Sunday, March 31, 2013


I have been to a lot of live theatre and concerts over the years. The saying goes 'there's always one.' What has grown increasingly frustrating over recent years, is the 'one' has grown significantly and audiences are becoming ruder and more frustrating. 
So apologies before I continue, this is a cranky blog! Regular readers will know I try to keep things pleasant, upbeat and hopefully entertaining. But as I endure audiences to bring you most of my posts, sometimes things aren't pleasant and in the realms of disclosure, I am going to share honestly. So there may be language, there will be home truths and I have pulled on my cranky pants! 
Those that know me well, know this is a little (ok huge) bugbear of mine, so why now...well Easter Saturday was a great day, back to back movies and a double concert, but from these I was witness to some pretty shitty behaviour and whilst it did not completely ruin my experiences, they sure as hell would have been heightened without!
Let's start with the cinema, because audience behaviour there can be pretty awful too. Cut about 10mins to the end of Amour. A movie I might add that was quite incredibly sad, emotional and exhausting to sit through (though very good!). I noticed a couple climbing the stairs to where I was sitting with a friend. I thought it was odd I did not see them leave, but continued watching. No, they had never left, they were arriving for the NEXT film!?! The choose the row in front of us....there were 7 people in the cinema, all spread out! They shuffled along until they almost got to us, sat down, had a conversation and mucked about with their phones. My friend and I exchanged glances that pretty much equated to WTF!?! Well, mine certainly did! Then, they got up and shuffled to the very 2 seats directly in front of us. How I did not smash the backs of their head I have no idea...I really mean that. The credits rolled, I wiped away my tears (it was that kind of movie) and we stood up to move out, they apologised in case they had disturbed us. My friend told them they had ruined the end of the movie, they looked back with shock and as I stood gobsmacked at their utter rudeness, they looked at me with a bit of a how dare we comment. I gave them my very best fuck off and die look (if you know me, you know it is pretty awesome) and moved away. Had I opened my mouth, I would not have been as eloquent as my friend. As I walked away, In heard one say to the other, 'we said sorry, what is wrong with them.' Why would anyone behave like that, I have absolutely no idea, but it is becoming fairly normal and common behaviour from my observations!
Cut to an evening at Newcastle Entertainment Centre to see Rufus Wainwright and Paul Simon. First off, I have to disclose I am a fuckwit magnet at concerts, ask anyone who has been to a concert with me, without exception I always sit next to a complete twat! I've even experimented with friends either side, yeah that was REM where a douche spilled beer down my back from behind all night! So behind us at this concert were two loud women, who conducted a conversation rather loudly throughout the most of the concert. That was when they weren't singing very loudly off key or clapping out of time...give me strength!! I used my evil eye, my friend told them off on more than one occasion, they looked at us as if we were the idiots! At one point they told us to shut up! My friend said something about they are probably waiting outside for us, hmmm I wish! You don't piss me off at a concert! Of course these are the same people who when Rufus was doing a lovely introduction to his song about Jeff Buckley, said to each other, 'never heard of him'. WTF? As my friend A said, "philistines". Paul Simon covered Here comes the sun, the very same people were like that is a XXX song, thinking they were cool we didn't exactly get the band they were referring to, but it sure as hell wasn't The Beatles or George Harrison.
So here is my list of really uncool things to do at a live event, concert or audience based activity:

  • Constantly walk in and out of the concert/show while the performer is performing, we are all adults, go to the toilet before hand, if you cannot go a few hours without alcohol, STAY HOME. Seeing people stream in and out is embarrassing, what a waste of money. And how must the performer feel, seeing someone walk out during Paul Simon singing Sounds of Silence is inexplicable!
  • Don't be late, YES parking will be a bitch, leave time to find one, get to your seat before the performance starts, it's not brain science. Even better get there earlier, have your drink and conversation prior to the event, as opposed to during! 
  • If you are going to stand to dance (and please do, we want to enjoy), think about those around you, some people cannot stand due to health reasons and you would be a complete arsehole if you stood up in front of them. Sometimes the polite and correct thing to do is jiggle about in your seat. If you cannot handle this, purchase tickets for GA or don't come.
  • It is not cool to talk through any performance where you are in an audience of people you don't know, or even with those you do. By doing this you are pissing everyone off around you AND everyone can hear what you are saying...and (trust me) it's never anything that makes you look smart or interesting!
  • If the venue (in my experiences a cinema) is quiet or almost empty, you don't have to sit on top of the only other person there. I mean, seriously, what is wrong with people that do that???
  • If the phone rings, don't answer it and have a conversation. Surely by now you know how to silence or vibrate it. If you are waiting for an important phone call, possible an audience based activity it NOT where you should be.
  • If you need to really do leave a live venue during the performance, then do so as discretely as possible
  • if you are eating or drinking, try to do so as quietly as you can, especially in the movies.
  • Denim Jeans at the theatre, or shudder the Sydney Opera House, are not cool...ever!
  • Taking photos and videos are par for the course these days, but be mindful of those around you and check the venue's rules first...or be discreet!

Now, here are music gigs specifics. These are just wrong, on so many levels:

  • if you are at a Stevie nicks concert, don't yell out for Christine McVie songs
  • if you are at a Dave Stewart concert, don't ask where is Annie
  • Don't wear the band t-shirt to the band, it's poor form. If you must, wear one you just purchase over regular clothes (you still look like a dick, just less of one)
  • Fancy, shiny, stiletto type shoes at a rock concert are not cool unless you can move at ease up and down stairs in still look like you might be 'with' the band, if you get my drift, but maybe we'll appreciate that...maybe, probably not, but you know, some people can't be told
  • Women, you are going to a rock concert, not the Oscars, dress the venue and band
  • if you are not into the support act, sit quietly and meditate or leave, cause some people might like them
  • If you get all jiggity when you drink, don't hold full glasses of beer behind people
  • if you are going to eat crappy, smelly food before attending a gig, please don't burp during the gig
  • if you decide to be cool and dance down the front, don't do it in front of someone who is sitting down in the front row! Yes, they got the good tickets (maybe for the first time ever) and do not need some twit jigging up and down and ruining the moment.
  • if you decide to be cool and dance down the front, be sure you actually can dance cool!
  • if you are going to get up on stage with Australian rock and roll royalty, and you are over a certain age (in this case I think 60) please wear a bra, especially if you are wearing a strapless dress,
  • (Sidebar: this rule is a basic fashion a LOT of people seem to be breaking lately, they may as well be running around naked!)
  • if you are at a venue that is a bit classier and seated and people are more chilled, we don't need you downing 10 drinks to everyone else's 1 so that you run around the venue off your tit, showing your tits and being a twit!
  • If you are going to buy 4 beers at once to drink just for you, please don't leave the on the floor, cause if you're drinking that many at once, chances are you are shitfaced and will kick them over, and I will be sitting next to you and it will look like I wet myself and also wreck my shoes...arsehole!
  • don't wait till the quiet, sensitive moment in the concert to yell something out to the will always sound moronic!
  • if someone is trying to move through the crowd, let them through
  • if you are really tall or wearing a hat, check to ensure someone smaller is not behind you and you are not blocking their view

Seriously, I have seen all of this and more, I do not understand this behaviour, is it a Newcastle thing? Is it just how people are now? It has certainly shifted over then years.

I am not going to apologise to any who may take offense with this, it is written with tongue in cheek but meant with a fair dosing of reality, if you don't get it, nothing much must bother you and I wish I could be the same, but I'm not made that way! But honestly, the behaviour of a lot of the above is simply rude and is definitely disrespectful to the artists 'you' have (often) paid a lot of money to see.

Pretty sure I am preaching to the converted here, just venting and eager to hear your own stories of inappropriate audience behaviour???


Sunday, March 24, 2013


See this iconic album cover, I stared at it for hours and hours, daydreaming about dancing in the dark with the singer, Bruce Springsteen...and you know, perving at that bottom!
I was 13.
Now almost 30 years later, I finally got to see him perform at Allphones Arena at Sydney Olympic Park.
Whenever you (I) go to a gig, there is anticipation, the bigger the gig, the more beloved the artist, the larger the anticipation. Then, there is expectations, will they play this song or that? And I, as for most things in life, have high expectations!
It is very easy to be disappointed. 
I was not only not disappointed, but the evening exceeded my expectations...quite significantly.
Our seats were in the nosebleed section, back row to the right of the stage, looking down to the stage. They were incredibly steep, and my Vertigo set in immediately. I could barely move, let alone dance, but in time it disappeared...phew!
He started at a little after 7.30 and finished at nearly 11pm. He was on stage the entire time, bar maybe 2 mins before the encore. That is 3hrs and about 15mins of sheer entertainment! Oh, and the man is 63!! No mean feat!
So the lights went down, the crowd got excited and out came Bruce...the crowd roared. Brooooooce...which kinda sounds like booing, but of course it wasn't. As he walked out he already had the crowd in the palm of his hand. He was solo, in black with a vest. He played an acoustic version of Devils and Dust as a tribute to 10 years since the Iraq War. It was powerful and haunting, and along with my overwhelming excitement I got a little bit emotional...ok, I blubbered.
Once the brilliant E-Street Band joined him, things started to rock. I don't think I have ever seen such energy on stage before, with the exception of Prince and possibly The Rolling Stones. And whilst the band were on fire, mostly it came from Bruce, he put every fibre of his heart and soul into the evening, and the crowd loved it. And the more the crowd loved it, the more he loved it, and the more he put into it. I've NEVER seen anything quite so outstanding before. 
A huge range of songs were played, 27 in total, and there was a perfect mix of new tracks, hits, and album tracks. Of course he can't play everything with a back catalogue such as his, but by god, he gave it a pretty good go! I really wanted him to play Badlands, Born to Run, The Ghost of Tom Joad, Atlantic City and Hungry Heart. I got the first three, but there were some surprises. I love Because the Night, I just never thought he would sing it - but he did and it was magnificent. A song written for Darkness on the Edge of Town, he was never satisfied with it, so excluded it, and then spent time with Patti Smith (another hero) and rewrote it with her, it became her song. I thought he would shy away from Born in the USA tracks, but we got 5 and then there was the fabulous Detroit Medley, a heady mix of covers from the 50s...awesome!!
Of course, there's also The E-Street Band, a great band, some who have been with him forever, some brand new. For me it was bittersweet, without the presence of Clarence Big Man Clemons, Steve Van Zandt and Miss Patti I was worried. I have no idea where Patti and SVZ were, and why they were not touring. Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine, took over guitars. He is a great guitarist, and whilst no SVZ, he added a bit of an extra rock appeal to the evening, with a sublime nod to Hendrix with some teeth gnawing plays!!
Since the passing of Clemons I worried about his replacement, how would they find someone good enough (forget great) to do all those sax solos. Well, they have, in the name of Jake Clemons, Clarence's nephew, a hulking, funky, young dude, who more than easily pulled off those sections. It gave me chills, he obviously spent a lot of time with his uncle learning the ropes. In the last song, Tenth Avenue Freeze out, there was a lovely tribute on screen to Clarence and to Danny Federici. The love Bruce has for his band is equal to the love he has for his music and his audience.
And speaking of the audience, this show was really all about us! Some artists put on a great show, and sound fantastic but there is heart and soul missing, this was never going to happen here. However, I was completely unprepared for how gobsmackingly joyous he would be, and how much he interacted with us, the  audience, the crowd! He was genuinely loving every moment, the more the crowd went wild, the more he gave. He came out into the crowd early, 7 songs in at Out on the Street, along the side of the GA section, and to a slightly lifted corridor in the middle, singing, and hugging and shaking hands of his adoring fans. Then he turned his back on the GA, and flipped backwards into them to be crowdsurfed back to the stage, singing as he was to be seen!

He took signs off the crowd, and played their song requests. One lady, had used an art flipchart to request her song with some other funny things written within, Bruce read it all out and promised her she could dance in the dark with him later...the crowd went wild! She, I imagine, almost fainted!! Later, towards the end of Dancing in the Dark, she was escorted onto the stage to dance with him. The Courteney Cox moment all us girls wish we could have. It was brilliant, he always does this, but presumably with younger, model types. She was lovely, but neither of those, a true fan and we all beamed for her experience!!
Then later in the evening, I think during Waitin' on a Sunny Day, the cameras panned to a young boy, about 12 I'd reckon, on the shoulders of his father, jigging and singing along. Bruce plucked him out of the audience and handed him the mic, he shyly sung some lines and Bruce encouraged him to dance along, he then took him up to the back of the stage and danced and chatted, then they went down to the front section again and ran along the stage to do a knee much fun, the kid was old enough to get it, but young enough not to be phased. Bruce was loving every minute of it.
This love and interaction, with the audience and band including using every part of the stage to address every part of the audience, was what really made the show. Such energy and spirit lifted everyone through the roof of the stadium. It was a natural high, one everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. I realised that night, he is called The Boss for a reason, a reason you don't wholly realise until you see him live. 
As he left the stage at the end of the final song, he was drenched in sweat and water, he looked like there was nothing left to give, although he looked happy, satisfied he had given it all. We all left on a high, with countless earworms going round in our heads, thankful and appreciating the experience.
Setlist, Wednesday, 20 March, 2013
1. Devils & Dust (solo acoustic) (Devils and Dust)
2. Last to Die (solo acoustic) (Magic)
3. The Ties That Bind (The River)
4. Darkness On The Edge of Town (Darkness on the Edge of Town)
5. Wrecking Ball (Wrecking Ball)
6. Death To My Hometown (Wrecking Ball)
7. Out In The Street (The River)
8. Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street? (Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ)
9. The Promised Land (request) (Darkness on the Edge of Town)
10. Cover Me (request) (Born in the USA)
11. No Surrender (request) (Born in the USA)
12. I'm On Fire (request) (Born in the USA)
13. My City Of Ruins (The Rising)
14. High Hopes (Blood Brothers, cover - The Havalinas)
15. Because The Night (Co-written with Patti Smith)
16. Open All Night (Nebraska)
17. Shackled & Drawn (Wrecking Ball)
18. Waitin' On A Sunny Day (The Rising)
19. Lonesome Day (The Rising)
20. The Ghost of Tom Joad (The Ghost of Tom Joad)
21. Badlands (Darkness on the Edge of Town)

22. Jungleland (Born to Run)
23. Born To Run (Born to Run)
24. Bobby Jean (Born in the USA)
25. Dancing In The Dark (Born in the USA)
26. Detroit Medley
27. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out (Born to Run)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

February Round Up

Well and truly into March and I'm just now writing my February Round Up!!
That's because February was huge.
First off, how am I going with my 42 things:
4. Walk more and explore my own surroundings
Before the weather went a bit mental, I was walking in Belmont at lot. There are some great walks around the Green Point area which I highly recommend. A beautiful part of the world, as you can see in this photo. The large tree by itself is my favourite tree ever. I've also been walking around Swansea at lunch and after work.

6. More Live Music
Yes!! T and I hit The Great Northern for a dance and to see King Tide. King Tide are an awesome Dub Step/Reggae band. A mix of old school reggae, ska and dub step and very cool. I have always loved reggae and ska, so this was a blast from the past for sure. Great Northern (and the now defunct East Room) part of my stomping ground as a teen in my 20s.
7. Go on a picnic
Yes, L and I got through a picnic and the film without being rained out (ok we got soaked leaving, but that was after it finished) atop of Nobbys mid month.
13. Write more, post on my blog more regularly
I have been enjoying writing more. I don't profess to a great writer, nor am I trained to be one. However, I get a lot of enjoyment out of it, and it is for me and me alone...but if others enjoy it, that makes me smile to. I have guest blogged for ABC and Anita Heiss over the past month, plus upped the ante on my own blog and been doing some other project writing. Good for the soul.
15. Spend more time outdoors
I've been trying, a nocturnal, indoors creature by nature, this goes against my being. I hate the heat and wind and not great with critters, but as you can see by 4 I have been trying! The wet weather hasn't helped!
17. Mini Breaks to my favourite places and try new ones
I like the mid north coast, plenty of places to get to relatively easy. I used to visit Port Macquarie a lot when staying with my grandparents, who lived in Wauchope, and have ducked into Port on my way up the coast. But, I have never stayed there. So I met L halfway for a girls weekend. This was the nasty weather weekend, where parts of Port were flooded and they had to evacuate! Luckily we stayed closer to the beach on the hill at The Observatory Hotel. Highly recommend The Observatory, we had an apartment, reasonably priced and spacious with a nice view of the beach...well, when it wasn't raining! Despite the weather, we still had a great time catching up, drinking, eating, shopping and relaxing. Poor L got stuck there some additional days, we will try and book our next trip around bad weather!!

 18. Pamper myself more
L and I treated ourselves to an afternoon at a day spa whilst in Port Macquarie. Long overdue and sublime. Starting with a foot massage (feet carry your body, so important to look after them), then a body massage, then a facial. 2 hours later we slipped out of there feeling a little zonked the best possible way of course.
19. Eat and drink out more/20. Get through my list of local restaurants and cafes
Whilst in Port Macquarie, L and I ate very well, for breakfast, lunch and especially dinner. Amazing 3 course meals with fab wine, champagne and cocktails both nights. Also tried the Thai at Charlestown Square (outside) and had breakfast at Peg's Cafe, Whitebridge - highly recommend both. Went to a few cafes for hot chocolate (don't drink coffee) and cake, and thoroughly enjoyed champagne and Hors D'oeuvres at The Civic Subscription launch.
26. Go to the Farmers markets regularly
Only made it once as I was away at Port Macquarie for the second one. Got a range of goodies and treated myself to some Lillies.
30. Say no
Yes, a few times and yes, it still feels good!
31. Have fun and laugh more at work.
Been busy and there has been a few moments during February where you wonder why? However, the fun and good I do as a Librarian and watching my fabulous team evolve make it worthwhile and yes there has been fun and laughter.

33. Go to lots of fun social events
Well, that's a given. Aside from everything I have already mentioned, I was lucky to hear Graeme Simsion talk about his book, The Rosie Project, at Charlestown Library. The book is now No. 1 in! There was the Subscription Season Launch at The Civic Theatre which was held backstage. Family dinners, lots of movies, and The Oscars.
41. Have more fun
Ha ha, for sure!!
Secondly, here are some other things I squeezed in to an already packed month!
I watched Decoy Bride (with David Tennant and Kelly McDonald, both of whom I love), Seeking a friend at the end of the world (with Keira Knightly, whom I really cannot stand and Steve Carell, whom I love) and Friends with kids (large cast), they were all ok, wouldn't rave though. Also Rock of Ages, which was even more crap than I thought I would be.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, which starred Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor, both can do no wrong in my books, and it was delightful, definite recommend. And finally Beasts of the Southern Wild - WOW, just wow, it is a hard one to describe. It views like a documentary, but is not, set in Louisiana in 'the basin', it is about an African American Community post Katrina, their life and their struggles. The young actress who plays Hushpuppy was magnificent. She was nominated for Best Actress at The Academy Awards. I can't recommend this enough, it's a must see!!
Loving Series 3 of Downton Abbey, yes it is a soap opera, but I am sucked in, why not!?! Finally caught the second half of Smash. It has gotten so so reviews, but I think it's great. Set behind the scenes of Broadway, about the staging of a musical about Marilyn Monroe. The songs are magnificent, the cast great, the bitchiness and backstage antics fascinating. Debra Messing is great, as is Angelica Huston - she should be in everything, such gravitas! And then there is Jack Davenport, a love since the brilliant This Life, he can do no wrong, especially when he is playing a bad boy. Looking forward to Season 2.
Being Oscar month, there was much to see.
I saw Les Miserables, and cried and sung my way through it. I was sitting isolated by myself! Hathaway was magnificent, Jackman was solid, but his pitchy singing let him down and I loved Crowe, he was perfect for the role as bad boy and his singing was spot on. Entire cast magnificent, but really with those songs and Hugo's story, you can't go wrong.
I loved Django Unchained, I adore Quentin and his offbeat world. The first half was as close to perfection as you could get, it got a little muddled and messy in the second half, but that is Quentin. Waltz stole the show, from the amazing cinematography and great soundtrack.
Again, I adored Silver Linings Playbook. (so many great films!) A little film, that had so much love, heart and honesty. Stellar acting and a great end. Plus Jennifer Lawrence acting De Niro (in a fine return to form) off the screen.
Finally Lincoln, with an outstanding performance from Daniel Day Lewis, he had the Oscar as soon as casting was announced. Fabulous supporting cast, great story, and while the first half was slow, the second half was indeed the pay off. Dare I say a killer ending!?!
The Giants was the film L and I saw at the Outdoor Cinema, a modern French film about 2 youngish boy who are essentially homeless. Filmed in the beautiful French countryside, which made the grittiness of their situation stand out even more. As the boys get themselves into more and more trouble, you become invested in their ending. Very bleak with a few uplifting moments, I thought this was a great film too.
I only read one book in Feb, which is dreadful. But I was busy. However, it was a great book. Caitlin Moran's latest, Moranthology. I love Caitlin's sass, style and humour. She is a journalist and commentator, and Moranthology is a collection of articles she has written for various journals and newspapers over the years. She writes about music, film, politics, sociology, her family (especially her long suffering husband) and well, anything that amuses her. I loved her article on the greatest film of all time, according to her, Ghostbusters. She also loves Doctor Who and the Sherlock Holmes reboot, so there are a few articles dedicated to that. A hilarious one is where she asks if Rihanna owns a cardigan. but my two favourites were one on Paul McCartney and one on Libraries. She describes Libraries as cathedrals of our souls, a firm supporter of Libraries, this article is a love letter to the thing I how can I not love her. She, like me (we do seem to have a lot in common!), also adores Paul McCartney, and hilariously gets to meet and interview him. It made me tear up and laugh. If you like things I like, you will love this ;)
The new Nick Cave was the soundtrack for my road trip to Port Macquarie, it is excellent, but really, I expected no less.
Listened a lot to Rogers sings Rogerstein, the latest Tim Rogers. Had this for a while, but really got into it, I love his melancholy. More on Tim for the March Round Up!
And finally, a fabulous album by a 'new' group, Baby et Lulu. Baby et Lulu are Abby Dobson of Leonardo's Bride and Lara Goodridge from Fourplay. Both are bands I adore, and both have stunning voices. So to hear them sing a lot of my French faves is mind blowing. I have just about worn this one out already!
That's all folks...