Tag Archives: Sydney

Sydney The High Vis City

So I was back in Sydney recently. I live in Europe, and it was the first time I had been back
in Sydney in almost four years.

Being a fairly observant type, I noticed quite a few changes. In no particular order…

*Why is every pub meal now $30? A few years ago if you paid 15 bucks you were ripped off.

*Why does every pub have those same funky hipster light globes? Maybe that explains the above.

*Why are those towers at Barangaroo designed so they will look dated in about half an hour?

*Why is there an M4 freeway… M5 and M7 but no M6? Also what the hell is the A4?
My hire car’s satellite navigation thingo had NFI.

*Speaking of the M4, why didn’t they future-proof it when they first built it, instead of digging it up every five minutes and turning it into a seething, angry carpark?

*Why does every beverage you order anywhere arrive in a mason jar? Have glasses been banned
as part of the lockout laws? I want a drink, not a pickle or a secret handshake.

*Why does the entire population of Sydney now sport a High Vis vest? When did that become a thing? I saw a photo of HSC markers wearing them. The most dangerous thing that could possibly ever happen to them is a rather nasty paper cut.

*When did Australian TV become so, well, crap? I watched Goggle Box for the first time
and I thought the TV shows they were discussing were parodies. Apparently they’re not.

*Can someone, anyone, please do something about Sydney Airport? It really is a shocker.

*Without sounding like a squawking breakfast radio announcer, why are there posters around the city saying “Happy Christmas” instead of “Merry”? Is the word “Merry” offensive now?
I didn’t get the email.

Having said all that, it was wonderful to be back.
Sydney really is one of the greatest cities in the world.

Words and image ©Steve Williams 2017

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Queen – Thirty Years : Sydney to Munich

Thirty years is a long time between fandangos.

Adam Lambert worships at the Church of May (photo: mlk.com)

The last time I saw Queen was 1985 in Sydney on the Australian leg of The Works tour.

I had followed their journey since my first purchase of a single — Bohemian Rhapsody in 1975, which still occupies the rockstar position in my record collection.

1985 seems like a lifetime ago, I was a fresh-faced twenty-year-old, but I remember the concert as though it was yesterday. “Spectacular” is merely one adjective.

Queen + Adam Lambert in Munich last Monday night was always going to be a different experience — Freddie Mercury’s absence, and John Deacon’s retirement from the band.

I was no stranger to Adam Lambert, having followed his 2009 American Idol journey, singing Bohemian Rhapsody at the audition, culminating in a performance with Brian May and Roger Taylor.

Lambert is no Freddie Mercury impersonator. A talented performer in his own right, possessing a rather insane vocal range and wonderful showmanship, he brought another dimension to the night.

It wasn’t Queen Karaoke — Lambert’s unique phrasing added another layer to the songs ingrained in music history. He brought a sense of playfulness — performing Killer Queen reclining on a chaise lounge, his powerful, arena-filling voice nailed Save Me and Who Wants to Live Forever, and he gave Queen’s time-honoured classics their due respect.

This wasn’t the Adam Lambert Show, he was the “plus” — it was all about Queen — Brian May and Roger Taylor were at the top of their game, enjoying performing to Queen fans and the new mix of “Glamberts” — deliciously indulgent solos demonstrating their extraordinary talent. The cliché “rock royalty” more than applies.

May mentioned recording in Munich — indeed,  One Vision (and the music video), Crazy Little Thing Called LoveAnother One Bites The Dust and Save Me among others were all recorded at Munich’s famed Musicland Studios.

Concert standouts? Hard to isolate one, but Freddie Mercury’s “duet” with Lambert on Bohemian Rhapsody had me back in 1985. Somewhat bizarrely, another of my favourite moments (or twenty two and a half minutes) was the background music playing before the band took the stage.
I always love that time — the audience is in place, the anticipation is building — everything is set. The piece of music was Queen’s atmospheric instrumental Track 13 off the Made in Heaven album.

It will be interesting to see how the fusion of Queen + Adam Lambert plays out.

Watch this space…

©Steve Williams 2015

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Barry O’Farrell – when good manners attack

So. Australian political leader — NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has resigned in what has become known as #GrangeGate.

The resignation was not over the gift of a $3,000 bottle of 1959 Penfolds Grange Hermitage, no, what brought Barry unstuck were his good manners.

Hi Ho Silver! Away…

On Tuesday, the then Premier fronted the Independent Commission Against Corruption, denying under oath he had received the bottle of wine in question.

His downfall was his handwritten thank you note, which miraculously arose today (well it is nearly Easter).

Bad blue Barry. You shouldn’t have listened to the enclave of etiquette experts that tsk “obviously every gift requires a thank-you note.”

The heady topic has been covered by Oprah, and Jimmy Fallon writes out his thank you notes each week. Thankfully he is taking the proverbial.

Barry even religiously followed the suggested format for his thank you note — addressing the giver, expressing gratitude, and how much the gesture means to him.

All very proper — now he’s out of a job. For a simple scrawl about a bottle of red that was allegedly on the nose.

This all happened the very day The Duke, Duchess and Prince of Cambridge (Kate’n’Will’n’George to us Aussies) arrived in Sydney for the start of their Australian wave-a-thon.

Barry was supposed to host Mr & Mrs C. at a galah Sydney Opera House knees-up, though was an obvious no-show. Bugger.

I hope Mrs O’Farrell kept the receipt for the frock she was going to wear.

©Steve Williams 2014

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Hey radio 2UE, 1954 just called … And they want their culturally inappropriate advertisement back

OK, so we’ve fallen for the stunt, but 2UE still needs to be called out for it.

The Sydney Morning Herald ran an ad in today’s racing section “The Form” promoting the radio station’s sports program with the headline, “Another reason to let her go shopping this weekend”.

Seriously, where do you start with this thing? Obviously a stunt to get people talking about the station and the program, which worked, but will it gain them listeners?

You can imagine the creative workshop / think tank / pow wow – “We need to come up with something that’ll get social media buzzing”.

“Yep, I reckon we cash in on the whole misogyny thing – I dunno, maybe something like women and shopping? You know, inferring that if the little woman goes shopping, her bloke’ll be free to listen in peace, preferably in his shed, with a bottle of KB”.

“You’ve nailed it!”

You can smell the Dencorub from here.

A great moment in advertising

2UE’s General Manager Chris Parker has apologised for the ad, saying, “we appreciate the advertisement has caused concern, and this was certainly not our intention”.

With the utmost respect Chris, I call BS on that one. That hoary old chestnut, “any publicity is good publicity” springs to mind.

You would have thought 2UE would have had more sense than going for a cheap shot like this, considering the dramas its mortal enemy 2GB has been embroiled in – think “chaff bag” and “shame” and so on.

Also, the latest radio ratings came out this week, and to borrow from the racing vernacular, it was 2GB first by a good length, 702 ABC up there as well, with 2UE almost bringing up the rear.

The ad was an interesting attempt to try and claw back some of that dead air between them.

There’ll be the usual cries of overreaction and being requested to “drink a cup of concrete and harden the f*ck up”, but apart from being wrong on pretty much every level, the ad is just disappointing, given what has gone on in the corridors of Parliament House recently. Hasn’t anybody learnt anything?

If 2UE want to continue promoting the station with lumbering dinosaur views like that, maybe it should change the frequency from “954” to “1954”.

©Steve Williams 2013

*To read this in another locale (with bonus amusing comments) wander over to…

http://www.news.com.au/opinion/and-they-want-their-culturally-inappropriate-advertisement-back/story-fnh4jt54-1226675021845

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Boy of Summer

Having spent the last eight years living in a country with only one season — ok, one and a bit at a stretch — it was a refreshing and welcome assault on the senses to recently spend two weeks back in a Sydney summer.

Balmoral Beach sky the colour of ” ” (via iPhone)

I always find it fascinating how sights, sounds and smells can conjure up images in your mind, like one of those old clattering film projectors you had in school several lifetimes ago. That was when you felt totally trapped in a sweaty, sweltering demountable classroom with no air conditioning, willing the bell to ring while fidgetingly-enduring some tedious nature documentary you’d probably find quite interesting now almost forty years later — but I digress.

The first flashback of summers past was triggered by that truly unique fragrance of wet beach towels, then in no particular order the smell of a real Christmas tree, coconut oil, and sights of kids riding their new bikes from Santa with the pristine paint glinting — but not for long after a few inevitable “stacks”. You can never erase that wonderful aroma of vinegar on take away chips by the beach, accompanied of course by the obligatory cranky seagull, the searing sensation of hot sand burning feet pathetically softened by years trapped in shoes and offices. There’s that stunning colour of the summer sky, so blue they haven’t invented an adjective for it yet… and sadly the threat and devastating reality of bushfires, which evoked memories of still-smouldering Eucalyptus leaves falling out of a ominously smoke-hazed sky at Palm Beach years ago.

On a slightly brighter note, who can forget that valiant quest for a parking spot in a shopping centre or at the beach — with the moment of unbridled joy when you see the magnificent white aura of reversing lights appear before you.

In case I needed any reminding I was smack bang back in the middle of a glorious Sydney summer, this announcement was made on the ferry to Watson’s Bay, “If anyone’s interested in the cricket, Australia are 4 for 251”.

Words and image ©Steve Williams 2012

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Random Swill beach images

“Beach (/bēCH/), n., a shore of a body of water covered by sand, gravel, or larger rock fragments.”

Images ©Steve Williams 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Random Swill Sydney iPhone images

A few iPhone images of one of the world’s most spectacular cities shot last week (via CameraBag).

©Steve Williams 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

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