A Day With Nothing Planned

There is something rather wonderful about waking up in the morning knowing that there is no urgency to get out of bed. You can simply lie there and watch the light brighten the room. For busy people these days are like gold. You can stretch and glory in the fact that you did not need to set the alarm; you might even want to turn over, hug your pillow and snooze for another half-an-hour.

Then you can have a leisurely breakfast while you unhurriedly read the paper and consider what you want to do with your time. If it is a nice day you might take a book outside and sit in the sun; if it is a cold day you might decide to stay in watch some television. Sometimes you might decide to stroll up the cinema and watch a movie in the middle of the day, or go down to the beach to swim in the glorious ocean.

Days where you have nothing planned give you time to think about things in a clear and undistracted way. They remind us of what a day is, and the fact that we often don’t appreciate how precious days are because we are so busy. Days with nothing planned is 24 hours of total ‘me’ time that is all your own. Treasure them.

Tule’s Law

We’re having an election campaign over here in Australia, so I thought it was time to revisit Tule’s Law

Tule’s Law

Professor Charles Tule has spent his long and distinguished career studying the political system and how the collegiate party system impacts the ability of the government to make decisions. The pinnacle of his career was the aptly named Tule’s Law. This law goes some way to explaining how viral ignorance manages to prevail in many circumstances.

It states that:

The total common sense of a group of politicians is equal to slightly less than half the sum of the common sense of each individual.

This law provides an explanation as to why a group of seemingly intelligent people can get together in parliament and come to conclusions that the rest of the population can see as unwise and stupid in the extreme.

Exhaustive testing of current debates, and research into debates and policy decisions of the last 100 years, has conclusively proven that this law stands the test of time. While further testing is underway, it is generally believed that this law will not be able to be challenged. Professor Tule is now carrying out further research to see if he can refine his theory to find out whether there is a critical mass where very large groups of politicians have the capacity to lose all common sense whatsoever.

Clowns

Some of my thoughts on politicians, recently publshed at http://www.ink-sweat-and-tears.com/ on 12 August (many thanks to Helen Ivory)

Clowns

Every few years we get the chance,
stroll down the road,
tick another box or two,
decide which toad
will screw us over for the next few,

break promises so easily made,
take junkets too,
raid our wallets with glee,
those well-dressed few
who spew smug platitudes and see

no shame in cat-calls, insults, petty
parliamentary
games – he said, she said. Lice!
You disgust me,
you clowns for whom we pay the price.

A Nameless Day

A Nameless Day

The distant murmur of combustion engines
accompanies chattering magpies
agitating for their daily feed;
all I want is another hour of sleep.

Sixty minutes later, the bus has me,
sitting under swaying acrid armpits
suffocating in the early morning cocktail
of sweat, diesel and over-applied perfume.

The morning meeting is the usual melee,
the slumped and downtrodden being kicked
by misguided managers with earnest expressions,
in turn being smothered by placid contempt.

The joyful escape to the refuge that is lunch
is met with the mid-day heat, sitting on me;
funneled by vicious constructed canyons
a gentle easterly scours my skin.

It’s days like these that send me to the verandah
spending the evening with Boags, enjoying the hops
slightly bitter, but sweet on my tongue,
my pen slicing through those hollow men.

Twenty 80’s Songs that Don’t Get Played Enough Anymore

Okay, this is not a definitive list and is in no particular order, but honestly, some of these should be played more – a lot more.

1. Understanding Jane – The Icicle Works: What can I say about the Icicle Works – good melodies, good lyrics, never played on radio, at least not here. This is even a tiny bit grungy before grunge existed…excellent in all respects. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXm12KFuEZM

2. Pink Sunshine – We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It: Fuzzbox, as they were known, were an indie band that went mainstream pop in the late 80s with singles like International Rescue, Self, and this one. Of course the sexy Victoria Perks’ perkiness helped too! This is pure unadulterated pop and it’s great. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_72Y9L7DAk

3. Badges, Posters, Stickers, & T-Shirts – Dire Straits: Something different for MK and his band. This is jazzy. It was the b-side of Private Investigations and is sadly little known and played even less, if at all.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28-nADaCGqs

4. Everything Good Is Bad – Westworld: This band had a hit with Sonic Boom Boy, but their cover of this song was their best in my opinion. They ramped up the guitars and let rip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujsh1nmQGuo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QOnP7Ui2Io this is the video but it cuts out – still, I like it

5. Mad World – Tears for Fears: Okay, so this may get played a little, but it was TFFs first single and their best, although Shout came close. It is dark and brilliant and I love it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFsHSHE-iJQ

6. Since Yesterday – Strawberry Switchblade: Lovely song from this Scottish duo. One hit wonders to the best of my knowledge with a distinctly 80’s electronic drum feel and plenty of synthesiser. What ever happened to them? Could easily be included in my Guilty Pleasures top 20 which is still under construction. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI3u1lOoH8o

7. Lebanon – Human League: Easily their best song for me. A bit of political commentary and an anti-war message mixed in with a kick-ass bass intro, some great guitar work and the line – ‘and who will have won once the soldiers have gone.’ Who indeed?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEsRYkRpySY

8. Major Tom (Coming Home) – Peter Schilling: A bit of Europop and what a bit it is. This is Peter Schilling’s homage to David Bowie’s Space Oddity and Ashes to Ashes singles. The soaring chorus really makes the song. Apparently the man is still performing around Europe – so good for him! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt-R5hj_lWM

9. Oblivious – Aztec Camera: This band had a couple of hits, notably Somewhere in my Heart, but this one didn’t make it far in the charts. In my opinion, though, it is their best song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B2Sc2G_5ZA

10. Blind Vision – Blancmange: Blancmange had three hits with Living on the Ceiling and Don’t Tell Me being the best known, but my favourite is this one. They also did a great version of The Day Before You Came originally a song by ABBA fame (they even got Agnetha to appear in their video). Blind Vision is synth pop at its very best. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YAvhMTgE8o

11. Can I Play With Madness – Iron Maiden: The 80s are not complete without Iron Maiden. They hit the big time with Run to the Hills, but this was their first No.1. It is a masterpiece of heavy metal and not a bad video either – if just a little bit corny. But hey – this was the 80s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9TZlh_ucZk

12. Imagination – Belouis Some: Another short-lived pop success who I believe may still be going. He had a hit with Some People (at least in the UK) but Imagination was far superior and has a great bass part in it. One of my favourite 80s songs.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyamU4m-WxU

13. Today – Talk Talk: Dark and fantastic from the Hollis brothers. They flirted with success and gained a good following, but first burst onto the scene with Talk Talk, Such a Shame, and Today. Their biggest hit was It’s My Life, more recently covered by Gwen Stefani. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ge-IFWGq-6o

14. Animal – Def Leppard: Hair rock. Yeah, there were others, but the boys from Sheffield took over the world with the album Hysteria, which spawned this single. I loved it when I first heard it, and then went off it – but it’s back and should be played more.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecFPU–vvf0

15. Mama – Genesis: A very dark song about a prostitute – the first single off Genesis IV and Phil Collins at his vocal best.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ccs2rt0oSzQ

16. Ship Building – Robert Wyatt: This haunting song by Elvis Costello during the Falklands War about the shipyards, building ships, and not coming back from war. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjUkjpJa6bY

17. Here Comes the Summer – The Undertones: Pure joy from these Belfast lads. Only 1:57 in length but full of energy and girls with long legs. One of my favourite – I even prefer it to Teenage Kicks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw_5xS8Uj8A

18. Ace of Spades – Motorhead: Yes – Lemmy’s biggest hit. The man as fired from Hawkwind and can’t sing but who gives a shit? This rocks! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iwC2QljLn4

19. A New England – Kirsty MacColl: A Billy Bragg song covered (with an added extra verse) to perfection by Kirsty MacColl. This was her biggest hit and never fails to energise me. Great voice too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4c2kO5ZE38

20. I Can Hear Your Heartbeat – Chris Rea: Chris Rea has a good following and is now very bluesy, but in 1983 he released this pop classic. Do yourself a favour and have a listen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhCUCxet2a4

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