Book Review: Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia -David Hunt
My knowledge of Australian history is patchy – I know the basics and much more. History interest me but usually most history books are far too dry. Then along comes this book with that title: GIRT.
Review: Blue & Lonesome
Once upon a time thought The Rolling Stones were one of the great rock’n’roll bands – who also occasionally sang the blues. In between those early years and now there was not a lot of great music from the Stones – loads of concerts and a mix of music – some good and some ok. Would they ever make great music again?
Still Lucky, Rebecca Huntley, 2017. This is a good book. The message is clear – Australians are far more optimistic than we have been led to believe by our governments and the media. This researcher has done the research, travelled the country, talked to loads of people over many years. If you are interested in her reports on her research and comments – this book will give you all that and more.
Review: Everywhere I Look, Helen Garner
Here’s a good read. Being a selection of essays and diary notes based on many events and sometimes those quite happenings that one observes.
I have not read any Helen Garner’s work but have a reasonable awareness of the topics she writes on. Other reviewers have related this work to previous writings – for me I had to take it all on face value.
Review: best of Paul Thorn (2016)
Here’s a highly recommended album for those who want to hear good Americana with a touch of rock. This is a best of Paul Thorn-2016 album – two discs. Rating 4/5
A review: Neil Young – Peace Trail
I think the reviewer has it about right for this new album by Neil Young – Peace Trail. Click on the image for the review inThe Guardian.
Review Suzanne Vega: Carson McCullers Lover Beloved
One very nice recording just out by Suzanne Vega.
I wrote briefly about this earlier – and as I said before – it’s a book for anyone puzzled by the current loser who is Prime Minister.
Shine A Light – Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad. 2016 Billy Bragg & Joe Henry
Here’s a fun story about two musicians and how they made this album. They hopped on the train and then jumped off at stops along the way to record a song – while making sure they were back on board as the train left. And yes – the music is good stuff. Definitely worth a listen if you are a follower of Billy Bragg and Joe Henry. Click here for more on the album.
Music Review: Keep Me Singing, Van Morrison 2016
Here’s an album for the many Van Morrison fans. They will love it.
A new song from Nick Cave – one you may need to stop and listen to especially when you realise when he wrote it – just after his son had died. Continue reading Nick Cave
The NGA has a special exhibition until 6 November 2016 on the works of Mike Parr. click on the image above….
The art work by Annie Trevillian plus others..
Here’s a review that points to the great work being done by artists working within Megalo – a Canberra based open access print workshop. Click here.
One day soon I must tell my version of Megalo when I worked for the organisation as it was then from 1986 to 1991.
Patchwork, ironic, serious and kitsch: the best of the Archibald finalists
Beauty In This is a wonderful photography exhibition, by Maryanne Voyazis, on for a short time at Nishi Gallery, New Acton.
There’s a wonderful exhibition at the NGA till 30th October 2016 – Diane Arbus: American portraits.
Review: Colvin & Earle June 2016
Join two wonderful voices, join two approaches to making music and two lives that have crossed over several times, and you have two marvellous talents – and the result – a great album. Many of the songs are original – and some are covers. It’s all good stuff.
Recommended: Rating 8/10
Exhibition Review: Home, 2 June – 20 June 2016
2016 Auckland festival of photography – June 2016
The 2016 Auckland festival of photography like many Australian photographic festival is very dependent on the enthusiasms and the energy of a small band of people, or more often than not, just one person.
Here’s a program that is absolutely wonderful – a fabulous online drama /piece of theatre / comedy /drama / social comment. Highly recommended.
Review TV program on DVD: Shetland
There are several good crime dramas coming out of the UK that have a common theme – being a police unit in a region of the UK well away from metropolitan areas. Shetland is one these – the stories being located on the islands off the north east of Scotland. It is a good series – and for those who like their frequent dose of crime/ police/ dramas – this series is definitely recommended.
Imprint – photography and the impressionable image.
Art Gallery of NSW till 18 May 2016
Modernists: highlights from the European collection, till 25 April 2016
Econobabble: How to Decode Political Spin and Economic Nonsense, Richard Denniss 2016
This is the latest in the excellence series, Redback Quartery. And it is a good read – recommended.
Credlin & Co.
How the Abbott Government Destroyed Itself
Video above for Brandy’s new single (2016) and for her 2013 album – click here.
TV Review: River
A new six part series shown on the BBC late in 2015. Totally recommended.
This is not quite your usual detective drama. In fact it is so good, that I along with a couple of commentators hope that they do not try to make a second series. It was a great series and the ending was very complete – they do not need to revisit this story.
Review: Tracy Chapman Greatest Hits 2015
The first thing to say is that tis is a great collection.
It is a new collection made by Tracy. The title – Greatest Hits – does not quite sit easily with this selection.
In amongst the many changes across the National Gallery of Australia has been the opening up of a new exhibition of photographs from their own collection.
The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) has launched a major Tom Roberts exhibition.
Music Review: Bluenote Cafe, Neil Young (2015)
If you like Neil Young’s music, then this album must make its way into your collection. This is Neil Young at his best and doing so as a Blues musician.
The music is from live recordings from 1987 – 1988 and is more or less based around his studio album, This Note’s For You .
Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings (2015)
It is the done thing for musicians to cover other musicians songs and to do new arrangements of those songs rather than just attempting to mimic them.
Review: Show me a Hero
This program is recommended. It is a six part mini series based on a book. The book was in turn was based on a series of events about 30 years ago in Yonkers New York to do with resistance by a white neighbourhood to the introduction of social housing.
Sometimes a visit to the National Gallery of Australia can deliver a very nice surprise.
New Book: Mario Vargas Llosa, Notes on the Death of Culture
I suspect that many people would agree that the joys and subtleties of culture is under threat by mass media technologies and the expectations of the immediate. The demise of culture is addressed in a new book “Notes on the Death of Culture”. This is not a joyous read as it is more about being in a state of despair about so many things about us in western society.
Review: Vera on DVD
This is a series for any crime drama fans. The stories are based in North East England, complete with accents and marvellous countryside. While the characters are important to the story lines, they do not dominate and so the crime story remains at the centre of attention throughout.
The main character, Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, is portrayed successfully and is totally enjoyable.
Review: Mammon on DVD (2014)
This one of series ticks all the boxes for having all the right elements for yet another Nordic Noir TV series. Trouble is that it just does not work.
There are many things to like but these are countered by too many things that are not so likeable.
First Listen: New John Mayall album
Find a Way To Care – John Mayall (2015)
For all the many John Mayall fans this is great news. A new album and even better, John and his band are in top form. There’s more than usual use of keyboards and a few with strong brass instruments.
Review – Spiral on DVD
This is a wonderful French TV series – that has the title Spiral which is not an accurate translation of the French title – Engrenages. The story lines are more about how they are meshed together rather than being in any spiral.
The writing is great and the characters are all interesting and well-played by the actors. This series is totally recommended.
First Listen: Amy Helm, Didn’t It Rain (2015)
I have had the pleasure of recently discovering the wonderful talent of Amy Helm. While her music is probably somewhere in the style of Americana and alt/country, there is a great mix of other styles in there, from blues and gospel and more. She makes great music.
Recommended: rating 8/10
Review — Internecine: The Vanished Musicians
The exhibition, Internecine — The Vanished Musicians is a multi media exhibition that deals with immigration issues that are part of Australia’s recent history.
The Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG) is presently staging an exhibition not to be missed.
Review – The Legacy on DVD
Here’s my short take on this: It’s very good, fun to watch, but not great. Recommended.
First Listen: Neil Young + Promise Of The Real, ‘The Monsanto Years’
This is an exhibition of Asian artworks from a private collection, that of Gene and Brian Sherman. It’s a good exhibition – worth visiting.
I spotted this work of art in a visual arts print making exhibition at the Mosman City Gallery (Sydney). (Review to follow in a couple of days)
Given the current leadership of the country and its attitudes to segments of society as well as its dangerous statements about migrants – this image is way too disturbing. It reflects so accurately how so many people feel about this government and the current Prime Minister.
This is a small exhibition of nine works has been produced to celebrate the 40th anniversary of International Women’s Year (1975).
A Review of the NGA Exhibition: Streetwise: contemporary print culture
Review TV Series
Top of the Lake – on DVD
First some warnings.
There may be indirect spoilers. In contrast to all the positive reviews of this series. I did not think that this was all that good – it was OK – maybe
Review – TV Series
Olive Kitteridge – on DVD
In amongst the many well produced and well scripted TV series now on the market, comes something that does not quite fit in with the current trends. This is not a crime or police or suspense drama. So if that is what you are looking for, then be prepared to be disappointed. Or maybe surprised! This three-part series is about is one person and how she relates, or not, to those around her. In the usual definition of a plot, not a lot happens. In the sense of people’s lives, a hell of a lot happens.
William Elliott Whitmore, Radium Health 2015
This album takes a slightly different direction to the two albums I had previously reviewed – click here. And while I am enjoying listening to this album, I still prefer the other two.
On this 2015 album William Elliott Whitmore has moved slightly away from hos more folk/ americana sitting on the porch style – to having some fun with a small band with various moods and styles, some being a little more rock & roll than previous.
Leonard Cohen: Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, 2015
Here’s an album for the fans of Leonard Cohen. The album has a number of well known songs that had been revisited during a number of live performances. He has added a couple of new ones. This is great listening (provided you love Leonard Cohen and his music).