Pye Corner Audio:Black Mill Tapes

Some electronica is literally like a drug, you take one or two doses of it and get such a high off that one track you sort of overdose on it. I was like that especially with this one Pye Corner Audio track: Electronic Rhythm Number One, there was just something about the track that made me have it as my only song on repeat for weeks.

In a way when you spend lots of time with music it becomes embedded in your experience, in your life. when music can do this it becomes more than just a throw away track, very few artists are able to achieve this.

Pye Corner Audio, seems to be what I would adventurously call ‘Electronics roots’ I hear something in their sound that reminds me of the music right back at the beginning of electronic music, something pure, experimental, haunting, inspiring. Back then artists like Kraftwerk,Vangelis and Brian Eno were just learning to use all the new technology experimenting learning.

It must of been incredibly difficult to turn the clock back to this time, collecting vintage hardware learning how to do it all over again in today’s world where easily crafted electronic sounds have become prolific. You can tell that Pye Corner Audio have explored and discovered this hardware  again with amazing results, they have given us tracks that are like the lost albums of Brian Eno.

The music gives me shivers sometimes, some tracks are so uplifting: Electronica Rhyhm Number One, Electronic Rhythm Number Five and Into The Wave are three very strong tracks, other tracks are slow experimental and a little off-beat but grow on your over time like Theme Number Eight, has a very Vangelis feel to it.


I can’t just walk away from Pye Corner Audio, I keep coming back for more and if you want to touch base with the soul of electronic music Pye Corner Audio is a good start.





Newcastle, lot’s of ideas but what do do with them all?


For those of you that are new to my blog, I am from a town called  Newcastle on the east coast of Australia 180km north of Sydney. The town is has a population of about 300 000 people, currently the city is going through a period of rapid change, to the outside the changes are small and not noteworthy, but for us novocastrians these are giant leaps forward.

A couple of weeks ago the Newcastle Herald had an article asking for people with ideas for ‘How to spend a billion on Newcastle’ set by the Newcastle institute

It wasn’t a challenge, Newcastle needs so many things, so I quickly and roughly scrambled together three that had been on my mind for a long time. Fast forward to a few weeks later after being selected from 40 people, me nervously shoving together a power-point presentation of my half formulated wacky ideas.

I wasn’t nervous at the presentation until I looked up and saw about 150 patient grey haired individuals all waiting for what I had to say, something happened I can’t explain and I didn’t deliver it how I wanted.

I learn’t a valuable lesson in putting forward an idea as a presentation, sometimes the way you address the audience your energy and your enthusiasm  rather than the actual nuts and bolts of the idea, can seriously sway people. The next day the article by the Newcastle Herald was poor, predictably listing the craziest ideas for Novocastrian’s to have a laugh at, and forgetting to list one of the most important ideas mentioned, that of making our city run totally on renewable energy, the idea (not my own) that really caught mine and the audiences imagination.

Someone asked at the end of the presentation about what will happen to these ideas, nobody seemed sure exactly and we left with an odd feeling of despondency.

Here was the idea I presented.


Surry Hills community centre

Not long ago I was walking through Surry hills and I came upon the ‘Surry Hills public library and community centre’
I was totally blown away; the space is an inspirational temple to great architecture and design.

I just wanted to go in there and spend some time just reading, I urge people who haven’t seen it to pop in and have a look.

It was created by Architects: Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp

Why can’t Newcastle have something like this?

Surry Hills community centre

The existing Newcastle library is not inspirational to visit, it has its charms but it really isn’t a functional modern space for learning.
A Library like Surry hills centre would be integrated with the community and provide resources for everyone not just students.

The library has facilities and areas that arts groups and festivals can utilise to organise events that make Newcastle an exciting place to live.

It’s a place for everyone.

Presentation main.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Pro

The Library site would be the existing site, and be built with plans to link into a new Art Gallery using the same architect

We should design the appearance of library to have some consistency in style with university and with a potential new Art Gallery.

Morristown public library New Jersey

My idea also incorporates smaller but equally well designed modular libraries rolled out over all of Newcastle

With the billion dollars we can roll out gold plated Libraries for all of Newcastle, making us an intelligent and connected city

Smaller similar modular libraries for inner city and outer suburbs

Broadmeadows Farmers Markets Upgrade

Findlay farmer’s Market, OHIO

Broadmeadow farmers market is I believe the most popular markets in Newcastle, this has been the most successful place for markets in Newcastle.

If something is successful, support it!

However why does the infrastructure at the markets feel so run down and out-dated?

The markets are retrofitted to existing buildings that were constructed for the Newcastle Show years ago, something which is a once a year event.

The Markets is every weekend, rail hail and shine.

It’s time this place had a facelift.

The markets upgrade is not just a frivolous spend, this is an injection for the local economy.

These markets have already created multiple small business start-ups in Newcastle, people start with their idea at the markets and then expand.

This should be encouraged and even a special fund should be created to help these enterprising and creative marketeers

eq_markets view
Entertainment Quarter, Sydney
Findlay farmer’s Market, OHIO

The markets upgrade is not just a frivolous spend, this is an injection for the local economy.

These markets have already created multiple small business start-ups in Newcastle, people start with their idea at the markets and then expand.

This should be encouraged and even a special fund should be created to help these enterprising and creative marketeers.

Presentation main

Inspirational Green Spaces and Pocket parks

We have lots of parks in Newcastle but I think it is fair to say they are either in suburbs that don’t utilise them or are mainly for sports.

Our inner city could do with more inspirational green spaces or pocket parks.

Pocket parks are the solution to this common “lack-of-green-spaces” problem. Pocket parks, also known as vest-pocket parks or mini-parks, are just a smaller version of a regular park. All that is needed is a vacant lot.

London has over 100 pocket parks, Newcastle could do with just a few!

Presentation main.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Pro

My plan is to do an Audit of our parks in Newcastle and locate potential spaces and vacant lots in the inner city

When the best sites are located we will have a major a roll out of 20 or so well landscaped and designed pocket parks.


What my vision for Newcastle is of that of  well designed city, with more green spaces and for people to learn and meet.

The Pharaoh and her concubine – Dream sequence




I just woke up, after having the most vivid dream which I wish to share with WordPress before it is gone forever. I am largely a rational scientific person when it comes to dreams, I take the psychology road in that the chaos of the many inputs into your experience outputs sometimes in dream sequences.

This particular one reminded me of a dream sequence from computer game Assassins creed, or from a scene from Game of Thrones. It was ancient Egypt, this was clear because of our dress, I was in the back of a large carriage that had the outsides covered in muslin shading us from the sun and any others.

I was accompanying a powerful female.

I was not sure of her title, or position but there was defiantly one of fear on my part in this situation. She had power and influence and I did not, I was nervous it seemed that I had to ‘do’ something here and was not sure how it would play out, I had pressure.

She was young about 23, very short tiny and slender her head faced forward without looking at me for a very long time as if I did not exist (yet I was right next to her). Her youth gave the impression of being naive but I seemed in confusion about this, I was scared of looking at her face with a sort of knowledge it was taboo going near the region of her eyes.

Many things rushed through my mind in the back of the carriage, mainly that ‘I just had to get through this trip’ and ‘Whatever you do don’t look her in the eyes’

My role was not clear, I was not a peasant, nor was I of the administrative class, I wasn’t nobility either I seemed to be some form of warrior with some political influence. Thoughts about large groups of people passed my mind, about change and how things could be changed here, did she know this too or not?

Her long slender hand seemed placed in an inviting position, facing towards me. I spent what seemed like forever deciding what to do here, as if knowing this could be the biggest mistake of my life and probably end in death. I placed my hand on top of hers and she retracted her hand in a slow but delicate manner, then seconds later as if she had thought it through she placed her hand back and kept looking forward.

At this point, great possibilities rushed through my mind, real change was possible but also of emotion, the dream came forth very powerfully here. A relationship was being formed, but it was not lurid no sex scenes or eroticism, it was a formation of a alliance and a knowing this was part of her role.

Even knowing this, I was excited full of hope, love and change it was my time to come forward.

The dream ended here in the back of this cart.

On introspection it seemed a very stereotypical historical dream, disappointing even, It seemed to me later when I was awake like she was a Cleopatra figure, and me like Marc Antony the great typical love story in history that’s where a modern brain like mine would go on the topic of ancient Egypt, all that stereotypical imagery from modern sources.

Yet the dream was largely ambiguous, it wasn’t even clear if she was a Pharaoh I was left with the huge emotion of the dream, like the leftover wreckage from tidal wave, also I had some historical insights that I might not normally arrive at. It occurred to me after the dream that a female Pharaoh or Queen like Hatshepsut was able in a way subdue and enamor potential enemies via relationships, rather than form enemies as a male pharaoh might do.

Queen Hatshepsut (18th Dynasty c.1473-1458 BC)

The dream felt epic, much too epic for the normal fodder of dreams, when I woke I was convinced this needed to be shared.

But now I have actually put it down here in WordPress I am not so sure, other peoples dreams can be so boring.


Matua 2012 Pinot Noir



I have been lurking around the lower end of the Pinor noir market, due to a chaotic year of employment, money has been scarce and unfortunately fine wine is something of a dream at the moment.

I saw a man while searching for a reasonably priced wine, frantically packing Matua Pinot Noir’s into his trolley without checking the vintage.

“They any good mate” I asked and he looked up and smiled.

“They love them at the restaurant, very popular, good colour” He said this smiling and confident.

This seemed like an unusually strong endorsement for a $13 bottle of wine, it sparked my curiosity not only about how he purchased his wine for his restaurant but what sort of customers he had and what they expected.

He took off and I stood staring at the bottle’s price for a long time, finally I just got it- how bad could it be?

Well the wine is interesting it’s aroma has very little to offer except a slight hint of oak and tiny hint of cherry.

My friend was correct about the colour, it has the beautiful deep glimmering Burgundy shade giving it true body. The flavour is saturated in an oakish tones, which conceals the intricate flavours of the Pinot, giving it maybe only three or four strong flavours.

It isn’t smooth, a little hard on the palette, it knocks your tongue around in a greenish overbearing way. This is undoubtedly the reason why it is so low in price, it is a hard working lower class New Zealander, lacking the delicate subtle charms of a wine from a higher strata.

Still, sometimes these wines are really the easiest to be around, they don’t drain your wallet are down to earth and have that cheeky New Zealand relaxed attitude.

The wines strength comes from its region, the fruit is grown in Marlborough and while their are plenty of New Zealand Marlborough wines on the cheaper end of the market that are really very bad,  I would not class this wine as one of them.

It does maybe lean on the mediocre side, but it shows that even the lower end of this market from New Zealand could easily outclass many higher priced Australian Pinot’s


The Penguin History of the World J.M Roberts


As you float down through the centuries very deep thoughts about humanity appear and then fade away, great images and civilizations pass briefly like falling leaves.

Individuals are part of something bigger, sometimes people loom larger than others, Jesus, Siddhartha, Confucius, Plato, Mohammad, Newton, Marx, Darwin, and Freud.

There is something surreal about reading about history like this, for me it brings comfort, joy, it reminds me of warm cups of and tea leather armchairs on rainy days.

The smell of the page and the enjoyment of a mental journey, that you alone are about to undertake…this is no small task this is ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY.

I have two other world histories recently completed that help me with this journey – IDEAS: A history from fire to Freud by Peter Watson, The Passion of the Western Mind by Richard Tarnas 

I excitedly dived in to this project, savouring every page expecting images of Persians, Romans and sparkling clad soldiers headed into battle.

However as I began a disturbing set of thoughts started to take hold and have been slowly clouding my vision of history. The first cloud occurs in pre-history, there seems to be literally hundreds and thousands of years of pre-history missing, that is nothing really occurred not even a simple scratch on a cave wall.

Just think about that for a while, we live in an age where humanity has a serious case of attention deficit disorder, it simply can’t go anywhere without covering every blank space available with tags, posters and advertising, here are our very distant ancestors who shared identical grey matter and facilities living in a giant and what must of seemed like a very devoid world, with no graphic art or media for hundreds and thousands of years.

No matter how much thought I put into this subject I can’t fathom it, it is beyond my imagination.

As you move forward on your magical mystery tour of history the carnival throws up all sorts of questions, there are plenty of gaps and guesses at simple things that we ought to really know a great deal more about. The gaps and guesses pile up even right into recorded history by the time you reach the classical age the history reader is so burdened by the massive and apparent holes in our knowledge that you find yourself unable to stop thinking ‘Maybe that is in another book you haven’t read, just forget about it and move on’.

Take the curious case of the same technology (Agriculture, Iron smelting, Pottery, Writing)  arising independently sometimes simultaneously in supposedly totally isolated civilizations, or why some civilizations took eons to make any move forward while others seem to make huge strides in a relatively minuscule period of time, or major historical events within written history that have gone ‘missing’, or in some cases altered to suit later rulers or religions. Some of the writings and objects we have found that supply us with huge amounts of information like cuneiform tablets seem to come to us totally by accident a mere fluke of history that we have uncovered and deciphered them.

In Penguin History of the world, a small passage is spent wondering about how the peasants of ancient China actually spent their daily lives and slowly and finally it hit me, the reality of history

Why am I different to a peasant that lived 3000 years ago? or a normal Egyptian worker, A Greek farmhand or slave?

I had the same feeling when I visited the Louvre, it was not only the great number of beautiful artworks it was the scale of humanity that had to transpire to create them, the sweat the toil and oil and brushes, stone and marble, but more interestingly every now and then you passed a glimpse of an ordinary person who lived hundreds of years ago just like you living their lives that are now gone and that portrait is all we have.

Real history has this effect, it reminds you of the eons and eons of families and workers that have gone leaving nothing behind not a scratch. In history books whole civilizations are treated as people, that is millions of people and their lives come and go they wax and wane in a few passages, it just seems obscene when you consider the scale of it all.

In my own life I have been witness of six prime ministers of Australia, five presidents of the United States, a Bosnian war, two Gulf wars and an incursion in Afghanistan, a terrorist attack on New York and a global financial crisis and yet in all that time there has been only one monarch – Queen Elizabeth, she is on all our coins here in Australia and in the future people will look back at these coins and see her face, this is history.

It is therefore difficult to get any kind of scale here in Australia, a country relatively devoid of civilizations great achievements (Besides some remarkable early cave art by aboriginal people) In this relatively new country the past is the stuff of a short ABC documentary and a few scuffed sandstone blocks in Sydney, for us here it almost entirely abstract. We don’t live with the past here, history does not infiltrate our daily lives or our ideas it’s largely all a subconscious handing down of the western tradition and many people are only dimly aware of what that means.

The Penguin history is a monumental, yet as a history book it can only ever brush a little of the dust away from the vast and complex dialog of human history.


Coffee review: Suspension Espresso



Bean: Tiger Mountain / Brazilian blue

Suspension swap their beans around and try different blends, they are usually of high quality but I guess if you like consistent type of coffee this may not be a place for your staple

Machine: La Marzorro

Froth: Very good creamy tasting froth

Cups: Standard cup is very small but comfortable to hold, white on the inside and chocolate brown on the out, dainty but in a modern fashion

Cocoa: In this cafe it depends on who is serving you, sometimes you will get a beautiful pattern and an even spread but normally it is huge concentrated chunk in the middle of the froth

Taste: This particular blend has no bitterness has a subtle and delicate roasted flavor with strong chocolate overtones, a very nice blend

Strength: Strong end of medium

Time: Always fast, 2 / 3 minutes max takeaway and in-house.

Take away: Small, Medium, Large

Standard cup price: $3.80

Service: A very cool friendly crowd

Rating: Fabergé Gypsy Grey Gold and Diamond Ring









Suspension espresso

Coffee Review: Birdy’s Cafe Tighes Hill



Bean: Crema Tikkal 

Machine: A specially renovated Eaema

Milk: Dairy Farmers

Froth: Good decent consistency

Cups: Cone shape, waistline like 90’s style white

Cocoa: Even spread no pattern

Taste: Low bitterness, chocolate tones, very even flavour spreading over the whole palate, a very mellow coffee with a long and delightful aftertaste

Strength: Low / medium

Time: 1 to 4 minutes max, good speed.

Service: Always a pleasure to go there, very friendly

Rating: A gold star with diamonds



Birdys cafe

169 maitland rd Tighes Hill, Newcastle







Coffee review: Snows Patisserie Marketown


Bean: Peaberry’s Black Betty (staple)

Machine: WEGA

Milk: Dairy Farmers

Froth: Good froth gently and carefully created

Cocoa: Standard evenly spread, no patterns

Cups: Fantastic cup, black outside ceramic and white inside a good size for a decent amount of coffee and comfortable to the hand

Taste: Slight bitter twist, tending towards a mellow rounded flavor but lacking the chocolate edges and delicate palate

Strength: Medium touching on strong

Take away: Large / Medium / Small

Standard cup Price:$4.00

Wait time: 6 / 8 minutes sometimes more

Atmosphere: Not so great, it is in a shopping centre but it is the best coffee (in) the centre and they make a the best croissants in Newcastle


Rating: 1 Silver Star






Blue Jasmine


Blue Jasmine has somehow bought me back to the reviewers desk, I have found myself thinking about it in so many different ways I hardly know where to start on this review.

There is something about this movie that reminds me of Citizen Kane. Woody is missing the great revolutionary cinematography of Wells, but the subject matter the breadth of it is similar.

What first grabbed me is that it seems to lead you down a certain Hollywood track, and you feel comfortable being gently careered into this area because of Midnight in Paris, in that movie Woody willingly filled with Hollywood stereotypes, it was romantic and intellectual.

He fiddled with the genre a little in Midnight in Paris, put a few neurotic characters in there and added his style, but it was essentially a Romantic comedy. Because Woody is so unique it added an interesting intellectual slant on what was becoming a dry and boring genre of film.

Now with Blue Jasmine, we get lulled down that Hollywood stereotype avenue again, this is a riches to rags Dickensian tale. So often in a movie like this we are given a sort of moral lesson,  usually there is a ‘I fell from grace but now I am a humble person’  shtick.


But this isn’t like that; Jasmine, doesn’t come back (spoiler) -she doesn’t recover or become a ‘good’ or ‘humble’ person after loosing everything. Things don’t work out, she goes mad, reality sucks.

In some ways the movie is even more interesting when you imagine the sort of people that Woody Allen has known in his life, and the things he has seen.

Just like Citizen Kane/ William Hearst connection I suspect there is a real life Jasmine or maybe even many Jasmines that Woody has known and watched fall from grace.

I sensed a touch of schadenfreude in this movie maybe even of malice from Woody, but I wasn’t sure it could just as easily been a misplaced impression.

Woody has made so many movies in his life, I think it’s fair to say that unlike someone like Steven Spielberg movie making hasn’t been easy for Woody, he has made plenty of flops and has made mistakes in his filming and acting career and even in his own personal life.


It’s like all the past experiences of Woody is culminating swelling up, building up a complex fabric for his scripts and movie making, he is starting to test these genres and change them in a way that reflects his own life. He has after all experienced these things like Jasmine, had massive failure and felt and been through those things.

This movie could make some people uncomfortable or it could be interpreted in different ways, already after reading some reviews this seems to be exactly what is happening.

Movies that can be interpreted in many different ways are like a wine with multiple flavors, they are to be kept and savored and age well with time.

This is most certainly one of those very fine films.

Murder In Mississippi by John Safran

download (1)

The first few weeks after reading this book, I wanted to say something about it but I frustratingly hadn’t really the energy to tackle such a difficult subject or pretend I had any idea about true crime books.

However the subject matter of the book seemed to raise itself in the form of the movie Fruitvale station (2013) the story of Oscar Grant a black man who was shot by police, in Oakland California in 2009.

The movie and Safrans book are geographically miles apart, but the subject matter seems to have plenty in common, especially for a white Australian audience that has practically no idea about what life is like for black Americans living on the edge of poverty.

Safran at first concentrates in on the many layers of Richard Barrett a white supremacist who was found murdered in his home by a 23 year old black man Vincent McGee. Strangely Barrett turns out to be one seriously odd character with enough problems of his own to easily fill the pages of this novel, the murdered seems to form the psychology and profile of the murderer.

At first Safran thinks this is a race hate murder from the other side of the fence, a black man who decides to get revenge and murder a well known white supremacist, however as it unfolds we discover that Vincent McGee had no idea about Richard Barrett’s activities as a white supremacist.

This poses a bit of a problem for Safran, his main angle (and reason for being there in the first place) has been removed, and he is left looking for a different angle for why he killed Barrett.

Safran struggles for the rest of the book and I felt he never got to terms with the reality of the situation.  Fruitvale station for me made the message in Safrans book clearer, the story is not a cryptic adventure to find out why McGee killed Barrett, it is just a really sad story about an under privileged black American living in poverty with a bad upbringing in the poorest state in America.

Oscar Grant was essentially a good person who loved his family and was killed by police, Vincent McGee had a bad upbringing was violent neglected and maybe even had some mental illnesses, but just like Vincent McGee, Oscar had been to prison and had to have aggressive behavior to survive. They lived on opposite sides of the country but to me had a a sadly similar story. How many other black people get arrested so easily for doing so little? How many lives taken away or ruined for what seems like crazy small offenses?

I look at it like this, if I was walking down a busy street even in Newcastle’s worst suburb the chances that I would see a police officer or be searched randomly are very slim.  In Newcastle I have more chance of getting booked for drink driving than from dealing drugs, my world and life story is miles apart from Oscar Grant and Vincent McGee. It is that first few offenses that set both Oscar Grant and Vincent McGee hurtling down terrible life directions.

For his first book I was impressed by Safrans writing style, I had trouble coming to terms that I am a fan of his and this was the reason for me reading his book, but the views of Mississippi by Safran where so good it kept me glued to the book. It was so good I began to wonder what Safran would be like as a travel writer like Bill Bryson.