Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Ocean Hearted Flood Relief Project: What we achieved

Well, this Lost Shark has been busier than usual this past month, but it has been the best kind of busy imaginable. I have now (just about) finished processing all of the orders received as part of the Ocean Hearted Flood Relief Project and I am thrilled to say, that the response has been staggeringly positive.

So far I have posted off 104 books, totalling a massive $1560 and on top of this, I also received a further $145 in extra donations. And of course, I pledged at the very beginning of this project to contribute $5 for every book sold, so I will be throwing in another $520, which brings the total to $2225.

I cannot thank enough, the 50+ people who got behind this project. Together, we have achieved something that I consider to be remarkable.

So from me and the many Queenslanders who will benefit from your generous support, I just want to say…

thank you, your hearts are the size of the ocean.

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The Thing!

On Thursday night I experienced The Thing, live at The Judith Wright Centre as part of their Syncretism series. And I mean experienced, physically!

From the moment Mats Gustafsson, blew the first savage breath into the mouthpiece of his baritone sax, my skin prickled and I was moving, laughing, hooting. Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten was plucking and slapping at his bass strings, at times, stretching them to the point of distortion while Paal Nilssen-Love was a flurry of syncopated rhythms and splashing cymbals.  They were out of the blocks faster than a rabbit on a greyhound track, playing for their lives, attacking their individual instruments with equal parts fire and dexterity and in the process redefining the possibility of wood, metal, muscle and breath. The joyous force these three men generated was transformative… the crowd surging along with them until the final silence. Simply put, it was a thrill!

Here’s a clip of the band playing live in Budapest. C’mon, give yourself over to The Thing:

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Australian Poetry & Song

So it’s Australia Day…

I am not one for all the nationalistic flag waving that seems to have taken a stronghold in our culture these days, in fact, I find it downright frightening.

I do, however, often celebrate the greatness of this country through poetry & song. So if you are looking for a good hit of Australian sounds today, here’s my tips:

I came across this fantastic archive of Australian & New Zealand poets reading their work as part of last year’s NZ Electronic Poetry Centre’s two-part symposium held in Auckland & Sydney. It features readings by some of our finest contemporary poets – Ken Bolton, Pam Brown, John Tranter, Peter Minter, Jill Jones & last year’s winner of the Val Vallis Award for an unpublished poem, Michelle Cahill. There’s plenty of good stuff to dive into… so head to the NZEPC Page and slip inside a poem or three.

And if it’s Australian songs you want… then here’s my big three:

More than any other album, The Triffids - Born Sandy Devotional, captures the vastness of Australia. Wide Open Road is such an important song… David McComb’s voice still grips my heart tightly and the band ache inside me. It is a song of longing… a song of distance & light.

I recall a schoolboy coming home/ through fields of cane/ to a house of tin and timber/ And in the sky/ a rain of falling cinders

Cattle & Cane is a song you can attach memories to, more like a painting than a story. With it’s elegant acoustic/electric arrangement and distinctively Australian lyric, it has become an important part of the fabric of our sonic landscape.

In 2008, Under the Milky Way was voted by a readers of The Weekend Australian as the best Australian song of the last 20 years.  The shimmering beauty of this song is timeless… a true classic. Am so looking forward to seeing the band play a special one off show – A Psychedelic Symphony - at the Sydney Opera House this April with the George Ellis Orchestra. 30 years and The Church are still looking forward…

And if you have not seen Steve Kilbey’s ARIA Hall-of-Fame acceptance speech, do yourself a favour. Pure brilliance!

So that’s my sounds of Australia… Enjoy!

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Rabbits in the Lights

The latest issue of Rabbit Light Movies is now live and streaming… If you have never indulged in the pleasures of Rabbit Lights, it is a journal of poemfilms, in many cases, showcasing the poet reading their work. There are some great readings in this latest issue.

Emily Kendall Frey’s opening line cracked me up:

You are so sad, you are actually broccoli

Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s poem claws at the stupidity of US Representative Betty Brown and Rachel Zolf’s, The Neighbour Procedure, is wonderfully strange.

And remember, it’s Sunday… stretch out into these poems. Let them lead you by the hand into their reality… don’t rush.

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Bob Dylan signs six book deal

Just this week, the Dylan rumour mill went into overdrive with the news that Bob has signed a six book deal with Simon & Schuster, two of which are rumoured to be the much anticipated follow ups to the stunning, Chronicles vol. 1. There is also talk that one of the books will collate material from Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour, which clocked up 100 shows over its three year stint. So that leaves three spaces… in reading recent articles I have come across comments such as, ‘let’s hope there’s nothing like the unreadable Tarantula.’ Well, I have to differ strongly in opinion to that… I can’t imagine Bob would be interested in repeating what he did with Tarantula, but I would love to read some revolutionary prose from the great man. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see what materialises…

In the meantime, if you are after a Bob fix, here’s a link to a killer show from 1965: Bob Dylan, Live at The Hollywood Bowl, 1965.

How does it feel…

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Writers On Rafts

The wonderful folk at QLD Writers Centre have banded together with local literary luminary, Rebecca Sparrow (The Girl Most Likely) to create the brilliant, Writers on Rafts project, to raise money for the Queensland Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal. More than 150 Australian authors, including Nick Earls, Tara Moss, Kate Morton, Mem Fox and this Lost Shark have climbed aboard the raft to pledge their support, offering prizes such as signed books, school/book club visits, manuscript appraisals and the opportunity to be immortalised in print by having a character named after you.

So how can you get on board you ask? Well, to enter Writers on Rafts go to http://www.writersonrafts.com

From there, you can purchase as many tickets as you like in as many categories as you want! Every ticket is one chance to win for a lucky person in every state and territory. And most importantly, every dollar goes directly to the Queensland Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal to help victims of the Queensland floods. The draw will be conducted on Friday February 25 and QWC’s goal is to raise $10,000 through Writers On Rafts.

So, if you can help out, please do… your support is precious in helping to raise much needed funds to support the victims of the Queensland floods.

And please… spread the word!

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Ocean Hearted Flood Relief Project Powers On

                                                           still water
                                                           every cloud turns
                                                           into a dead lamb

Thank you to everyone who has supported the Ocean Hearted Flood Relief Appeal. We are just a hair away from the $2000 mark now, and there are still six days to get behind this and lend a much needed hand… so, if you can dig deep, spread the word via your networks – both social and real – if you can shout the details from the roof top or whisper them into someone’s ear, your help would be greatly appreciated. Places like Rockhampton have experienced secondary flooding this week caused by serious storms, so there is still much to be done to rebuild this beautiful state of ours.

I will post full details of funds raised once the project closes on January 26.

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