Tuesday, 18 July 2006

RocKwiz DVD launch!

Last night Pete, Dean and myself went to the RocKwiz DVD launch, a party which was held in the Gershwin Room at the Espy. It was all a bit mysterious; the invites were only for ex-contestants and they clearly stated that it was an "invite only" event, and that we couldn't even bring anyone along. There was a lot of speculation before hand - was there going to be a free bar tab? Were they going to do any filming? Were we going to be able to mingle with the celebrities?

[Sidebar: See previous posts about Pete and Dean's appearance, and my appearance on RocKwiz.]

When we arrived and Pete offered to buy the first round, it became clear that at least one of these speculations was true. There was a free bar tab, and suddenly I regretted driving. There was also free finger food; suddenly we regretted buying that kebab we had only eaten 15 minutes ago.

After a few quiet drinks, a few nibbles, and a quick chat with Brian Nankervis, we were led to the front of the Gershwin room where Brian and hostess Julia Zemiro gave a spiel about the success of the show, and about the RocKwiz DVD which was about to be launched nationwide. Shortly afterwards they drew a raffle (we were all given tickets as we entered the Gershwin room); Dean was one of the lucky three who won a RocKwiz backpack, which included a copy of said DVD, a RocKwiz duets CD, a T-shirt, stubbie holder, alcohol of some sort, badge and playing cards.

Then there were some more speakers: the head of programming at the SBS (whose name escapes me) talked a bit about the show, and Mushroom boss Michael Gudinski talked a bit about the Australian music scene in general. This was followed by a live performance of the Johnny Cash hit Jackson by Vika Bull (from Vika & Linda and Black Sorrows) and Dave Larkin (from Dallas Crane); and a performance of the Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks hit Stop draggin' my heart around by the legendary Tim Rogers (from You Am I) and Rebecca Barnard (from Rebecca's Empire). Then the four of them got together and did a nice cover of the Byrds hit So you want to be a rock 'n' roll star.

Tim Rogers in action
[Photo courtesy of MarkG]

After a bit more chit chat from Brian and Julia (and a sneak preview of the DVD on the big screen), the formalities of the night were over. And this is where the night started to get interesting...

Pete, Dean and I (together with MarkG, the husband of a work colleague who was also on the show) decided to mingle a little bit with the celebrities who were there and get some happy snaps.

[Warning: Lots of name-dropping ahead.]

L-R:Me, Tim Rogers, Pete, Dean.
This photo was taken shortly before Dean asked Tim the meaning behind one of his songs, at which point Tim told him that it was about his ex-wife. Dean was a bit apologetic at this point, and Tim told him it was cool and gave Dean a kiss on the neck to let him know that there were no hard feelings.
[Photo courtesy of Pete]

Mark, Tim, Rebecca Barnard, Me.
As seen from the photo, Tim was clearly inebriated at this point of the night.
Mark: "You're excited? Feel these nipples!"
Me: "I'll have what he's having"
[Photo courtesy of MarkG]

Rebecca Barnard looking at one of the photos on Pete's camera.
Tim: "Hey baby!"
Pete: "Somebody...please pinch me"
[Photo courtesy of MarkG]

Me with my old RocKwiz teammate Ross Wilson (of Daddy Cool fame).
Yes, this is the same guy who sung the Aussie rock classic Eagle rock.
Me: "I can't wait to post this on my blog!"
Ross: "I've come to clean your pool..."
[Photo courtesy of Pete]

Dean with his old RocKwiz teammate Linda Bull (of Vika & Linda and Black Sorrows fame).
Dean: "I knew I shouldn't have had the garlic sauce in my souvlaki before..."
[Photo courtesy of Pete]

Unfortunately, Pete's old teammate Glenn Tilbrook didn't make the trek from the UK to come to the DVD launch. So Pete missed out on his team reunion.

The three of us with Julia Zemiro, the hostess with the most-ess.
Julia: "Get these weirdos away from me"
[Photo courtesy of Pete]

We left shortly after, playing the You Am I classic Hourly, daily on the way back home. We were all on a bit of a high from the great night (although Dean and Pete's high may have been more alcohol-induced than mine :)

What a night!

Friday, 14 July 2006

I am the walrus...goo goo goo joob

Here's the infamous Abbey Road cover by a little known band called The Beatles:

And here is yours truly at the very same pedestrian crossing:

Note that I am wearing shoes in the photograph, so there is no need to worry loyal readers; I am not dead. Here's me sitting on the steps of Abbey Road Studios:

Here's a house which I was told was Paul McCartney's old house -- at 9 Cavendish Avenue, St. Johns Wood (5 minute walk from Abbey Road)...

...and then when I got home and googled for the address, I discovered that he lived at 7 Cavendish Avenue. So I have a nice shot of his old neighbour's house :)

Finally, here's the rooftop in Savile Row where the Beatles did their infamous "rooftop concert" in 1970 (also the apparent location of the final gig by the Be Sharps):

All sacred sites for big Beatles fans like myself (well, except Macca's next door neighbour...but you can forgive me for that one).

Thursday, 13 July 2006

RIP: Syd Barrett 1946-2006

Syd Barrett 1946-2006

I arrived at work yesterday to the news that Syd Barrett, founding member of Pink Floyd, died at the age of 60.

Syd only played on their first 2 albums, Piper at the gates of dawn and Saucerful of secrets. His songs had a very different sound to the space-rock which Pink Floyd were most known for on mega-popular albums like Dark side of the moon and The wall, having a much more whimsical element to them. His sound was largely influenced by his experimentation with LSD, the use of which led to him leaving the band after their 2nd album, and eventually to his isolation from the world in the early 70's due to mental illness. The 1975 Pink Floyd album Wish you for here contained the 10-part epic Shine on you crazy diamond, which was apparently a tribute to Syd. A common story states that an overweight and hard-to-recognise Syd actually appeared in the studio during the Wish you were here sessions, only adding to his mystique.

I'm not going to be one of those bandwagon jumpers who says that I've been a huge fan of his just because he died; the truth is, I'm not. I only have 2 albums which he contributed to: the aforementioned Piper at the gates of dawn, and his solo debut album from 1970 The madcap laughs. While his songs on Piper definitely add a unique element to the Floyd sound, I can't say it's the kind of stuff which warrants repeat listens for me. And his solo album has its charm, but it's also incredibly dated. I'd much rather give Dark side of the moon or Meddle a listen over any of those albums.

There's no doubt he has had a lot of devoted fans over the years, and his music has influenced countless musicians. Rest in peace, Syd.


Pink Floyd - Scarecrow [Link Removed]
Syd Barrett - Octopus [Link Removed]

UPDATE: Song links removed.