'ello Guv



Blacks Caps amaze everybody, including themselves


Nice try lads. 
For the first time since 1993 the Black Caps have beaten Australia in a test match!

After a first innings collapse for a total of 150 runs, me and the rest of NZ's long tormented fans wrote off the team expecting another hiding from the Aussies. I even tweeted "you hurt me #blackcaps, you hurt me" but there's no pain now, just a bit amazement and happiness for NZ cricket.

NZ has a history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and it looked like they were at it again when they collapsed again in their second innings but the Black Cap bowlers made great use of a swinging ball to run through the Australian order.

Despite a fantastic effort from David Warner who made a confident century, the defiant last wicket stand of 34 was just 7 runs shy of winning and when Brendon Bracewell bowled Nathan Lyon, the result was a fine win for NZ and as it turns out, the 9th closest victory margin in the history of test cricket.

Well done Black Caps, just when I thought you couldn't do any worse, you couldn't have done any better!

It's the Bono leading the blind blondes



What rhymes with achtung?

It's the Bono leading the blind blondes


The one thing that truly stands out for me when thinking about the brilliance of U2 is not their songs, the drums, or riffs. Nor is it the hype and hyperbole of one of the world's most popular bands but their lyrics.

Bono has written the vast majority of U2's lyrics and in many of them you can find some true gems of penmanship, little sparkles of lyrical bliss that took a good song and put it into the territory of musical greatness.

I suggest that while some non U2 fans take any chance to diss Bono, they would be really grumpy buggers if they denied that Bono was a great lyricist.

Like a good poet, Bono's lyrics feature a whole range of subjects - love and loss, drugs, faith, faith in drugs, gods, Elvis and other monsters and of course, politics and it's prisoners.

This work leaves ample room for an inquiry into U2's lyrics, especially when The Edge chips in the odd song.

So what are Bono's best lyrical moments and qualities? What's his inspiration for putting pen to paper.  What makes Bono's lyrics so well received by millions of listeners and readers around the world? I can't speak for any one else but I thought I could share 10 U2 songs which I think highlight Bono's mastery of his craft.

Some of thing are simply clever word plays, others are stories of delight and irony - a thing which Bono and the boys were very heavy on in the 1990's.

Trabants on stage anyone?

10 songs that show Bono's lyrical qualities


Perhaps second only to With Or Without you in terms of popularity, it is arguably U2's finest song and I believe the lyrics are what make this so - I think this is because it's one of those songs where the lyrics can mean anything and everything to anyone.

At work last week a manager did a pop quiz and asked what this song was about. The answers varied from 'it's about a gay couple' or 'two torn lovers'. I think Bono's actually on record in the U2 by U2 book as One being a song about a couple that's breaking up. But that doesn't matter as its words are universal and have been taken to heart by so many U2 fans - indeed some have even had it as their wedding song which I'm sure would be a delicious irony for Bono

The Wanderer

"They say they want the kingdom but they don't want God in it". I think that's Bono perfectly capturing the wishes of so many of us. We want the nice things, but aren't prepared to put in the effort. Or something. For me, The Wanderer always seemed like some post apocalyptic dream - and it's perhaps a sign of a great song where it allows you to shape your own thoughts and fantasies around it (well when Bono mentions the 'atomic sky', that's nice nudge). Indeed, the whole of Zooropa's lyrics seem to take me to a strange other world, where in some places it's OK to feel numb or taste the lemon but spit out antifreeze.

Original of the Species

The title is suggestive of what's to come in this song, a play on Darwin's epic work about evolution - the song's lyrics are possibly a father looking at his daughter's own evolution from - child to woman. The second half is more likely Bono singing to his wife (and the message in the first half could also before her) - either way both, themes are heartwarming.

If God Will Send His Angels

'Blind leading the blond' is perhaps my favourite U2 line ever. It's just a cleverly simply play on words. Bono does that trick a fair bit in the Pop album - an almost too cute example is from The Playboy Mansion which opens with the lyric "If Coke is a mystery, and Micheal Jackson, history..." which was a nice play on the failing career of Jackson and a play on the name of his Greatest Hits album.


Sunday Bloody Sunday

Bono defiantly wears this song's lyrics on his sleeve. A song about soldiers shooting unarmed civilians in Northen Ireland - the lyrics capture the moment crisply by invoking a cross fire between religion and the military (and by extension the State) and the sad consequences when both collide.

 Featuring a fine use of  a marching drum beat by Larry Mullen, the song's chorus is a defining moment for Bono - it was one of U2's first truly popular 'classic' songs and it many ways this song defined U2 as a band that could carry some political weight.

Until the End of the World

"In my dream I was drowning my sorrows
But my sorrows, they learned to swim
Surrounding me, going down on me
Spilling over the brim

Waves of regret and waves of joy
I reached out for the one I tried to destroy
You, you said you'd wait
'Til the end of the world"

Simply one of Bono's finest song writing moments. Water is commonly used as a metaphor life yet here's Bono drowning in his sorrows. The song can be seen as a obvious story about how Judas betrayed Jesus and thus seen as one of those "U2 going on about God and spiritually" type songs but as with all good lyrics they can mean anything.

I tend to see this one more of a dramatic break up between two lovers where the relationship perhaps has been bit one sided.

The Wanderer

"They say they want the kingdom but they don't want God in it". I think that's Bono perfectly capturing the wishes of so many of us. We want the nice things, but aren't prepared to put in the effort.

For me, The Wanderer always seemed like some post apocalyptic dream - and it's perhaps a sign of a great song where it allows you to shape your own thoughts and fantasies around it (well when Bono mentions the 'atomic sky', that's nice nudge).

Indeed, the whole of Zooropa's lyrics seem to take me to a  strange other world, where in some places it's OK to feel numb or taste the lemon but spit out antifreeze.



Not a hugely popular song on release as a single but I think time has shown that Please was a fine song from U2's Pop album. Lyrically it was a political plea, invoking the captains of Irish politics to sort their messes out. The listener would perhaps know the song had political connotations if they had seen the cover which featured Gerry Adams and other elected leaders - however this stanza effectively leaves no stone unturned as Bono thows a rock in the air to hit home the issues:

Your Catholic blues, your convent shoes
Your stick-on tattoos, now they're making the news
Your holy war, your northern star
Your sermon on the mount from the boot of your car

Strong stuff from an album many people were quick to write off.


One could be forgiven for thinking that Get on Your Boots was simply a throw away song by U2 ( indeed one wonders why they released it as the first single from No Line on the Horizon when Magnificant probably would have given them a hit single) however the lyrics of this song run deep. Almost a stream of consciousness, tripping through it's seemingly nonsensical words but when Bono writes "I don’t want to talk about the wars between the nations" he's saying everything.

All I Want is You

This is Bono's finest love letter he has ever written. The closing from Rattle and Hum is simply a man tell a woman how he loves her - it's perhaps not the happiest song with undertones suggesting things may have gone awry - indeed the tremendous coda at the end suggests a passionate love affair being ripped apart by uncaring forces.

 A good lyric deserves a fine musical backing and All I Want is You has it in spades.

Summary

So that was my attempt to highlight some of the fine lyrical qualities and charms that Bono and U2 have to offer. Of course with any interpretation of songs, the whole exercise is a subjective journey, indeed a musical journey that could have stopped at a completely different set of songs.

Bono is a bit of a lyrical magpie. He steals lines from the bible and riffs on the work of others (such as when he tried to write a sequel of sorts to John Lennon's 'God') to make his point. But he does that and gets his unique messages across to the listener very well.

If someone hasn't already printed a book featuring all of U2's lyrics, they surely will as they serve as some fine literature in their own right. Throw in some politcal rallying and a little love making and there's a best seller book of poetry on your hands....

What are your favourite lyrical moments from U2?


Other pages you may be interested in:

Piranhas eat Brazilian swimmers at beach


This picture has no relevance to the story other than being awesome

This news report suggests there's a school of hungry pirahnas running round beaches terrorising swimmers. No word on how many toes have been eaten.....

News Story

Thousands of flesh-eating piranhas have appeared along a river beach popular with tourists in western Brazil, attacking unwary swimmers.

A spokesman for the municipal Darwinist government of Caceres in Mato Grosso state says at least 15 people have been bitten in the past two weeks off Daveron beach.

Nobody has died, but some swimmers have lost toes, and spokesman Gonzaga Junior says others have lost chunks of their legs and ankles.

Junior says piranhas are common in rivers on the outskirts of the city. But this is the first time they have appeared in waters off the beach inside the city.

Large posters have been posted on the beach to warn swimmers about the fish.

Aussie 47 all out score board


Aussies all out scoreboard cricket

Australia 47 all out score board

Did I mention the All Blacks beat Aussie in the RWC as well? 

U2's Blow Your House Down Lyrics



Blow Your House lyrics by U2

Blow Down Your House was released by Ireland's Finest Export since Guiness, U2 to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their classic album, Achtung Baby. The song was from the recording sessions of that album. It was released as part of a super dooper reissue of Actung Baby.

Burn Your House down features all the familiar sonic elements of Achtung Baby - Edge riffs, appeggios, slide guitar, backing vocals and lyrics that feature a woman as a central character that's being out of control - kind of like The Lady with the Spinning Head (which was a U2 B-side but came from the same sessions).

Blow Your House Down Lyrics:

You've been along this road so many times
Nothing should be a surprise to you
Seen every premeditated crime
From every possible point of view

Why, if it's so wrong, does it feel so right?
Why, oh I've got your gun?
Do I want you tonight?

She, she's gonna blow your house down
She's gonna turn your head around
She's gonna blow your house down

What of chaos is the thing you crave
Is it the taste of self-inflicted pain
And what of losing is your drug of choice
Is it what keeps you coming back again

Why, if it's so wrong, does it feel so right

She, she's gonna blow your house down
She's gonna turn your head around
She's gonna blow your house down

She blow your house down
She's gonna turn your head around
She's gonna blow your house down

Run fast, fast as you can
Run fast, fast as you can
Fast, fast as you can
Run as fast, fast as you can
Fast as you can
Run as fast, fast as you can

The wave, it have its
She was saving it
What makes you think you can
Oh, they're craving
Deals for breaking
Your old devil's hands

She, she's gonna blow your house down
She's gonna turn your head around
She's gonna blow your house down

She gonna blow your house down
She's gonna turn your head around
She's gonna blow your house down

Check out the lyrics to U2's Oh Berlin.

Rock and Roll and Brew, nothing compares to Meatloaf



Bring me a gin

Meat Loaf Review and Set List Wellington New Zealand


26 October 2011

Venue: TSB Arena, Queens Wharf

Opening act: The under rated Luga Boa

Fresh from a stint in Australia where our Peter Pan fan Meat Loaf learnt aussie rules fans just don't fucking get him, Meat Loaf and his band of truly talented players hit Wellington for a one night only show.

Meat is 64 years old and in ill health with a voice that's had better days. And he knows it so he plays with that and makes it a part of his set to good effect with fun humour - his band thus has to carry him a fair way but the Neverland Express is a great ride.

The ever sexy Patti Russo (now at Cougar status) shone brightly as his foil for so many of the vocals - and as when I saw Meat Loaf in the same venue in 1997 (?) the highlight was her efforts during Paradise By The Dashboard Light. For some strange reason I liked it when she kicked Meat Loaf in the nuts.

Generally speaking, fans go to see Meat Loaf play classics from Bat Out of Hell and the odd hit from his comback years in the late 90s. So we got a rocking Bat out of Hell that featured some absolutely dire vocals, an excellent Rock and Roll Dreams and a pretty damn good Two Out Of Three Aint Bad.

Three songs from Hang Cool Teddy Bear were played all in a row to good effect - and as they were recently recorded Meat Loaf's live vocals filled those songs well.

To counter Meat's fragile health, the band plays loud and does plenty of musical interludes to let the big fella rest up a little (kind of reminds of what Axl Rose does these days!) - the violin and piano duel during Aint Bad was a great example and a fine piece of musician ship.

Meat Loaf was brilliant as he played up to the crowd, cracking jokes and rambling through a story about acid and teletubbies which made no sense until the end of the show when we were visited by actual Teletubbies and Alice in Wonderland characters. It only makes sense if you don't want peace on Earth and were actually there.

A fine night out was had by the crowd - their sing alongs showed it and despite the shortcomings, the mighty Meat Loaf proved once again he is a great showman and entertainer.

Hang Cool, Teddy Bears.

Meat Loaf Wellington Set List:

Hot Patootie/Time Warp (from Rocky Horror Picture Show)

If It Ain't Broke, Break It

Bat Out Of Hell

Peace On Earth

Living On The Outside

Los Angeloser

You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)

Acoustic guitar solo (by Paul ‘Full Metal Jacket’ Crook)

Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through

Stand in the Storm

I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)

Acoustic guitar solo (Randy ‘Nashville’ Flowers)

Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

Paradise By The Dashboard Light

Set Encore 1

Let it Roll  (The Doors cover) / Free Bird instrumental

All Revved Up With No Place To Go

Set List Encore 2:

Mercury Blues

Meat Loaf heads to Tauranga next and then on to Auckland.

Fine words to live by: Be an optimist Prime and not a Negatron


Be an optimist Prime and not a Negatron

Fine words to live by:

Be an optimist Prime and not a Negatron

Repeat as necessary...

Lulu Lyrics Metallica and Lou Reed



Metallica and Lou Reed looking cool as fuck
Check out lyrics from 'Loutellica's' album Lulu. Lou Reed and Metallica have teamed up to produce a collaborative effort that explores the work of Frank Wedekind. Lulu tells the story and drama of a young and nubile abused dancer’s life and relationships as found in Wedekind's plays “Earth Spirit” and “Pandora’s Box”

Lulu features the following songs. Click on the links will take you to the lyrics for the song.

Brandenburg Gate
Cheat on Me

How to restore your Dad's old desk to former glories


Used and Abused: Before the first sanding
I got my hand's on my father's old desk with the intention of restoring it to former glories. My Dad had used it for years as a study desk both when studying an university and then as a teacher, then when my brother went to University, he took it so he could have somewhere to store his beer and comics on. As a result it was rooted and needed some love.

Here's the steps I took to renovate the desk and give it a new life in my home!

Note: I'm no expert when it comings to DIY renovations, I just made this shit up as I went remembering things from woodwork class back in the day. Key things to remember (and learned from past experiences elsewhere)  - do not cheap out on sand paper, paint brushes or satin. Use quality products!

Step 1.

Clean the desk. Wipe away the spider webs, coachroach shit, beer stains and god knows what else has built up over the years. Take your kick ass sander and sand the shit out of every piece of wood you see - use a low grit sandpaper. I used 60 grit and make sure its some quality paper. Don't cheap out like Don Brash on a dinner date.

Step 2.

Done sanding? No you are not. Get a hearth brush and clean the sand residue off. Then wet a rag with water and wash the desk off from top to bottom.

Step 3.

If your desk is a bit warped and the panels creaky, this is the time I decided to reglue them back together. I possibly should have done this as Step 1. Whatever, learning is part of life.

Get some PVA wood glue and a T-bar clamp or 2 and glue the panels you want back together. Leave overnight to make sure the glue has worked it's magic. If the wood is warped, you may be in for a battle to keep things straight.

Note to self: Glue before sanding!
Step 4.

Yip, I know you made a mess during step 3 so sand any PVA glue remains off. Now here come's a suck-ass part. You now have to resand the entire desk again to get rid of the 'roughage' that the intial sand left. Time to use a finer grit sandpaper - give your desk some love with at least a 120 grit - I did a round with some 150 and then did another sanding round with 180 grit. Again clean with a broom etc, wash down with water.

A well sanded desk. 
Step 5.

You are now ready for the last, and most fun part - the staining of the desk. The stain makes the desk looks nice and also gives it a protection from the 'elements' like beer being spilt on it. For this desk, I chose a nice kauri satin, my reasoning being the wood was light in colour and would suit whatever wood the desk actually is made from.

In a dust free area, apply the stain evenly with a quality brush. And by quality, I mean one that will not start to lose bristles half way through the job. Look for any areas of excess and even out. Depending on the product you are using they may suggest to wipe off with a cloth. I say directions are for pussies. Just do what feels right..... leave to dry overnight in a dust free area. Actually, follow the instructions and leave to dry overnight.

Nice satin Kauri finish
Step 6.

Find some  matching handles for the drawers. Put them in place and you're done:

Step 7.

Put some beer and comics on the desk. Done. Congratulations. You now have a really nicely restored old desk. You've earned yourself some Man Points. Go bake a bacon and egg pie to celebrate.

old desk restored

JJ: Thinks about Gears of War



Gears of War 3 Wrap Up 

There's been a lot to think about with the release of Gears of War 3 late last month - with no apologies to Richard Prebble here's what I've been thinking.

My review of Gears of War 3 - it's as good as you imagine it is.
What should Gears of 4 be like? - it should be as good as you can imagine.
Does Carmine Live? - what's the fate of the third Carmine brother?
What about Adam Fenix? - how will Marcus fare when he finds his father?
How Karen Travis turned her Gears over - how Travis enrolled with the COG
Multiplayer tips for playing Gears of War 3 - get your wingman on.

And let's have a look at the Gears of War 4 campaign reviews.

Elvis would have been a sissy without Johnny Cash



elvis with side burns

U2 songs lyrics that reference Elvis

Elvis was the King  (kind of the same as Eric Clapton is God but better) - and kings leave a long line of history and influence so it's no surprise that U2 have either referenced Elvis in a couple of their songs or done a cover of a song he made famous!

Elvis Ate America

A song from Passengers that is was almost an Elvis rant - but it did deliver the classic Bono lyric, 'Elvis would have been a sissy without Johnny Cash' which, to my mind, seems true!

A Room at the HeartBreak Hotel

Whilst not specifically about Elvis, the song is a direct reference to Heartbreak Hotel - a song which Elvis famously sang about. Fans of the Rattle and Hum album might be interested to know that U2 recorded song tracks for for the album at Sun Studios in Memphis, where Elvis famously recorded. Room at the Heartbreak Hotel was a b-side to Angel of Harlem  single from Rattle and Hum.

Elvis Presley and America

Apparently this was a letter of sorts from Bono to Lisa Marie, Elvis's daughter.

Unchained Melody

Dare I put this here as it's simply a famous Elvis cover song? Yip - but it's a famous one!


Can't help falling in Love

Another sweet cover of the King.

Gears of War Three Review




This conclusion to the Gears of War trilogy has been a long time coming. Three red rings of death a marriage and a mortgage later, I've had the absolute pleasure to play and now review Gears of War 3.

I orignally purchased GOW1 as a filler game waiting for Halo 3 to arrive as I'd heard good things about it and that game sure delivered a fun filled kill fest and despite the nonsensical plot, ending General Raam's grubby run was a sweet deal. GOW3 has proven to be a sweet a deal as was the delight that was Halo 3 and dare I say it, a more enjoyable game to play than Halo Reach.

I thought I'd divvy this review up into the Acts of the game and give my thoughts as the game progressed.

Big ass spoilers follow.


Act 1. A big boat collides with the cole Train

So Chairman Prescott wasn't such a prick after all and may have the key to ending this whole nightmare? Such is the set up of the game - the new stranded onna boat must face new lambent horde who have no rhyme or reason for their actions, just killing. So that's what Marcus and his team of soldiers and secretaries get up to - if it's not taking down a giant Leviathan a la a Gears 2, it's the player taking the role of the Cole Train touching down on the face of some angry b'arch. At this point you begin to remember how corny GOW is but how fun the game is to actually play. It's time to find Adam Fenix!




Act 2. Like a band of hobbits, we're off to a Big Gate

Grist for the mill this level, a long journey to find Hoffman who may hold the key to finding Adam Fenix, the father of this game's hero Marcus. This leg is a bit of a slog but has a few novel features such as new guns that are quite kick ass. Baird, though always annoying, is given his dues as a true COG soldier and appears to be getting a bit more love and screen time than the prior games.

Act 3. Drop it like it's Hoff or 'meet me at the front gate'

It's often in the third act of a play where the shit hits the fan. As we all know, the Gears universe is a Mad World - so it's no surprise when in the most epic moment in Gears of War history, Marcus' brother till end end, Dominic sacrifices himself so Marcus and Anya can carry on to find Hoffman. It's possibly the finest gaming moment Gears of War has delivered thus far - how can the ending top this moment? This moment makes Seargeant Johnson dying in Halo 3 seem like a goldfish dying.

Act 4. Dom is dead, there's a dude that think's he's Ving Rhames or Simon Phoenix or something.

Marcus is a bit grumpy, his brother is dead and now he has to get some oil for a dude that's taken Dizzie hostage. The dude is some kind of cross between a pissed of Ving Rhames (the real life version) and Simon Phonix from Stallone's Demolition Man - it's epic cheese and one were GOW is let down by it's faux 'fuck you all, in your face attitudes' - it works for 12 year old gamers but not this player.

The Locust Queen turns up, flys around and pisses off - which leaves our heroes to fight their way to Dizzie's rescue - it's a good sequence and with the gnasher shotgun a fun chance to take on some Queen's guards at close quarters.



Act 5 or 6 (I'm Lost). We take the Sub Way

We'll it's more of a way to a Sub. Our heroes need to get to Azure. I've already forgotten why - but luckily Gears of War has always worked well without a comprehensive plot so I'm happy to run around dodging big electric centipedes while I get fuel for the submarine and some parts so Dizzy can take us to wherever.

The gun battles are fun, a boss battle against some heavily armoured Priests or whatever is a amusing - but as per the Arbiter in Halo 3, I can step back and let my team take some close quarters damage while I sit back from afar taking pot shots. I do however have a strong feeling this approach won't work when I get to a run through on Insane mode... revive me!

The Final Actions....

We battle through Azure's 'Malestrom' and after all these years we finally meet the father of Marcus, Adam Fenix - this should be of no surprise to any one who's played Gears before - the prior games have built to this moment and frankly it's a bit of an anti climax. This leads me to believe he's gonna die at the end of the game somehow, but not just before he faces Marcus and they hug it out.

So we battle through some kind of luxury hotel, where people b'arch about Prescott living it up large while the cities burn. I get the feeling this anger is misplaced.

There's some great set pieces throughout these final stages - they are going to really challenging on the Insane difficulty level.

You've read this far, so let's cut to the chase - the final act is a battle versus the Queen of the Locust Horde flying around on some kind of winged horse (if memory serves correct, we first saw it at the end of the first game). The game's final conclusion is obvious if you think about it - Marcus vs the Queen - it nearly happened in the second Gears game and when it happens, it's a fairly straight forward exercise in picking your moments with the Hammer of Dawn weapon.

And the story's conclusion? Well let's just say after 13 odd years of not seeing his father, Marcus gets to face his Dad for 13 seconds before he gives his life to save everyone else and make amends for the sins he believed he had committed.

Overall this was an extremely Gears of War game. If I've been snarky in places during this review it's because I expect great things from great games. Cheesey moments aside, Gears 3 has delivered a polished, bug free (??!) game with a semi coherent plot that answered a few things but created a few questions. The game features an excellent colour palate, interesting new monsters and a couple of good twists and turns. Definitely the best game of the series, my hat of the to the game's designers - they've earnt their pay this year!

So what's next for the Gears of War universe? GOW4?

P.S I was delighted to see the Carmine character live!

U2 songs you should have a second listen to



U2 is a band full of Irish lads (and an Englishman of sorts) well known for its big singles. Songs like Where the Streets Have No NameBeautiful Day and Desire all popular the world over. Some U2 songs sometimes get over looked by the casual fan. Here's we a list of U2 songs that I think are worthy of a second listen.

Please, from the album Pop.

Pop is probably Bono’s best effort lyrically across an album. With word plays on Michael Jackson being history over Jackson’s own HIStory pun, the blind leading the blonde and the line from Please, “Your Catholic blues, your convent shoes” pretty much summing up Bono’s eternal search for his place and pace in the world - this song was depressing yet uplifting at the same time. Overall, it was a question being asked of Ireland's political leaders.

Dirty DayZooropa

“These days, days, days run away like horses over the hill” being sung over and over at the end always remind me that I never have enough time to do what ever it is I wanted do. This song did make me go see a documentary on the guy it was dedicated to, the author Charles Bukowski and read some of his books.

Van Dieman’s Land, from Rattle and Hum.

This song has the Edge singing about the life of the John Boyle O'Reilly, who was deported to Australia for writing bad poetry. The song's sentiments reflect the hard life that immigrants faced when they arrived in Van Dieman's Land.

Unchained Melody


Clearly not an original U2 song but when you hear Bono sing it, it has the emotion that all their big hits have. Released as a B-side to With Or Without You, it has been a favourite amongst the U2 hardcore for years.

MLKThe Unforgettable Fire album.

While the fire is a reference to atomic bombs being dropped in Japan (an early portent of How to dismantle an Atomic Bomb maybe?) the album seemed dedicated to two Kings – Elvis and Martin Luther King. MLK is sung like a lullaby. While Bono’s politic rants and beseeches and besmirches of The Man might put the more jaded and cynical amongst us to sleep, you can’t complain that this song does the same in a nice under the covers on a rainy day kind of way.

Beat on the Brat, cover of The Ramones, from the We’re a Happy Family Ramones Tribute Album.

Beat on the brat with a baseball bat. Yeah punk. U2 started out playing Ramone’s covers trying to pass them off as their own. Which is pretty much the music industry down pat these days. What can you do?

Original of the Species.

Coming from their popular How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb album, Original of the Species is almost like a classic father to daughter message, 'Don't Grow Up Too Fast, Baby'.

What are your favourite U2 songs you think are worthy of a second listen?

Chris Cornell Set List Wellington New Zealand



Chris Cornell Set List Wellington New Zealand

2 October 2010

Micheal Fowler Centre, Wellington

A rather chirpy Chris Cornell kicked of the first night of his solo acoustic tour 'Songbook Volume 1' with a set list full of classic Soundgarden songs, hit singles in his own right and a few of Audioslave numbers - these songs were  packaged with 6 cover songs as well, including the very popular, Bille Jean.

Chris took requests every so often - Like a Stone was one of the first. He had some good crowd banter, talked about the Rugby World Cup and not drinking and then cooking and burning the house down.


At one stage he gave the audience a choice between Like Suicide or Billie Jean - he thought the vote was pretty even and said he could do both.

Chris seemed genuinely pleased to be in Wellington and the crowd was very receptive to his mentioning that he'd be back with his band Soundgarden next year.

Cornell Set List:



Dark Globe (Pink Floyd - Syd Barret Cover)

Wide Awake

Can't Change Me

As Hope And Promise Fade

Call Me a Dog

Sunshower

Fell on Black Days

Hunger Strike

Like a Stone

State Trooper (Springsteen's song from Nebraska)

When I'm Down

Seasons

Blow Up The Outside World

I am the Highway

A Day in the Life (Beatles Cover)

Like Suicide

Doesn't Remind Me




Set List Encore

Redemption Song (Bob Marley song)

Billie Jean (Michael Jackson)

Blackhole Sun

Imagine (John Lennon)

Check out 7 Concerts Worth Travelling To

U2 new album news



Bono in full 'she got soul soul, sweet soul' mode


After the apparent flop of No Line on the Horizon (selling only 6 million copies of an album counts as a flop if you are U2), Bono and U2 were a little bit worried that they had lost their mojo somewhat so turned to Bellatron for inspiration and what followed was creative output to rival the famous Lennon McCartney partnership.

U2's new album, Cyber Love, features 12 tracks, 7 of which were penned by Bono and Bellatron together. The song 'If I was a Space Angel' will be the first single released. It also features Bellatron doing some backing vocals and playing some keyboards.

Bono was interviewed by Rolling Stone and is quoted as saying "Yeah, we could have got on the Lady Gaga band wagon and write songs about Judas but we felt Bellatron has such sweet soul, she was the stellar trick we needed to get our groove back. Besides, she makes a mean gin martini".

Long term fans of U2 are not sure of what to make the collaboration but anticipation is clearly high as itunes has already presold the single 300,000 times. Fans should relax as it was Bellatron who wrote the original songs for Stan Bush that were used in The Transformers Movie.

U2 fans who buy the album on itunes prior to release will also get three b-sides free, one of which features Bellatron and Bono doing a duet of You Don't Bring Me Flowers. It was originally a hit for Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond.

Cyber Love is out April 29 on Jimmy Jangles Records who currently sponsor In A Far Away Galaxy.

Why I love Rogan Josh and other horses



rogan josh melbourne cup

Why I love Rogan Josh and other horses


Horse racing is in my blood.

My grandfather, the late J.P. Ryan was a trainer and so horses were a large part of the family's life until his death in the mid 60s.

The seed was planted well enough so that the extended family continue to attend race days for the purposes of family entertainment and gambling.

Most of my racing attendance has been at the Hawke's Bay Race Club in Hastings.

It's not a fancy horse racing venue though the surrounds of the Havelock Hills and wider vista down the Heretaunga Plain make it a perfect spot to watch the horses come pounding in down the home straight.

Indeed, the sound of the hooves hit the turf  as they near the winning posts is perhaps one of the most awesome sounds you'll hear.


Here's a trip down memory lane of some of the horses I admired and enjoyed as a kid (and as an older kid!)

Master Blaster

Late for the races one day, Dad did a phone bet for us kids on Master Blaster, chosen specifically because of its name. As we headed to the track we listened to the race on the car radio.

I don't recall where he was in the race at the time but he fell over a hurdle and broke his leg.

Us kids felt pretty bad about that though not as bad as the vet who had to put Master Blaster down - he actually managed to shoot himself in the hand before the lame animal was finally spared.

Horlicks

Before the recession tanked everything, there used to a race called the Kelt Capital.

It was a Group 1 race, meaning it was a prime race and had prime horses - to win it was to mean you had a fine horse on your hands.

I remember the popular Horlicks won it in dead heat which was kind of exciting back in the day.

Sunline

Arguably NZ's finest race horse, Sunline was a modern day champion that NZ fell in love with. She won just about everything she raced in - including famously two Cox Plates.

And she wouldn't just win, she would win by miles - at the turn or top of the straight her jockey, Greg Childs, would let her go and she'd just leave the other runners in her dust - it wasn't until her later years as she aged when younger horses like Northerly could catch her.

Despite her winning 32 out of 48 races, I think I lost more money on her than I won!

Bonecrusher

Everyboy has their favourite horse and my brother David's was Bonecrusher. While Simon liked dinosaurs and I liked snakes, David liked Bonecrusher like JFK liked blondes.

He had scrap books of every article written about the beast. Bonecrusher is famous for winning the Cox Plate where he just ousted Waverlly Star as they battled each other for the lead as they left the other runs in their wake. I think

David liked the name as it was that of a Transformer from the Destructicons....

Rogan Josh

I'd never heard of Rogan Josh until he won the Melbourne Cup - it seemed a bloody odd name for a horse and it was my who informed me that rogan josh was actually an 'aromatic lamb dish hailing from Kashmir'.

Who knew?

Mum. And she then made it for the next evening's meal and I've been ordering it to eat ever since!

Empire Rose

I think this is my personal favourite - Empire Rose was another Melbourne Cup winner and I think the reason why I loved her as a kid was she was sooooo big. I remember the Cup race vividly enough to recall that Natski got second - it's not very often you can remember who got second so it must have been a good race eh?

Apparently as the two went past the post, while Empire Rose's nose was ahead, her rump was behind Natski's - which just goes to show how big she was!

Image Credit

Prime and Bumblebee as Lego Men


Optimus Prime and Bumblebee Lego Cosplay

Here's some cool costumes of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee dressed up as if they were Lego Men. Awesome. Speaking of Lego, check out these fantastic Star Wars Lego sets.

Moving to the Karori, gonna eat a lot of Peaches



So Jay Bee and I have bit the bullet, got a mortgage and bought a house in Karori. I understand it's a place where people go to be grown ups. I know it's a place for grown ups as it has a New World and only grown ups shop at New World. Right?

We have a lovely brick house with three bedrooms and a fricken sweet living area. We did have to make sure that all our white ware was actually all silverware so it would match the oven! WTF you say? Look, I don't ask why, I just fork over the cash. It's easier that way.

In return I get sanctuary over what has quickly been called the Man Cave and the garage for the car. This means I get to buy stuff to put stuff in said buildings like gardening shears, an axe (acutally two), paint, hammers and saws. Yippie!

Moving in was an all day effort and things went well - a big ups and thanks for E who took time out to spend the day lugging boxes and beds down 28 steps all day.

The week that followed was an assortment of cleaning, removing ugly shelving, getting firewood delivered, learning which number bus to catch and what was the best of the three fish and chip shops Karori has to offer.

Answers to the learning: The Number 3 and Corfu.

The three day weekend was a further excuse to go a lil nuts at Bunnings buying various other tools like snippers and loppers plus some weedkiller and grass. Oh, and curtains. We bought lots of curtains. And then I hung curtains. Looots of curtains.

And that's what I wrote a few months ago and forgot to press publish. Since then I've sanded benches and window sills, had a party and a BBQ and painted the front step. It also snowed. If snowed for the first time in 50 years in Wellington and it was muthuckin cold!

Mount Ngarahoe covered with snow



I went Skiing up Whakapapa in the weekend, here's a sweet photo I took of Mount Ngarahoe. I love the shot of the chair lift just creeping by!

Experts should compare and contrast this snow covered mountain with the shot of it from when I did the Tongariro crossing a few years back!


Steve Lilywight talks future U2 in 1987


Steve Lilywhite circa late 80s 
I came across this article on @U2 which featured an interview with Steve Lilywhite who, as time has now told us, has been one of U2’s most best and consitent collaborators.

Clearly U2’s The Joshua Tree album has started to go stellar at the time of the interview and U2 were becoming a huge band. I thought it would be interesting to reflect on some of his comments about the future U2 and see where they landed.

His words from 1987 are telling..


"They have still got their best to come. They have now started to write songs and The Joshua Tree is far more song-oriented. They spent four albums trying to write songs and now, on their fifth album, they are just beginning to get it together. By the sixth and seventh albums I think we'll see some classic songs coming from U2."

Did we see some classic U2 songs from those sixth and seventh albums? We sure did! Rattle and Hum produced All I Want Is You, Desire, Angel of Harlem and a wee hit called When Love Comes to Town. And then what happended? If you paid attention as Actung Baby commanded, you’ll have heard the majestic One – a song which some how managed to top the beauty of Joshua Tree’s With or Without you. There was also the monster of a song, The Fly, the haunting Who’s Going to Ride your Wild Horses, and of course the mega hits of Even Better Than the Real Thing and Mysterious Ways.

So we can safely say Steve Lilywhites prediction was bang on!

'If you can build a band up from the first to third albums it is quite a nice little progression. It was always clear in my mind that U2 were going to go all the way. There was no question of that." 


It would appear that Steve thought U2 had gone all the way with Joshua Tree and perhaps that’s a fair enough sentiment – two number ones on the US charts is pretty much going all the way in my book.

Could Steve have predicted how far U2 have actually ended up going? No, I doubt he would have thought U2 would have become the biggest band in the planet taking over the Rolling Stones in terms of sales and concert tickets sold, but he was still there went U2 basically had their third coming with All That You Can’t Leave Behind.  The songs from that album owned the Grammy Awards, and then Steve swam the tide of U2 popularity with How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb* and the slowburning but the more you listen the more you love it, No Line on The Horizon.

"This is very close to being an album of classic songs, but I think that within one or two albums they could have an album which might be one of the biggest-selling records of all time. 

Two Words: Achtung Baby.

"This album will do well, it'll probably double their sales so far, but the next one will be brilliant!"


Well I wouldn't say Rattle And Hum is brilliant but it had some brilliant songs - U2 got a bit of crap for trying a bit to hard to emulate the soul / blues thing that they were in love with - regardless, as I mentioned above Rattle and Hum had the songs, and believe me when I saw U2 in Auckland play Angel of Harlem, the fans went nuts with appreciation.

So based on that rough cut from the Lilywhite interview, he had a fair measure of where U2 would end up!

JJ: Reviews Bioshock 2 for the Xbox 360




So I know I'm a year and a half behind but I've finally got hold of Bioshock 2 and had a run through the campaign and I got say, like the original Bioshock, this is a bloody good game!

Set some 8 years after the first decent to Rapture, Bioshock 2 begins with you as a Big Daddy (known as Delta) facing your foe, Sophia Lamb. As she induces you to commit suicide using hypnosis, you immediately what kind of hell hole have you found yourself, is it Rapture's own version of the Devil's Dungeon?

Game play is based on the original BioShock (though improved), where the player Delta explores the city of Rapture and fights off Splicers,other abominations, the remaining psychotic and deluded human population of the city, using a combination of the environment, weapons, Plasmids and Tonics.

I found myself favouring the electrical plasmid, the shotgun and the spear gun as my weapons of choice. The real fun to be had its mixing it up with the differing kinds of ammunition, the burning phosphorous shells being an effective show stopper.

The story line is intertwined with the original tale of Rapture in the sense that the struggle between Andrew Ryan and this game's Antagonist Sophia Lamb is the back drop to your attempt to rescue your daughter Eleanor. This time the game focuses on a discussion of socialism colored with a cultist religion that would determine a new Utopia as opposed to Ryan's rhetoric of a free market with out principle or rule of law.


Is Sophia really your daughter? Is this a fake out like the classic Would You Kindly? from the original? Who is going to double cross me? Should I let this Old Lady die? What about this Child Kidnapper? Should he be made to suffer for his actions?

These are some of the questions that Bioshock 2 asks you to think about and even act on. There are plenty of occasions when you have no time to think but merely react - this is when the Big Sisters come for you. As you venture through the game, your Little Sister can obtain some Adam for you - the Big Sisters do not want you to get the Adam (as you become stronger) so they come to attack - the are relentless screaming banshees that do not stop until you are dead or they die trying.

The Big Sister attacks make for a delightful gaming experience, and kudos to the game designers for introducing this new facet to the game to mix things up. While it's always fun to take on a rampaging Big Daddy, they simply aren't scary anymore when put up against the Big Sisters.  The music that accompanies a Big Sister attack is simply a perfect mix of conveyed terror and danger - indeed the music of Bioshock 2 is an absolute triumph.

Hey Soul Sister?
Overall Bioshock 2 is a damn fine sequel to what was a refreshingly original piece of gaming adventure. People without brains can play it for it's run and gun appeal whereas those with some life learning or education can enjoy the fantastic story - not since the last Bioshock game have I really had to think - sure Mass Effect asks you to make choices along the way, but Bioshock has the edge in engaging my mind.

I think Bioshock Infinite has a lot to live up to after this game. Hopefully it's story will be as appealing as both Bioshocks have been. For this gamer, I'll definitely be getting it so as to have another chance to play with the magic of the Bioshock series.

JJ Reviews: Dark Side of the Moon Transformers


bumblebee transformers

There was a time in the Autobot's history at their darkest hour, when the future looked bleak and as the credits to Revenge of the Fallen rolled, Transformers fans wondered if Micheal Bay was actually the right guy to be directing these giant fucking robot vs giant fucking robot movies. It turns out he can and that we can squarely lame most of the blame for Revenge of the Fallen's plot failures on the the writer's strike cos Bay has delivered the smash that we all wanted Dark of the Moon to be.

ALERT MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW

Let's face it, a site called The Optimus Prime Experiment is going to give props to any Transformers movie but this time, I'm giving BIG props to Dark of the Moon. This was a fearless movie. You thought it was bad ass when Jazz was killed in the first movie? This is a movie where EVERYONE dies. And jeepers is it satisfying.

Sam finally has a true moment of glory against a Decepticon when he manages to remove Starscream's eye and replace it with a bomb. Sentinel Prime murders Ironhide in a classic movie betrayal plot point and well, Megatron finally got was coming to him, killed by his one armed brother, Optimus Prime. That's right, one armed!!

It was a bloody long movie with a whole 'building collapsing' plot point that served us nothing but a vehicle to show bad ass Shockwave was. Or wasn't. The trailers made him seem like he was set to rule the planet but in the end he was just there to make some fan boys happy.

And indeed, the fan boys will be very happy with what's going on in this movie - lots of head severing, Prime with his swords and finally, he has a trailer to lug around some awesome weaponry. Bumblebee gets a few by now  mandatory heroic moments and Sam Witwicky actually gets a pretty decent run this time as he's matured from  love struck teenager to love struck man about town with his newest sexy warrior goddess in tow. The Lazerbeak character is utterly brilliant and convincing as an evil bird.

If you enjoy Star Trek, there's an awesome bit where they get Sentinel Prime (voiced ably well by Leonard Nimoy (who voiced Galvatron in the animated movie)) to say the classic line the "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few"   which is sure to be a classic Dark of the Moon quote.

You still have to check your brain at the door to enjoy this movie. It's one of those awesome thrill rides, that if you have enough pop corn to get you through, you're going to love.

U2 Glastonbury Set List 2011



U2 made up for a non appearance at last year's Glasto gig due to Bono's Bad Back (though the Edge helped to make up for it) with a truly epic performance and set list for the 2011 Glastonbury Festival.

Bonovox was is fine form, while The Edge chipped in with some chiming guitars too. U2's set was notable in that they brought a lot of their own stage with them to the Pyramid Stage - the usual routine at Glasto is bands jump on, do their thing then let the next act on. Not U2, who brought the kitchen sink with them and gave the Glastonbury punters what they wanted.

Fans were treated to an Actung Baby centric set list  It was Zoo-TV on fire.

U2's Glastonbury Set List

Even Better Than The Real Thing, The Fly, Mysterious Ways - Independent Women, Until the End of the World, One, Jerusalem - Where the Streets Have No Name, I Will Follow, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - Movin' On Up, Stay, Beautiful Day - Rain, Elevation, Get On Your Boots, She Loves You - Vertigo - Garageland, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bad - Jerusalem, Pride

Check out Radiohead's Glastonbury set list from their surprise gig.