ignored the purring motor in the garage till the fuel run out.
Clarity was brief and so was the answer.

When in danger always copy nature.

The gas masks were always the first thing ripped off as soon the “All clear” sounded.

No matter how many times Thomas heard the second sirens he always felt a sense of over whelming relief as opposed to the warning sirens which filled him with the deepest dread and fear.
Surprising since they sounded exactly the same.
He often wondered if he ever slept through the first sirens and awoke to the second whether his mind would be able to tell the difference?

Best not to tempt fate.

All the other families where packing their gas masks back into their belt canisters and were making an orderly line out of the bunker.
No one said a word not sure what to expect when they reached the surface let alone the streets or their homes.

Thomas thought of his train set and his soldiers then automatically thought of his Dad, no letters for a couple of weeks had caused some distress in his Mum but Thomas was getting used to not having him around, Mum was a bit of a soft touch and let him stay up late.

As the entered back into the dull Saturday afternoon that was London’s early spring plumes of smoke were rising in the far distance and sirens could be heard, but just faintly.

“Looks like Islington got the brunt of it”
Thomas heard someone say.
Obviously no one had relatives over there because everyone walked hurriedly towards their homes in silence.

Thomas found himself dropping back, now certain his home will still be there when he got back (his mother however needed proof and rushed onward) He noted the rats had got a bit game and where boldly scampering on the rubble left by builders on one of the vacant lots used for clean ups of the bomb sites.

“I wish I was a rat” thought Thomas “No one to tell me what to do. Climb into small holes if the bombs come and not have to queue up for food with ration cards”

Thomas studied the rats as the went about their business and whilst tapping on his gas mask canister realised how much the neighbourhood looked like rats when the sirens wailed .How they all scurried to the bunker holes to get away from the blitz with rat snout like gas masks on their faces.

“ I wonder when the government’s gunna eventually fit us with little tails” Thomas thought and gave a little snort at his own joke.

On the way home Thomas passed the grocers who only opened every other day and looked in the window to view the half empty shelves.
Dairy products had been in short supply recently and the milk ration was low but just visible below the counter Thomas could see a block of yellow cheese.

He must make sure he makes Mum get up early tomorrow to queue uo to get some.

Lately he really missed the taste of cheese.


A favourite Sigor Ros piece featuring GasMasks

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Couple of quick album reviews

Pajama Club - Self Titled Debut

The Pajama Club
Neil Finn gets better with change

It seems the only constant in Neil Finns life is his marriage.
After so much fame, fortune and musical metamorphoses, whether it be Split Enz, Crowded House, The Finn Brothers or the many musical collaborations on stage he has had with the members of bands as diverse as the likes of Pearl Jam, Radiohead and The Smiths Neil Finn still manages to shine as a pure 100% nice guy and super talent.
This nucleus of the Pajama Club was created at home in New Zealand when Neil and Sharon Finn were basically mucking around in the home studio to have a bit of fun as married couples do when the kids have left the nest.
From these bass and drum tracks (Neil on drums. Sharon on bass) Neil constructed the songs that appear on the album.
The fact that neither Finn were playing their preferred instrument makes the construction of the songs even more magical as they don’t have the technical discipline one picks up with an instrument played with proficiency. Thus there are little quirks popping up all over the place. That and the fact Neil Finn is one of the leading songwriters on the planet adds to the mix.
Sharon is no slouch in the singing department is just a wonderful vocal match to Neil as his brother Tim.
The songs kick off with the almost tribal beat of Tell Me What you Want, and listening to the lyrics reveals a sexy under belly . The Pajama Club actually shine brightest when Sharon and Neil share vocals, Songs such as Tell Me Golden Child and Go Kart are some of the best songs I’ve heard this year,
Others like Diamonds in her Eyes and TNT for Two reinforces the strength of this album.
In a nut shell this album is simply better than the last two Crowded House albums and the Finn Brothers release.

Neighborhoods BLINK182

Blink182’s first album in 8 years thanks mainly to a “hiatus” instigated by Tom DeLonge to start Angels and Airwaves. Neighborhoods carries on from where Blink’s last album finished and incorporates what the members learnt along the way with their solo releases- A&A, +44 and Travis’ solo album “Give The Drummer Some”

The album is exactly what American popular music needs right now and has been justified with a debut at number 2 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts.
And rightly so, this album is chock full of melody, killer riffs and powerpop to dance to.
The opening track GHOST ON THE DANCE FLOOR with its future single hook line crashes out of the speakers and never lets up for the rest of the album.
Those who are quick can get the limited release with 3 extra tracks, one and interlude to HEARTS ALL GONE and the other two FIGHTING FOR GRAVITY and EVEN IF SHE FALLS leaves you wondering why they were excluded from the intial release.
Other strong stracks are the first single UP ALL NIGHT, WISHING WELL andKALEIDOSCOPE.
Some say their best album so far, every listen makes me think so too, but I still have a soft spot for the last release when the band really grew up.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Artists I know and respect - Part 7 Cathryn Swanson

Cathryn Swanson expat Kiwi, amazing writer of short fiction and funny poetry, pretty handy with a camera and now to show us she can just about excell in anything she turns her hand too, Ms Swanson has started creating cakes. Not your plain old sponge or apple crumble type. We're talking full on decorated- "gunna win a medal at the Melbourne Show" variety.

I offered Cathryn a feature on this blog if she attempted a Steam Punk version.
Well.... to tell a secret, I was going to showcase some of her works anyway, but now I have a really good reason.

Masquerade Cake

The Steam Punk cake
Reverse side

A Game of Kings Cake

Monday, 19 September 2011

The making of Plastic Beach

It;s taken ages but the people behind bringing Jamie Hewlett's brilliant ideas and artwork to life: Asylum Studios, have finally put up a small section on their revamped website with close ups of the model and a few other bits.
Sadly nothing really detailed on the process of actually building it..
I love this stuff. ENJOY

This video of Rhinestone Eyes was put together by Asylum from earlier pieces filmed by the studio( as well as some promo animation at the beginning) but I have a sneaky suspicion that there is some extra unseen footage thrown in for good measure.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Dragon Tears

Collaboration with digital artist Randy Monteith

Things had gotten a little better since the Dragons demise, although the parts that weren’t burned black were the sole property of the Government or the very wealthy.
Out here in the ‘burbs and territories they had to do with what they had and wait until Mother Nature kicked back in.
Pauly looked at his daughter while she was kicking the ground and watching puffs of dust rise and scatter, it seemed to fascinate her which in turn made him smile.
She didn’t remember any of the Dragon wars or the hard times associated with them.
She was the future and he had to deal with that see beyond his own worries make it the best he could for her.
Like now for instance, little Makita’s eyes seemed larger than usual behind the lenses of her facemask, something he didn’t think possible they were so big and gorgeous on her pale face without embellishing.
Makita was running around in the cloud of black ash that was stirred up by the gentle wind .

They were pretending it was snow.

Pauly had to make sure Makita didn’t inadvertently kick a carcass or some skeletal remains hidden under the dark blanket. In time the sulfur smell would fade and the poisons in the air dissipate, who knows? Snow might even return for real.
That’s what the scientists promised.
Until then Pauly would have to think like his child and pretend.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

DaVinci's drum machine

Leonardo DaVinci sculpture, painter, inventor and all round genius.
They said this man had a key to the door of the future.
Well his genius is being directed at another discovery - that of the drum machine.
Obviously  Leonardo had the same problem most bands have in these more current times.
A problem drummer in the group.

I got this little model for my birthday recently and it was quicker to build than it used to take a drummer in one of my okd groups to get the "snare just right"
My Model

A Model from the current DaVinci Machine exhibition which just recently lef Australia after a sell out tour

And here is DaVinci's concept drawing

And these are some famous dead drummers

Keith "The Loon" Moon

Eric "The Fox" Carr

John "where's my Coke" Bonham

As regular readers are aware, I collect dead rock star dolls.
There seems to a major shortage of dead drummer dolls.
Of the three above only one has had a figurine made of him.

Monday, 15 August 2011

New Virtual - cartoon band update

Couple of new pieces to report on since our last outing.
Studio killers are a music collective from Finland, Denmark and the UK.
Not keen to enter the pop spotlight, Studio Killers hired a design team to create whimsical, bright-eyed cartoon characters to represent them in their videos and photos.
A bit Gorillaz in idea but these guys did it to keep out of the pop system spotlight.
Or so it's reported.

Next we have the Simpsons pulling the piss out of popular culture again, this time grunge.
The storyline

The following was taken from the Simpson Wiki

The band was originally a grunge group formed during the early 90's, but after Homer sees Marge and one of her professors from her university together, Homer reforms his grunge group with a different type of music: Guitar Rock Utilizing Nihilist Grunge Energy or GRUNGE. The band is then named Sadgasm.
Their first public appearance was at Springfield University. Some of the band's best songs include Margerine, Shave Me (later made into Brain Freeze, a parody song by Weird Al Yankovic), and Politically Incorrect. A video was filmed for Margerine which featured Homer singing in front of the host and contestants of a parody Jepordy! (one of the contestants was played by Grampa Simpson) and later singing in front of gym bleachers filled with crash test dummies.

The group broke up sometime later because, according to Kurt Loder, Homer holed himself up at his mansion when rumours swirled about an out of control narcotics addiction, which turned out to be insulin because he became diabetic from drinking too many frappuccinos.

Sadgasm - Margerine
A total pisstake of Bush's Glycerine

Still waiting for a decent video to be posted that hasn't been blocked by the Fox Network for this.
I love the references to Back to the Future. (it's in Spanish)

I thought I'd chuck in some Dethklok for the fun of it.
Hatredcopter from the first series

This is just plain stupid
Cold Slither from the GI Joe cartoon series

Saturday, 6 August 2011



It always seems to happen, just when you clean out something you‘ve held onto for ages it comes back into fashion. You may not believe it but vinyl records are making a big comeback.
It seems a bit odd, I remember when Compact Discs (CD) first came on the market, people fell over themselves to replace their old record collections because they didn’t have to worry about scratches, hisses, pops and needles jumping every time someone entered the room. Most of all people remarked about the clarity.
CD’s have taken a battering lately with sales plummeting due to digital downloads and the ease of file sharing thanks to MP3 players and the mega popular iPod.

No doubt if you are over 40 you no longer have your old record player in your house or maybe it’s in the garage under piles of wood or used furniture.
Lets face it CDs had appeal.
CD players were, well… compact… Compared to the cabinets and massive speakers we had as teenagers that could fill half a room. A disc player could sit on a shelf and meant you had more space to throw your clothes and bags on the floor. But no doubt some of you held onto some precious album that you couldn’t part with or held a great deal of memories.

Well it seems there is a lot more of you than you think.

You see record players never really went out of fashion in the same way vinyl did.
In the late 1990s and early part of the last decade due to the popularity of “DJ”ing and “scratching” turntables out sold acoustic guitars in Australia.
Mind you most of the players never got to play a full record all the way through and most of them never even made a full rotation due the method in which they were used. But it seems the record player (yes not just the turntable) is making a come back to play … records.
It seems the digital generation are looking back in the past and their parent’s record collection and discovering vinyl.
The reasons are many and varied.
My son, who is a musician, likes to listen to vinyl. After walking around for months on end with those little ear plug head phones jammed in his ears he says that the sound of vinyl records is warmer and the soundscape is wider, basically meaning the frequencies are not as limited as on a CD.
This is actually quite correct as digital music is compressed for the sake of volume without distortion.
So for the sound purists vinyl is the music source of choice.
Another reasons is not so much the sound but collectability of the vinyl.
Record collecting is a big business these days and a quick peek on the internet will find many sites dedicated to old records.
Why buy a digital copy when you can have the real thing, including original artworks and merchandising.
In America and the UK Collector magazines have been popular for years, usually filled with specific bands releases and price lists of various genres and decades.
Certain special releases or limited presses of some 1960s and 70s band can command up to $10,000. There are some serious collectors out there.
Even though the CD revolutionized the music industry vinyl records never really disappeared as a saleable item.
Those who wished to purchase their favourite bands latest release as a 12 or 7 inch (the standard sizes pre CD for the youngun’s) could do so but at quite a cost.
However these days many bands including popular ones such as Radiohead, The White Stripes and Gorillaz release special vinyl versions as part of the general release along side CD and downloadable versions.
In the last year record sales in the United States for new releases were 2.8 million a jump of 33% on 2009. This of course pales in comparison to the heady sales figures of pre CD days but it shows people still hanker for the older format still these figures go against the trend of album sales actually falling in other formats.
Of course this doesn’t even remotely mean that digital music is nearing its grand finale.
Even though I am a big fan of CD’s mainly for the portability (I still can’t stand mp3 players and would rather burn songs to disc) I have a record player.

My friend Ed Redman is an executive member of the internet art site Red Bubble based in Melbourne. Red Bubble is an award winning high tech, high end print on demand art and photography site that is reliant on the latest technology to service customers all over the world, but when Ed goes home he likes nothing more than to relax with a platter on the player.
Some of Ed's record collection

As well as being a recognised sculpture filmmaker and clothes designer Ed has a passion for vinyl that exceeds 3000 albums.
At only 30 years of age it is has become a consuming passion.
I asked Him why this love affair with vinyl?
Though he loves vinyl he did hasten to say that his first love is the music, he considers himself a music nut first a vinyl nut second. You can read the passion in Ed’s words:
“Personally I love the design elements, I love the sound, I love the attention to detail. I love that the format is continuing to cling on. But I really love the way it makes you concentrate on the music and the artist. Hitting shuffle on 45,000 songs on your iPod is useful, I can’t deny it, just as purchasing an album from iTunes, downloading and starting to listen to 8 seconds later is obviously handy. But for me it’s the complete package experience, from the design of the sleeves and labels, liner notes and matrix etching, the choice of pressing plant to the hidden quirks specific to the greater artistic possibilities available with a 12-inch cover. And finally to cracking the cellophane seal for the first time, placing it on the platen and dropping the diamond tipped needle in the opening groove”

I also like to listen to the albums but I get a massive amount of joy out of looking at the old gate fold sleeves and reading the linear notes. Something that CD’s just can’t match.
Plus my old eyes respond better to writing on a 12 inch piece of card than a 5 and a half inch piece of paper.
So if you find your kids rummaging around in the spare room and going through your box or milk crate of old albums just make sure they weren’t on the internet first and are pinching some of your retirement fund.
By the way if you want to recommission your old record player and are worried about worn needles. Sight N Sound in the Boronia Mall have a great selection that should have that old turntable spinning discs in no time.

(c)2011 Shidot Prod,/Danny Nolan, (who just can’t stop a rockin’) originally published BBCN August 2011

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Marvels of the modern age.

Marvels of the modern age.
One of the first practical uses for modern computers were by the Nazi’s who used them to catalogue their victims in the concentration camps during World War 2.
Since then these insidious machine have been used for one foul purpose or another.
By Governments, Corporations and mostly men to further their means to an end.

They had made the information age so fast and furious that time and truth have been sacrificed for convenience. It was revealed that computers were responsible in part for the current economic crises due to implication of fuzzy logic and its application to predict market movements thus compounding the problem when it was discovered it was leading the bull charge to the floor.
All these things swam around in Brian’s consciousness as he felt the horrible and fear shredding realization that the Company had replaced his job with a $1500 program.

Brian had stumbled across the confidential draft report while packing up his desk before leaving for the week end, the report had been emailed incorrectly to him when someone had put his name in the “cc” box rather than the subject box.

It had been generated by another department that in itself had been replaced by software, this department once had seven people working for it.

Computers were slowly culling the human workforce and damn the consequences.
Brian knew deleting the file was pointless and smashing his computer plain childish but maybe there was something he could do.

Brian slipped out of his desk and made for the server room, maybe if he smashed the server that may destroy the file. He had a chair over his head ready to bring it down hard when he realized that there were back up tapes stacked high in the corner. With a grin he brought down the chair onto the server drive and repeated doing so until the casing was in pieces, he then scooped up all the tapes and proceeded to stomp on them with his shoes until there was brown tape covering the floor.

“Ha” he thought. “The perfect crime” Brian then used his bosses stolen code to let himself out of the building disappearing into a crowd of departing office workers from other firms.

The back up tapes had not been used for some time.
Now all back up data was a constant stream uploaded to another server via the web and held off site. As soon as Brian had found the planted file it triggered the nano-security network that was honed onto his distinctive Alpha wave patterns that could be detected in normal light and Infra Red .

Brian’s action had been comprehensively caught on tape and the computer had made a report that had alerted security which would have Brian brought straight to the upper levels first thing Monday morning for his punishment.

Everyday the computer found more and more ways to run an efficient company. Deleting unproductive personnel with cheap software was one thing, to force them into situations that took away all their expensive entitlements made sound business sense.