Sunday, June 27, 2010

Down time

Lately I have had a few things on. But today I found myself at home with nothing I absolutely had to do. Weather too damp for laundry, shopping for the weekend done, my wife and daughter out looking for a 40th birthday present for sister/aunt.

So, a good moment to kick back and dig in to the record collection and establish some ambiance for the afternoon.
For some reason I have always had a soft spot for this solo record by David Johansen. He of the New York Dolls and later, improbably, one Buster Poindexter. All of these clips are songs from David Johansen's first solo album, filmed, I think, in Germany around 1978 or '79. The audience is torpid to put it politely but nobody on stage seems to give a damn: Johansen is all swagger and the guitars rip and roar.

There are a lot of spin offs and connections for Johansen: after all, he has been in the business for nigh on 40 years. But I just love this record. It's full speed ahead from the get-go. Cool Metro is the first track. The band don't do anything ground-breaking but have all the moves and there's none of the desperate-to-get-noticed drag act nonsense of the New York Dolls. It's not particularly punk but god it's loaded with energy and excitement.

I would have been happy if Johansen went on to make ten more records like this, but I suspect he finds a straight line hard to follow. As for later New York rockers The Strokes, I am afraid I wouldn't know them if they bit me on the ankle. There was something a bit Spinal Tap about that album cover that made it impossible for me to listen to them. So my education on New York style begins and ends here.
Has it really been 30 years?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Duke

Richard Hinds in The Age takes time out from the World Cup build-up to interview Mark Viduka, aka The Duke. Viduka, the pride of St Albans, is back in Melbourne and comfortably in retirement.
The previous evening, Viduka took his oldest son Joseph, 7, to soccer practice at the local club. He shakes his head about how quickly he has grown. It makes him appreciate the time he spends with his family now that his weekends are no longer a blur of hotels, coach trips and games.
''That's been my life since I was a little kid. My life has been associated with football,'' he says. ''When you see the build-up to the World Cup, you get excited. But realistically I don't think I had that hunger I needed to play in another one.''

I love the big guy. Maybe he didn't score as many goals as he could or should have for Australia - but the joy of his playing was something to see. He played from the heart.