Thursday, May 28, 2009

Strickland Diaries Soundtrack Vol. 1.1

The first part of the soundtrack for the first book in the Strickland Diaries series has just fallen into place. Music informs how and what I write to a great extent; I still can't really explain it properly, but the two compliment one another in a way that makes the writing complete, what I want it to be.

I'd be curious to know what kind of atmosphere/feelings transpire for someone else who listens to this without having read any of the book. So if you're keen to have a go, email me (the address in this blog's Complete Bio section) and I will give you some more details.

Track List (Listen in given order) :

Enjoy The Silence (Intro)
Haunted - (Olivia)
Inertia Creeps (Where Are We?)
Butterfly On A Wheel (Storm Coming)
Magic (Juno City)
Danger! (High Voltage) (Pandaemonium)
Zwara (The Monarch)
Black Cat Bone (Alex)
Love Kills (Leto)
Magic (Truth Reveals Itself)
Confide In Me (Temptation)
Dirty Deeds (How Things Are)
Dakota (Leaving)
Shape Of My Heart (Cis)
Stand Back (Nothing And Everything)
All Is Full Of Love (End, Beginning)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The New Camera Is Nice!

Jen bought a new camera recently, effectively replacing my old 2.5 megapixel Sony with an 8. I'm looking forward to break when I have time to much around with it some more. Maybe I can even go back to selling some shots again.

<--- (Click for bigger version)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Day Before You Came

I'm a huge ABBA fan. My first memories of the band date back to when I was about ten or eleven, going on holiday with my parents, two brothers and sister, driving up all the way to the Kruger National Park, with my dad periodically popping in their The Singles tape. Sweden's greatest export filling the kombi as the Karoo whisked past outside.

Picking a favourite song is hard, but The Day Before You Came always just edges out above the others. Purportedly the last song ABBA ever recorded, and legend has it that Agnetha sang the lyric track in the studio with the lights off; everyone apparently knew "this was the end". So I guess that's why I like it.
It's somber and sad.

Traditionally supposed to be a song about the routine life of a woman before she met the love of her life, or alternatively, looking back at her life after her lover has left and gone.


I have always found the alternatively speculated meaning much more interesting; that the lyrics are in fact about the last day in the life of the speaker before her death, and that the "you" in question is the Grim Reaper. It's funny how many good songs become really good poems when you remove the musical background; not that they're not when you don't, it's just looking at it from a different perspective, a different context.

I find the second to last lyric the most poignant of all:

"And rattling on the roof I must have heard the sound of rain"

Having sat through several poetry classes at university I can tell you that you can throw several books at that one line alone and it will keep you busy for a while.

Of course, the simple fact that it was the last song ABBA ever recorded is poignant enough. In that sense, it's about the death of a life already.

The Day Before You Came
- ABBA (Lyrics)

Friday, May 8, 2009

And This Is Why I Don't Live In Australia

...Because towns get invaded by giant spiders...

If that wasn't enough, check out the other kinds of eight-legged beasts found in Oz.

(New Zealand has ONE spider that can cause fatalities. ONE. The Katipo, and generally, they prefer moist areas like beaches.)

If arachnids make you tremble, hold on to the table/bed you're sitting at and click at your own risk. There are no pictures with this post because I don't intend to get a heart attack each time I open my own blog, thank you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


A response to John Minto's article on Scoop about South Africa becoming a failed state:

Too bad John Minto doesn't have a fact checker - the ANC didn't win a two thirds majority.

I also think terms like "failed state" is a tad harsh for someone to use who has only been in South Africa
for 2 weeks in his life-ever-and is in his own words a "critical observer". Yes, the government is corrupt. The ANC is making money off the suffering of their own people for the sake of capital gain, the very people they so emphatically promised a better future with the abolishment of Apartheid. But that's the government you are talking about, Mr Minto, not South Africa as a whole. In this year's election, the ANC did not win their expected 2-thirds majority, showing that there is indeed a shift in thinking when it comes to public opinion.

People with deeply ingrained loyalties, who have been oppressed for years, and who are scared of the alternatives are not going to change sides overnight. How long has it been, fifteen years since the first democratic elections? That's a very short time. SA is a nation still very much broken by it's past and stunned by the changes that have taken place in such a short time. That said, I'd hardly call what has happened there in the past 20 years a "failure".

I think Mr Minto should be careful about making statements such as these on the basis of a two week visit and observation from a distance. After all, when apartheid was abolished, how many people assumed that the country would be plunged into a state of chaos? T
he psychology of a nation runs much deeper than the surface observations of a political activist. Corruption runs deep in all governments, but that does not automatically mean that a state is destined for imminent collapse.

I have great respect for activists; how can I not, given my background? But when their subjective statements begin to cloud what is supposed to be objective reporting, I get antsy.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Klaatu Barada Nikto!

I watched the remake of the classic SF film The Day The Earth Stood Still
and enjoyed it. I don't particularly understand why people complain about Keanu being "wooden" in the role, because frankly, if I had to walk around in a body I wasn't used to I'd be feeling a bit stiff too.

By the time the end credits rolled I was left with several questions, of course.

  • Why are we so afraid of everything that is foreign to us?
  • Why do we always consider violence the most appropriate action?
  • Why do we think everything/everyone is out to harm us?
  • Why won't the secretary of defence follow her own mind when she knows the president is clearly taking the wrong approach? ("Bomb that f**er"!)
There are so many interpretations for those questions, very, very interesting ones. But I think the most important question to ask is -- Can we really change? Will we be able to stop everything, to turn things around? I'm not sure. The idealist in me keeps getting beaten down but dammit, the bitch keeps getting back up to lick her wounds. I want to believe that we can change. I'm a firm believer in the "big things start small philosophy". It's just that the pessimist in me keeps pointing out the fact that species are dying off at an alarming rate (really, the word "alarming" isn't nearly half alarming enough anymore) while the foremost things on our minds are whether Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will get divorced soon. Particularly troublesome is the notion that those in powerful positions will not disregard the orders of those to whom they answer, despite knowing that catastrophe will ensue. (Especially if it's Kathy Bates. I mean, this is the woman who immortalised Annie Wilkes!).

Begs the question: What
will be our precipice?