Resident of Melbourne, Australia; on the run from Perth WA since 1996.

Listen Here

 Posted by
Apr 092020

Does anybody have a half-decent music podcast they can share?

My own diet, and it’s far from a rich one, includes the David Hepworth-hosted A Word in Your Ear podcast. It’s an irregular recording, usually with an author or musician, and is done in London. Chatty, informative and rarely outstays its welcome.

I’ve dropped in for a few sessions at Strong Songs, where the host pulls apart a well known tune to see what makes it tick. As I can’t read music, some of the more technical aspects of musical structure sail over my head.

What’s on your podcast download?

I’ve got time on my hands right now for a few good ones.

Aug 062010


Recently, Townsmen were invited to reflect on the following:

Will somebody please explain how and why washed-up rapper Wyclef Jean manages to show up at gigs like this? I have been flummoxed by his red carpet magnetism for years now. I just don’t get it.

And I have to say that I hadn’t given Wyclef Jean much thought up until then. Or after.

Until today, when this headline leapt at me from the pages of the Guardian:

Wyclef Jean confirms he will run for Haiti president

Wyclef Jean, the Haitian-born rap star who became one of the world’s most popular hip-hop artists, has told the Guardian that he will run for president of Haiti in the country’s November elections.

Somebody much wiser than me observed that greatest hits albums are like political careers: each tends to end in failure.

But clearly the guy has pull. Or thinks he does. Have any former – or practicing – musicians ever had a successful career in politics?

Jul 102010

Children’s books aren’t what they used to be. My daughter, for example, is reading the novel I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want To Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb. It’s story of Oliver Watson, an evil genius disguised as dorkish new boy who wants his father’s love and will do anything to get it. Yep, anything.

Even introduce middle grade kids to Captain Beefheart and Trout Mask Replica. Oliver explains to the reader why Beefheart was an evil genius:

…a musician so brilliant, so evil, he drove his own band insane. He would not let them eat. He would not let them sleep. He would not let them leave the house. He made them wear dresses (and they were not girls). He stripped them of their very names and subjected them to hours of abusive group-therapy sessions. When a dejected and desperate member of the Magic Band managed to escape the Captain’s clutches, Beefheart snatched him off the street and dragged him back to the practice studio.

It was cruel. Assuredly. Inhumane. Undoubtedly. Evil. Disgustingly so. And yet I defy you, today, to listen to Trout Mask Replica and say it was not worth it.

Being in step with the times, ie, aping Diary of A Wimpy Kid like mad, we also get a photo of Beefheart and the Magic Band in their pomp. And the cover of Trout Mask Replica. To a generation raised on Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber (whoever he is!), explaining Captain Beefheart isn’t easy.

Townsmen and Townswomen – how do you explain Captain Beefheart to a child of the 21st century? Where would you start? What song by Beefheart might best explain his strange magic? When I gave Doc At Radar Station a quick spin my daughter fled the room with ears covered.

May 152010

Last night my wife and I tottered down to our local hotel. To see a band that I have waited 18 years to see: The Chills, one of New Zealand’s finest exports and central to the Flying Nun story of the 1980s and ’90s.

The Chills have an incredible catalogue of songs to select from, although you could probably never say hand on heart that they had a bona fide ‘hit’. But what has always hit the spot, and did again last night is this thunderous, floor-shaking anthem “I Love My Leather Jacket.”


The song is a dedication to Martyn Bull, a drummer in The Chills, who died aged 22. The question Townsmen my wife wondered out loud is this. Is there a better song in memory of a departed friend than this one from The Chills?

Dec 032009


There have been a few performers who started life as music journalists. Not many have gone the other way but Robert Forster, co-founder of the Go-Betweens, has always been a little unorthodox. He has been making a name for himself as very fine writer about music and last month released a collection of reviews, essays, and fiction all about music.

It’s called 10 Rules of Rock and Roll.

Rules 10 through 6 have been hashed over these last few days. If you need a refresher, here they are:

10. The three-piece band is the purest form of rock and roll expression.
9. Great bands don’t have members making solo albums.
8. Every great artist hides behind his manager.
7. The guitarist who changes guitars on stage after every third number is showing you his guitar collection.
6. No band does anything new on stage after the first 20 minutes.

Following are rules 5 through 1, THE BIG PAYOFF I’ve promised! Drum roll, please!
Continue reading »

Sep 302009

In 1975, Bon Scott and the lads took their metal boogie to the streets of Melbourne. It’s A Long Way To the Top (if you wanna rock and roll) and the clip are key moments in Australian rock lore. So much so that a couple of years ago a laneway, Corporation Lane, was renamed AC/DC Lane.Then this week in Brisbane, 2000 miles to the north of Melbourne, a bridge was named in honour of The Go-Betweens, the band as much as any, catches the moods of the Queensland capital. The Hale Street Bridge is now The Go-Betweens Bridge. In their pomp, most of the band’s success was outside of Brisbane, and they wasted little time hitting the road for cities more receptive to their Velvets/Monkees/Richman/Television skinny pop thing.The question is, are there other places named in honour of a band or song?

Jul 292009

You were expecting Wham?

This afternoon I found myself back in the dentist’s chair. Part of my four-session, four-figure, root canal journey. It’s not all that pleasant to have the inside of a tooth filed clean. Even when it has been heavily sedated.

But the whole situation was made worse – much, much worse by the soundtrack. Dentists of course always want nice relaxing background music. Maybe some warbling [cough] r’n’b, or classic hits to hum along to as they drill and fill. Maybe a little Erik Satie. So what was the sound that had me begging for mercy in the dentist’s chair? Right now it is July. I am in Australia. The dental music of choice? It was “Last Christmas,” by Wham. Yes, during root canal.

The question is, have Town Hall members had similar inappropriate music moments?

(Please note: I spared you a link to any video connected to any of the above.)


Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube