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Tag: Music

Film Reviews

Crock of Gold

Saturday, December 19th, 2020 Film Reviews,

Shane MacGowan is a textbook case of someone who should be dead but somehow keeps rolling. In MacGowan’s case “rolling” is the right word because years of dedicated self-destruction have wrecked his sense of balance, confining him to a wheelchair. Now 62-years-old the former lead singer for the Pogues sits with his head tilted at […]

Film Reviews

The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart

Friday, December 4th, 2020 Film Reviews,

It’s hard to grasp how famous the Bee Gees really were. They remain the third most successful band of all time after the Beatles and the Supremes. In the late 1970s there were weeks when they had four or five hits in the charts simultaneously. Their soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever was number one album […]

Film Reviews

David Byrne’s American Utopia

Friday, November 20th, 2020 Film Reviews,

In the liner notes to his 2018 album, American Utopia, David Byrne reflects on the title. “Is this meant ironically? It is a joke? Do I mean this seriously? Am I referring to the past or the future? Is it personal or political?” These questions, which echo the lists of questions in wellknown songs such […]

Film Reviews

I Am Woman

Friday, September 4th, 2020 Film Reviews,

There should be a warning issued with this bio-pic of singer, Helen Reddy: after the film you’ll be humming I Am Woman for the next week or so. This might sound harmless enough, but in the wrong context it could raise uncomfortable questions about masculine identity. Reddy’s unofficial anthem for the women’s movement is easily […]

Film Reviews

Echo in the Canyon

Friday, August 7th, 2020 Film Reviews,

It may seem a big call to suggest that one day historians will mention Laurel Canyon in the late 1960s alongside Vienna fin-de-siècle, and the Paris of the 1930s, but Graham Nash has no doubts. It’s even more startling to bracket Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys with Mozart, but Tom Petty manages this feat […]

Film Reviews

Mystify: Michael Hutchence

Thursday, July 4th, 2019 Film Reviews,

One night at Sydney University we all turned up to see Mental As Anything. The support band was a lesser-known outfit named INXS. At this point the script should read: “…but that support band would blow the Mentals away and go on to international superstardom. It was all down to their electrifying lead singer, Michael […]

Film Reviews

Rocketman

Thursday, May 30th, 2019 Film Reviews,

Dexter Fletcher may well be the new Ken Russell. In Bohemian Rhapsody, and now in Rocketman, he reveals a taste for overheated theatricality that hasn’t been seen since Russell turned Franz Liszt into a teen idol. The difference is that this much-anticipated bio pic of Elton John never departs too far from formula, no matter […]

Film Reviews

Green Book

Thursday, January 31st, 2019 Film Reviews,

This year’s Academy Awards is generating several fascinating dilemmas. First up, could the Academy give the prize for Best Picture to a film as frivolous and patched-together as Bohemian Rhapsody? Let’s not even get started on the sexual harrassment allegations levelled at director, Bryan Singer. Secondly, what has everybody got against A Star is Born? […]

Film Reviews

A Star is Born

Saturday, October 20th, 2018 Film Reviews,

One learns to mistrust the movie that is hyped to the skies – whether it be “critically acclaimed” or simply a “box office sensation”. The box office is the worst guide to quality because popular taste is fixated on superheroes, brain-dead action films, lame comedies and sentimental mush. As for the critics, they couldn’t stop […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Steirischer Herbst 2018

Thursday, October 4th, 2018 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In the words of Thomas Bernhard, Austria’s greatest novelist of the late 20th century, the city of Graz was “a nest of Nazis”. In a speech of last year, Georg Friedrich Haas, Austria’s foremost living composer, reeled off a list of Nazis that had remained faithful to the Führer in post-war Graz, including his own […]