Saturday, November 28, 2020
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Is Life Too Hectic for you? Maybe You Need to Use Your Smartphone Smartly


To say that modern life is hectic would be an understatement. It seems like there’s always stuff to do and never enough time to do it. If you look around you, everyone seems to be in a rush or busy doing something important. At home, every family member is engrossed in some form of activity, even during mealtimes. Gone are the days when family or friends used to meet every other day for relaxed moments.

Living such a fast-paced lifestyle comes with great risks. An increasing number of employees now complain of stress, as per the Guardian. This is a situation replicated at school and among the general public.

Source: Pixabay

How do you wiggle out of this situation? There’s one solution that’s closer than you might think.  Your smartphone can help deal with multiple issues in your life. This communication tool has turned into a multi-functional device and a lifesaver in many situations.

Here are a few tricks to leverage your smartphone for a more enjoyable life.

Download a Meditation App

Meditation is an ancient self-care practice and doctors still recommend it today to improve wellbeing. It helps reduce stress, controls anxiety, promotes emotional health, enhances self-awareness, fights addictions, and reduces age-related memory loss among other health benefits.


Source: Unsplash

While you might not have time to attend yoga sessions, a meditation app can help you get the best of this self-care tradition. The best meditation apps include features such as guided sessions, personalised meditation options, wellness tips, reminders, different exercises and much more.

If you always feel hurried, there’s an easy solution. Download one of the medication apps and learn how you can relax amidst the hustle and bustle in your life.

Use Comparison Sites to Speed Up Your Choices

The internet is helpful in so many ways but one thing that it’s often accused of doing is providing us with too much choice. You no longer have to stick to what you know, or what’s available in your town or city. We now have access to services across the country – even the world. So, how can tech help us now?

A recent trend to combat choice fatigue is the prevalence of comparison sites. There’s Price Hipster, which tracks the prices of products on, amongst others, as well as sites like CompareBear, an electricity and gas provider aggregator.

Even in the casino gaming sphere, there are aggregators that list sites like LeoVegas and their offers for new customers, as sourced from These comparison services can help reduce the time spent sifting through the choices available.

Have Fun and Relax with Games

Gaming is one way of relieving stress and improving your wellbeing. Mobile games improve coordination, boost memory, problem-solving skills, improves attention and concentration, improve multitasking and can help in many other ways.

Mobile gaming is a big trend and you can join in on the fun to take time to unwind. Popular games such as ‎Pokémon Go and Candy Crush Saga have continued entertaining players, despite being quite old as far as mobile or casual gaming goes. You can download a gaming app or play instant-play games online any time.

Learn and Keep Learning

Learning is one way of improving any aspect of your life. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable resources to boost your knowledge. The internet provides an invaluable resource for those looking to develop new skills or learn an entirely new topic.

Duolingo, for example, is one of the world’s most popular apps and provides a solid foundation for those looking to learn a new language from scratch. It’s available in a free form or in a paid-for subscription, and it includes some less-spoken languages like Irish. Education and information is really at our fingertips.

Modern life is fast and, sometimes, it’s difficult to cope with all the new demands that come with it. You can now leverage your smartphone to try and get through all this. The device is always nearby, and it’s time to get the most out of it.

Cream Of The Crate Review # 209: The La De Da’s – The La De Da’s


These reviews are provided to help maintain a connection with various genres of popular music extending from the 1940’s through to present time.

"the band is probably best known as the launching place for the solo career of guitarist Kevin Borich" - [Wikipedia] .. .. .. "The La De Da's were a leading New Zealand rock band of the 1960s" - [Age] .. .. .."Considered among Australasia’s best." - []

This is album review number 209 in the series of retro-reviews of both vinyl LP’s and Cd’s, in my collection.

The series is called “Cream of The Crate” and each review represents an album from my collection that I believe is of significant musical value, either because of it’s rarity, because it represents the best of a style or styles of music or because there is something unique about the group or the music.

Links to the previous 200+ reviews can be found at the bottom of this review.

Time for another Australian group …. OK, they weren’t actually Australian it was just that every great band that came across the ditch to Australia, immediately became “ours”.

The group is the La De Da’s and this is a re-release of their first album, the self-tiled – La De Das. originally released on vinyl in 1966 this re-release is on CD, on the NosmoKe label – NSD0011 and released in 2011.

This CD has 16 tracks.

I am in debt to the New Zealand music site – audioculture, for providing much of the background to this band.

The new wave of R&B was already breaking big ­in charts across the world when four of its best practitioners – The Kinks, Manfred Mann, The Rolling Stones and The Pretty Things – rolled through New Zealand in 1965 for a series of concerts still vividly recalled decades later.

The raw pull of the sound and the style and ethos of the players galvanised local teenagers, throwing up a large and responsive audience to be serviced by the likes of The Unknown Blues in Invercargill, The Third Chapter in Dunedin, Peter Nelson and The Castaways and Chants R&B in Christchurch, Bari and The Breakaways and Tom Thumb in Wellington, The Mods and The Trends in Hamilton, and The Dark Ages and The La De Da’s in Auckland, along with dozens of lesser lights.

While beat music provided a new soundtrack to teenage lives, the group aesthetic and anti-social veneer of R&B offered up an alternative lifestyle to teenage fans – and a good living, local fame and the distant lurking prospect of a hit for groups – by pushing a covert message that being uncompromising not only paid, it gave you the freedom to behave in the way you wanted.

Teenage heaven.

In West Auckland at Te Atatu’s newly opened Rutherford High School, were the mod-ish Mergers with Kevin Borich (lead guitar/vocals), Trevor Wilson (bass), Brett Neilsen (drums) and Phil Key (rhythm guitar/vocals) who attended Mount Albert Grammar. They had heard the word and flirted with an anti-social name, The Criminals, before settling on the provocative ambiguity of The La De Da’s.

Establishing an immediate following through hall and club dates, they stepped into a residency at inner city teen club The Platterack in April 1965.

That’s where NZBC producer Robert Handlin found them and soon became their manager, releasing Kevin Borich’s folkie ballad ‘Ever Since That Night’ backed with the Borich/Wilson penned R&B of ‘Hey Little Girl’ on his Talent City label in June. 

The emerging group soon found space in their ranks for classically trained organist Bruce Howard, who swelled their sound and added another vocalist.

With guitar whiz Kevin Borich picking out the leads, they had a strong rhythm section in Wilson and Neilsen with Phil Key on rhythm guitar. And when Samoan New Zealander Key came out of his shell, he revealed one of New Zealand’s finest R&B and soul voices.

With four hit singles, two classy albums and a national following behind them, The La De Da’s set out for Sydney, Australia.

The independent quintet struggled, finding their R&B and soul based set outdated. They also bristled at micro-management and unsuccessful recording attempts, despite gaining fans at Ivan Dayman’s Op Pop disco.

They flopped even worse on the strong Melbourne club circuit before heading home in September 1967.

In January 1968, Brett Neilsen left the group, replaced by The Action’s Bryan Harris, who gave way on the group’s return to Sydney in June to Australian drummer Keith Barber (The Wild Cherries). Wielding a wide and eclectic array of instruments and introducing Sydneysiders to The Doors, Vanilla Fudge, Traffic and The Band, this was the psychedelic La De Da’s, and their heady themed sets immediately caught on.

Back on the front foot, they returned to Melbourne in August 1968 with the show they had wowed Sydney with. This time the city fell for their charms, sparking a long and close relationship with the Victorian capital’s music scene. At year’s end they were voted Australia’s Best Disco Group in popular music magazine Go Set.

Better was to come in 1969. ‘Come and Fly With Me’, their first single since mid-1967, was an upbeat burst of good feeling and the standout track on The Happy Prince, the rock opera on based on Oscar Wilde’s short story, which Trevor Wilson and Bruce Howard had long been working on.

With hits and misses and an ever changing fan base, They finally called it a day in May, 1975.


Phil Key (guitar, vocals) 1964 – 1972
Trevor Wilson (bass) 1964 – 1970
Kevin Borich (guitar, vocals) 1964 – 1975
Brett Neilsen (drums, vocals) 1964 – 1968

Bruce Howard (keyboards) 1965 – 1972

Bryan Harris (drums) 1968
Keith Barber (drums) 1968 – 1975
Reno Tehei (bass) 1970
Peter Roberts (bass) 1971 – 1973
Ronnie Peel (bass, vocals) 1973 – 1975

There is a lot of excellent music that came out of the La De Das, and this album takes us back to almost, the very beginning.


Video text

Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:


To view/listen the first 50 vinyl album reviews just click the image below –

cream of the crate cd review #2 : robert johnson – the complete recordings


To view/listen the first 50 Cd album reviews just click the image below –


To view/listen album reviews 101 – 150 just click the image below –


To view/listen album reviews 151 – 200 just click the image below –

cream of the crate: album reviews #151 – 200


Click to open the following reviews covering #’s 201 onward.

#201.  The Atlantics – The Great Surfing Sounds of The Atlantics

#202.  Otis Redding – Dictionary Of Soul

Cream of The Crate: Album Review # 180 – Flowers: Icehouse


cream of the crate: album review # 180 – flowers: icehouse


  This review was originally posted on the first Toorak Times web site where publications ceased on that site in March 2017. The old site will be permanently closed in 2020 and these reviews are being re-published in order to preserve them on the current Toorak Times/Tagg site.


“Icehouse LP a stunner for Flowers." - (Mark Trevorrow - The Sun October 15, 1980) .. .. .. "The album is replete with killer material." - (Bruce Laird - Beat December 2010) .. .. .. "Let's face it, they had it all - the sound, great compositions, a great front man and, the right look for the time." - (This review)

This is album retro-review number 180 in the series of retro-reviews of both vinyl and Cd albums in my collection.

The series is called
“Cream of The Crate” and each review represents an album that I believe is of significant musical value, either because of it’s rarity, because it represents the best of a style or styles of music or because there is something unique about the group or the music.

Links to the previous 150 reviews can be found at the bottom of this review.

Time to pull another Aussie album out of my crate – and this group changed its name to that of the album shortly after it was released, and I for one am glad – for it’s a far better name!

The group I am talking about is Flowers and this, a vinyl album is titled – Icehouse.

Released on the Regular label and distributed by Festival Records in 1980, it has the identifying code of L 37436.


cream of the crate: album review # 180 – flowers: icehouse
Album label – [CLICK to enlarge]


It is a single album released in a gatefold format and has eleven tracks, five on the first side and six on the other side.

So using a gatefold cover, even though it only has a single album, allows for some creative design work.  The interior left and right hand side is a basic but effective design, showing the faces of the four members of the group.

cream of the crate: album review # 180 – flowers: icehouse
Inside gatefold – [CLICK to enlarge]


In what might have been confusing to later generations of music fans, Icehouse was the name of the first album by an Australian group called Flowers, but then became the new name of that group.

Flowers kicked off as a band around 1977 as one of many pub-bands. Around this time the “new wave synth-pop” sound was coming out of the UK and the young Sydney music wanna be, Iva Davies was drawn to this style immediately.

He was the mainstay of both Flowers and then Icehouse, and deciding stylistically that was the direction for him, it became the direction for the band.


cream of the crate: album review # 180 – flowers: icehouse
Iva Davies – [CLICK to enlarge]


Iva played guitar, did the vocals and provided in the first instance, the arrangements of the group’s music. He also very quickly also became the principle song writer.

Along with his mate Keith Welsh, who played bass and contributed vocals, they formed Flowers and after a short period of uncertainty as to who would be the permanent members, they settled on:

Iva Davies – Vocals & guitars
Keith Walsh – Bass & vocals
John Lloyd – Drums & vocals
Anthony Smith – Keyboards & vocals.

So it was that for a while Flowers were touted as the most successful, if not most popular group, who were unsigned to a label.

So this situation lasted until the early part of the 1980’s when they signed to the independent Regular Records and entered the studio to place their first album on record.


cream of the crate: album review # 180 – flowers: icehouse
Flowers – [CLICK to enlarge]

Flowers released their debut single in May 1980, Can’t Help Myself (written by Davies), which hit the Australian Top 10 in June 1980.

This was followed by their debut album Icehouse, which reached No. 4 on the National albums chart and became one of the year’s biggest selling albums in Australia.

The groups popularity was recognised when they were awarded the 1980 TV Week / CountdownRock Awards ‘Johnny O’Keefe New Talent Award’ ahead of The Dugites, INXS and Karen Knowles.

They were also nominated for ‘Best Album’ and ‘Best Album Cover’ for Icehouse but lost on both to Cold Chisel’s East album. 

Iva Davies was also nominated as ‘Best Songwriter’ but lost to Cold Chisel’s Don Walker.

By 1981 with a hit single and album under their belt, Davies made the decision to change the name of the group to Icehouse.

So it was that they continued right through until 2012, albeit toward the end, they relegated themselves to doing limited gigs at corporate functions. In late 2011 the band went back to playing gigs, and played some gigs in Melbourne and Sydney under the name of “Dub-House“. 

But we are interested in this first album, produced and recorded under that first group name of Flowers.

Track Listing:

Side 1

  1. “Icehouse” – 4:22
  2. “We Can Get Together” – 3:46
  3. “Fatman” – 3:53
  4. “Sister” (Iva Davies, Michael Hoste) – 3:22
  5. “Walls” – 4:22

Side 2

  1. “Can’t Help Myself” – 4:41
  2. “Skin” (Iva Davies, Michael Hoste) – 2:41
  3. “Sons” – 4:32
  4. “Boulevarde” (Iva Davies, Michael Hoste) – 3:14
  5. “Nothing to Do” (Iva Davies, Michael Hoste) – 3:22
  6. “Not My Kind” – 3:35


cream of the crate: album review # 180 – flowers: icehouse
Rear cover – [CLICK to enlarge]


We can’t go past track one which is Icehouse.

Now the track was released in the UK and the USA as a single, but to my knowledge not in Australia but then only after the group changed its name to Icehouse. 

The story behind the song is interesting. It was written by Davies and involves an old house that was opposite where he was living and,  that had its lights on all night and seemed to be the home for short term itinerants.

Davies then learned it was in fact a halfway house for drug rehab patients and psychotic patients, and that stimulated him to write the song about, the “Icehouse”.

In so many ways he “nailed” that British new wave/synth sound, and at the same time went a long way to establishing himself as a very good composer and, a very good vocalist.

It’s always cold inside the icehouse
Though the rivers never freeze
There’s a girl outside the icehouse
I can see her clearly through the trees

Now she’s dreaming of a new love
And she hopes he’ll be there soon
She’s got so long to wait for him
‘Cause he needs another year to get there
She’ll wait another lifetime longer

There’s no love inside the icehouse

Devil lives inside the icehouse
At least that’s what the old ones say
They say, he came a long time ago
He came here with the winter snow
Now it’s colder every day

She’s still dreaming through the summer
And she’s hoping through the spring
She say’s, she’s got no time for winter nights
She doesn’t notice as the days grow darker
She can’t remember getting any older

There’s no love inside the icehouse

Now she’s dreaming of her new love
And she hopes he’ll be there soon
She say’s, she say’s, she’s got no time for winter nights
Doesn’t notice as the days grow darker
She can’t remember getting any older

There’s no love inside the icehouse
There’s no love inside the icehouse
The icehouse


Track 2We Can Get Together was the group’s second single.

It certainly helped cement their position as not just a group with promise, but possible the lead Australian group in this musical genre.

However track 5Walls,I  believe is a better track. A good uptempo piece it continues that pop/synth sound but the more dominant use of the guitar adds another dimension to the track.

It has a fine element of David Bowie in both the vocal delivery and in the composition of the track.

A fine track indeed that just crept into the Top 20, at number 20 in January 1981.


Side 2 of the album kicks off with one of their most memorable tracks – I Can’t help Myself.

Released as a single in May of 1980, in fact it was the group’s first Australian singles release. It was put out before the album was ready for release and raced to the number 10 position in the Aussie charts.

This meant not only had people talking about them, but provided a great amount of impetus for the group to finish that first album.

A strong drum opening, a great “grunge’ synth sound and highly recognisable guitar riff it is a seriously fantastic composition.

For me, no matter how good the various compositions on this album are, this track was heads and tails above them all.

It has everything a great pop track needs, it is bright, happy, well balanced and has a great hook in the chorus. Ivor Davies excelled in the lyric writing and the band played brilliantly.

cream of the crate: album review # 180 – flowers: icehouseShe comes walking down the street
That’s the kind, hey,
That’s the kind I want to meet
I think I’m making it up
I should be putting it down
and it’s beginning to show
I get it fixed in my head
and it won’t let go

Oh, I can’t help myself
when I feel this way
I want to be someone else
When I get this feeling
it gets in my system
I can’t put the brakes on

Now she’s walking next to me
that’s the place, yeah,
that’s the place I want to be
I think I’m making it up
I should be putting it down
and it’s beginning to show
I get it fixed in my head
and it won’t let go

I Can’t Help Myself

The remainder of the tracks vacillate between good and just OK.

Skin is one of those tracks that you might play at a party as it’s a good track to dance to and worthy of mention.

Now I have to declare that as a music genre this sound was never a favourite of mine, but in terms of Australian music, Flowers, and certainly Icehouse deserve the acclaim they received.

cream of the crate: album review # 180 – flowers: icehouse
Iva – 1980


The track Sons has an element of the British band Joy Division about it – and some call it a “dark” track. I find it lacking in that “certain something”, that makes a track stand out.

Track 4Boulevarde on the other hand, is a most excellent track.

It’s not so heavy on the pop-synth sound, but stronger on guitar. A nice track with very good vocal delivery, it stands out for me above most of the other tracks.

It kicks along at a nice tempo and reminds us that Davies was no slouch on guitar.


The penultimate track, Nothing To Do, is interesting for the change in delivery style – very reminiscent of of Lou Reed at time, but without Reeds cuttingly clever lyrics.

The final track is Not My Kind and showed promise as it kicks off, but to my ears was not a balanced production.

I hate to say it, it’s almost a filler. There are some nice guitar pieces in it.

In June 1981 in an attempt to cash in on the popularity of the album, and because the band had renamed itself Icehouse, the album was re-released in the UK.

This “new” album had a different cover, one track (Nothing To Do) was left off and the other tracks resequenced and some even remixed.

cream of the crate: album review # 180 – flowers: icehouse
Iva Davies – [CLICK to enlarge]


However for collectors, the album under the group name of Flowers remains the one to collect.

Let’s face it, they had it all – the sound, great compositions, a great front man and, the right look for the time.

Does it hold up over time – well a track like I Can’t help Myself is a classic and will always stand out.

True aficionados of the group will always like the album, but it has dated somewhat, yet still deserves recognition for breaking some serious ground in the development of the Australian music scene in the early 1980’s.

The original album (there has been a re-release) Icehouse by Flowers is available on Ebay for around $50.00. 

It was re-released on Cd with bonus tracks, but unless you are a fanatical fan of Icehouse, and are just interested in picking up the first album released while they were Flowers, then you can get a decent copy for around $30.00


Popping into youtube finds several clips of tracks from this album.


We can Get Together – Countdown




Can’t help Myself

Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:


To view/listen the first 50 vinyl album reviews just click the image below –

cream of the crate cd review #2 : robert johnson – the complete recordings


To view/listen the first 50 Cd album reviews just click the image below –


To view/listen album reviews 101 – 150 just click the image below –

Cutting the ABC cuts public trust, a cost no democracy can afford

cutting the abc cuts public trust, a cost no democracy can afford

Picture: Danny Casey/AAP

While Australians are singing the praises of the front-line workers during the COVID-19 crisis, there is a forgotten front line that has also made personal sacrifices to help us get through the pandemic: ABC journalists.

From radio producers to TV presenters to technicians who get up before dawn to bring us the news, ABC staff have been bringing us the facts about the global crisis at a time when misinformation and disinformation are rife and dangerous.

Norman Swan’s highly utilised podcast Coronacast is just one example of trusted ABC information during the pandemic.

Less visible is the emotional toll on ABC staff of the relentless work in bringing us our stories about job losses, health concerns, social isolation and fragile mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.

As one ABC producer told me:

Every day during the lockdowns were sad stories that wear you down and leave you feeling hopeless.

Read more: Why the ABC, and the public that trusts it, must stand firm against threats to its editorial independence

We forget many of these workers went into the pandemic already tired and emotionally drained after forgoing holidays to report on the summer’s catastrophic bushfires across multiple states. The fires killed 34 people, destroyed more than 3,500 homes and ruined the lives of many. Yet, rather than forget these victims, ABC reporters continue to provide updates on how communities are rebuilding after losing so much in the fires.

Despite all of this, the federal government has offered no reprieve to prevent the axing of about 250 ABC jobs to meet a A$41 million budget shortfall of the Coalition’s own making.

The ABC’s managing director, David Anderson, announced the job cuts, some voluntary and some not, this week. The cuts will affect news, entertainment and regional divisions of the national media organisation.

This should be of grave concern for all Australians, because research shows we have local news “deserts” emerging across the nation, just as in the United States. This means some towns and regions have no original sources of news other than the ABC. Without it, they lose their voice altogether.

These ABC cuts come on the back of News Corp closing many of its regional mastheads and converting others to online-only. These moves raise concerns about issues of access to local news for some citizens such as the elderly and those with poor digital access.

Read more: Local news sources are closing across Australia. We are tracking the devastation (and some reasons for hope)

But it is also a threat to our democracy. Free and diverse media are central to a healthy democracy by providing citizens with reliable information in order to make informed choices, including at the ballot box when voters decide who will represent them.

The refusal of the Coalition government to step in and reverse the A$84 million lost in the 2018 budget cuts to the broadcaster – when indexing of the triennial funding agreement was frozen – can only weaken its public service.

Some might argue this is exactly what the government wants. Since 2014, when Tony Abbott was prime minister, the ABC has lost A$783 million in funding, including the A$84 million cut in 2018.

Politicians and journalists are strange bedfellows, as the saying goes. They both have important roles in democracies, sometimes at the expense of one another. Apart from the media’s important functions such as emergency broadcasting and informing the public, a well-functioning democracy depends on the public being able to monitor its representatives and on the state accepting criticism of its own exercise of power. This is its watchdog function, and to be effective it requires a trusted and independent media.

Yet, while the ABC is still Australia’s most trusted media outlet, public trust has been steadily falling since the budget cuts this decade (see the graph below). In other words, if you keep cutting the fat and hit the bone, the public will start to notice and lose trust in its quality.

Author provided using Essential Media data 2011-2019 – [CLICK to enlarge]

As this graph shows, the ABC’s most trusted programming, TV news and current affairs has been falling steadily from a high of 74% in 2012 to a low of 60% since the budget cuts. The other notable fall is trust in local newspapers, from 62% to below 50% since the “news desert” concerns have been realised with mass closures of local papers.

This is a problem for democracy, particularly when the rise of fake news in the digital age is causing concern for most Australians (65%) about what is fact and what is not.

Yet, when we need to know information because it is important to our health – such as during the COVID-19 pandemic or bushfires – quality outlets have been enjoying a spike in their audience numbers.

Our survey work has also shown Australians’ trust in professional journalists has been elevated during this period (68%). It’s notably higher than in the US (57%) where trust in professional journalists has been ebbed away by President Donald Trump’s weaponisation of the terms “fake news” and “lamestream media” against them.

As the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission heard again and again, if it were not for the ABC emergency broadcasting, many communities would have not been warned of approaching fires.

If the ABC is there to inform us to save lives, who will save the ABC?

This article was written by:

Disclosure statement

Andrea Carson receives funding from Australian Research Council. She was also an ABC radio and TV producer from 2005-2010.

giving it away for free – why the performing arts risks making the same mistake newspapers did

This article is a syndicated news item via  giving it away for free – why the performing arts risks making the same mistake newspapers did


Voices, hearts and hands – how the powerful sounds of protest have changed over time

voices, hearts and hands – how the powerful sounds of protest have changed over time


Protest has, by default, always been aligned with sound.

It is an action concerned with the amplification of a message – wanting to make sure it is heard.

Over the past 50 years, protesters’ voices have found power in unison. But activists and onlookers have increasingly been exposed to new sounds – many of which accompany “non-lethal” or “less lethal” weapons that aim to shatter rather than gather the crowd.


Raise your voice

Call and response chants, common to street activism, are thought to have their origins in work songs. The Occupy Movement makes use of a technique dubbed the human microphone – to keep the crowd on-message. In urban environments, chants become further amplified as they bounce off buildings and hard surfaces.

Today, thousands upon thousands of protestors worldwide are saying Black Lives Matter very loudly.

 “I can’t breathe.” Chanting the desperate words of George Floyd – and Dunghutti man David Dungay Jr in Australia.

These chanted rhythms – Black Lives MatterI can’t breatheWhose streets? Our streets! No Justice! No Peace!The People! United! Will never be divided! – quickly gain momentum.

Some phrases mesh into popular culture through songs. Some songs – like Give Peace a Chance – become iconic chant anthems.

 John and Yoko make use of call and response and chanting in their iconic protest song.

Noise as weapon

Whizzing rubber bullets have been used since the 1970s, when they were deployed by the British in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. The hiss of tear gas, used for almost 100 years, is familiar to protesters and onlookers. But technologies introduced in the mid 1990s and developed since have radically reshaped the soundscape of protest.

The weaponisation of sounds is understandable. Our ears, unlike our eyes, have nothing stopping the entry of stimulus. As a sense, hearing is always available and thus vulnerable.

In the natural world, this is of little consequence, as there are few sounds loud enough to cause lasting damage to our hearing. But with industrialisation has come the capacity to produce sounds that exceed a volume we can hear without causing ourselves damage.

The first non-kinetic weapon widely used against protesters was introduced in North America in 1995. The M-84 stun grenade has also been used with increasing frequency by police agencies in North and South America, Europe, the UK and here in Australia.

 Sonic booms, the hiss of tear gas. ‘Combat’ footage at the 2009 G-20 protests in Pittsburgh.

Colloquially know as a flash-bang, these devices are used to stun and temporarily disorient people in their blast radius. This disorientation is effected primarily by an enormous momentary output of sound and intense light. On detonation, the M-84 output a sound pressure level (SPL) of 170 decibels at two metres. That’s equivalent to a sound as loud as a space shuttle taking off.

The M-84 and other similar weapons, including the Stinger Grenade, which combines the sound and light blast with an explosion of over 100 hard plastic balls and CS gas, cause people to become temporarily deaf and may cause long term hearing impairment. Flash-bangs have also resulted in serious physical injuries and even deaths despite their “non-lethal” label.

The Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) and Medium Range Acoustic Device (MRAD) are even more intimidating. Described as “sound canons”, they are a hyperdirectional speaker, meaning they can direct a beam of sound between 30-60 degrees making it very focused and capable of targeting individuals or small groups of people with great accuracy.

Sound weapons have been widely used in the current wave of Black Lives Matter Protests in North America and during the Ferguson Black Lives Matters protests in 2014 over the shooting of Michael Brown.

 How hypersonic sounds works and some measures that could save protestors’ hearing.

Powerful beats

New sonic weapons are always emerging, but still the chants of protestors can soar above. The simple sounds – the sonic equivalent of a sound byte – have a power of their own.

Voices, hands and feet can unite in a pulsing wave of sound to create an infectious and repeatable rhythm. Coordinated with physical movement and dance, to create an even more intensely unified sense of communal will.

Over the past weekend, Australian protestors reportedly thumped their fists against their chests, creating a powerful collective heartbeat. The rhythm of the beat as it faded was a powerful wordless statement against the injustice of Indigenous deaths in custody. Silence, too, has an enduring protest legacy.

Voices together at Brisbane’s weekend protest. AAP/Glenn Hunt

It’s not just bodies that are used to create sounds of protest. In 1971, Chilean protestors famously turned to their kitchens into sonic tools, transforming casserole pots and other utensils into a sound state known as Cacerolazo. The tradition continues to resonate this decade in countries like Columbia and even Canada, where student protesters raised a nightly cacophony with banging pans.

More conventional objects like musical instruments, especially drums, continue to hold a central place in protest too. In Sydney this past weekend, Thirumeni Balamurugan beat a Parai drum to guide the crowd. The instrument is made from the skin of a dead calf and was once associated only with funerals. Now the once-forbidden Tamil drum is common at political rallies.

In North America, drums are playing a strong role in crowd unification, echoing the heavily rhythmic pulsations of the Arab Spring and many protests before it.

Though sound can be used as a weapon in modern protests, the sonic capacity of collected bodies on the street united in purpose and pulse remains powerful.

This article was written by:

Lawrence English – [Adjunct Lecturer, The University of Queensland]

giving it away for free – why the performing arts risks making the same mistake newspapers did

This article is a syndicated news item via  giving it away for free – why the performing arts risks making the same mistake newspapers did

   The Oz International Film Festival – November 23 – December 1, 2018


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VIP Festival Pass access for all events

Price $100.00

Frank Howson presents

Australian writer, director and Producer Frank Howson has announced the inaugural OZ International Film Festival to be held at The Alex Theatre in Melbourne from November 23 to December 1.  

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In its premiere year the festival will have a week-long showcase of feature length and short films from young and not so young local and international film makers, the films chosen will tackle indigenous subjects, women’s issues, gay rights, and other thought-provoking subjects not catered for in many mainstream film festivals.

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Announcing the festival, Frank Howson, Festival Director said, “I have always believed in helping the next generation of filmmakers and spend a great deal of my time fiving free advised to those who approach me.  I also believe in giving back to the industry when you have some good fortune and the phenomenal success of my musical “Dream Lover” has enabled me to put my money where my mouth is and come up with this new and exciting film festival that celebrates diversity and bold and brave voices from local and international filmmakers.” He added, “The Oz international Film Festival is a festival for all the right reasons and competes with no other as we are shining a light on categories that most other festivals don’t i.e., indigenous works, student films, gay rights, women’s issues, political films showing both sides of relevant issues. We take no sides politically and out only criteria in selecting a movie is whether it is well made. We are a festival that celebrates diversity of all kinds and respects free speech.”

Opening night will feature a live performance by Jonathon Welch AM, best known as the Founding Music Director of the inspirational Choir of Hard Knocks and his new celebrated THECHOIR, Melbourne’s most exciting non-professional adult choirs. group of singers. They will open the night of the screenings with a newly commissioned work, composed by internationally renowned pianist and composer Warren Wills, “Hymn to St Kilda” celebrating the much-loved suburb as the place where the first Australian film, and one of the first in the world was shot. It is also fitting the festival is at the beautiful new Alex Theatre in the heart of Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda.

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The opening night feature film will be Travis Bains “Landfall” starring indy actress Kristen Condon in her nominated performance, industry veteran Tony Bonner and Mad Max’s Vernon Welles.

Other films secured and certainly one of the highlights of the festival will be the Australian premiere of the U.S. Documentary “Bill Evans – Time Remembered” about the innovative jazz great featuring interviews with Tony Bennett and a cavalcade of jazz greats.

The Premier screening of Jonathon’s Welch’s emotional documentary “Choir Man in Africa” showing the story of Jonathon and his Australian choir traveling to Uganda to perform a concert to celebrate the anniversary of their independence. In this highly charged doco we see the emotional impact it has on the Australians as they witness the poverty and brave spirits of the local Ugandans, and the profound impact it has on them.

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Also, screening will be a Jewish documentary “Operation Wedding” that tells of the brave failed attempt by a group of Jews to escape Russia at the height of the Cold War, the controversial documentary LEAF about the benefits of medical marijuana.

And A FILMMAKERS JOURNEY a special only event where Festival Director Frank Howson will take you through his journey detailing his struggle to break into the film industry, warts and all.  Make sure you book for this one.

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Frank Howson is available for interviews as are Tony Bonner, Jonathon Welch, Kristen Condon, Aleks Vass, Festival Producer Barry Porter Robinson, and Warren Wills.


The Oz International Film Festival runs 23 Nov – 1 Dec 2018.

alex theatre st kilda

The Alex Theatre

135 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda Vic

Tickets available from




DATE: Friday 5th October
TIME: 7:30 for 8:00 pm- 10 pm
COST: Free

DATE: Friday 5th October
TIME: 7:30 for 8:00 pm- 10 pm
COST: Free

DATE: Friday 5th October
TIME: 7:30 for 8:00 pm- 10 pm
COST: Free

DATE: Friday 5th October
TIME: 7:30 for 8:00 pm- 10 pm
COST: Free

DATE: Friday 5th October
TIME: 7:30 for 8:00 pm- 10 pm
COST: Free

DATE: Friday 5th October
TIME: 7:30 for 8:00 pm- 10 pm
COST: Free


Founded in 1890, the Alliance Française de Melbourne (AFM) is an Australian not-for-profit association dedicated to the promotion of the French language and culture.

It is the largest language school for French in Victoria with an average of 3,000 students per year. With our team of qualified native French-speaking teachers, we offer a large range of courses, including specialised courses, private tuition, workshops, immersion days, outings to museums or restaurants and more! Teachers use cutting-edge technology with interactive whiteboards (IWB) in many of our classrooms to enhance language-learning through dynamic multimedia integration.

The AFM is the only accredited examination centre to conduct all the diplomas issued by the French Ministry of Education as DELF and DALF exams, along with the TCF, TCFQ, TEF and TEFAQ.

Named in honour of the Alliance Française de Melbourne’s founder, the well-known Berthe Mouchette Competition created in 1894 is open to students of French from Grade 3 to Year 12 and attracts thousands of candidates each year who bring French poetry to life through recitals.

Enjoying the patronage and support of the French Embassy in Canberra the AFM, as the only French cultural centre in Victoria, organises major cultural events each year, such as the French Film Festival in March and the French Christmas Market in December. A varied program of exhibitions from local or international artists is regularly presented in our art gallery in St Kilda, and concerts, conferences and film screenings punctuate the cultural calendar all year round.

Our multimedia library includes thousands of French books, CDs and DVDs as well as a dedicated section for students with documents to enhance their French language learning. Admission is free and open to the general public and lending is open to current students and members of our association.



The Alliance Française de Melbourne encourages and promotes active, open connections between people in Victoria and French language and culture. It provides the means by which people can learn the French language and become engaged in the many different aspects of French culture including art, books, poetry, film, history, gastronomy, contemporary affairs, thoughts and ideas. It provides the opportunity for friends of French language and culture to come together in an apolitical, non-religious and welcoming environment.


The Alliance Française de Melbourne will be seen by people in Victoria as the premier institution for all things related to French language and culture.

It will achieve this vision through:

  • Reaching a broad base of people throughout Victoria, including beginner students of all ages and expatriate French nationals. It will continue to understand their interests and needs and then meet them through a wide range of affordable activities and services, accessible in a variety of locations
  • Providing the highest quality of French language education from qualified, native French-speaking teachers
  • Offering a high standard of teaching facilities and advanced teaching methods using current technologies and multi-media tools.
  • Working in collaboration with other French organisations and with other cultural institutions as appropriate
  • Providing a working environment, which attracts the highest quality management, teachers and staff who are intimately connected with French language and culture.

The Alliance Française de Melbourne will ensure continued relevance in the changing world and will grow in terms of students, members and variety of activities.


51 Grey Street, ST KILDA




EVENT: Charlie Law
VENUE: Big Mouth
ADDRESS: 168 Acland St, St Kilda
DATE:  Sunday 30th September
TIME: 9:00 pm


English BMG recording artist Charlie Law has rambled across the world writing songs about his travels. A young folk singer-songwriter for fans of Ray LaMontagne, Vance Joy and George Ezra, Charlie’s sets are entertaining and will make you laugh, cry and wistfully sigh.

Now 26, Charlie has played professionally at a wide range of events internationally for five years including gigs with Ed Sheeran, Turin Brakes, Nick Harper, Blair Dunlop and more.

Here at Big Mouth he’ll be playing a mixture of originals and tastefully covered classics to close the weekend in style.


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Invitation Header



We are proud to invite you to the opening morning festivities to join us for some a very laid back beginning to our writers’ festival St Kilda Writers Week Gilgamesh Connections.


Official Launch

Launching the festival at Big Mouth Upstairs on Sunday 30th September 2018 with a full day of entertainment focused in one spot starting from the Official Launch at 11 am.

We kick the festival off with Meredith Fuller and her production team discussing the making of their new play, ”Conjugated Stalking”.

3 authors shall follow this discussion, Carrie Bailee and her gripping spoken word piece “Sold” based on her book “Flying On Broken Wings”.

Frank Howson, born and bred in St Kilda and successful, film maker, author, artist and playwright reads from his new book “the last hurrah“, to be released for the festival and available on the day.

Joining them will be local legend Brenda Richards reading from her piece on local displaced musos and poet Dargo Dave and his dog. She is such a well of the word, so many short stories and novels written both published and still awaiting the ink. No one knows much more about St Kilda than Brenda and she will have some of her books and other printed material for your selection!

Our feature event of the day is the Sisters in Crime debate presented by 7 of Australia’s hottest Crime Writers. It’s an evente that will be an awesomely rollicking as they put their wits in gear for “DAMES VERSUS DICKS GREAT CRIME WRITING DEBATE – WHO DOES IT BETTER?”

The evening starts with a bang when Paul Blackburn offers a lot more levity with St Kilda Comedy Club from 6:00 pm featuring some of Australia’s top comics delivering the word in their special way…beware of special guests appearances!

Cruising out the rest of the night is to the sounds of a live band finishing a perfect day and night for a whole range of interests.


Sunday 30th September 2018

11:00 am





Conjugated Stalking


1:15 pm – 2:30 pm

Carrie Bailee ♥ Frank Howson
♥ Brenda Richards


3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Sisters in Crimes Dames versus Dicks


6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

St Kilda Comedy Club


SESSION TIME: 12:00 pm





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Queer Indeed 1 1


EVENT: Queer Indeed
VENUE: The Laneway Art Space
ADDRESS: 148A Barkly St, St Kilda
DATE: Sunday 30th October 2018
TIME: 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
COST: $30 plus booking fee


Join us for an evening of conversation with Brenton Geyer and Geoffrey Williams, Founding Artistic Director of The Laneway Artspace and the St Kilda Writers Centre, followed by a Q&A. Your ticket to ‘Queer, indeed’ includes VIP access to ‘The End’ – our invitation-only St Kilda Writers Week Closing Night Party.

Brenton Geyer is a 54-year-old Melburnian who is accomplished in the arts and cultural industries with diverse and acclaimed achievements in the art of writing and storytelling. He is currently producing an autobiographical feature length film that tells the story of his life as a drag queen through the 1990s. His storytelling ability has captured the imagination of a number of corporate and community-based organisations who engage him to tell their stories through a variety of media. In addition to writing to earn a living, Brenton likes to spend time in small dark bars in respectful observance of the demi-monde.

Geyer has spent the last ten years detailing what was to be his memoir of a low life in high heels, but recently came to the realisation that the story could not be told on the scale it needed to be via the medium of the printed page. And so, a movie was born! Hours of recorded conversation and pages of late night scrawl have gone into the development of what will now become his autobiographical epic, entitled ‘120 Days of Stella’, a big screen depiction of bright nights spent in dark corners – a crash and burn approach to the world of drag as witnessed by Geyer from very close up.

“A lot of people compartmentalise their lives so as to live life in a series of silos,’ says Brenton. “This is something I have never been able to do, nor sought to do. I’ve mostly lived my life like an open book, where as the pages are turned, my story is revealed, without secrecy, without shame and often without my control. There is no plot, nor any chapters, for this would assume some sort of life plan. I’d like to think that at whatever page you fall upon, there’d be something revealing, something provoking or something shocking. This is how I tell the story of my life. No compartments, no barriers, no hesitation.”

“Growing up in a small country town in the mid-north of country South Australia in the 1960s and 70s I always felt I’d been dealt a backward blow, a dud hand, a raw deal. As a boy who had zero interest in football, cricket or sport of any kind for that matter, I stood out in the most impractical way. To add to that, my obvious effeminate nature pigeonholed me as a queer. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have complained. The label proved to be a fabulous fit for me. Queer, indeed, did I turn out to be.”

Photography courtesy Kris Darmody. © 2018.

Strictly limited capacity, and bookings are essential.