Archive | January 2013

A most excellent article

Over on the Mount Franklin Annual Pagan Gathering blog site is an article written by a senior member of the Gathering. It addresses many of the same issues I raised in my article from last year, only with an added depth of perspective and a delightfully witty and eloquent style I could only hope to emulate.

You can read the article here.


Bass is Best #2

It’s been a while since I started  this look at why I learned to love the bass, but since it’s been stuck in my head a lot lately I will continue the theme by introducing John Paul Jones.

The legendary multi-instrumentalist from Led Zeppelin doesn’t need an introduction, so I won’t go into a lot of biographical stuff. That’s what Wikipedia’s for. Suffice it to say, JPJ has been pretty much my favourite bassist since the moment I heard him play. He has such a fantastic grasp on melody and rhythm and backs it up with some very impressive chops.

So, an isolated bass track of What is and What Should Never Be appeared on the net a little while back and it’s a stunning example of Mr. Jones’ genius. He manages to control this pretty, lilting line through the verses, then drives the chorus hard. Throughout he drifts around the pulse with such subtlety, adding small ornaments and improvised runs, it is a work of art.

There are too many other examples to choose from, although I am quite partial to his collaboration with Diamanda Galas, and Them Crooked Vultures has some tasty bass too.

So, John Paul Jones is a master of melodic rock bass, one of my all-time faves. But not the only one. I’ll share my thoughts and feelings about other bassists and I welcome discussion along the way.


Yes, yes. I’ve been quiet lately. Not much writing going on. In truth I’ve been taking a bit of a holiday from just about everything but now I’m starting to get back into the swing of things.

2013 will bring more Phil, I promise. It will also bring some other projects to life. It also means a return to my regular job, after a long recovery from injury.

Went on holiday recently. Experienced some things I’d rather I hadn’t. Like people driving cars on the beach. That’s a stupid idea. Beach cricket is more fun when you aren’t likely to get flattened by someone in a 4WD vehicle during your run-up. And gastroenteritis. That gave me the shits (oh, such fine wit). It did though, really. Also, people who live in coastal towns that enjoy a huge influx of tourists during the Summer really ought to be prepared for it and act with slightly less irritation at the people who patronise their businesses and effectively keep their town alive. But so often they aren’t, and they don’t.

People, generally, were the downside to this holiday, and that’s a shame. The town was lovely and the region very interesting and picturesque, but it was full to bursting with the kinds of people I’d really rather not have to contend with. For example, the car-loads of youths with nothing better to do, cruising around and making lewd remarks at young women who might otherwise be just going about their business. There was also the visibly harassed checkout chick who thought nothing of dressing down a junior staff member in front of dozens of customers because she wanted to go on a break and for some unrelated reason had been unable to. The people in shops who look at you as if you were about to steal something simply because you have pockets into which things might go. Not to mention the people who think it’s acceptable to be publicly inebriated and urinate, vomit, shout obscenities and generally make an arse of themselves for all to see.

I had to try and explain to my kids what these people were about. Young children are told in school that people are basically the same and we should all care about each other equally and so on and so forth. I understand the reasons for this, and indeed for the most part my wife and I have invoked those sentiments when helping our kids through issues they may have encountered with people at school and elsewhere. But when faced with idiocy, drunkenness, irrational rudeness, pathological selfishness, sexism, racism and ignorance I don’t think the tolerant line is adequate.

The truth is, some people are just dicks.

They just are, and there’s no amount of tolerance that will help them become otherwise.

Turns out our kids already knew that. Apparently it’s just as obvious to them as it is to us. They’re so smart 🙂

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