Saturday, January 30, 2010


I have stashed away a whole bundle of tickets in a hard to get place, so am relying on my diaries which are not always up-to-date or readable and will attempt to do year by year with brief notes. This is more for my records than your pleasure, but will welcome any additions from those who attended programs with me, Cathy xoxo

SPICKS AND SPECKS SHOW - Tuesday 8 January, Civic Theatre

This was a grave disappointment - they tried to be Rockwiz and take audience members from the Newcastle audience (you can just imagine). What works in cool Melbourne with real rock fans does not work for an ABC audience in Newcastle - it was more than embarassing. It was fun to see Myf, Adam and Alan in the flesh and it was not all bad, but the audience participation -something I have never been a fan of in any way, shape or form (I am paying YOU to entertain me, not the other way around!!!!!!) - just spoilt it. The things that make S&S are the guests they have on and the repoire between them all, not necessarily the music or the questions.

THE POLICE - Thursday 24 January, ACER Arena

This was brilliant, although I was initially worried. A huge fan back in the day I adored The Police and have all their records/tapes. Sting still sounds ok, but what about the others, can they pull it all off, especially in such a large arena. I need not have been worried. We had great seats which was pleasing and after a very bizarre support of Fergie (what the fuck??????) they came on. The feeling in the air was electric. Boom straight into Message in a bottle. What I loved the most was it was just the three of them on stage (all in their 60s), looking great and sounding fantastic!!! No extra guitars or keyboards to pad things out - not needed. The set list was beyond impressive, although I missed Canary in a coalmine. Every song a hit, every song you knew - I was on air for days after. Set list is as follows (thank god for the net!)

  • Message in a bottle - fabulous
  • Synchroncity II - a surprise, it had been a while and I had forgotten that song even existed, shame!
  • Walking on the moon - good (overrated)
  • Voices inside my head/When the world is running down - nearly crapped myself, LOVED these, sooooo fabulous
  • Don't stand so close to me - reworked, ok
  • Driven to tears -great
  • Hole in my life - we went off, goes without saying!!!!
  • Every little thing she does is magic -another overrated song, but went over well
  • Wrapped around your finger - highlight of the night - HAD to be seen to be believed, Copeland recreated the percussion in this in a magical cavalcade of mastery and perfection, he lept from drumkit to percussion set like a pro and the percussion set was unlike any I had ever seen, how ONE man created that sound (EXACTLY like the record) with all those instruments without ever missing a single beat, I will never know, honestly the most amazing thing I think I have EVER seen on!!!!!
  • Can't stand losing you/Regatta de blanc - woo hoo
  • Roxanne -the one song I could have done without, but was pretty good, excellent lighting used with pulsing reds
  • Encore of King of Pain (glorious), So Lonely (yeahhh!!!) and Every breath you take (and amusing comments from Sting re people who STILL do not get this song and think it is a love song. tsk, tsk)
  • Encore 2 of Next to you - How bloody cool to end with that, could not get it out of my head and that is a very good thing!!!!

THE CLUB - Wednesday 5 March - Civic Theatre

This was an unexpected one, as scored some freebies and it was brilliant. Love all Williamson, most especially the early stuff and had seen a local version of this many years ago, this had the old dude from Blue Heelers in it (never watched that show, not a fan of Australian 'popular' drama) and I was concerned, but he was fabulous. Worth seeing and funny how all the 'politics' in it have not changed a bit over the years.

WAITING FOR GODOT - Saturday 29 March - Playhouse

Never seen Godot and let's face it, it can be a boring play. This was a great version with fantastic and mesmerising performances, the second half still ran a little long, but all in all was excellent.

CIRCUS OZ - Saturday 19 April - Civic Theatre

My second time back in Oz and again a magnificent treat - one of Krista's (MGF) last performances as MC - she was formidable and always had me transfixed, as an MC should, not sure how they will go without her. A lot of scenes and stunts recreated from last time- but still a pleasure to watch, that feeling when your heart is in your throat is amazing, they are amazing. Love the acrobatics, especially with the musical instruments. Some new stunts and all in all a great show. I suppose the only thing was not having the feeling of seeing them for the first time (which obviously is a one time thing) - such a pleasant surprise and a wonderfully stunning feeling.

KEATING, THE MUSICAL! - Saturday 24 April - Civic Theatre

What can be said about this, that has not been said before. The most unique, amusing and fantastic thing I had seen in a long, long time. We had excellent seats, close up (3rd row I think). The music was tight, the style of song suited the theme perfectly and the lyrics hilarious and plain clever. The acting, dancing and singing note perfect. People you had forgotten about, phrases and situations brought back to the fore. Perfect as Keating was...perfect :) Serio as Hawke (and Howard) possibly better. My sides hurt, the tunes ran in my head, I just did not want it to end, BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!

THE HAPPY PRINCE - Friday 13 June - Playhouse

Was for children, but we had a blast - just the right length, beautifully staged, with performers, puppets, shadow puppets, and so forth. Just hit the right note of humour and melancholy as the book does. I really enjoyed this production.

AS YOU LIKE IT - Saturday 28 June - Civic Theatre

This was a great performance and almost sold me again on Bell Shakespeare (until this year!).

YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING - Saturday 19 July - Civic Theatre

I had been waiting in anticipation of this when I first heard it was coming to Newcastle with Robin Nevin directed by Cate Blanchet. I had read the memoir by Joan Didion when it first came out, being a fan of her writing and all. She is America's Helen Garner - honest, spare and brilliant. It is the memoir of dealing with her husband's (writer John Dunne and brother of Dominque, whom I adore and miss terribly - at least they are together now) sudden illness and subsequent death and almost simultaneously a similar situation with their daughter. Whilst it sounds a bleak and awful sumise (and at times it is) this is the most beautifully and honest written book. I was curious to see how it would translate on stage (I felt it could be done) as a one woman show. I was thrilled at how raw and honest yet so warm and appealing it was. Nevin was a tour de force, we were laughing one minute and choking back tears the next, it was never cliched or hooey, always smart and highly intelligent, the book and the woman were lovingly recreated. I have heard someone is adapting Garner's The Spare Room in a similar fashion, I hope so. Both should be read as companion pieces - masterpieces of great female literature!

STEVEN BERKOFF - Wednesday 27 August - Civic Theatre

Acclaimed British actor did 2 (or 3??) short plays in this one man show - he was convincing and held the audience in the palm of his aging hand, as you would only expect. He did deep and scary Poe, a hilarious english take on drunks and their dogs and I thought a third, but just cannot recall. Was a joy to see the master at the top of his game - amazing!

THE PRODUCERS - Friday 19 September - Civic Theatre

I love this play, I loved the movie, Mel Brooks is my hero! I have seen excerpts of the Lane/Broderick phenomonen on TV. It was on when I was in NYC in 2001, you could not get tickets for love nor money, I hung around the theatre just to soak up the fabulousness of it all. Mary and I saw the aussie production in Melbourne a year or so earlier - it was magnificent. This was not, in all honesty, it was not too bad, but against the forementioned pedigree, it never had a hope in hell. Lovely Melinda Smith the newsreader as sexy Ulla (although she did not do too bad to her credit) was never going to pull it off. If you had no knowledge of the above, you would say they did a good job and I suppose they did. I knew it was a bad move when I got the tickets, always trust your gut!!!

THE PITCH - Saturday 27 September - Civic Theatre

All I can remember is laughing a lot at this funny local play about pitching a movie idea!

THE WHITLAMS - Saturday 4 October - 16s

Have seen The Whitlams a few times before and Tim Freedman do a solo show also. They are a great band, but lets face it, it's all about Tim. The 16s is always a 'challenging' venue to go to, Bogan City I call it, lots of boozed up, ageing bogans, mostly behaving innapropriately...I digress!!!

This was a best of tour and that it was, every song you want. My favs are I Like Hamburgers and You sound like Louis Burdett. The place was rocking and jumping, had a great time. Peter and Mary attended, I believe Mary was heavily pregnant with Luke!

ULTRA SWING LOUNGE - Saturday 25 October - Civic Theatre

As always a classy event to see, but each year it seems to dip a little, nothing like the first time I saw them (that review will be coming soon so stay tuned). The big band was good, the singing and dancing good and if you had never seen them before you would be blown away. They seem to downsize ever so little each year and it needs to be a big thing - it is swing after all. The new guy was pretty good, incredibly young, but I missed the blonde guy - his humour was better than the others, and whilst his voice was certainly the weakest, his showmanship was probably the mind, I will still see them every time...better than most things you see!

THE RED SHOES - Saturday 15 November - Civic Theatre

My recollection of this Ballet is very hazy, suffice to say I remember enjoying the performance of this classic ballet movie.

ROGER MOORE BOOK LAUNCH - Tuesday 18 November - Hayden Orpheum Cinemas, Cremorne

Very exciting to see 007 in the flesh in this special event which was a promotion/book signing for his memoir. He looked good for his age (late 70s I think) and was interviewed by the wonderful David Stratton. They showed Bond clips and he spoke about film, acting and all sorts of things. He was very engaging and a delight to see. It was not a long event, but really worth it to see a screen legend in the flesh.

And then there was the Hayden - I had never been there before and was instantly in love. The set of cinemas are refurbished in Art Deco style with lavish lighting and colour and curtains and so forth - to be seen. Very grand and lush - owned by none other than Mike Walsh. The main cinema has a beautiful old organ which comes up through the stage floor and is played prior to the film. The gentleman who plays it is fabulous and played a selection of Bond themes leading up to Roger arriving. Then it disappears below as he is playing and the floor goes back across the pit seemingly missing the top of head (while he is still playing) by mms. Again to be seen!

MONET EXHIBITION - Thursday 27 November - Sydney Art Gallery

This was most disappointing, the paintings were lesser paintings (and not good ones) and the other impressionists gathered in the exhibition were few and far between. Got the thing done in around 30minutes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


LOCATION: Civic Theatre, Newcastle

DATE: Friday 23 October, 2009

WITH: Mary, Keryl

What a blast this was, my first Wharf Review, not sure why I have not seen one before, but cannot wait for the next. So much happens, what talented, clever and witty people they are. All the politics (and other bits, but mostly politics) were set to fast, flashy music - things you would know. The first section was the Rudd Government and others set to Harry Potter, incredibly clever and very funny. My ribs and cheeks hurt from the get go, not a person was spared, past and present.

I would do no justice is trying to retell any of the gags, but they were funny. There were Supremes numbers, a bit of Cohen, standards, you name it - the songs chosen and the lyrics changed suited each position. There was film and sight gags, lots of dress ups and great singing and playing. I for one will be back this year.


LOCATION: Civic Theatre, Newcastle

DATE: Saturday 22 August, 2009

WITH: Keryl

This was the most wonderful program from the Sydney Dance Company, a contemporary piece with mixed styles of dance. It began most dramatically with a muscular dancer in a classic suit high up on a swing above the Civic stage. He was miming to a very theatrical but jazzy song. It was lush and sexy, amusing and cheeky, contemporary yet classic and you knew immediately this was not going to be an ordinary evening of dance.

I have not attended much dance, and have a preference for classic ballet; I would find it hard to believe anyone could not have enjoyed this. The group were a range of sizes, shapes and styles, male and female; their costumes were stunning, bold colours, muted tones, very modern yet at times with a classic edge. They danced to dramatic jazz and classic style music, nothing I really knew, yet at once very familiar and listenable. The stage design was spare and the lighting just right, there was humour and pathos and loads of talent. I did not want this
to end, it was perfect.

Friday, January 15, 2010


LOCATION: Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

DATE: Saturday 28 March, 2009

WITH: Amanda, Karen, Malcolm, Lachlan, Charlotte

We had such a fun family day this warm, sunny Saturday back in March. We met at the Powerhouse, Amanda is a Star Wars fan and subsequently Lachlan also is a fan. The exhibition was pretty good, for all ages. Lots of geeky techo stuff and lots of hands on good for adults to play with and enjoy and good for inquisitive little hands to check out. There was heaps of actual costumes and props and ships and so forth. Lochie got to check out Luke Skywalkers pod and have a go on a simulated vehicle of a similar nature. Charlotte was rather fascinated by the simulator and rightly gave another kid a mouthful of cranky when they got in her way! We saw Darth Vader, Chewie and Yoda amongst others. There was a small stage show with robots and R2-D2 which was great, but a little long for the littlies. Then there was the shop!! Not sure what excited us more the exhibit or the toys to take home. Day continued with lunch at Darling Harbour in the park, then a trip to the Maritime Museum. Mal and Lochie enjoyed a tour of the ships in the harbour, us girls chose to sit in the sun and chill. The museum itself was also very entertaining for all of us.


LOCATION: Civic Theatre, Newcastle

DATE: Saturday 18 April, 2009

WITH: Mary

The Seed was Mary's choice and she convinced me to come along, and I am so glad that I did. This was extraordinary and powerful. A young girl and her father travel to his homeland of Ireland to visit his father. The father is a Vietnam vet, the grandfather an old toughie who may or may not have worked with the IRA and the daughter has serious issues of her own which unravel as the play continues. Each one of these actors were rounded, brilliant and touching. You found yourself laughing one minute and bawling the next. The actress playing the daughter wrote the play and it is semi-autobiographical. How she manages performance after performance is nothing short of amazing. Mary really related to the "Irishness" of the story, but you did not have to be Irish to enjoy it. This was truly powerful and one of the best plays I have seen in a long, long time.


LOCATION: Playhouse, Newcastle

DATE: Saturday, 13 June, 2009

WITH: Mary

This was a great little play by local theatre company. Set around a youth centre and school, an amateur filmmaker is making a documentary about teens and their feelings. The film maker uncovers more drama than expected with a missing teen and another's relationship with an older teacher/politcal figure. The acting was great and passionate and the filmmaker was actually filming on stage which added extra dimension and tension to the play. It was incredibly funny but also very harsh and confronting.

The B-52s


How I love these guys, the costumes, the hair, the oddness. I could have included Rock Lobster, or Quiche Lorraine or Planet Claire or even Love Shack but that would have been obvious. I choose the songs that back why I really love these guys, great pop sensibilities with really soaring harmonies and vocals. Their new album is not bad, they still have it, never seen them live, shame, not sure how they would be these days, they do look a little botoxed, but hopefully they sound ok!

TRACK EIGHT: Deadbeat Club
Both tracks are from my favourite album, Cosmic Thing. The harmonies are high and lush, the beat addictive on this one. Highly listenable and makes you get up and dance.

A little rockier, but still perfect pop. This is a standout, "hip to hip, rockin' through the wilderness" - yes please! Not normally a fan of 'clapping' in songs, a bit wanky, but I always clap with the claps in this one.



Pat Benetar was great, so rock and so 80s. Her songs were rocky and good, but the chosen track just stands out and takes you back in an instant.

TRACK SEVEN: Love is a Battlefield
Starts off with that very 80s drum (possibly machine?) and keyboards riff. Then there is the spoken/sung starting lyrics: "We are young, heartache to heartache we stand, no promises, no demands love is a battlefield", then those fabulous strong, woah, woah, woahs. And the forceful "We are strong", her voice is on fire here, yet vulnerable. Had me hooked from the start, but that just keeps you there, determined and rough, cool and rockin'!!! And then there was the dance, come on, you KNOW you know it!!!!



Love Belle and Sebastian, they are perfect pop I think. Have all their albums and just always feel light and breezy listening to them. I discovered them back in the about 2003 when Dear Catastophe Waitress came out. Both tracks are from this album and they are the tracks that sold me on them. I knew I was on to something good when soon after Rory Gilmore was wearing a Belle and Sebastian t-shirt on an episode of The Gilmore Girls. (Man, I miss that show...wished I was a Gilmore Girl, I know I would hold my own!) Isn't it funny how when you discover something new, you had never heard of up until that moment and then all of a sudden they are referenced seemingly everywhere you look?

TRACK FIVE: Step into my office, baby
This is quirky and jumpy and and goes between that style and cute little sweet sections, it works. The lyrics are amusing, " Your place or mine", " a chance of overtime". Ha! I also like the groovin' slow section towards the end that cruises back into the jumpy bits.

TRACK SIX: Wrapped up in books
This is another pop gem , fast rhythm, sweet lyrics, slow bridge, lovely piano, good guitar , great vocals. And there are not many songs that reference books, "our aspirations are wrapped up in books."



Not much to say about the brothers, I have no idea if they really are even brothers. I have their best of and it is not bad, a few other good tracks, but the selected tune stands out head and shoulders above the rest.

TRACK FOUR: Let your love flow
I love, love, love this song, it is one of those songs that really makes me smile. It always reminds me of those early, heady days of new love, the sentiment may be a little hokey, but thats kinda how you (I?) feel. Great, clear open guitar playing and great harmonies, I do love singing this one. It is a little bit country, but I love a little bit country. It is unoffensive and sweet, but in the right way!



Ok, I only picked one track from the kings of Disco, what was I thinking? I think it was just difficult to single more than one out, I love the early stuff like To love somebody and Massachusetts and all the Saturday Night Fever tracks and even later ones like Tragedy and You win again. I think I remember thinking I could not choose and just stuck with my favourite.

TRACK THREE: You should be dancin'
Great beginning with that thumping bass line and then the funky guitar and then those amazing vocals, fast and high. Then there is the brass section - unexpected and it totally works. This song is guaranteed to get you on the dance floor, every, single time! And if you don't - there IS something wrong with you!



I like Beck and understand he is an acquired taste, but he is clever and funky and well, cute! I have also always been amused his last name is Hansen and didn't he come out around the same time as that kiddie group Hansen? I secretly think he is the older, hipper brother they disowned, he he...

From the opening riff you are hooked, well I am! It's a funky guitar and a great bass line. His lyrics are always a 10 course meal, they take time to digest, Beer Can is no exception. It is a funky song, "just shakes your boots and let it all hang loose." His songs definately have heaps of samples and experimentation in them, which make them difficult to add to mix tapes, I think Beck needs to be heard with Beck. So that is why it worked out well to begin this disc with him. And to paraphrase that old Woody Allen saying, I prefer the older stuff.

TRACK TWO: Devil's Haircut
Love the reverb on this one, again funky, great rhythm and more inspired lyrics. His singing is almost monotone on this and it really works. Then it ends with the mad distorted, almost Waits like vocals, fabulous!


1. Beck - Beercan

2. Beck - Devil's haircut

3. Bee Gees - You should be dancin'

4. The Bellamy Brothers - Let your love flow

5. Belle and Sebastian - Step into my office, baby

6. Belle and Sebastian - Wrapped up in books

7. Pat Benetar - Love is a battlefield

8. B-52s - Deadbeat Club

9. B-52s - Roam

10. Bjork - Human Behaviour

11. Black Sorrows - Daughters of glory

12. Black Sorrows - Hold on to me

13. Blondie - In the flesh

14. Bon Jovi - Always

15. Bon Jovi - Bad Medicine

16. David Bowie - Man who sold the world

17. David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust

18. David Bowie - Starman

19. David Bowie - Golden Years