11 July 2012

the horses

Like most of the rest of the world, I was entranced to see that the spawn of the Dear Leader had got hisself a squeeze.  A singer and whatnot, you know, as leaders are wont to do.

And I thought that the news that the biggest hit of the squeeze singer was Excellent Horse-like Lady would set the electro-sphere alight.  But not it seems, everyone is taking it very calmly.  After all, if America gave us Horse with No Name and the Beatles  could give us Everybody's got something to hide except me and my monkey, then a musical juxtaposition of ladies and equines is a mere trifle, yes?  While go0gle gave me umpteen trillion hits in a part of a nanosecond, they seemed to be all straight news stories. 

One can listen about the horse-like lady here. (******)

Except this one: not taking the p*ss such as I have failed to do, but just commenting quite...yes, just quite.

Actually, it looks like a fascinating blog to check out.

(******)  Oh dear god, I've just listened to it.  If we moved North Korea to some obscure corner of Europe, I reckon we'd have a new Eurovision masterpiece on our hands.  But I'd really love to know the words...

30 June 2012

pigs on the wing

How's this for a line from a gig review: 

"Then there comes a sound I can't quite place, like bacon frying, but amplified. It's applause."

"the wavelengths and the resonance align"....writing and playing I like.

22 June 2012

Sometime in the last few years - by which I mean a decade or so, they fly past so quickly - I started noticing and thinking about changes in popular music.  I've been keen on popular music, of various genres I suppose, for some time but don't pretend to be an expert (until I've got a skinful, then I'm absolutely like every other expert).

But I started thinking that somehow songs were getting more realistic, more reflective of a broader take on life.  The pop of the 1950s seemed so "white-bread" I guess (yes, this post will be littered with unsubstantiated, vast generalisations).  The 60s were love love love and surfin', but even the evolution of pop/rock etc into the last 60s and early 70s, ie hard rock or whatever, didn't seem to change the subject matter (maybe exempt the Hair/JC Superstar kind of thing).

Hard rock bands had to slow down occasionally, hence Bad Company's Feel Like Makin' Love.  A ballad, you see. Here, if you feel the need.

Then disco. Then punk, but somehow with the rosy tinted glasses of hindsight punk never really plumbed the depths of human emotion.

Sometime around this period someone will no doubt reference Joy Division but as I never heard them then, I can make another outrageous generalisation and move right along.

After returning to Australia in the late 80s I had a lot of catching up to do, as I'd been in parts of the world where contemporary music just wasn't available. 

Slowly getting to my point, I think when I first heard Betterman I started thinking that popular music was reaching into the types of lives that many people were living where the world wasn't all roses and kittens.  And I guess then I started thinking  about the changes in society that I'd been privileged to have witnessed for some 50 years.  But that's for another time.

Then thisThat's my point.  Spine-tingling on so many levels.

More later.      

19 June 2012

feats don't fail me now

There's not a hell of lot of space between my ears for things to go round and round in, but go round and round they do.

I was particularly taken with this commentary about the new TV ads for Woolies, which features an unbearably twee voice singing about love and unbearably twee visuals of people who evidently love working for Woolies and because it's all new and whatevs.

Except it's actually just a colour-by-numbers rebranding of a rapacious duopolist as we all know and actually, you know, you can't suspend belief indefinitely.  I really wonder whether they think people get sucked in by this.  There's that old saying about advertising, that the advertiser knows that 50% of the ad works, they just don't know which 50%.

I reckon  that saying must date from the 1960s or so and I wonder whether today's figure shouldn't be closer to 10% or even 5%.  Surely people...I mean, really?

So when you've got such evidently deep and complex stuff revolving between yer ears, it's wonderful to come upon an article like this one.   Because it, like, simplifies and stuff?  The notion of a warehouse of failed products is a wonderful concept in itself, but for those of us for whom the glass never passes halfway, some justification for feeling somewhat better about it all is quite reassuring.  You know there are others out there of similar ilk, but finding a space to share is far from easy.

On the other hand, writing 'ilk' brings about a quite naughty feeling and on that note, we retire.

08 June 2012

public image ltd

"For all the talk of aspirations, voters do not seem to connect reform with progress. xxxx’s liberalisers over the past two decades, including xx xxxx himself, have reformed by stealth. That now looks like a liability. No popular consensus exists in favour of change or tough decisions."

"Its best xxxxxxx, xxxxx xxxx...is divisive and authoritarian."

Where in the world?  Sounds a bit like home, eh?

Not so.

If I could bring myself to sit down at the computer for half an hour and write something, that would be a start.

It seems we are witnessing a substantial shift in attitudes to, and usage of, the net.  I guess it's largely down to social media?  As I'm not on facebook or twitter I can only surmise that people have moved to these two platforms en masse, as even the old blogs that I regularly visited are either gone or in permanent mortal decline: Larvatus Prodeo; Things Bogans Like; Speak you're Branes, GG Sedgwick.  At the same time, the platform has moved from the desk or laptop at home to phones and tablets.

Two of the best and most prolific of more recent vintage, Greg Jericho at Grog's Gamut and Jim Parker (Mr Denmore) at Failed Estate now write under their own names, with Greg having been outed by the country's foremost journal of record, the Australian.  Which organ, not coincidentally, is often the target of well constructed criticism by Mr Denmore.   Greg gets some more public exposure at ABC online.

I've got a few other more obscure places I visit like The Rising Storm for interesting music, but as the regular haunts drop off so does the interest.

I can only imagine that people spend extraordinary amounts of time on social media: certainly if the numbers you see walking around looking at their phones is any indication, not to mention in workplaces all over.  Does this get factored into national productivity figures?

I do enjoy, as a sociological experiment, looking at newspaper articles online, where you get comments threads.  Actually, it's quite depressing.  Particularly the local rag.  Thank goodness for anonymity.

Although, not necessarily. Today's print edition carried a letter to the editor in which the writer suggested, in all seriousness, that one public official responsible for environmental issues, in this case bat colonies, should be executed for every person who dies of Hendra virus (transmitted from bats).  Or if the person simply gets very ill, the public official should merely be harmed permanently in some way.

I really thought a paper couldn't print stuff like that.  I'll be fascinated to see if there's anything in tomorrow's edition. 

More than depressing, really.

06 June 2012

bat out of hell

Evidently no-one at the ABC has ever read Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas.  Otherwise there surely would have been a reference in this story

If you don't know the reference...try this.

Coming soon...yet another episode about how I was about to close Chateau VVB and then some bod pops up from out of the ether saying "don't do it."

Coming some time soon, ie not within a hold your breath timescale.

23 May 2012

money makes the world go round

But increasingly money is not making the world go round except for an increasingly privileged few.  Read a bit about how right here.

I love the author's preamble to the comments section.

I've been writing, on an occasional basis, for quite some years now on the unsustainability of the contemporary model of international finance.  Every time I reckon it couldn't get any worse, I read somewhere about some arcane way in which it has.   The fact that Goldman Sachs (or someone in some other firm) once described the clients as "muppets" now gives free reign for this term's incorporation into everyday usage.  I wonder how muppets recognise themselves when they get documentation from their super fund, bank, advisor and so on.

I got one the other day, full of factual inaccuracies and such a lazy piece of work I felt like framing it.  What I will be doing is writing back to tell them they've lost my business.

I hope it  makes them feel muppet-like as that will be my intention.

14 May 2012

another one bites the dust

RIP 'Duck' Dunn

Jeez, they're popping off in all directions.  We must be getting old.

10 May 2012

cat empire

A short  essay on (a) the decline of western civilisation because of the (b) rise of postmodernism.

Well it may not be postmodernism but it surely signals a decline somewhere.

What is it?  Why, this.

Bring on the discussions, is this really a decline in academic rigour leading to the inevitable eclipse of all we hold superior, or is it the ongoing incursion of the realities of the postmodern world, and hence a perfectly legitimate area for academic analysis?

I'd be interested to see the quantitative component including details of the data collection mechanism.

Also, I don't think I've ever previously constructed a sentence that commences "why", comma, "such and such."  I've read plenty, but.  That's where I got it from, like.

08 May 2012

papa's got a brand new bag

umm, where to start...?....?

I was going to start with (x), but perforce I must start with (y), which is "Blogger has a brand new bag", or something to that effect.  I had to read the instructions (anathema to a bloke, y'know) in order to get to here, although - in keeping with traditional VVB wryness and circumlocutery - I don't know exactly where here is.  In fact, better make that "here."

No, attention.  Of course I do, I am now at (x), which was that I was talking to a friend, in person, at the weekend about blogs and blogging and he mentioned this here VVB (once was chateau, now seaside-ish) and I says, I says to him, that I don't write much any more and he replies, that yes he has noticed this.

Which - I says to him - means he must be coming past to read here.

So, as night surely follows day, we are now jointly and severally at (z), which is that nothing bloody well changes, I have nothing particularly interesting to write about, so why on earth do people - well let's assume the plural, shall we - drop past?

'Cos it's like the human condition, innit?  That's what we all write about, devastating insights into the human condition that, by the time they are rendered into the written word, by some strange mutation are less than insightful than originally envisaged. 

It's unfortunate: well it's a lot of things, but unfortunate certainly ranks amongst the things it is.

During the same conversation at (x) above, said same interlocutor reminded me that I hadn't finished the series about the cars.  Quite correct, I haven't, and to do so I'd need to go back and try to find all the ones I did write so as to know which ones remain unrepresented.  Does Blogger's brand new bag (C) (tm) do that, I wonder?

It would be extraordinarily unfortunate if it didn't, nicht war?

Anyway I am now again scouring the layout of the Brand New Bag, there are lots of twiddly things which it might be fun to play with one day.

However for now I must away - an early start awaits (business breakfast - what a stupid idea, where do people come up with this stuff?).  We have no further insights into the human condition - well, maybe you do - and I need a new obsession to make this place meaningful again.  Trouble is, I am less obsessed about things than I used to was.  Which is - on reflection - probably a good thing.

Au revoir, mes amis.

03 April 2012


Well it has been a very long time between drinks, as I waited for a suitable, appropriate, telling, devastatingly insightful (you get the picture) moment to celebrate blog the one thousandth number.

I have been tempted, ohlord have I been tempted. The actions of the UK government give no pause for thought as they embark on the further enrichening of the rich classes, and you know who that leaves. It's a neoliberal project of biblical scale and, almost assuredly because of aforesaid scale, the wheels will come off in a very big, almost enormous, way at some stage.

Australian politics at any level is leaving me - along with a goodly proportion of the Australian public, it would seem - feeling more or less meh, if you follow me.

The US continues its fine tradition of allowing, nay encouraging, its citizens to not only bear arms but to use them. Frequently. No links, I know you will have read the stories.

And I've been on the lookout for the whimsical, the wry, the gently cynical insights into the human condition that make blogging of that ilk so incredibly popular. And lightweight. Except for xkcd, of course.

And all along the wearying burden of knowing that my devoted readership (11 followers? Say again? Don't you people have anything better to do with your time?) have been waiting in anticipation. More than likely breathless anticipation because, as we all know, most anticipation is indeed breathless.

But for nought. What possibly could substantiate this epochal hopping into print?

OK then:

It's kind of political, it's certainly got a galaxyful of whimsy about it, it's not cheap or nasty, maybe it falls short of real human condition type stuff but it tells us a story.

And now I can take another breath.

For reasons that some readers may divine and others don't need to bother about, we are living in interesting time.

Keeping on breathing is going to be critical.

12 February 2012

the one after 909

Here's a bit of an article about how some/many/all/more than all(*) of the complex financial derivatives that were invented over the past couple of decades came about.

It's deeply scary because it all operates outside any notion of linear regulation and way, way, way outside any notion of democratic oversight of issues that affect us all as citizens.

I was complaining about this stuff way in the early days of VVB, well before any global financial crisis and I bet I wasn't the only poor average bloke on the street wondering the same thing: how does this all come about?

Well we know the answer to that but , fortunately, blog VVB no longer goes in for interminable rants about the violence inherent in the system but rather leans back, sips a robust red and goes wtf? A lot.

Anyway this is, I feel, a fitting subject for post number 999 - kind of a calm before the storm except it's not calm and remember Storm Financial (did I ever mention my theory about financial services companies with names that make you really wonder whether they are totally legit or rather the opposite?).

Anyway against all odds - mainly writer ennui and reader boredom - we are at 999 and I will withhold the magic 1000 for something suitable.
xkcd, of course, saw this milestone somewhat differently.

(*) More than all, of course, because that's what derivatives have bequeathed us. Houses, cards, etc.

as time goes by

As time goes by, I find that I understand less and less about stuff going on around me. You know, like life and stuff.

A simple example might be
WWE. I followed this for a little while some 10 years ago as kind of a sociological experiment. Leave it for a period of time, come back and it appears to exist in some kind of parallel dimension where nothing that is said is as it appears. I could go on but I fear that I would end up in some kind of space-time continuum that doesn't. Continue, I mean. For one thing, I couldn't see the dozens or hundreds of John 3.16 banners that people in the audience routinely waved while two overmuscled brutes jumped up and down on each other.

All this reflection - well a lot more than what was just represented above, naturally - emanated from an article in the paper about the launch of Bob Katter's Australia Party tilt at the Queensland election. The bit that caused me to pause was this:

"The crowd, made up of Decembers and Mays, cheered."

I mean, December and May whats?

Anyway I ran it past Mrs VVB and she equally flummoxed at what the phrase might mean and from which cultural phenomenon or understanding it derived. So we remain flummoxed at VVB by the sea and this post desperately seeks your assistance to throw some light.

So, throw away.

28 January 2012

you spin me right round

Evidently for the 8 cents a day we all pay, the ABC can no longer afford writers with any knowledge of how to conjugate verbs in English:

Earlier Alistair Cook (7) fell caught and bowled to Mohammed Hafeez and Ian Bell (3) was unfortunate to be bowled by Ajmal when the ball spinned backwards towards his stumps after his forward-defensive stroke.

We're doomed I tells ya, doomed.

And with this lightweight observation of the human condition, we creep a little closer to that magic 1000 posts. Actually, we don't know if it will be magic. It may be quite unexceptional.

17 January 2012

04 January 2012

by the way

Things that make you go wtf?

Last year (approx) it was all ads for sheds on TV. Still going on. But now it's ads for ride-on mowers. Hunnerds of them. Does everybody now live on acreage?

And this:

Maltby said: "For me, I am looking for a leader who will look to God for direction That is important to me. I want a leader who believes God is sovereign."

And these are same people who decry the Abrahamic religions (well, one of them anyway, although there's plenty of recent evidence about t'other) for seeking to control people's lives?

Anyway, if you believe God is sovereign, why have politicians?

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