Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Happy New Years Eve, I will blog tomorrow on how 2013 went and my plans and thoughts for 2014.

Here are my Top Ten Lists for 2013...according to me.

You can agree or disagree, happy to debate with you!

Top Ten Albums of the 2013

1. New - Paul McCartney
2. Wise up ghost - Elvis Costello and The Roots
3. All the little lights - Passenger
4. Push the sky away - Nick Cave
5. Baby et Lulu - self titled
6. Sugar Man soundtrack
7. New Day - David Bowie
8. I awake - Sarah Blasko
9. Volume 3 - She and Him
10. Theatre is evil - Amanda Palmer
NB Some of these were released earlier than 2013.
Top Ten Concerts of 2013
1. Leonard Cohen
2. Bruce Springsteen
3. Paul Simon
4. Deborah Conway and Willy Zygler
5. Sarah Blasko
6. Rufus Wainwright
7. Katie Noonan
8. Dan Sultan
9. Tim Rogers...if only for the stories
10. Oliver Mann
Top Ten Television Shows on 2013
1. Parks and recreation
2. Game of Thrones
3. Breaking Bad
4. Newsroom
5. House of Cards
6. Broadchurch
7. Girls
8. The Walking Dead
9. Rake
10. Call the Midwife
Honourable mentions to Homeland, Offspring, Boardwalk Empire, and Keating.
Top Ten DVDs of 2013
1. Perks of being a Wallflower
2. An education
3. Skylab
4. Seven Psychopaths
5. Take this waltz
6. Performance
7. Sound City
8. Tiny Furniture
9. Safety not guaranteed
10. Ruby Sparks
NB These are not all releases from 2013 just ones I watched during 2013.
Top Ten Films of 2013
1. Muscle Shoals/Django Unchained
2. Frances Ha
3. Before Midnight
4. Life of Pi
5. Camille Rewinds
6. Blue Jasmine
7. Silver Linings Playbook
8. Enough said
9. Les Miserables
10. About Time
Hon mentions: Behind the Candelabra, Paris Manhattan, Gravity, Argo and Amour. 
Special place to seeing North by Northwest on the big screen!
Top Ten Books of 2013
1. One Summer - Bill Bryson
2. Object of beauty - Steve Martin
3. Ocean at the end of the lane - Neil Gaiman
4. My mother was nuts - Penny Marshall
5. The Rose Project - Graeme Simsion
6. Sense of an ending - Julian Barnes
7. Am I black enough for you - Anita Heiss
8. Let's explore diabetes with owls - David Sedaris
9. All that I am - Anna Funder
10. Moranthology - Caitlin Moran
Honourable mention to 100 Years of Vanity Fair and The Wes Anderson Collection

Sunday, December 29, 2013


December, the final month of the year, the crazy month with lots of running around. Yep, it's been nuts for me too. It's been an up and down year and December was certainly representative of the year. I have to say at this late stage of the month and year I am exhausted and eager for the new year to commence. I personally have been ok, but loads of people around me have had their fair share of trauma and drama and I have done my best to be there and support those in need. That can undo you a little, but I wouldn't have it any other way. The key is having a little down time for yourself otherwise you will be no help.
1. Finish sorting my holiday photos
Yes, finally finished labeling ALL my 2012 holiday photos, and delivered copies to family. I'm starting to pop some up online and will even print some out for an album - I can add that to my list for 2014! 
4. Walk more and explore my own surroundings...there is so much I haven't seen in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and other areas nearby
Not done as much as I would like this month, but a few walks at work and green point. Also a lovely walk along the water/creek at Wickham and Maryville a few days ago. Must explore that area more, it was lovely. 

14. Whip my little backyard back into shape
I've spent a fair bit of time outside this month chopping back and tidying up outside and it is looking good.

16. Go to Hunter Valley Gardens...never been...really!!!
This is a big tick, I made it up there for their Christmas Lights Display, so I didn't get to see all the gardens, but enough. It was magnificent and I was thrilled to see it with my good friend C, and M and E.

19. Eat and drink out more/20. Get through my list of local restaurants and cafes
Yes, not a month goes by without a great feed, be it regular spots or somewhere new. This month Casa de Loco, which I can highly recommend. A very hip bar style Mexican Tapas right up the top of town. Excellent food and alcoholic beverages. We also dined at what is becoming our local family spot, The Royal Inn for both my father's and my birthdays. A work Christmas dinner at the Thai at Charlestown Square, Lake Mac Coffee at Peg's Cafe, and brunch at Hippos with S.

33. Go to lots of fun social events
This was mostly Christmas and lead up to Christmas events, but it was a busy month socially. I saw everyone I needed to see, even entertained a few times at Club Cathy. I also managed to see Bill Henson talk at Newcastle Art Gallery, check our Art Bazaar, and hosted David Astle at my work, for a morning of fun and intelligence.
34. Make sure those that mean the most to me know that they do
I spent a lot of time being there for family and friends this month. One friend in particular who is going through a truly traumatic time. It's the least I can do.

36. Take time to do nothing and daydream more often
Whilst being busy, I have had time to do nothing, daydream and contemplate life. This time of the year can do that to you, I have spent the time since Christmas thinking a lot. It is relaxing but can also be a bit unnerving.

I really loved the new Neko Case, The worse things get the harder I fight, the harder I fight the more I love you.

Matt Berry released a jazzy, bluesy, almost instrumental album, and it was very good as you would imagine, called Kill the wolf.

I listened to the Sugar Man soundtrack and some Bob Segar, both being my go to albums to listen to at work.

I continued to love the new Paul McCartney, New and loved the new Elvis Costello.


I finally finished The Help for my work bookclub and it was a grand ole read. Enjoyable, great characters, dramatic and funny with a sense of history underlying the storyline.

I listened to a Christian Dior biography on talking book, which I enjoyed.

I was very disappointed in a biography on Hedy Lamarr, it sold itself as more about her scientific background, she basically was an inventor and invented what became radio frequency and wifi as we know it today. Her invention was to scramble the radio frequencies of torpedos so the Germans wouldn't be able to detect the English weaponry. I figured that along with quite the respectable film career, it would be a rollicking feminist read. No! The writer regurgitated a lot of hearsay from others and not much about Hedy at all. We got the stock standard background bio, a little science and a little Hollywood. Very disappointing indeed.

I also read a great book of essays on Alfred Hitchcock, some interesting ideas and thoughts, but nothing I hadn't read over the years in other compilations. Though this was nicely presented and a nice refresher on the great man.


I went back to my childhood with S1 of Laverne and Shirley, and it was fabulous. Hadn't dated all that much, great comedy never really does.

I finally caught up on Homeland, S1 & 2, wow, just wow! Loved this, everyone talks about Carrie, but the actor that plays Brody is stunning, a more understated character and I guess harder to pull off a maniacal nice guy! I have not heard good things about S3, but will still check it out.

I also finished Breaking Bad, what a great show, one I followed from the beginning, on the advice of my friend V. Way before it was critically acclaimed, what a journey Vince Gilligan took us on. It ended perfectly, as only it could of. The Entire cast is a tour de force, and will be truly missed.

I have been working my way through The Office, with the final half of the final season to go it has been a great ride. I do prefer the UK version, but also feel the US one stands alone, a great ensemble cast, but they definitely missed Steve Carell in the final season.

I finished S2 of Once Upon A Time, I have mentioned this before and it is a show that gets better and better, but you need to pay attention and there are a LOT of characters.

Girls S2, was excellent, but just not quite as good as S1. I loved finding out more about the boys, but like SATC before it, or any other ensemble show, it works better when the girls are acting with each other. This season they were out do their own thing and maybe that's why it was not as good as S1. Having said that I still laughed out loud, and cried along with these vulnerable characters.

I loved the Lennon doco I saw on tele, lovely insight to his time in New York, great interviews too.

The other Doco that had me totally entranced was Keating. Oh my, our former PM, still has it, sex appeal, wit, intelligence and an arrogance only the very best leaders should have. It made me weep for what we don't have today (or possibly ever will again) and had me totally in his allure and charm! Well done ABC for continually giving us stylish and intellectual programs to view.

The Doctor Who Christmas Special was also a regeneration from Matt Smith to my beloved Peter Capaldi. The story was clunky and at times unnecessary, unsure the aging of Smith really worked, but the final scenes were fabulous and the quick jumpy regeneration made me jump. I can't wait to see what Capaldi will do with the role.

I watched The Help, as part of my Movie Book Club for work, it was a great film with great performances, but a watered down version of the book

I loved Tiny Furniture, the very indie film made by Lena Dunham prior to Girls, you can see the essence of the show in it, a excellent film.

The company you keep was an all star cast headed by Redford and Sarandan about a small group of 'terrorists' from the 70s, in hiding but slowly one by one being found out. It was a great premise and I enjoyed it, but found myself distracted by the cast.


I only saw one movie this month, my birthday movie The Hobbit: the desolation of Smaug. It was really good, I enjoyed it a lot, but like the first one it just didn't need the padding. The added extras and characters work, don't get me wrong, if you hadn't read the book you would know no better and having read the book I still think they pulled it off, but why? I still think this could have been 2 X 2ish hour long films. The best bits were Smaug of course, stunning and shiny, ferocious and gorgeous...just as I imagined from reading the book.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Halfway into December writing this and November seems to be very long ago. It was a month of ups and downs, highs and lows. I was also convalescing from Wisdom Tooth removal (all 4) so had plenty of down time towards the beginning of the month. But I still managed to pack in a huge amount of fun!
Let's see how I went with my 42 things first:
1. Finish sorting my holiday photos
Yes, I may even get this complete by the end of the year. It's been a big job, as there are a LOT of photos and being the good Librarian I am, I am being very precise in my labeling of them, which given my awful memory means a lot of research identifying things, which I find fascinating.
3. Have one night a week where I turn off all electronics and read
Oh boy, did I do this, mostly due to my convalescing, see my reading list below, and that is only the really good stuff!!!
4. Walk more and explore my own surroundings...there is so much I haven't seen in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and other areas nearby
A few walks at Green Point, an excursion up to Maitland and Morpeth, and one out to Lake Macquarie Art Gallery, where I had a little wander around the gardens there.

5. Read more of my own books. I tend to purchase these, but they get pushed aside for books I bring home from work
See 3 above and my list below!
Plus our November Bibliotweeps Book Club title was The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, a signed copy no less, from his author talk earlier in the year at Charlestown Library.
6. More live music - the very poor list above is very abnormal for me. I'm open to pretty much anything, though snooty about venues!
Bahahaha, well I tempted fate and went to see Leonard Cohen at the Vineyards, something I was always very snooty about...read my review here:

8. Don't let the things that usually bother me, irritate me too much
I had a lot of stuff out of my hands while I was recovering, and was in the most relaxed state, it was wonderful...mind you, that could have been the painkillers!
9. Go on a picnic, cannot remember the last one I had
I had a lovely impromptu picnic with my friend L at Leonard Cohen.
14. Whip my little backyard back into shape
I spent time at the beginning and end of the month gardening, very good for the soul. Is it in shape? I highly doubt it, but it helps keep me in sorta shape and good for my soul.

19. Eat and drink out more/20. Get through my list of local restaurants and cafes
After a couple of weeks on mash, and jelly and custard I was thrilled to tempt my taste buds again! I did manage a few very bad places like Coco Monde, and Euro on Darby. I also had a fabulous seafood platter at Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club for my BIL, M's birthday. Dined at the Morpeth Creperie with T and L, and celebrated C's birthday with Thai. Lunched on Pork Belly at The Royal Inn with J, and Fish and Chips at Murray's Beach Cafe with R and R. Our bookclub had dinner at our Bookclub venue, Talulahs, wow what divine food and cocktails.

22. Wash my car more often
I did this at the beginning of the month, woo hoo for me!
33. Go to lots of fun social events
Despite being housebound for a few weeks, I really made up for it the rest of the month! Morning teas, lunches and dinner with friends at all the above cafes and restaurants. Birthday and family celebrations. 
We had a marvelous weekend the first weekend in November, with the official opening of the Whiteley on Water exhibition at Newcastle Art gallery by none other than Wendy Whiteley herself. The amazing new sculpture, Black Totem II, or The Egg as it is known has been quite the draw card with people flocking to get an Egghead (a la the Leaning Tower of Pisa) and the exhibition itself is remarkable. The following day we returned to hear Wendy in conversation, an amazing afternoon, what a woman! I spoke to her briefly on the first day to thank her for donating the sculpture to Newcastle, she was beautiful. I didn't want to bother her, but my friend C made me! So glad she did, I have no idea why but I took her hand, she held my hold and looked me straight in then eyes, her dark blue eyes warm and kind, was one of those unforgettable moments in life! 


I ended the month by seeing another exhibit by another hero, Christo. This was at Lake Macquarie Art Gallery and was based around his wrapping at Little Bay in Sydney, but incorporated other etching and models of wraps elsewhere and some of his smaller pieces. Hard to capture what he created with Jean-Claude, but it was a great exhibition.

The final French Friday for the year was a great film, called, Poupoudidou (Nobody else but you). When A young woman who believes she is the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe turns up dead in a remote French town during winter, a crime novelist, Rousseau, stumbles across the story of a lifetime. The ruling is suicide, but as Rousseau investigates all sorts of intrigue unravels. I really enjoyed this film, which I admit was very different to most other French films.
J and I also saw Enough Said at the movies, a lovely mature aged romantic comedy starring the late James Gandalfini and the luminous Julia Louis-Dreyfus. They both lit up the big screen, with humour and drama, so lovely to see an intelligent film about romance.
L and I attend the Civic Theatre Subscription launch, a well attended affair with a decent program, much improved on last year, but still not hugely inspiring. Though there will be enough to make a sub from, so that is good.
I celebrated the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary with C, A and her family. We saw the Day of the Doctor in 3D on the big screen and it was wonderful.
L, A, D and I were dazzled by the performers at Empire in The Spiegeltent at Wheeler Place. A fun, adult, and astonishing circus type show in the round, hard to describe really, but the most wonderful evening. Jaw dropping acts and loads of laughs. 

And it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Club Cathy is decorated, with a new tree and some new decorations amongst the older ones. I do love Christmas. I did some Christmas shopping at the fabulous Twig and Moss and Morpeth, and went to the opening of Newcastle Mall Christmas one cold and wet Friday night, much shopping and frivolity was had with friends. I like to try and find unusual but local gifts if I can to give. Better than loosing IQ points by entering big shopping centres!

36. Take time to do nothing and daydream more often
During my convalesence I had plenty of time to sit, be still and daydream and it was wonderful. I slept a lot, sat and did nothing, read heaps and watched lots of DVDs, not much else I could do, and whilst I was pleased when it all ended and I could get moving again, I really enjoyed the down time. Good for the soul
Icons on vintage fashion: definitive designer classics at auction 1900-2000 by Penelope Blanckaert and Angele Rincheval Hernu. A stunning coffee table book with hundreds and hundreds of amazing frocks and ensembles over the years. Totally swoon worthy.
Brett Whiteley: art and life. Fabulous coffee table book with a few essays on his work, and Q and A with Wendy and LOTS of wonderful paintings arranged chronologically. Glorious!
Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger - a short story with divine illustrations about a Postman who falls in love with a Raven. Total fantasy but fantastic!
George Clooney's haircut and other cries for help by Richard Glover - A collection of his columns, interesting and humourous perspectives from a male point of view. It was an easy and fun read.
Sincerely: further adventures in the art of correspondence from Women of Letters created by Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire. Book 2 of these remarkable letters. For those that do not know, Marieke and Michaela invite women (and sometimes men) to write a letter and read them out on stage with literary salon in mind. This is a compilation of these letters, funny, sad, whimsical, and always fascinating. My favourites were Libbi Gorr's To my most treasured possession, her iphone and KK Juggy's To the moment I knew it was time to go home, about touring with Kiss. I loved Kate Miller-Heidke's love letter to her 12 year old self, and Patience Hodgson's to New York. Of the men, writing To the woman who changed my life, George Negus's letter to JB was stunning (JB = Jennifer Byrne), And Rhys Muldoon's was very sexy. Catherine Deveny's Apology letter was unapologetic as you can imagine. Angie Hart's heartbreaking but uplifting letter to her ex husband, was To the best decision I ever made, Deborah Conway's same was much funnier and about the bulldog her family made her buy. Helen Garner, spare as ever, wrote To the person I misjudged, a school teacher. But my favourite of all and the most surprising of subject matter was my hero, Ita Buttrose, writing To the life I could have lived...as an opera singer. Yes, Ita can sing opera, now that's something I'd love to hear!
Life is a gift: the zen of Bennett by Tony Bennett. This is an lovely and easy read with tales from Tony's life about music, performing, art and the people he met along the way and the lessons he has learned. A generous soul who seems to draw the most interesting people into his atmosphere, this is a great read and also includes his amazing drawings.
Cyndi Lauper: a memoir by Cyndi Lauper with Jancee Dunn. This is a great read, Cyndi's wit and strength shine through in her tales. A sassy chic with a supreme talent, Cyndi tells the stories of her life before, during and after fame. An easy but fun read, this tells all about her ride and the people she met along the way.
What came between by Patrick Cullen. Older novella, set in Newcastle between the earthquake and BHP closing, a lovely spare tale of melancholy, longing and loss between 3 very different couples living near each other on Laman Street. Evocative prose and knowingly real.
Me and Rory Macbeath - Richard Beasley - excellent coming of age story set in Adelaide in 1977 about a Scottish family who come to live in young Jake's street and the life changing events that follow. It had a great sense of place, person and children during that era, very evocative!
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. I was lucky enough to meet Graeme at a book reading at Charlestown Library earlier in the year, on Valentine's Day no less. This was only moments before The Rosie Project hit it big. It was the most fascinating evening with him being a gracious, quirky and interesting speaker. It has taken me this long to read the book, unsure why, I have the signed copy I bought on the night. I saved it for the final Bibliotweeps Book Club of the year and just love it. It is an easy read, a page turner, yet it stays with you and makes you think think think about those around you and what they may be feeling or suffering and how they appear. Let us not judge, but love. It is a story of a man in his late 30s in search of a wife, he has issues, it is never really said what, though he is likely a candidate for aspergers. He, Don, creates a survey that he feels will bring him the perfect wife but life doesn't always go to plan no matter how meticulously you plan it. I shall say not more, ultimately a romance story, but that is purely the backdrop, this book is much smarter than that. Just do yourself a favour and go and read The Rosie Project, it's the best thing you'll do all year!
In the car I've been listening to Bill Bryson's One Summer which I made an early call on for my book of the year, read here about it:


Music - DVDs
10cc in Concert, recorded I think in 2007 and wonderful. They sound amazing! I loved the section in the middle of the concert where they play songs Graham Gouldman wrote for others in the 60s. I think I did know this, but had forgotten, his versions of Bus Stop, No Milk Today, and For Your Love were wonderful. But the show stopper for me was I'm Not In Love, this sounded exactly like the original recording, a surefire example of talent not sliding, it brought tears to my eyes as it always does! They ended with a solid rocking of Rubber Bullets, brilliant!
ELO - Out of the Blue, Live at Wembley. Filmed in 1978 at their height, this was an awesome display of lights, lasers, satin, white suits, big hair and beards, and flamboyant string playing! At times some of the songs didn't quite play out as well as the record, I guess they were tightly produced. But the one, two, three of Sweet Talkin' Woman, Mr Blue Sky and Do Ya towards the end of the show was quite simply perfection!
Pink Floyd: the story of Wish You Were Here - this is a great doco on the making of this seminal album. With interviews of all the key players and special time devoted to their absent friend, Syd. Not only are songs and music dissected but the album cover and history of the band. A must see for fans.
DVDS - television
Choccywoccydoodah S 1 & 2- I am not a fan of reality TV and certainly not cooking ones, however this amazing show about behind the scenes of the most amazing chocolate cake shop in Brighton is pure addiction! The 30min episodes revolve around usually 2 cakes, often for celebrities or special events and the talented artists cooking and decorating these masterpieces. Love!
Power Games - finally caught up with this as I missed it on television. Great mini series about the Packer Murdoch wars. Patrick Brammall and Lachy Hulme as Murdoch and Packer were outstanding!
Hemingway and Gellhorn - this was only ok, I struggled, Kidman annoyed me and Clive Owen looked like Tom Hanks with glasses, I adore Hemingway, or at least his writing and this fell short...severely.
Charley Boorman's extreme frontiers: South Africa. Charley is off on his motorcycle again and this time in South Africa. I do like his natural charm and ability to chat to anyone about anything, this is a great journey showing the beauty and horror of South Africa.
Call the midwife S2 - dare I say, this was better than S1. An utterly delightful and beautifully produced series about Midwives working in the London suburbs in the 1950s. Not normally my type of subject matter, but this is outstanding drama and highly addictive. S1 is being replayed at present, check it out if you haven't seen it. 
The walking dead S3 - Holy Crap, this up the ante and then some this season. One of the grossest (those walkers are getting so bad a friend said he feels like he needs a shower after watching them!) yet most compelling shows around. Fabulous and endearing characters and brilliant writing, if you can get your head around the zombies, this is why they invented the phrase, "must see TV".
House of Cards S1 - Wow, this is brilliant. I have always loved Kevin Spacey and when he plays bad he is the best and this show about his stepped over senator and all he will do to get on in Washington is Machiavellian and compelling. Robin Wright as his stoic above all wife also creepy. Again, must see TV, cannot wait for S2.
DVDs - movies
Performance - this was a magnificent drama about a string quartet about to celebrate their 25th anniversary. But everything falls apart around them when their 'leader" and celloist Christopher Walken (whom I just adore!) is diagnosed with possible Parkinsons. The other three, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener, a couple, and Mark Ivanir also have their own dramas and the quartet looks likely to implode. This brilliant drama is backdropped by Winter in New York and the most wonderful classical tunes. The performances in Performance were stellar and I loved the movie. Highly recommend!
An education - I loved this film so much, I cannot believe it has taken me this long to see it. Carey Mulligan is an absolute star in this, the tale of a smart school girl swept off her feet but an older and charming man. She has to decide between an education with him, so beguiling and classical, or an education traditionally by schooling. I was so drawn in by this and so guarded in what I thought she should do. Surely this was all to good to be true, without giving away the ending, it is a stunning story with heartbreak and beauty. An absolute must see.
I've been listening to the new Franz Ferdinand and Birdie, both which I loved and the album by Eddie Perfect and Tripod redoing classics was really good.
The new Paul McCartney called New is outstanding, coming in at No 4 on Rolling Stone's albums of the year is no surprise if you have listened to it. A return to form with Beatle and Wings like tracks, a youngish sound and quite simply, great tracks all round.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Year in Music: 1994

1994 was outstanding in terms of music, such range and brilliance. 

Post grunge and rock were the thing with Shine by Collective Soul, Nine Inch Nails and Closer, Undone (The Sweater song) by Weezer, and Soundgarden's biggie, Black Hole Sun. In Australia The Cruel Sea and Better Get A Lawyer Son, Nick Cave's Do You Love Me, and the rise of Silverchair began with Tomorrow. The King and Queen had hits with About a Girl (Nirvana) and Miss World (Hole). My favourite of all was Beck, with Beercan and Loser.

And then there was The Beastie Boys with Sabotage.

Women were kicking ass and/or sounding gorgeous with Mazzy Star's Fade into You. Kristin Hersh released her stunning debut single, Your Ghost (backing vocals courtesy of one Michael Stipe!). Rebecca Barnard formed Rebecca's Empire and Atomic Electric. Neneh Cherry was collaborating with Youssou N'Dour on 7 Seconds. Kiwi girls Sisters Underground unleashed their hip hop/soul single In the Neighbourhood. And Kylie was on the 'comeback' with Confide in Me.


Springsteen had a hit with the stunning, Streets of Philadelphia and Bon Jovi made us swoon with Forever. Oasis and Blur began their rise. Oasis with Definitely Maybe and the hits Rock n Roll Star, Shaker Maker and Live Forever and Blur with Parklife and Girls and Boys. At this point I like them both and there was no competition.

REM released Monster, with the monster hit, What's the frequency Kenneth? My favourites from the album are Strange Currencies and Tongue. Both are interesting subject matter, but really showcase the remarkable voice of Michael Stipe.

My Top 5 are:

Laid - James
Raunchy with an irresistible pop tune and great guitar riff, I loved, loved, loved this and I still do!

All I Wanna Do - Sheryl Crow
My theme song now and my theme song then...I mean what's life for if not for fun?

Voodoo People - Prodigy
I'm not a huge electronic music fan, but I loved this mad tune!

Glory Box - Portishead
Dummy was one of my favourite albums and the hypnotic pull of Glory Box with it's strong lyrics had me from the get go. Of course, I can never think about Portishead without thinking about the British TV show This Life and Milly locked in the bathroom soaking in the tub listening to them and freaking poor Egg out long before he was being freaked out by walkers in The Walking Dead!

Last Goodbye - Jeff Buckley
1994 belonged to Grace and Jeff Buckley.

Grace is one of my favourite albums, every song a gem, a truly romantic and beautiful album. His voice like a fragile angel, that could crack and break at any moment. His demise is nothing short of legend and tragedy combined, and the mystique it created adds to the beauty of his art.

Buckley's version of Hallelujah is stunning and unique, there is no doubt about it, but my favourite song is Last Goodbye. In fact, it is one of my all time favourite songs, I never tire of listening to it, it will always raise the hair on the back of my neck and bring a tear to my eye...these are good things!!

It starts like a true mid 90s rock song, very grungy, but then it surprises you with his vulnerable voice, fragile and tender, and builds with the upset and pleading of the subject. Then it soars with the strings and his wailing leading into the chord change and bridge...perfection.


The Year in Music: 1992-1993

Catching up on a few years that have popped up on my friend V's music lists.
The biggie was Eric Clapton with Tears in Heaven, which was a sweet and sad song...initially...but by the 100th bazillion playing on radio it was ruined for me, and by the time Rob Sitch's Mike Moore played it with such earnest irony on Frontline it became a bit of a joke. Which I guess is sad given it's subject matter. Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody got a re-run due to Wayne's World and "that" scene. As did John Paul Young's, Love is in the Air (Strictly Ballroom).
There were some great novelty songs, such as Detachable Penis by King Missile, Dizzy by Vic Reeves and Wonder Stuff and Right Said Fred with I'm Too Sexy!!
In the funk, hip hop and dance categories, Prince was still on a roll with Diamonds and Pearls. Salt 'n' Pepa wanted to talk about Sex, and En Vogue My Lovin'. Stereo MC's were Connected, and Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy told us Television was the Drug of the Nation.
There were some great ballads with Annie Lennox releasing Why off her debut album, Diva. Others included Stay by Shakespear's Sister, Goodbye by The Sundays, Saltwater by Julian Lennon and To be With You by Mr Big.
My favourite songs of the year were, in no particular order:
Man on the Moon by REM
This is one of my favourite songs from REM, and about Andy Kaufman. Years later the title (and song) would be used for the Jim Carrey film, which I love! Stipe's humourous but good Elvis impression in the lyric, "hey baby" never fails to amuse and impress. I love it's almost but not quite twangy country feel to the verse and the anthem like rock/pop feel chorus. Oh, and Stipe looks amazing in that white shirt and cowboy hat in the filmclip!
Friday I'm In Love - The Cure
I know everyone loves The Cure for their angsty, slit your wrists songs and I do too...to a certain degree. But they wrote and played some of the most delightful, perfect pop tunes and this is absolutely their best!
It's only the beginning - Deborah Conway
The first single off Deborah's debut album, String of Pearls, is pop perfection. Her voice never sounded better, clearer or stronger, the lyrics are wonderful and the whole song sounds great. This song always takes me back to a certain time in my life that just makes me smile.
The way I made you feel - Ed Kuepper
The clear, strong and stunning guitar opening to this piece is also perfection. This was the big single from the amazing Honey Steals Gold, which I played and played and played. Ed never sounded better, but this was brilliant. You never hear stuff like this anymore...shame.
Goin' out west - Tom Waits
From Bone Machine, possibly one of Tom's more accessible songs. It was my first experience with Tom and I was sold. It was the lyrics, "I know karate. Voodoo too" and the funky riff in the chorus. Hypnotic and sexy, that gravelly voice and the old school percussion. Not long after I saw him interviewed and I was a fan for life. Sometimes I think I love Tom more than his music. He is indeed an unique character!

And so the unusual and novelty songs kept coming with Dennis Leary singing about Assholes and Radiohead about Creeps. Shaggy was singing Oh Carolina, and Ace of Base had All That She Wants. Actually I really did not like this song, it irritated me AND it was then only song I heard that I 'knew" when I travelled through Africa later in the year...again and again and again!!!!!
The indie scene was blowing up big, The Breeders and Cannonball, Cranberries and Linger, Blind Melon and No Rain, and Ween with Push The Little Daisies.
I have to include Ween's video, hil-ar-i-ous!!! I tell you, whatever they were on, I want it!!!! Very odd, but a very funky guitar riff!
Speaking of being on something, Stoner Hip-hopers, Cypress Hill, had a hit with Insane in the Membrane and followed it up by sampling Dusty with Hits from the Bong. 

On the dance scene, Salt 'n' Pepa made us want to Shoop, Tony! Toni! Tone! sang If I Had No Loot, and everyone was dancing to Jamiroquai's Emergency on Planet Earth. The Pet Shop Boys covered The Village People's Go West. And even Kate Bush got funky with Rubberband Girl. 
Crowded House released Together Alone and my favourites were Private Universe and Distant Sun. Also in Australia, Dave Graney became the King of Pop with You're Just Too Hip Baby and The Honeymoon was Over brought us The Cruel Sea. Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly re-released From Little Things Big Things Grow as a duet (they had both written it and it had been on an earlier Kelly album) and it never charted!!!!

REM released Automatic for the People in 1992, but 1993 was the bigger year, with hits such as Nightswimming, Find the River, The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight and the huge one, Everybody Hurts.
U2 released Zooropa, with Stay, Numb, and Lemon being the released tracks.

Other big hits, Are You Gonna Go My Way from Lenny Kravitz, Killing in the Name Of by Rage Against the Machine, And 4 Non Blondes had the big power ballad, What's Up.

And then there was The Sharp, I really thought they were going to be the next big thing. They were an Australian Trio, with great harmonies and a Double Bass playing lead singer who was rather cute. I remember seeing them at the Cambridge and they were far better live and thrilling to see. At the time I likened it to seeing The Beatles at the Cavern Club...I was just a kid, looking back on their clips it is rather funny. They aren't bad, not THAT good, lol!

My favourites for 1993 were:
San Francisco Days by Chris Issak
Title track from his 4th album. It's smooth and glorious. Chris has the sort of voice that would be at home in the 50s and 60s. I remember playing this album over and over again. This song has a Hawaiian feel to it.
Human Behaviour by Bjork
This is one of those perfectly formed tunes. From the catchy percussion introduction with her note perfect Soprano voice sounding oh so sexy and sultry, it draws you in. The guitars slowly join the rhythm and the song builds beautifully. A song you can dance to and if you dare, sing along with. And just when you get into the rhythm, it backs off, slows down and quietens, until her voice bursts back in. And up and down it goes, seemingly unpredictable. Then add in a funky guitar riff, a slow down to almost nothing and back it goes again. I will never tire of this song. And I love the sorta bastardised Goldilocks and The Three Bears filmclip directed by Michael Gondry.
Trout by Nenah Cherry and Michael Stipe
I love this Sex Education duet by two of my favs, very cool and sexy. They sound great together.
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Stone Me Into the Groove - Atomic Swing
This is from their debut album, A Car Crash in Blue. They didn't last long, but apparently have recently reformed. They were Swedish and he was gorgeous, but I really loved his deep voice and the songs.
Cantaloop - US3
I loved this song (and the album it came from, Hand on the Torch) more than anything else this year. A Jazz fan and Herbie Hancock fan, some people thought this was a bit of bastardisation. I didn't, it was a great way to showcasing some very cool and funky music to people that might otherwise have not heard it. US3 sampled exclusively from Blue Note records (ALL the cool stuff) and this of course is from Hancock's Cantaloupe Island. Sublime to listen to and to dance to!!!! Funky Funky!!!!