Republic of Moreland

September 28, 2009

Tinpan Orange launch

Filed under: cafes & pubs,events,music — Kath @ 1:03 pm

Absolutely beautiful achy bittersweet storybook.


September 11, 2008

Letter from an Australian Idle

Filed under: mischief,music — Kath @ 3:33 pm

Dear Sophie Paterson,

There’s no getting around it. I confess to watching you on Australian Idol.

Oh, the shame: someone else’s child turned on Channel 10 (as other people’s offspring will). I promise I’d never seen Idol before. But that wouldn’t explain, I suppose, why I then switched on the telly, night after night, in the hope that you’d appear.

Look, when I saw that early episode, featuring expat wannabees auditioning in London, I was sucked in. As soon as you opened up  your achingly soulful, indy, folksy, jazzy, bluegrassy voice (with your own composition!) I forgave your bogan-bleached hair and recognised that Channel 10 had, despite itself, stumbled upon something interesting. You’re only twenty-two, for chrissakes. My mind trawled for comparisons —Laura Marling, perhaps, or Gillian Welch, Jolie Holland, Sheryl Crow, Fiona Apple… but you’re none of these.

As the judges scraped their jaws off the floor, they, too, knew you had more originality in your twenty-two-year-old larynx than the three of their careers put together. “Wow, wow, yay yay yay… astounding,” was about all the eloquence Darren Hayes and Tina Arena could muster.

I missed the next few Idol episodes, thinking it best that I stop defrauding the government and instead work on my thesis. But I switched on the telly last Wednesday to behold your sultry, edgy, witty, bluesy interpretation of the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction. Never much liked that song, but your version floored me.

To be sure, you peed all over the other contestants. Lovely voices, all of them: but while they belted out songs, you interpreted. More, your delivery came from the gut and the heart and the groin, and the judges — even that Neanderthal windbag Kyle Sandilands  — thought they were backing a winner when they gushed, “That was the standout performance of the whole series.”

But then the vote was turned over to the audience, and the audience — at least those with mobile phones and agile fingers — voted for mediocrity. Instead of you, they voted for two cute contestants with pretty voices and competent, predictable performances. That’s always been the trouble with democracy: even plonkers get to vote.

But of course Idol is no more about democracy (or quality) than Coles supermarket is: it’s a marketplace, with all those free-market structural biases and injustices. You have to remember, Sophie, that even the ‘democratic’ Wikipedia gives more space to folk like Brittney Spears than to any of the music greats who don’t enjoy the same populist scaffolding.

Maybe I’m mounting an elitist argument here, but as Nikki Tranter wrote on PopMatters: “Idol doesn’t claim to discover ‘real’ musicians. It doesn’t hide the fact that contestants are singers competing for a record deal for the sole purpose of making money for BMG.”

So, Sophie, I’m not sure what Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson was supposing when he told you: “What we hoped this year was that we’d get real individuals: people who’d stand out and take risks, and you did… you stood out.” That might be what Dicko wants, but a standout risk-taker is not what the Idol market wants, Sophie.

And when Kyle Sandilands assured you that what you are doing “is really hot at the moment”, he was speaking out of his nether regions. He reminds me of that wonderful quote often directed toward me by Bloke on The Avenue (but attributed to Mark Twain): “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

That fool the market has spoken, and it has rejected you. But for goodness sakes, don’t let this be a measure of your worth. You’re only twenty-two. Your talent alone will most certainly see you with a recording deal before long, because you’ll be snapped up by that oxymoronic sector, the ‘alternative market’ (much the same as that other misnomer, the ‘indy genre’), which has its way of worming into the mainstream. (Or rather, the mainstream has its way of gobbling up any resistance.) Mark my words, Sophie. You read it here first. And I’ll be first in the queue for your debut CD, and one day I’ll be telling my kids: “Yeah, me too, but I prefer her early work.”

Your fan,

Girl on The Avenue


POSTSCRIPT: I snuck a glance at Idol on Monday. In a masterstroke of market intervention, Idol has this thing called ‘wildcard’ where rejected singers somehow get back into the game. Sophie’s apparently back in, but I can’t stand to watch again because the shame, oh the shame. So if anyone else has watched and is willing to admit it, please let me know what’s going on with Sophie.

March 15, 2007

Brunswick music festival

Filed under: Brunswick,cafes & pubs,events,music,notices,Sydney Road — Kath @ 9:15 pm

starts today. Dunno what to go and see.

March 6, 2007

Playing with TMcK

Filed under: Brunswick,events,music,notices — Kath @ 10:43 pm

This notice comes from Helen of cast iron balcony. She’s performing with Tess McKenna at the Brunswick Green (313 Sydney Road) every Saturday afternoon this month, 4:30 pm. Helen reckons: “They make a bloody good bloody Mary!” Just the ticket for folk like me who simply forgot all about the Sydney Road Street Party. FREE for all ages. Having never seen Helen play, I can’t vouch for her musical skills. But if her playing is as spicy as her thinking, you’re in for a treat. And you can hear McKenna here.

February 18, 2007

What the …

Filed under: Coburg,music — Kath @ 11:17 pm

Not you. You wouldn’t order your CDs from Amazon, because you support lokal business.

But there ain’t no lokal record shop in Moreland as far as I know. Except for the bloke a couple of doors up from Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot in Lygon Street, who sells second-hand stuff.

So if I can’t be arsed going to down to Readings or Polyester or such, I get my CDs from Amazon, or at least from their second-hand suppliers. I love how you can sample as much music as you want without having to annoy the salesperson, and without having to queue for headphones that earwaxy unwashed hobo (that guy! He’s everywhere!) just used.

But what bugs me about Amazon is the data they collect. Just as Google monitors and logs every one of your searches and will probably one day sell your profile to ASIO, Amazon interprets your movements with as much accuracy as ASIO’s famously dodgy files. [With the accurate exception when their spook wrote this about Paddy McGuinness before he became a reactionary dobber:

McGuinness is an extremely intelligent and shrewd person and is an excellent tactician. He can also be described as a professional antagonist… [regarded with suspicion] due to his dirty appearance at all times.]

Forgive the digression. What I’m trying to say is: how the heck did I just get an email from Amazon suggesting that I might like the new CDs from Sting and from van morrison? How did they peg me as such a schmuk?

Work it out. Here are my last six months’ purchases from Amazon:

How did the Amazon machine feed these into its profile software and spew out van Morrison? And Sting? (I guess there must be some kind of ghost in their machine: <IF=vocal + foreign,//THEN= Dutchish surname OR Sting >.)

It’d be insulting if it weren’t so comforting. As I wrote here, the less they know about us, the better off we all are. 🙂

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