Tag Archives: reviews

The Rolling Stones

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?

Continue reading The Rolling Stones

Billy Bragg & Joe Henry

Shine A Light – Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad. 2016 Billy Bragg & Joe Henry

billy-bragg-joe-henryHere’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.

Continue reading Billy Bragg & Joe Henry

James McCurtry

Music Review

James McCurtry, Complicated Game 2015

1035x1035-a1322ccec932fe908c2d8483_280x280I enjoyed James McCurtry’s 2008 album Just Us Kids with its touches of politics and comments on life, the universe and anything else.

This music may not be joyful enough for everyone, but if you like a touch of Americana with blues, rock and folk along the lines of a great singer/songwriter, then this could be for you.

Continue reading James McCurtry

John Mayall

Music Review

John Mayall: A Special Life, 2014

AspecialLifeWhen I first listened to the Bluesbreakers in the 1970s, I was listening to music that was almost ten years old. Good heavens, how uncool was that!

John Mayall was making his form of blues in the sixties, in the seventies – and now in the 21st Century he is still pumping it out. How cool is that! Back in the seventies no-one could have imagined that we would be listening to the same guy in 2014 as he turned eighty.

Continue reading John Mayall

Bryan Ferry

Music Review

Avonmore, Bryan Ferry, 2014

AvonmoreBryan Ferry’s album, Avonmore, concentrates on the failure of love. Obviously something to do with his most recent marriage and divorce. The music links directly back to former albums such as Boys and Girls (1985) and Bête Noir (1987) as well as Roxy Music’s Avalon (1982).

The production is pure Bryan Ferry. His music continues. What’s age got to do with it? He’s 70 years young and still making music. Good stuff.

Continue reading Bryan Ferry

Joan Osborne

Music Review

Albums by Joan Osborne, including Bring It On Home, 2012

joan-osborne---bring-it-on-home-coverThis was my first album by Joan Osborne despite her longish career. This album is for those who love to hear blues and rhythm & blues music being revisited by a talented singer. This is not about simply duplicating the former versions. Rather Joan Osborne and her musicians have delivered some great music through their own soul interpretations.

Continue reading Joan Osborne

Neil Young – Caitlin Canty

Music to be enjoyed

Caitlin Canty sings Neil Young’s Unknown Legend

a2116425332_2I noticed a rave review online for a singer I had not noticed before, Caitlin Canty. After some further research and listening to the online samples, I  dutifully downloaded her music to hear the whole album.

All was going OK, but I was not that enthusiastic on the first listen. No worry, this often happens. I was about to put aside for the night – when I came upon the second last track.

Continue reading Neil Young – Caitlin Canty


Review TV program on DVD

Wallander, 32 Episodes on DVD
Swedish with Krister Henriksson as Kurt Wallander

518wGZWQbNL._SY300_I can totally recommend this series. I suggest buying the whole 32 episodes and then playing them in regular sessions.

The plots are based loosely on the original books by Henning Mankell. There are to be no more in this series as Krister Henriksson agreed to complete the last ones on the basis that there was to be his last. Also the writer announced in early 2014 that he was suffering from cancer.

Continue reading Wallander

A Further Shore – Robert Dein

Review of Photography Exhibition

A Further Shore: Bombs, babes and sons of beaches
Manly Art Gallery (Sydney) till 26 April 2015

From Robert Dein photographic collection

LAThere are some photography exhibitions that really reinforce how wonderful photography can be. There are exhibitions that demonstrate just how creative some collectors are in how they choose their collections. This exhibition at the Manly Art Gallery does all that and more. If you love photography, then do not miss this exhibition of contemporary and historic photographs.

Continue reading A Further Shore – Robert Dein


Visual Arts Review

Bungaree, The First Australian at The Mosman Art Gallery

Open till 22 February 2015.

bungaree1We travelled along to the Mosman Art Gallery around lunch time one sunny day in early January. The gallery was quiet with no other visitors during our 45 minute visit.

The Bungaree exhibition at the gallery contains works by 16 emerging and established artists who have nominally re-interpreted the stories around Bungaree. The image to the right is of Bungaree.  There are numerous historic paintings of Bungaree.

Continue reading Bungaree

J J Cale

Music Review

Eric Clapton & Friends – The Breeze: An Appreciation of J J Cale (2014)

058299I am going to keep this short. I have for a long time liked the music of J J Cale. I also happen to like much of , but not all, the music of Eric Clapton. I am aware of many collaborations between J J Cale and Eric Clapton. They are, were, a natural mix and between them we have some great music to enjoy.

Continue reading J J Cale

Nicholas Le Floch

Review TV on DVD

Nicholas Le Floch, Volume One, Episodes 1-6

Nicolas-le-Floch2I took to this series very quickly. It has all the usual police drama and intrigue. The difference to many other current lead character detectives is that the main character, Commissaire de Police, is charming, does not have chip on his shoulder about something back in his life, is not suffering any mysterious illness and he loves life and enjoys it to the fullest.

Continue reading Nicholas Le Floch

Dreams and Imagination, MGA photography

Review: Photography Exhibition Catalogue

Dreams and Imagination: Light in the Modern City, Monash Gallery of Art , until 1st March 2015.

MGA-Light016I have just read a copy of a wonderful catalogue of a significant photographic exhibition at the Monash Gallery of Art (MGA). Yet again the MGA lives up to their reputation as ‘The Home of Australian Photography‘.

Chances are that I will not get to Melbourne to see this exhibition. However, the catalogue is a real gem and should be sought after by anyone interested in the development of Australian photography during the early 20th Century. (click on the images to enlarge)

Continue reading Dreams and Imagination, MGA photography

True Lies

A Dedication

for all those lying bastards out there!

Give_My_Love_to_London_-_Marianne_FaithfullMarianne Faithfull has delivered yet another album, Give my Love To London (2014), with loads of emotions underpinning some powerful lyrics. (a full review to follow)

One song, True Lies,  is obviously based on some of her own relationship experiences. However her lyrics  point the finger at people any of us have been unlucky to have known.

Continue reading True Lies

A reviewer has a bad day

Guardian reviewer looses the plot

4a261b89-8b15-4d39-a046-fe5c9dbd243d-805x1020It is not the job a reviewer to write stuff that everyone agrees with. The Guardian has a number of art reviewers and therefore we have a range of opinions. However one would expect any of these reviewers to be making sense.

It has come to pass that one reviewer has been showing signs of stress or something equivalent.

Continue reading A reviewer has a bad day

Mary Gauthier

Music Review

Mary Gauthier, Trouble & Love, 2014

Mary-Gauthier-TroubleLoveIf you have read my former post on Mary Gauthier  (click here,) you know that I very much like her two former albums. This album is hard blues country by a very talented singer songwriter about love gone wrong. Through the eight songs, Mary lets us in on the thoughts and reactions she worked through as she dealt with the end of a relationship. It hurts.

Continue reading Mary Gauthier

Line of Duty

Review: TV on DVD

Line of Duty, series 1 & 2

Line-Of-Duty2Here’s a totally recommended program for those who like their police dramas with a few twists and unpredictability in the endings. This comes highly recommended for binge viewing of the two series of six episodes each. The first series has been out for a year or so, with the second series  a recent release. Series three and four have been booked for production. Highly recommended and best of luck trying to pick the ending, particularly in series 2.

Continue reading Line of Duty

Black Victorians

Review: Photography

Black Chronicles II

Rivington Place, London till 29 Nov 2014.

downpage_3043500cThis a photography exhibition that has to be seen in the flesh to be appreciated. The basis for the exhibition is the unearthing of photographs that have not been seen for far too many years.

The researchers have done a great job of identifying most of the subjects. The main room has huge portraits printed from the original negatives. The people are from an African choir on tour in Britain between 1891-93.

These images are just so beautiful and majestic. They have been printed super large and each person is represented by two different portraits.

Continue reading Black Victorians

Enjoying Life in Vienna

Review: Visual Arts

Cosima Von Bonin: Hippies Use Side Door.
The Year 2014 Has Lost The Plot

MUMOK – Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna

picksimg_splashSpoiler alert. Be warned, this exhibition did not excite! Cosima Von Bonin’s latest exhibition is across several floors of the MUMOK and it is impressive. There are loads of cultural references and heaps of barbs at things within our culture, particularly the american culture we have all come to love and loath. It was an interesting experience to visit this massive exhibition.

I took my time – but

Continue reading Enjoying Life in Vienna

Jesse Winchester

Review: Music

Jesse Winchester – his last two albums:

Love Filling Station (2009) & A Reasonable Amount of Trouble (2014)

Winchester-Reasonable-AmountOver many decades I have tuned in and out of the music of Jesse Winchester. I have always liked it but cannot say that I ever fully embraced much of his music.

This was a shame as he was indeed a very gentle and quiet personality with an eye on the world.

Continue reading Jesse Winchester

My Story Julia Gillard

Announcement: New Book

Julia Gillard’s – My Story

my storyHappy to promote this book. This story remains complex. There have been several thoughtful reviews of the book published online. As well as the usual crap from the mainstream media, who were part of the problem during Julia Gillard’s time as Prime Minister.  Sara Dowse has provided an intelligent and insightful review that is definitely worth reading. click here.


Richard Tuttle at the Tate Modern

Comment on reviewing of the visual arts

tuttletate_3070458bThere have been many occasions when I visited an exhibition of contemporary visual arts, particularly those of the conceptual installation art version, and I have left with little satisfaction or a memory of strong engagement.  To be positive, there have been many great pieces I have seen in this genre.

Continue reading Richard Tuttle at the Tate Modern

Apple Watch

Comment: Apple Watch

Do we really need this?

Apple Watch review (4)-580-90The other day Sydney Airport was evacuated because someone had been busy reading his iPad and had accidentally walked through the exit door and thus set off all forms of alarms. As I drive around town I notice that cars are often either slow to take off from traffic lights or at times commence wavering all over the place as the driver is trying to manage their iPhone at the same time.


Continue reading Apple Watch

Singapore Photography

Review: Visual Arts and Photography

Still Moving at Singapore Art Museum (SAM) 8Q

till 8 February 2015

P1070637image from opening night – by Paul Costigan

The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is presently exhibiting three exhibitions in 8Q, its special annex located on Queens Street around the corner from SAM’s main building. The exhibition is a triple bill made up of three exhibitions that occupy the whole of the building’s exhibition spaces.

Continue reading Singapore Photography

NGA Contemporary

Review: Visual Arts

NGA Contemporary

252917 5768762-3x2-700x467 NGA-contemp-P1070589

Down by the lake in Canberra, within that strange-looking architectural structure which is part of a local folley, called Commonwealth Place, the National Gallery of Australia has moved in to open an exhibition space for Australian contemporary art. It is called NGA Contemporary and is well worth a visit.

Continue reading NGA Contemporary

Beth Orton

Review: Music

Beth Orton and Sugaring Season (Deluxe Edition) 2013

Beth-Orton-Sugaring-Season-e1341933656637Sometimes you buy an album then life gets in the way and you do not get to the chance to really get into the music. This has happened several times to me with the music of Beth Orton. It was a case of bad timing.

I have had albums by Beth for a decade or more but it was only very recently, last week in fact, that I was able to dedicate serious time to sit and listen to her albums. I am recommending her music and would love to see a stage performance. Just dreaming!

Continue reading Beth Orton

Lucinda Williams

Announcement: New Album by Lucinda Williams

Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone

Lucinda_Williams_singerBy the time you read this the new album by Lucinda Williams may have been released. All the reviews have been very positive and given the previous albums have been amazing, this definitely bodes well for another great listening experience. As you may have gathered, I rate Lucinda Williams very high on my list of musicians.

Continue reading Lucinda Williams

Alex Seton

Announcement: Visual Arts Exhibition

Alex Seton, Refoulement at Sullivan + Strumpf, Sydney till 11 October 2014

7031495740This Sullivan+ Strumpf exhibition of sculptures by Alex Seton is very worth your while to make the time and visit the gallery in Sydney.

He was recently a major artist at the Adelaide Biennale and his earlier photographs are presently in an exhibition at the National Gallery in Canberra.

Continue reading Alex Seton

Architecture Eyesores

Commentary: Architecture Basket Cases

rmitI love the joy of good architecture, being both places and buildings. There is something really wonderful when you experience the enjoyment of good design. However there are other contributions that simply take your breath away for all the wrong reasons!

Here are a couple of gems.

Continue reading Architecture Eyesores

Hack Attack Nick Davies

2nd Notice: New Book
Hack Attack by Nick Davies

hack-attackJust to remind you that this book is worth reading. Sadly the ending is a bit depressing in that Nick considers the power elite have reshuffled a little but carry on a s before.

It has also been interesting to read the story of Rebecca Brooks. The question has been posed elsewhere, was she just a user of the corporate and political systems in order to climb the ladder to join the ranks of those in power?

Continue reading Hack Attack Nick Davies

Maria Wern

Review: TV series on DVD
Marie Wern, series on DVD – seven episodes

maria_wern_2I have to admit that I had not heard of the Swedish island of Gotland. Having now watched four of the Swedish seven episodes of Marie Wern, I have had to get online and do research on this Swedish island, situated in the gulf to the east of Sweden. Want to know more about Gotland? – click here.

This is a good series. Recommended.

Continue reading Maria Wern

Melbourne Botanic Gardens Guilfoyle’s Volcano

Review: Landscape

Guilfoyle’s Volcano at Melbourne Botanic Gardens


This is a job well done. I saw an article about this and was determined to have a look. Now if only those promoting it had been sensible and given an address.

Continue reading Melbourne Botanic Gardens Guilfoyle’s Volcano

Utopia on ABC

Review: TV program
Utopia, eight part series on ABC

utopia - cast1This series was much-anticipated given the success the same writing team had with their earlier TV series, such as The Hollowmen. After watching four of the eight, I am happy to report that the program started well and then, it simply got better, and then it continued to get even better! I am very much looking forward to the next for of the series.

Continue reading Utopia on ABC

Mark Henshaw The Snow Kimono

Announcement: Book – fiction
Mark Henshaw’s The Snow Kimono

snow_kimonoI have noted the very positive reviews of this new novel. Mark Henshaw is a local here in Canberra.

The Guardian has it wrong about his former career. Mark was a curator of prints at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. He led a double life for many years as curator and as an author.

Continue reading Mark Henshaw The Snow Kimono

Ruth Waller at Nancy Sever Gallery Canberra

Notice: Local Visual Arts Gallery
Ruth Waller at Nancy Sever Gallery, Kingston, Canberra

Ruth WallerA note that the Nancy Sever Gallery, in Kingston, is worth putting on you list for gallery visits.

We attended a crowded opening there tonight for the opening of Ruth Waller’s exhibition of recent paintings. Can I say that I would love to talk more about the art, but it was very difficult to see given the crowd. That’s why I often avoid openings and get along later.

Continue reading Ruth Waller at Nancy Sever Gallery Canberra

Annette Messager at the MCA Sydney

Review (2nd): Visual Arts
Annette Messager:  motion/emotion at the MCA Australia (Sydney) till 26 October 2014


We were fortunate to have a business reason to be in Sydney for the Monday, so allowed ample time on the weekend to get down to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) on beautiful circular Quay to see this once in a lifetime exhibition of Annetta Messager’s artworks. It was definitely worth the trip. We loved it so much we went back the next day for a revisit.

Continue reading Annette Messager at the MCA Sydney

Geraint Watkins, Moustique

Review: Music
Geraint Watkins, Moustique, 2014

moustiqueGeraint Watkin’s albums have been few and they have not commanded a lot of attention. I suspect this is because of the idiosyncratic mix of music styles.

This 2014 album by Geraint Watkins has dominated the car stereo for quite a while now.  It is fun to hear the music close up.  This album is recommended if you like this sort of mix.

Continue reading Geraint Watkins, Moustique

The Eagle A Crime Odyssey

Review: TV on DVD
The Eagle A Crime Odyssey, TV 2004 – 2006, now out on DVD

The Eagle1This is another nordic television series. This pre-dates The Bridge and several others now well-known. According to other online news the series has been shown a couple of times on SBS in Australia and was very popular. I actually chanced upon it and settled back to watch and became impressed very quickly. It is good. We liked this a lot.

Continue reading The Eagle A Crime Odyssey

The Fjällbacka Murders DVD – Morden

Review: Swedish TV series on DVD
The Fjällbacka Murders – series on DVD 2012

108073949This DVD set is more good TV viewing from northern Europe. The series is in six episodes over three DVDs. The main scene is the Swedish coastal town of Fjällbacka – click here for Wikipedia.

The author, Camilla Läckberg, is an established author and this series is her latest. Click here for more on the author. I recommend this series. There are good characters and the settings are fascinating, although I do wonder how they mange to get so many fine and sunny days up there on the coast of Sweden.

Continue reading The Fjällbacka Murders DVD – Morden

Andrew Leigh Economics of Just About Everything

Review: New Book
The Economics of Just About Everything: The Hidden Reasons for Our Curious Choices and Surprising Successes in Life. Andrew Leigh, 2014

resized_9781743314715_224_297_FitSquareI have had the pleasure of reading books and articles by Andrew Leigh. He happens to be my local Federal member of the House of Representatives. I have been positive about his writings.  I am not so sure about this book.

From the publisher: If you like fresh facts and provocative ideas, this is great train and weekend reading. You’ll soon see the world and the people around you in a new light. I disagree.  I may now see Andrew Leigh in a different light.

Continue reading Andrew Leigh Economics of Just About Everything

Music as Corporate Symbol

Review: Music
Hunters & Collectors: Throw Your Arms Around Me (1986)

HuntersCollectors2The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) definitely needs to ensure that its profile as a broadcaster identifies with the many communities within Australian society. It has recently moved on this by using a slightly revised version of a very popular song by the band, Hunters & Collectors. I have a problem with this choice.

Continue reading Music as Corporate Symbol

NGA Visual Arts, Motherwell, Natori Shunsen, Contemporary Photography

Review: Visual Arts
Several exhibitions at the NGA

237644-1Our public galleries are places you should visit often, and not just for the big blockbuster exhibitions.

There are many other exhibitions, especially collection exhibitions, that are a wonder to see and enjoy.

Continue reading NGA Visual Arts, Motherwell, Natori Shunsen, Contemporary Photography

John Witzig at National Portrait Gallery

Review: Visual Arts/photography
Exhibition: John Witzig at National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

till 19th October 2014, then touring.

front-P1070002The National Portrait Gallery in Canberra has done itself proud with this special exhibition of photographs produced from the archive of the photographer John Witzig. Full marks to the historian curator, Sarah Engledow.

Continue reading John Witzig at National Portrait Gallery

Embassy Architecture – Solomon Islands

Review: Embassy Architecture in Canberra

The Solomon Islands High Commission1-solomonP1060929I spotted this example of successful embassy architecture as I was driving past to have lunch at the Beaver Gallery Cafe in Deakin. From the available online information (and there’s not much) I think these new buildings for the High Commission for the Solomon Islands were completed around 2011/2012.

Continue reading Embassy Architecture – Solomon Islands