Friday, April 29, 2016

Head shots from different angles

The reader of this blog may or may not have noticed that it hasn't been updated for a few days. The main reason for this is that my laptop has been sent away for repairs. Occasionally I write about hit songs that were in the charts this week exactly 40 or 50 years ago, but this time I'll look at another year.

When I was younger I went through a phase in which I was heavily into British art rock band, Genesis. In 1981 their lead singer, Phil Collins launched his highly successful solo career with In the Air Tonight, the first single from Face Value, his debut solo album. In so doing he inspired a generation of annoying air drummers. On May 1, 1981, it was the number 2 single on 3XY's Top 40 chart, and was also a massive hit around the world.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The other reason why Easter is bittersweet

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the failed 1916 Easter Rising by Irish republicans against British rule. The failed rebellion resulted in the deaths of almost 500 people. The republicans used the Dublin General Post Office as their headquarters. The building was shelled and badly damaged by British artillery during the rebellion.

I visited this building when I was in Dublin in late 2013. A commemorative plaque is on the walls on the post office. While there are signs on damage on the columns and walls to this day, there is ongoing debate if this was caused during the rebellion, or if it was unrelated erosion.

The State Library of Victoria is currently holding an exhibition to commemorate this centenary. This exhibition will be open until July 31, 2016. It includes a rare 1917 copy of the 1916 Irish declaration of independence.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Road train

In April 1976 I was too young to know what was in the music charts. If I did, I would have known that the number 7 song on 3XY's music charts was Convoy by C.W. McCall. Even then, I didn't become aware of this song until some years later when it was featured in "Radio Bart," the thirteenth episode of The Simpsons third season.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


United States House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan has ruled himself out as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. "Let me be clear: I do not want, nor will I accept the nomination for our party," Ryan said in remarks from the Republican National Committee's headquarters in Washington.

This sounds clear cut to me. The speculation surrounding Ryan should now end. Perhaps it wasn't just coincidence that Ryan's statement used almost the same words that former President Lyndon Johnson used in a televised speech in March 1968 that he would not be seeking another term. This video shows the announcement.

Whoops a daisy

The Victorian government today announced a massive increase in funding programs aimed at reducing family violence. This is welcome news. It's a pity that The Age made a mistake in its article about this announcement. The first paragraph says that just over half a billion dollars will be spent on these programs over the next two years. The headline gives the figure as $570 billion dollars. It makes me wonder if The Age's editorial department these days is run on the smell of an oily rag. The Victorian government's total expenditures are forecast to be $52 billion for the 2015-16 fiscal year, so there's no way it can afford to spend that amount of money. The Age's editorial staff need to lift their game.

Monday, April 11, 2016

I am

The other day I was reading the story of Jesus healing a demon-possessed man in Luke's gospel (8:26-39). This is a story that I thought I was familiar with, but there was one detail I'd never noticed before.

After the man was healed, he wanted to be with Jesus, but he commanded him to return to his home town, and tell everyone how much God had done for him. Luke writes that, "he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him." 

The detail I noticed was that Luke uses these parallel statements to indicate that God and Jesus are equal in status. Jesus is God. Knowing this gives me more reverence for Jesus. I have to take him seriously. Just like the man in this story, I also have an obligation to tell others what he has done for me. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Emotional depth

Cast your minds back to 1968. This was the year that Engelbert Humperdinck released his hit, A Man Without Love. The song is about a man expressing heartbreak over an ended romance.

It's a mystery to me where Engelbert found the passion and emotion for his performance. He wasn't drawing on personal experience. He has been married for over fifty years. As well as that, he has also remorsefully admitted to having a string of extramarital relationships.

It can safely be said that unlike the protagonist of the song, he has never been without love.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


I dare any of my plethora of engaged friends and acquaintances to incorporate this piece of music into their wedding ceremony.