Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Basics June Residency

The Northcote Social Club extended The Basics Tuesday night residency into the month of June. However, Mary and I have been bad fans as we did not attend any of the June shows until tonight, which was the last one. At least Tash had a good excuse- she's been overseas for the past few weeks. We met up in the dining area for dinner and to hear about Tash's trip. Then it was time to go into the bandroom to get a spot before The Basics set.

They started the night in traditional fashion with "Yeah, Yeah" and had quite the choreographed hand movements in the middle. It was a classic rock 'n' roll Basics gig with songs such as "Lovin' Man," "My Baby," "Money (Gimme, Gimme)" and "Call It Rhythm and Blues" played. There were surprisingly no songs played from the new album. As expected, there were several covers, including Electric Coconut's "Jungle Juice," Bill Scott's "Hey Rain" (which had the talkers quiet by the second verse), and an encore medley of Harry Nilsson's "Coconut," Wilson Pickett's "Land of a 1000 Dances" and The Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'."

Kris also made mention during the show of Kevin Rudd's departure as Prime Minister and when they met him at this Australia Day celebration in Canberra in 2008. Here they are playing "Just Hold On" and "Hey There!"

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Week Of Win

This has been a very good week for me personally as I have made progress on two big goals for the year. The first is that I finally have permanent employment as a Senior Research and Policy Officer in the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. I thought this day would never come as I have been applying for ongoing jobs for quite a while and just missing out. It has been a frustrating and stressful time as my latest fixed term contract was due to finish in September. Thankfully I no longer have to worry and can relax. I will be working in the same research and policy area I have been in for the last two years doing work focused on school workforce reform, pre-service teacher education, and open learning spaces in schools.

The other thing I have had to deal with is applying for Australian citizenship. My permanent residency visa needed to been renewed this year if I ever wanted to leave and get back into the country. Since I was going to have to pay the government either way, I decided it was time to finally put in my application for citizenship. My citizenship appointment was originally scheduled for early August, but in a strangely proactive move for a bureaucracy, I got a call last week asking if I would like to move up my appointment. "Yes please" I said, so today was the new day. I had spent this week getting certified copies of documents done and studying for the citizenship test by reading Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond. The whole appointment took about 20 minutes from start to finish. First they went through my application and checked all my original documents to verify my identity. Next I was brought into the testing room to take the test, which I passed with a 100% score! I now need to wait 4-6 weeks for a decision, and then anywhere from 3-6 months to attend a citizenship ceremony, which is the final stage of the process. I am hoping it won't take too long because I would really like to be able to vote in the upcoming state and federal elections. It will be fun to have dual citizenship.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Australia's New Prime Minister

It has been a crazy 24 hours in Australian national politics. In what I view to be a bloodless coup, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was challenged to a leadership vote in the Labor Party and ended up resigning this morning when he didn't have enough support to overcome the challenge of his Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. As a result, Australia now has its first female Prime Minister. I feel sad for Rudd as I don't think he deserved what happened to him today. It's not like there has been any scandal or anything. You might ask what did Rudd do to deserve being tossed out before the end of his first term in office? Well, it seems his greatest failure was falling poll numbers with an election on the horizon. Factions in the party felt is was time for a change, but I'm not so sure there will be much difference in policy. And don't get me wrong, I really do like Gillard and think she will make a great Prime Minister. I just wish she didn't come into power like this.

Here are some articles from The Age that explain everything a bit further:
Phillip Coorey and Tim Lester- "Gillard becomes Australia's first female Prime Minster as tearful Rudd stands aside"
Megan Levy- "Labor Party was losing its way under Rudd: Gillard"
Shaun Carney- "Hell hath no fury like a deputy scorned"

And here is video of Kevin Rudd's farewell speech and excerpts from Julia Gillard's address to the media.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Boy & Bear

Clinton, Kevin and I went to see Boy & Bear tonight for their first headlining tour in support of their new EP With Emperor Antarctica. Before hitting the venue we went and had dinner at Warwick Thai on Sydney Road in Brunswick. The food was good with generous serving sizes and fairly cheap prices.

We arrived at Northcote Social Club just as Oh Ye Denver Birds was about to start their set. I had a quick listen to their Myspace page and thought they would be decent, but the band that played tonight sounded nothing like the recorded songs. It was quite disappointing.

Boy & Bear came out to big cheers from the sold out crowd and opened with "Blood to Gold." They played all the songs off the EP and a few new ones as well. Lead singer Dave Hosking has such a soothing voice I could listen to him sing all night. That combined with the harmonies from the other band members made every song sound fantastic. The current single "Rabbit Song" received a great reception from the crowd and was probably the highlight of the evening. They also treated us to a cover of Bon Iver's "Flume," and finished the night with their first ever single "Mexican Mavis." Although it was a short set due to their lack of material (which Dave was apologetic about), they are an absolutely amazing band and I can't wait for them to write enough songs to be able to release a full length album.

Here's the video for "Rabbit Song" for your viewing pleasure:
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