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country music

Some time ago I mentioned I’m listening to contemporary country music. At first I was doing it ironically but now I kind of like it. It is interesting – that’s what it is. For a while I’ve waved off all present-day music except for a very narrow sliver of the spectrum – alternative stuff and most of which was coming from artists that I’d known about for a good decade or more.

 

Commercial FM is full of new stuff that I don’t connect with at all. So anyway, this country music, while very much on the commercial edge of what is called country these days, is coming at lyrics and narrative from a different angle. This first one is probably the best example of that, that I’ve heard in the last couple of months. I was driving along, listening to this song and realised, Whoah – is this guy talking about broaching the subject with his SO of moving back in with his mum? Now that’s country!

As it turned out, this guy Tim McGraw is one of the biggest selling country musicians of all time. So I supposed it wasn’t just luck that he hit on a whacky topic, but is in fact speaking the thoughts of a whole generation of disaffected working class.


OMG! The pathos!

 

 The conversate continues:

I love the fact that this next one, Toby Keith’s ‘Drinks after work’ contains the line, Let’s conversate for a little while. I can remember years ago J-e used to say “I want to conversate with you!” when she was frustrated with using English.

I really like the chord changes in the song too. The sound really nails that mild, AOR sound that tickles my funny bone in a perverse kind of way. (Reminds me a little of the theme from WKRP in Cincinnati.) This song also introduces one of the big themes of country music: alcohol. Listening to the radio, you’d be forgiven for thinking that most of the south of the US is permanently drunk. Many, many songs revolve around getting to Friday night, it being Friday night and now we are going to drink. This is where Toby Keith shows his mastermindedness in that he wrote a song about having drinks in the middle of the week.

I also discovered that Toby Keith is a multi-millionaire and owns a chain of bar-restaurants across the US – mainly in the south and midwest. When he tours, he does gigs in these places. No doubt he sings this song, everybody drinks up and buys another beer.

 seat 7a

The first thing this reminded me of was I’m On A Boat but it’s different in a way that illustrates the difference between the hip-hop dominated pop scene and this commercial country genre. Even though the on a boat song is a send-up it’s that ‘hey look at me, I am very good!’ strutting that pop is all about these days. And then there’s Dierks Bentley getting drunk on a plane—why? because he’s having relationship problems. That’s the second theme of country. Sure, most popular music is about boy-girl problems, but a lot of pop seems to come at it from the angle of ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’. Country songs like drunk on a plane tend more to the bluesy sorrow and woe is me feeling.

Intertextuality with Taylor Swift

Even though it’s 9 or so years old, some of the songs from Taylor Swift’s first album still get played on this particular station I listen to. The station has a very narrow range of songs they play and you can often hear the same song twice in one day even if you’re only listening to the radio for 15 minutes total, but Taylor’s so damn popular they make exceptions of the age of the album.

This song is definitely right on the edge of pop and contemporary country but I can appreciate the craft in the songwriting and if the wickerpedia page is to believed she wrote that whole album pretty much by herself when she was 16 or 17. It’s ballsy to write a song called Tim Mcgraw when you’re just a newb on the country scene – very clever to pay homage but also hitch a little ride on someone who’s guaranteed to sell platinum.

 

 

, , — YS @ 10:49 am, December 18, 2014

I am hesitant to write

yet another blogpost about my cat but in the absence of motivation to write about anything else, I will simply say she is phenomenal with pest control. I guess now that it is late spring the four legged critters are in the upswing of their population growth, or rather, would be if it wasn’t for the Charu treating them like an hors d’oeuvre de jour dining menu.

 

We have this ritual where I feed her the usual tin cat food and a little dry food. She meows, I put the bowl of food down on the floor, she starts eating, I put the can in the fridge and do this or that for a moment. I come back over to her, hover above her and give her a pat. She looks up at me, often with mouth full and does this two-sylable mu-weow. And I always took that to mean ‘thankyou’ but I am starting to think it means, ‘is there any more?’ because she often seems unsatisfied with the amount so she goes out the back and swipes a young rat or mouse from near the neighbour’s chicken coop.

I was originally going to keep count of what she brought in but there’s been way too many. I’d say easily one per week.

I am reminded of that kids’ story about the goldfish. The more it was fed the bigger it got. Sometimes I wonder what the Charu would be like as a proper full-sized Bengali tiger.

HipstaPrint

— YS @ 8:33 pm, December 3, 2014

rise up

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-07/geelong-zombie-apocalypse-tourism-ad-called-demeaning/5875036?section=vic

If Geelong people didn’t want to be portrayed as zombies then they shouldn’t have voted an idiot like Darryn Lyons into the mayor’s office.

That is all.

YS @ 8:00 am, November 8, 2014

3006

I’ve never joined facebook and I don’t particularly like it but the esl teacher in me just got a bit of respek for zuckerburg here by somehow learning mandarin in the last couple of years and now seen doing a full 30min Q&A in it. Re the recent troubles in hong kong I read one opinion that the best hope for HK keeping the level of democracy that it has is mainland china becoming more democratic. While zuckerburg’s primary focus is getting his hands on that sino-social network power – maybe the more western thingy-mahbobs like iphones and facebook that get into china, the more likely liberties the people there will want.

YS @ 10:36 am, October 23, 2014

death death deady deady dead dead

1. Charu brought another rat into the house last night. By my calculations that’s 2 in just over two weeks! We were in bed when we heard her in the hallway talking happy sounds, which is odd if she’s not begging for food. The rat was lying in front of her and not quite gone. It move a bit and she grabbed it and it squeaked, which I guess was it’s death-squeak. See, that’s disturbing to me. Even if it is a rat, it’s disturbing to be right there because I start to think about what it would be like to be being killed and be living that last moment.

Charu only has three of those big canine teeth which is weird. We’d never have found out ourselves either if the vet didn’t tell us because charu’s not the biting kind of cat the way boy cats are.

Anyway, she took it outside by herself. I guess, learning since I took the last couple. Je went out and watched… charu ate parts of the rat. That’s probably not a good thing.

 

2. Gough Whitlam died. Abc news website had some photos. I C & P’d a couple for the perpetuity.

3576984-3x4-700x933

I like this one because Mrs.Gough’s feet/leg positioning is so rock n roll. If she was leaning over a bit and wailing on a Les Paul, that’d be great.

Anyway, it was cool that Gough introduced free education, I just wish I coud’ve got some. Although, not paying for it until I’m making decent money is nothing to complain about either. I also like how he bought Blue Poles too. However I wish he’d done something when Portugal pulled out of East Timor and Indonesia invaded. Australia shouldn’t have let that happen.

I’ve been getting more angry about politics again lately. I think it’s a result of just being more stressed.

3. And a week or so ago I got word that a former colleague died. I worked with Graham doing bidness english in korea and although I only talked to him properly a few times. He’d lived in Korea in the 70s which is really interesting if you ask me, and a whole bunch of other places too. His family put a whole load of photos of his up on the internet but I don’t know how long they’ll be there for. He was 66 which seems a bit early to me.

20141004115121-e0092642-me
That’s Graham on the right.

20141004115119-4612e7ff-me
There wasn’t much English in the signage back in the ‘70s

, , , — YS @ 6:36 pm, October 22, 2014

blood truth

It was one of those situations where I had no prior knowledge of it happening, nor how long it was going to happen for—I got off the train around 9:30 last night and happened to see the moon looking rather odd. I ignored it and walked on. Ten minutes later it was red—good grief. Anyway – walking through the suburbs it wasn’t especially sinister feeling. Just small looking and difficult to really see due to my failing eyesight as I am now an old man… who doesn’t really even have a camera anymore apart from the telephone-computer. Maybe if it was red on the horizon and looking bigger. Still pretty cool though.

blood moon

, — YS @ 9:18 pm, October 9, 2014

subdued urban digital

My head is so full at the moment I can’t even write blogposts. One month until end of deadlines with study. I haven’t mentioned I am doing more study. This time to be qualified to teach the Englishes to people who cannae speak it. It’s a long story. I should’ve mentioned it earlier. The right moment passed.

What I do have to say today is:

David Lynch says he’s going to make an extra 9 episodes of Twin Peaks in 2016 and I’m not entirely sure it’s such a good idea.

Aphex Twin released a new album after many years (10?) of silence. I’ve only listened a couple of times but at cursory inspection it just sounds like it might’ve been recycled stuff from ‘96 or something.

My pussycat brought Death into the house again this morning. I am getting used to it. And I actually appreciate it kind of. I’m glad she has a job and is doing it. However I wish it wasn’t at 5am that I had to dustbroom up a freshly dead long rat and piff it down the end of the backyard. And actually in mid-morning we were both sitting here and heard another (presumably) rat scruffling around in the ceiling so I guess it’s Spring in a relatively old house when having a cat pays off. I say to her, Fly, Fly my pretty!

YS @ 8:21 pm, October 7, 2014

bucket of chips

Update on two mundane things that arose at the same time -> early May.

1. Driving a car. It’s been pretty okay. Still haven’t gone that far, the furtherest probably being down to Mum’s. It’s extremely convenient for things like that. Like all convenient things it’s easy to forget how inconvenient life was before it. I always drive at the speed limit or under it but I seem to be very much in the minority. Especially on the highway. It used to bother me a lot but less now. It’s interesting how various public campaigns like quit smoking, drink driving etc. seem to have gone fairly successfully (at least that’s how I see it) but speeding seems to be one of those things that many people do as much as they can get away with. Maybe it’s that most people think they can safely drive faster than what is prescribed, and maybe they can. It’s just one of those things (like telling half-truths) that makes life a heck of a lot simpler if I don’t do it.

I guess I don’t drive anywhere near enough to get really frustrated with other drivers. Last Monday we drove through Torquay and up through the middle of Geelong to N.Geel – through all the traffic and traffic lights – and for me that was draining. I can only imagine what it would be like driving in busier places.

It’s a bit disconcerting playing a couple of hours of GTA V then going straight out and jumping in the car IRL. I am concerned I’ll just slip into game mode an mount the kerb, run the red light and ram the guy in front. I still have moments of wishing I’d got a Cube instead of the Micra. It’s barely less bland than a korean car.

2. Cat. It’s been a whole lot of fun having a cat. Since May she’s been gradually getting used to being part of the family to the point where she’s now pretty cocky; meowing and head-butting me an hour before feedin’ time—literally putting her paw on top of my hand and saying ‘hey, … food’. Well not quite literally, but the hand part is true. Charu is obsessed with food.

I have now had to clear three (3) dead offerings out of the house. One, a pigeon in the weeks after Charu started living inside. The pigeon looked like a murder scene investigation set-up on the kitchen floor with drops of blood and small feathers around it. Charu witnessed my dismay when I found it and shovelled it out the door, and I fancy she had a facial expression of remorse, confusion or something like, ‘but I thought you’d be happy’. Then there was a small, drowned-looking mouse in winter. Then last night a full-sized rat. Both the last two placed in a central-axis of the house, near the heater and where I put my bag when I come in. Charu was lying next to this dead rat and rolling around looking all coy and happy. The rat looked very fresh and thankfully not bleeding. It’s hard to get used to this death aspect of cats.

In some ways it’s not a great co-incidence that these two things, getting a driver’s license and cat happened at the same time. We’d like to go away for longer than a night but always end up thinking about the cat going hungry. We’d like to take Charu with us but cats aren’t like dogs. It got me thinking about the history of cat domestication and I read a little about it last night. Indeed, while dogs have been around us for much longer, and are into the whole travelling nomad hunter tribe thing, cats on the other hand only started hanging out with humans once we started settling down into farming anchored down lifestyles.

, , — YS @ 12:06 pm, September 11, 2014

Here’s a couple of things I came across recently.

  • 12 hours of Hitchcock interviews. I listened to the whole thing. All considered, he was a pretty modern dude. Born in 1899, and 63yo when he did this interview – which was over 50 years ago, he still sounds very modern considering. He talks about the actors like they were chess pieces, but I imagine most directors are like that. Another good thing about it is he names names. If someone was disappointing Hitchcock says so. I guess because of litigation you don’t here that kind of thing much these days.
  •  cat-sight This is a small sample from here. It is supposedly showing what cat vision is like. The top image is human sight – it is blurry because it in the periphery. So, cats have a slightly wider arc of sight but colours are a bit weird, everything’s a bit fuzzy and they can’t see as far as us. I was kind of surprised. Yes they can see better in the dark but I thought they had super-duper vision in all areas. I’d feel kind of ripped off if that’s all I could see.
  • In the car I’ve been listening to a radio station called ‘Hot Country’. It’s contemporary, commercially-oriented country music. It’s a whole ‘nother world.

, , — YS @ 2:15 pm, August 31, 2014

excuse me while I get my lols on

The Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL team have been around for a few years now (5) but you’d be forgiven for not having heard their theme song yet, since it’s usually only played when the team wins. They don’t win often but they did last Sunday. I’d like to meet the committee who gave the “Okay!” to having this song as the team theme song. It’s awesome. As far as I know teams don’t ever change their song. I wonder if there’s a large community of Eastern European immigrants in the greater-western part of Sydney. This song makes me want to do that cossack dance where they cross their arms and get down with the feet kicking out and all. It’s way better than any other of the ‘new’ footy team theme songs – most of them sound ‘80s-ish.

, — YS @ 6:27 pm, August 19, 2014

damn, it’s cold.

It’s been so cold this winter my fridge decided it wasn’t needed and headed up to the Gold Coast for a couple of weeks.

I can never remember one year to the next and it’s not helped by moving from once house to another but I’m almost sure last winter wasn’t this bad. The heater in the last place was woefully inadequate. It was a little thing clipped to the wall and plugged into the power point. The few times we turned it on all it did was burn a bit of dust inside of it. Despite that we got through winter okay. It felt like it was over pretty quickly. I don’t remember freaking out over seeing what the overnight minimums were.

When we were looking at new places to move into, and looking at this place, I saw the heater and thought it looked pretty crap but I thought, Hey we got through last year with basically no heating—it can’t get any worse than that can it? Well apparently it can. I think I’ve complained about it before but this particular house wasn’t designed very well. The main living areas are at the south end of the building so at this time of year they’re like meat-lockers all day long. In the flat last year, even though the walls were only those cheap (‘cinder blocks’ is what the americans call them) grey bricks with the air in the middle of them, the main wall faced north so any sun would help. Here, the warmest parts of the house are the laundry and the toilet: duuuuuuh -> that’s the sound of the 1950s zombies that designed this house. I’m getting too old to live in houses that have no effective heating.

, , — YS @ 10:07 am, August 11, 2014
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