Anyone who uses the following words in a non-ironic sense loses the right to be taken seriously:
You won't see any of these words on this blog. However, since I clearly have no clue, I’m not to be taken seriously, either. I was planning on making a whole list, but as evidence of my lack-of-clue, I can only think of three. Please suggest any I’ve missed.
posted by Tim Stevens | 7/31/2003 11:06:00 PM |
New to the Blogroll
I've been slack, no changes to the blogroll for a while.
Carita, who should post more often (not that I can talk though). Agent FareEvader. Niall Cook. And despite listing me as "Meh" on the blogroll, John McVey.
posted by Tim Stevens | 7/24/2003 12:22:00 AM |
Post-Big Brother Thoughts
a) I'm thrilled Big Brother has finished without me watching an entire episode from beginning to end.
b) To various media outlets: The results of Big Brother is not actual news, okay?
posted by Tim Stevens | 7/22/2003 10:16:00 PM |
Rock over Sydney, rock on Perth
After spending years releasing various EPs, Perth’s finest, the Sleepy Jackson have finally released their debut album. I have to admit I wasn’t particularly hopeful considering their previous releases had been less than impressive. On the EPs, Luke Steele struck me as some kid trying too hard to be obscure and experimental. Being obscure and experimental is great, it’s just you have to be able to pull it off without sounding ridiculously pretentious. Steele didn’t manage this on the EPs. Most of the experimental tracks ended up sounding like Steele trying to gain ‘indie cred’ more than anything else.
Despite this, or maybe because of this, all the wrong people have started to notice the Sleepy Jackson. Inevitably, once given such publicity, they are given the Next Big Thing™ tag and there’s nothing like that to make people cynical about them. Anyway, despite this, I gave the debut Lovers a listen, and to my surprise it is an impressive album. Steele has given up trying to be an indie genius with his first album and produced something more rounded and far more listenable. Though songs like Fill Me With Apples prove Steele can produce more than just your average pop/rock song if he so desires. Which is good.
I’m keen to see them live, as I’ve heard mostly good things about their live shows. Though, with all the line-up changes (I heard somewhere they have had 30 members come and go so far) some have been saying they might not hold together as a band. An Age review: And alas, Steele's ring-in band of no-fixed-hairdo was shockingly ill-equipped to handle the female choir harmonies that weave a thread through Lovers. Apparently members of your band having different hairstyles is reason for criticism, also.
I can’t leave this post at just a review. Yawn. It has to be more than that. So, I’ll use this post to make a dubious claim about Australia’s music scene based on the smallest amount of evidence. Cos it seems those are the type of claims the blog world is all about. My claim is that Perth’s music scene, in the past few years, has become the best in Australia. I can’t speak for, say, the metal or jazz scenes, but as far as rock/punk/’indie’ goes, Sydney and Melbourne haven’t produced half as much decent music as Perth. Sure, quantity wise, Sydney and Melbourne churn out heaps of B-grade music on a regular basis. And they have even produced the odd decent band, like, say, the Vines or Gelbison. But as far as quality for the size of the city, Perth is leading the way. Off the top of my head I can think of the Sleepy Jackson, the Panics, the Tigers, the Fergusons, Eskimo Joe and Red Jezebel. They're all quality acts, and better than most of the Sydney and Melbourne Triple J favourites like Gersey.
I have no idea why this is the case though...
posted by Tim Stevens | 7/22/2003 09:57:00 PM |
Entsch and Aurukun
Not long after I had posted about the Cape York alcohol plans, they was back in the news. An article in yesterday’s Australian included Noel Pearson’s criticism of fervent Howard supporter, Warren Entsch, following his decision to oppose the plans. It’s been said in the past - by Pearson, interestingly - that only the liberal left has trouble supporting restrictive plans, like the Aurukun plan. Pearson:
Federal Labor is dominated by what I call the progressivist intellectual middle stratum. They have played a role in achieving recognition of Aboriginal property rights, but the prejudice, social theories and thinking habits of left-leaning, liberally minded people make them unable to do anything further for Aboriginal people by attacking our real disadvantage factors.
The only answer to the epidemics of substance abuse that devastate our communities is organised intolerance of abusive behaviour. The late Professor Nils Bejerot pointed out that historically, substance abuse epidemics have been successfully cured without much in the way of research and voluntary rehabilitation. What can still save our communities is that a policy based on absolute intolerance of abuse gains credibility. In this situation, the progressivists tend to support policies that can only waste more precious time: further research, rehabilitation, harm minimisation, improved service delivery and so on.
Entsch’s opposition to the Cape York alcohol plans prove this is no longer correct. His reasons for opposing the plans, however, are quite different. Instead of concerns for individual rights and a desire to see less restrictive solutions used, Entsch’s problem is that the plans may restrict local business and their ability to make money out of people trapped in cycles of alcohol abuse. From the article:
Mr Pearson was particularly disappointed by federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch's opposition to alcohol restrictions at the Naprunum community, just south of Weipa, because the Liberal parliamentary secretary feared the measures would hurt business and tourism [...]
"How can you be outraged about violence one day and the next when the blackfellas want to get on top of the grog problem, complain that it's going to impact on tourism or stop people from camping on Aboriginal land with grog?" he said.
You can’t, I don’t think. I hardly think it’s too much to ask of Entsch to put considerations of Cape York children and other abused residents first. So here we have one of Howard’s strongest supporters opposing what is essentially ‘practical reconciliation’, the basis of Howard’s approach to indigenous issues.
I wonder, then, if Devine, Alblahblahblah, Sheehan or Paddy will include criticism of Entsch the next time they write a column cursing the left or Labor for not supporting 'practical' plans that would see an improvement in the life of Aboriginal people. I doubt it. I also wonder if they will praise Beattie for supporting the plans. I doubt this, also. Entsch and Howard will no doubt escape criticism.
posted by Tim Stevens | 7/15/2003 11:42:00 PM |
I've been unable to access John Quiggin's blog for week or so now. My browser freezes whenever I try to load it. No one else has said anything about it, so it looks like this problem is unique to me. If anyone knows any solutions to this problem, let me know...
posted by Tim Stevens | 7/15/2003 10:01:00 PM |
Juice Is Dead
Kaput. Finished. Gone. Last week the plug was pulled on the only half-decent newsstand music magazine in Australia, Juice.
"Juice's circulation has declined considerably over the past three years, and despite significant effort, has been unable to sustain a viable circulation," said group publisher Suzanne Monks.
Juice's circulation - once as high as 25,000 copies - is believed to have slipped to an unsustainable 5000 copies a month for the past two editions.
It’s true, Juice had become more commercial than it was in earlier versions. And it’s also true it was becoming a little like Cosmo for music nerds. But, still, it was an much needed alternative, with a local angle.
We need a local newsstand music magazine so I don’t have to buy Rolling Stone, which seem to get worse with every edition. Get to it, someone!
Still, if there’s one positive from this story, it’s that Juice’s fall in circulation coincided with its move towards a more commercial angle, which may discourage any future publications from doing the same. We don’t need a local version of the enemy.
posted by Tim Stevens | 7/15/2003 12:47:00 AM |
This Washington Post article reports that in the month since the RIAA announced it would be cracking down on file-sharing, there has been a 10% increase in the number of files shared:
"Forget about it, dude -- even genocidal litigation can't stop file sharers," said Wayne Rosso, president of Grokster, one of several systems that allow users to upload and download files -- many of which are unauthorized MP3 copies of songs published by the RIAA's member companies. Rosso said file-trading activity among Grokster users has increased by 10 percent in the past few days. Morpheus, another file-trading program, has seen similar growth.
So much for frightening people out of sharing. Via Rock Nerd.
posted by Tim Stevens | 7/07/2003 03:48:00 AM |
It's The Orthodoxy
It’s all about the orthodoxy, says Paul Kelly. A pre-Howard foreign policy orthodoxy is mentioned no less than six times in his article in the Weekend Australian:
The most vital conflict triggered by the Howard Government is over Australia's place in the world, where John Howard has broken sharply from the orthodoxy of decades...
The core issue in assessing the Howard-Downer policy is rarely confronted – they are assailed for breaking an orthodoxy, yet they are responding to a world far different from that of 1996, when the orthodoxy reached its peak...
The reaction against Howard and Downer arises from the power of the conventional wisdom they have defied, an orthodoxy built over 50 years that defined the conditions of Australian independence...
The orthodoxy reached its zenith under Keating in the mid '90s – and its most ambitious notion was engagement with Asia...
... Dick Woolcott, later to head the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and who, in his career and life, would become the finest expression of the orthodoxy.
I lost count of the number of times a foreign policy establishment was mentioned. This focus on the break from a pre-Howard foreign policy orthodoxy seems rather pointless to me; it says nothing of the merit of Howard’s foreign policy. Anyway, Howard has been kicking around for a while now, can we call Howard’s foreign policy the orthodoxy now? Or is it only the orthodoxy when lefty academics support it? Should we ignore the academics and intellectuals who support every Howard government move on foreign policy, who together make for a considerable establishment? It all becomes rather pointless and has little do with actual foreign policy. Which is why I don’t see why Paul Kelly places such importance on the breaking of a foreign policy orthodoxy.
posted by Tim Stevens | 7/07/2003 01:11:00 AM |
Parker on Weapons and the Nanny State
Until I can find the time to post something interesting of my own, I will link to Gareth Parker's excellent little post on weapons and everything-will-kill-you nanny statism:
People who fancy themselves as libertarians rail persistently against every stupid infringement on their right to harm themselves. A fair bit of the time, their outrage is warranted; think compulsory bicycle helmets in Western Australia, or speeding fines for travelling 3 km/h over the speed limit in Victoria. It's kind of like that Green Day song, Warning.
So, because we seem to get so many of these crazy, petty restrictions, when sensible proposals come along, like banning weapons that are designed solely to kill things, the railers dismiss them as yet another example of the state trampling needlessly on their rights.
I'm sorry, but there is absolutely no reason for people in Australia in the year 2003 to possess a crossbow. They are weapons, and don't even attract the "sporting shooters defence" like handguns seem to.
posted by Tim Stevens | 7/02/2003 09:10:00 PM |