Sunday, June 28, 2009


As mentioned last time Triple J's Hottest 100 has been a hot topic of conversation in my social circles. It's what happens when you hang out with as many music nerds as I do. Yesterday I was with Princess helping her prepare for her son Birdie's first birthday party today (Happy Birthday Bird). We compared what we had put on our lists, and what we had left off and our reasons for both. One thing led to another, and well, you know how it goes, I now have my top 120 songs of all time.



And this is just with a couple of hours thought and a broadband connection. Given time I'm not sure if I could keep it under 200.

So, if you're not interested in popular music I wouldn't bother visiting this site for at least a fortnight, maybe more. Because I'm gonna list every one of those 120. And I've been thinking about how to list them. Should it be by date, or by the club that I was going to when I first heard them, which is also sort of chronological (Lost In Space 1988-2001, Time Tunnel 1990-1992, Slumberland 1993-1997 etc). Or it could be by country, or label, or producer. Then I realised I'm starting to sound like that guy from the High Fidelity book/movie. So they're just here alphabetically by song title.

They do date me though. I've just turn 38, so I was in high school in the mid-80s and university in the late 80s/early 90s, and now at the end of the naughties am buying much less music than I used to, but there are a few contemporary tracks in here. They feel a bit like interlopers in a list of records that I've loved for decades.

But 1-10 are

1. 10:15 - The Cure
It's quite appropriate that the Cure are first cab off the rank. In 1986 I was in grade 10, and up to then had listened to whatever Count Down told me to. By this time The Cure had lost a bit of their edge, but their Head on the Door album opened up a new world to me. Admittedly that world was Goth and it all got a bit weird for a while, but it taught me that if I was able to ignore the radio and the charts there were fantastic artists writing music that I could relate to - ie not about beautiful blond boys falling in love with blue eyed girls. But music about not fitting in, and not liking yourself and suspecting that most of the people in this world are dickheads. Like I said - Goth.

2. A Fairytale of New York - The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl
Kirsty MacColl died when she was decapitated by a boat propeller while swimming somewhere in South America (or was it South Africa? Answers on Back of a Post Card). This is the best Christmas Carol ever written.

3. Another Girl Another Planet - The Only Ones
A sentimental favourite. Always on the turn table at Lost in Space.

4. Ant Music- Adam and the Ants
For the percussion. And the ants. Unplug the Jukebox

5. Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken - Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
I'm not sure if Lloyd Cole won international success, or if it was just groups of fay euro-centric arts students, but the boys all wanted to be Lloyd Cole and the girls all wanted to fall for Lloyd but have him tell them that it would never work out because it would just distract them from his time with Keats.

6. At First Sight - The Stems
From Perth. Sweet, delicate pop music in a way Australians specialise. Who would have though a national of convicts, hoons and AFL players could write tunes so utterly heartbreaking!

7. Atomic - Blondi
For the riffs

8. Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor - Arctic Monkeys
The new Jesus and Mary Chain? Gruff, rough but oh so very catchy. First single from their first album, although the second album was stronger. Still contenders?

9. Big on Love - The Models
Coincidentally just after I finished putting my list together I turned on Rock Wiz to find Sean Kelly to be one of the guests (although he sang I Feel Motion, another cracker). From a period, thanks probably to Mushroom Records, when Australia really did have a thriving, home kept pop industry with solid bands turning out great tracks that also made the charts. I suspect it's harder for the kids these days

10. Bittersweet - The Hoodoo Gurus
See above. Seriously - is Brad Shepherd the coolest man ever to hold a guitar. swoon

Sunday, June 21, 2009

another list, but this one has rhythm

Polling is on for the Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time. This event is bound to cause heated front bar discussions, pointing of fingers and thumping of tables. At least it has in my world in the last couple of days.

So to bear my soul, wear my heart on my sleeve in a way that could not be any more meaningful, here are the ten songs that I was able to narrow down to my top 10. Some are classics, some are new favourites and some are in here just because of the way they changed the musical landscape.

In no particular order:

1. Joy Division - Transmission
2. Arcade Fire - Neighbourhood #1
3. Bob Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone
4. The Go-Betweens - Bye Bye Pride
5. My Bloody Valentine - You Made Me Realise
6. Okkervil River - Black
7. Pavement - Loretta's Scars
8. The Pixies - Hey
9. The Saints - Know Your Product
10. The Smiths - How Soon is Now

Left, heart bleeding on the cutting room floor:
The Cure - 10.15
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Henry Lee
The Stone Roses - Bye Bye Badman
Jesus and Mary Chain - Happy When It Rains
Leonard Cohen - So Long Marianne
Jeff Buckley - Last Goodbye
The Charlatans - Only One I Know
The Beatles - Day in the Life
Iggy Pop - Lust For Life
The Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated
The Go! Team - Bottle Rocket
Husker Du - Don't Want to Know
Happy Mondays - Wrote For Luck

... and many more.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

when i was a lass - or grumpy old woman post 163

Last night, after a long day of feeling mighty poorly, I dropped one of the archaeologists from work who doesn't drive home (the faery archaeologist) and over a couple of drinks we decided that there needed to be an end-of-degree topic that covered all the general knowledge stuff that students these days don't seem to know about.

We came up with our top 10. Please bear in mind that these are very centred toward Dr A and my cultural backgrounds, but are all events/concepts that we have recently found evidence to show our Gen Y students know nothing about:

1. Kristallnacht (in fact most of WWII, or indeed WWI if we come to mention it)
2. Nefertiti
3. The difference between the students' cat and the student's cat
4. Indigenous Maritime Archaeology and the population of the Australian continent
5. Cultural Imperialism
6. The Boxer Rebellion and Opium Wars
7. The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union
8. The origins of the English language
9. How to make your own bread
10. Why we owe so much to the feminist movement

Yes, as I said these have a strong humanities bent to them, but that's what we spend our days talking to students about, so this is what we know they don't know. If you get my drift.

I'm sure if we worked in science there'd be tonnes of science things (and numeracy) issues for us to deal with there. Any additions to our list would be welcome. All we need to do now is get the university to let us run it.

PS: If you are a Gen Y'er who knows this stuff, good on you. Could you come and do one of the degress in our School please?! We'd like to raise the tone a little.

Monday, June 15, 2009

7 great things to do in shanghai

1. Visit the Jade Buddha Temple

2. Wonder at the marvels in the fabulous Shanghai Museum

3. Eat like the locals do

4. Be thankful you don't breath this air everyday

5. Get some acupuncture

6. Discover the chic and stylish artists compounds

7. Explore the laneways of the French Concession